Punk two-piece Ghost of the Avalanche drop their fifth EP Civil Unrest this month, and they’re more pissed off than they’ve ever been. While previously their hard punk sound was willing to embrace rock and roll hooks, Civil Unrest is pure punk rage.
It’s a six-track exasperation at the current political shit show and our deeply divided country. Tracks like Vampire Bats and Not Our War and a reeling sense of musical urgency feels at times like a call to arms, but also bluntly asks, what’s the point?
a six-track exasperation at the current political shit show and our deeply divided country
Keeping true to punk tradition, Ghost of the Avalanche’s songs are short. The longest track on the EP is Cloak and Dagger at just over two minutes, with others sitting around 45 seconds, and the whole thing delivers like a swift punch to the gut.
Born out of an idea to strip music back to its bare bones, Ghost of the Avalanche is Nick Wilton on vocals and bass guitar and Robbo Clark on drums. They put their no-frills, to-the-point, raw expression to the test in the studio this time, by recording Civil Unrest straight to cassette – meaning no splicing best bits together on a computer, but also eliminating the risk of overcooking things in the studio: what you hear is what you’ll get live.
They put their no-frills, to-the-point, raw expression to the test (…) recording Civil Unrest straight to cassette
The EP drops on 12 October as an official International Cassette Store Day release and they’re backing it up with a UK winter tour. In a bid to get to them them better, we asked Nick a few questions –
What have you learned today?
I was at a festival for sustainable businesses today in Bristol as part of my day job as a marketing manager and I was surprised and pleased to see how many people want to start or swap careers to work with businesses that care about the environment. I also learnt how to put a literature stand up properly without severing my fingers. You can tell I’m fresh from work right?
Which song by another artist most inspires you?
Tiny Dancer by Elton John. I would love to write a song where the music emotionally shifts like that. It’s beautiful.
First piece of music you bought?
Michael Jackson’s Dangerous was the first album I ever bought with my own pocket money, on cassette no-less. That memory is now a bit tainted considering all the allegations that the Leaving Neverland documentary detailed… So for the purposes of this interview I’ll say the first CD I ever bought which was Nirvana’s Incesticide because it was cheaper in Woolworths than Nevermind, which was the album I really wanted.
The newest Ceremony album In the Spirit World Now. It sounds like they were listening to a lot of Talking Heads and New Order when writing it. I love how they change up their style every album.
Who are your top three acts right now?
I’d have to say Bad Breeding, they are a phenomenal live punk band and their albums are all solid. I’m really looking forward to seeing Lightning Bolt play at the Trinity in Bristol soon and The Bronx always deliver when it comes to rock n’ roll swagger.
Who is or was the most underrated artist, in your opinion?
Probably, Ramones. I know a lot of people love them but they should’ve had massive hits. Their song writing is impeccable and they influenced so many bands that it’s criminal they didn’t become global megastars at the time. They were like The Beatles on speed. Locally, the most underrated bands are Ghost Of The Avalanche, Downard and The St Pierre Snake Invasion.
It’s 3am and the party is winding down, what track do you play to get everyone going again?
Tick Tick Boom by The Hives.
Mosh pits – yay or nay?
Yay if they’re good mosh pits where people help each other out when they fall over and when they are having a good time. Nay if knuckle draggers are there to throw their weight around, not cool. For me personally, I’m of the age now where I like to stand near the sound desk nursing a beer. That’s where the music sounds best, as that’s where the guy who is in charge of the sound is listening from.
Do you listen to any music you think would surprise people?
I listen to all different kinds of music but I guess some people would be surprised to know that I think the Sugababes have some absolute bangers. Also, I’m quite fond of old video game soundtracks. I’ve got the Streets Of Rage 2 soundtrack on double vinyl, so maybe that?
What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, which I bought ages ago after watching the film adaptation but I’ve only just got around to reading it.
Most recent binge watch?
I’m so late to the party with these things but I watched every episode of Mad Men for the first time fairly recently but I’ve also binged watched the new Star Trek Discovery show on Netflix. I started the new Dark Crystal series but didn’t really understand what the fuck was going on so I’m yet to revisit it…
Be a nice person. Don’t be a dick.
Cats or dogs?
Cats because they’ll take over one day.
Tea or coffee?
Coffee at work. Tea at home.
People not indicating on roundabouts. Absolute vermin.
Favourite computer game character?
Kirby the pink blob is pretty cool. He’s very expressive and can take on a bunch of powers.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Learn a trade. I didn’t take the advice…
Tell us something people don’t generally know about you…
I was once a runner-up in a Home Alone look-a-like competition that Live and Kicking ran.
What is your oldest possession?
Probably Big Ted, my bear from when I was a kid. Although I gave him to my daughter to look after when she was born, so he’s kinda hers now.
What are you doing tomorrow?
I’m going to go to work then spend the evening with my family. Then I’ll attempt to write some new GOTA material for an album we hope to record next year.
Photos by @thefotomatic
Civil Unrest EP release: 12 October, DIE DAS DER