10 Questions With Knife Club
The fact that Knife Club are yet to grace a stage and perform their first gig together, has done very little to stop them being one of this strangest of years most talked about punk bands. The boast members of Faintest Idea, Haest, Casual Nausea, Matilda‘s Scoundrels, Nosebleed and the much missed Revenge of the Psychotronic Man. Knife Club dropped their acclaimed debut album We Are Knife Club on TNSrecords earlier this year. Now, some months later, and after everything having gone well and truly wrong with the world, the band are back with an unexpected yet perceptive Acoustic Lockdown EP. Across its five tracks, the band explore some of the strange and uncomfortable emotions we have all felt over the course of the year, whilst maintaining their scathing and potent critique of a hopelessly inept Tory government. We caught with them to see what was going on with the band.
Please introduce the band?
Knife Club are Zoë – vocals, Eliott – guitar/vocals, Dan – guitar, Dani – bass/vocals, Big Hands – drums/cajon and Andy – vocals.
Which of your releases should people check out first and what track is your definitive song?
Andy – We only have two releases. Our debut album, We Are Knife Club and our lockdown acoustic 7”. I guess the album is the best starting point as it’s more like what we will do live… if we ever play a gig. People seem to like The Tibby Tan Tiger. That’s on both releases too. They are pretty different versions though.
Eliott – Go from the beginning and work forward, it won’t take long though don’t worry. Our definitive song is probably Gold Dollar Sign Hoodie I reckon, got it all. A real Bobby dazzler.
Big Hands – You should buy them both from TNSrecords now.
Which member of the band is guaranteed to make you late getting to the gig and why?
Andy – We’ve never done a gig, but from past knowledge of working with Faintest Idea it’s almost certainly gonna be Dani. I’ve sat in my house watching a film with Faintest Idea after they stayed at mine after playing in Manchester. Their former drummer went and sat in their van. I asked if he was OK and I was told that he was trying to hurry them along as they were supposed to be sound checking in Bristol in half an hour… Apparently they made it to the gig.
Eliott – I’d imagine Dani. I’ve seen faintest idea turn up to a venue ten minutes late to their set, come in, set up, play a couple songs then go home. In and out before anyone knew it.
Zoë – I would have said I would be late to everything, because I am always late. There is no why, I just am but I like that Dani has that all sorted. Plus I can’t drive, so I guess I’ll be with one of you. So prob would be on time.
Big Hands – Dani, without a doubt. He told me once he does it to piss everyone of on purpose.
What is your favourite venue to play?
Andy – All our gigs were cancelled because of Covid, which was obviously rubbish. We were booked to play my favourite venue, which is 1000Fryd in Aalborg, Denmark. That would have been awesome. Hopefully it will still happen one day. It would have been nice to do our first gig at Retro Bar too. So many memories of that place. It has been an integral part of the Manchester scene for a long time. There are so many incredible DIY venues. We need to look after them.
Eliott – Probably The Parish in Huddersfield, Conroy’s Basement in Dundee, The Smokehouse in Ipswich or Steini’s Pub in Schwerin. I can’t remember where we’d booked to play on our cancelled Knife Club tour, so maybe some of those venues too.
Zoë – There are some incredible venues up and down the country, but I love comin’ home and playing to friends n family. Doesn’t matter so much if you fuck it right up, they have to like you. So The Smokehouse and The Steamboat. Especially as all venues are properly struggling at the min. But if we lose those, that’s it for gigs in Ippo.
Big Hands – Most of the venues for the gigs we had booked were mint. Retro Bar and Gullivers in Manchester definitely, Redrum in Stafford, 1000 Fryd in Aalborg, Smokehouse in Ipswich. Any that are obviously run by people who get DIY music.
Tell us about something ridiculous that has happened to you whilst on the road.
Andy – Obviously we’ve never toured as Knife Club, but our other bands have crossed paths many times on the road and we’ve had some very silly times. I actually don’t know where to start with it haha. It is basically the best part of 20 years of ridiculous stories. I’ve slept in a bank vault, been kicked out of a church by a man with a gun (which I still think was harsh), been forcefully told to stand against a wall by an enormous Policeman with a gun when taking donations to the Calais Jungle (which was terrifying). Plus some other stuff that doesn’t involve guns.
