Before this band were called abandcalledboy, they were a band called Boy.
Started by Ryan Burrowes (vocals/guitar) and Adam Smith (guitar) “years and years ago” and a bass player who is no longer in the band, Boy “was just us making noise and annoying people for years and having fun”, explains Burrowes. Back then, he was a singing drummer, but switched to guitar once the current line-up – completed by bassist Mark Finnegan and drummer Chris Ryan – took shape last year, after the latter joined. It was then that the experimental Belfast noise-punks began to take things a bit more seriously.
“When Chris joined the band and we became a four-piece,” explains Burrowes, “we changed everything towards a more noise-based direction – more like Health and bands like that. I was coming up with things musically that were very hard to do if I was drumming and singing. I knew Chris from university, and he was the exact style of drummer I wanted – more funk and jazz-based. It took us a while to get on our feet, but then stuff started to make sense.”
Last year’s self-titled seven track EP demonstrates exactly how things fell into place. It’s an incredible, complex and challenging piece of art that swerves between, and mixes up, genres with a heavy dose of intensity and attitude, electronic melodies underpinning brash and abrasive guitars and sneering snarling vocals, that gained them a lot of positive attention. Which was something they had to bear in mind when moving forward sonically for LA Dick, which is released at the end of the month.
“Buy, sell and so on.”
“We were a bit apprehensive about how people would take to this,” says Burrowes, “but it seems to have gone really well. People like the fact that it’s changed and that we’re trying to do something different and not just rehashing things.”
Wholeheartedly leftfield – but not overwhelmingly abstruse or difficult – abandcalledoy seem intent on forging their own path, taking things as they come and day by day and ensuring that the main focus is just enjoying what they do. The results of that have made abandcalledboy one of the most interesting, innovative and genuinely exciting bands in the UK. So what’s their secret?
“I think the process is the important thing,” says Burrowes. “I kind of like the idea of not saying that anything is too stupid until the end. So that’s why maybe some of our stuff can be quite jarring and quite weird. But that’s just the way we are! We just want to keep on writing. We’re excited to see where the music actually goes.”
It means that their reach in terms of audience is in inherently limited, but that’s not of any concern at all. They don’t do this with any commercial ambitions in mind whatsoever and they’re happy to play the waiting game if it means being able to make the exact kind of music they want.
“We’re influenced a lot by bands like Liars and bands who are also very much on the fringe,” he explains, “but they tended to progress and change with each album. We just want to play as many places in the world as we can, and I know there’s similar minded bands in on the fringes in their countries wondering what they’re going to do in the same way we are, so it’s just a case of synching up with those guys and touring together.
“I’ve been in bands since I was about 16 and I’m completely at home with the idea that I’ll never make a ton of money doing this,” he adds. “But that’s why we have our day jobs. We have things that we do to make money and this is the thing we do that gives us purpose and some sort of self-worth. That’s why we do the band.”
LA Dick will be self-released on July 31. For more information on abandcalledboy, visit their Facebook page.