The dangerous mathematics of Palm Reader

Palm Reader band photo
(Image credit: Jenny Mccord)

Lairy British punks Palm Reader have unleashed their first new music in over a year with Always Darkest, and Metal Hammer is premiering the video! It’s a solid sub-three-minute slab of anarchic of Dillinger-esque hardcore, powered forward by frantic fret-flailing and razorwire vocals, and well worth your ears if you’ve ever found yourself exploring the more spasmodic end of heavy music.

But why does a band lean toward the gnarlier, crazier side of music? And what is Palm Reader’s new track all about? We caught up with guitarist Andy Gillan to find out what’s up.

Firstly, what is the story behind your new song Always Darkest?

“It’s about realising that the people closest to you are either toxic or they don’t have your back; being let down by those who are supposed to help you through thick and thin. And cutting the chord, so to speak.”

The video is raw and aggressive. Is this how you want Palm Reader to be perceived?

“Not so much how we think Palm Reader should be perceived, but it’s definitely fitting for this song. I don’t think a glacial paced 4K slo-motion video would really be fitting for this brute ha ha!”

Can you ever see yourselves leaving the DIY scene behind for something ‘major’?

“Oh for sure. The DIY scene is a fantastic breeding ground for bands such as ours, but if you want to progress as artists and reach a larger audience, at some point you have to play the game. It’s always possible to return to that way of thinking as many bands have – Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan, even Foo Fighters – but that’s only really possible once you’ve immersed yourself in the mire of the music industry, acquired a large devoted fanbase and garnered the skill sets and contacts needed to go out on your own.

“It’s doable from the start, but why struggle on your own? There are some absolute snakes in the industry, a couple of which we’ve had the displeasure of being involved with, but there is a wealth of good-hearted and well-intentioned people that are there to help you out. Cutting yourself off from those people because of pride is just foolish.”

What can we expect from your upcoming album?

“There are a host of new musical avenues we’ve opened ourselves up to and experimented with, which has changed the way we look at songwriting. It’s been a really exciting process for us to write this record, and although the new album will be a bit of a departure from what we’ve done previously, it’s definitely still Palm Reader.”

What drew you to the mathier, more erratic end of music?

“Math-esque music is really challenging but incredibly rewarding as a musician, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Obviously there are a myriad of bands who hang out in our corner of the room that are way more accomplished players and therefore their output is far more complex, but I like to think we can hold our own with what we do.”

Your live shows always carry an element of danger for both the fans and band. Why are you so determined to cause damage?

“It’s comes part and parcel with the music that we’ve written. If you came to see Palm Reader playing the music that we do and we stood around moping then it’d leave a bit of a sour taste in the mouth. There are a lot of bands in our world that do just that. Play brutally heavy and/or fast music and you expect a hyper kinetic visual performance, but some bands don’t give much more than a glimpse of a head bang. Jog on. No one likes lemons.”

Do you worry that erratic live shows detract from the quality of your music?

“Worry? No. It happens. Often. If you throw yourself around a stage like a plastic bag in a wind tunnel then regardless of your prowess as a musician, your precision is going to be affected. Even the almighty Dillinger Escape Plan hit bum notes while throwing themselves off anything and everything. But even so, watching them, do you care? Not at all, because it adds to the maelstrom of the show and in some respects it humanises the proceedings making it even more exciting.”

What are Palm Reader’s plans for 2017?

“We head to the studio in early April, then shortly after we’re bopping out to Europe. After a few festival slots we’ll be releasing the album later this year.”

Palm Reader are touring the UK in February at the following dates:

Feb 9: The Parish, Huddersfield
Feb 10: Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham
Feb 11: The Anvil, Bournemouth
Feb 12: Cobblestones, Bridgewater
Feb 13: Underground, Plymouth
Feb 14: Black Heart, London
Feb 15: Rebellion, Manchester
Feb 16: Garage Attic, Glasgow
Feb 17: Jumpin’ Jacks, Newcastle
Feb 18: Harrison’s 1854, Sheffield
Feb 19: The Flapper, Birmingham

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.