After reforming last autumn, November Coming Fire have played a few shows and re-issued a couple of classic records but now they’re releasing brand new material. ‘Evocation’ was released this week via 30 Days Of Night so we had a little chat with guitarist, George Clift about life in the band in 2011.
Why did NCF reform?
In the time elapsed, we’d gone separate ways; creatively, geographically, socially, professionally. We’d each pretty much stopped going to hardcore shows long before NCF broke up too. I guess “completely disillusioned” is the best way to sum it up. As with anything like this, time and distance softened our memories and gave us perspective. There were some suggestions internally, probably around the start of 2010, but we decided we didn’t want to come to the party if we weren’t invited.
Then, maybe April, a couple of mails and texts came our way. Some logistics prevented us from playing Offset last year, and we were going to call the whole thing off, but then Jamie asked us to do TDON and there was talk of Dungeness on LP – a bugbear from five years ago – so the deal was sealed!
What’s been different since the reunion?
The difference is that we don’t have any long term goals. We’ll stay as long as we’re welcome and people kindly pay to hear us play. When that inevitably dries up, we’ll duck out again. We’ve shed any prejudices we had in our writing and genrally feel a bit looser about the whole thing. And there’s decent bands to play with now too! Older, wiser, blah blah blah. It’s a more comfortable mindset to be in, for sure.
What about the music? What’s different this time?
As mentioned, I would say the music is more inclusive. Dungeness was a naive exorcism of all of our original influences, mainly metal and anything we considered cliche. Hardcore itself is a cliche – even creatively – so I would say we’re embracing that a little bit more now. When you’re young you have a tendency to try and cover your tracks in terms of your creativity. We don’t feel so worried about that now. Why should we? Music has, in some senses, a really limited palette. To pretend otherwise is silly.
In other words, the breakdowns, chugs and generic HC ideas are back, mixed in comfortably with our more characteristic way of doing things. We just don’t have the same hang ups anymore, and ‘Trangression’ isn’t the taboo it once was!
Tell us about ‘Evocation’.
Evocation came about quickly and naturally. I was practicing for the first rehearsals last summer, reminding myself of the old songs, and riffs just came. Like I’ve said, we went in with a more ‘free’ mindset, like when a band first gets together, and they just write without the brief, goal or deadline of a record and PR campaign, and it worked! The lyrics reflect just that, it’s about us, as four old friends and what led us to this point.
Some of your last shows were supporting Gallows and some of the first after reuniting were as well. Was it like nothing had changed?
Ha! Well its more like they supported us to 30 people a night for a weekend, and blew us off the stage every night, and now, four or five years later, we’re playing first but to 1500 people! We’re psyched to have been able to play shows with those guys. Stu and Frank are old friends of the band and the other guys are just the sweetest dudes. And I can’t quite believe how tight they are!
It feels like everything has changed. At the end, our shows were quite awkward affairs, we were too ‘Hardcore/sXe’ for metal/noise kids, and there weren’t the hooks, shout-alongs and parts that would make for a great HC show. We didn’t know who to play with, and promoters struggled to match us on line-ups. I think with the gift of time, our entire back catalogue sits a bit better together. We’ve reworked some of the old stuff to help that along, but in general, it all seems to sort of fits into today’s climate.
What do you think about this whole UK Swell movement?
Movement? Hmmmm… It doesn’t feel like a movement, it feels like a hashtag and some tshirts! I’m sure those bands would sound exactly the same without the term, so I’m not sure how necessary it is, but maybe it’s just harmless fun and I’m all for that. Love those bands too, ‘Cold, Distant and Not Loving’ is one of my favourite releases of the last twelve months. SO glad I get to see and play with Kerouac this month!
Where do you think you fit in to the music scene now?
Fit in? We played some shows with some awesome bands, and I think we held our own. People have ordered records, bought shirts and been really kind to us. We feel welcome and are happy with trying to be the loudest, hardest band of the night. We’re revelling in riffs, breakdowns, kids losing their minds, releasing records, watching bands and being involved in punk again. There doesn’t need to be any other agenda.
What’s your best Halloween story?
1. We played with Das Oath in 2003 in Guildford, and Thom dressed like a surgeon while we were covered in fake blood.
2. We played in the most haunted village in the UK in 2004 with The Break In. They dressed like robbers.
3. We played with Part Chimp in 2005, covered ourselves in the most vile gravy/ketchup concoction Gareth could rustle to look like blood, played an antire set of Misfits covers and wretched all the way through from the smell.
4. We played in Kent in 2006, and dressed like women. Well, Gareth, Ruari, John and Bones did. I protested and stayed in a white T Shirt and Jeans. Imagine how shit that looked.
I’ve probably got the years wrong, but mainly, we played with Das Oath on Halloween. Think about that.
19 Brighton Geen Door Store (w/ Narrows)
27 Milton Keynes Underpass (w/ 33 + Crossbreaker)
28 Southampton Joiners (w/ 33, Bastions + Kerouac)
29 London Barfly (w/ Rot In Hell, 33 + Crossbreaker)
03 Sheffield Corp (w/ 33 + Crossbreaker)
04 Manchester Star and Garter (w/ 33 + Ministry of Justice)
06-08 Hevy Festival
10 London Underworld (w/ La Dispute + Touche Amore)