Interview – B-Squadron

B-Squadron are one of the best bands on the scene at the moment and have just released an absolutely cracking album in ‘Sons Of Tigers’ which was one of my albums of the year. I caught up with lead vocalist, Travis to talk about the album, the current scene, football among other things. If you have not got a copy of the album yet head over to Rebellion Records to pick one up, you won’t be disappointed.

 SOTS – Cheers Travis for taking the time to speak to me, can you start by giving us a brief history of the band.

Travis -Hello mark, it’s always a pleasure to do these things for good folk. Right, the band was originally formed in 2014 after we’d been talking about doing it for ages, we’d be at a gig and the subject would always come up. The line-up was as it is today except with Ryan Dunn on guitar. We wrote the Saturdays Soldiers EP over a matter of 5/6 practices. We recorded those tracks on a laptop with one mic haha that’s why it sounds so rough. I think that line up did about 4 gigs. After one gig in Leeds, it all got a bit heavy and we ended up kicking fuck out of each other haha, the band split. After a few weeks, tempers had calmed and we came back with Kev in on guitar, the line-up we have today and one that works very well. There’s a good chemistry there and we bounce off each other, everyone is involved in the writing so there’s a good bit of each of us in those tracks on the album.

SOTS – You have recently released your debut album ‘Sons Of Tigers’ which has been well received everywhere, you must be extremely happy and proud of the album?

Travis – I’m very very proud of the album. It might mean fuck all to 99% of people but it’s something we created, it’s something we’ve done that’s positive. That’s good enough for me. The fact it’s been so well received is just icing on the cake. We ain’t fucking rockstars, we’re just 4 hard grafting working class lads so all the support and kind comments really are truly appreciated.

SOTS – The album has a mixture of tracks that appeared on your debut EP ‘Saturday’s Soldiers’, some new tracks and a couple of cover versions. Was picking the track listing a difficult choice? Were there any songs that had to be left out either original songs or cover versions?

Travis – Not difficult really but some thought went into it. We re-recorded the Saturdays Soldiers tracks simply because we wanted Kev to put his own stamp on them. There were a couple of tracks that didn’t make the grade just because we couldn’t get that early 80’s vibe with them, good songs in their own right but we are all about that aggressive original sound, if it ain’t got that then it ain’t getting done. The covers are there simply as a tribute to the bands that inspired us. Two classics that we grew up with, that made a big impression on us as nippers. I just hope we did them the justice they rightfully deserve. I must say thanks here to Hoxton Tom of the 4 skins and to Deptford John of Combat 84 for granting us kind permission to use those tracks.

SOTS – You covered the 4-Skins and Combat 84 on the album but what are the bands other influences?

Travis – There’s loads of influence in there. Cockney Rejects directly inspired the title track. This is England is inspired by the UK82 punk bands, the sound on that track was deliberately meant to sound like Chaos UK and the track is loosely based on Instant Agony’s think of England. Overall influences are the original British Oi bands. Last Resort, Business, East End Badoes, Blitz, Attack, you get the picture.

SOTS – What I like about the band is that you come across as really down to earth, don’t give us any bullshit and are really passionate about what you do. Would you agree with this?

Travis – I wholeheartedly agree with that. We write and sing about what we see. The ups and downs of everyday life. I don’t see the point in bullshitting in your music, you’ll just get found out and exposed for the cunt you are. Look, we ain’t angels, we’ve all got histories and some of it is not very nice but if you come to us openly and honestly we will afford you the same respect. If only everyone could be like that eh? The world would be a much better place haha. I’m ultra-passionate about this band, it’s my baby, I love it and treat it exactly that way and I’ll defend it the same way should anyone want to do it harm. No fucking mercy.

SOTS – One of my favourite songs on the album is ‘Working Class Heroes’ where you mention some of the newer bands on the scene. What do think of the current scene and what are you currently listening to?

