Influenced by early punk and psychedelic rock, the four-piece here debut the video for their new single and dissect the state of the current student protests
Started off the back of a genuine passion to just get up and do something, Flats are a band that are bringing back that hardline, thrash, punk sound. The four piece, fronted by the wiry and unassuming Dan Devine, make a noise that is a definitely a lot bigger than their appearance would suggest. They Stamp their way through an intensive live set that can last all of 15 minutes and takes in influences from early proto punk, psychedelic rock, James Brown and hip hop. With an album on the way, and and a new single released on their own imprint through One Little Indian, we caught up with them on the set of their new video.
Dazed Digital: How did Flats actually come about?
Luke Tristram: I used to play in a band in my mates pub, Dan was djing. The second gig we played Dan came over, said hello. We hung out, then started sharing a flat pretty much immediately after that.
Dan Devine: Yep, within three weeks we lived together. Every time I had a drink I would basically tell anyone who would listen I was starting a band. Me and Luke were always going on about it so when I did come to actually do it, Luke was obviously first choice as he was my best mate. And one of the only people I knew who could actually play guitar.
DD: And what about the other two?
Dan Devine: We knew them, but not that well. We just ended up spending a Saturday afternoon in the pub, and by Saturday evening we had the band.
DD: Where was your first gig?
Luke Tristram: The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch. We actually only got asked to play four hours before. We had a gig booked for a couple of weeks later and then Dan called me up and was like 'fuck it we're doing it now, we're doing it now'.
Dan Devine: We only had two or three songs, about seven minutes worth. It was fucking shit actually and I cracked my face into the mic stand within two minutes of being on stage and started bleeding everywhere.
DD: The Flats sound is pretty tough. What other bands are influences?
Dan Devine: I don't really like much new music. The new stuff that I do like is often by people that I am associated with.
Luke Tristram: I'm into great guitar bands like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, ridiculous aggressive guitar sounds.
Dan Devine: Obviously I'm into punk and hardcore. As I was starting to come up with the idea for Flats I started getting into metal. The album has got quite a down tempo, sludgy metal sound, a bit psyched out. Sabbath are a big influence, a lot of dark prog.
Luke Tristram: I got really into Boris recently. That ridiculous, heavy, slow, psychedelic sound.
DD: It sounds like a lot of your influences are not directly from the punk scene?
Luke Tristram: Well we have been proper music heads for a long time. Punk is definitely not the be all and end all of what we listen to. We listen to James Brown as well as everything else.
Dan Devine: I'm a fucking massive James Brown fan. And a massive hip hop fan. One trait in everything I listen to is that it has that aggressive edge. Basically anyone that's giving it bigger than they actually are. It's always far more entertaining.
DD: We're you both in other bands before this?
Luke Tristram: Yeah I am still in another band actually, a noise band called Advert. I'm just kind of busy with this now but we are still going. Dan was in one band called 'Milk'.
Dan Devine: Yea we had one gig and no songs.
DD: So who are you guys listening to at the moment?
Luke Tristram: Electricity in our Homes are one of the best bands around at the moment. They've just put together an album that's amazing. And Bo Ningen.
Dan Devine: A band I have just discovered two days ago from Glasgow, called Sunsmasher. They're fucking good.
DD: There has definitely been a bit of a resurgence of that thrash, punk sound recently. Why do you think kids are getting back into that?
Dan Devine: It all goes in waves doesn't it. Everyone was doing the post punk thing for a while, then we kind of had that shoe gaze sort of thing. Now everyone is getting kind of heavy. At the moment it has got that kind of lo-fi sound. Each time there is a resurgence in something that is accessible there will be something that is really heavy to counteract it.
DD: Do you think it's got anything to do with what's going on in the UK generally? Are the kids revolting?
Dan Devine: No. Ha. Certain people would love it if that was the case but it's not.
DD: Do you think anyone actually cares?
Dan Devine: Yea of course but ultimately the people that give a shit are the people that I hate.
DD: You're not out there on the protests?
Dan Devine: Not a chance. I protest the protests.