Eliott – I think all of us have slept in that bank vault haven’t we? I dunno about ridiculous really, everything that sticks out is more just annoying than anything, but maybe that’s because I haven’t done it for so long I’m trying to justify it to myself. Nosebleed once ended up driving 20 hours to play to three people, that one was a pain. We once played in Germany and got asked to play 4 encores after an hour and a half’s set, the same songs people had already heard during the set, and then some kid got out of the crowd and brought his dad and asked if they could play some songs with our bassist. So me and the drummer went to the bar while he played an awful cover of Beat on the Brat. Did a gig in a seafood restaurant, that was pretty weird. Lots of angling photos everywhere.
Zoë – I’ve never slept in the bank vault, think I was meant to this year, but Rona. Hopefully one day Knife Club will tour, I imagine it’s gonna be very silly. But my most ridiculous moment was with Casual, when we found ourselves driving the wrong way down a Dutch slip road with a wall of Dutch headlights coming at us with speed. It’s nice to be alive.
Big Hands – The kicky shoe game.
What are the best and worst bits of being in an underground/DIY band?
Andy – The best bits are the incredible community, which stretches worldwide and the fun times spent with mostly like-minded people. It’s amazing really. Revenge Of The Psychotronic Man split two years ago and I have to say, I don’t miss being constantly exhausted every Monday at work after gigging all weekend. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done musically for a second. It has been an unbelievable experience that has shaped every aspect of my life, but it had become too much trying to gig enough to maintain being an established DIY band, whilst doing TNS, MPF and working full time. It is a bit overwhelming at times. Typing that has made me feel tired.
Eliott – Best bit: playing Worst bit: literally everything else. There’s a lot more admin than I was promised growing up.
Zoë – There is a lot of being squished in the middle on the back seat between most of your band and instruments arguing about which service station is best for a poo. But that is also some of the best times….. Spending time with friends you love, making music and chatting shit, keeps the world turning x
Big Hands – Best bits: Meeting awesome people and going to awesome places, getting to play music to people who genuinely love it. Worst bits: Dealing with idiots, sleeping in shitholes and playing music to no one.
What up and coming bands should we all be checking out?
Andy – Obviously I am biased, but all the TNS bands. And definitely the other bands the rest of the Knife Club members play in. There are just so many great bands out there. I won’t pick any bands involved with TNS as that would be like picking between my children (I don’t have any children). Youth Avoiders, Martyrials, The Sewer Cats and Daves are all great up and coming bands who I’d recommend.
Eliott – I don’t really have my finger on the pulse enough for that. I can recommend you some cracking Motörhead bootlegs though. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Twin Temple and Orville Peck, so those.
Big Hands – I cant stop listening to Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy at the moment. I know it’s very cheesy but it‘s so catchy
Any advice for emerging bands/bands just starting out?
Andy – Just make sure you enjoy it. There will be ups and downs, but this should be fun. I try to embrace every part of it. I’ve watched all the other bands at almost every gig I’ve ever played and discovered so much great stuff. I’ve also tried to hang out with people in all the different towns and cities we’ve played and met some of my best friends doing it. For me, being in a DIY band has been about so much more than just playing 40 minutes of music. Get involved and play a part.
Eliott – Don’t play ska.
Big Hands – Don’t start a band with 5 other people from all over the country, record an album and book a tour just before a global pandemic.
What’s next for you guys in the short term and the long term?
Andy – Who knows? Maybe album number two will happen before we even manage to play a gig. Due to living so far apart, we were writing in a socially distanced way ages before it was forced on us and we all have ideas for new stuff, so we will see how that pans out.
Eliott – Write, record, and hopefully eventually finally tour. Was meant to be a one and done thing this, one gig, bosh, done. It’s got out of control now. Next time I’ll make the aims more clear.
Big Hands – Book another tour just before Covid20
Finally, and most importantly, what is the biggest animal you could take down with your bare hands? Hypothetically, of course. We like animals. We often put them on t-shirts.
Andy – I have thought about this question for such a long time and heard so many ludicrous answers. Malibu Phill McKie cannot take down a giraffe. I’m fairly confident I could beat a sheep. A capybara can grow over a metre long too, so seems doable. But, I’m still thinking there is something more ambitious out there.
Eliott – Cow. Docile. I reckon you could fight a cow enough to take it down before it got too aggy.
Zoë – Can I take down a peacock Cos I think they are smug.
Big Hands – With hands like these I feel like I need to challenge an animal with huge Paws/Hands. Have you seen the size of a moles hands, fucking massive.