Behind Punk is a D.I.Y. punk blog/fanzine/record label based out of Moscow

We need to focus on positive change in the world, and it starts with our scene and the people within it. More hugs, less shrugs!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview with Kaila of Ten Speed Bicycle

Ten Speed Bicycle are a loud, fast, midwest emo punk band. Residing in London, and i'm completely in love with this band. I hate to use the comparison every time but if you like Algernon Cadwallader, Grown Ups and Cap n Jazz then you will love Ten Speed Bicycle. So far they have one 2 TRACK DEMO and SPLIT WITH DIVIDERSI highly recommend you check out this!
Well, here is an interview I recently did with Kaila. Hope you like it! Read up on it below!
Hey Kaila! how are you?

Hey Vanya! It's raining really hard so I'm currently seeking solace in a cup of tea and an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I hope you are well! Thanks for asking me to do this.

Right then, first things first, please introduce yourselves and members of the band.

Ten Speed Bicycle is James "Jimmy" Wizard on guitar and vocals, Thomas "Tommy" Norman on drums and myself, Kai on bass and vocals.

How long have you been playing together as Ten Speed Bicycle? How did the name come about and what does it mean?

Jimmy and Tommy had access to a sub par recording studio while they were still at school in early 2010 and used it to record the two songs that become the demo (Mike is a Bastard and The One Where Ross is Fine). They sent it to our friend/the greatest human being on this earth Steve, who runs and he was really into the songs and insisted that the band do more. I wasn't in the band at this point until Steve offered to let us open his birthday/Grown Ups and Into It Over It show at Alexandra's house in June 2010 and the guys didn't wanna be a two piece. We had our first practice earlier in the day and played the two demo songs, an early version of what became Dracula Bowtie and a Weezer cover. 
The name was mostly just Tommy pandering to bands he liked and dreamed of sounding like (Street Smart Cyclist, Small Brown Bike) haha. Also, It was summer and we were all hanging out and riding our bikes around London so I guess that had some influence. I don't really like the name. I think it's a mouthful but there are worst band names out there.

What made you decide to form this band?

I think the initial beginnings of the band were just Jimmy writing songs in his bedroom and then the opportunity arose to record them at he took it and roped Tommy in. It wasn't meant to be a real band until people heard the songs and showed interest.  My motivation for joining the band was to do something a little different than what I had been. Up until Ten Speed Bicycle I had only played in two bands prior and both of them were standard hardcore bands. I saw it as a chance to tap into a different part of my creative side that wasn't just "PLAY FAST" or "ADD A MOSH PART". Although that is super fun!

Can you briefly summarise what the band has been up to since the release of your split with Dividers?

Honestly, not a lot. We went on a short tour of the UK with our friends in Loose Cannons just after the tape came out and have played a few local shows since. Jimmy's currently living the dream on tour in Europe with his other band Abolition, I'm in America at the moment with "Another Band" and Tommy's in his room listening to Big L and drawing panthers but once we all are back on our little island and together hopefully we will get the ball rolling again.

How does the band go about writing material?

Someone, usually Jimmy, will bring part of a song to practice and we'll just spend time fleshing it out, trying to make the sound fit with the spirit of the lyrics. At some point during practice Tommy will complain that "It doesn't sound emo enough" and we will be forced to rework everything. He's the worst!

Have you noticed any patterns in your songwriting that perhaps you weren’t aware of before this project?

I didn't think I would enjoy songwriting as much as I do. Like I said before I'd only ever been in hardcore bands before so approaching songwriting for this band was a huge change and started making me think about playing music in a different way. Less of "this is fun, we get to play really fast, piss everyone off and shout a bunch" and more about actually writing good songs in a way that evoked feelings from a listener. I like the co-operative nature of the band, building up the songs with each other and hearing everyone's ideas.  We're all still learning how to play our instruments and sing at the same time which has a HUUUGE affect on how we write ("Nothing too fancy there, I won't be able to sing iand play it!) but we're getting there.

When you describe the sound of Ten Speed Bicycle to others, what do you say?

When I was setting up the drumkit in my room and waiting for the dudes to come over for our first practice with my Mum popped her head in and asked what the band sounded like and I regrettably answered, "Pop punk" to which she replied, "Oh yeah? Like Busted?". Definitely not what we're going for although we are a punk band that plays poppy music. Now I just say we're an upbeat indie-ish band but my Mum tells her friends we sound like Coldplay and No Doubt. I'll take that.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

American Football, Latterman, Carissa's Wierd, gods reflex, Everyone Asked About You, Cap'n Jazz

How important is the DIY/punk community and spirit to Ten Speed Bicycle?

