By P Blood
Durban’s most elusive, yet most successful melodic punk rock band, Low Profile, is due to launch their latest offering, A Vulgar Display of Power Chords, at Durban’s newest music venue.
Come the 26th of May, Live-The Venue will be overrun by Low Profile’s loyal fan base built up over the last 9 years of countless gigs, line-up changes and despite the band’s apparent agoraphobia.
The times have changed, but much like the giant tubeworm, Low Profile have not needed to evolve much and have stayed fiercely true to the sound that inspired them to pick up instruments and make fast paced melodic noise with a smattering of guitar shredding. (Think anything from Fat Wreck or Epitaph from the 80’s to late 90’s.)
With a new album and a growing interest from the overseas, we fired a few questions at them, and prayed they could answer coherently.
Okay, you guys have been knocking around the Durban punk scene for close on 10 years and what feels like longer. Why only on your second full length album now?
After performing our first full length album and subsequent EP to death, we wrote new songs only as and when ideas came up, and so we ended up with a number of singles that we released in various formats, as well as a 7-song and 3-song EP.
These days it seems like a lot of bands are moving away from full-length albums towards shorter EPs, because it’s cheaper to record and therefore easier to give away for free (you know because no one buys CDs anymore?) We kind of wanted to get as much of our music out there as possible and hence the reason for sporadic singles and EPs, until now that is!
At 13 songs, we’re calling this our second full length album although we have released enough material in the interim for it to have been our 3rd!
It’s been a long standing joke you guys live up to your name by keeping a low profile, making your gigs as infrequent as possible without completely disappearing from the scene, any particular reason for that or do you just prefer spending time in the studio than on stage?
Many reasons. We’ve gone through various stages in the band over the years – member changes, mind-set changes and even times where each of us wanted out of the band.
At first we jumped on every show possible, and probably over-played in Durban. We feel this got us a bit of a stigma as a garage band. So we tried to play more selected shows and ended up playing too little. This, combined with writing new material and spending time in the studio over the past few years led us to a point where we were so far off the radar that people thought we had quit … but in the background we were busy crafting our latest album! Ho ho ha ha ha
You’ve joined the ranks of bands like Blink 182, Social Distortion and MxPx by having your name illustrated by none other than Jimbo Philips. How many dicks did you suck to get him to do your album artwork?
Haha… none, thankfully. Our drummer Jackie got his nickname from being a human Jack Russell (i.e: he will rash you non-stop until you agree) so I think he used some of those skills online to convince Jimbo to do our artwork. But maybe deep down Jimbo just digs our stuff.
The new album is due to drop out of your collective bowels this month, what’s the plan for it?
Well the official launch for the album is on 26 May 2012 at LIVE The Venue in Durban. After releasing in Durban, we are going to push it as much as possible overseas as we have had a growing overseas fan base over the past few years. With any luck, we might be able to get it distributed if there is interest in any particular country. Besides that, we’ll tour, play more shows, and release a new music video.
Listening to the few tracks you’ve leaked it sounds like you have a certain Durban stalwart doing guest backing vocals. Are there anymore collaborations on the album?
Ja, we have Marty from the City Bowl Mizers on guest lead vocals for the song “Suspended Sentence” because he is famous and a nice guy to boot. We also got Julia Wilson, who sang on our first release, in to do some guest vocals in “Continents Apart”.
No tour dates across country, how come? Hate leaving Durban that much?
We actually love touring more than anything – we have just been so busy with the planning for our album and the launch that we have not had time to plan a full country wide tour yet. But as soon as our Durban show is out the way, we going to focus on playing more shows around KZN, and plan some stop offs in Jhb, and hopefully a coastal tour to Cape Town closer to the end of the year.
You were a support act during Sum41’s massive let down in Durban last year. Set the record straight. Was the weather really that bad or are the lads from Canada that rock star they can’t stand to get their perfectly gelled hair messed?
We personally felt the weather wasn’t threatening by South African standards. Sure, there was some gusty wind and some rain coming onto the stage but I guess as a band that isn’t drowning in a tidal wave of offers to play large pro stages we played like it was our final show no matter what.
The real issue is why wasn’t the show just rescheduled? That’s why the question of what really happened keeps getting asked.
Durban punk scene seems to have been in a lull for the last few years with blame being thrown around from fans to bands to venues. Where do you put the blame?
It seems to just be a general international trend. The whole hipster vibe is flourishing at the moment, and punk just isn’t hip enough. We don’t really care though – we still listen to rad punk bands and love playing fast, amping music – and we’ll carry on regardless of the latest music fad! We’ve weathered many trends over the course of nine years and besides, the 90’s is due to come back into fashion so it’s only a matter of time until being ‘punk’ is cool again! Haha
You’re fiercely local, refusing to sing in those faux-American accents people do. Think that counts against you in breaking out of SA, or does that even matter to you?
It seems like bands that sing in a fake American or British accent are perceived by the public as being “professional” just because most people associate that type of singing with popular international acts. We have and always will respect South African bands that sing as naturally as they can, without trying to put on any specific sounding accent to sound ‘better’.
If anything, we’re probably more of a novelty to the overseas market because of it. There is a ton of support for melodic or skate punk – whatever you want to call it – in Canada, Europe, Japan and everywhere in between and most of the bands from those countries aren’t shy to sing in their native accents or even languages.
We definitely don’t care about appealing to the broader South African market – the ones who think South Africa only has two bands and have never even heard of Fuzigish. They seem to like fake accents on their lead singers.
You guys claim to be, and clearly sound like, you are influenced by the 90’s punk revival. Name and shame those bands you admire so.
Well the first ones that come to mind are Lagwagon, NOFX, Millencolin, No Use for a Name, and Frenzal Rhomb. But recently we have been enjoying some of the more new-school punk bands like A Wilhelm Scream, The Flatliners, Much the Same and This is a Standoff.
At their album launch, Low Profile will be supported by up and coming E.X.P.L.O.S.I.O.N. Before, after and in between, DJ Weird Beard and DJ Fuego Heat will entertain or spurn the crowd’s wrath with their vinyl collections.
For full details of the launch, check out the band’s Facebook page, and take a gander at their newest music video.
I spent a good 20 minutes playing around on their website with the roll-over sound clips. If you’re stoned you’re likely to spend twice as long on it.
Suffering from an inexplicably large ego and ignoring common courtesy, Mr P. Blood indulges his opinions about whatever comes to his cesspool of a mind, and strangely people don’t seem to hate him for it. Making him a writer, of sorts.