By paul

Paul: I could only start this interview in one way – welcome back! How and when did you decide to get back together? Did you feel there was unfinished business with the cancelled final shows?
Boob: Cheers Paul, bit surreal “being back” but were looking forward to it. I really had no idea this was going to happen when you asked me to do an interview about Civil Disobedients. I must stress now these are my views, I’d hate to put words into others mouths’. Anyhow my girlfriend Liz threw me a surprise 30th late last year with Boom in the Diamond Industry (their record is fat! Check it), Scared of the Ocean and The CDF playing. Jake was going to do a version of Nike Shoes with Boom, so a friend had brought her sax along. We were all there, drunk, with a full backline and a sax and thought fuck it, we’ll do a couple of tunes. It was just really, sounds cheesy, but nice. No worries just playing with friends, in front of friends. We had to cancel our final MK gig to a thousand or so people because the venue manager (not the promoter who’s a safe guy) hadn’t got the right licenses. Although we did have the best ever after show of a show that never happened! Every cloud… So we had to disappoint a lot of people, decide whether or not to do two smaller gigs and disappoint the people who would see our 2nd last show and not the actual last show. We tried to get the original gig sorted, legal and rescheduled and it just couldn’t happen. In the end we played a last gig, pretty low key but a great night, just a shame all who wanted to be there couldn’t. Hopefully some of them will make it along to Slamdunk.

Paul: Why choose Slam Dunk to start again?
Boob: Well it’s not so much starting again as it is playing again. Ben just rang me, asked if we were up for playing. We’ve worked with him for the best part of ten years, been to Slamdunk when we’re up that way after shows or on days off on tour, tell you the truth it’s a wonder we’re not barred! He’s always been a big supporter of the band and the UK scene in general. He’s trying to build something up, independently and organically and above all I really think he loves it. I reckon if he’d rung before my birthday it would have been a no though. Also it’s the 10th anniversary of Civ Dis, pretty much to the day, we’ve been split up about 3 years and it just feels right.

Paul: Is this definitely a one-off with just the two shows and nothing else or can we expect more dates and/or new music?
Boob: When we split up I really thought we’d never play again as Capdown, it just felt that life was moving on and that it was done. I think it took playing together to make us realise how much we all enjoy and miss playing those songs. Also I think it is kind of history for us now, we have moved on, it’s something we look back on fondly and with pride. When the band split up it had partly defined who we all were for a big part of our lives, we’ve played together since 15, some of us even longer. I know I felt pretty precious about it all. I think when it finished we were caught up wondering what life would be like, worried about missing how things used to be. Now it’s over and we’ve all moved on it’s something we miss and know we enjoy, so why deny ourselves? We’ll see how these two gigs go, we won’t ever write together as Capdown again, and we’ve got no plans to play any other shows. Maybe one day we’ll have to do a couple more to satisfy the withdrawal symptoms, I’m giving up smoking so withdrawal has been playing heavily on my mind recently!

Paul: Does it feel weird that, despite being one of the biggest bands in the ‘scene’ at the time, you’ll be playing at Slam Dunk in front of kids who a) maybe never heard of you before and b) were possibly still in nappies when you first started out as a band!
Boob: Yeah that could be weird. I just hope that people will take the time to come party with us, its great to play to people who haven’t heard you before, if anything it will spur us on to “proper have it”, although we have no intention of doing anything other than that. I’ve certainly become more aware of my age, recently turning 30. I’m not too up to date with the “scene”. I have got rid of my dreads and currently sporting a side parting, probably not cool but it looks good in my Volvo. I hadn’t really thought about that, you reckon there’ll be bingo, and travel rugs there? Oh yeah we need a Stairlift to the side of the stage, must speak to Ben about that…