We've all grown up in some facet of that community and its definitely influenced our ideals substancially. I think for the most part the punk scene I chose to affiliate myself with is great and I'm constantly learning new things and having my ideas challenged which I think is one of the most important things that any subculture can offer. Provision of a safe space for discourse and an opportunity for people to question what they've been told/assumed. I'm glad to be a part of a scene that has potential do that and to be constantly surrounded by great human beings all around the world.
I tend to take the scene for granted and just kind of expect things to happen for our band. Like ofcourse somebody's going to spend time and money to organise a night in a venue where we will play music to people, ofcourse that person is going to more spend time and money to make us food for when we arrive there, ofcourse we're going to have a place to stay that night and a free city tour guide for the next morning before we set off for the next show and do it all over again. It's punk, duh!
 I'm reminded that this is a HUGE deal when I see the look of surprise on my Mother's face when I tell her about my weekend in Germany with my band and that no Mum, we didn't book a hotel, essentially strangers opened their homes to us and let us stay with them!
Without getting any cheesier our band is rooted in and encourages any effort made by kids and adults alike to be self reliant and have fun creating the art that they want to. 

Do you think it’s necessary for a band to be “signed” to be successful?

Everyone is aware of the huge affect the internet and social media has had on bands in contemporary society. It has its downsides but also makes it alot easier for smaller bands to do stuff. You don't need the backing of a label to get your music heard, you just need a Bandcamp and maybe a Tumblr if you're trying to take over the internet. Reblog. Reblog. Reblog.

Ultimately it depends on what the band defines as success and what their aspirations are. It's certainly not neccessary for a band like ours who just likes travelling, hanging out with each other and playing small rooms to smelly punks! We've been doing that for a while now off our own backs and with the assistance of lovely likeminded folk (like yourself) who books us on shows, offer to put out our music or spread the word about what we're doing to people who are interested. My extended goal is to play small rooms to smelly punks in a different part of the world. 

Who do you think is the most underrated band at the moment?

I don't know about underrated but I wish more people I knew listened to Football, etc so I had someone to sing along to them with haha.

What's the scene like in London right now? You can recommend me some new/young local bands?

London's cool! Alot of my recent favourite shows happen about half an hour away south in a place called Kingston. Lemuria and Cheap Girls played a few weeks ago and it was so much fun. 
Local bands that I'm really into are: Loose Cannons, Good Throb, Bird Calls, Trash Kit, Iron Curtain and Tremors
Big Takeover shows are my favourite thing about the London punk scene. More info and upcoming shows here:

What song(s) do you never get tired of hearing? why?

Has-Been - Battery

I would sit in the same bathroom stall at school most lunctimes and listen to this song until the bell rang and feel hopeful when greeted with the thought that this song incited. That at some point in my life my day wouldn't consist of being called "Goth bitch" and laughed at in the corridor by Rachel and that one day she would feel feel pain. She's got a kid and a dead end job now and she hates both. Just sayin'. Cheers Battery for pulling me through!

Get Up - Sleater-Kinney

This is the song that made me fall in love with Sleater-Kinney. I remember downloading it from Limewire (sorry!), putting it on repeat and listening to it over and over and over.

Rock With You - Michael Jackson

History was the first album I obsessed over. It was a double cd and came in this cool case with a booklet with lyrics and pictures and stuff that 7 year old me went crazy about. Rock With You is one of many favourites off that album. The "Girlllll when you daaaance there's a magic that must be l0o0o0ove" part kills me everytime.

More Hate Than Fear - One King Down

Bedroom mosh.

Don't Think I'm Not - Kandi

I love pop and r'n'b. This song is a classic song I would dance to with my friends in the playground. Great lyrics that completely went over my head when I was younger.

What have you been listening lately? What are your favorite recent releases?

Dark Light - Lovers
4 - Beyonce
Demo - Nona
The Draft - Football, etc
Demo - Troubled Sleep
Funtitled - Spraynard

If you could do a split with any band that's currently together, what band would it be?

Tegan and Sara. Definitely not in our "scene" or whatever but they have been one of my favourite bands for a while so that would make my life. I would also take touring with them over a split. The thought of seeing them play every night is brilliant! Also, they are hilarious so I'm sure would be really fun to tour with. Tommy will support me on this pick, we went to go see them last year in Camden and out danced the crowd when they played Alligator. 

 What's your biggest gripe with the punk/hardcore scene?

Most of the issues I have with the punk scene are issues I have with the world in general too apart from a few some what punk specific trends like dog tags and laminated tour passes for shows in pubs. But that stuff's more funny than infuriating. I wish human beings everywhere would communicate with each other more when we're irked by something instead of just letting stuff build up and get worse. I'm definitely working on speaking up about the little things that piss me off cause I know that the longer I leave it the sillier it gets and the drama is causes is not neccessary most the time. 
Ofcourse discrimination based on sex, race, sexual orientation is a big thing too but I think my first point links into that too especially in the punk/hardcore scene. If someone says or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable find away to respectfully call them up about it. Don't just let it slide and wind up feeling more and more isolated.

What else does the future hold for Ten Speed Bicycle?

I'd love for us to put out a 7" at some point in the not too distant future. Until then we'll keep playing shows and having a laugh.

Thanks for the interview; I hope it wasn't too painful! Any last words/wishes?

Thank you! No pain at all. Thanks to anyone who read this too. If you could extend your patience and read this post it'd be greatly appreciated, our mate Marcus is in a spot of bother

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