50 Caliber, Tantrum, Pints, Proven or Ironed out just some of the many bands Richard played hitting hard the drums set. Very active young man within the UKHC scene involved in organizing gigs including Ready Eye fest with the rest of the London crew. We discussed his life, bands and opinions about south and north London hardcore rivalry, life during Covid 19, booking bands and playing in many bands you loose the count.
Q: Hi Richard, hope you doing well and everybody is safe from the Covid 19 in your
R: Hello Roman. Yes, everyone in my family is currently safe and well, and I hope that
continues! Hope you and yours are also safe mate.
Q: All good in our family so far, touch wood. Its not the most positive era of our life we living now. How is it all effecting you and your close ones?
R: Yeah, what a crazy, unprecedented time for most of the world. I think my family are for the most part unaffected for the time being. As for friends, I’ve unfortunately had a few lose loved ones and friends to this awful virus. I really feel for them and families.
Q: Sorry to hear it Richard. Would like to know more about you and introduce you to other folks reading my zine. Can you tell us more about yourself? When you were born? What are you doing job wise?
R: I was born on 5th September 1986 in Dulwich and lived in Wood Green, North London up until I was 5, when I then moved to south east London. I moved back to Wood Green just over 5 years ago to look after my grandparents, although my granddad sadly passed away in hospital
before he could come home. I look after my Nan and do other assorted work when I can, but obviously I can’t do any extra work right now due to the corona virus situation.
Q: When I came to London I got to know some people from the south and north part of the river and it was crazy to realize that there is still some rivalry going on between the old south part of London folks and north part of it. Certain people don’t even cross the rive for whatever reason to keep it safe. I find it crazy as I would love to discover all parts of London or other cities where I live. The question is, are there any underlying issues between the south and north Londoners? Is it the football rivalry we talking about? Also Wood green is known for loads of gang activities and not considered the safest place to live, was it hard to go back after years to this urban jungle?
R: Oh, any north and south London ‘rivalry’ in hardcore is purely a joke on the internet. We make light-hearted jokes about how our sides of London are superior, but we’re all united Londoners and proud for real. There are of course still pretty serious football rivalries that have existed for a long time and sometimes they’ll be linked in to our online jokes, but we
aren’t involved with any of that.
I’ve found that some London hardcore heads have a moan when shows aren’t in their ends, and sometimes they won’t even bother coming because of it. That’s their choice and their loss. I just see it as entitlement. Shows happen all over London, no one side has the monopoly over it.
Wood Green is definitely one of the roughest areas in London, but it’s my home. I spent my first 6 years here, then moved to south east London, and now I’ve been back here in north London just over 5 years. I know the area well and know how to look after myself. Some very shady shit happens around here, and a lot of it isn’t reported.
It’s somewhat of a forgotten part of London. The youth can and often do run wild and unfortunately hurt / kill each other. I care of course, but my main concern is always keeping me and mine safe.
Q: I know Wood Green fairly well, used to work there for four years near the gypsy
traveler site and directly with traveler family, loads of characters on the street. Wood green has a weird vibe, but enjoyed the day vibe a lot. Colors, smells, movement, busy high street.
OH and I did not mean the hardcore south / north rivalry, I know it is silly boys joking and winding each up, but I meant the old school football stigma. Usually those people I talked to were old school English folks living each on other side of the pond and mentioning they have never visited the other side because of the on-going beef. I can say, people are weird. Peace.
Moving on. Do you remember time when you discovered music? And not talking about nursery rhymes now, but when the music have started to have impact on your life. What band blow your mind away and gave you never ending chills?
R: I remember music from a VERY early age as my parents would always have music on and my granddad was an amazing piano/keyboard player. He would play for me and my Nan and there are actually some old tapes of him playing for us and you can hear a young Rich in the background. So in that sense, I was exposed to a lot of varied music as a child and I’m really
thankful for that.
As for a band that blows my mind, I could say so many, but I think I’m gonna go with hardcore as it’s what pulses through my veins the most… KNUCKLEDUST.
Q: What did you use to listen to with your grandparents?
Why Knuckledust? What is it that attracted you to them?
R: My granddad would put on a lot of music like Elvis, Frank Sinatra etc. A lot of the big-time solo singers of the time. It was great and I’ve actually been listening to a lot of Elvis again recently.
I just love Knuckledust. Firstly, their music is amazing, obviously. I also love everything about what they’ve done for London / UKHC. As far as I’m aware, there’s no other hardcore band out there that’s been giving their blood, sweat and tears to this scene for nearly 25 years, and with the same four members. I think that a big shout out also has to go to Ninebar, who are of course London hardcore stalwarts and started just one year after Knuckledust and LBU / Rucktion Records originals. Incredible loyalty to the game from both bands!
Q: Totally agree. Those guys build the empire on their own blood and sweat. When have you become involved with hardcore punk? What was your first band you join to play with?
Can you tell us more how that made you feel and what age you were?
