What do you do when the whole music industry tanks and you can’t even hang out with your band anymore? Well most of us decended into a spiral of anger and self pity! But in the face of the raging storm against music which is Covid-19 and Brexit, Jan, 22 picked himself up by his bootstraps and started printing iconic punk patches, stickers and t-shirts. We salute you Jan! Here is the story of Maggot Death Industries!
Tell us what Maggot Death Industries is in a nutshell?
MAGGOT DEATH INDUSTRIES is a one-person, D.I.Y. operation, screen printing punk and extreme music artwork on issued army surplus clothing and ethically manufactured t-shirts. M.D.I. is all about ethical, sustainable production and the idea that bootlegs don’t have to be black and white!
You started out as a drummer – what bands have you been in and whats happening with your music right now?
I actually started out writing and performing avant-garde music for contemporary dancers and performance artists. One of my favourite pieces that I performed was written in collaboration with a dancer and good friend of mine. We wore all black bodysuits, with balaclavas absolutely covered in safety-pins, we couldn’t even see out of them. I had a guitar round my neck, plugged into an amp with every dial turned all the way up, and we basically wrestled and attacked each other with this guitar in-between us the entire time, it made the most ungodly, ear-shattering noise. The whole piece was just about creating the most uncomfortable experience for the audience as possible.
About a couple of years ago I was drafted by a friend to play drums for their industrial, free-improv group ‘Corpse Boy & Others’ when their current drummer went on tour with a different band. We played at a few house shows, bars and some co-op galleries but we haven’t played in a while because of the pandemic. At the moment, I’m working with a choreographer from the Corps Collective on an experimental dance film and waiting out the lockdown so I can start playing gigs again!
What got you into punk and especially the fashion side of things?
Well, to me punk just seems like the logical conclusion to hundreds of years of Western music. It’s a perfectly distilled form of expression, speed, volume and energy and it just grabs you by the throat. The first punk album I listened to was Crass’ ‘Feeding of the 5000’ and it completely blew me away; I’d never heard anything like it before and it all spiralled from there. I also have to credit living a couple minutes away from The New Cross Inn as well, I used to go see a new band every evening for a couple of quid and they had so much good music there.
I used to print my own band tees for friends and myself. I’d cut stencils out of card with a scalpel and use bleach or cheap acrylic paint and a sponge. This eventually snowballed into screen printing when cutting out stencils for hours at a time started to become tedious and limited the complexity of designs that I could print.
Tell us about some of your designs and what people can buy…
All of my designs are either re-workings of iconic punk art or reproductions of out-of-print bootleg designs. I only print stuff that you can’t find anywhere else! A lot of time goes into cleaning up old scans, re-drawing album covers and adding in the missing details. My favourite design of mine is the Electro Hippies tee; I collaged that together from doodles on their lyric sheets and album covers. At the moment, the shop’s got around 8 different designs on tie-dyed, bleached and plain coloured army surplus tees as well as a huge range of patches printed on duck canvas and waxed oilskin fabric.
Who are some of your favourite punk bands and why?
I’m a big fan of G.I.S.M., I’ve been listening to the remaster of Detestation almost constantly since it came out. I think they’re one of the most sonically terrifying bands out there; the second track on “SoniCRIME TheRapy” is like a kick in the teeth! Crass are another of my favourites; partly for being my gateway into punk but also because of their absolutely uncompromising visual and musical aesthetic. Penny’s drumming is so tribal and hypnotic and I never get bored of listening to it. Societic Death Slaughter, Chaos U.K., Vivisick, Throbbing Gristle, Acid Attack, Man Is The Bastard and The Shitlickers are some of my other favourites. The faster and noisier the better!
What are some festivals and venues you’d recommend for punk music?
I don’t go to many festivals but South London Scum have put on some fantastic gigs in the last couple years, so anything with their name attached is worth going to! I’m a big fan of the Punx Picnic they organise every year in New Cross. Aside from that, The 100 Club, The Bird’s Nest and The New Cross Inn are some of my favourite venues.
What is the best and worst thing about screenprinting?
The aspect I enjoy most is the amount of detail and craft that you can put into each piece. Every t-shirt goes through several stages of hand-dyeing and printing; so every tee is unique. The worst thing has to be cleaning up after a big print run!
Do you do individual or one off designs and how can people approach you with ideas?
Yeah, as well as one-off designs that get posted regularly to my Instagram, I also do individual commissions as well as bulk print runs if you’re looking to get your band logo printed on some tees or patches. Every single t-shirt on the shop is printed to order so there’s also some level of customisation available in terms of tie-dying and ink colours. You can get in touch with me via the contact form at www.maggotdeath.co.uk or by messaging me on Instagram @maggotdeath666.