We check in Strange Bones ahead of a busy 2020 for the band
There are few experiences quite like attending a Strange Bones gig. The Blackpool band may well be unparalleled when it comes to displays of pure raw energy, and they have the sound to match – harsh, unrestrained, powerful in its complexity. Having toured the UK recently and dropped a single, Underdogs, which is just the last entry in a list of biting, sharp-edged releases, Strange Bones have clearly been busy and show no intention to stop. Which is good, because whatever we can expect from them next is guaranteed to be exciting. After attending their recent Cardiff gig and witnessing first-hand what they are capable of – and what kind of affection and abandonment their audiences have been giving in return – I had a chat with vocalist Bobby Bentham, discussing the band’s origins and their future projects, their view on punk and the state of the music scene, and the rather distinctive quality of their live shows.
CS: Tell us about your origin story – how did you get together as a band and what did you set out to do?
BB: Three of us are brothers. Our parents introduced us to abrasive punk music at a very young age, naturally we wanted to cause chaos, we formed Strange Bones with the intention of doing just that.
CS: You’ve worked on a number of releases in recent years, how do you think your sound has developed through time?
BB: Everything I’ve written and released has been an experiment. I’ve toyed with mashing genres and instruments for a long time. The progression that you might hear whilst listening to past releases is a result of constant self-evolution, always pulling, never pushing.
CS: How do you feel about the ‘punk’ label? Do you see yourselves as part of the punk genre or do you find the definition too constraining?
BB: Me and my brothers grew up with punk music, which was a good environment for a healthy “fuck you” attitude to be nurtured. We definitely have punk sensibilities, but for me punk is G.B.H. and the UK subs – not half the shit you hear on the radio.
CS: What about the punk scene – are we witnessing a bit of a punk renaissance in the UK, and how do you see your role in it?
BB: Punk music never went anywhere, it’s always been thriving in the underground. But bands like IDLES and Fontaines DC, amongst many many others, are definitely shining a light.
CS: Your songs are often political. How do politics fit in your life as a band, and do you think music is getting more political these days?
BB: Everything is political in one way or another – we are living in a very bizarre point in history. Deep down inside every fucker knows that they are ants, whilst the banks and politicians are the fucking ant eaters.
CS: You’ve played some wild live shows – what’s the strangest or craziest thing you remember happening at a gig?
BB: We played with Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes at KOKO – I jumped into the crowd and was clawed up by some guys, I looked like I’d been fighting dogs.
CS: Your shows also have a pretty distinctive aesthetic. What are your inspirations, visually speaking?
BB: I’m pretty obsessed with really old abstract videography from the 50s – 60s, the grain and the noise. I also love the light shows at big Jungle raves.
CS: And in terms of sound, are there any specific influences or contaminations in your music that you think are especially important?
BB: I have no idea where any of my inspiration comes from anymore, I think it’s all subconscious.
CS: What up and coming bands are you keeping an eye on, or would suggest are worth following?
BB: CALVA LOUISE.
CS: What are your plans for the rest of 2020, and what can we expect from Strange Bones for the future?
BB: In May we play our biggest headline shows to date, in Manchester (Gorilla) and London (100 Club) – apart from that world domination.
Chiara was born in Sicily and lives in Cardiff. She’s a novelist and freelance journalist with a lifelong love of music, from glam to punk by way of blues and country.