Interview with Call Me Malcolm

A ska-punk band straight outta London: here it goes Call Me Malcolm!

Here’s our chat with one of the nicest bands here at the Punk Rock Holiday 1.9, a five-piece ska-punk band full of energy and love!

RP: Could you tell me something about this festival? How do you feel about it? It is the first time for you here…
CMM: Oh yes, the first time. I’m sure you guys have heard this a million times, but it is beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful. We drove over here through Italy; we came down the mountains and it is gorgeous. It’s a wonderful place. A really, really great festival. Everyone’s kind of nice with each other, just nice with each other, because they’re all really good to be here and listen to music, as well, every night.

RP: While you were playing, you said, I don’t want a Wall of Death, I want a Wall of Cuddles. So, how did you come up with this idea? Which I found it great. I mean, I was so impressed by it, because I’d never heard it before.
CMM: It comes from, I mean, we’re all old, nice people. And we wouldn’t have ever really called ourselves like punk, you know, with that kind of attitude. Yeah, well, we can get away with it. But also, we spread a positive message about mental health, and stuff like that. And, you know, we started thinking about the kinds of things that bands ask crowds to do in their set. And we were just trying to turn them into our own. We always want people to have a good time. There’s a lot of different people, like, you know, women at gigs, kids, and things like that. Sometimes I’m just comfortable with being that kind of right in the mix of things. And so, we want everyone to come to our show. 

RP: You address often mental problems and issues. How important it is in your writing process? I know that in the UK it is a big problem. But for us, in Italy, is not very common to find ads about it, concrete support, etc. Basically, no one is talking about that. What do you think about it? How important it is to talk about it also in the mainstream event, concert, whatever?
CMM: Well, it became important for us because of the stuff that we were going through. I mean, we used to sing about silly stuff, because we were just sort of having a good time. And we were quite a tongue in cheek, and quite, you know, it was just a bit of fun. And then we went through this stuff, as we were writing the album Broken. And, after a brief tour, we just decided to put everything on there. Because that’s the best way for us to talk about it. And we started saying it at shows, and we’ve started to realize just how important it is because of the number of people that come up to us afterwards. And they say, you know, me too, I’m also suffering. And we’ve met some wonderful people as well. Yeah, gosh, so many wonderful people! And, and lots of people kind of touch us and said it really helped them. There are some people that we’ve spoken to, with whom we spend lots of time, we’ve just kind of been talking to and some of them have had some difficulties, we’ve been talking about things and so it’s been really nice to kind of talk about it, but also see them, you know, benefit from talking with other people and feeling happier. I think it’s important if you’re in a position where you have a microphone to talk about this stuff. We have this platform, and we just realized how important it was to use it to spread the message and use it for good. So, we’re trying to do what we can. And we hope that is helping and will continue to do it. Because I mean, aside from anything, it’s also helping us, you know, with the stuff that we’ve been through.

RP: I think it is great. Few people are talking about this. So, it is really great! Talking about the scene, well, you’re playing ska-punk, but anyway, how do you feel about the punk scene? Has it changed? Are there more ska and more punk bands? Is punk still conveying a message?
CMM: There is still the kind of anti-establishment punk and that kind of thing, that’s still going on. But there’s also a whole new kind of way, that people are talking about different things. I mean, if you listen to lots of like, Less Than Jake lyrics: some of this kind of stuff has always been there. And some seems to be quite new, I think. I’d never crossed myself as anything of an expert in this kind of thing. So, there’s probably stuff that’s been going on for years that we’ve probably missed. But certainly, at the moment, I mean, we’re playing with a bunch of bands that are talking about great stuff. The great bands out there do have their message, whether it’s political or whether it is more internal, like mental health, or whether it’s just, you know, about having a good time, like The Bennies who we just saw yesterday. That’s, you know, that’s their message and, whatever you feel like, you need to say it, you can do it. As we talk more about mental health, there’s just probably one or two more bands that are feeling more comfortable doing that and writing songs about that. Like, Eat Defeat.