Paul: Just rewinding a bit, why did you choose to call it a day in the first place? Did growing older and having children make the realities of being in a touring band that bit harsher?
Boob: Yeah, growing older, having kids, being sick of some aspects of being in a band. Jake wanted to study and be home more for his family. Creatively I think we were writing, trying to change our sound as we grew older and felt it like we were trying to bring people with us, which kind of led to us subconsciously compromising what we wanted to do. For at least the first half of Capdown we were the same age as, and grew up with our audience, then younger people got into the band and we started to develop our sound it just seemed people wanted textbook ska punk, although we love the music we made we weren’t going to mass produce music we didn’t want to make just to sell records or be “successful”. I think happiness and success for us all is being true and doing what we want to. We started making mash up music because we like lots of music; it was us trying to include things we like into our own sound. It was never a sub genre of itself to us, to me conscious music, community and creating is what it’s all about. Not fashion, cliques or “I’m more punk than you”. A lot of the more popular recent stuff seems to have more in common with misogynist 80’s cock rock than any inkling of making new music or writing material that challenges and inspires others… just an opinion.

Paul: Do you feel you were as influential to the UK scene at the time as you seem to have proved to be?
Boob: I think there was a lot of other bands and people who were all involved in an amazing time for punk in the UK. There were bands just before us who never got the recognition they deserved who were influences on us King Prawn, Imbalance to name a couple. Never really thought about being influential other than people saying that to us, generally people in the UK scene have been really good to us. It’s something people say to us which is always flattering, especially when you like the music they make. Or people say “Capdown got me into punk rock” or “I met my wife at one of your shows”… those ones are cool too. As to when we are/were/if we were influential I have no idea. I guess Civ Dis is ten years old, still sells. Randomly popped up in yours and others “Best Albums of the Last 10 Years” (including the bloody NME! I’m sure they slated it when it came out.) its just nice people still listen, introduce new people to it, buy our records, we’re very privileged to have had the time we did together, the people we worked with, the whole scene was awesome. I hope to be a good influence for my son, that’ll do me nicely.

Paul: There were loads of bands at the time – Adequate 7, The King Blues, Five Knuckle – that seemed so tight knit. Do you think that ‘scene’ is as strong now as it was then? Are there any bands around now that excite you as much as some of the bands from the early 2000 HHN-era?
Boob: I really don’t know, there is certainly a community of good people making good music on their own terms. That’s been the nice thing about the couple of gigs we’ve done with This Contrast Kills, going to gigs again, hearing new bands. I just think that the scene is so fractured, that might not be a fair analysis as I’m not as involved as I used to be. To be honest that was such an exciting time of my life and I have so many good and hopefully life long friends that came from that scene that nothing will compare for me, although I’m sure people before us and after us feel the same, and rightly so.

Paul: As a pre-MySpace band, do you feel you may have been even more successful in today’s environment?
Boob: I’m really not sure. I think we would have been just as bad at answering messages. I’m sure you know Paul, opening an inbox of 400 messages and not knowing where to start. In the early days of Myspace etc we were so busy playing, writing and recording that the last thing you would want to do is spend the rest of your time typing about yourself…just occurred to me that’s exactly what I’m doing now. Maybe I should log on to Myspace as I’m on a roll.

Paul: As a band do you feel ‘Civil Disobedients’ is your best album?
Boob: Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… yes and no… most exciting maybe, best I don’t know, certainly very proud of it. Think it was great fresh ideas, played like a load of excited kids who can’t believe someone is paying for them to record! As an example of how fresh it was even to us Ska Wars was written in the two days we had playing the record to Lil and Kafren HHN before we recorded. Those two days of “pre production” were paid for by Jake busking with his sax outside Farringdon tube station with Tim doing laps in his car and every time shouting out “you got enough yet slag?” They were the days. I wish we’d taken more time over Pound for the Sound as I think that was an important record for us. I think its true of a lot of bands that you get your whole life to write your first record and then suddenly your doing your second, you’ve been on tour for 260 odd days that year and there’s a couple of months to get writing. It’s played well and sounds really tight, got some of my favourite bits on it. But it could have benefited from us not being in such a rush to release it and get on the road again. Wind Up Toys I know was too different for a lot of people but I’m really proud of it, new ideas, played really well, sounds big, sounds different thanks to Mr Hibbitt. I think to record anything other than that record would have been dishonest of us. I think loads of people thought it was an attempt to go more mainstream, I disagree I think it was about us stretching ourselves and growing up. That record took along time to write, record, fund and then we looked at a lot of cool labels, but when we started looking at contracts they just didn’t sit right with us. By the time it came out the ideas didn’t sound as fresh as they did when it was written. If it’d been released a year or two earlier peoples opinions may have been different. I do suggest people re listen to it, there is probably more influences on that record than any other, they are just more subtle. That’s about as objective as I can be I’m afraid, subjectively Civ Dis probably is my favourite that has as much to do with the time of my life as anything else though.

