Unleashing truths: an interview with Merc from The Karma Party


With a snarl and biting attitude which is spawn by and reflects the state of broken Britain, UK band The Karma Party has emerged as a compelling and inventive force with a musical craft and imagination as potent as the uncompromising yet thoughtful lyrical thoughts and often venom they wield. The quartet brews up a unique and irresistible fusion of hardcore, punk and dub-step with flames of electronica which come together for a fiery storm of thrilling and explosive invention. Their recently released Dark Matters EP has caused a fury of acclaim and attention their way and not wanted to be left in the wake we had the pleasure of talking to vocalist Merc about the outstanding release, the band itself, and what inspires the rage and enterprise which drives them.

Hi Merc, many thanks for taking time out to talk with us here.

No problem, thanks for having us!

For all those new to The Karma Party please introduce the band.

Hello! We are The Karma Party from the derelict holiday resort of Blackpool, nice to make your acquaintance.

How did you all meet and how did the band begin?

Me (Merc) and Luke used to be in another band with James who is now in Sonic Boom Six.

For one reason or another that band fell to pieces, after which James helped me formulate ideas and then bit by bit we assembled what is now The Karma Party.

You hail from Blackpool; is the place as run down and far from its former glory as the media portrays?

It’s worse! I mean, I watched 999 What’s Your Emergency? They went easy on the place. A lot of people come to Blackpool as tourists, which is mind boggling enough. They come to see the lights and drive down the prom unaware that one street away people are living in abject poverty. You can see the weight of the place in people’s faces as you walk around. There is a massive problem with violence and drugs and the only the thing the local authorities want to do is to make it more attractive to the booze tourists and hen nights to bring more revenue into the area, which only perpetuates the substance abuse issues.  Most people in Blackpool don’t care about anything anymore; they have become resigned to that lifestyle and believe it is the norm everywhere. I don’t think there is anywhere else in the country like it. Maybe Morecambe…

…And a place to inspire dissent, anger, and lyrical potency for songs?

It’s impossible not to be inspired in a place like that as there is so much material on your doorstep.

I think Blackpool is like a microcosm for the whole country containing every issue the country has, so definitely a main source for the lyrics.

You create a striking and passion inciting sound from blending punk, dubstep, hardcore, electronica, and more. A fascinatingly eclectic brew brought with passion and attitude I think it is fair to say. How would you describe your sound and what are the major influences musically which have had an effect on your ideas and music?

Thank you! We’re not very good with labels but we’ve been called Punk Step and Punk n Bass which kind of sums up a lot of what we do. There is such a massive eclectic taste amongst the band which allows us to see the similarities between the genres. I don’t think it would work as well if we were all into the same music. We love to watch bands utilising electronics properly as it brings another dynamic to the show. It would be impossible for us not to cite Enter Shikari as an influence and one of our favourite bands. Other artists would include: Bad Brains, Gallows, Mike Patton, Squarepusher, Venetian Snares, Reprazent, The King Blues, Sonic Boom Six, Mouthwash, Skindred, London Electricity, Nero, Rusko, Eminem, Lowkey, Clint Mansell, Danny Elfman, Capdown, NOFX and Chris Murray….I could carry on.

Do you see yourselves as a political band using anthemic music for weaponry or a band creating individual and stirring music which just happens to be inspired lyrically by the injustices of the day?Karma Party

One of the main things we agreed on when we started this project was to keep it as real and true as possible. The public have a way of sniffing out lies and if you pretend to be something you’re not, I believe that they can tell. Although I can’t speak for the rest of the band (as it’s not something we talk about) I’ve never been to a protest or voted, I doubt I ever will as I don’t think either makes a difference as all aspects of the game are rigged. I do want to spend the rest of my life trying to make a difference but I think change has to come from the people. They are the ones who are keeping this system in place. We are a tiny part of a massive universe, there is  no past or future, no good or bad and we could change the world in a heartbeat if we so wished. I want people to know they are not insignificant and they are loved…..including politicians.

If everything was perfect, yes a far-fetched possibility ha-ha, would The Karma Party exist?

