Photo by Carla Mundy
Interview by Zac
At the back end of 2012 Baby Godzilla released a video for the storming track Powerboat Disaster that went round the web at mach 10 leaving aural destruction to those who tuned in. Nottingham is their place of residence, a UK city that has serious hardcore history and an area that is renown for its constant frustration amongst youth culture. Their personal time bomb is set to explode in the metal scene year so we decided to get the lowdown from screaming front man Matt ‘Butch’ Reynolds on just how long it will take until they take the back doors off the UK and beyond.
This one’s obvious but how come you chose the name Baby Godzilla?
It was actually something that our ex-guitarist’s Dad thought of, it was a band name that he wanted to use in the 80s and never got to, we thought it was pretty cool and we’re shit at naming stuff ourselves. It certainly matches the ferocity of what we do, untameable and immovable. That’s pretty cheesy right?
Cheese on an 11 for sure. So, Powerboat Disaster made a big impact last year, how many weird stares from the locals came with shooting that video?
We had what seemed like the whole village come out to see what was going on, the hardest part became not controlling the 8 foot high wall of fire but keeping them all behind the camera. We’d set up a take and have to stop right away, turning expecting to see a couple of local kids that had strayed into the shot but instead finding a couple of fully grown adults having a kick-about behind us.
It looks like you are playing in an allotment, that right?
It was filmed in the overgrown grounds of a pub in a very small village in Chesterfield called Poolsbrook. We asked the landlady “can we make a 8 x 20 feet wall of fire around the back of your pub?” she smiled and said “yes” and proceeded to point out things that she would like us to torch. Maybe she had a screw loose, I don’t really know, but I made a snap decision that I like the way the people of Poolsbrook work.
Are you all Nottingham based?
Yes, we all live within 5 minutes of each other, it makes it easy to get together and share ideas.
The hardcore scene in Notts has always been really strong. Have you grown up around releases from legendary acts such as Bob Tilton, Heresy, Concrete Sox, Hard to Swallow, Iron Monkey etc or are you too young to remember such awesome bands in the local area?
All familiar names, I’d be in danger of sacrilege if I were to deny Nottingham’s strong roots in hardcore music, especially with the bands listed and Earache Records HQ being right on our doorstep. But I’d be lying if I said I grew up around those awesome releases, we’re all a bit too young really, I was busy listening to Metallica as a kid.
What’s the local scene there like at the moment and who is pulling the strings?
There’s quite a lot of cool stuff going on here at the moment. There’s a recording studio just on the edge of town called JT Soar and they’ve just opened their live room as an underground gig venue. They put on lots of brilliant bands from all around the world and let you bring in your own beer so there’s a huge sense of community about the place. There’s also a grass roots promotions company called ‘I’m Not From London’. They’re headed by one very tenacious and ridiculously hard working man called Will Robinson; I’m not quite sure how he does it. They helped us a lot in the early days, we owe quite a bit to Will, he’s pretty much rebuilt Nottingham’s scene single handed. To see ‘I’m Not From London’ now going from strength to strength is great. Band-wise we share a practice space with a new band called Def Bridges that I predict you’ll be hearing lots more of towards the end of the year, they’re noisy, shouty and bassy. I’m also quite fond of a band called Grey Hairs, they’ve got a really cool garage rock vibe but they mix it up with raw punk, they’re great live.
So, the’ Oche’ EP is out there, what plans do you have for releases this year and have you started recording process yet?
We’ve been writing solidly all this year so far, the original plan was to release an album towards the end of 2013, but now we’ve decided to put out an EP to bridge the gap and whet people appetites for the big debut album. The EP is going to be very thrashy and trashy judging on what we’ve been putting down of late. We just received a final master back of the first single from it and it nearly ripped open our speakers! Needless to say it carries on from where OCHE left off, it’s going to be fucking loud.
We’ll be putting out the first single with a video in a couple of weeks.
Leaving Notts in flames. Photo by Carla Mundy
Are there any albums out there you have heard recently that soundwise carry the ingredients needed to make your debut the ultimate listen?
‘IDEAS’ by Hawk Eyes is pretty much a perfect album, the way it is put together is just brilliant, the songs kick ass and it sounds absolutely huge. We listen to that a lot on the way to gigs. Other than that you can pretty much guarantee some Refused or Nirvana will get stuck on which always gets me fired up. At this very second I’m listening to …’And Justice For All’, I’ve got the bass turned right up so it sounds right. It’s getting me through a very incessant hangover.
So what about producers? If you had the choice to pick a producer to work with on your album, who would you pick and why?
I’d be very interested to see what working with Steve Albini would be like. Mainly because his whole ethos towards recording a band is very similar to ours, everything should be tracked together live. If we weren’t all together in the same room tracking live I don’t think a recording would really capture what we do. On top of that we all need to look at each when we record otherwise it would sound like a bag of spanners.
I also would really love to work with Eskil Lovstrom and Pelle Henricsson, they made ‘Shape of Punk to Come’, it’s one of my favourite albums of all time. Our buddies James Cleaver Quintet just got back from recording their second album with them, I really excited to see what they’ve come up with!
