Barnsley’s System of Hate may have only formed in 2013, but they contain a pedigree that is more impressive than bands with careers twice as long as theirs. Experienced punk musicians who have come together to create dark punk rock that is creating waves in the punk community. During a quiet moment for the band, I had a quick chat with guitarist Pat about the band’s origins, music, the punk scene and upcoming shows.
Jack: Hey, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?
Pat (Guitar): Pretty good, can’t complain.
Jack: So let’s talk about the origins of the band, how did you all meet?
Pat: Three of us were in a Barnsley punk band called Total Confusion, that band had burnt out, so we started System. We needed a drummer and Carl was first person we asked and that’s us.
Jack: The band are often compared to Killing Joke and referred to as Dark Punk. How do you feel about these tags and comparison?
Pat: Love the comparison, makes us extremely proud but I don’t see it myself, maybe because reviewers can’t think of another punkish band with keyboards but we both get into a nice groove at times. The lyrical nature of System is dark and we knew that from day one, life is hard and we want to celebrate that fact.
Jack: What bands are your major influences?
Pat: UK Subs, Damned, Birthday Party, Discharge, Gary Numan and much much more music.
Jack: What makes playing punk music so great?
Pat: The people we have met through it, we now have really good friends from all over the place.
Jack: Why has punk music survived and continued to thrive?
Pat: People will always want to rage against something especially in these corrupt times, it’s still rebellious, it’s loud, honest and powerful. Better to pick up a guitar than something else.
Jack: How has punk changed the most since the beginning?
Pat: It’s less of a fashion parade and bands can really, really play now.
Jack: What’s your fondest memory of the early days of punk?
Pat: The Sex Pistols on the Bill Grundy show, utter slapstick, “next question”.
Jack: You’ve played Rebellion Festival a lot, what makes Rebellion so special?
Pat: It a brilliant Festival, well organised, anyone who’s anyone wants to play it and you get four fantastic days of drinking with your friends and heroes.
Jack: Your album Unhallowed Ground has been out for a year, are you happy with the response to the album?
Pat: The responses have been beyond our wildest expectations, as a kid you dream of these things. We created a monster.
Jack: What’s your favourite song on the album?
Pat: ‘Apostle Of Pain,’ I just think we got to another level of writing as a band and we all play it fantastically well.
Jack: Is there a concept to the album?
Pat: Oh yes. It’s all about the Rogue Apostle’s journey, it’s subtle but it’s there.
Jack: Did being from Barnsley influence the album?
Pat: Of course it did, we are beaten down by the World and it’s woes, it was going to seep in there somehow.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Pat: Brilliant to be honest, totally enjoyable and a great challenge for all of us. We were out of our comfort zones but we all played out of our skin. Because of our jobs and work patterns it was done in stages; drums 1st weekend and then we went in individually. Bass a day, Guitars two days, Keyboards two days, Vocals a day and half, backing vocals and Saxophone an evening session, then mixing another. It was done over a period of about seven or eight months.
Jack: What are your upcoming plans?
Pat: We are hoping to release a four track remix e.p. of some songs off the album and we’ve talked about an acoustic E.P We continue to gig, here’s what we have at the moment;
Sunday – 23rd April 2017 – Cutlers Arms, Rotherham – UK SUBS Half Dayer
Fri,Sat,Sun – 12-14th May 2017 – Nepotism Festival, Leeds – System play Sunday 4pm.
Saturday – 27th May 2017 – The Fibber Magees, Dublin with PARANOID VISIONS
Friday – 9th June 2017 – Old School House, Rock & Blues Club (Polish Club), Barnsley – BILLYCLUB
Friday – 7th July 2017 – The Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool with Dogsflesh
Friday – 21st July 2017 – Old School House, Rock & Blues Club (nee Polish Club), Barnsley – Secret Special Guests
3rd – 6th August 2017 – Rebellion Festival, Blackpool. Tickets here
Sunday – 3rd September 2017 – Cutlers Arms, Rotherham – Early START 3pm
Friday – 15th September 2017 – Stalybridge Tavern, Stalybridge
Saturday- 28th October 2017 – The 100 Club, LONDON – Dirtbox Disco & Healthy Junkies
Friday – 24th November 2017 – Old School House, Rock & Blues Club, Barnsley – to be confirmed
Saturday – 16th December 2017 – The Witchwood, Ashton Under Lyne with DISCHARGE plus more…….
And we are writing the next album.
Jack: Finally, what album best represents punk music?
Pat: This is impossible to answer so I’m just going to pick one and it definitely influenced me to think beyond the punk by numbers formula, “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” by Dead Kennedys.