Pizza Tramp are self declared two chord wonders, from South Wales. They claim to be a little ramshackle, however this deprecatory tone belies what are actually tightly constructed songs. Generally two minutes or less of blistering hardcore with minimal lyrics and maximum energy. However as they’ve released later albums the lyricism has become a little more verbose and some songs even creep up to 2:30 mark. They’ve lost none of the visceral immediacy along the way though and if anything the songs are sounding a little tighter with each new outing.
Since their formation in 2014 they’ve been gathering pace and forged a reputation as a formidable live act. Their fifth album revenge of the Bangertronic Dan, came out earlier this year and they’ve been touring up and down the UK, winning over new converts en route. The overarching sensation that they exude is that of a band having fun with what they’re doing and crucially not taking themselves too seriously. That’s not to say there isn’t a bit more thought going into their songs than extolling the virtues of Pizza and drugs, though they find plenty of time for that too. With regards to pushing a politicised message Pollyticks acknowledges ‘that Dylan and Rotten and Zach did it better.’ That’s a fair shout but they’re still finding a way to express their discontent, just with more shouting and less chords.
I threw a couple of questions their way about music, Pizza, and the current status of their burgeoning motorway service guide, the answers to which you can find below:
What was your first experience of music?
JIM: I can’t remember it, but the family videos show me dancing fantastically around the living room to Elvis Presley records aged about 5. I can’t dance for shit now and my music taste has got worse, so I wish I’d stay a fucking hip toddler to be perfectly honest. Live music was a local gig in an old man social club when I was 14. Even though I only look 14 now, they served me pints all night, then I sniffed a load of poppers, and the band started playing Molly’s Lips so I ran along the table, smashed everyone’s drinks, and nearly killed someone by landing on their head. Luckily, I’ve calmed down now.
SAM : Probably listening to my old man’s music. He’s into old punk bands like the Damned, Dead Kennedys, all the wicked 80s stuff.
DAN: My first live music experience was watching my brothers band play in my bedroom when i was about 10, they did Deep Purple covers.
Jim: Ah well, that’s probably why you drum so fucking slow at gigs then.
How did you end up playing the instrument that you do, can you play any others?
SAM: I actually started playing bass over Dan’s house. He had a drum kit set up in the spare room, and the only other thing there was a bass so just picked it up and we just started jamming.
Dan: Because of having a full band set up in my bedroom, I ended up messing about with everything. I was lucky I guess, but I chose drums because I started a band with friends from school and nobody else had drums to practice on.
JIM: I used to play bass in my old bands, but then with Pizza Tramp, we showed up at practice, and Sam was much better on Bass than me, and Dan was much better at everything so I had to learn to play a couple of chords on guitar. Never really tried it before this band.
If you had to describe your music to someone who had never heard it before what would you say?
SAM: Fast, horrible, dirty skate punk.
DAN: Noisy, angry and lots of fun.
JIM: Yeah, that’s pretty much bang on. Just add “With nineties Girl Power pop band influences” and it’s completely correct then.
Who or what do you see as your main influences?
SAM: Suicidal Tendencies ,Black Flag and Municipal Waste, but we all listen to a massive selection of music. ln the van on the way to shows, you might get Fleetwood Mac, you might get Turbonegro.
JIM: Never Nirvana though, cos Sam hates them even though me and Banger worship at the Kurt Altar, as all self respecting humans should. A mate once said to me “I listen to anything with a bit of fucking bollocks” and that sums it up perfectly to me. Anything with bollocks, but especially Bad Brains and Minor Threat.
DAN: I grew up listening to Alice Cooper, Deep Purple and Abba. Then I got into NOFX and learned to play it fast.
JIM: You’ve never fucking played it fast enough though, have you?
SAM: No, he hasn’t.
How did you guys end up playing together?
JIM: We talked about it for years but were always in different bands on the local scene. Then a few years ago me and Sam went out and got pissed and decided to do it, so I went and tracked Banger down and we dragged him out of his lair.
SAM: We have known each other forever and have always talked about starting a punk band but never got round to it until we went out and got wasted. Then it was on.
What is the music scene like in your area, are there any local bands you feel people should know more about?
SAM: So in South Wales it’s a pretty small scene but there’s a lot of good bands and not just punk bands, bands of all genres. Grand Collapse, Kong Lives , Sump , Tides of Sulfur to name a few.
JIM: Yeah, Grand Collapse are the best hardcore band in the UK. It’s a shame they exist really, cos if they didn’t we’d be the best hardcore band in Wales by default! We hardly ever get shows in Wales though, so there may well be a brilliant, thriving scene but we don’t know fuck all about it because they hate us! Not Since The Accident are an awesome band from Cardiff, they’ve just got back together. We hadn’t seen them since the accident funnily enough, when their singer was crowd-surfing and snapped his fucking leg and still finished the set! There’s also our punk fathers in Trigger McPoopshute from the Blaina valleys, fucking awesome gents and a top band to boot.
DAN: There are some awesome bands, like Grand Collapse.
JIM: Right we all said the same thing, if this interview doesn’t get us free Grand Collapse vinyl I’m starting a fucking band war. Dan, you can fight Calvin.
