Young indie band Sub Cultures released their debut eponymously-titled EP on 26 March via Prank Monkey Records and, says lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Kane Radnor, it is a step up from their first two singles released last year.
“Yes, absolutely. To me there’s a massive difference from where we started, I think we’ve come a long way. We’ve captured better how we play the tracks live which is nice, it had that much more energy than when we’ve recorded at home. When we were playing live we’d all be jumping about on stage, we let off a bit of steam! That’s our thing, being energetic on stage and having a good time. We did that in the studio, it was really relaxed and that definitely helped, for sure.”
That’s what being a young indie band is all about and Sub Cultures: Kane, Lewis Perks (lead guitar), Charlie Foster (bass) and drummer Eric Karvik have followed in the footsteps of some of their musical heroes by recording at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire. With the band hailing from the Monmouth/Gloucestershire border country, Rockfield was always viewed with a sense of awe. It was here that Noel Gallagher wrote Wonderwall and Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody.
“I live just outside of Monmouth and Rockfield is literally a five minute drive out of Monmouth. Lewis and I went to school there, the secondary school in Monmouth. Everyone spoke of Rockfield as the thing that you never did, you never got to go to. It’s been home to loads of artists that my parents showed me when I was growing up. My neighbour, Noddy, she used to work there and do some bits at Rockfield and she was on about Dave Edmunds and how cool he is.
“Recording at Rockfield was a really cool experience,” Kane enthuses. “It was surreal to play in a studio that’s accommodated some of the greatest musicians, and [producer] Jack [Boston – The Cure, Beth Orton] really encouraged us to experiment and play around with the record. I think we’re all really proud of what we ended up creating.
“We were there for four days last year. Everything was frosted over and it has that farmyard vibe, as well, with the livestock in the fields. All the old buildings, it’s such an amazing place. After we did the session, we were looking through all the books that have been signed. There were just some incredible bands in there, old bands like Robert Smith (The Cure), and new bands that are on Instagram at the moment, really crazy.”
A real thrill, then, as the band cite acts like The Cure and Joy Division among their influences. Sub Cultures formed in 2019 and quickly quickly developed their own hard, driving, pulsating sound and a reputation for intense live shows. They released two singles – Far Behind and Alone – in the early part of last year and, while they demonstrated a mature sophistication, they were a little restrained by their own standards.
The new four-track EP opens with a high-energy blast, Comedown. Lewis’s slightly distorted guitar creates a most distinctive opening before the Foster/Karvik combination drives the track on apace. The lead single from the EP is Enjoy Yourself, another slice of raw energy in which all four excel and are clearly taking the title literally.
Foster’s thumping bass line dominates the jazz-influenced Friends with it’s constantly shifting time signatures before the set wraps up with emotional closer Ride With You and its lyrics of love, loss and everything in between.
“This EP feels more mature compared to our first few singles,” says Kane. “We’ve spent the last year writing and playing together but also growing as people alongside each other. We’ve grown more confident allowing us to be more creative and experimental without forgetting about who we are musically.”
Sub Cultures was born out of his long standing friendship with Lewis, says Kane. “We became friends from the start of secondary school. We really clicked and started playing guitar with each other. We went for a couple of auditions, had a few different bands and then settled on this one.”
A love of music was the catalyst that brought the young classmates together.
“That’s probably the reason we became such good friends,” Kane adds. “We were into the same kind of music and we were the kids that played guitar in school. He’s a really good mate.
“Lewis’s dad plays a bit of guitar and my dad did a lot of singing but our interest came more from a listening perspective rather than from parental influences although my dad showed me a few chords on the guitar when I was probably six or seven.
“Eric has played with most of the bands around Chepstow, the go-to brother of Chepstow. Lewis and I were like ‘We need a drummer,’ so we rang Eric, ‘Can you help us, can you come in and jam with us?’ He came in and gelled perfectly. Lewis met Charlie through college in Gloucester, doing music tech, and they became friends after college. We contacted Charlie and Eric and asked if they were up for it and they fitted in really well, yeah, they’re brilliant together.
“It’s coming up to a year now since we released our first single and it helped us a lot. The single were played on BBC Radio Gloucester, I believe, and other local regional stations but not as much attention as the new stuff which is nice. Then you know you’re progressing in the right direction.”
The Sub Cultures’ EP was released on 26 March through Prank Monkey Records. Kane says the ambitious young band is already looking ahead to their next step. “We were thinking that we may do another single. We’ve got loads of songs that we’ve written during lockdown and have another song that is fast and would make a good single. Hopefully we can get into the studio as soon as possible.”