No Comply

By paul

“We are better No Doubt – there’s a Punktastic news headline!” I couldn’t have written it better myself, so to have as bold a statement as that from a Plymouth six-piece to open up an interview is about as confident as you can get. Of course it’s all in jest, poking fun at a recent magazine who (incorrectly) compared NoComply to Gwen Stefani’s pop band. The issue for NoComply is a serious one – they feel that one of the UK’s biggest music magazines is putting them in with the wrong crowd and that cannot be a good thing, but being the people they are they’re taking it as a big joke. They know they work and tour their asses off (70 gigs this year before June) and they know the stupid comparisons between Kelly Kemp and Gwen Stefani are exactly that – stupid.

The Plymouth skacore band are ultra-friendly and approachable people and are easy interviewees, even if they admit to not have been grilled all that often. They’re chatty, opinionated and brutally honest which obviously makes for a great interview. Of course some are more honest than others and it seems tonight bassist Nick just wants to vent all his fury on a certain magazine – and justifiably so. As many of you probably know, one magazine laughingly said that the band were fronted by a man and in a live review compared Kelly to No Doubt songstress Gwen Stefani, so early on in the interview I asked Kelly to tell me why she is nothing like the ‘Hey Baby’ crooner. The question is met with giggles. “It’s not that I’ve got anything against her,” she says. “Normally being compared to her would be really good, but, arghh, I want to smack him [the journalist].”
“The Kerrang one was the worst,” guitarist Jon Dailey said. “I mean, ‘they’ve even got the blonde singer’, it’s like we intentionally got a blonde singer.”
“But I can’t even hear a comparison,” chips in bassist Nick. “I want to know where they are coming from. If they’re meant to be writers on the music scene, they should fucking listen and judge us.”
“It makes you wonder if they get paid and they slag us off I’d rather they described us well,” Jon adds.
“No girl could possibly be in a UK band and not listen to No Doubt,” Kelly suggests sarcastically. “Having a female singer works for us, people do say ‘oh it’s the band with the girl singer.”
Jon adds: “But we don’t go and see some male singer in a band and go ‘oh, it’s the band with the bloke singer’.”
“I’ve always got to be Gwen Stefani, Cinder Block or Brody,” Kelly laughs. “If I dye my hair black I can be Brody!”
“It’s quite a cool comparison because if they want to compare us to No Doubt, then fucking great ‘cos we’re better!” Nick states to laughing bandmates. “There’s a Punktastic news headline – We are better than No Doubt.” Cue bandmate hysterics.
“The thing that does piss me off is when they haven’t done a true review it really puts you down. You think, it’s fucking Kerrang. I don’t like it but I buy it to read it. I think it’s not fair on bands because all the kids buy it and when they buy it they read it and listen to what they have to say. That can damage a reputation – they can warp youngsters minds and that was what pissed me off the most.”

But dodgy comparisons aside, things are looking very good indeed for NoComply. With an EP out to critical acclaim by the people in the know and with a solid fanbase growing by the day, Plymouth should be proud of it’s sons (and daughter). The band admit that whenever they return to a town they’ve played previously there is always a decent response.
“We don’t get a mass of people but there’s a good crowd now who come and see us if we’ve played before,” Jon states. “Signing stuff is always weird though.”
“I remember the first thing I signed,” laughs Nick. “We had just started as a band and a friend came up and said can you sign this, and I was like, woah! That was the first one. At first I was like, ‘nah’ because you’re no different to me, except I’m a bass player. I didn’t know why they wanted it.”
The assorted array of items the band have signed is also a laughing matter. Kelly believes a pair of socks are the strangest thing she’s scribbled on alongside a Good Charlotte cd and trombonist Oz happens to admit to signing parts of the female anatomy.
“We played in Plymouth a few weeks ago at a school and people were bringing their guitars and stuff. That was weird,” Jon adds.

With Plymouth their home town, NoComply admit that during the early days they weren’t all that popular.
“People fucking hated us,” Nick said. “In Plymouth there’s a lot of bad feeling between bands. It’s like they didn’t like us because we were getting out and doing something. They didn’t like the fact that we were getting out on tour and getting somewhere. There’s only two bands that will come up to us, one of them is The Once Over Twice. The young punk bands don’t like us.”
“There’s nothing to be jealous about,” Jon adds, “they can do it if they put in the hard work.”
Amazingly, despite their hectic work schedule, some members of NoComply still manage to hold onto jobs when they are home. Kelly works as a waitress, Nick and Jon work as printers and Oz “flips burgers”.

For the future, an album is planned for late this year and the band will continue to tour their collective asses off for as long as possible.
“The southern dates are always really good ones,” said Jon. “Worcester, London Underworld, there all good shows.”
A video has also been planned for the likes of P-Rock and other assorted music channels. “There’s a bunch of live stuff,” says Jon. “But we don’t know if they’ll play it,” Kelly interjects. The band then disect a couple of number one videos from the channel and question just exactly how they made it. Zen Baseball Bat and Whitmore are two of the bans who, they believe, didn’t have number one-worthy tracks. There’s even talk of a split EP but at the moment that’s all it is. As yet no bands have even been asked about the project, but MU330, Digger and Link 80 are bands that NoComply would love to work with.
“You don’t want it to be too similiar,” Jon adds. “If we did it with Howard’s Alias it would be too obvious.”

On top of that there’s Kelly’s duet with Route 215 on a song on the London boys forthcoming new record.
“I’d like to say that I had some part in the writing but I didn’t at all,” she laughs. “Rod was at one of our gigs, at Summerslam, and then he phoned up. Everyone was saying before that Rod writes really rude lyrics and I said ‘I can’t sing anything too rude’!”
Although as of yet the two bands haven’t played together live yet, NoComply hope that audiences up and down the country will get to see the duet in all its glory sooner rather than later.

One of NoComply’s career highlights so far was sharing a bill with US pop-punkers Good Charlotte earlier in the year and they admit it was a real eye-opener.
“You watch their stage show and they give it so much,” said Nick. “I was stood there open mouthed. I felt so sick beforehand.”
“I couldn’t speak all day because my throat was so fucked,” adds Kelly. “I don’t know how we got through.”
“They are like, rock stars,” interjects Jon. “They seemed nice guys, they were so professional. There were crying girls and a few banners.”
“Kiss me Benji!” laughs Kelly and the band again join in the banter suggesting ‘Kiss Me Oz’ banners for their young trombonist who it would appear does seem to attract his fair share of female attention.
“People say bands shouldn’t sign to majors and stuff, and I don’t think you should compromise your beliefs, but if you’ve got an offer and you can sit down it’s so silly to say I want to stay underground because if you have a good positive message to put across then loads of people should hear it,” adds Kelly.
“There are some bands that should go on and take what they are saying to new people, alter their perceptions. I’m not one of those people who would stay independent and stuff. There are some bands who get ‘they can’t sign to a major’ and shit. I mean Capdown, they have such a positive message.”
Capdown are the purveyors of our scene,” adds Jon. “They were the first band, without them half of our style of bands wouldn’t be anywhere. They work so hard. They deserve whatever they get.”

Our conversation continues into the night discussing certain issues of the delay and mutual love (and hate) for certain bands. NoComply later get up on stage and rock out to 150 kids, it’s a great show with lots of energy and it’s clear to see exactly why the band are highly rated. Whether Kerrang likes them or not is irrelevant, because NC are an exciting young band with a bright future ahead of them. The Rx Bandits and Nerf Herder better watch out later this year – because a certain Plymouth six-piece will be tearing up venues before they even hit the stage.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]