10 Questions With PI$$ER
On their two releases for TNSrecords to date, PI$$ER, comprising members of multiple celebrated punk projects spanning over two decades, have subjected an un-expecting punk scene to their nihilistic brand of furious D-Beat, sax- drenched hardcore. The scorn spewed forth by PI$$ER is a real shot in the arm to anyone getting too comfortable with what to expect in the scene, and takes TNS firmly back to its drinking-cider in the gutter days. It’s a wonderfully vicious reminder of just how abrasive and confrontational punk rock can be. We sat down with the band to ask them 10 questions…
Please introduce the band.
James: OK, so there’s Charlie Claesson on drums, Bri Talbot and Matt Woods on guitars, Rhodes on bass, Eddie O’Toole on sax and me – James Domestic – on vocals. We’ve all been in loads of bands – some of which you’ll definitely know, some of which you maybe won’t.
Which of your releases should people check out first and what is your definitive song?
James: Well, I’m duty-bound to say people should initially check out our ‘Crushed Down to Paste’ 12” mini LP, that came out in July. After that, check out the ‘Wretched Life’ 7” if you can find a copy. That’s all there is so far. I think it’s probably a bit early to pick a ‘definitive’ PI$$ER song and it’s probably for other people to decide rather than us anyway.
Eddie: James wrote everything, so I feel he is too coy to pick a fave, but I reckon ‘Nazi Rhythm’ sums up our sound.
Which member of the band is guaranteed to make you late for the gig and why?
James: We’re not a gigging band currently. We’ve never even had a rehearsal due to the geographical spread of us all! Charlie being the furthest away, in Sweden, but the rest of us being spread all around the UK. So it’s hard to say really…my guess would be Matt though – haha! Sorry, Matt. Charlie: Matt! He always forgets his makeup kit, or can’t find his automatic travel bag lock or is too drunk in general.
Eddie: Everyone in this band has such a strong work ethic, no one would let you down. If pushed though, I’d still say Matt, but I’m sure the reason would be hilarious.
Matt: I’m usually quite punctual, I’ll have you know. As long as I remember that I’m doing the thing, which may not happen so often as it’s supposed to. James: In fairness, Matt was almost a month early to the studio last time…
What is your favourite venue to play?
James: Again, it doesn’t really apply to PI$$ER at this point. We’ve been offered a number of gigs but we’re in no hurry. It’ll be logistically difficult and costly. We might do one or two a year further down the line if the right things come up. It’d have to be something we really wanted to do though. Charlie: SO36 in Berlin. Amongst many.
Matt: UK would be Yorkshire House in Lancaster, 1in12 in Bradford, or the Tub (RIP) in Hastings. Europe I’d say 1000Fryd in Aalborg or Gaussplatz in Hamburg, with a special shout out for Pilon in Torun, also sadly gone now.
DIY touring is a unique experience. Tell us about something ridiculous that has happened to you whilst on the road.
James: Every day on tour is just full of so many small odd moments, like finishing a gig and being given a key and an address for somewhere to stay…ended up being a squatted house in a really fancy part of Amsterdam, but knew none of the people living there until the morning, then there’s the washing your armpits with a bottle of water in the street because there was no running water where you stayed, the drunkenness, the hangovers, sleeping in a log cabin in the woods…the staying awake until 9am and then realising you have to drive for hours to get to the next gig and you haven’t slept yet, snowball fights, the table tennis tournament that happened after the gig in Hamburg, bandmates sleep-pissing in someone’s hallway and all over their stuff…eating pomegranates straight off the tree for breakfast in Greece, having random people ply you with booze…the whole thing’s pretty ridiculous most of the time!
Charlie: With my old band, TROUBLEMAKERS, we played in Berlin. A friend of our support band was supposed to come and visit, a girl from Bavaria. Our bass player, who likes girls very much, made ready to impress her, by saying cheers in Bavarian, which is ”Prost!”. Well, time went and we got drunk and suddenly the girl showed up and our bass player raises his glass and shouted ”SPROUT!!”. She just stared at him….
Matt: In my old band we kidnapped a Dutch guy cos his surname was Van Beers, so we wanted to keep him in the van to pass us beers. The novelty wore off for him quite quickly, when he realised we weren’t joking. We took nominative determinism very seriously.
What are the best and worst bits of being in an underground/DIY band?
James: The best is full artistic control I guess. No labels asking you to change things or go for a slick production or whatever. Worst things…not enough hours in the day to get all the admin type stuff done, work a full-time day job, and find time to actually make music. Although with so many projects on the go I guess I manage OK.
Charlie: Time. Always that damn time. But, curry and Chang. Eddie: If it wasn’t for the DIY scene I don’t know if a band like ours would really exist. So, that’s a positive right?! My mind is constantly blown by the worldwide punk community, negatives don’t really come into it.
Matt: I know nothing else. Seriously, gave knitting a go but that shit is hard. It’s fun to hang out with nice people and make horrible noise. Plus, curry and lager.
What up and coming bands should we all be checking out?
James: RAT CAGE, LA RABBIA, OBSESSIÓ, COOL JERKS, …just off the top of my head.
Charlie: Haven’t got a clue. I’m too old.
Eddie: As the sax player I feel like I should shout out something with a sax in it… Check out ILL CONSIDERED. Not a punk band, but they harness the spirit. A jazz band that do their own thing, regardless of the current jazz trend. Play hard as any punk band I ever saw.
Matt: CLEAN SHIRTS, INCISIONS, BRUISE CONTROL, THE KIRKZ. Hard agree on RAT CAGE, they are mint.
Any advice for emerging bands/bands just starting out?
James: Do some research on a label before you ask if they’re interested in putting put your record. Do you buy anything from label by bands you like? Probably worth getting in touch. No idea who any of the bands on the label are or what the label’s about? Don’t do it. Seriously: don’t do it.
Matt: Wear earplugs, wash regularly, and only take drugs you can reliably identify.
What’s next for you guys in the short term and the long term?
James: The next record is written. A full LP with 11 tracks. With the pandemic I’ve no idea when we’ll be able to record it though! It’s hard enough booking recording dates at the best of times what with all our other bands and commitments.
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.
James: Giant hamster.
Charlie: A rhododendron
Eddie: Easy. Chicken. They’re chickens.
Matt: A hare.