If everything was perfect I don’t think I would have ever picked up an instrument or have the mind-set that I do now. The famous quote by Victor Hugo springs to mind; Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters. It’s so true in my case.

You have just released your debut EP, the excellent Dark Matters EP. It is for us a five track eclectic feast of sound and invention not forgetting being greedily infectious. I imagine the songs on the release all find an enthusiastic reaction in your live shows such the impact they make on the EP.

Again thanks for your nice words. We’ve just finished the Dark Matters Tour which was our first time on the road and the response has been overwhelming. The shows have been mental, something we didn’t expect first time out. We’ve put a lot of work in making the live show stand up to the recording and from the reaction it seems to have worked. It was crazy to have people singing the words back at us on our first tour something we didn’t see coming and I’ve been humbled by almost everyone we’ve met.

How has Dark Matters been received so far, especially critically?

From our perspective it was such a personal recording that we couldn’t tell if it was good or bad anymore. We were so involved in it that we’d lost all perspective. It has been received better than we ever expected with mainstream press like Kerrang! and Rock Sound giving us great reviews and blogs and websites all over picking it up.

In all honesty we couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction.

You have released it as a free download opportunity for fans, any particular reason for that?

We want everyone to be able to listen to our music whether you can afford a CD or not. In the band we are shameless streamers, torrenters and file sharers, so for us to be precious over our record when we have “stolen” so many other peoples music would be very hypocritical.

How do songs emerge within the band generally?

It’s a varied process, usually we demo and produce a lot of stuff in our bedrooms and over the internet and then take the ideas into the practice room for fine tuning.

Do lyrics spark songs or musical ideas, or is it a mix?

Tricky question…Musical ideas definitely inspire the lyrics in the demo process and then later the track is re-worked around the lyrics. So I guess it would be a mix.

1616807321-1The release contains your two singles Collapse and This Is Britain, both seemingly gained the tag infamous from a great many. Tell us about both of the powerful and lyrically volatile songs.

This is Britain – You’ve got to laugh at what Britain has become. I find it almost impossible to relate to any facet of mainstream culture. So this is our way of poking fun at what seems to be a ridiculous way of life. From the Royal Family to Ant and Dec, from our drinking culture to gossip magazines and from politicians and police to orange girls with Sharpie eyebrows, I don’t fit in anywhere. I didn’t want to whinge about all this so I tried to put myself in the mind-set of someone who loves modern Britain. It’s so sarcastic we were worried people might take it literally.

Collapse – Collapse is almost like the serious brother of This Is Britain. We wanted to talk about the poverty we see in the country. This recession and depression has been brought on by the government and they continue to shift the blame and show us statistics that say everything is ok but you only need to go out in the street to see how bad it’s getting. We want people to know they are the real power in this country and globally and politicians are counting on you to do nothing about it. Your country needs you and it needs you now.

Would you say This Is Britain has become already your musical calling card, the song people instantly refer to in relation to the band?

I really hope so, I think it’s a fine example of what we want to say and do musically. I think we’ll be playing that track for years to come.

Both songs have impressive videos, with the one for This is Britain like the song especially potent. Who did you record them with?

Thanks! Videos are a massive part of what we want to do. James Kennedy from Trifecta Films in Manchester did the This Is Britain video. We brought him to Blackpool for two days. We shot in our local and took him and his team on a sightseeing tour of the grimiest places in town. We had really good fun.

Some bands find it hard to create contagious songs without diluting the message or impact of the lyrics whilst others just concuss with noise to empower their impacting words. On the evidence of Dark Matters you have found the perfect balance. How much effort goes into your balance of both aspects or is it something which is just instinctive for you?

The rest of the band act as editors for the lyrics so when I’m pushing a point too much or what I’m doing lyrically is impacting on the aesthetics of the track they let me know. It’s sometimes hard for me to hear anything but the lyrics so it helps to have a team who know a good track when they hear it. There is definitely a group editing process.

How much impact do you believe artists and music can truly make on people in regard to social and world issues?

Art in general has the ability to change the world forever; it connects more people than Facebook and brings us together in ways we still don’t properly understand. A lot of people would call me naïve but I think doing nothing, putting your faith in political systems and hoping for the best is naïve.

