Introducing yet another fine band from the seemingly endless West Yorkshire production line…I give you Castleford fuzz metal five piece, Allusondrugs. This Irn-Bru loving quintet were formed in the Calder Valley town during the second half of 2012, with the last 18 months spent frenetically gigging away, showing enough promise along the way to have been asked to appear on BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire (Radio Leeds). The lads have also managed to secure the services of local fledgling label Clue Records, (NARCS, Forever Cult, The Witch Hunt, Galaxians) in a deal struck back in August 2013 after head honchos Scott Lewis and Steven Langton invited Allusondrugs to a rehearsal.
The rest as they say is history and judging by the other bands on the Clue roster, they’ve a keen eye for a talented outfit with the fruits of this union appearing in the form of a debut 3- track single (MyCat) and an EP in the pipeline. Shortly after getting into bed with Clue, they put out a download release, ‘Plasters’/’Chemical On’. If that isn’t enough to satisfy your appetite, you can also download a 5-track pay what you want ‘Demos EP’ featuring early incarnations of their live staples including the relentless ‘Stir’ and the riotous grunge of ‘Ted, What’s the Porn Like in Heaven?’ presumably an ode to a dear departed friend who is presumably enjoying his celestial copy of Men Only (showing my age).
Chatting with all five band members, firstly at Nation of Shopkeepers, and then again on the evening of their barnstorming recent gig at The Library, part of Independent Venue Week (with BBC Radio Leeds’ Alan Raw in attendance) front man Jason (Vocals) Drey (Guitar), Damian (Guitar, vocals, samples) Jamal (Bass) and Connor (aka Sergeant Bash, Drums) all come across as very down to earth, as we discussed important topics ranging from tungsten carbide drills to the importance of sheep farming.
Not surprisingly, most of the band members have known each other for quite a while, with Jason and Drey (originally from Croatia but now with a Yorkshire accent as distinct as Geoffrey Boycott) cutting their teeth in local live outfits such as Candid Squash, Savage Daffodils and Swirly Eyes from their teens onwards. As is the norm, some of these incarnations went by the wayside and in the resulting flotsam, four of the five component members of Allusondrugs came together at the start of autumn 2012. The fifth member, bass player Jemal (originally from Devon), joined the band a year later and the gigs haven’t stopped since. Add to that an appearance at this year’s Live at Leeds, another bunch of dates over the summer and into the autumn.
When it comes to new material, the bulk of the song writing duties, tend to be divided between Jason and Damien, although Drey is keen to point out the fiercely egalitarian nature of the ensemble, adding that all the songs are fine tuned and finished by all band members together, particularly when recording the songs together live. So far the band estimates they’ve about an hour’s worth of original material with some songs being shelved then revisited later. Jason implied that there is also plenty more material at their disposal but they resolutely refuse to do any covers.
The band’s influences are wide ranging with Damien perhaps having the most obscure musical tastes. Jemal had an older brother who started playing, so that’s where he got the bug, similarly applicable to Drey whose Dad played in covers bands and, Drey confesses, he is thinking of starting a Queen tribute band…
Allusondrugs have been much more involved in the Leeds music scene than in their previous bands, playing lots of gigs, recording material at Greenmount Studios in Armley, and rehearsing here much more often than before. Now the band are making a whole load of new friends, with Drey adding, “the Leeds scene is fantastic and once you’re part of it, even better. It’s a good down to earth working music scene and I feel blessed [to be part of it].” Jamal tells a similar story but from more an outsider’s viewpoint: “Part of the reason I moved up from Devon is because of music. My brother lives in Leeds so, whenever I came to visit we’d go out [to a gig] and I’d never seen people going mad for bands that basically hardly anyone had heard of.”
Recording at Greenmount was a new experience too, as it is a predominantly analogue facility where you record to tape whereas the band had only ever experienced unmastered DIY digital recording beforehand. Nevertheless, they had an amazing time there (sharing studio time with Pulled Apart By Horses) recording tracks live with minimal overdubs despite Drey’s preference for multi-tracking. He did concede that the analogue recordings have a better feel.
The intervening months between the two occasions I’ve witnessed the band playing live, have seen them come on in leaps and bounds. At the Hop in Wakefield they were first on the bill, noisy, fresh and exuberant but still a little bit rough around the edges. Fast-forward 6 months to their headlining gig at The Library, taking to the stage following a formidable set from Forever Cult, a band who Allusondrugs admire very much, and you can clearly see a band starting to hit their stride. First with Jason, now the charismatic front man, putting every ounce of energy into the band’s high octane set, yet still finding time to joke with the audience. He’s more than ably backed up by the twin guitar assault of Damo and Drey, the latter seemingly lost in his own world as cracking song follows cracking song each a great ball of fuzz including the grunge of ‘Thingio’, the shoegazey ‘Plasters’, the punk of ‘Sunset Yellow’ and the more conventional metal sound of new track ‘Cherry Pie’. Jemal, wearing far too many layers, is content to loon about faultlessly on his bass in tandem with Connor, giving the overall impression of an outfit really starting to gel as a unit. By Drey’s own admission, when starting a band you either do it for fun without expecting to get anywhere or you have a crack at it with the resulting hard work and sacrifices along the way. From meeting Allusondrugs it looks like they’ve taken the second path but kept some of the fun.
Visit www.allusondrugs.bandcamp.com for more info on upcoming gigs and releases.
Originally written for Vibrations
Filed under: Music