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Punk rock Northern Irish three-piece stamp their flag on the UK music scene.

“Stop bombing Syria, Free Palestine and Fuck Brexit!” Declares Touts front man Matthew Crossan. Alongside Jason Feenan & Luke McLaughlin he has formed a new band, already being likened to the legendary Buzzcocks and The Undertones. VLR asked Matt what he thought about the comparison: “Fucking happy days like, they’re two brilliant bands so it’s definitely a compliment to be compared to them.” But we wanted to know what drew the lads to their punk sound in the first place: “Just everything about it, it comes naturally. I suppose the attitude. It’s the best craic to play and we like the lifestyle.”

The band are from Derry, Ireland and told us a bit about life there: “We love Derry, some people here call it a shitehole but we have it so easy. It’s a lethal city with loads of history and plenty of good spots.” The three met as fans of Derry City Football club, going to matches. The current line-up have been together since 2016. Matt explained: “We’re all very proud to come from Derry. On the music scene at the minute there are loads of young bands starting which is very exciting.” Touts are one band taking the UK music scene by storm with their debut EP ‘Sickening + Deplorable’. With todays social media, its easier for bands to get good music to their audiences quickly. VLR probed them about their influences: “For me it’s the Rolling Stones, Luke – The Stone Roses and Jason – Led Zeppelin. We all like The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers and The Smiths, surprisingly. A lot of folk. The Dubliners are unreal.” We asked how the band came up with their name: “It’s short and in your face, like our bassist Luke! It’s very significant here in the north of Ireland because touts get shot. A tout here is a squeal or a super grass and that was an act that was punishable by death, and in some instances still is.” We were thinking gig touts but that adds a new dimension! VLR asked how they recorded the new EP: “We record all our music live. Once we get a take we’re happy with and we’re all content that it captures us, we overdub extra guitars and vocals. The record was recorded in a day at Start Together Studios in Belfast with Rocky O’Reilly.”

Rocky has worked with General Fiasco, Slomatics and Wheatus. Being a front man is so much more than studio work, we questioned Matt on how the lyrics came together: “We write a lot of lyrics before we settle, we’re really critical of ourselves. I try to look at lyrics from other people’s perspective, because the song obviously has a meaning to us. But I want someone else to be able to listen to it and take whatever they want from it so I’d say we’d try to be a bit poetic with them. We write about our lives, what affects us and what we think needs writing about.” We prodded Matt asking if he ever forgets lyrics or changes them live: “If we have a new song we’re playing occasionally we forget lyrics or if we come in at the wrong parts, mistakes happen! Look at me for example. In terms of changing them every so often aye I’d change them sort of subconsciously if a word or phrase fits the song better.” Aside from more writing, the band have a lot to look forward to this year: “We’ve a few lethal gigs coming up with Blossoms, Kasabian and Cabbage.” Sounds awesome. We wish these boys all the best and urge you to check them out!

Out Now: ‘Sickening + Deplorable’

Sounds Like: The Undertones, MC5, The Buzzcocks