You’re prolific in your output, having released five records already, how long does it take to you to put an album together from initial idea to completion and are there more currently in the pipeline?
DAN: We practice weekly and always write new stuff, we kind of have to stop ourselves writing a new album every week because we are always working on new material!
SAM: Yeah, it does all come together pretty quick to be honest. We can write like two or three songs down in one practice some weeks. Someone brings a riff in or a full song and before we know it it’s done.
JIM: We’re releasing our second full-length later this year. We usually just rush them out the door, but we’ve been taking our time this time and going over the songs, and making sure we don’t stick any fucking shit ones on there that one person in the world likes, then calls out for us to play at a gig, by which point we’ve wiped it out of our memories and don’t know how to play it and look like wankers who don’t know their own songs!
SAM: Which is true.
JIM: Yes, which is true.
How do you guys write songs is there a main lyricist in the band or do you all chip in?
SAM: Basically we all chip in, and then whoever can sing over the music sings that track ha ha ha!
JIM: Yeah, when there’s a more technical one, it’s usually me and Sam trying to see who blinks first as the recording studio looms, trying to get out of doing any real work!
DAN: I don’t really have too much to do with lyrics, but the music is written by all of us. We all turn up with riffs and song ideas.
One of your songs is called Bono is a cunt, I’m inclined to agree but what are your thoughts on his fellow ‘philanthropist’ Bob Geldof?
JIM: I was actually meant to sing “And Bob Geldof can jump off a fucking bridge too” in the end section of that song, but I’d stayed up all night the night before taking drugs and drinking and turned up at the studio in a complete fucking mess like the professional I am. I sort of sang just enough lyrics to get by on, and abandoned any extra bits I’d planned on putting in. The other two were not best impressed with me, so I’ve behaved on studio nights since then.
How do you guys prepare for a gig, is there a set routine or do you just play it by ear?
DAN: We have a very strict regime of turning up late with no idea what we are doing.
JIM: Yeah, that’s exactly it. The other week we played in Cardiff, which is 30 minutes from our house. We just managed to make our slot, even though Wonk Unit from London were already there and so were Raging Nathans, and they’re from fucking America! And we played Chepstow before, and loads of our friends from London came. We walked in and our friend Helen says “You live two fucking miles away, and we still beat you here from Bracknell!”. We are useless and we know it. And all promoters should take note, because it seems impossible for us to be on time no matter where the gig, or what time we leave.
SAM: Jim’s off on one. Preparing for a gig, we just sort of roll with it. We don’t write a set, just play the ones everyone likes and whatever ones pop in our heads.
JIM: Preparation also involves copious amounts of alcohol to deal with nerves and worrying that all the other bands are better than us, so we hit the stage wasted but confidently and wrongly thinking we are the greatest fucking band there are. And then watch the footage on Youtube to remember the gig the next day.
Skateboarding features quite heavily in your songs is there any similarity between your approaches to skateboarding and music, if so how?
SAM: Yeah it’s how we all met pretty much, skating and listening to music.
JIM: Sam and Dan used to skate all the time, and I’d sit on my deck with little battery powered speakers playing 90s punk CDs and smoke a bong, and then occasionally skate around, do a shit ollie, then return to my spot and shout abuse at everyone else.
What’s your favourite aspect of playing live and how do you think it compares the recording process?
JIM: They’re both a different animal. Studio we try and play really tight and focus on it, whereas live all sorts of hell breaks loose most weeks. My favorite bit is when its fucking going off and people are falling onto the stage, and crowdsurfing, and the mics are getting smashed into your teeth, and there’s beer all over the expensive equipment, and people are breaking bones and basically when it’s complete and utter carnage. In my element then. So if you’re reading this and want to see us at our best, get fucking stuck in and cause mayhem innit!
SAM: Seeing people having fun and enjoying themselves pretty much. We have met so many awesome chums along the way as well, all over the UK.
JIM: Your answer was much kinder and tamer than mine.
SAM: Yeah, but I’m not as much of a fucking cunt as you.
DAN: The energy of playing live is the reason we do it. It’s completely insane to have a room going mad to a song you wrote and singing it back at you. We try to capture the same energy in our recording process, and I think we do a pretty good job of it!
What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had while playing a gig?
SAM: Um, there’s been a few stand out ones. Three people crowd surfing in a rubber dingy at Wonkfest, being fed raspberries half way through a set in Manchester, loads of mad shit.
JIM: Playing in a warehouse filled with smoke whilst two dogs that only had three legs each wandered around, oblivious to what was going on.
DAN: Getting hit in the face with a lamp shade while playing in a tent at a festival full of drunk hippies!
JIM: Haaaaa yes that was fucking brilliant! I saw something flash past my face and then the song finishes and Dan’s up screaming “Who throws a fucking lamp at a gig?” and is launching it back into the crowd!
What’s the best gig you’ve played to date?
SAM: Oh there’s been loads of killer ones. Both Wonkfest shows, MPF and supporting Snuff in Camden come to mind.
