Rodney Shades, vocalist of the Scottish D-Beat (or should that be G-Beat?) band Thisclose, gives us an insight into the ‘Grave New Beat’…
Tell us a bit about yourselves…
@R: Thisclose formed in 2012 and played our first gigs in July of that year. Since that time we have performed throughout the UK and Ireland and most recently a 2 week tour of the United States with Active Minds. We have released 3 albums – S/T, One Foot In The Grave, Chapter III – and 3 full Eps – Burnin’ Anger, Fear and Terror, The Price We Pay, in addition to various comp appearances, splits and collection CDs/cassettes.
So, did the band start out as a joke or was there a real effort to try and figure out what might have happened in 1986 had the musical direction of Discharge taken a different course?
@R: Thisclose was formed by Discharge fans with a desire to play Discharge-influenced hardcore. There was no set plan, just some riffs and a love of what had come before and a desire to take it in a grave new direction.
Your merchandising is very clever – the long sleeve t-shirt tribute to the ill-fated 1991 Massacre Divine tour, for example. There’s a real attention to detail there… Who helps you come up with ideas and graphical work?
@R: We have had the good fortune to be able to collaborate with some fantastic artists with Thisclose. The cover art of S/T and One Foot In The Grave were created by Sean Fitzgerald and the art for our latest LP, Chapter III, was created by Nisi, two very talented Irish artists. All other aspects of our artwork and graphical presentation are created in-house by various members of the group.
Speaking of merch, does the video, which is on Betamax, actually have the concert footage on or was it simply a case of finding a load of discarded tapes and re-labelling them?
@R: We appreciate and understand that many of our fans do not have a Betamax video player and as such have made our first concert video ‘Live in London’ available for free on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/thisclosetv
Was the Betamax tape in fact a cryptic reference to the inspection copy of the (unreleased) Discharge gig that was allegedly stolen from one of the band in a ecord shop by a certain member of Doom or simply a nod to the 1986 era?
@R: Although no members of Discharge were harmed in the making of ‘Live in London’, one Doom associate was utilised.
You’ve recently been on tour with Active Minds in the USA – how did that go?
@R: Our July 2015 tour of the USA was a smash-hit success. In addition to excellent crowds, food and tourism experiences we were also afforded the opportunity to play not only with the original UK straight edge hardcore group Active Minds on eleven separate occasions but also with many of the leading hardcore acts coming out of the USA currently. We are thinking specifically here about groups such as Lotus Fucker and Gas Chamber, two bands that are well worth your attention and both have many releases available via their Bandcamp websites.
All photos courtesy of Thisclose
Are there plans for any further touring at all?
@R: In 2015 Thisclose completed more concert performances than we had altogether in the years 2012-14 and as such we are on a hiatus for the moment in order to give ourselves some time to recharge and reflect. We have had however, and are continuing to accept, offers to perform in countries all around the world and are actively investigating the practicalities of these opportunities.
So – you now have three albums out – the output seems to be relentless! Are there any plans for a compilation or box set? Can we look forward to hearing more new songs next year, perhaps?
@R: Your use of the word ‘relentless’ is very apt as it certainly feels as though the band has been working non-stop since 2012. As stated above our immediate future is about taking stock of where we are rather than rushing headlong into the wind, new Thisclose material will appear as and when it feels natural. You are correct that there were plans in place for a CD discography box set, but the label involved has folded and as all our recordings are now available on CD it seems unlikely in the current music buying climate that there would be any demand for them to be re-issued on CD anytime in the immediate future.
Our latest release is our split 7” with Active Minds, available from SPHC in the USA and should be arriving in European distros over the coming months. Our next release will be a compilation cassette ‘The Punk Singles Collection’ on Crysis Records and Media of Malaysia, which should be available early 2016.
Is there anyone out there that you’d like to take the time out to thank?
@R: Thanks to all the DIEHARDS who keep the candle burning, in love believe!