Abandon Cause – Interview
Since forming late last year, fake Essex (the members are not all technically living in Essex) hardcore band, Abandon Cause, have recorded their first record and have already played three gigs with more lined up. While members James on vocals, Marc on drums, McGhee on bass, and Maxi on guitar, are definitely influenced by early 80s hardcore, they mostly just want to make sure they keep their sound intense. We recently had a chance to chat with James and Marc to learn more about the band and their music.
Heatwave: How did you get together to form Abandon Cause?
James: The band was technically formed towards the end of last summer (2015), but took a long time to come together as it is now.
It was just after the last general election and I was just feeling down about the state of things, and hadn’t done any band stuff for a few years. So drunkenly put a few postings on message boards about starting a hardcore band in Essex, where I had moved from London and didn’t know anyone. A few months after that, I met Marc, our drummer and we got together with a couple of other guys and jammed out some old hardcore covers together.
Marc: I was in and out of hardcore bands in the 80s, when the scene was alive, but I never really settled. Since then I’ve always had drums in the house, but there wasn’t a hardcore band around. So when I saw a post looking for a fast drummer, I grabbed my deep heat and various asthma pumps and was ready to beat the living shit out of my kit again.
James: With our initial line-up we started to write a few songs, while potential members seemed to walk in and out on a weekly basis. It was after Maxi, our current guitarist, came along that things began to pick up songwriting wise. Although only a couple of jams later, our bass player quit, which put things on hold for a couple of months, as we couldn’t find anyone to replace him.
The biggest issue was finding people in Essex that like the same kind of bands and wanted to play that kind of music.Then as we were on the verge of giving up, one of my best pals, McGhee, volunteered to come down from London and fill in until we found someone. He’s still here!!
Heatwave: How would you describe the Abandon Cause sound? Are there any particular influences?
James: Without a doubt our main source of influence is early 80s American hardcore. Void is a huge band for me, old Poison Idea, Black Flag, Negative Approach… the usual. But obviously we are influenced by loads of other bands from all eras/genres and that creeps through. We just try to keep it fast and intense. I always think the secret to being a decent hardcore band is intensity over originality, being faithful to the genre conventions without being generic.
Marc: Absolutely right. After we got a rough line-up of the band together, we discussed what we wanted to sound like. Early Poison Idea was definitely the common ground.
Heatwave: What are most of your songs about? Are there any particular themes?
James: There seems to be an unintentional 50/50 split between personal stuff like anxiety, relationships etc., and political themes… politicians, media manipulation, nuclear weapons, corruption… All untouched subjects for punk bands right?
Marc: I couldn’t do daft subjects, personally. As a kid, Conflict opened a massive door for me and provided a soundtrack to the anger and distrust I had. I have to be in a vehicle that gives a shit.
James: Modern life in general comes in to it all as well. For example the song ‘Thickbait’ is about people who suddenly become political experts simply by sharing pictures or articles, that they haven’t even read beyond the headline, on social media without considering whether the content they are sharing as actually true, wildly out of context, or the motivation behind it being posted in the first place.
Heatwave: You just recorded your self-titled debut at No Recording Studios in Essex. How was that experience?
James: Brilliant. McGhee and myself have recorded there with John Hannon before, so we knew what we were getting. You don’t have to explain to him in terms of what sound you are after. He instantly gets it. He’s a great guy too!
We spent a day there and recorded the EP and are pretty happy with how it came out. We are hoping to get back in there soon
Marc: We need to really. We have lots more songs written, some of which need a little tightening up, but we can’t wait to get them recorded.
Heatwave: A few of you used to play in a band called Koresh right? How is Abandon Cause different?
James: Haha, very different. Koresh was a sludge metal/hardcore type noise band that was more about getting completely drunk and fucking around/annoying people. Just generally not taking it very seriously. It was a really fun band to be in though, although we didn’t always getting a warm reception. We once cleared out a venue in Glasgow within minutes. Even a guy in a wheelchair chose to sit out our set in the corridor of the venue.
We wanted this to be a much more serious band. Plus due to family, work and geographical circumstances, we don’t get the chance to get together very often, so we don’t have the luxury of time to waste… And we only have a couple of beers before playing live now!
Heatwave: What do you think of the London and UK hardcore scene right now? Has it changed much since your last band?
James: The more I think about it, things probably don’t change and haven’t changed that much, but obviously as time goes on your perspective does. Hardcore, probably more than any other genre of music will always have awesome bands coming through… You just have to put the effort in to find them, dig out the old stuff etc.
Marc: I grew up in Norwich, which had an awesome scene with bands like Revulsion, Disrupters, and Deviated Instinct, to name a few, and these guys were really active. Even though I was younger, they would invite me to travel with them to gigs all over. I thought London always had a bit of magic about the place, but the northern scene had more of a community feel. Venues like the Mermaid in Birmingham and the 1 in 12 venue in Bradford had a more tight-knit feel. It was more centralised whereas London was more spread out. You didn’t always see the same faces.
James: Living in Essex with a young family, I personally don’t get to go to anywhere near as many cool gigs as I would like. I have missed some absolutely massive ones in the last four years, most of them in London.
Marc: Nowadays, London has great promoters putting on shows, but there’s a lot of choice. In Norwich, you would go to everything because you were pleased promoters made the effort. London is lucky enough to be spoilt. I do secretly miss the political movement feel, direct action etc., but the world has changed.
James: Current bands wise… It’s great to see Voorhees still gigging, absolutely love Violent Arrest, plus other bands like Violent Reaction, the Flex, etc. really have the sound down. Perspex Flesh are brilliant too.
Heatwave: How have your gigs been going so far?
James: First one was ok – usual first gig kind of stuff, but the second gig we played in Brighton was really fun. Everyone was really friendly and we had an awesome time. The Apocalypse Dudes guys (Brighton promoters) seem to be putting on really good, diverse punk bills, so it would be awesome to get back there again soon.
Marc: At our first gig, the opening band, P.I.G. features Big John (original Conflict bassist), so that was a good omen for me. You can’t miss him and this was the guy who helped soundtrack my life, standing right in front of my line of vision. Like James says, the Brighton gig was great fun and was nice to have a day out as a band together.
James: Gigs since then have been great, but looking forward to playing more.
Heatwave: Do you have any upcoming gigs you’re looking forward to?
James: We have a few coming up, a few more waiting to get confirmed, but certainly the one we are probably most looking forward to is the Weekend Nachos gig at Nambucca on October 15th. It’s one of their last ever shows, so we can’t wait to play that one. Plus we have friends in other bands playing that day, Dysteria and King of Pigs, so it should be awesome!
Heatwave: What’s in the future for Abandon Cause?
James: More gigs please!! If anyone wants to do anything with us, gigs, splits… Get in touch!
Marc: Great things we hope. Check out our EP on bandcamp, but more recordings coming soon. The newer stuff will get you smashing your house up.
Abandon Cause play July 24th at the Bird’s Nest in Deptford. Find out more about Abandon Cause.