Paul: When you played Slam Dunk Festival a few years ago in Leeds when it was outdoors in Millennium Square, there was a fair bit of criticism that you had slowed down the songs. Was this intentional? Did you think that was a fair reaction?
Boob: If I remember correctly that was a hella windy day, we had a really weird sound on stage, I don’t remember not enjoying it but people have good days and bad days. That does seem to be when we were permanently told we’d slowed. To be honest that’s what I mean about Civ Dis being played “like a load of kids….” some parts of that record could have been better with more space less pace, some of it was perfect on pace. It wasn’t so much intentional as I think we just found the right tempos for the music we’d written, it’s a shame that was often after we’d recorded them. A lot of that is probably my fault though as I was always the one saying faster, louder, harder! If you really listen to our earlier stuff you can tell it’s all a bit too quick for the ideas to come out properly. Also people are entitled to their opinions.

Paul: Looking forward, how did This Contrast Kills start? What influences the band?
Boob: TCK is me, Keith and Tim not wanting to stop making music. Keith started writing / producing soon after Capdown and came to me and Tim with a couple of ideas. We loved it and started getting involved. It was really weird because most of the bass lines and all the drums he’d written sounded like me and Tim playing them anyway! In contrast to Capdown (excuse the pun) we’re spending most of our time writing and producing together on computers this time. We have most of an album in progress and the whole EP was recorded before we’d even jammed live together. Guess we’re trying to avoid mistakes we’ve made in the past. It’s really fun and we’re just getting on our feet in a live sense, a bit weird at first playing new music without Jake to jolly everyone into action. I guess we’ve been spoilt though from our years in Capdown, we were always so lucky to have enjoyed an amazing fan base and live gigs. We’re loving the music again, writing with no one expecting anything of us, getting to experiment with synths a lot more. It’s kind of electronica rock stuff, focusing on the songs and hooks. Someone said to me “Foo Fighters and Pendulum arguing about how to play disco”. We call it disco shit. It’s not really disco though as much break-beat-techno-rock I’m getting lost trying to describe it, you’ll have to listen. The EP is kind of demonstrates the progression of our sound from what we used to do and ends up in a new direction. There’s a load more mostly finished songs waiting for us to have the time to get ready to play live. Keith’s lyrics and vocals are awesome, I think it’ll get better with time as well as we’re all still adjusting to this new experience. That’s why we thought we’d just do a low key release and some shows with friends; we’re still playing, tweaking and learning with it. We’ve got a load of production and synths stuff coming off a laptop at the moment although it could all be played live. We’d probably need 5 or 6 of us and we just want to keep it simple, easy to organize and easier to decide what we want to do… Get back to the 3 of us having fun again. If it goes well then we’ll get some more people involved. We already have some great people in mind that we’d love to work with.

Paul: What happened to The Maccalites?
Boob: The Maccalites was, and is, what it turned out to be…. Which is what it became after it started. It was the Maccalites and we were all well happy. Hopefully we’ll actually play a gig, do a record or at least have dinner together in the next 10 years or so. Still some of the best barbeques I’ve ever had in my life.

Paul: If you could change anything about the Capdown experience, what would it be and why?
Boob: More time on Pound for the Sound, less time getting Wind Up Toys out. Should’ve got back out to Japan again, that was amazing. Going to America, should have done that even if it had killed us, all bands die anyway. To be honest I wouldn’t change anything, you need to be able to regret things to learn, people who say “no regrets” I just don’t believe. Regrets are different to wanting to change the past, you can regret stuff and change the future for the good. I probably wouldn’t have met my wife-to-be, had my son, met some amazing people and spent my time making music and touring with my best friends in the world.

Sorry for the epic answers, Happy 10th Birthday Punktastic, you share it with Civil Disobedients, we’ll do cake at slamdunk.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]