In case you hadn’t noticed, pop punk is having something of a renaissance in the UK. Though grittier than most, Gnarwolves’ abrasive skate-punk led the way as they racked up supports slots with Blink-182 and opened the main stage at Reading and Leeds last year. Next up, Neck Deep came almost out of nowhere to huge acclaim, heading out on the US Warped Tour, supporting All Time Low at the SSE Wembley Arena, and they too will take to the hallowed main stage at Reading and Leeds this summer.
This has led to the rise of south coast acts like As It Is and ROAM, whose catchy hooks and polished riffs have earned them a rapidly swelling fanbase. Now, joining these backwards cap-wearing, baggy T-shirted warriors are a new pop punk force to be reckoned with – St. Albans quintet Trash Boat.
“The other four members of the band were school friends and they were in bands for years together,” explains vocalist Tobi Duncan of their origins. “I live about an hour away and didn’t know them until the summer of 2013. They found me on the internet. They needed a singer, I went and sang a couple of tunes with them – and that was it.”
Completed by Oakley Moffatt on Drums, Dann Bostock and Ryan Hyslop on Guitar and James Grayson on Bass, Trash Boat released their debut EP Look Alive in July 2014. Having just released their second, Brainwork on Hopeless Records last week, the band already look set to be firm favourites in the UK pop punk scene. Boundless energy, undeniable hooks and an ample dose of youthful exuberance all shine bright as the band mix elements of hardcore with their keen ear for a catchy-as-hell chorus.
Speaking to Tobi about their influences, it becomes clear that the Trash Boat sound really is a sum of all their parts. “It’s a big old mix. We all have really individual sounds,” he says. “Oak is a massive Blink fan, then Dann loves his ska like Random Hand and Less Than Jake. I’m primarily the hardcore and metal fan, a lot of Turnstile, a lot of old Terror… the list is endless. All the different sounds mesh together in the creative process to create Trash Boat.”
Recorded at Regal House with Lee Batiuk (Deaf Havana) in five days, Brainwork is a solid progression from Look Alive and looks set to sky rocket their popularity as they prepare for a busy summer following an opening slot at Slam Dunk. “We’re playing with Less Than Jake in July, that’s going to be mental,” Tobi begins. “We have a solid two weeks around the UK with Blood Youth, which we’re going to enjoy a lot. Then we’re on Download and Hevy fest, too. I’m interested to see how the people at Download are gonna react to us, seeing as it’s a metal festival. I’m just looking forward to seeing Lamb of God to be honest.”
So, what can audiences expect when they see the band in the flesh? “I grew up going to hardcore shows in my teens and I bring a lot of that sort of energy to our live show. Lots of stage diving, lots of movement, buckets of energy. If there’s a good little concentration of people at the front of the stage, you will not stop me doing a front flip at the beginning of the set.”
Tobi is thrilled about the UK pop punk scene’s current renaissance. “Whenever we play a UK pop punk-focused bill, I always go off a bit of a rant about how proud I am to be part of this scene. It’s wicked. You grow up listening to bands, wishing you could be part of that kind of scene and now here we are. It’s the one. It’s awesome.”
Looking to the future, the band may have only just released their second EP, but Tobi assures us that a full-length is firmly on the cards.** **“We’ve already started writing. We’ve got two or three demos going around, with a lot of energy. I’m really trying to bring a riffy-hardcore vibe and the rest of the guys will bring in the pop-punk vibe. It’s all going to mesh together nicely.”
And, if you were trying to guess where they got their name from, you’re probably right. “Regular Show, the cartoon,” explains Tobi. “On every video that we put up on YouTube people are like, ‘Oh my God, did they get their name from…?‘ Yes. Yes we did.”
For more information on Trash Boat, visit their official Facebook page.