RP: What are your plans for the future? Will you continue touring?
CMM: Yeah, we are. We’re doing the long drive home. And then this weekend, we were playing Boomtown festival in the UK, we’re playing twice there, in the Irish Bar and the Bunker.
Yes, I played twice sort of playing once on the night which is in like an Irish bar in the festival. Then we got some time back in the rehearsal studio for a couple of months, and then we’re on tour with The Slackers. A full UK tour in October with them. That’s probably our first big tour support. We started working with Hidden Talent Bookings at the end of last year. And, Ian’s great. He’s getting us some wonderful shows. But the Slackers is the first tour support we’ve got so yeah, it’s an exciting year. And then we’re going to take a break over Christmas and figure some stuff out.

RP: And can you share with me some crazy shit that happened to you on stage? Some good memory like, the craziest thing that happened to you on stage?
CMM: craziest thing? I remember that gig we played in Portugal down at a friend’s farm, right out in the valleys in the wild back and beyond. And they have Hornets the size of your fist. Or wasps, I do not know, but well, it was during a song and the hornet or wasp made its way up my shirt and stung me once. And I thought I must the court hair or something. And then it flew around the back of my shirt stung me there. I wish I stopped playing around, run offstage throwing my guitar. And at that point, it stung me again and then run away, feeling very happy with itself. So that’s the worst thing that’s happened to me on stage. But something that has happened to us. Oh, we’ve played a venue in the UK last year. It’s a notoriously hot venue. I mean, it is hot here. And this is the only gig that’s been hotter than this. It’s a tiny little room. And it’s hotter than the sun in there. And to combat this they bought these really giant fans. I mean huge like a meter wide! Just like Bon Jovi video! And they attached it to the wall and pointed it at the band. Except we started playing and it was one of the fans that blow you to kind of cool you down. Except that, we are plugged in to all kinds of electrics. So, we had a kind of electric shock. Everything stopped to work, my pedals one after the other, the microphone. And the sound mand was: I don’t know what it could be. And we’re like, well, maybe it’s the fan!

RP: What’s your feeling toward the audiences. Like, here, there are no barriers at all. Like even in the main stage. What do you think about it?
CMM: I’m so into it. We try to spread the message of love and empathy and, you know, being kind to one another. Having no barrier and having no security, like, it makes a difference, being closer to the audience. We played the Rebellion Festival last week, and we were about three meters from the audience. Well, it is a massive venue. But, it’s a nice change. It’s cool here. I think that the difference on the main stage here, I noticed that yesterday, we were down the front for Useless ID, and that little stage diving platform, it gives the crowd somewhere to go. And there’s almost like an invisible barrier to the actual stage. I haven’t seen too many people jumping up onto the actual stage. Because you give them a platform to stand on and then go out. That0s what they want to do. It’s like you’ve already established culture perspective. And so, people are doing what they’re like, okay, you’re the band doing your thing. I’m just going to go on here and then jump into the crowd! I think I think actually, the fact that you’ve got something that sort of really relaxed and like really like that people are just really relaxed as well. It makes a huge difference. So, and I think because as well, people get to enjoy the festival. So, enjoy it in their own way. Like if people just had it back, they can if they want to go and jump around with the band like they can do that too. You know, treating me like a holiday rather the festival does seem to make quite a big difference. That’s how people treat it.

RP: So, you stay for the night. Right? Which band do you want to see the most?
CMM: Today? Less Than Jake, probably? – laughing – we saw them twenty times probably. And then, Pennywise as well. Other than the usual suspects, I’m very excited about Masked Intruder. But back on the beach stage Captain Trips. Were really good guys. That wonderful. And The Dopamines as well.

RP: Okay, guys, last question, when you will visit us in Italy?
CMM: Oh yes, when never played there! Absolutely, we would love this! Or, but you need to guarantee that there are no wasps! 

Thank you so much for your time with me and see you soon, with no wasps, only cuddles!

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