Every single Radio 1 DJ with a passing interest in rock has been bigging up Sharks – as has some fellow called ‘Frank’ in some band or another called ‘Gallows’. So we thought it high time we had words their guitarist, Andy Bayliss.
From: Royal Leamington Spa, UK
Sounds like: The Clash, Hüsker Dü, 4 guys who don’t give a shit what you think about them
How did you meet?
In essence, we all met each other because we were the only ones who really gave a fuck about what it was we were doing, what was going on and what we were going to do about it. I met James [Mattock, vocals/guitar] at school when I was 14 and we instantly bonded through rock ‘n’ roll, punk and writing songs. We were the only teenagers in our school who gave a toss about those things, not one other person was likeminded about how rock ‘n’ roll could make you feel. We found Sam [Lister, drums] and Cris [O’Reilly, bass] through other bands they were playing in; they were the only guys in the area who had any kind of charismatic ability with an instrument. Once we all got in a room there wasn’t any going back, it wasn’t a pose with some half hearted bollocks thrown in, it was something with real meaning.
What made you want to start a band?
At the heart of it all we formed because there wasn’t a choice. I couldn’t get enough out of modern music, and I couldn’t get enough out of life, I could only find what I wanted out of playing guitar. 90% of the bands playing today don’t mean anything to me, and I don’t think they mean anything to anyone else. They’re just there, inoffensive mediocre dribble, not causing harm, but not doing anything else, and people accept it. Rock ‘n’ Roll can mean the world to anyone and I think it’s important that there are bands out there that can deliver on that. The people who don’t get that will never get it and the people that do are the people we play for. As a kid growing up I was very dependent on music, and I know if I hadn’t of had that connection with the sounds coming out my stereo I wouldn’t have had anything at all. I know how important that was for me growing up, and I know how important it will be to other people growing up.
What was it like growing up in the Midlands? Did it have any effect on the band’s sound?
I don’t know what it means to be a band from the Midlands, we just live here, it’s just part of who we are, and if we reflect it in our sound we’re certainly not aware of it. I’m sure the surroundings and the environment you grow up in will always contribute to who you are and what you do, but we never try to contrive it in anyway, it is what it is really. The towns we’re from never had too much to offer, but living here did allow us to meet each other and form a band. Maybe if we had grown up in Manchester we would have sounded like Joy Division or something.
Frank Carter from Gallows singled you guys out to us as one of the most exciting new British bands at the moment. How did that connection come about?
Mutual respect. Frank is a great guy. They were a very important band to us starting out; they were our modern day Sex Pistols.
There’s a fair few people at Radio 1 – Mike Davis, Daniel P Carter, Zane Lowe – getting behind you as well. Does it seem strange to hear your music on the radio?
It’s only been coming together with the Radio 1 guys because they heard our music for the first time a couple of weeks ago. They liked it and decided to air it on their shows; it’s nothing more than that really. It’s always been together in our heads, and we’ve always known what we’ve wanted, it’s just been a question of getting people to hear us. The DJs we value at that station dig what we’re about and we’re very grateful they’re giving more people the chance to hear us.
What bands do you consider as part of your scene or as your peers?
We don’t have a scene, and we don’t want one. We’re doing this on our own, if people want to glue us in to trends then that’s up to them. The media and the people in higher places are constantly trying to come up with the next hippest movement, the new scene, filling up a new feed bag for the public. It’s an easy concept to digest for some, but it’s not something we’re into; we didn’t form a band just to fit in.
Your lyrics are, for want of a better word, pretty damn dark. Where does that come from?
Over to vocalist/guitarist, James Mattock, for this one: For me, it’s about creating an aesthetic; painting a picture with words. The lyrics could have easily been portrayed a lot more directly giving the simplicity of the topics of the songs, but I like poetry and playing with words. Every line of every song means something to us, it just takes a few listens before you get what we’re singing about, and if not then I’d like to think people can interpret them in their own way.
Are you worried about hype?
Hype only kills bands that are middle-of-the-road; the rest rise above it.
What’s the funniest show you’ve played?
We played a show down in Barnsley not so long ago, with a band called the Cherry Cobb Cartel. The end of our set James jumped into their drum kit, trashing it to pieces. In response the group chased us out the venue and broke all our gear against the walls and pavement. The most traumatic part of the evening was having to watch their set before ours, a revolutionary blend of recycled Little Man Tate and Babyshambles shite. Good times.
What have you got planned for the future?
Ending lives at festivals and shows around the UK, recording our debut album and plenty more touring to follow.
What other band should everyone find out about?
The Dead Formats
Sharks debut 5-track EP, Shallows Waters (that’s the cover, pictured up above), will be released later in 2009. For more info on that, and everything else about Sharks, go check out their official MySpace page.
Sharks May 2009 tourdates
01 Newport TJ’S (supporting Ginger (Wildhearts) & Tony Wright (Terrorvision))
09 Birmingham Academy 2 (supporting Farse)
10 Preston 53 Degrees (supporting The King Blues)
13 Leamington Spa Assembly (supporting The King Blues)
14 Brighton Great Escape Festival Brighton The King & Queen
15 Brighton Great Escape Festival Fortune of War Club Night
16 Brighton Great Escape Festival Fortune of War Club Night
17 London Camden Barfly w/ Classics of Love (feat Jesse Michael) + Mike Park
20 London The Underworld (supporting Sorry & Sinatras)
29 London The Enterprise