Moral Dilemma


PUNKTASTIC IS SAT at a window seat in The 12 Bar on London’s Denmark Street. It’s just around the corner from the cavernous hole that used to be the Astoria, a venue of significance for anybody that has ever been to a gig in the capital. The bar doubles as a muffin-selling café, and then triples as a music venue. In the alleyway behind you can find the rehearsal room of MORAL DILEMMA, the London hardcore punk band that has been surging onto PT’s radar of late.

It’s early evening on a cold Monday night, quite the opposite of “the screaming hot summer of 2006” when Moral Dilemma first formed. “We had a slightly different line-up,” informs Craig Temple [CT], the band’s guitarist and principle singer, when PT asks about the history of the band. “We’d done about a year of playing in squats when our bass player left.”

“I met Craig at a party where The King Blues were playing my front room. He puked in my kitchen.” Chloe Chourrout [CC], the band’s current bass player and secondary singer, obviously didn’t let first impressions put her off. “Moral Dilemma was always the band I wanted to play for.”

The band, rounded off by drummer, Pasty [PA], then set about the journey that so many other bands had made before them. Play gigs, record album, tour, tour again, record another album, tour some more, and so on. The culmination of hard work came last year when Moral Dilemma first went on tour with long-time friends, The King Blues (including a date at the massive Shepherd’s Bush Empire, a venue none of the individual members could imagine playing), and followed that up with appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals.

Now, in a period of downtime, the London trio has decided to re-release its 2007 debut album, ‘Right To Remain Silent’. PT invited the threesome to its table.

You’re re-releasing your debut album, ‘Right To Remain Silent’. How did this come about?

CT: We’ve been without it [physically] for a few years now. We originally pressed up 1000 copies. We toured with it, and then we sold out of them. Due to being a D.I.Y. band when we went to press up the second album it was literally a choice, either we press up the second album or we press up the first one. We couldn’t afford to press up both so we’ve been without it for two years. Randomly we got an email from John at Active Distribution who wanted to stock it. We told him we didn’t have any and couldn’t afford to press it so he said let’s chip in together and put it out. So, because of him, we managed to pay for a pressing. Because we’ve been without it for so long there’s been a demand for it. We were like let’s give it a decent release because there are people who got into us off the second album. We just wanted to celebrate it a bit and make a bit of a song and dance about it.

How did the original recording come about?

CT: We decided that we didn’t want to suffer the same fate that a lot of London bands suffer, just playing in London for however many years and then calling it quits. So we put together 10 songs, which was our live set. We turned that into an album. We recorded with Peter Miles and Itch [Fox] from The King Blues in November 2006. When we started out, Itch was always saying he wanted to be involved. We went to him with an album worth of material and he said “I’ll produce it, but only if Pete’s at the controls.” We got hold of Pete. We said this is how much we got, this is what we’ve got, and he was like, “You can do it in a day, surely.” Why not?

What was it like recording?

CT: We did the whole thing in 19 hours flat, which, at the time, seemed like the most logical thing.

PA: It was insane. Absolutely insane. We were really knackered.

CT: It was tough but we’ll wear that as a badge. It’s a bit rough around the edges perhaps but…

PA: We didn’t really know what we were doing. We’d never been into a studio environment before. We’d done a little EP with Juliana [Cerqueira – ex-bassist], which was a taster of what recording would be like, but it was awful. I mean, I like a few tracks off of it, much to Craig’s disgust. But to do ‘Right To Remain Silent’, it was the right time to get in the studio with Pete. To be in that environment we were all quite intimidated.

CC: We were in good hands though.

For those that haven’t heard the album, what can they expect?

CT: It’s an abrasive record. When we started playing and putting together music, from my perspective at least, you either had ska-punk and skacore bands floating around, and on the other end of the scale you had bands playing the hardcore punk side of stuff, like The Restarts. It was either that or really heavy crust bands. Most of those bands, and I mean no offence by this, were in their late 30’s/early 40’s. It was one of those things where I was 15/16 wanting to hear a loud punk band that didn’t sound like an Epitaph band. So when we got together it was a real primal kind of rage. We wanted to be natural and do what came naturally. For us it was just do a loud, abrasive, fast punk record. And then at the end you’ve got ‘Bastard Sons’. We started on that song and it became obvious that we wanted to start drawing a different tone into it. We drew influence from bands like The Gun Club. There’s a more blues-ier kind of stuff in there which isn’t often expressed. I’m a huge fan of Blues music, and it just kind of seeps in. Essentially, ‘Agree To Disagree’ is just an abrasive 25 minutes, or something like that, of a young punk band. I think it sounds like a band that recorded it in a really quick session. We’re very proud of that record.

