Interview: Throwing Stuff

Written by Daniel Rourke

Following the successful release of their debut album 'Fit, Fine, & Well,' Throwing Stuff are set to head off on a UK tour with Australian punks, Clowns. The tour starts with a set at Manchester Punk Festival, a festival Throwing Stuff's guitarist Kieran Kelly plays a major role in. We sat down with Kelly - as well as a brief cameo from vocalist Ben Small - to talk about the band, Kelly's promotion company 'Moving North' and much more.  

Burn After Writing: You released your debut album 'Fit, Fine & Well' last week. How’s the response been so far?

Kieran Kelly: It’s been good, all the reviews are pretty complimentary, but that’s the nature of most reviews isn’t it! Bit of backscratching and the like. We can’t wait to actually start playing the new songs live to people who’ve heard them. The Clowns tour should be a load of fun. 

Some people have really taken the time to listen to the album on a deeper level and we’ve had some pretty special feedback on certain songs, it’s nice to hear.

BAW: As mentioned, your debut album was released last week, despite being a band for some time now. How did the album come together? Was it written over the past several years, or was it something that came together rather recently?

KK: We’ve wanted to do an album for ages, we think we’re a band that’s quite suited to it. What we’re not suited to is all meeting up and writing an album, so it’s taken a number of years to get a bunch of the songs together that eventually made up 'Fit, Fine & Well.' 

We wrote the last song for the record, How Do You Sleep At Night? just before we packed away our instruments when demoing the album. We’d never played it as a band and Ben just arrived at the studio, heard the song and added vocals over it. It’s ace.

BAW: You have always been a band that dive headfirst into social and political issues. Whilst that doesn’t change on 'Fit, Fine & Well,' there seems to be more of personal touch to some of the tracks, whether it’s touching on mental health or a track such as Father’s Day that sees Ben sing about his Father’s health. Was it a conscious decision to make the album personal or just a natural progression for the band?

KK: I'll pass you onto Ben for this one. 

Ben Small: I'm not sure it was a natural progression for the band, I could definitely have just written a song about how beers now cost more than £5 in London, and the guys would have been fine with it.

I think the song writing shifted a bit to become more personal because of all the shit life has thrown at me in the last year and a half. I'm not much of a talker and it felt like a good outlet. We've been a band for a while now and I now have the confidence to write this miserable shit and turn up to practice and belt it out.

With Father's Day in particularly, Kieran, Alun and Jamie came up with a track that sounded much more emotive than our previous stuff, and I knew immediately after hearing it that I would make it about my dad and his illness. I guess that reflects a maturation in their song writing, so maybe we have encouraged each other to develop in this way

BAW: 'Fit, Fine & Well' was recorded with Bob Cooper and released via TNS Records, what was it like working with the two?

KK: Bob is a good dude, we all know him on a personal level so it was pretty relaxed, even though we’d only booked 5 days to record 15 tracks! We went in and gave him a Drug Church track and a Paint It Black track and said we were looking at that style of sound. He nailed it.

I do a lot of work with Andy and Bev at TNS for Manchester Punk Festival, so we’d been discussing the idea of putting out the record. They heard it and still wanted to put it out so that was cool. They were nice enough to bump us up the TNS queue, so we’d have the album out and be good to go for our April tour with Clowns.
BAW: As mentioned, you set off on tour with Clowns later this month, what can we expect from that?

KK: Great Segway with my last answer. Clowns are fucking great, they're a raging punk rock band from Australia, for fans of The Bronx and Descendents. It’s gonna be a real fun tour, we're playing great venues with great promoters. 

I had my knee broken playing football in mid-February so can only make the first couple of shows, which I’m gutted about, but our mate Mark is gonna fill in for the remainder of the shows. It’s gonna be a fun old time.

BAW: Aside from Throwing Stuff you’re also a promoter in Manchester who goes by the name Moving North, how did that all come about?

KK: I ‘moved north’ to Manchester from Peterborough for University and knew I wanted to get involved with the DIY punk rock scene up here. I moved up in September 2009 and put on the first gig in March 2010, 100 gigs later and I’m still here!

BAW: You mention being from Peterborough. How did you establish yourself in a new city?

KK: Going to shows, talking to people in real life and on the internet, jumping outside my comfort zone and going out of my way to meet new people and try new things. It was all very important in helping me get a feel for the place.

BAW: Moving North has been running for several years now and you’ll celebrate your 100th show in June, what can you tell us about that?

KK: Sam Russo is someone I’ve known as a friend since I was about 16, as he lived not too far from Peterborough. I got in touch and asked him if there’s anything ‘cool’ he could think of for a Moving North 100th gig, he came up with no ideas. So I’ve bullied him into doing a full band performance for (I think?) the first time ever. The line-up is a mix of old favourites like Apologies, I Have None and some new bands we’ve not had up here before like Pale Kids and Broadbay. It’s gonna be a fun day for sure.

BAW: Moving North also has a hand in the ever-expanding Manchester Punk Festival, how did that all come together and was it ever daunting working with so many different areas of the punk community/genre?

KK: TNS had a packed out all dayer at Sound Control, the Moving North equivalent ‘Manchfester’ was also doing really well, and AU’s Punx Inna Jungle events were always rammed, but next to none of the crowd crossed over, even though the bands were similar. So, we thought let’s put our heads together and try and get everything under one name and see where it goes. It's going pretty good so far!

BAW: Finally, between Throwing Stuff, Moving North, and just being a general gig goer, you’ve been around the Manchester punk scene for some years. How has it evolved since you first got involved?

KK: I think it’s got a lot bigger, there’s such a wide range of promoters and events to go to now. It’s really important that promoters keep popping up and adding something new. I think punks have got a lot more open-minded when it comes to music too, it’s not just Punk Rock 101 anymore. There’s a tonne of different bands ranging from pop, country, folk, hardcore, that sound so different to one another, but there’s a punk ethic under it and it’s easy to see when it’s there. It’s opened up my ears to a lot of new awesome bands that I might have turned my nose up at when I was first getting into punk rock because it didn’t sound like Rancid