Travis – I think currently the scene is as strong as it ever was bands wise, it’s just a shame about all the finger pointing wankers that try and ruin it. See I blame the internet, whilst it’s a great tool for doing things like this interview or promoting gigs it also gives a platform to cunts who in the real world are nothing, non-entities, insignificant maggots. These sad wankers wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes back in the day and if they did have the rag to front anyone they’d last even less today. There are certain bands around now that are no different to us yet they seem to have been blacklisted by these anonymous shithouses. Queensbury rules, No quarter, TMF and the sadly missed Citizen Keyne spring to mind. Venues and promoters are equally to blame for listening to this bollocks in the first place. Some fucking clown had a go at us not so long back when asked to show himself and explain he miraculously disappeared, that tells you all you need to know. As we speak I’m listening to DDC’s cracking new album.

SOTS – Other than yourselves and The Glory whose singer Timmo appears on Sons of Tigers, are there any other good bands from Leicester that we should check out?

Travis – No. Leicester is full of the crybaby wankers described in the last question.

SOTS – What does being part of the Skinhead/Oi! Scene mean to you. Do you ever get frustrated with some of the bullshit that comes with the scene?

Travis – None of us in the band are or ever have been skinheads really, me and Daz ( drummer ) were both punx back in the day, having said that it’s Oi music that had the biggest impact on us. To me, Oi is what punk always should have been, the voice of rebellious working class folk and to be involved in that is brilliant. As described in a previous question, yes we get frustrated with all the bullshit but to let it affect us would be giving ground to these slags, something we are NOT prepared to do. Until the day they actually turn up face to face we don’t let it worry us.

SOTS – It’s no secret that in the past you have were involved in football hooliganism, but what has given you the biggest buzz, the fights in football, boxing, or playing in front of a crowd as the frontman B-Squadron?

Travis – Tough question. All massive buzzes but all slightly different if you know what I mean. The football thing is much much more than fighting, yes that was a massive part of it but there’s so much more involved, it’s the camaraderie, the laughs, the clobber and the day out on the piss with pals that will back you up win , lose or draw. Boxing though is a very lonely sport, I used to get terrible nerves before a fight but once you get a clump in the mouth all that goes out the window and it’s just you and the other geezer, hand to hand, the best and noblest of all sports for me. I much prefer the buzz of playing these days, I’d say there’s no risk of a smack in the mouth but being in this band that ain’t strictly true ha ha. Look, when you see a crowd of people and they’re singing your own songs back to you there’s nothing on earth can beat that.

SOTS – It would be rude not to ask a question about Leicester City. As a Man Utd fan we always seem to get unstuck against Leicester but how do you think the season is going and where do you think you will end up?

Travis – Really? I always see us getting the rough end of the stick from United. In my experience anyway. Ok, we’ve had a couple of results recently but if you look at the record books I’m sure you’ll see who gets the lions share. This really is a question for Daz as he’s still a home and away die hard ( when he’s not banned ). I get to about 2/3 games a season these days. As any true Leicester fan will tell you, avoiding relegation and a decent cup run is a good season. Realistically a top ten spot is now the expectation, possibly another euro adventure via the Europa league.

SOTS – I was lucky enough to catch guys at last year’s Rebellion festival which was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. How was it for you guys? You are booked again for next year are you looking forward to it?

Travis – It was, without doubt, the biggest gig we’ve done. I’m not gonna lie we were all a bit edgy before we played, but after the first track, we started to enjoy ourselves. The crowd blew us away to be honest, fucking brilliant support. We are most definitely looking forward to it. The festival comes in for a bit of stick from certain quarters but lets have it right, it’s the biggest punk gig on the fucking planet and we are proud to play our small part. Sold out?? FUCK OFF!

SOTS – With the album now out what’s next for B-Squadron?

Travis – We’ve got a couple of gigs coming up, then we are gonna work on a few new tracks, maybe for another EP or we may save em for a second album. Who knows?

SOTS – Thanks again for taking the time to speak to me and I can’t wait to catch you guys at Rebellion.

Travis – It’s been a pleasure mate and thank you for your interest. It really does mean a lot to us. Yeah, make sure you introduce yourself to us and we will have a beer. On behalf of the band.. Cheers. Football. Boxing. Oi Oi music. B SQUADRON 2018.