Interview by Malicia Dabrowicz (Vanadian Avenue)
As always we are determined to bring you the hottest news from independent circuit: the bands that are worth knowing, the singles that everyone will be talking about and events that you have to mark in your calendar. So it`s our pleasure to shine a light on Hull`s new hope and glory – Unwired Society. The trio just released their debut single and will stream a whole concert on 22nd January in help of Music Venue Trust. We sat down with Dylan, Lydia and Max to talk about their influences, their studio habits and how the City of Culture is shaping them as artists and musicians.
Pandemic or not, the music business is in constant motion and new bands are its lifeblood. Please introduce us to Unwired Society. Who is in the band and where do you come from?
Dylan Burton: Unwired Society are a three piece band from Hull. The band consists of myself on guitar/vocals and my two best friends: Lydia Sioux on bass and Max James on drums. These two joined the band in late 2019, early 2020 and since then I feel like the band is doing better than ever in terms of achieving things that I envisioned when starting the band back in 2018.
‘Wall of Noise’, your debut single was released on 15th of January. Tell us more about the song. What’s the story hidden behind the punk harmonies and quick riffs?
Dylan Burton: ‘Wall of Noise’ was the first song that the band jammed at our first rehearsal. It’s a political driven song that very much describes the state of the UK and encourages people to stand up against the higher ups. Often in election time, many people don’t vote because they feel like it won’t make a difference. They just turn a blind eye, which can feel like a good reason because the UK has been suffering with the same issues for many years. But to me it seems like things just keep getting worse with every election! I’ve heard people say they’re not into politics and will straight up ignore it. The media can also be a big factor in putting people off or even luring people into voting for the wrong party. The song refers to the media and how it throws so much at people. Often articles and information will contradict each other so you’ll sit there wondering what’s genuine or if any of it is genuine at all.
Do you remember how the song was composed?
Dylan Burton: The bass line was created by our original bass player but it was placed in a different part of the song. Once Lydia joined, she would play it during the verses and I decided that’s where it should be. I then based the vocal melody following that bass line. The chorus had a different chord progression that I thought was a bit lackluster on its own so I combined it with another chord progression which transformed it into the chorus you hear now. Once Max joined, his drums changed the vibe of the song in a way that I was loving. It added more energy and dynamics and I just knew once I heard the first demo that it was going to be a definite first single.
Unwired Society sounds like a cross of early-days Rancid and pre-‘Dookie’ era Green Day. Your accents betray you, but if we were to judge you by your sound only, we’d say you are straight Outta Orange County, California. What are your influences?
Dylan Burton: I take influence from all types of punk but my main influences are Green Day (who were my introduction to punk), Blink 182, Ramones, Dead Kennedys and The Buzzcocks. I don’t listen to Rancid that much but I am a fan of them and the band does have a similar style to them. I’m influenced by a lot of local bands and bands that I’m friends with such as Serial Chiller, Slackrr, LIFE, Smiling Assassin, Aerial Salad and System Paralysis. In the more recent material that the band has been writing I don’t look to specific bands for influence like I used to which I think has just come with writing more songs and developing further. Punk has been a part of me for many years and is pretty much engraved into me and whatever I write, there will always be the punk ethos behind it. I love other genres and bands such as Angels and Airwaves (who still have a very punk attitude behind their music), Fleetwood Mac, Hot Milk and The Beatles (they’re my mum’s favourite band) but in terms of the band, the bands listed above are my influences.
Lydia Sioux: I actually am influenced by myself and what I come up with. I create my bass lines with what I feel, I don’t make things because I was inspired by anyone else. But I am influenced by post punk and punk rock. That’s what I tend to delve into really.
Max James: My influences range a whole load. Punk has always been a passion for me. Making it, playing it and living it is part of who I am. Raised on bands like Rancid and Green Day really built my initial love for it. And I’ve grown to love all aspects. Ska Punk bands like Less than Jake and modern pop punk like The Story So Far. I always take in huge inspiration from the heavier side. Hardcore bands such as Hatebreed and early Parkway Drive.
It must have been difficult to produce and record during lockdowns. We would love to hear what your recording process looked like and what equipment did you use?
Dylan Burton: Luckily when we did record we were out of the first lockdown. We recorded ‘Wall of Noise’ along with two other singles in a 12 hour session. It was our routine process where we record in the order of drums, bass, guitars and then vocals. For drums we used my Red Premier APK Kit that I was given by my grandad with a Paiste 16 Crash/20 ride/14 hi-hats and Zildjian A Custom 18 Crash.
