Like the best modern rock ‘n’ roll myths, British punk-pop trio Male Bonding met during a stint working in a record shop. “It was Reckless Records in London,” explains guitarist and singer John, “and a real coming of age for me. One minute we’d be listening to The Misfits and then someone else--probably Kevin (bassist and co-singer)--would stick on Fairport Convention. Every day was musically so interesting and varied.“
The trio’s teenage years were also shaped by significant musical experiences. “Where I grew up had a great venue who were really encouraging and helpful to local bands,” explains drummer Robin. “Watching those bands self-release material and plan their own tours was a big influence on me. Anyone can do it.” John’s savior was his Business Studies teacher at school: “He was so cool. He knew I loved music but had no way of accessing it because there were no buses after 6pm in my town--so he took me with him to shows.”
Two years back, you’d catch the guys playing support at almost every buzzed show in the capital. Basing themselves in the new-music mecca of East London, they planned releases and gigs with friends in bands like Graffiti Island and Pens. “People started calling it DIY Dalston,” explains John, “but that didn’t last very long, really. It never developed into a scene.” They came of age with 2010's full length debut Nothing Hurts on the legendary Sub Pop label, and this year's follow up Endless Now saw them pile on more guitars and let the rawness of their early style develop into a cascading overload of sound.
Critics have labeled them 90s revivalists, like many of the guitar bands who’ve come out of London in the last 18 months, but they don’t care. “In my eyes we just play guitar music,” says John. “Very simple verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge stuff. If that makes us a 90’s band, then so be it.” Robin adds: “We’re just a noisy pop band.”
By Paul Bridgewater
You should definitely watch part 2 right now.