Based in Barnsley, System Of Hate play dark, raw and pissed off punk rock the way it should be played. The bands debut studio album Unhallowed Ground is out now so go and check it out. We had a chat with the bands guitarist Pat to hear all about it, the bands history and influences, where to catch the band on tour, what he hates the most and of course, punk rock.
Could you tell us how System Of Hate got together?
Three of us were in a reformed early 80s Barnsley punk band called Total Confusion, two members couldn’t commit to gigs, so the three who could, started another project. We introduced a great drummer and System Of Hate was born.
Who are some of the bands influences?
UK Subs, Damned, Motorhead, Birthday Party, Johnny Cash, Tau Cross, many many more.
How did you first discover punk?
In general, school friends introducing it and falling in love with it.
You have been described as a dark punk band. Do you think that sums up your music well?
The music has a massive punk influence, more the attitude of punk and the lyrics are dark as hell. So yes, it works for us.
Is there a darkness to your lyrics and your outlook?
Oh yes. The lyrics are exactly what you want them to be, mostly in a biblical style but most things fit into today’s society. Life is hard, we have been let down badly by the people we pay to protect us.
Your debut album Unhallowed Ground came out at the end of last year. How has the reaction to the album been so far?
Everyone who hears it, loves it and there’s a lot of surprised people. When you road test songs and record them in a professional studio, it can only help. Matt Elliss the guy at the controls did one hell of a job recording us.
What are some of the topics you tackle on the album?
Death, hope, madness, crucifixion, love and war.
How did the recording of Unhallowed Ground go?
It went amazingly well, we went in one Friday recorded all the ghost tracks and the drummer, he stayed Saturday and Sunday alone. We then went in, in stages, bass one day, guitars two days, keyboards two days, vocals a day and half, backing vocals and saxophone another session, then mixing. We’d had a good run of gigs up to it and all the songs were gigged well.
What inspires you as a band?
To make brilliant music and to prove the doubters wrong.
Have you got any gigs coming up?
We are always gigging!
31st March 2017 – Black Bull, Gateshead.
2nd April 2017 – Hairy Dog, Derby with Barstool Preachers.
22nd April 2017 – Cutlers, Rotherham, All Dayer with UK Subs.
14th May 2017 – Leeds, Nepotism Festival, 3 Day Event
27th May 2017 – Dublin with Paranoid Visions.
9th June 2017 – Old School House, Barnsley with Billyclub
7th July 2017 – Blackpool with Dogflesh.
21st July 2017 – Old School House, Barnsley, Pre-Rebellion Warm Up Gig
3rd-6th Aug 2017 – Rebellion Festival, Blackpool.
15th Sept 2017 – Stalybridge Tavern, Stalybridge.
28th Oct 2017 – 100 Club, London with Dirtbox Disco
24th Nov 2017 – Old School House, Barnsley.
13th Jan 2018 – Old School House, Barnsley with Spunk Volcano.
What has been the most memorable gig that you’ve played so far?
First time we played at Rebellion in 2013, it opened new doors, networks and introduced us to a larger audience.
You’ve played Rebellion a few times in the past. How has it gone?
We’ve played the last four and each year we’ve been lucky enough to play to a slightly bigger audience. This year we had the album available and it sold brilliantly. It’s so special everyone picks their game up and plays out of their skins.
Is that a festival you would play again in a heartbeat?
We love it that much we hope we get on every year, we are booked again for this year. It’s as much the social side as the playing, we have so many friends there now. We go for all four days, can’t recommend this festival enough, it’s so special to us and we all like a drink!
Have you played any more festivals so far?
We haven’t, we’d love to, if anyone can help make it happen please, that would be brilliant.
Do you prefer the big festivals or do you favour a more intimate and in your face venue when you play?
We can’t really answer as we only do Rebellion at the moment, but we do a few full and half dayers, the smaller places have the beauty of seeing the whites of the crowd’s eyes and all the bands muck in together, I love all gigs to be honest.
Who would you love to tour with?
UK Subs, Black Sabbath (too late now), Killing Joke, Amebix, Gary Numan, so many more.
Who has been your favourite band to tour with or play a show with?
Evil Blizzard, so much fun.
What song do you enjoy playing live the most?
Unhallowed Ground is pretty special, it’s only two chords and the gaps between the verses vary at every gig, it started as a rehearsal jam and keeps that vibe live. I’ve never played my parts the same, each time we’ve played it.
And which of your songs gets the best reaction?
We’ve just shoved a new one in called We Who Walk With God, lots of people comment on it, think it will be on the next album.
What is the live music scene like in your hometown of Barnsley? And is there much of a punk scene at the moment?
There isn’t a Punk scene to be honest, it’s a small town, we’ve got a handful of Punk bands. We have an annual event called Barnsley Live, where about sixteen town centre pubs have bands on all day, all genres, it’s brilliant for the town, Fergal Sharkey is a patron.
What about the rest of the year. What are the bands plans?
We plan to releases a four track EP of remixes from the album, possibly an acoustic EP of System songs and we need to get the next album written, but we aren’t rushing it. We would also like to get the 1st album on vinyl but that’s reliant on someone putting it out for us.
You covered a Madness song for a charity album a few years ago. What other songs would System Of Hate like to cover?
We do I Wanna Be Your Dog by The Stooges live, that would be great. Maybe an obscure UK Subs song.
What do you think of the state of punk in 2017?
My major worry is there’s not enough good, younger bands coming through or any older guys starting up new bands, they seem to be sticking to the old formulas. I still think it’s very positive though and Rebellion Festival now have a new bands stage, that went from one day to four. So lots of new bands are getting good exposure.
Are there any newer bands that you are into?
The Media Whores, Glitter Trash, Criminal Mind, Klammer, On Trial UK, too many to mention.
With the current political climate not just in this country but all over the world, the way it is at the moment, do you think that this sort of uncertainty will inspire angry music and lyrics and yours in particular?
It’s perfect for us, but if everything in the world was rosy, we’d still write the same. We are from an ex-mining town that the government left to rot, so we know about struggle, hate and disappointment. You either decide to swim in these dirty waters or you drown. Up the Revolution.
What are your favourite punk albums of all time?
Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegatables, U.K. Subs – Another Kind Of Blues, The Damned – Damned Damned Damned, Amebix – Arise!, Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, so many many more
What’s the best punk gig you’ve ever been to?
It’s got to be one of last six or seven Rebellion Festivals I’ve been to, maybe last years (2016) Angelic Upstarts performance or Discharge?
Are you fans of hardcore punk as well?
We all listen and like all genres of music, if it’s honest and played well, what’s not to like. I’m not going to lie and say it’s my favourite genre, but when I’m in the mood nothing beats it, for clearing crap out of your head. It’s not called Hardcore for nothing.
What other bands are you into, that don’t necessarily fit into the punk bracket but still have that punk spirit?
Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Cramps, Pogues, Pixies, Sisters Of Mercy, Ministry, so many more
What do you hate more than anything else?