Introducing: Rivalries

By Chris Marshman

For Fans Of: Apologies, I Have None, Broadway Calls, blink-182


Rivalries are the type of band that would have inspired Punktastic all those years ago when we first started. This is Pop Punk at its finest, and in a raw form. There are some political messages here, but none of them ever preach at you – instead they treat the listener with a refreshing respect. Rivalries are somewhat of a Punk supergroup, with their members currently or previously involved in the likes of Limited Means, Neil Sutherland & Friends and Loudmouth Eddie amongst others, so it’s no surprise that they’ve already built themselves a reputation. They supported The Menzingers back in May (a highlight for the band so far) and here’s to more great moments for Rivalries.

Below is a stream of a song from their Bandcamp page called “Fifth of April,” it’s taken from their “Built To Last” EP.  And we’ve got an interview where we talk about the band’s political influences and what they have planned for the rest of the year.

Hey guys, first of all, can we get your names and what you do in the band?

We are Neil (Guitar & Vocals), Quinn (Drums), Tommy (Bass) & Vince (Guitar & Vocals).

Talk to me a bit about the history of Rivalries

We all met each other in various ways through the punk scene. Mainly through house shows and Last Hours, which Tommy & Vince wrote for. Also Neil and Vince had been on tour as Neil Sutherland & Friends & Limited Means in 2009. In the summer of 2010 Neil moved to London and had a first acoustic jam with Vince and wrote the first Rivalries song, First Internationalists. Soon after Tommy picked up the bass for the first time and came to play with us. In the first 6 months or so we only did acoustic practices but always planned to make it full band electric. The only exception to this was in March 2011 when we played as a 3 piece at the Deptford Town Hall Occupation which was part of the student demonstrations at the time. That was a pretty amazing experience and had a very different feel to anything we’d played before or since. Massive thanks to Ren for having us down to it.

Neil and Quinn knew each other from School back in Essex and we’d all met him at one of Jas’s epic house shows and we basically had one practice and it was pretty much perfect from the word go. We all had a similar approach and idea of what we wanted to do and we all got on really well.

We’d all wanted to have something recorded before we started playing shows, just to get everything tight and have something for people to take home. We were lucky enough that Joe from Apologies was up for recording us at his studio, which was done at anti-social hours but which was so much fun, so massive thanks to him for that.

With Neil’s hand designed front cover we had our EP for our first show at the 12 Bar in Tottenham Court Road in June 2011. So we’ve been together for a year now!

If we just talk about the bands previous/current other bands for a sec: Vince sings in Limited Means, a band that usually employ a strong political background in their songs. Is that something that’s in the Rivalries lyrics too?

The answer to this isn’t that straight forward.

The lyrics in Limited Means are based more on Vince’s polemics and experiences, being an acoustic two piece with Mike (one of the best people you can meet & bassist in Home Advantage & Pacer).

In fact all of our previous bands, Neil Sutherland & Friends, Athens Polytechnic & Loudmouth Eddie all had aspects of political & social commentary.

We all think about politics but come at it from different angles. In fact, that’s part of the idea behind the name “Rivalries”, y’know apart from the awesome Menzingers song. Quinn is a liberal, Neil and & Tommy are Anarchists and Vince is a Socialist, so although we share strong common ideals like equality & positivity, we also have differences. This is reflected in the lyrics as there is a tendency to discuss what we share. Not to say that we don’t express our individual ideas too, but always with respect and in discussion. Saying that, a lot of our songs don’t have politics in, or form part of the back drop, as it is important to us all, especially with the current world economic & geopolitical situation. We all feel that things should and can be better.

You supported The Menzingers in May. How did it feel to be playing alongside one of your favourite bands?

It was brilliant. They are pretty much our favourite band, and in fact the first acoustic practice Neil & Vince had involved playing “I was born” off Chamberlain Waits. We think they are a great band and one of the best in terms of composition, lyrics and delivery. Each album has been different, amazing and absolutely compelling. The show was sold out months before and they were fantastic live as they always are. We are so grateful to Banquet for having us play and organizing such an awesome show.

It was made even better by the fact that Pacer played, who are probably one of the best live bands in the UK at the moment, and really nice as Limited Means had supported the Menzingers a year earlier, so both Mike and Vince played support in their other bands.

As a band you take advantage of social media pretty well, especially on Tumblr. How important is social media as a way to keep connected?

It can be really great especially for a band starting out as it gives you a chance to interact with people, talk about our adventures, share videos and recommend music that we’ve been excited about. A big part of it is that we all have such a great time playing, writing and hanging out. We think and hope that comes through in social media too. We all take the lead (but not exclusively) on different aspects. Tommy is the tumbler king, Vince the twitterer and Neil and Quinn keep things running on Facebook. One of the weird aspects of social media, is how their usage changes, think Myspace, and bands lose touch with people who are interested in their music. This is why some bands now are talking about getting peoples emails, so as to not lose contact.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’ve got lots going on. We are recording a 5-track studio EP starting in mid July with release hopefully in late August. Its going to be 2 weeks recording and mixing so we’re really looking forward to it.

We’ve got some London shows at the end of July on Thursday the 19th in New Cross and Friday the 20th in Hackney. We are playing the Southsea Fest in September, which we are so psyched for. The DIY stage has loads of great bands, Southsea is a lovely place and El Morgan is like some kind of legend. 15th September. Big red circle in the calendar.

We’re getting tshirts made up and we are planning to tour sometime in Autumn, so please get in touch if you’d be up for putting us on.

What would be your personal highlight for the band so far?

Some highlights we share, and some are for individuals.

N/Q/V: We played a show at the Enterprise in Camden which loads of our favourite people came to. There was a 3 tier human pyramid and the person on the top high fived Tommy in the middle of the chorus of the last song.

T : Being referred to as “The happiest band in punk”.

T/V: Recording a wicked demo and having a great time doing it.

I know it’s a cliché but…

ALL: The whole experience. We have a ridiculously good time playing in this band. Nothing is ever a chore, we always have fun and have some of the best friends you could imagine and make new ones all the time.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We are really grateful to everyone who has helped us out along the way. Big thanks to Big thanks to Danielle, Maryam & Katie for photos, Joe and Adrian for recording & all our friends for coming to see us.

Chris Marshman