Although Calgary post-punks Women broke up in 2010, their influence has loomed large in the interim years. You can feel their presence in the likes of Ought and Each Other, and the wire-wool noise of Brighton label Faux Discx, who released the debut album by Faux Fur, featuring former Women drummer Matthew Flegel (who now fronts the great Viet Cong). Down in Auckland, Trust Punks – formed from the ashes of a more indie-pop leaning band called Grass Cannons – have taken Women’s gnarled influence to heart too. Eighteen months after releasing their first single, their debut album is finally out next Monday on Spunk Records. Listen to an exclusive stream of the record below, and read an interview with guitarist/singer Joseph Thomas after the jump.
NME: The album’s called ‘Discipline’ – why that title?
Joseph Thomas: Alex [Grant, guitarist/vocals] came up with calling it ‘Discipline’ and it reminds me of Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault and ‘Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time’ by Gang Of Four so it probably indicates towards two of the more discernible influences on the record, which is cool, I think. As a general theme the album* sort of speaks about the process of coming to terms with the space you occupy in the world and how you occupy it in relation to a society that sort of comes pre-loaded with a web of complex power relations (in terms of race/gender/class/etc/etc) once you’re born into it. A big part of that is becoming aware of both structural inequality (the justifications for which are talked about a bit in ‘Gordian Knot’) and the privilege you have within its structure (sort of what ‘Prone Hold’ is about). A big part of that process for me personally is regret and shame at your previous ignorant behaviours as a result of your own ignorance/internalised privilege (which is what ‘Enemies’ is about).
NME: Where did you record it and who with?
Joseph Thomas: We recorded it in a place called Thinkt studios which is a DIY studio in central Auckland that’s been knocking around for a few years. We recorded it with a guy called Joshua Lynn over about three days in February, then he took a long-ass time to mix it.
NME: I read your post about the dismal New Zealand election and your call for people to take action more regularly; is there a politicised aspect to the lyrics/band in general? Any other themes leaping out?
Joseph Thomas: I think it’s certainly fair to say there is a politicised aspect to our band but we try not to add any prescriptive content to our songs for fear of coming across preachy. With that said I think [right-wing political party] National’s ridiculous landslide victory they had the other day is definitely something that the album will be, and maybe even should be, filtered through, and it won’t be hard to tell what we think about it and why we think that.
NME: Are things going well for you in New Zealand? Are you operating on a DIY level, are people taking notice?
Joseph Thomas: I think things are going pretty much as well as we could hope for a band that sounds like us from where we are from! But it is kinda hard to tell and I try not to think about it. I think we are actually a little nervous about putting this album out to be honest because we have never released anything that people outside of our friends have paid any attention to. It should be interesting/fun though I guess? We definitely still operate on a DIY level and will continue to do so probably forever.
NME: Which other New Zealand bands should people check out? Which bands are you friends with, is there any kind of ostensible scene that you’re a part of?
Joseph Thomas: There are heaps of cool bands in Auckland/wider NZ! The best ones in my opinion are Parents, Mermaidens, Perfect Hair Forever and Cheats. No ostensible scene though, everyone is pretty atomised and diffuse which is nice because it breeds diversity but makes it kind of tough for an infrastructure to build itself around the cool music being made. Things have been getting more productive in that respect over the past year or so though and it’s getting noticeably easier for us to put our own all ages shows on and have people show up.
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* Over email, Joseph justified calling it an album rather than an EP, writing:
“There are only seven songs on it and I expect some people are gonna think it’s kinda cheeky that we’re calling it our debut album, but here is why it totally is our debut album:
– It only fits comfortably on a 12″ LP so we have to press it like an album
– It’s 23 minutes long which is four or five minutes longer than ‘Say Yes to Love’ by Perfect Pussy and ‘Never Hungover Again’ by Joyce Manor, which are two of our favourite albums of this year.
– It feels VERY album-y to us, was draining to make and has occupied our brainwork non-stop for the better part of a year.”