Howards Alias

By paul

It’s not cool to like ska bands anymore. Everything’s all about mesh caps, tight t-shirts and genres ending in ‘core’ apparently. But that hasn’t stopped Southampton’s Howards Alias whipping up a storm at venues across the country in support of their awesome ‘The Chameleon Script’ record. For Matt (vocals/guitar), Steve (bass), Nick (trombone) and Jevon (drums) are winning hearts all over the country with their energetic live show and catchier-than-Syphilis songs.

After forming in 1999, and going through 11 members on their way to the current four, the band list The Police, Link 80 and Weezer among their influences – but don’t tag them under a genre. “Howards Alias is just a band!” Matt explained. “We actually have a pet hate that bands are tagged this and that. In theory genres are a good thing but its gotten to the point that if someone doesn’t like one band that plays a certain style, chances are they won’t be keen to hear other bands that are tagged with the same name, even if they sound totally different.”

‘The Chameleon Script’ is quite simply a great record, choc-full of catchy hooks and sweet melodies, alongside some clever and introspective lyrics that don’t fall into any kind of clichéd traps. Describing it as “gloomy ska rock”, the band admits they have been surprised at the positive reaction it has generated. Matt added: “We are overwhelmingly pleased, I haven’t really heard much bad about it, however, we feel sometimes people attach the inane, stupidity of ska-punk to us too easily and this may not be a true representation of our style of music.”

With Lightyear and King Prawn having quit this year, Howards Alias, a band renowned for touring, know exactly what it’s like on the road – and it’s not all sweetness and light. Steve said: “Sometimes people have jaded views of bands with massive guarantees leading lives of luxury with heavily lined pockets, when in reality a guarantee for us usually only provides just enough money to pay for petrol and maybe some food if we are lucky. [But] we also get to travel to brilliant places and meet lots of amazing new friends along the way. The good parts make suffering the bad points worth it.”

A total of 12 new songs have been demoed already and another eight are in the bag for a new album, which should be released early in 2004. Ska might not be cool next year, but Howards Alias will certainly be at the forefront of the revolution.

The Chameleon Script is out now on Good Clean Fun Records


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]