On the radar: Hey Vampires
Reports of punk's demise have been greatly exaggerated. While the genre's never reclaimed the mainstream notoriety of the late 1970s, a succession of acts have kept the flame burning brightly in the underground. And with bands like Glasgow's Hey Vampires at the forefront of a thriving local scene, it's clear punk is, emphatically, not dead.
Since forming in early 2008, the band have lost no time in getting down to making a name for themselves through good, old fashioned hard work. Within the space of six months they'd established themselves as one of the most energetic acts on the Glasgow live circuit, managing to write and record enough material to release their eponymous debut EP.
Bassist and frontman Chris McGlynn explains the drive behind the band's formidable work ethic: "When we met up, the idea straight away was just to write some songs and get on stage as soon as we could. The whole playing live thing, meeting other people, new friends, finding new music; it's just really appealing to all of us, finding like-minded people who're interested in the same ideas that you are."
Though Hey Vampires label their eclectic brand of noise as 'dancepunk', in truth their sound lies closer to the legendary post-hardcore pioneers that McGlynn acknowledges as the band's main influences. From the mid-1980s, acts like These Arms Are Snakes and Fugazi began to build upon the foundation of hardcore punk, itself a refinement of late-1970s punk, adding extra layers of melody and technical precision to the genre's characteristic speed and fury.
And, while the complexity and creative expression of post-hardcore is all present and correct in Hey Vampires' output, the band loses none of the raw energy that made punk so compelling. Live shows are wonderfully chaotic cauldrons of noise and flailing limbs, as the foursome's enthusiasm inevitably spills over into the crowd.
For Hey Vampires, leading by example from the stage is what it's all about. McGlynn firmly believes the band can "make people realise that they can do it too - pick up an instrument, form a band, book a tour, get a CD out." He adds: "I think that to me is what punk music is all about, that DIY community spirit amongst bands. More than getting famous, getting on MTV Cribs, that's what I'd like to inspire."
And if Glasgow's thriving punk scene is any indication, he may just be on to something. Bronto Skylift, Citizens, United Fruit, Das Filth and Jackie Onassis all share Hey Vampires' DIY ethos, as do the hardened Glaswegian punk fans who brave hail, rain and stale beer to turn out to see these local acts play.
This year has already seen the release of the band's second EP, 'Problems, Solve Yourselves', on Two Tick Records and they recently recorded a live session on the Vic Galloway Show on BBC Radio 1. With a tour of the English east coast lined up in early June, a slew of Scottish shows throughout the summer and rumours of new material being just over the horizon, Hey Vampires look certain to be very busy for quite some time to come.
• For more music from Scotland's best up and coming bands, visit the Under the Radar blog
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Monday 20 May 2013
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