What is next for The Karma Party?KP

Touring in April, May and June with Random Hand and Anti Vigilante. Playing Rebellion festival in August and we will have more new material / videos out later in the year!

Once more big thanks for chatting with us, any last thoughts for the readers and fans?

No worries thanks for the great questions. The only thing we want to say is a massive thanks to anyone who has given us a listen or come to show you are the reason we do this.

Grab the Dark Matters EP for free @ http://thekarmaparty.co.uk

Read the Dark Matters EP review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/the-karma-party-dark-matters-ep/

The RingMaster Review 28/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dirt Box Disco: Peoplemadeofpaper

Holly Monroe Photography

Holly Monroe Photography

After what for many of us was a modern classic punk album in the shape of Legends, UK band Dirt Box Disco set themselves a tall order to follow up its insatiable mischief and riotously contagious sounds. Its successor Peoplemadeofpaper quite simply makes easy meat of that task, the album another irresistible rampage of punk and rock n roll fused anthems to ignite the passions and pollute the airwaves with devilish enterprise and attitude.

Since forming in 2006, the Burton on Trent quintet has grown into a formidable and thrilling proposition for fans and music in general; a band showing that punk rock is not only alive and kicking but has a fresh and invigorating enterprise to its modern confrontation. Consisting of vocalist WEAB.I.AM, guitarists SPUNK VOLCANO and DANNY FINGERS, bassist DEADBEATZ CHRIS, and drummer MAFF FAZZO, all complete in flawed superhero like visual costumery, Dirt Box Disco first lured strong attention in their direction with the Are You Ready? EP in 2011 as well as incorrigible live performances which once tasted left lingering and welcomed scars for evermore. It was Legends of last year which thrust the band into the most potent awareness not only in punk but across the eager critical gaze media and country. The STP Records released Peoplemadeofpaper builds on the presence and success of its predecessor with equally accomplished and irresistible feistiness. The album does not break down any new doors from the previous album for sure but it brings more of the scintillating and deviously addictive brawls of pleasure which marked so magnificently Legends in a new fire of aural debauchery.

Opening track Freaks is an infectious introduction to band and release, an urgent stomp of lustful rock n roll which riots on a PEOPLEMADEOFPAPER - coverniggling persistent and a torrent on delicious grooves and en masse vocals steered by the teasing vocals of Weab.I.Am. Complete with equally inciting melodic guitar invention, the track lights up ear and senses with the middle finger passion of punk and the licentiousness of glam and unbridled rock n roll. It is an easy to enlist to song and the perfect way to start off another uncompromising slab of aural horny goodness.

The following My Life Is Shit and She’s My Baby step up to up the ante in regard to thrills and spills, the first a straight forward rocker with flaming guitar and vocal unity which recruits as soon as it touches the ear for an instinctive Dirt Box Disco anthem driven declaration and the second an impossibly infectious encounter with a flush of garage punk flowing through its veins. The step into a bass led aside with punchy rhythms adds another barbed hook impossible to escape, not that you will want to as the track feeds all primal hunger and demands.

Now well into its heart, the album digs into its invention to become even more roisterous and compelling, the uncomplicated but richly virulent What You Gonna Do About It starting off the newly heightened infatuation bred by the album with the potent honest and defiant call to arms musically and lyrically. As with all their songs Dirt Box Disco find a surface engagement which is simple, undemanding, and thoroughly rewarding but it equally belies the skilled and honed ability of the band to ignite the passions and recruit the listener into their intent with virulent hooks and persuasive melodies locked n loaded with criminally effective rhythms and incendiary energy.

Top Shelf unleashes all the grievous salaciousness of the band in another epidemic of insidiously persuasive riffs and hooks caged in a barrage of merciless rhythms. The song hassles and provokes until it has voice and limbs in league with its corruptive temptation, but then again every song achieves that control and subservience to their dirty charms. The track is soon surpassed by the best track on the album, Round In Circles a song which initially simply hits the spot with skill and again unchained pure rock n roll but by its departure leaves the realisation that it has overwhelmed and chained the heart with satanic efficiency and devilment. By the end of the first track it is impossible to not be joining in with the release but if this song does not do it than its recipient is deaf or dead.