JIM: I had an emotional breakdown when Snuff were playing, I got a bit overwhelmed that our little band had just supported the fucking masters on home turf. It was also aided by the fact I’d just necked a litre of Rum and drank about ten pints to be fair. There’s been so many fucking awesome shows. Playing with Zeke last week after being a fan for half my life was proper special. Pie Race in Leeds is an amazing festival, Dead Good Gathering in Liverpool too. Boomtown was mental and nearly converted me into a drum and bass head, absolutely fucking wild place!
DAN: For me, Wonkfest is always carnage, but we’ve played so many awesome gigs.
I saw that there’s a possibility you guys are compiling a punk guide to motorway services. How are things progressing with that, are there any services you particularly like and why?
JIM: We all have a soft spot for Strensham, we went in one in Scotland that had ducks that was wicked. Had to bail pretty quickly though cos I was still smashed from the night before and we’d drawn Braveheart makeup on me and I was getting some strange looks. Some menacing, some curious, some just that little flick of the eyes that say “You’re a childish fucking prick, not original, and the film was about a Scottish mercenary pedophile anyway, so you shouldn’t condone such behaviour”. I’m very sorry, I don;t really know how I got from cool services in a book we haven’t began to William Wallace really.
SAM: The worst is Leigh Delamare. Paul’s a fucking prick.
JIM: Oh yeah, we went in there at about one in the morning, went in the shop to buy food and drink, and the attendant Paul refused to serve us and said he was on his break. He just walked off, nobody else in there. I tried to calm Sam down by putting him in one of those massage chairs you stick a quid in, and it swallowed my money. So we went to the garage and bought chocolate, and Sam was hammered so he told the ladies working in there about Paul, and they told us he’d only started his fucking shift an hour ago! We were going to go back to kick his head in and force feed him sausage rolls, but due to the fucking terrible layout of Leigh Delamere you can’t get back to the part Paul was lurking in without a thirty mile trip round the M4. We went there for a second time to give him grief, and fucking broke down and ended up there all night waiting for the AA to tow us to Wales, so after that we refuse to go there.
DAN: Yeah, we’ve gone to great lengths to avoid it. The other week the petrol light was on, but we didn’t want to give them our custom so we drove past and ended up having to get off the motorway and added an hour to our journey because we ran out of fuel and there wasn’t another stop for ages! Leigh Delamere can fuck right off. When Kim Jong Il starts firing the nukes he can happily start there. Strensham, on the other hand, is a palace of a place.
What have been the high and low points of playing in Pizza Tramp?
SAM: There’s not been any low points so far. It’s all fun, even the shit stuff that happens turns out to be fun somehow.
JIM: Well I don’t know about that. Leigh Delamere wasn’t fun, no gig ever in Swansea is fun, a high speed crash that nearly killed us wasn’t fun, getting pulled by the police in the middle of the night in Bolton driving the wrong way up a one way street then breaking down after arguing with them for an hour that it was our Sat Nav’s fault (which it was) wasn’t fun, and no Sunday morning comedown hangover has been fun for the three years we’ve been doing ridiculous shit to ourselves in this band!
DAN: And no drive to or from London is ever fun. No matter what time or day, we always end up getting lost or stuck and take ten hours to turn up at gigs that have already finished, or get home three days later!
Is there any advice you have for people looking to get going with a new band?
JIM: Say yes to every single gig, watch the other bands, support the scene, don’t think you’re a fucking rockstar because you’ve played some gigs to some people, rehearse every week, and don’t think there’s any shortcuts to doing well because there fucking aren’t.
SAM: Gig as much as you can, play every show that comes up, work hard, get drunk and have fun.
DAN: Just do it. Find other people to play with in your local scene and get jamming! That’s how all the bands you love started.
Talk me through your ideal pizza, where do you stand on pineapple as a topping?
SAM: Fuck pineapple. I like Spinach and Feta Cheese topping cos I’m a posh cunt.
JIM: Fuck him. The more pineapple the better. I have no time for the pineapple nazis, especially Sam.
DAN: Half and half. One half ham, pineapple and bacon. The other half chicken, sweetcorn and bacon. Covered in way too much cheese.
Looking forward what are your aims for the band in 2018 and beyond?
JIM: Release another million albums, keep pissing people off, keep getting too drunk to ever be as good as we are in practice, and hopefully just keep getting the shows we play now. The scene is incredible. We have friends all over the place, and are lucky to get our fuel paid and get some beers to drive round and see them all and have fun with them every weekend, and watch loads of punk bands for free. I also wouldn’t mind becoming the biggest fucking band in the world to be honest, so I can quit my job and destroy my health at a faster rate.
SAM: Just keep playing shows, keep putting out music and having a laugh with our mates, pretty much what Jim said.
DAN: Yep. That’s it. Play more shows, write more songs, rule the world.
JIM: I’d also like to apologise for how long it took us to sort out this interview. We are fucking bad people. It seems to have been a whirlwind of traffic jams, hangovers, tinnitus and actually occasionally delving into real life lately, so we are very sorry it took so long and thanks for being patient and wanting to talk to us! New album, splits, and gigs coming soon love you xxxx