What does it mean to be ‘punk as hell’?
“Short, fast, chaotic, nuts,” says Specks guitarist, Oli Davey. “It’s what you’d imagine Hell being like.”
That description fits the band perfectly.
The punk quartet formed in May this year, made up of Jay Kypers on drums, Nathan Noble (vocals), Bri Lue-Kim (bass) and Oli Davey rounding it out on the guitar.
Kypers, Noble, and Davey come from the dissolution of Alarm Cat and Lue-Kim can still be seen on stage in a number of acts – most notably with nerd-metal outfit Necrosaurus Rex.
From the chaos of their creation has come a seemingly perfect chemistry.
Within a couple practices, they wrote their first song and over the next six sessions, added another half dozen tunes – each of them short, fast, and fed up.
“We wanted to make something you don’t have to think about too much,” Noble says.
Specks aren’t into a magnum opus – there is no Chinese Democracy in the works. Instead, they spend their rehearsals grinding out new tune after new tune.
That inattention to detail is paying off. Already their repertoire could fill a full-length (or in punk terms, about 20 minutes).
Their recently released video for Serenade is gaining hundreds of views on youtube, putting angry faces to their purposely insignificant name. The song itself was recorded live off the floor at OIART by Shan Dhami.
The video was shot and edited by Chris Forrest and Shawn Chipper. It’s a mix of footage of Specks rocking out as hard as possible in their rehearsal space and their favourite current and former hangouts and influences. Viewers should prepare themselves for a black and white punch down memory lane.
It’s a musical history of London punk, including locations that – as Noble says – have either burned down, shut down or were torn down.
Specks cites former band-friendly venues like the Embassy, Pandemic, Moon Over Marin and the Wick as testament to days gone by.
While those venues are gone, however, the DIY scene is now filling the void. House shows are the new sub-culture. They are dirty, smelly, and a perfect match for Specks’ grimy style.
Down and dirty
“We’re all about house shows,” Kypers says. “It’s just a messy, drunken, chaotic, party.”
The band is headed to Montreal in September to play a house show, and hoping to pick something up in Ottawa on the way. For them, it’s not about making gas money. It’s about being at the centre of the action.
Specks thrive on sweating it out in a messy, dank pit where they’re inches away from the crowd.
People get to know each other at house shows. There are no time limits. You don’t need to spend a fortune and unlike the bar scene, music – not alcohol – is the focal point.
“They’re way more intimate,” Noble adds. “When you’re at the bar, you don’t get to know anybody.”
House shows also bring out a level of loyalty that can’t be found at larger clubs. There is no need for bouncers – people look out for each other and take care of their own.
Big plans, big shows
Once their Montreal trek is done, Specks will be swapping the basement for the studio, with plans to record an EP before playing a couple high-profile shows in London.
Serenade is available to download free on Specks’ bandcamp page, and their schedule and video are on their facebook page to check out as well.
Meanwhile, Specks continue smashing out songs with all the fury of Satan himself, blasting hot, angry punk at you, whether you want it or not.
Feature photo by Gerard Creces