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30th September 2015

Interview: FLESH

Zakk Brown chats to Manchester’s own hot new starlings FLESH about their new-found fame, a scattershot of influences, and their own self-defined ‘Snotpop’ sound

It can be easy to categorise and define a band’s sound for them, which is what I found to be the case while reading around FLESH. They are the Manchester-based proprietors of ‘Snotpop’, a genre that tends to be branded as a form of Britpop/Madchester music with a blend of grunge.

Being the ambassadors of the new genre, and yet to release an LP to cement Snotpop as a unique and identifiable genre—without the unnecessary comparisons to other genres from the surrounding press—I thought it would be best to uncover the band’s take on their own creation.

“Yeah, well it does kinda sound a bit like that,” bassist Haz states when the comparisons to Madchester are brought up. “Madchester just comes out.”

He and front-man Robbie reiterate that the Madchester-esque percussion “comes from the fun of the music rather than a love of Madchester.” The pair cite Seal and other “adult music we shouldn’t like,” such as “a Jane’s Addiction vibe” and a bit of “gabber shit” for good measure as their influences.

This bizarre recipe of interests, as well as citing Steve Vai as an influence in previous interviews, is a far cry from bands such as The Happy Mondays or Oasis, whom the press seem to marry FLESH to. The members explain that the band’s clearly differing tastes in music, along with a shared interest in heavier, industrial rock, are what formed Snotpop.

“It just came naturally because of who we are,” says Haz on creating their music, explaining that their sound comes from their fun-loving nature and their enjoyment of inventing a style of alternative rock that suits all of their musical cups of tea.

He goes on to say that they are attempting to mix “music that naturally should hate each other,” which Robbie jokingly chimes in with “then they come together to love each other on stage.” It is revealed that all four band members have interests in electronic dance music, with Robbie stating that they “wanna bring the rave to the rock show.”

It seems that the band are trying to take alternative rock in a more fun, enjoyable direction with their Snotpop brand, something that hasn’t been seen prominently since the height of pop-punk and the peak of Blink-182.

The fun-loving and mischievous aspect of their music can certainly be found in the character of the band as well. After previously stating in other interviews that the name comes from an LGBT+ night at Haçienda, which is probably the main reason for the name, the band give a more tongue-in-cheek response this time.

“There’s definitely an element of ruffling some feathers,” explains Robbie upon questioning the band’s choice in name, which is reflected in some of the disturbing, Eagulls-style imagery in their music videos. “We’re also scared robots are gonna take over,” chimes in Haz, “there’s already a laptop on stage, who’s gonna go first?”

The band also have a piss-taking side. In reference to their single ‘Avin it up in Ibiza’, I asked whether they’d ever been to Ibiza. “Actually no,” replies Robbie, with Haz claiming he’d only just been on his first flight last year, to Amsterdam. It seems that the band has taken the iconic party island as a mocking irony with regards to the famous air of debauchery found in Ibiza.

“Yes we have… in spirit,” says Robbie, jokingly changing his mind. I suppose if you only go in spirit, you can avoid abusing the island’s inhabitants and the rampant STIs.

Having all met in Manchester from smaller places, and expecting them to become more popular over the next year, I asked the band what being from a small town and seeing big city gigs is like. “We’ve been here to see loads of bands,” says Robbie, explaining that “U2 changed my life forever” after a gig here.

“Nottingham was okay, but sometimes you have to go bigger,” says Haz on his experiences of seeing bands in his hometown compared to Manchester. Directing the conversation towards what it’s like going from the crowd to the stage of gigs, Haz says “we played gigs before where there were more people on stage than in the crowd. It took a while to get there… it was smooth but it wasn’t quick.”

The band has worked hard over a couple of years to get to where they are now. “I feel like I’m Bono,” says Robbie on their current climate of fame and fortune. FLESH has the potential, tracks and personality to be extremely popular amongst the indie crowd and to become NME-style alternative rock darlings… just maybe not as big as Bono.

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