Through the mighty aural villainy of My Dad Is Bigger Than Your Dad, My Girlfriends Bestfriends Sister, and You Think You Know Me, the band leaves blissful exhaustion in their wake as well as extra variety to their inspiring rhythmic lechery and punk rock soaked creative mastery. They hold back another major highlight within nothing but pinnacles, for the rear of the album with the dirty rock swagger of Aftershow Girlies, another vehicle for unbridled fun and unruly behaviour from song, band, and listener.

Completed by a final two slabs of meaty lust in All For One and Punk Rock N Porno, the album is a sensational slice of rascality from a band with alchemist like hands when it comes to breeding sounds to soundtrack and inspire urgent, greedy good times. Peoplemadeofpaper is an outstanding follow-up to a brilliant album, no better but an equal in every way and a co-conspirator in bringing insubordinate fun to the heart.




RingMaster 28/03/2013

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Callista: In My Blood


    Combining melodic hardcore with synth driven evocative ambiences UK band Callista with their debut EP In My Blood certainly capture the imagination. The six track release ripples with promise and an enterprise which makes the band a very intriguing proposition, and though the release itself is not without flaws it leaves a sure thought that Callista has something brewing which is well worth keeping an eye on.

Hailing from Worthing and surrounding areas, the quintet immediately draws the listener in with opener Everything I Hate, a 3553494807-1track which initially accosts with big sinewy rhythms and a persistent grooved fire of riffs, a combination which makes a strong lure especially with the bass prowling menacingly within their confrontation. As coarse vocal squalls add their passion to proceedings with the niggling groove still gnawing on the senses, the song explores its corners with the dawning electronic warmth of the keys and blistered melodic veining. Musically the song flirts with drone within its hardcore abrasion for a captivating persuasion but all the time the vocals leave their caustic touch to temper and nicely conflict the melodic prowess of song and band. Bringing a peace with their absence beyond midway, the vocals allow the immersive breath of the track to wrap around thoughts and senses with skill and imagination which in turn leads to a brewing incendiary climax with pleasing results.

The vocals are admittedly a challenge at times though certainly not abhorrent, but a lack of diversity within the earnest tempest of growling spite does grate by the time the release departs. The following Anxiety Builds excels and suffers in the same way as the opener, though both tracks satisfy and leave that mentioned promise. Musically the track is an absorbing and enveloping piece, if very brief, but vocally the now twin abrasion of virulent malevolence detracts from its power. Again they are no worse than within many other bands and with a better production which allows a better balance you sense the track and EP would elevate to even greater heights.

The title track has a wonderfully subdued and restrained opening, its entrance a reflective wash of mellow ambience and subsequent emotive keys added by a gentle bass resonance and respectful beats. Soon expanding into a tempest of acidic sonics and harshly touching riffs, the imagination is gripped tighter, the coarse vocals and crusty atmosphere adding to the power of the track, where a better balance between extremes is found and built upon. The best track on the EP; it is an inspiring encounter for thoughts and emotions and alone inspires an eager appetite for the next unleashing form the band. The closing vocals again test a little but their brief fury adds a strong contrast with the again gentle beginning of next song Hindsight. The keys led track sculpts another picturesque emotive soundscape with clean vocals for the first time unveiling their feelings and presence. Sadly they are not great, certainly adequate but against the impressive sounds flounder, though again the idea and its realisation is promising, but just need to be honed.

Finishing with the melancholic RIP, where again the keys enjoyably lead one into a thoughtful and diverse furnace of energy and passion, and the stifling oppressive emotive ambience of Ruined, the EP leaves inspiring a strong intent to watch the band closely, such the quality and inventiveness in certain aspects. The keys are especially impressive along with the melodic craft of the band within its songwriting and inventive fusion into powerful ambient textures. It is only the vocals which give issue to be honest and even they suggest greater things ahead with revision and assistance.

Callista and their In My Blood EP deserve more than a moment of time from any fan of melodic hardcore and atmospheric soundscapes, which with its free availability via their Bandcamp profile is an investigation which should be firmly taken.




