Its Friday the 6th of March and I’ve left my home in East London, to jump on the train hurling towards Devon to see the notorious Joe Talbot, the front man of IDLES perform a DJ set at Exeter’s most renowned venue The Phoenix. On arrival it seems to appear that Joe Talbot has cancelled the gig due to an unforeseen illness. But hold it right there, he has blessed us with Exeters best up-and-coming bands. And boy did I have a night of discovery ahead of me…
It's here we met SWEET TEEF, the self proclaimed “chaotic and cathartic grunge punk [band], sprinkled with absolute filth” in there home town ready to show the people of Exeter what they’re made of.
After their fast paced, punchy and ‘in-your-face’ set, I approached the lads and I was invited to join them back stage to take part in their band tradition that they religiously undertake after every live performance, and here’s what they had to say…
Harley: bass/Vocals - Carlito: Guitar/Lead Vocals - Cameron: Drums
Are you guys from Exeter originally?
Carlito: Well you boys are actually from Torquay (Cameron) and Bristol (Harley) and I was born in the Waitrose just down the road. (which was once a Hospital)
So what genre would you describe yourself as?
So this is the question, we’ve kind of got to the point now where we’ve just let people decide what we are. Theres a big grunge element, big punk element as well obviously. But since Cameron on drums has joined, we’ve got a much harder heavier sound.
Where did you guys meet?
Carlito: Me and Carley met at Exeter College when we where 16, and then Cameron joined recently on Halloween.
When you played the tune SNAFU the crowd went ballistic, tell me more about that…
So that’s going to be our next single. Watch the space maybe a week, two weeks. It stands for Situation Normal All Fucked Up. Funnily enough, we hate this song now, because its TOUGH. We ditched it, it never sounded good when we first where playing it then whenever people chanted ‘one more song’ we where like, ‘ahhh fuck it, snafu’.
What was the inspiration for it (SNAFU)
The inspiration for that is really what it says on the tin, situation normal, all fucked up. Especially in exeter as well, you walk around here and you see all of the homeless people.
Cane: it’s real problem here in Exeter isn’t it?
Carlito: yeah, the situation is normal and it's all fucked up.
The poignant moment of the night is where you shout C*NT at the top of your lungs during SNAFU, that’s what got them going…
Well, we're actually trying to distance ourself from swearing, live defiantly, not so much in recording. You say one swear word and that’s it, it gets taken down, no advertisement and we want to be played on the radio.
We had that problem with Yammy, Our debut single. We released it on facebook, got some interaction and it kept getting flagged, facebook wouldn’t let us promote it. We where like ‘whats going on?’ Turns out yammy in the urban dictionary means ‘tits and pussy’.
Cane: that’s so funny so you didn’t know that previously?
Well it is called yummy because of my bass, its a Yamaha, and we name all of our instruments. The base line of the song drives it all the way through, which is how the song got its name.
It's now the holy trinity, it’s bass, tits and pussy.
So you told me you have a band tradition, I want to know what it is and when it started?
Ooh when did it start? That’s a good point. Ok so, we finish the set, get sweaty, get all of this catharsis out, and we go out and smoke a f*cking big ole Dutch.
Cane: haha is that what they call it in Devon?
I don’t know, its just a term, Dutch, doink, zoot. Boof is a new one that I like.
So yeah, it just chills us out you know, and it's great for coming back in.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Carlito: Probably Feeder, early Feeder you know? Playing Gran Turismo as a child and hearing feeders early albums. Because you know they’re not just ‘Buck Rodgers” they’ve got some hard shit back in the 90’s. 3 piece, British, they kind of opened my eyes you know.
Cameron: some of my biggest influences are mainly metal drummers. Not just because I like to play metal but its what they’ve done for the genre, you find a lot of metal drummers sound quite stagnant and robotic. like, Gene Hoglan every band he’s been in he’s made that band, same with Chris Adler, when he was in Lamb of God, its not Lamb of God without Chris Adler, he’s really what made me want to play double pedal.
Harley: I listen to everything my influences are very varied. In regards to the band I would say Dinosaur Jr, how they use melody and heavy riffs combined, especially with the bassist and guitarist working together to create all of this cool stuff with such a small set up.
When is your next gig?
The next one is on the 4th of April, with Haggerd Cat at the Cavern, Exeter.
Words/Interviewer: Cane Valentine
Band: SWEET TEEF
Image: Steve Muscutt