Interview with Rich Gulag of Pedagree Skum

Could you give a brief history of Pedagree Skum and a discography?

Pedagree Skum was started in 2010 by Rich and Katie, our first practices were in Katie’s kitchen.Not long after Steve joined us on drums. Andy came in a tad later, and was originally meant to be a stand in for one gig, but he must have loved us as he’s still here. Discography: we originally recorded a three track demo, two of the songs were on the U.S. compilation “punk and pissed” in fairness though, it was pretty dire. Our second release “warts an all” was a live album, purely released to raise funds for a decent studio recording, which was a tad rough and ready, hence the title. Our first studio album ‘Nightmares and Scream escapes’ was released may 2013. Since then we’ve released a three track e.p called ‘That Which Does Not Kill’ which is available as a free download on our bandcamp page.

How would you describe your sound?

Our sound is not meant to be genre specific, although people like to attach their own labels, which is fine. We write songs that sound good to us, about issues important to us, both political and personal.

Who makes up the band?

The band consists of Phoenix Skum – vox, Steve Skeptik -drums, Andrew Punkering -bass and Rich Gulag on guitar.

What other bands have you all played in before and do any of you play in any other band?

Steve and I have both been in a few bands before, Steve (beyond hope, internal fear, and is currently bass player for Kismet HC) Rich was in (scherzo and Sick of Society) Katie also sings backing vocals for Lupine (goth band) and Andrew is currently guitarist for the system, and Total Bloody Chaos

What has the response been to the album?

Fairly positive, people seem to like it. We loved recording it, it’s come from all of our hearts, and personally I feel very proud of starting off with a cheap acoustic in Katie’s kitchen, and getting to the point where we were able to record our album. But…anyone can do it, that is the beauty of punk.

What’s in the pipeline for Pedagree Skum?

Things in the pipeline for the Skum: a new album later this year, which we already have five songs for, some more videos and plenty of gigs.

How do you think punk has changed over the years and has this been for the better or worse?

In my opinion, punk is as relevant now as it was in the 70s-80s..The messages have slightly changed, but equally as important. I get a bit sick of the whole nostalgia thing as there are so many great new bands. I love punk, the people, and the music. What other scene can you go sit n have a beer with your fave bands, get looked after, fed and given shelter by other punks? There’s no other scene like it.

You’re playing Nice and Sleazy Festival this year, is this your first time playing and what can people expect from you there?

Nice and Sleazy, it’s the third time we’ve played and will probs be the last for a while, as the organisers like to keep the line up fresh and include as many new bands as pos. it’s great, three days, free camping, hundreds of bands for less than 45 quid. The atmosphere is superb, I love it. A good mix of new and old bands playing, some of the best times I’ve had of late have been at nice and sleazy fest.

What gigs have you got coming up?

We have some good gigs coming up, Sleazy, Cheap as Chips Fest, Punk Not Profit which is organised by Graham McRae (System, Total Bloody Chaos) and quite a few others that I cant really think of until I look at my calendar.

What bands should we keep an eye out for?

So many bands keep an eye out for: Battery Humans, Happy Spastics, Brace for Impact. There’s so many it’s hard to pick a few. All I’d say is get to as many gigs as you can afford, support the scene, make friends, introduce people to the music, andlet’s keep this brilliant scene going

Stoke has a famous punk musical legacy, how is the scene there now?

The Stoke scene is a tad poor at the minute, not many gigs going on, and the ones that do play are the same ones again and again. Although saying that Vice Squad are playing soon. I think it’s just down to a lack of interest, and not many decent venues.

What would you say to anyone thinking of starting a band?

Go for it, fuck formulas and trying to fit into genres, writes songs that you think sound good, get some mates involved and go for it. That’s all Katie and I started with, and trust me my guitar skills are limited. Keep the scene alive with new stuff; stop harping on about Thatcher and the 80s! We’ve got so much wrong with this country at the minute that there is no need to keep going on about the past. I love seeing young people get into the scene and form bands, so go for it. Its either going to work or it isn’t, but you’ll have a hell of a good time trying

Any final comments?

All I’d say is keep supporting the scene, get involved, whether it’s a fanzine, writing reviews, organising gigs, yeah go see the big bands you love, but don’t forget the little bands, let’s face it even discharge started with a few mates fucking about.

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