The Once Over Twice

By bushy

MARK: Hi can you introduce yourself and your role in the band?
DARREN: Hello, I’m Darren, I play guitar, sing sometimes, shout sometimes and write the words.

MARK: For many of our readers The Once Over Twice will be an unfamiliar name. Can you tell us a bit about the band?
DARREN: Myself and the drummer, Jon, started playing together years ago under the name Chomsky. A few people (and band names) came and went, resulting in the present line-up. We released an EP ‘Strikes And Gutters’ last year on Org Records and have played wherever and whenever we can. Musically, we’re a succinct blend of Fugazi, The Clash and Avail, although the others would beg to differ.

MARK: You’re just about to release ‘Special Moments To Detonate Themselves’ and personally I think it’s a great album. How pleased are you guys with it?
DARREN: Thanks. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with it, which is more to do with my mood at any one time than the record itself. When it catches me off-guard I feel extremely proud of what we’ve done, other times I just wince at the vocal bits I couldn’t nail properly. As a whole, though, it covers a lot of ground and a lot of lyrical ideas so that’s an achievement.

MARK: How long did it take you to write and record and is there anything you would have done differently second time around?
DARREN: The songs were a culmination of everything we’ve been doing for the past few years, which is the same for a lot of bands’ debuts. The recording was done over a lengthy period too but the actual time in the studio was about 10 days, at a guess. Because we’re very good friends with the studio engineer, the whole process was quite organic and unscheduled, which suits me fine.
The difference between this album and the next time we’re in the studio is that I’ll use a much better guitar and approach the vocals with more care. The usual stuff.

MARK: The album has been released through In At The Deep End. How did you hook up with the label and what’s it like working for them?
DARREN: I sent a demo of the album to Mark Swinney, who runs the label, and he immediately said yes to releasing it. A man with impeccable taste! We’d had a few let-downs from other labels so there was no question or delay. IATDE are great, with a cool roster. Mark cares about the music and wants to see it out there where it belongs. That’s good enough for me.

MARK: Why did you decide to use ‘Il faut bien vivre!’ by Gérard Lattier as your cover art?
DARREN: I saw it in a friend’s book called Raw Creation: Outsider Art published by Phaidon Press and was struck by the chaos, the humour, the spontaneity and the emotional extremes of the painting. I found out where Gérard lived (in Poulx, France) and wrote to him asking for permission. He liked the idea and said yes. He has since sent me a spoken word story album that accompanies one of his projects. It’s all in French and it’s nuts. You should check his stuff out.

MARK: What can we expect from The Once Over Twice live experience?
DARREN: Is there anything left to expect from rock’n’roll days? Well, I like to be moved and overwhelmed when I go to see my favourite bands so I shouldn’t expect anything less of us. When we’re all firing together it feels just right.

MARK: Are you a band that enjoys playing live and who is your favourite band to have shared the stage with so far?
DARREN: Playing live is the whole point, isn’t it? The problem is we just don’t play anywhere near enough but that’s about to change with the album release. We played with Fugazi last October so that pretty much beats everyone else hands down, but I love the shows we’ve done with Jetplane Landing and our city friends, NoComply.

MARK: Plymouth appears to be producing some quality bands at the moment. How good is the scene down there?
DARREN: It’s very healthy. You get the usual clutch of imitation bands but there’s an evolutionary process that’s throwing up some great music right now. NoComply, Orca and Bedroom Project spring to mind as the ones with most potential and the songs to back it up.

MARK: Where do you see yourselves in a year’s time?
DARREN: Don’t ask. Whatever I say will signal the death knell for it. Where I don’t want to be is still wondering if the band will ever get anywhere. It’s taken a lifetime as it is. As long as I still feel driven and passionate about the music we make.

MARK: Do any of you actually own the perfect action figure?
DARREN: You are, of course, referring to the song ‘A Clandestine Quest For The Perfect Action Figure’. Well, this could be where I say something puerile and macho about the action figure in my pants but I’m not that kind of guy. And it’s not that perfect.

MARK: Thanks for your time. Good luck with the album. Is there anything you’d like to add?
DARREN: Contact the band at and go to or for info, gig dates, downloads and reviews.
Forthcoming shows:
4th Aug Southampton with Hell Is For Heroes
5th Aug Oxford with Hell Is For Heroes
6th Aug Cardiff with Hell Is For Heroes
7th Aug Plymouth Phoenix, Amnesty benefit
18th Aug Leicester Charlotte with NoComply,
19th Aug Bridport with NoComply,
2nd-10th Oct UK tour with The Letters Organize

Cheers for the questions.
And fuck the BNP.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]