Politics and punk has always gone hand-in-hand, but it is the way in which the message is directed that makes it stand out at the front of someone's mind.
For Stiff Meds, putting their aggression and pissed off attitude front and centre is plain for all to see. The London-based quartet play a brand of fastcore infused with power violence elements with a political message at its heart.
"We just wanted to make a pissed off hardcore band. Fast, angry and something that just had guts." vocalist Seth Salih explains to No Echo.
"That was kind of lacking at the time, everything seemed to go a bit more melodic and we were just like 'fuck that' we wanna make the most spiteful obnoxious music you’ve ever heard. our music is just blunt and straight to the point, There’s no fucking about, it’s just cruel music for a cruel world."
Formed in 2019, the band has come out of the blocks flying, and earlier this year released their record Exciting Violence, which is 10 tracks of pure angry bile being spit out by the band, and is — in Sailh's words — a more fully realized version of the band compared to their previous release, A Taste for Blood.
"Exciting Violence is much more fleshed out. We took our time and put much more effort in and that pays off in the record," Salih continues.
"It’s hard for me to like my own music because I always spot the mistakes but I can say with confidence that Exciting Violence is just a good fucking record! It’s everything we wanted in about 10 minutes.
"We worked every song to the bone and just constantly pumped new ideas into every part, we just kept building it. we threw away so many songs and I ended up scrapping so much lyrical content because they just were not to a high standard of what we wanted to produce. A taste for blood does what it says on the tin, it’s our demo and just a taste of what we can do."
The band's new record features tracks such as "Under the Boot," "Violent City Nights," and "Full of Shit" which all conjurer up conversations of the current political climate that we live in, with the longest track clocking in at just over a minute.
However, even though a distinct political undercurrent to what Stiff Meds do, thematically the music is used as a vehicle for Salih to verbalise the rage he feels towards the world.
He adds: "My lyrics are not solutions they are problems, I don’t have the answers, I just see the world around me for what it is and what I see is a nightmare.
"I sing about these topics to release the hate and anger inside me, nothing more. It isn't for anyone but myself, but I guess everyone can relate to it because we are all playing this game of life. I’m not a positive person and I let that spill out onto paper when it comes to writing. I am an angry person inside but I use that to my advantage to produce lyrics that are just ugly.
"Our music is a bleak representation of the horrors we live, there are no songs about unity, there are no songs about hope, it’s hard to be a positive person when you live in a world so fucked."
But for Salih, being in a band that has a political focus is part and parcel of being in a punk band, but he also believes that the words he uses in his lyrics can't be empty and hollow.
At the time of speaking to the Stiff Meds vocalist there has been more unrest in the UK around the actions of the police, and how sexual assault cases are dealt with in the country.
These debates were sparked following the murder of Sarah Everard and the subsequent peaceful vigil held in her memory, which was disrupted by officers aggressively arresting women, who were voicing concerns for their safety.
This then led to a march in parliament square, which Salih attended.
He adds: "I went to the march in London last night to show my solidarity and support. You could feel the anger in the air, women are hurting from the abuse and oppression they have suffered over the years. it’s clear now more than ever that people do not feel safe in this country and rightly so.
"This country is a joke, it’s heading straight down the shitter and no politician is gonna save us. I constantly encourage people to go out and protest, it’s our right to protest and now they’re trying to take that away from us too.
"Being in a band I think you have to practice what you preach, you can't just share something on the internet and expect the problem to go away, you have to get up off your ass and go out there and fight back and support those that need help, you have to attend protests and listen to the pain that is being voiced. Most importantly hold these discussions and challenge behaviour that is inappropriate. I am not the voice that needs to be heard at the moment, it’s women who need to be heard."
Stiff Meds currently exists as part of a really exciting crop of bands to come out of England's capital city, with bands like Chubby and the Gang, Ironed Out, and Mastermind just to name a few.
But as the bands vocalist explains, they don't exactly fit any specific mold of UK hardcore.
"Stiff Meds doesn’t fit anyone's criteria and that’s why it's so great," he explains.
"No one can pigeonhole us or pinpoint us to a specific scene or to a specific genre because our music is beyond that. This allows us to play all different kinds of shows with our foot in different scenes."
Seth continues: "We have played a good mixture of shows and that’s how we like it, we like to appeal to a new crowd whenever and wherever we can. We just want to play at the end of the day. London heads have looked after us and backed our band from the start but a big shout to the Ready Eye and Rucktion guys!
"Every London show we have played has popped off and it’s just sick to be in a room with London mates going mental to your own band."
But it seems with the release of Exciting Violence that Stiff Meds have certainly stamped their mark on the London scene, and when live music becomes a thing once more, their sets are sure to be energetic and ferocious.
Salih concludes: "I always ask people what their favourite track is and everyone says something different each time. That is exactly what we wanted, we wanted every song to be solid and have its own audience rather than just shit out ten tracks for the sake of it and only two of the tracks are any good.
"Everyone has a different take on the record and our band in general, We just love raising eyebrows and fucking with people."
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