R: I guess you could say that I’ve been involved with hardcore punk since I was 15, as my first show was AFI supported by Stampin’ Ground in 2002, which was crazy. I was much more into the punk side then (I still love great punk rock), but Stampin’ Ground and the pit they whipped up was so eye opening. I wouldn’t get into the heavier side hardcore until a couple years later.
The first band I did properly was at 15 / 16 and it was a pop punk / rock band called Lateshift. We were fucking AWFUL, but hey, it set me off down a path that I’ve carried on walking down, so I’ll always love that band and the dudes I did it with. I guess hardcore just makes me feel alive like no other music. Hardcore and punk gave me a place to let out my aggression during / after a troubled and violent childhood that left me with a lot of mental scars that will never go away. I won’t sugar coat it, the danger of
hardcore shows gave (and still gives) me a massive rush. I love the chaos.
Q: Talking about chaos and danger, is that element of violence on hardcore shows necessary? It does attract sometimes people who have those personal issues but damaging or willing trying to hurt others as catalyst for their own anger. Those crowd killing an punching shit out of each other is element the scene does not really need in my opinion. Shouldn’t we take care of each other instead?
R: I mean chaos and danger in terms of just not knowing what could happen. I love the uncertainty. Hardcore aint ballet. This shit is wild and always should be in my opinion, although I have to say that things have changed from back when I came up in this scene. Some good changes, some bad.
I think hardcore should attract and welcome the ‘crazies’ of the world. It did years back. As long as these people aren’t Nazis, racists, nonce etc and aren’t coming in and trying to fuck with people that have been around a lot longer than them, it’s all good. If they want to play those games, well, me and my friends can forcibly show them the door. It’s been done before and it’ll no doubt happen again.
As for the whole ‘crowd killing’ thing, it seems to have died out at real hardcore shows. I’ve noticed that shit is usually attempted by the types that have NEVER thrown hands for real on the street. They can carry on doing that tragic crowd killing shit at slam / fake beatdown shows. It doesn’t concern me.
Q: Was the drumming always the way you wanted to go? Have you tried other instruments before sticking to drums?
R: Yeah, drums was the only instrument I wanted to play at a young age. I always found myself listening to the beats in music over anything else. I’d quite like to learn acoustic guitar and piano. I have my granddad’s old piano here at my nan’s, so I really could give it a go, especially during this current corona virus lock down.
Q: How many bands you played with and how many bands at the same time you practice with? Seems like drummers are the hot stuff and hard to find.
R: Ya know, it’s actually hard to give a true number as I’ve filled in for a few bands as well as being full time in others. There have been MANY haha. This is the first time in 17 years that I haven’t been playing drums in any bands. I still love playing, but I’m not sure I have the time to join a new band on drums. I’m currently trying to start a new project with me doing vocals.
Q: I want to be in the picture so name a few you played with I can think of Pints and Tantrum only at this moment. Who is involved in the new project? What style you want to play?
R: Ok so hardcore / punk / metal core wise, I’ve drummed for 50 Caliber, Ironed Out, Proven, Tantrum, Pints, Black Shapes, Downward Spiral and From Grace. In my early years of playing drums, I also played in a pop punk band and straight-ahead rock band. I also used to fill in for my friends’ folk band at one point, which was something different and fun.
The new project involves my good friends Jake Marlow, who has played in Desolated, War Master and No Rest, and Dan Bulford who has played in World Weary, Target Lock and Downward Spiral. We’ll be looking to add two more members once this current corona virus situation is over and we can get in a practice room again. The style will be straight moshy heavy hardcore.
Q: Do you have favorite band to play with? If you can compare the bands you drum for, which one is the nicest or the hardest to work with, of course in the most gentle and friendly way to answer, haha.
R: I’ve enjoyed playing with every band I’ve been in. I’d say Tantrum was the hardest to play for in a technical sense. Tim writes some MAD riffs so the drumming needed to reflect that.
It’s a shame that band couldn’t carry on! If you’re talking about bands that were hardest to work with in terms of arguments and clashes of personalities, that would be Black Shapes. We all got on well (and still do), but we were quite a full on band in the five years we were active and we weren’t one sound specifically. We took influence from hardcore, punk, doom, stoner and much more so there were always so many ideas floating about. We released two EPs and a full length in that time, so as you can imagine, we were around each other a LOT.
As with any band or relationship, that can cause some stress. I’m still very proud of that band as it’s, to date, the only band I’ve released a full length album with. That’s something I’d definitely like to change in the future.
You’ll probably know this as you’re such a big supporter of the band, but Pints has to be the funniest band to play with. Seeing loads of people go off to such silly bollocks punk music about boozing is seriously such a sight. I of course haven’t actually recorded with Pints, but there are talks about us coming out of this self imposed ‘hiatus’ to record some new music and
play some shows, so I may well be playing drums again when possible. Dave has been writing!
Q: Fuck yes, Pints are living legend to me already. Hope you will record something new and put it on seven inch. Have you ever had to rescue Charlie Pints life at rehearsal or gig?
