By Lisa Mary
Reporter Lisa Mary has a chat with new Welsh band; This is Wreckage, and talks inspirations, live gigs, their upcoming album … and some Ruggisms to boot.
Valleys-based band This is Wreckage is a three-faced gig made up of Neil (guitar and vocals), and brothers Ruggz (bass and vocals) and Greg (drums, vocals and machines of mystery …!) As Ruggz says, “two Brothers and a brother from another mother.” Upon being asked to introduce themselves, Greg says: “Neil is one to look out for you never know what he is going to do next. Many a time has he come flying into my drum kit mid set and almost decapitated me. With Ruggz being my brother, I think we have a connection not only being a part of the “rhythm section” but a connection that carries through how we play together due to the same blood running through our veins. I have the privilege of playing with two great musicians.” Ruggz added that, “Greg is a ridiculously heavy handed drummer. He is an all-round nice guy but he is a volcano waiting to erupt.” Neil the chips in with: “Greg is the voice of reason, if Greg says it’s good, it’s good. If Greg says it’s crap, go and kill yourself. He is the most intuitive drummer I have ever worked with. He is a drummer who understands the song as a whole, not just as a drum part. Ryan (aka Ruggz aka Ruggles aka The Beard, aka Gorge, aka Das Gorgenhoffen, aka Facial Matter) is my muse. He is the reason I play music. Excellent Beard. Seriously, really, really good.”
Having newly recorded their album, which is set for a summer release, This is Wreckage are currently playing gigs around the South Wales area, as well as one or two broader afield.
This is Wreckage is a band that formed unusually due to a mutual dislike of the same bands. They’re trying to put something new into the current music scene. As Neil tells us, “I wanted Oasis to be Nirvana but they weren’t good enough so I had to better it.” But, on top of a hatred of particular musicians, they do have a huge mix of inspirations. Neil’s include Nirvana, Rachel Stamp and Manic Street Preachers; Ruggz listing Big Black, The Jesus Lizard as well as gang-related violent films which inspire the lyrics; with Greg taking inspiration from different drummers, as opposed to whole bands, listing Mac McNeilly of The Jesus Lizard, Alexis Fleisig of Girls Against Boys, Jon Lee of Feeder amongst his favourites. Greg also tells us that “I do see our influences in Suicide, Alan Vega and A.R.E Weapons come through in our music.”
Catching up with This is Wreckage has been pretty exciting. Having actually attended high school with drummer Greg, and seeing one of his first gigs (although I believe he played the guitar back then – a song to do with bullying. Remember, Greg?!), it is fantastic to see how he’s come along and to see a familiar face making music. Their sound, described by the band as “relentless”, “quenching” and “belligerent”, the band have a unique sound that is interestingly lyric-focussed. Greg says: “If I have to put us in a genre it would say it would be post-punk/noise rock,” with Ruggz adding, “We like to emphasize the groove and vibe of each individual track and try and create a mood lyrically as much as through the music.… we feel the lyrics are really important as the lyrics shape the music as much as the music shapes the lyrics.” So, if the music is based around the lyrics, where do they get their lyric inspiration from? Greg tells us: “Neil takes inspiration from Ruggz and his Ruggisms and his distaste for the average human life!” They have a lot of anger to vent, and vent it they do!
Their album, which I am extremely lucky to have heard a preview of, contains ten tracks of various styles. Entitled QYC, there is mystery attached here as they are not going to reveal what the album means, and having made some very feeble guesses, Greg still refused to reveal it to me. So, in that sense, they’re keeping it interesting. Neil says: “I am very proud that most of the tracks on the album were recorded in one take, I think this shows that we got down exactly what we wanted to put across and highlighted the fury that we carry.”
On a personal note, the album for me sums up This is Wreckage’s starting point; I can see them impressing us even more in the years to come. The songs are particularly grungy at times, with some punk and rock elements screaming through. I particularly like the early-nineties Nirvana-meets-Smashing Pumpkins vibe of ‘Tokens for the Bunny Booths’ which hauntingly calls for a repeat and contrasts with harder numbers such as ‘Running in Furs’ and ‘Scum Life’ (Greg’s scream in the chorus of this piece, “sounds like the world is ending” according to Neil). However, my favourite of the album has to be the gritty anger of ‘2+2 = B*stard’; with a fantastic beat and some smoky lyrics mixed in with a time-change here and there, it is one to jump around to, bottle of Stella in hand. With its hypnotic beat and truly talented guitar playing, it is a song that really gets the blood pumping.
As 2013 continues, This is Wreckage are looking towards their album release this summer as well as playing more gigs. They are also self-producing an EP and looking to build on the band that has already started strong. As they say, “We are really grateful for the loyal group that follows us around. We have some great friends who have been there bleeding with us. We have had some positive reviews and air play on Radio Wales from Adam Walton, the likes of Noel Gardner of Buzz Magazine. We have positive comments from our peers. We can only hope to expand that further afield.”
This is Wreckage is a very tough, musically en-pointe band whose sound is fresh, angry and bolshie. There is no way they can be ignored and I fully expect them to be making a big splash on the underground music scene very soon. Look out for them; they could soon be wrecking a stage near you.