10 Questions With The Domestics

The underground UK punk scene would be a significantly different place without Suffolk’s The Domestics. Uncompromising, abrasive , intelligent and fiercely DIY, The Domestics have left an indelible mark on the punk rock community. Their latest release, the nihilistic No Life/This Your Life 12“ Split with Welsh thrashers Pizzatramp saw the band staring into the void in a grimmer than grim 10 minute (one song) punk rock opus. For a project which is arguably one their most ambitious, caught up with them to find out where they’re at.

Please introduce the band.

James: Mint on guitar, Rhodes on bass, Simon on drums and me – James – on vocals. Rhodes: Four funny farty dudes from Suffolk

Which of your releases should people check out first and what is your definitive song?

James: Check out the ‘Cherry Blossom Life’ LP and the ‘No Life/This is Your Life’ split 12” with PIZZATRAMP. That’ll show both ends of the spectrum. If we have a ‘definitive’ song that’s really for others to decide; not us.
Rhodes: ‘Routine & Ritual’ for me has a lot of bangers, but we play them twice the speed now. ‘’Shutdown’ is still one of my favourite tunes of ours. Mint: I’d say check out the ‘Cherry Blossom Life’ album.
Simon: Few of my current favourite tracks are ‘A Pox On This Life’, ’Stalinist Purge’, and ’Shutdown’, though it changes drastically and a lot.

Which member of the band is guaranteed to make you late for the gig and why?

James: None of us are that bad, but if forced to pick I’d say Mint is most likely. Generally we’re more likely to be early than late though.
Rhodes: Mint. Definitely Mint, but only by half an hour. If you invite him out for a big walk with beers around the meadows and stuff he’s bang on time…apart from a couple of weeks ago. The other end of the spectrum is James being ready to go two or three hours too early, and I like a pint in my local before heading off.
Mint: I don’t think we’ve ever really been late for gigs apart from when I took MOLISMA from Greece sightseeing round London (their favourite thing was the pound shop), even then I think I just about made it in time. I am late for other stuff though. Time’s just a made up thing really though isn’t it.
Simon: I’m more concerned about James’ 6am waking up times while on tour, never get a good sleep in!

What is your favourite venue to play?

James: Anywhere we’re there’s a decent crowd that are up for it. We’ve played loads of cool places; it’s hard to pick a favourite so I won’t.
Rhodes: Fulford Arms in York; more so for Swinefest. Sound is great there and I’ve done my most silly dancing there, which is what I base a fun time on.
Mint: There are so many, the Smokehouse in Ipswich is always good fun, Fulford arms in York is good, I think we’ve played about 12 different places in Manchester which have all been good fun, I could list loads. I like the strange places you end up in Europe, we played a chalk mine in Germany once and a massive crumbling old cigarette factory in Greece.
Simon: Wharf Chambers in Leeds has always been a good one for me, but generally loads of great little places out there to play, there are probably lots of other equally good venues that haven’t yet come to mind. DIY touring is a unique experience.

Tell us about something ridiculous that has happened to you whilst on the road.

Rhodes: Mint sleep-pissing on Ed Ache’s stuff.
Mint: I had my face painted like a tiger driving across the Pennines. When we got to Sheffield we had to wait for a Pride procession to pass, there was a policeman stood by my window and a giant Dora the Explorer waving at me as it crossed in front of us. That was weird.
Simon: James stood in the biggest shit I have ever seen.
James: It’s true, I did. It was the size of a shoebox – I had been bragging about winning beer in Oxford though so maybe it was karma! Me and Andy Davies getting a cab to a supermarket for beer and giving the cab driver a potted plant. There may have been others in the car…I can only remember snippets of that night.

What are the best and worst bits of being in an underground/DIY band?

James: Best bit is being able to deal with every aspect of what you do. Worst bit is having to deal with every aspect of what you do. Mmm…
Rhodes: The hospitality is ridiculously nice and being in rooms with people 100% on the same page as you. I don’t really see any ‘worst bits’ in it. The other three make me laugh constantly to dumb that right out.
Mint: Meeting lovely people, having a beer and silly dancing, I like that you get to see bits of places where you would probably never go if you were a tourist or something. Worst bits are car farts (I know I’m guilty) and late night long distance driving if we have to go home the same night, it can be a real endurance test.
Simon: Best bits are playing gigs, experiencing the amazing hospitality of the punk scene, generally seeing people and the DIY community in action. Worst bits are the crazy long car journeys and not being able to sleep in my own bed.

Underground punk from the UK - The Domestics

What up and coming bands should we all be checking out?

James: In terms of new-ish bands, OBSESSIÓ, RAT CAGE, LA RABBIA, COOL JERKS …just off the top of my head
Rhodes: Get the RAT CAGE and OTOBOKE BEAVER records and burn all your other records…other than your CARDIACS bits, obviously.

Any advice for emerging bands/bands just starting out?

James: Don’t think you’re something special. You’re not. Treat people with respect and then you can expect that in return. You might not get it, but you should expect to get back what you give, in bands as in all spheres of life.
Rhodes: Have fun and don’t be a dick, same as everything else.
Mint: Start making a note of the best service stations right from the start. That way you know where to get the best/cheapest food and also you won’t end up at that weird one near Peterborough.
Simon: Just have fun and try not to worry about it too much, make sure you’re all on the same page and have a good way of working together, too many conflicts will really weigh on the band after a while.

What’s next for you guys in the short term and the long term?

James: The next album is written. Before lockdown we’d been playing the first 8 songs and had hoped to record it by the end of 2020, but with Covid we’ve no idea when we’ll be able to record it now. We can’t even rehearse at the moment so it’s going to take us a while just to get back to where we were; it’s very frustrating. Others have it worse though, so y’know, got to keep these things in perspective I guess.
Rhodes: James will tell you before he tells us.
Mint: We’ve got unfinished crazy golf business with HAEST to do at some point (and maybe some gigs). I’m still waiting for James to sort out a Domestics helicopter but he still hasn’t done it. I’m not sure what he does with his time really.
Simon: Maybe a 20 minute long song.

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: A mild raccoon.
Rhodes: Think I need to get even more drunk than I am now and discuss this for hours with Andy Davies, but right now I’d say a panda.
Mint: I reckon I could punch out a horse.
Simon: Well I think I could just slowly slap a Basking Shark to death as they seem to have no threatening qualities about them whatsoever.

Check out these releases from The Domestics…