Some questions for JohnXMcClane!

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JohnXMcClane is a band that i stumbled upon on the (almost) legendary Vinod Karki-channel on YouTube. Needless to say, they play powerviolence, with a hint of hardcore thrown in. One of the more surprising things is that they’re from England. Kent, to be more precise. Since I haven’t heard, or at least haven’t noticed bands in this genre from England at all, it’s a shocker. The band itself consists of Ryan Thompson (guitar), Josh Jordan (bass), Joe Stokes (drums) and Tom Boughton (vocals). They’ve just released their first EP, which contained eighth track of hardcore meets powerviolence, in a totally shredding hysteria. One thing that is noticeable, is their sound, which is a little bit unique. Like a special little snowflake. All kidding aside, they’ve got some originality, which goes along well with the traditional elements of powerviolence. Anyway, I got a hold of Tom Broughton, the vocalist of the band – and asked him a couple of questions about the band, powerviolence and much more. Like Spazz shouted in one of their songs; “Sluta!“, which means “Stop!“, but we’ll never stop!

So, I stumbled upon you by accident on the much revered YouTube-channel Vinod Karki. What made you venture into Powerviolence?

– The power-violence scene where we live is very small but there are a handful of incredible bands who all really inspired us to play something a lot faster and a lot heavier, than the standard formulaic hardcore bands we were being subjected to at shows week on week. We were all in a band prior to this (which wasn’t great) but when that disbanded we used it as an opportunity to start fresh and really push ourselves to write a record we were happy with! Powerviolence is the way forward. [laughs]

I know that in Powerviolence, there’s somewhat of a certain tradition of some sort to name your band after movie-heroes, real or unreal. Like “Sylvester Stalline”, “Charles Bronson” and “Kungfu Rick”, for example. Why did you choose to follow that tradition with “JohnXMcClane”? 

– [laughs] Well, we love bands like Charles Bronson, xHarold Shitmanx and others with amazing names so we decided to follow suit. Mainly inspired by our bassist Josh who has an unprecedented love for Die Hard. He even has a tattoo of John McClane and Hans Gruber on his forearm as part of an ongoing Die Hard sleeve.

How does it feel to have your first EP up on Vinod Karki by such short notice?

– In all honesty we’d not heard of Vinod Karki before he’d actually uploaded our EP but after browsing through his YouTube channel we were really quite humbled to be featured amongst some really awesome bands!

Who is that guy, anyway?

– I honestly have no idea but he has good taste. [laughs]

…and who are you guys?

– We’re John x McClane. We’re a four piece powerviolence band from the south east of England comprising of Ryan Thompson on guitar, Josh Jordan on bass, Joe Stokes on drums and myself Tom Boughton on vocals.

Your lyrics are what could be expected from a Powerviolence band. But your sound is pretty sharp. You combine hardcore with powerviolence, with much success. How do you go by from beginning to record tracks, to the end of the session, getting it ready to be released?

– We all grew up listening to hardcore bands and going to hardcore shows. After initially being introduced to local powerviolence and fastcore bands I think we all developed a liking for it. We’d all been in bands before but when they all steadily died out, I rounded everyone together to form a new band which played fast music. That eventually turned into John x McClane.

However, our writing process is often strange. We tend not to get together and write songs as a whole. Instead Ryan and Josh tend to write at home, record rough versions (or computerized MIDI versions) of songs and then send them to everyone else. We’ll nit-pick and complain about sections and then when we practice, we tighten it up and go into the studio. Josh, Ryan and myself were in a fast band prior to this so these songs are what our old band was going to progress onto. When we broke up, we released them under the name JXM with Joe on drums. Joe is good for us because he insists on band practices which we were lacking in our old outfit!

It feels like its pretty rare for Powerviolence-bands to be from England. Mostly, you see and hear about the American ditto. What does England bring to the table regarding this?

– I think there are a lot of English powerviolence bands that really get overlooked! There is a small but very tight community of bands that are really making waves in the scene and many names which definitely shouldn’t get ignored! England has a rich history of producing brilliant heavy bands, and in PV things are no different!

Now there’s that, but you’ve also gotten your first official Twitter. Isn’t that a little bit much even for a Powerviolence-band?

– I think powerviolence can find itself being a little technophobic. Many bands find themselves not making bandpages and being very limited with their updates and releases, often producing things on dying formats. Don’t get us wrong, we love the niche and we love collecting records and tapes but for a band to expand and grow now, I think you need to push forward and make a name for yourself. Many heavy UK bands have twitter as well as some awesome labels. It’s just a way for people to contact us and to find us and our music. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing!

Since there seem to be certain stigmas within Powerviolence as such, what would you say is your philosophy when you entered this realm for the first time?

– Above all I want to have a good time. Powerviolence is a very fast, aggressive genre of music and most people probably struggle to get their heads around it. I want people to feel welcome and I want people to come and talk to me at the end of a show without worrying if I’m going to eat them or something. [laughs]

A lot of powerviolence bands have a very strong stance on social or political issues and when we released our record that was more about struggles with mental health and society, I did worry that it wouldn’t be accepted as a powerviolence record as openly. As it turns out, people really relate and love the record which is great to see.

I noticed that someone called your lyrics misogynistic. Seriously? Where did that come from? Because I saw none when I read them.

– After we’d put the EP up on our bandcamp page, a small group of people had listened to the second track “Bite” and despite the lyrics for the record not having been posted, thought they could make out misogynistic content. I quickly set these people straight and posted the lyrics to settle any disputes. We’re not misogynists and we wanted people to know that from the get go. Hopefully that’s the last we’ll hear of it! [laughs]

When it comes to your influences, what did you seek out first? Or were you simply trying to distance yourself, by coming up with a different sound?

– We all listen to a variety of different bands from different genres and have lots of different influences. All we knew was that we wanted to play something fast and heavy which would let people sing along, throw themselves around and bang their fucking heads. [laughs] We wanted to play music that we liked as well, and I think we’ve achieved all those things!

Tell me more about your forthcoming music-video!

– Our music video will be filmed in the next week in a friend’s basement. I can’t give too much away but I can say that it will be for the track “Maggot” which is the last song on the EP.

Thanks, it was a pleasure thinking out these questions. Now that your self-titled EP is out, what’s coming next? Do you have anything in mind for the rest of the year?

– For the rest of the year we’re planning a split release and have already begun writing for it. We also have a full UK tour coming up in September which is currently being booked and plans for a music video in the next week or so!

Thanks for getting us involved in your blog man! It’s honestly a pleasure to be included and we really appreciate all your kind words!

I was just kidding, it’s not the end yet. But now it is. So, recommend us some stuff!

– Bands that you should check out: Sob Story, Let It Die, Human Junk, Lich, No Island, Drug Couple, Monolithian and Razoreater. Also make sure you check out Church of Fuck, a solid UK record label with some incredible releases.

Cheers again dude!

You can listen to their stuff over at Bandcamp or YouTube. As he said, they’ll be heading on a September-tour, for more information – visit their Facebook.

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