Headed to a festival this year? There’s a high probability that the Yorkshire five-piece, Allusondrugs, will be there too. Bringing together elements of grunge, pysch and punk; Allusondrugs create some of the most innovative alternative rock out there and it’s no wonder they’re all over the festival circuit later this year.
We chat to Damo (guitarist) about their live performances, latest band obsessions and all there is to know about festivals.
You played a whole host of gigs over March and April, how were they for you?
Oh they were awesome. It’s probably the longest run of dates we’ve done so far, back to back. It was pretty fun though. The bands we played with were great too: the first half we went with Press To Meco. They’re really, really good and we became really good friends with those. They were tight every night and just awesome.
And then the second run, we went with this band called Falls. They’re really fun and really, really friendly, so again, we became really good friends with those. One of the singers, Matt, leant me his wireless pack for his guitar so I could try it out. And you know how they get in the crowd? They do all that stuff and he gave it to me so I could try it out and it was really fun. I love those guys.
And you played with Enter Shikari in February. That must have been really good for getting your band out there?
Yeah, it was brilliant. I mean, the first few gigs we did we were a bit scary because those crowds were absolutely huge. They were some of the biggest gigs we’ve ever done but it was awesome.
And you’re playing your hometown gig with Pulled Apart By Horses this Friday. Are you excited for that?
Oh yeah, it’s gonna be amazing! When we were younger, me and Drey used to go to their gigs a lot. In the first couple of years of them starting up, we would go to see them sort of religiously. We were like “Oh, we wanna be like these”. We played with them a couple of times in our old bands but really low on the bill so it’s proper, proper amazing to be playing this gig with them. I’m really, really happy about it.
“When we were younger, me and Drey used to go to [Pulled Apart By Horses] gigs a lot… so it’s proper, proper amazing to be playing this gig with them. I’m really, really happy about it.”
That’s really cool. So you guys have been going for a little while and you already seem to have done quite a lot. Did you expect this when you first started out?
Well we wanted to do it, but we didn’t set out thinking “yeah we’re going to be the biggest band in the world” and all that sort of stuff. You know, every band wants to be successful. I don’t know, it’s still surprising and it’s still weird when all these good things start to happen. We feel really lucky that we get to do this.
Are you still on Clue Records?
We’re still affiliated with them. We’ve not really done anything with them for a while but they still help out with certain things and we still support each other because it’s really good label. We’re really good friends with Scott and Lewis who run it and the other two bands on the label; Forever Cult and Narcs are some of our best friends. We’re still very much a happy family.
A band operating on their own can only go so far. To put that little badge on stuff, a little ‘so and so’ records, sort of lends a little bit more importance to it so people tend to take a bit more notice. And they helped us to get our stuff into some local record stores at the start. Yeah, they were really helpful.
You’re at quite a lot of festivals this year; Truck Fest and Y Not to name two. Which ones are you most excited to play?
Well, we’re playing Download that will be amazing. That’s one of the really big ones. We’re playing Pinky Swear Festival in a few days in Manchester, which is a small sort of thing. We’re playing Handmade in Leicester that’s gonna be really cool. Doing Great Escape Festival that will be really, really cool. What else are we doing? We’re doing Long Division in Wakefield cos that’s really close to us. We played it last year and it’s always been really good. A lot of the bands I like to listen to have played Long Division over the past few years. I think this is the fifth one so, yeah, it’s gonna be really fun to play at that. 2000Trees, Nass Festival. Nass Festival will be fun because it’s all about extreme sports and things like that. Tony Hawk’s gonna be there and Jason keeps saying that he wants to try and stalk out Tony Hawk and keep shouting “900 at him” or something and get pushed by him.
Is there anyone you’re really looking forward to seeing at these festivals?
Oh there’s loads… probably too many to mention.
At Truck Festival, there’s a bunch of bands that we really want to see. There’s Peter Hook and the Light. We played with them at a festival called Crooked Ways really close to us a while ago and we saw him. We’re all really into Joy Division and stuff like that so it would be good to see that. I remember after the gig we saw him driving off with no shirt on and big, shiny black jeans. It was really weird. Cool though.
I want to see Fat White Family. Scott Lewis from Clue Records keeps going on about them and I’ve not really checked them out but it would be cool to see what the fuss is about cos there’s a lot of buzz about them at the minute. Obviously Pulled Apart By Horses. Slaves, wanna see them because a lot of people are raving about them and I’ve seen a few videos, it seems pretty cool and pretty interesting. One of the new wave of two-piece bands.
I really want to see The Wytches as well. My friend went to see them at Live At Leeds last year and he said they were really wicked. I’ve seen a couple of their videos on Youtube and there’s an especially good one of their Amazing Radio session for their song ‘Darker’. They’ve got this guitar sound that’s got this short delay that I’m completely going to steal off him. So yeah, The Wytches especially. I’m really obsessed with them at the minute. There’s a lot of bands that are doing the sort of doing the stuff that they’re doing but it’s sort of contrived. The way they do it, there’s a lot more honesty and it so I’m really into that band.
Totally. So you’re at a lot of small festivals this year, obviously you’re playing Download as well, how important do you think these smaller festivals are in getting a band like yourselves, out there?
The small festivals generally get a lot of support from the local people in those areas. It’s good for whatever bands are playing them, to build their fanbase by getting a foot in in certain areas at a local level.
“…don’t make the mistake of getting absolutely wrecked on the first day of a festival because you just won’t enjoy the rest of it. Of course, nobody is going to take that advice.”
You played Reading and Leeds last year, do you think your performances depend on the size of the crowd or the size of the festival you’re playing at?
Well, I mean we’ll just go on stage and play our arses off no matter what. And have a really good time playing to five people, you know? But it is always really good when you have a big crowd, a lot of people that are really into it and you get that feeding back off them and you chuck stuff onto them and they give it back. This passing back of good vibes makes everything feel a lot better, but we just get on stage and do whatever we do, no matter what.
So what are you top tips for anyone going to a festival for the first time?
Top tips for anyone going to a festival for the first time; drink plenty of water, don’t get dehydrated, try not to get sunburnt, get your suncream going. Make sure you get enough sleep because you will not enjoy the last couple of days of a festival – I mean, if it’s a one day festival it’s not too bad, but don’t make the mistake of getting absolutely wrecked on the first day of a festival because you just won’t enjoy the rest of it. There’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy bands when you’ve got a splitting headache. Of course, nobody is going to take that advice.
I was going to say… very sensible advice. So what are the best things about festivals – as a festival-goer?
Just the sheer amount of stuff that there is to do. Most festivals are always really varied, so you can choose things to do and dawdle around. Even if there’s nothing on that you know of or that you like at a certain time, you can just wander around and you’ll find something eventually that interests you.
What’s your favourite festival that you’ve ever played?
Oh, that’s hard. For me, probably Leeds and Reading. There’s a really good vibe, especially at Reading.
What’s your favourite festival that you’ve ever been to?
Ever been to? Probably Leeds fest. I’ve been to Leeds fest quite a few times, when I was growing up. I think my first proper gig was actually Leeds fest.
If you could pick three headliners for a festival, who would you pick? Dead or alive…
My Bloody Valentine would have to be on there. I don’t know. My Bloody Valentine would do the first day. The second day would be… maybe The Beatles or something? And on the last day, I’ll go for something crazy like Slayer.
Damo was talking to Emily Pilbeam