Interview – Si Foulkes from the Crash Landings

Written by Mark Jones

The Crash Landings are a street punk band from Bournemouth, UK, who released their excellent debut album ‘All Guts No Glory’ last year which is still on heavy rotation here at Sounds Of The Street. We caught up with frontman Si Foulkes to tell us a bit more about the band and what’s coming up in the future.

Sounds Of The Street. Hi Si, thanks for agreeing to speak to us can you start by introducing the band and how you got together?

Si Foulkes. Hi mate it’s my pleasure, and thanks for supporting us. The Crash Landings are Neil Frewer playing drums, Ant Woodhams on lead guitar and Seb Brown on the four stringer. I sing lead and play second guitar….I use the word ‘sing’ in the loosest possible sense though…it’s more shouting in key! Ant & Seb also sing backup’s and lead vocal on the odd song to give me a breather during the sets. The origins of the band can be traced back to a demo I did one night after work back in 2013. I’d had a bad day, got home and picked up my guitar and this song just fell out. I got it down on my 4 track but when it came to lyrics I had nothing so literally just sang the news headlines from that day’s paper – the song is ‘And Finally’ in case you’re wondering…it’s on the first album. Anyway I threw a scratch vocal at it, and listening back I knew it had something so I sent it to a few people whose opinions I valued. One of them was Martin Kitcher, who’s no longer with us sadly, but he liked it so much he put it out the next day on his digital label. I protested but he did it anyway; I didn’t want it to come out under my name so I invented a fictional band and The Crash Landings became a thing. Shortly afterwards a punk zine in the US picked it up and people began buying this demo, then I got an offer to do a show. Not being one to shirk a challenge I put a line-up together, we managed to get 20 minutes together and did the show. I think that all happened within 6 weeks – from doing that demo to playing that gig, and we’ve been at it ever since!

SOTS. Some people have described you as Rancid meets UK Subs, Do you agree with this? What other influences do the band have?

SF. Yeah, the Rancid thing….that gets thrown around a lot but I can’t help being left handed or liking the way Gretsch guitars sound. The fact I’ve got a Tim Armstrong signature is purely coincidental…it’s an amazing instrument that came up at the right price a few years ago, would never have been able to afford it otherwise. They’re definitely an influence, I’m not denying that, but I think any punk band operating right now would say the same about them. I’m not sure where the Subs thing came from, obviously we’re fans and have played with them, but I guess it’s probably because we really focus on writing hooks. I’m a big fan of melody, and our sound has been described as ‘tuneful’ a number of times which I’m always pleased to hear. So to answer your question I guess I’d agree – I don’t think being compared to either of those bands is a bad thing! In terms of other influences I love psychobilly & rockabilly, reggae and ska, some metal and the odd bit of psychedelia.

SOTS. Your debut album which was released last year has got some cracking slabs of street punk, which was self released. You must be proud of this?

SF. That’s kind of you to say so, and yeah massively although I can’t be objective about it.. Apart from having an engineer in the studio we did everything ourselves from the artwork, to mixing, to pressing to distribution. It was a huge project to undertake when you’re busy with jobs, families and gigging, but we believed in it and wanted to learn how every part of the process worked. We made so many mistakes, but learnt so much….one of our aims is to be as self-sufficient as possible, and going through that album cycle has really stood us in good stead. It was also completely self-funded; every penny spent on the project came from within the band and I’m proud of that. None of this pledge nonsense. I’ve said it before, but I see a lot of small or local bands asking people to cough up so they can go in a studio. Lame as fuck. Here’s some free advice; in the real world no one gives a shit about your band so either get a job or try and sell some merch at your gigs if you’re serious about studio time.

SOTS. Have you started working on the follow up? If so what can we expect from this?

SF. We have; plans are coming together for the second album. You can expect a streetpunk album with plenty of attitude, big songs, ripping guitars, loads of hooks and a degree of experimentation….we’ve added a couple of different styles to our repertoire so there’s much more we can do as a band now than last time out.  Half the material is already written with some songs appearing in the live set. We’ve learned a lot from gigging with bands at the top of their game, and subsequently got much better at crafting our own songs. It’s inevitable that if you spend long enough doing something then eventually you’ll get better at it. This time we’re really looking at arrangements and structure. I think we understand the process better; we’ve set the bar quite high and plenty of songs haven’t made it because we felt we could do better. That’s in total contrast to the first album where we just recorded all the material we had!

SOTS. Have you had any interest from any labels?

SF. Yeah, we’re talking to a couple at the moment, I won’t mention any names at this stage but it’s an encouraging start. If any punk labels are reading this feel free to get in touch, we might have something you’re gonna like.

SOTS. The UK street punk scene is thriving at the minute, what are your thoughts on this?

SF. I’m not surprised at all because the music and attitude reflect how the average working person probably feels in Great Britain right now. Street punk, Oi, call it what you want is visceral and honest and people connect with it. I don’t think it’s ever gone away…just look at how many of the original bands are still out there doing it and what they mean to people. The new generation of bands coming up have really set it off though, and it feels like the time is right for the boots to go flying in again, to paraphrase Colin Riot.

SOTS. You’ve played shows with some of the best British around such as Booze & Glory and Arch Rivals, what was it like to share a stage with these acts?

SF. Fucking mental. Getting to know them, and seeing how they operate has really influenced how we go about things. Shut your mouth and watch, you might learn something. We’ve worked hard to get the point where we can live with that kind of company, so getting onto their stages feels like a validation of sorts.

SOTS. You’ve got some dates coming up with Dirt Box Disco, Street Dogs and Resistance 77, for anyone coming along to those shows that haven’t seen you before what can they expect from a Crash Landings live show?

SF. We’re always adding dates and 2018 is already coming together; as I write we’ve just added a date in Manchester at The Star & Garter with Heavy Drapes which I’m really excited about. European shows are also a real possibility for us next year. At our show’s we always give it the beans; you’re gonna get plenty of energy, lots of attitude and banter and a few shapes get thrown. We also like to get the audience involved which always makes for a good set.

SOTS. Thanks for your time and we wish you all the best for your upcoming dates.

SF. Cheers mate and keep up the good work with SOTS!