Sometimes you just stumble upon good things. Last year I went down to Stockwell to see Perma War and as per usual got there very early but on this occasion that was good. I got chatting to Ollie – one of the gig organisers, and the guitarist for Mindframe who were due to play that night.
Due to train times I had to leave early and missed their set but not before an interview was agreed. In the following months I listened to their music on Bandcamp and caught a couple of videos: intelligent, well crafted, danceable old school punk. Check out ‘Slumped and Dumped’ from the EP of the same name and try to keep your head still.
Could you give us an overview of Mindframe? How did you meet? When did you start?
Tabi: I only joined the band in 2014, then Trev joined us later that year – so Ollie and Bruce are best to answer that!
Bruce: The original plan was to create something less distinctly DIY punk, concentrate on recording, and play only a minimum number of live gigs. So much for that! We started at the end of 2012 and this line up has been together for about 2 years. Three recordings so far, two of which are available on Bandcamp, and one about to be released on Grow Your Own Records.
Ollie: First gig probably end of 2013. Chris was the original drummer, we work at the same place and he asked if I wanted to start a dub band with Bruce, I knew of Bruce’s other band Bug Central so it was a ‘Yes’, and I love dub. But as you noticed we aren’t a dub band – everyone brings their own inﬂuences into the band. I think it took us about 6 months to get our ﬁrst gig with our original line up. After a while Lukas our old drummer left and luckily Trev came to the rescue very quickly. So here we are in our current line-up.
Who would you list as musical inﬂuences?
Bruce: I think you would get a whole range from the band members and probably not that many we would all agree on, haha!
Ollie: Punk/ hardcore /ska is by far my favourite styles of music, but I deﬁnitely don’t limit myself, if a band catches my attention it will have a hold on me. So dub, jazz, metal, rock – even classical music has a place for me.
Tabi: Eh, I really like a huge variety of music. Anything from Luther Vandross to Municipal Waste. But mainly I have been impacted by the Riot Grrrl movement, The Runaways and female fronted bands such as Vice Squad, X-Ray Spex etc etc. I think also I am inﬂuenced differently musically and lyrics wise. But we all have different taste, that’s what keeps things interesting!
Trev: I like a wide range of nice loud music, but mainly cats purring.
Did you have a fairly clear idea of the sound you were aiming for from the start or has it evolved?
Ollie: Haha, yeah a dub band – well there you go.
Bruce: Its evolved, revolved and dissolved. Everyone has their own style and limitations so trying to plan the ﬁnal product would be impossible.
Tabi: I think we just write what we want to, we are beginning to have some sort of sound but we’ve got no strict rules.
You released the 5 track Slumped and Dumped EP early last year. Could you talk us through the tracks, what sort of subject matter were you exploring?
Ollie: Lyric wise Tabi would have to answer that. An interesting fact about this release is that we recorded and mixed all 5 in a day – and I also had a strained wrist, so quite a relief when it was done.
Tabi: Oh god well, I guess all the songs are meant to tell a story (of some sort) or are just meant to make you think. Lots of topics were discussed in that, anything from sexual frustration to feminism to the shite state of affairs in the government.
Are you happy that it ‘captures’ where Mindframe are now musically and lyrically?
Ollie: Personally I think it could do with doubling the guitar and more bass, but otherwise pretty pleased with it.
Tabi: I think that we are still pretty young in the sense that we’re still ﬁnding our sound, but to be honest I don’t think we really think about it. As long we all like playing a song and it makes sense it us. We have come on a lot recording and live-wise since we recorded Slumped and Dumped.
How does the creative process work in Mindframe? Is there one main songwriter or is it very collaborative?
Ollie: We all collaborate with ideas, bits of tunes – it’s a mish-mash of sometimes just jamming a tune and Tabi going through lyrics that suit it or Tabi singing a song and one of us ﬁtting a tune with it.
Tabi: We really just have a jam a lot of the time. Then we all go away and think about it and bring something else back to practice. I write most of the lyrics, but we’re always working together.
What sources do you draw on in lyric writing? Personal experiences, books, ﬁlms?
