Universal - Volbeat's Michael Poulsen discusses the impact guitarist/producer Rob…
- Posted on May 10th 2010 12:30AM by David Renshaw
Having met through work (all three members manned the tills for London-based record store Reckless Records), drummer Robin Christian, bassist Kevin Hendrick and singer/guitarist John Webb started a band together and even moved into the same flat.
"We've been playing for about two years now" says Webb. "Basically we met at shows, seeing bands we all loved and decided to play together for fun." Playing their first show at a house party dubbed 'RAGE' by its organisers, Male Bonding soon established themselves as a raucous live band.
However, Hendrick admits that a giant trampoline was probably the most memorable thing at that particular party, "I'm pretty good at it," he says. "I can get some serious air."
From humble beginnings can come great things. Two years on from that house party find themselves signed to iconic American label Sub Pop. How did the label famous for bringing us Nirvana discover a tiny punk band from East London?
"Basically," says John, "We set up a label ourselves before Male Bonding even formed called Paradise Vendors. When Male Bonding started nobody showed any interest in us initially, nobody asked to put our stuff out so we decided to release a few split seven inches with bands we were friends with like PENS and Graffiti Island."
Sub Pop's A&R team got in touch with the trio. "We used to joke that maybe one day Sub Pop would ask us to do a seven-inch as a real pipe dream. Then one day Sub Pop got in touch and asked if were planning to reissue the singles in America and if they could get involved. We had no plans to but said, tongue-in-cheek, if Sub Pop wanted to release our single we'd be interested. They then replied straight away saying they wanted more than a single, they wanted an album."
Signed to the same label as their favourite band, Mudhoney, Male Bonding decamped to Brooklyn, N.Y., in October 2009 to record their album 'Nothing Hurts.' Despite being 13 songs long, the album still manages to clock in at under half an hour, something Webb puts down to wandering minds and a desire to record live.
"We went into the studio and were done within six days," he says. "We basically just set up, played it and got it recorded. Because you're recording and playing together you're so scared of messing up your own part that it forces you into getting it right as quickly as possible. A lot of people talk about how our songs can be quite short but I think that's just the punk background we all come from. I don't really like long songs and don't feel the need to repeat myself. Plus I've got a really short attention span and just start playing my guitar really quickly after a while."
The results are effective, 'Nothing Hurts' is a non-stop, punch-drunk thrill designed to be played at ear-splitting volume. With copious touring planned as well as another album scheduled for release in the next six months ("Labels permitting, we just want to stay as creatively active as possible," says Webb) Male Bonding could soon earn themselves the title of hardest-working new bands in music, never mind one of the best.
Male Bonding release their debut album Nothing Hurts on May 10 on Sub Pop. They will also head out on their first headline UK tour. The band play Liverpool Sound City and Offset festival as well as recently being announced as the main support act for Blood Red Shoes October tour.