Max used a double kick pedal which I thought added a really cool element to the song that I didn’t expect. Guitar tracks were done through Marshall JCM2000 Super Lead and VOX AC30S1 combined together. I’ve always wanted a Marshall and I came across the JCM in a Cash Converters and decided that was my opportunity to finally own one. As with the VOX I’ve loved those amps since seeing Tom DeLonge use them and I bought mine from a music shop in Hull called Gough and Davey. Combining both amps together gave me this huge sound that I’ve been wanting for many years. You can probably imagine how excited I was when I got to try that combination out for the first time. Bass was done through a Fender Rumble 100 which I just think produced the perfect tone for our sound, I’ve always been a huge fan of Fender Bass amps. For recording I used my Tascam Model 24 Desk which cost a lot of money to get but in the long run it was really worth it. Self-producing it quite the challenge but I wouldn’t have had it any other way and I had plenty of helpful advice from the rest of the band and my good friend Casey.
The band also owns a recording studio – Unit 45 Recordings. Do you plan to offer your services to other bands in the Hull area?
Dylan Burton: The band don’t own the studio, its owned by Creative and Cultural and rented by me and three others: Nick Russell (6:17), Casey Stead (Smiling Assassin, Modern Mood Swings) and Eddie Logie (Modern Mood Swings). Casey has been a good friend of mine for a few years and helped introduce me to many people in the Hull music scene. He was based at the studio first with Nick and I was talking to him about wanting to have my own space so he offered for me to come and be a part of Unit 45 Recordings. In 2020 we launched our Facebook page and were all ready to go but then the second lockdown hit and with the third one in place we are unable to start recording others. Before all this I recorded an indie band called The Matchbox which was my first experience working with another band and Nick got to record The Cartels and System Paralysis. Once we’re allowed to reopen and when bands can start rehearsing and recording again, we will be offering our services to other bands. At the moment we have a podcast called P’s in a Pod where we discuss different topics every Friday and its certainly giving us something to do while in lockdown and we plan to continue it even when we reopen.
Despite your relatively new status – you are not debutantes. You played Humber Street Sesh festival in 2018 and appeared on stages at respected venues such as Off The Road Live Lounge, O’Rileys and Adelphi. Do you find it helpful for young artists to come from The City of Culture?
Dylan and Lydia: There’s many great bands that have come from the city of Hull, but we think the arts in general doesn’t get enough support here. There are plenty of opportunities in Hull, yet eventually you do have to start looking beyond but it’s a great place to start and develop. We’ve made so many great friends in the Hull music scene and the creative scene in general who helped us in one way or another: Lydia Palmeira, Sam Sanders, Casey Stead, Nick Russell, Eddie Logie, Stewart Baxter, Jayney Wright, the staff of Freedom Road Creative Arts, Jamie Munro, Dan Mawer, Max Lilley, Mikey Scott and Alan Raw.
What are your plans for the next couple of months? New single? Online streams? What should we be on the lookout for?
Dylan Burton: We have two more singles planned for release this year. Once this lockdown has been lifted we plan to do livestreams until we’re allowed to gig again. This current line-up hasn’t actually done a proper gig yet so it will be exciting to see what things will look like. We recorded and filmed a set at BOOM in Leeds that’s getting streamed on Facebook on 22 January. Beyond this we have an EP recorded that will come after the next two singles and we have more songs in the works.
If you could name 3 albums you wish you could have recorded, what would they be?
Dylan Burton: What a fun question to ask! I’d say ‘Dookie’ by Green Day, Blink 182’s untitled album and ‘We Don’t Need to Whisper’ by Angels and Airwaves. They’re all fantastic albums for different reasons. In terms of production, ‘Dookie’ was quite a big influence on how I recorded ‘Wall of Noise’. Untitled and ‘We Don’t Need to Whispers’ are two records that used very unconventional methods for recording that I find really interesting and depending on the project, I like experimenting myself when recording. It would have been really cool to be a part of those experiences. I’ve watched documentaries on the making of all three albums and it was really fascinating.
Lydia Sioux: ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Juju’ by Siouxsie and The Banshees and ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day. I just like the albums (laughs), they have different things within them that would be fun too record.
Max James: That`s tough…I love what I record and what I recorded and what I haven’t recorded for different reasons. I love putting my name on things I’m proud of but also albums that I can sit and enjoy. I’d loved to be able to play ‘Under the Soil and Dirt’ by The Story So Far live though. And I guess another two would be ‘Love Bites’ by The Buzzcocks and ‘Horizons’ by Parkway Drive. Both fantastic albums.
For anyone wanting to book the band – what`s the best way of reaching you?
Dylan Burton: You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or just direct message the bands Facebook page.