Hailing from Leeds, NARCS are an angst-ridden quartet fuelled by pure rock and roll. New single ‘Pig’ is so dirty that you can see the filth-ridden fretboards from a mile off, and is coupled with an eerie, psychedelic music video that even comes with a personal warning for viewers at the beginning. Indie sensibilities paired with alternative rock riffs give this band enough of an identity to set themselves apart from their counterparts in the industry, and with the popularity of ‘Pig’, and one album already under their belts, the group look set for bigger things.
How did you guys meet? Tell us how NARCS began.
Joe (Guitar/Vocals): Wilko and I met a while back, pretty much a week after I moved to Leeds, off the back of some horrendously pretentious Gumtree ad I wrote. We sort of messed around in a couple of indie bands before we got Stanley (drummer) and John (bassist) involved and the sound started moving in a different direction.
Which artists inspired you to want to pick up an instrument and start a band?
There are far, far too many to name but to choose a few: Bowie, The Beatles, Shellac, The Kills, QOTSA, RATM, NWA, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang, Sex Pistols, Portishead, Radiohead, Motorhead, Talking Heads – all the heads, really.
Your very promising debut record ‘Two Birds, One Stone Later’ was released in 2013, and you’ve just finished polishing your new album. When can we expect to hear this?
We expect it to be out early this summer, June/July time, so if any of you hear it before this, we’ll sadly have to cut you up and feed you to some goats. We’re Black Metal now, you see.
What would you hope to achieve off the back of this next record? Do you have anything you want to tick off your list as a band in the next couple of years?
We’ve made a record that sounds quite a lot different to the first one. What we want to achieve is for people to engage with this one ten times as much as the first one. It’s more or less us laying all of our cards out on the table without any filter. I honestly think we’ll lose a few “fans” because it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, politically or musically. Wait and see.
In the next couple of years, the only box to tick will still be “Is this still fun?”. Of course we’d love to play around the world and sell a gazillion records but we’re realists. Any of that happens, great. It doesn’t? Also great, as long as we’re still having fun.
Your new single ‘Pig’ is an energetic ball of fuzz and grit – will we be hearing more of the same on album number two?
We’ve taken influences from the likes of Girl Band, Fat White Family, Run The Jewels and more for this one. ‘Pig’ is fairly low-key and nice compared to the rest of the album! Album two is just us venting. That’s pretty much it. It’s a shit time to be a human, if you possess empathy. The world’s fucked. I’d love to say the album is a bit more eloquent and poetic than that but that’s it in a nutshell! It sounds fucking great but you’re not going to hear it at birthday parties. Unless you know some really awesome people.
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The ‘Pig’ music video took two months to complete, and definitely makes for interesting viewing. How much of an input did you guys have in the process of making it?
We gave Tom and Sean a precise, detailed and extensive brief. I think it went: “Do whatever you want, we want animations and things changing into other things.” Using our expertise, they did an incredible job and put everything they had into it. Seriously, we were utterly blown away when it came back. HIRE THESE PEOPLE TO MAKE YOUR VIDEOS EVERYONE.
You’ve just completed a tour of the UK. How did it go?
Much the same as most bands at this level will tell you: it was absolutely loads of fun, we didn’t make very much money, we met some absolutely incredible people, some of whom gave us places to stay and food and other who had travelled hours to watch us. All the venues were ace, they all offered something different, as did the crowds. Touring is just massively, massively fun and we’d love to be able to do it more.
How important is live music to you as a band?
In terms of its importance to us, we take pride in trying to get people involved in performances and having a blast on stage. We’ve had to learn that, with bands like ours, most people don’t want to come and hear the songs exactly as they are on the CD, they want to see that you care about what you’re doing, that you’re passionate and that you want to link with them. That’s what we try to do.
You’ve also announced that you’re playing Live At Leeds at the end of April. Being from Leeds, how much does this opportunity mean to you?
We’ve played once before and it was CLASS, the whole day was just a blur but the set was incredibly enjoyable. To look out and see a mix not only of new faces but of other artists, of which there are tons in Leeds, was an amazing buzz. Then, once you’re done, you get out and about and take in as much great stuff as you can. Soak that shit up!
Finally, up in Yorkshire there is a strong collection of credible artists who have made their mark on the music scene. What do you think sets you apart from the others?
I don’t want to be apart from the others! I like the others! Maybe that we’re more overtly political and a bit more angry than most? I don’t know. Don’t keep us away from the others, they’re really nice and they make really great music. Please?
This NARCS article was written by Sam Pickering, a GIGsoup contributor