Glitchers: "They can close venues but they can never stop punk"
There aren’t many moments better than meeting someone with similar interests in music and for Norwich based band Glitchers the match goes a step further, perhaps worthy of a super like.
The Norfolk couple are looking to bring about real change within the music industry as well as raise awareness for societal + environmental issues through their combative punk sound.
Some would argue that music has been hijacked by an overly aggressive type of capitalism, with bands nowadays constantly competing against each other as if it were a race of ‘reaching the top.’
Sophie and Jake are trying to turn this attitude on its head and are running its efforts purely of donations, with a “no more over-priced merchandise or gig tickets,” approach. They even use recycled clothes to produce their merch!
“There are enough bands singing about how we need change but we want to put it into action. We want to turn music back into art.”
Like many others, Glitchers were forced to come up with a different way to perform when the pandemic hit so they took to the streets and started busking in true DIY style.
Touring with only a stripped back drum kit, a megaphone and a guitar amp powered by a car battery, they hit the streets creating a hype that ultimately got them noticed by radio figures such as Alex Baker at ‘Kerrang!’.
I sat down with the two of them (virtually) ahead of their debut EP release that features the upcoming ‘anti-valentines’ single, Tunnels.
Your new song, ‘Tunnels’ comes out on Valentine's day, but it has a very different message, can you explain that for us?
Jake: I wrote this whilst living in a van, and asked Sophie (band member and now partner), to come and join me.
I had just left a crappy relationship, one that took me a few years to grow the balls to get out of, so it’s in relation to that. An anti-valentines song about breaking free from an abusive relationship and finding light at the end of the... ‘tunnel’.
You decided to protest outside Number 10 last year, how did that come about?
Jake: That was due to Boris shutting down everything and not caring about the arts! The Government has since upped their support and provided more money, but it’s not really about that, it’s more about keeping small venues alive.
We thought we would do what we know, and take our gig to the streets once again, but this time straight to them as a way to use our voice against what was happening and hopefully if more bands did this, we would all end up in a better position.
Obviously live events aren’t going ahead any time soon, do you think that you've converted to busking now since visiting so many towns last year?
Jake: I think we covered a good 20 different towns in total, but we went back to some.
It is a bit scary compared to when you’re inside on a stage, you still get nerves just through being in front of a crowd but you're not worried that someone is gonna stop you playing or about security getting involved. You don’t have those worries at a ticketed venue. It can be quite exhilarating.
So in answer to your question, we do plan to go back to playing gigs, but for now we love playing outside, another bonus is that everything is free when busking so to us it feels more artistic.
What’s the story behind the band, how did you meet and settle on performing pretty hardcore punk?
Jake: I started it with an old mate, a few years ago. It was a bit DIY, we then tried busking in 2018 and it went really well...but then the drummer left, which is where Sophie came in.
Me and Sophie were friends, she was helping to move equipment and film our band at the time. She couldn’t play drums back then, but obviously that's now changed!
Punk music is a way to express myself, a way of releasing any anger. I used to play classic rock, but I thought it was a bit pretentious, so I found my voice and let the anger come out, which turned into punk I guess.
In light of recent racial campaigns, what is your take on how to combat ‘Nazi-Punks’ which is a big conversation right now?
Sophie: Our opinion is to just call them out! We should be making them so ashamed of it - that they just shut up.
Jake: Our moral is to police ourselves. If someone is being an arsehole, we should be calling them out ourselves as a society, with the hope that we can grow. Then, eventually it will be so disgusting to think/voice negative racial commentary, people just won’t want to do it.
As a final question to celebrate Independent Music Week, what has been your favourite venue to play so far?
Jake: My favourite venue has to be The Owl Sanctuary in Norwich, sadly it’s closed down now, but when the band was first about, we played a couple of gigs there and it was just incredible, I loved it, plus it’s our hometown.
We’ve actually pledged that if we make it big, we will buy the building and make it a great venue again - loved it that much!
Sophie: Funnily enough, because of the pandemic, I’ve not played a venue yet but I’m really looking forward to it!