Bladderwrack is a Dickensian punk-rock duo from London. Taking on the repellent events dominating the headlines and media, they are unapologetic in their anger. Their latest single ‘Dominatrix’ continues their protesting and highlighting of everything wrong in the world. We sat down with Bladderwrack to talk about the new track, music, inspiration and much more!
OSR: What is your creative process? Do you choose a topic and run with it or is it whatever you are angry about at the time?
Bladderwrack: In the last few years there have been numerous news stories featuring foul people and deeds, too many to cover them all. Bladderwrack discusses these over beers during practise sessions and the ones that inspire the most rage usually end up being the topic of a song. The creative process during lockdown has involved the ‘fake pub’ ethic of getting drunk in their respective caves on Zoom calls and ranting about who they find most odious at that time. These days there’s a lot to talk about and no last orders. A mixed blessing.
OSR: How did the band get together?
Bladderwrack: Bladderwrack first met one night in a North London cemetery where Dan was bellowing incoherently about Nigel Farage and shaking trees. As it happens, Matt was sleeping in one of these trees and came crashing to the ground. Despite this rude awakening, he decided to accompany the bellowing by hammering on a gravestone with some ancient bones and so, purely by chance, history and Bladderwrack was made.
OSR: If you were not making protest music, what would you be doing right now?
Bladderwrack: Digging graves and roaring in anguish.
OSR: Has the pandemic affected your music making in any way?
Bladderwrack: The pandemic has allowed Bladderwrack to make music without the inconvenience of seeing each other, and ‘Dominatrix’ was written, recorded and videoed in the space of a few hours without the two members speaking to each other even once. A new masterpiece entitled ‘Gammon’ is currently undergoing the same low-maintenance, telepathic process, and is likely to rampage the pop charts and burst Simon Cowell’s head like an overripe melon.
OSR: What are your biggest musical challenges?
Bladderwrack: The first significant musical challenge faced by Bladderwrack is Dan’s fingers, which resemble grotesquely swollen frankfurters and make playing anything but the most ham-fisted of guitar parts impossible. It’s for this reason that Bladderwrack is forced to use an ancient and warped acoustic 12-string guitar rather than a more delicate contemporary instrument.
The second challenge faced was Matt’s sweet and pure singing voice, which has in the past been headily compared to the love-child of Chris de Burgh and Aled Jones. Being the only feasible option for backing vocals in a 2-man band, this initially sat in stark contrast to the ugly, raw sound of Bladderwrack’s other musical elements. Being dedicated to his art, Matt strove to reduce his vocal cords to ulcerated ribbons through a regimented diet of Monkey’s Shoulder, drawing pins, biltong and aggressive renditions of ‘Walking In The Air’, a very real example of what can be achieved through the application of mind over matter.
OSR: What were your innermost feelings when you created ‘Dominatrix’?
Bladderwrack: Disgust, rage, horror, shame and an acute sense of discombobulation.
OSR: When the pandemic is over, will you be doing live shows?
Bladderwrack: Most definitely. Bladderwrack thrives in the live environment despite being founded in a garden of the dead. Bladderwrack’s first show is already booked for Friday 11th September at Pin Ups in Islington, followed by a return to the Fiddlers Elbow in Kentish Town. The ‘members’ will be precisely 2m away from each other for the entire concert.
OSR: Would you like to collaborate with anyone? If so, who and why?
Bladderwrack: The first choice for collaboration would be Tom Waits. His song ‘Hell Broke Luce’ had a notable influence in the formulation of Bladderwrack’s ungodly sound. The second choice would be a prominent representative of the Conservative cabinet, some time together in a sound-proofed practice room would surely produce some worthy dividends.
OSR: Which causes do you support and why?
Bladderwrack: The band is less about supporting and more about castigating. Anything Bladderwrack supports is plainly illustrated in our lyrics and song topics. Bladderwrack targets people or movements that fundamentally undermine people’s rights and freedoms, and deals with them accordingly.
OSR: What is the one thing you would like people to take away from your music?
Bladderwrack: Catharsis. If you find today’s despotic leaders and the ignorant invective of hateful trolls upsetting, the hope is that Bladderwrack will give you a momentary sense of relief from it all.
OSR: What are your plans for the future?
Bladderwrack: The plan is to continue to stand in the shadows baying for light. As long as the wrong’uns rule, Bladderwrack will point out their sins with sausage fingers and bellow incoherently.