Burning Flag hail from Halifax, UK and are whipping up a storm with their brand of DIY punk rock. We catch up with Jonesy & MD…
Tell us a bit about the band…
Md – Vox, Jonesy – Guitars, Matt Fortune – Drums, Mark Midgley – Bass.
@J: We formed late 2013. We all knew each other from way back, and some of us have played together in the past, we were struggling to find a singer, then we found M.D (thanks, Scoot), who by the way had never sung in a band. We worked hard and got a set together, and played our first gig with GBH in February 2014 (thanks, Browny). We released a 3 Track EP titled ‘Still a Lie’ which we recorded at the 1in12 Club, Bradford with Bri Doom and have a self-titled Album out which we are very proud of. We are in the process of writing our second album, which we will be returning to Skyhammer studio to record, hopefully it will be out early next year.
You performed at Download Festival in 2014. How did that come about and what was it like to be at a more ‘mainstream’ event?
@J: Yeah, that was a weird one. We got voted online to play the unsigned stage, I think that’s what happened! Everyone who ran the stage was cool, the gig went well and we got a good crowd. But, Download is a corporate festival which is not really us. We are a DIY band, so it was all bit alien to us. I don’t like these big festivals, too many rules, too corporate, too much evidence of everyday life. It’s not what I enjoy about festivals, there’s no freedom. The Dirty weekend festival (now Common Ground) was much better! It was an experience though.
@M: Aye, I love Common Ground – people should check that festival out!
Photo: Saw Woodman
Has the music press taken any interest in the band since you appeared at Download?
@J: Not really to be honest, as I said, we are total DIY. We ain’t kissing corporate arsehole. We are not part of that Kerrang/Download thing and have no desire to go down that route thanks.
@M: We have had a few decent reviews, but I’m sure it was nothing to do with Donington.
Where have you enjoyed playing the most? Home gigs or Away? Why?
@J: Both really, a good gig is a good gig, no matter where it is, if people are into it. We’ve done some great gigs, supporting Subhumans in Leeds & Wakefield, supporting Discharge in Leeds & Birmingham. The Sacrilege / Doom / Warwound 30th Anniversary re-release party in Birmingham was a good one. The Doom Chile benefit at the 1 in 12 Bradford, and The Dirty Weekend Fest in Cheshire 2015 and our first gig with GBH (Arden Rd, Halifax) as it went so well and we got great support.
@M: I’ve loved most of our gigs, as long as people have a good time I’m happy. We are limited due to resources, we’ve had offers in Canada, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, but we need something solid & reserves to cover us. The worst gigs are when the sound is crap & we have 3ft square to play with. My head has detuned Jonesy’s guitar a few times mid song & I do value my teeth. I prefer to travel, it’s great to see new faces and bands, meet and get to know people! At the moment, people are actually coming to see us on purpose, more than once, shouting with us. That’s very cool. We appreciate all the gigs we’ve been given, personal favourites for me have been the London ones. Scum Fest 10th Anniversary (cheers SF collective!) where the Strong Video was recorded (Thanks Skinny) Crash & Burn at the Devonshire Arms (Cheers Si) and the Brixton Gig at the Vegan Bar (Cheers Em & Nick) were all suitably mental. We don’t want to miss anyone out here – cheers to everyone who’s asked us to play!
What are your plans for 2016/2017? More touring? More albums? Anything else in the pipeline?
@J: We are recording a new album in a few weeks so that will keep us busy sorting art work & all that. We are playing Jock’s birthday bash tonight, and a few others, we are always open to gig offers so anyone putting on gigs get in touch.
How have you found Bandcamp as a channel for album sales? Has it met your expectations?
@J: Bandcamp? Fuck knows, I’m a technophobe, over to you Md.
@M: I thought we should come off it (as a sales platform) as soon as the VAT issue reared its ugly head. I don’t think we should be on it now. We should sell our own music via our own website & at gigs. In theory it’s a great platform, and it gives us access to people, and them to us, but I think we should only offer limited free streaming, so people can check us out.
It hasn’t met expectations for me, but it’s a dripping tap, which is better than a kick in the teeth, I suppose.
How do you feel about social media and its effect on the masses? Are we taking too many pictures of our food and pets?
@J: Fucking hell, I know it has its uses but people just put any old shit on there and think it’s of some importance or interest. It’s not something I use, I’ve only just got a mobile phone, It’s all a distraction from real life.
@M: I deleted what I wrote. I’ll tell you when I see you. If you don’t laugh, I’ll know I did right deleting it. If you do laugh, I’ll kick myself. Cheers. [Note from Paul: Interesting! To find out what THAT is all about!]
How about the use of social media to promote the band? Has that had any tangible effect at all?
@M: Yeah it has, but that’s been taken away to a certain extent. We lost short of 2000 followers through no fault of our own and now bands have to pay if we want all our remaining followers to see our posts, what a joke. Having said that – it does help us to get the word about for gigs and stuff, and it’s amazing for connecting with people from all over the world, but I find it very frustrating. It could be so much better, but without it we’d be a bit lost I reckon.
Photo: John Bolloten
Would you ever consider doing a split EP/album with anyone?
@J: Yeah man, with anyone who’s on our wavelength!
‘MD’: that stands for ‘Mad Dog,’ right? How did you get that nickname?
@M: Erm… Jonesy says it stands for “Merry Down.” He’s lying, that’s not true. It stands for “Muddy Doc’s.” I’m lying too. It could have been from the night I tried to ram raid Woolworths with my head. It was an epic fail. It’s all lies… or is it?
Is there anyone out there that you’d like to take the time out to thank?
@J: Loads mate, how much space you got? The Halifax Hikers, Skinny Graphics, The Scumfest collective, Extinction of Mankind, Jock & GBH, Adi Martin – our Driver, Ian Glasper, Anti-system. Everyone who’s supported us, encouraged us, given us a gig, bought stuff, etc etc.
@M: All the above and more of course. We try to thank people as we go but most importantly, and I know I speak for the band here, we’d like to thank the genuine people, who we consider our mates. Good people are few & far between: we are lucky to have a good few around us. Thanks to everyone who loves what we do, and to you Paul, this is our first written interview, appreciate it, cheers fellow.
Photos: John Bolloten
One final word from you both?
@J: Support your DIY scene, Kick out the Tories!
@M: Don’t be a sheep, or buckle when the tide’s against you.
Want to read this offline? Download Anger Burning Issue 3 PDF