R: Hahahaha. Charlie is a seasoned piss head so he doesn’t ever need rescuing… maybe just telling that he needs to get out from pouring himself a pint behind the venue bar whilst we play…
Q: I read it first as a seasonal piss head – weekend warrior haha. I noticed, on social media, you were talking about stepping away from playing with bands as it was too demanding on your time. Why? What happened?
R: To be completely honest with you, it was a combination of not feeling the same feelings about playing drums, which came from a period of darkness and depressing. Also, it was very demanding on my time as I was in three bands at one point. I feel a lot better now, thankfully.
Q: We all are going through those phases in life when we come to stage, it’s not going anywhere and giving it up, but then it settles and we carry on. I got those phases regularly, sometimes life does not give us happy stories at all.
You are part of the Ready eye collective, can you introduce the team and what is your aim guys? What shows you managed to promote so far and what is the hardest part promoting bands?
R: Ready Eye Collective is myself, John Kata, Louis Gino and Ferg Simonds. Our aim is simply to put on great shows and grow the UKHC scene. We’ve done 21 shows, with three of those being our yearly fest. I’ve actually been putting on shows on and off since 2006, but REC shows started in March 2017. Louis of course helps run Rucktion Records and their shows every
two months. (note check Louis or Pierre interview in blog section)
I’d say the hardest part of DIY promoting is that it really is completely down to you / your team to deliver the best shows that you can. That can bring about some stress and worries, and things can go wrong along the way, but in our case it’s always worked out pretty well because we really care about this shit. We’ll carry on doing the best we can!
Q: What are the deals with the bands? Do you guys have to sign contracts with bands? Do you have to send money forward? How does this process work? Do bands approach you directly or you communicate with larger booking agencies to promote their bands in London?
R: It varies from show to show. With all UK line-ups, it’s usually just an agreement over messages for a set amount of money. It’s sometimes like that with international bands. Of course, some bands now work with booking agencies where contracts are required. As Ready Eye Collective has grown, we’ve worked with these agencies more. We have no real opinion
either way on this. It’s simply now a part of the game.
Q: What is the newest drama on Facebook group you manage? I had to leave some groups related to UKHC as all this name shaming and personal beefs were taking place, not only the one you manage is so time consuming and full of bullshit. Where do you take the energy and nerves managing it?
R: To be honest, that never really happens on my London hardcore Facebook group… unless there was something really big that I somehow missed haha! I of course see dramas kicking off on UKHC groups. Unless it directly involves me or my people, you’ll rarely see me get involved, unless I think it’s a ‘bigger picture’ type issue where I think my input could help
resolve something or help end the drama. I came up in an era where a lot of beefs were still sorted out face to face, the real way. Hey, I’m not saying fighting is cool, no one wants it, but if something HAS to be resolved that way, so be it. A big change since my early days is the shift of the old school way of thinking, to the new generation which includes some that want
to talk big beef on the internet and then absolutely nothing is said or done when they’re in a room together. Again though, that’s their business. If it doesn’t involve me or mine, I’m not really interested.
Q: Are you looking forward the Brexit taking full twist at the end of this year? Why do you think people in UK voted for Tories in such large numbers at the last election? Does this nation like some kind of self-torture? Why they hate being in EU so much? In my opinion Boris Johnson is the worst of the worst idiots alongside Donald Trump, those guys have no
values, they do not stick to their own word, ego trip as hell, but people still vote for them. I just cannot get it. What is wrong with people?
R: Ya know, I’m sorry if this annoys you or anyone else reading this, but I don’t think I’m going to give my full opinions on this. Not because I think Brexit is right at all, but more so because I could talk FOREVER on this subject and never be fully satisfied with my answer. I will say that of course I think Boris Johnson is a bumbling, clueless, out of touch, dangerous toff cunt that is only out to serve himself, his party and elite friends. These people DO NOT care about us.
I will end this answer by saying that I think that Labour / the left made many glaring mistakes during the last election, which ultimately led to their loss. The phrase ‘shooting yourself in the foot over and over’ comes to mind. I think that’s all I’ll say on these subjects in an interview that needs some kind of length limitations.
Q: When Brexit takes place next year do you think it will be harder for bands to come over and play in UK? Are you ready for that change or nobody really knows at this stage and things will be happening along the way…?
R: Oh definitely. We’ve already seen some new government guidelines for this, which show that some bands are going to have to pay a lot more to come and play here. I guess we’re ready to see how things end up, then we’ll go from there. What with the current corona virus situation, absolutely everything music related is uncertain. These are unprecedented an
strange times, but one thing is for sure, this thing called HARDCORE will never die, no matter what.
Thanks for this interview Roman. I’ve had a lot of fun doing it, I’m just sorry it took me a lot longer than expected haha. Take care mate.
Q: Thank you Richard for your time and answers and I hope you folks enjoyed it. Give us like, share and spread the word. You can support the bands and activities by searching for them on internet and attend their shows after the Covid 19 lock down, purchase their merch or music. You can hit amentma.bigcartel.com and buy one of my books too if you