Weekend Punks, named after a drunk conversation at a concert, released their debut EP last year. The three song record is reminiscent of 2010s indie dream pop and is a 9 minute escape to an endless summer montage whenever you listen to it.
I spoke with Matt Bayford from Weekend Punks and learnt that these songs simmered for a very long time before they were released in 2021 and almost didn’t see the light of day. This was until some free time in the global pandemic sparked motivation to get them to the proverbial finish line.
Matt talked to us about the timeline of the band, the recording process, creating a band online and how to get your band radio play.
- 2016 & Creating a Band Online
- Starting a Band Online
- Recording At Home Tips from Weekend Punks
- Looking To Be Vocal
- 2018 & Losing Focus
- 2021 & Getting Back That Focus
- From Online band To Offline Band
- 2022 & The Future of Weekend Punks
2016 & Creating a Band Online
I guess it started when I uploaded an advert on a facebook group & joinmyband.co.uk. I’m not a confident person, the idea of me approaching another human being and asking “do you wanna jam?” is terrifying but doing it over a computer screen feels totally fine to me. There are so many places and tools online to meet other musicians. This led to meeting some “peculiar” people. It had a similar vibe to blind dating, you can have some good ones and some… interesting ones. I mostly jammed around until I finally met David and we just kinda’ gelled immediately.
Starting a band online sites
Dave and I did the same course at University which was Music Production, so it felt like a perfect fit. We met up and basically wrote all the songs from the EP pretty quickly. We did a mixture of recording guitars at his flat and we rented a practice space to record drums. Dave is super good at production so he can make anything sound great.
The only thing that went wrong was that we had to record it all again twice. We recorded all the guitars first and then when we recorded the drums, those guitars didn’t match the rhythm so we had to record all the guitars again. For two guys who did a music production, we both should have known to record the drums first. Remember, always record the drums first.
Recording At Home Tips from Weekend Punks
1. Always reference
Reference other tracks, reference your tracks in other places, in the car, on your hi-fi, at your mum’s house, because the room you’re recording in probably sounds like shit.
2. Borrow stuff
Your mates got that amazing bass DI, and your other mate’s got that great mic. They’re not gonna mind if you rob them for a weekend are they?
3. Say that lo-fi is intentional
They can’t tell you it sounds crap if you say it’s “lo-fi” on purpose. “Where’s the top end?”, “it’s lo-fi mate”.
4. Do lots of takes
The benefit to recording at home is that you’re not paying a studio by the hour, so it doesn’t matter if you need 33 takes to nail that Bass part.
5. Use more than one guitar
Double tracking guitar with only one amp? Using a different guitar for the double tracks will give more than enough of a different tone for thick/wide guitars.
Looking To Be Vocal
We really wanted a particular voice for the vocals because we felt the music really needed a unique singing style. That meant we were searching for ages to find a singer and it was extremely hard to find anyone we liked. We put an ad out on facebook groups and that meant we were bombarded with styles that didn’t mesh with what we were looking for. We sifted through messages of people that didn’t match what we wanted until we spoke to Rosie.
2018 & Losing Focus
Dave messaged Rosie because they both went to University together, I think it was mostly just on a whim and didn’t really expect her to get back to him but she really dug the tracks and said yes. Rosie was currently living in Reykjavik, Iceland at the time though so we did everything online. We sent her the tracks and told her to go wild with lyrics, the melodies and everything. This was my only real communication with Rosie until we recently met in person.
Even though we made some great progress that didn’t stop us from just letting the tracks sit on Dave’s computer for years and years collecting digital dust… Life just got in the way and I think when you spend that much time on a project you can easily just forget about it and nearly get bored of it.
2021 & Getting Back That Focus
Last year whilst getting bored sat in lockdown we were inspired to finish the EP. Dave jumped into action and finished the mixing, we got the artwork done and released them to the world. We uploaded a track to BBC Introducing and they ended up playing it 3 weeks in a row, that was pretty cool.
Since the release we got some really nice feedback. Hearing that feedback really helped me get out of a writer’s block that I was in at the time and worked as reassurance and got rid of my self-doubt. It’s weird listening to them now, you can hear all my influences at the time in those tracks so to me they just sound like a Best Coast rip off.
From Online band To Offline Band
Rosie suggested that we should meet up and actually play in the same room together. I guess we wanted to see if we could actually jam well in person, actually play the songs live and also to double check we weren’t all weirdos or whatever. I hadn’t even met Rosie in person yet or even really had a back and forth conversion, so that was kind of a weird feeling to be honest.
The first session went really well and it was amazing to meet each other in person. Rosie brought a friend (Jen) in to play drums and we’re now becoming a “real” band.
2022 & The Future of Weekend Punks
We now have the ball rolling so we want to react with the momentum not wait another 4 years to do anything.
Rosie is back in the UK now and we now have Jen on drums now and they’re great so we want to start playing shows, we’re going to be selective for now because we’re all in different parts of the country but we have 4 demos that we are currently working on.
The coolest part of this was the collabing with people, like working with Rosie and Dave has been fantastic. For instance, sharing a song I wrote alone in a bedroom and having other people put their stamp on it, bringing it to life and taking it to another level has been a really cool experience.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a band?
I would say just go for it, if meeting new people is out of your comfort zone there are plenty of sites online that can make it a little bit easier for you. If you don’t want to play in a band just write songs alone, make a small group chat with friends you can share your music with and get feedback. It’s all meant to be fun at the end of the day, so just have fun with it.
“I would say just go for it, if meeting new people is out of your comfort zone there are plenty of sites online that can make it a little bit easier for you.”
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