Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
B: Bunkerpop are Devo-esque, white boiler-suited disco-electro rock irony, residing under their yellow elasticated visor caps. Percussive thrust provided by ruptured bass tones, matched with congas and atmospheric swathes, crawling initially, then with full drums and guitar weighing in, around a heavy and hard bleep-flatulent spine, a funk-lurch repetition. A heady locked groove, with fast-strum Velvet Underground guitar, cowbell always uppermost, with some tunes boasting subtle Congolese guitar inflections.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
Bunkerpop were formed in 2016 by Paul John Sarel, Trevor Simpson, Mark Blissenden, Jonathan B: Wainberg and Carlos Macklin.
The debut show at the Hull Adelphi was a sell out with further Hull shows being chaotic and brilliant. A headline slot at Humber Street Sesh in 2018 saw the band attract the attention of many new fans.The band released their debut double vinyl in June 2019 to critical acclaim.
Gigs across the UK in Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, York, Barrow, Scunthorpe, Hull and the festival circuit, taking in Beat Herder, Engage For Change, Equinox, Fast & Bulbous and Nottingham Waterfront Festival saw the band finish 2019 with a headline slot at the massive Freedom Festival in front of 4000 fans.
In 2020 the band released the single & video ‘C’est comme Des Reobots N’Cest Pas and added Leon Welburn to the group.
Time’s Up, Lights Out is the new single which is gaining national airplay across the UK’s independent stations and featured on BBC Introducing and Amazing radio.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
B: Bunkerpop have been forging a path very much of their own creation. Channelling the likes of New Wave artists such as Talking Heads and Devo through a lens of scrappy guitar pop in the vein of bands like Parquet Courts, the six-piece succeed in bringing the classic kicking and screaming into the contemporary.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
B: Bunkerpop dream of playing more festivals and completing a series of gigs in the UK that have been moved again and again in the diary due to coronavirus. We wish to keep spreading the joy of our live show and to continue recording more tunes as 2021 progresses.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
B: The songs were often instrumentals at the start. We would use dialogue from old language records as the narrative. The newer songs have developed differently and we have more scope for singalongs. We’ve always enjoyed a good witty turn of phrase so often the songs start with a jam followed by a catchy chant. This develops quickly week after week before we come up with something resembling a song.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
B: When we started it was all word of mouth and the people of Hull simply came as they heard it was a great night out! We attract young and old, male and female, gay and straight, black and white…we really are the peoples band. As we’ve got more organised we’ve used the usual tools on social media and also started to use a PR company to take us to the next level.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
B: It’s not something we are too keen on. The debut album came out on Vinyl and CD first followed by digital later on as we wanted to reward the buyers of the physical releases. Downloads are part of the game nowadays but we can see bands are starting to rebel against it as the financial implications seem to be unbalanced.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
B: There are so many. But most things that hold a groove. We’ve knicked riffs and ideas from Fela Kuti, William Oneyabor, Talking Heads, Can, Neu…a lot of bands we admire stay true to the feeling of the song rather than worrying about verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge type of songs. We love a long beginning that gets the hips wiggling.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
B: We’re a pretty laid back group and with us being a bit more mature than most of our peers we keep our cool over most musical things. If push came to shove you could say soundchecks are a pain in the arse mostly because we have so much equipment to set up. It would be good if we had some magic wand that just went..Tadaa!…and all the gear was plugged in, tuned and set up for us.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
B: There has been a few. Headlining our hometown Freedom Festival in 2019 is right up there but also the fact that we’re totally DIY and have to do most stuff ourselves. We tend to do all the bookings, artwork, recording or producing, networking, posters and all the boring stuff ourselves. We do it out of necessity really as we’re from Hull and at the end of the line at the end of the M62 and not many folks are passing through so it’s a case of shouting a bit louder to get noticed.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
B: We’ve been writing new tunes all the way through lockdown and have a completely brand new set. We’ll be playing a few of them including the single, ‘Time’s Up, Lights Out’ at the To Hull & Back online streaming festival this Saturday 20th March. We’re heavily involved with the organising of it with our mates I’m Not From London who are a Nottingham based label. We’ve got a great line-up including LIFE, Bunkerpop, Witch of the East, Chiedu Oraka and Chubby Mam.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
B: You can find Bunkerpop physical releases and merch on our bandcamp page: Merch | Bunkerpop (bandcamp.com)
And you can find all our music across the usual digital streaming sites.