Stoke’s All the Best Tapes have a unique take on punk rock, playing progressive punk yet transcending genres most of the time. We caught up with the band for a chat about their local scene and their experiences with DIY throughout the years.
How did you guys start out?
We began life as a three piece at the beginning of 2011 with Danny on drums, Max on bass and myself on guitar. We played a show at a local venue where Luke, our now bass player, saw us play. He was digging it pretty hard, we got talking and within the week he’d learned the set and was playing guitar. We held this line up for both “This is not a Record, This is All The Best Tapes” and “The Gnar” and toured the UK during our time with Circuit Scene Records. We parted ways with Max in around the early Autumn of 2012 due to time constraints and my longtime friend and former Disappointments bandmate Tom Knott entered the fold as his touring stand in! As we started writing our first album, Tom decided that he wouldn’t be the best fit for us on a new Tapes record, passed the bass torch to Luke and here we are now. Life returning to a three piece is good, we’re dynamically at our best right now and doing it our way.
Was it difficult starting up in DIY fashion?
We were very much “DIY OR DIE” during our first couple of records, we printed our own shirts, records, patches and did everything we could possibly do on our own. It’s a lot of fun and garners a few punx points but being part of the FXD family now is something that needed to happen for us as a band. There’s only so much you can do on your own, y’know? Patrick and Barney are very much of the DIY punk ethos too but with better brains for business than ourselves. We’ll just go out on a tour or something and come back fuckin’ potless, these dudes make sure we’re not just throwing money into a bottomless pit haha!
How did you get early recognition?
Early recognition? Hmm. I’m not sure we’ve ever had “recognition” as such, we’ve always been this weird outsider to what was going on in the UK punk scene like a deformed sibling parents hide in the loft. There’s a whole “cool” subculture to the scene we were never and will never be part of. It’s all very much cliques we don’t fit into. We’re all working to put our name around with FXD, not relying on people behind the scenes pulling the strings makes things harder, I think we’re just gluttons for punishment.
What would you consider to be your local scene and what’s it like?
Stoke has a pretty so-so scene nowadays. 10-12 years ago though, it was amazing. So many great bands came through and played tiny venues and everyone would be out for shows at least three or four times a week. Now though kids of 14 don’t seem to want get involved in their local scenes, our practice space used to be filled with young bands just making a fucking noise and loving it. I think the attitudes of school age kids today are very much different from what ours were too, my younger brother is 15 and overhearing a friend of his describing being in a band as “dead cringe” was shocking. What do they do for creative outlet? Design strips on FIFA for fuck’s sake?
Who are some of your favourite promoters/band from there?
Stoke bands? Where do I start? Discharge are probably like THE band from here, modern punk rock owes more to them than history will probably ever credit. Two other bands that totally smashed it were Spy Versus Spy who were fucking incredible to the point where At The Drive In list them as influential and Venus Beads who were a late eighties, early nineties massive innovator of the whole shoegaze indie and wall of sound drone guitar movement. In the past decade and more recently I’d say honourable mention to Agent Blue, Andy Gower, Shermer. Major label lad rock All The Young, Riff metal merchants Sworn To Oath, The Hiding Place, Tussk, Pedro Don Key, Harlot Church and The River Card. Shout outs to Dave Buck and Rob Hunt for putting on sick shows in Stoke for years and years, they’re linchpins of the Stoke DIY scene and we never would have seen most of the awesome bands we have if it wasn’t for them.
Which other cities throughout the country do you enjoy playing?
Pretty much every place we play is good, we’re just glad to be out doing what we love! Every show is what you make it, some of the best shows I’ve ever played have been to five people or just the other bands, sometimes people just “get it”. We get a few mad ones though, Europe is always fun! Maybe it’s because we’re away from the UK we feel a little more free than at home? I don’t know. All I know is, I love it.
What are your plans for the rest of the year
We’re focusing mainly on the UK for the rest of this year, playing everywhere we can really and just touring the record before we hit Europe again next year. Who knows where else we’ll go? If people want it and It’s feasible then we’ll more than likely do it, let’s see how it goes. We’ve just started toying with some songs for a new record too but I wouldn’t expect any new material to surface until very late this year at the earliest!
Photo credit: Ryan Eagles