RingMaster 28/03/2013

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Death By Ki: The Right Of Might EP


    Add a pinch of Slayer and As I lay Dying with a healthy dose of Metallica and Anthrax, and you get once thrilling and powerfully accomplished band in the shape of Death By Ki. The British metallers as shown by their tremendous debut EP The Right Of Might, is a new invigorating force in UK metal and a band which breathes honest and rampant rock n roll through songs which scintillate and exhaust. Their first EP is a mighty introduction and though arguably it is playing with already seeded ammunition in the genre, the record is one of the most enterprising and exciting releases to hit this year.

From Bridgwater, Somerset, the quartet of Josh Ayerst (guitars and lead vocals), Chris Chamberlain (guitars and backing vocals), Will Robins (bass and backing vocals), and Nick Cope (drums), has grown into a compelling and richly satisfying presence since seeds which began when Ayerst and Cope jammed together as school friends. Subsequent time saw Robins join but it was with the addition of Chamberlain in 2011 that the band found its whole and solidity. The past couple of years has seen the band unleash impressive stage shows on their own and alongside the likes of Gallows, Revoker, Romeo Must Die, Evile, and Be’Lakor, all the time honing and exploring their sound and ideas until ready to record their first offering. Recorded with Jeff Rose (former guitarist for Dub War and Skindred), The Right Of Might is a stunning collection of songs which whilst not exactly re-inventing existing formulas certainly gives them a fresh and impacting fury.

Released May 20th, The Right Of Might instantly raps on the senses with the first sinewy beats of opener Like Oxygen To Fire. 534973_10151430385071952_783072948_nSoon joined by ravenous riffs and keen acidic sonics from the guitars, the track slaughters the ear with crisp rhythms and rabid energy for an instantaneous rewarding confrontation. The vocals of Ayerst brawl with impressive craft and expressive passion to add to the already in place intrigue and pleasure, and as grooves and hooks tease and entwine the energy the track needs to make no more persuasion as to its impressive stance and purpose. But impress further it does with great melodic flames from Chamberlain and a raptorial menacing prowl to the bass of Robins. The song has a familiarity to it which for sure is a consequent of the band playing with existing essences but it also makes it an immediate best friend for the heart, as with the whole release. The fact that the band conjure these already in place endeavours into their own creative rampancy does the release or the massive enjoyment no harm either of course.

The title track follows and within seconds is searing the senses with fine guitar heat and craft. As with the first song soon the storming blend of hungry riffs and bone shuddering rhythms drives the track deeper into the passions with an excellent scraping yet picky melodic vein, which actually reminds a little of the Skids back in their early days, adding another spiral of lust to the brewing ardour. A seamless collision of styles and attitude, the track ignites an anthemic appetite which captures the imagination with merciless efficiency and backed up by the great skill and imaginative rhythmic and guitar sculpting, it is no surprise why the track steal top honours on the EP.

Control (In A World Of Free Will) is a less intensive encounter though still drives with a muscular intent and energy which leaves many other similarly gaited bands sounding pale in comparison. The track again entices and seduces with musicianship which exploits every ounce of quality within the songwriting and a vocal attack which growls and harmonically persuades with matching strength. The fiery solo of Chamberlain again leaves one grinning whilst the song as a whole is a rampant and wholly rewarding bruise of aggressive invention.

The band expands their sound further with Tao, a song with an emotively melodic embrace and enveloping atmosphere which wraps itself warmly around ear and thoughts. The vocals of Ayerst shine even further here, his part gravelly tones given further space to expel every syllable and lyrical intent with expressive breath. The excellent track then passes the metallic baton to closer Lights Out, a tempest of insatiable and debilitating energy which sparks even greater fires. Grooved, greedily riffed, and rhythmically uncompromising, the track ends the release as impressively and powerfully as it all began.

The Right Of Might EP may lack a little originality but whether you can find the same rapturous enjoyment and energising experience that easily elsewhere we doubt. Death By Ki is going to be big, mark our words.



RingMaster 28/03/2013

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from