Your live shows have been lauded. How will you find the middle ground between the energy created live on tape?
Lots of space in our live room! And stuff to climb on in there too would be good. Although I’m not sure we ought to recreate what we do live to the letter on tape, we barely hit a note live. It would probably end up just being Paul Shelley playing the bass with the occasional broken guitar making an awful squeal. Pretty unpleasant!
If there was one story from that came from playing live that is still discussed as a ‘moment’, what is that and where from?
One thing that comes to mind is a gig we played at Hackney Trash Bar. The sound guy was really not into it. We played the first song and I couldn’t find my mic afterwards, so I used Paul’s. After the second song another mic went missing. At that point we realised the sound guy was just taking away all the mics one by one after each song, it was quite rude. Then he turned off the p.a. altogether. Had he just asked us to stop we would have, but he just went about it in a really antagonising way so we just kept going. we had a megaphone out on tour with us so me and Jonny took to shouting in people faces through that and We just relied on the guitar amps making noise from the stage. Generally we have a pretty good relationship with sound engineers though, we always reassure before we play that if anything gets broken it will be something of ours (drums, guitars, bones) not theirs.
Try and explain the blackout one gets from the first note of a live show. It’s one of the most surreal experiences of being in a band but can it be explained well by Baby Godzilla?
That’s a toughie because I really have no idea. From the first note all bets are off really. I literally switch off and don’t come to until we switch the amps to standby at the end of the set. I’ve come back to reality to Paul telling me that I managed to twat some guy with my guitar before, not good. My space awareness has gotten loads better though.
What is one of the most mental things to ever happen at one of your shows?
I have a bit of a habit of climbing things that are way too high. We played some festivals over in Poland and I ended up swinging from the rafters that were 20ft up. It’s okay though, I was wearing a helmet. Some guy in the crowd had passed me an old style Polish Army helmet! Brilliant country!
How does your lyrical content come together?
I tend to write lyrics way ahead of songs actually being put together. I’ll write pages and pages of prose, I have notebooks full of absolute drivel. When we piece together a song I tend to fish through it all and pick out something on a topic that makes sense and edit the words to fit the song. It’s quite a nice way of working, it steers you away from relying on recycled clichés in your lyrics.
Lyrically, is there one particular track that you can discuss that means something so personally that you believe to be an ‘anthem’ in your locker?
However much we’d all love it, I don’t think we’ll ever be considered an anthems band, more a band that our parents say “you’ve got such lovely voices, why have you got to do all of that shouting nonsense? I can’t tell what you’re saying!” There is however a 16/17 minute long opus that we’ve written that’s intended to close the album. The whole thing is a 3-part concept based on an unwritten trilogy from my favourite author B. S. Johnson. He wrote the first book of a Trilogy just before he died called “See the Old Lady Decently”. The whole trilogy was titled so that each book’s title would make grammatical sense as a statement alone but when all together the titles would form a complete sentence. The unwritten books were going to be called “Buried Although” and “Amongst Those Left Are You”. The song itself has a lot of political themes that share an agenda similar to that of Johnson’s
There’s also a lyric in one of the new songs that repeats over and over that I love, “You’re all whores and I’m Jack the Ripper” I absolutely love some of the lyrics for our new material. As a body of work it’s definitely my favourite that I’ve written to date.
It’s definitely the year of longer tracks so far. If there was a phrase from OCHE that has meaning more than any other, what would it be ?
We have a song on OCHE called Dave Lankester, the lyrics to that are from a really nasty angry letter that I intended to send to an ex-girlfriend. I didn’t send the letter and it’s probably a good thing but there’s a lot of emotion in the song. The lyrics are hand written in the inner sleeve to the OCHE mini-album too. I was definitely a little drunk when I composed that letter.
Matt hangs out with the crowd. Photo: Carla Mundy.
When the album drops, will you be inviting the likes of Elton John to appear on it as a guest like Queens of the Stoneage?
Probably not too be honest, although if Queens wanted to guest themselves then that would be fine. We’ll probably get a couple of pals to do little guest vocal bits and pieces, there’s a track on OCHE called Thotty that has our friend from Captain Dangerous Miles, playing violin on and Ali Powers from Hot Japanese Girl guesting on vocals. So we’re definitely not strangers to having guest appearances.
So, when you get huge and become millionaires, what will be your first extravagant musical purchase?
Probably gear that works and a Dodge Charger with blacked out windows so we can ignore our gazillions of fans.
Look out for Baby Godzilla on your travels on tour with the Wildhearts in April and beyond. All can be found on their Facebook Page.
Fri 29th March: Santiagos Leeds
Thu 04 Apr – w/ The Wildhearts, O2 ABC Glasgow
Fri 05 Apr – w/ The Wildhearts, Manchester Academy Manchester
Sat 06 Apr – w/ Rock City Nottingham, UK
Sun 07 Apr – w/ The Wildhearts, Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton
Fri 10 May w/ Eureka Machines The Adelphi / New Adelphi Hull