PA: I was heavily into The Partisans. That’s where my drumming technique came from as well. I was still learning the drums at the time. I wanted every song to sound like ‘Killing Machine’ by The Partisans. That’s it.

CT: You can definitely hear a big mixed bag of old style English punk to American hardcore stuff. It is a varied album. It wasn’t really thought out that way. It’s one of those things that came naturally. There are a lot of punk bands (we probably fall into the category) who don’t put out very varied albums. For the most part when we get in a room and write new material, the writing process is that we try everything until it sounds cool.

How do you find the album compares to your second offering, ‘Agree To Disagree’?

CT: With ‘Agree To Disagree’ we wanted to do the most heavy, loud, fast album we physically could. We’d gotten so tired of playing with ska bands or pop-punk bands. I’m not criticising that type of music in the slightest but it was like you [the audience] want a ska song, well we won’t fucking give you one. Here’s what we got. I think it was very much that attitude when we recorded. We just wanted to make it abrasive. There was more writing as we went along on the road and eventually there was about an album worth of material that worked well together. I think ‘Agree To Disagree’ is a lot more abrasive. It’s a lot faster as well. It’s more full-on. That was deliberate at the time. You can definitely hear a progression on ‘Agree To Disagree’ but I think ‘Right to Remain Silent’ is a lot more varied.

How do you feel about the album four years on?

CT: That album’s a testament in a way. I like that album because when we listen back to it I’m sure we play the songs a lot better now. I’m sure there are some songs on there that we’re not too interested in playing live but that was our first record. It is a statement. If you’re just starting in a punk band I hope that it’s the sort of album that makes you think if they can do that in 19 hours flat there’s no reason that we can’t as well.

The official re-release date is 24 February 2011, the day you play at the Camden Barfly, the band’s biggest headline show to date.

CT: Yeah, we’re using the gig as launch party type thing. It’s the first time we’ve gotten to pick support bands. I definitely recommend Pettybone. They’re the last band I saw that when I turned up for a gig early and saw them play they kicked my arse. As a hardcore band they’re more interesting than most things that have been going. They’re very dynamic and they rock it. The Shitty Limits, who are supporting as well, are an excellent band. Sounds like Eater playing hardcore tunes. They tick all the right boxes for me.

What are your plans following the release?

CT: We’ve got a tour in March (mostly Scottish dates). Then we’re doing a tour with The Casualties in July.

CC: Working on a new album. Finish writing and recording that.

PA: We’ve demoed four tracks so it’s well on its way. We’ve got some other tracks coming up as well.

CT: When we came off the road after Reading and Leeds we didn’t really have much on so we sat down and said let’s write an album. At the moment things we’ve been writing have been very mixed and varied. It feels very much like we’re planning to construct an album that would be great to listen to beginning to end. At the moment it’s getting very interesting.

CC: Maybe we can take a week to record this one.

A week of 19 hour days?

CT: Fucking hell. We could do a concept album in that time. ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. ‘Ziggy Stardust’.

Is your sound going to change?

CC: Again it’s going to be a progression. A natural progression.

PA: It’ll compose of our collective influences again.

CT: It’s been nice getting into the rehearsal studios. We all sort of dreaded not touring for a while but we’ve been looking forward to getting in the rehearsal room each time. It’s been fresh. The things we’ve been writing we’ve all been into. It’s been inspiring to do that. And you remember why you play in a band. Touring’s great and it’s the most fun part of it, but actually writing and creating music is the most important thing. It’s cool to enjoy that process again and for it not to be tedious. We feel fulfilled musically.


Moral Dilemma headlines the Camden Barfly on Thursday 24 February 2011.’Right To Remain Silent’ will be re-released on the same day and will be available at:

For more info:

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