Formed last year in Dublin by friends Jakub Was, Steve Ryan and Dave Newell, Punch Face Champions are an instrumental alt rock band that have quickly taken the capital by storm with their extreme live shows and heavy post-rock sound. Having spent 2012 playing stages such as Knockanstock and Electric Picnic, the lads are set for a busy summer with their upcoming debut EP release and a whole lot of gigging planned.
I spoke to Jakub and Steve, who filled me in on the plan for summer and beyond.
1. First of all, where did the band name come from?
Jakub: It was stolen in good faith. We started the band purely for fun, and there is an episode of Parks and Recreation where Andy lists all the names that his band had gone through. PFC is one of them. Dave suggested we call it that, and it stuck.
2. Tell us about how you guys got together.
Steve: Jakub and Dave missed playing heavier music and started playing for a laugh, and we’re old friends so I started jamming with them. Des rounded us out after a line-up change. It was at matter of timing. Dave, Jakub and myself have played together in various line ups in the past. This time we got together to make some noise and have some fun. We liked it so we kept doing it.
3. What and who influenced you to start an instrumental band? It obviously seems to be catching on lately with the likes of Explosions In The Sky, Godspeed You Black Emperor and even our very own God Is An Astronaut gaining strong followings in recent years.
Jakub: We like to snack while we practice, lyrics get in the way of a mouthful of Double Decker. In all seriousness, we never actually intended it to be an instrumental band. Musically, the songs kind of took their own shape in the rehearsal room. After we’d been working on them and building them up to where we felt they had all the ingredients, we decided they didn’t need vocals.
4. Describe your sound in a few simple word choices.
Jakub: Energetic, heavy, melodic……bang, bang, crash, crash, riff, riff with a few yelps thrown in.
5. What are your plans for summer touring/festival wise?
Steve: We’re on the KnockanStockan bill and we’ve applied for some more, when we know, you’ll know, we’ll make announcements on our social media stuff. We’re finishing up our EP so we’ll be busy launching that in a couple months. It’s going to be a busy summer and we’re pretty excited about it.
6. How has your experience been on the touring circuit so far? Best venue to play?
Jakub: We’re Dublin-based. Whelans, Sweeneys and The Mercantile have been regulars but once we have our EP in hand we’ll be setting our sights on the whole country. We’d love to play The Crane lane in Cork and The Roisin Dubh in Galway to name a couple. Get some shows in the North involved too.
7. How was your experience at Electric Picnic last year?
Steve: Electric Picnic was amazing. We played 2 gigs that weekend. On Friday night we got lost and ended up dragging our shit through the mud for 2 hours before playing our 2am slot in the Oxjam tent. The other show was in The Bog Cottage, it was dark and sweaty and full of festival hippies. We arrived at the stage, the house gear was falling apart, everyone was pissed and when we started to play they decided to remove their clothes, it felt like everything could disintegrate at any second. It actually turned out to be one of the band’s favourite gigs ever. Great buzz.
8. Tell us about your EP release this summer. When can we get our hands on it?
Jakub: We recorded the EP in Storm Studio in Portobello, its a 5 track collection of what we think are our best songs so far. We recorded it pretty quickly, just focusing on capturing good energy and vibes. We want it to sound as close to what you’d hear at a PFC show so we didn’t focus on making it perfect, just lively and energetic. It’ll be out soon, we don’t have an exact date just yet, towards the end of the summer.
9. So what's the long term plan lads? Should we be expecting an album in the near future?
Jakub: Why can’t we just live in the moment bro! Kidding, of course, we’ll definitely have an album some day. For now we’re looking forward to getting our EP out, gigging as much as we can, having fun making noise and seeing how people react to it.
10. Where will Punch Face Champions be in five years time?
Jakub: Probably dead. You can’t have a burrito, a double decker and a bottle of Captain Morgan's every time you rehearse and live to tell the tale.
Punch Face Champions are:
Steve Ryan- guitar and percussion
Dave Newell- guitar
Des Hickey- bass guitar