Tabi: There are a lot of things going on, I guess. I like to think that most of the songs tell a story in one way or another. I think I like to write things which makes people listen to it a few times to understand, or that every time you listen you get something else from it. A lot of it draws from personal experience, but I have started writing some things based on creative inﬂuences so I guess ﬁlms etc.
A lot of female musicians seem to experience a degree of sexism. What has your experience as a singer been in the punk/DIY scene? Is it a better place for women than other sub-cultures?
Tabi: I guess I have to answer this one! Well this really pisses me off, sexism is a huge problem that many woman like myself face every day in music – but I think if anywhere is better for female musicians it would be the DIY scene (this covers a hug variety of genres though). Though there is prejudice everywhere in life. One of my few judgements of the scene would be that it is also ageist and small minded on occasion. There are a few people still living in the 70s – I was born in ‘94! My view is that punk is still alive and well, you just need to ﬁnd it. From a woman’s perspective, I think it is one of the better environments to play in. I am very lucky that the SLPC [South London Punk Collective] we play in is really welcoming. But I know that there is still of sexism slyly going around. The important thing is to stamp out the casualness of sexism in music. Shouldn’t matter who, or what you are or where you’ve come from, everyone should have a chance to express themselves in a comfortable and non-judgemental environment.
It seems to me that there has been a real upsurge in feminist punk bands and gigs over the last couple of years – is that true or was I just missing it?
Ollie: Yes there has.
Tabi: I think there has been. But there still needs to be. There is so much to be pissed off about. I don’t understand why more people, especially women and young people aren’t taking a stand through the platform of punk! But there are lots doing it underground.
As a band, and individually, you are very involved with the grassroots punk ‘scene’ including SLPC. How do you think contemporary grassroots punk is doing, is it encouraging to be part of?
Ollie: I will shorten my very long version of answering this. I would say I’m very involved as I’m in a band, put on gigs with SLPC, with friends and sometimes almost alone, do a literature distro… I think punk is deﬁnitely still a positive force otherwise I wouldn’t waste my time with it. A bit of a ghetto sometimes and people still spend too much energy getting wasted, but you will ﬁnd that loads of punks are involved in some amazing projects/groups/movements/collectives.
Bruce: The scene is largely the same as far as I can remember it. There has always been a collaboration of bands and individuals involved in putting on punk gigs. There is a lot of hard work being done by people to keep the scene going and that is respected by the majority but I don’t think it’s any smaller or weaker than it was years ago.
Tabi: I can’t really comment much, but I always think more music is good. It’s so important to keep the ideals alive of DIY movement, as well as move with the times.
Do you think the punk community with its ethos of DIY art and participation can still be a site of resistance to passive capitalist consumption?
Ollie: Yes for sure, there is a big DIY, anti-capitalist, re-use recycle ethos in the London scene.
Tabi: Deﬁnitely, goes without saying. We need to use it more.
What are your plans for 2017 – are you going to be out playing live, do you have any plans for further releases?
Ollie: More gigs out of London hopefully, the release of our 4 track EP on Grow Your Own Records and getting into the studio again to record some of our upcoming new tracks.
Bruce: As Ollie’s said – Single coming out on Grow Your Own this year.
What bands and writers have you been enjoying lately?
Ollie: I’ve turned into a bit of a vinyl junkie recently so hunting down records I had to sell to survive many years ago, So at the moment Sofahead, Social Unrest, Primeval Soup, Spanner, Kalahari Surfers, 7 Seconds, Bad Brains, Anarchistwood, Beefeater are vinyl LPs I’m spinning at the moment. Other music waaaaay too much to mention, I also read loads of graphic novels – too much heavy reading over the years.
Bruce: Too many to say really
Tabi: Pretty much a lot of what Ollie has said. I am also a massive fan of Rabies Babies, KBTDF, Pink Grip, Bus Station Loonies and loads and loads of others. I’ve been reading a lot of Haruki Murakami and feminist zines mainly recently.
Mindframe are Trev – drums, Tabi – vocals, Ollie – guitar, Bruce – bass.
Featured image credit: Jeannie Ford