Strong Island Recordings is hosting a day-long fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support, featuring the noisier end of the local scene. They’ll be putting on 15 bands across two stages, with proceedings kicking off at 1pm.
Melt Dunes are headlining, but right before them are post-punk/hardcore band Horseflies, who despite only having been around for just over a year are fast gaining a reputation as one of the best bands around.
They released their debut album These Halls Are Haunted Now in March this year, but are already champing at the bit to record album number two.
The Guide caught up with frontman Joe Watson: ‘We played our first gig on the first of August last year and we started practising around April time, so in the live capacity, it’s not even a year yet – you don’t feel like a real band until you’ve played live.
The band’s members are Portsmouth music scene stalwarts.
They all knew of each other’s work, but spent 15 years circling each other before finally meeting.
‘I knew them, but didn’t really hang out with them. When you’re younger you kind of click into your own little scenes – they played rock and roll, and we played punk and hardcore, so you never quite mixed.’
After they did talk properly, Joe says with a laugh: ‘It was kind of frustrating, because it was like, damn, I wish we’d spoken a long time ago!’
‘He was in Deluxe Flamingoes – a great, great band, and I said I kind of wanted to do some more melodic vocals. They were putting together an EP at the time, so they asked me to put together some lyrics and record vocals for a song on that and it went really well.
‘Next thing it was: “We’ve got a band together called Horseflies, whether you like it or not, we’re going to practice in a couple of weeks’ time, you’re in, yeah?” He’s quite a persuasive guy.’
While optimistic about his new band, Joe’s been around long enough to know things change.
‘I guess you feel like that with every band – it feels great, and you think this is it, but things run their course and priorities change.
‘With this band we do things very differently, and it’s the first time I’ve been in a band with people I didn’t know very well, or at all in case of Dan our bassist who I only met at the first practice, which for me was such a strange concept.
‘I feel really good about this band and I’m really proud of what we’ve done so far, and when we come to record in July we’ve got the second album ready to go.’
Joe promises that while the second album isn’t a radical departure, it’s a ‘nice progression and evolution’.
They’re due to head into Southsea Sound later this much.
‘Mike’s the main songwriter and he’ll come in with loads of ideas, and we all chip in, but he’s never said, “We’ll play it like this”, or “You sing it like this”, which is how it’s often been done with other bands. It’s not wrong, it’s just a different way of working, but it’s been fun.’
He’s also bullish about the current Portsmouth scene.
‘It’s really easy to look back at things and think they were better. There was a time when we had The Horseshoe and we had a lot of us putting on gigs and touring with American bands, I think there was a slight lull, but I think now is probably my favourite time for Portsmouth music. There’s such a great mix of bands, but I’m friends with a lot of different people in bands, and I guess my tastes have matured - you get a real mix of genres and age groups.
‘You’ve got these guys in their late 40s/50s, rubbing shoulders with the much younger guys, and I think both groups can learn from each other. It feels very positive.’
Also on the bill are You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons, Strange Cages, Frauds, Grief Daddy, Lumer, Hotel Lux, Tomzack, Ban Summers, Make Them All Smile, Number 9, Hallan, Beau Curtis, and Danny Wright And His Imaginary Friends. Tickets cost £15.
STRONG ISLAND RECORDINGS BEACH BALL ALL-DAYER
The Wave Maiden, Southsea
Sunday, July 15