The Manchester six-piece writing songs about the conversations they've overheard in the supermarket
Over the past forty years, Manchester has become synonymous with ambition, with its perennially active music scene celebrated like no other in the UK, particularly during the punk and post-punk eras of the ’70s and ’80s. From Northern Soul’s teenage hub The Twisted Wheel through to congregations that gathered on dancefloors during the acid house explosion, it’s a reputation that refuses to go away – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
One label that epitomised the spirited gloom of famed Manchester post-punk was of course Factory Records, a label that, if it still existed today, would no doubt be the home of DUDS. Still, despite drawing from the Factory parentage, DUDS don’t exactly possess a sound that you’d call distinctly Mancunian. The brittleness of their music, their strong melodies and peculiar arrangements all recall qualities elicited in more dance-orientated punk bands such as A Certain Ratio and Gang of Four, while their overall sound is much more in line with what was happening over in the States around the same time. The urgent stop/start arrangements on songs like ‘No Remark’, for example, brings to mind the likes of Devo and Pylon.
The detached darkness of the band’s music would have you think that they were a serious bunch. When I meet them, though, they seem in good spirits, even if there is a detectable sense of wariness in regards to being interviewed. DUDS’ history and the story behind their formation is typical of DIY music scenes everywhere: “We were all doing nothing at the same time, in the same area, in the same city, with a similar desire to write some music,” says singer/guitarist Giulio Erasmus.
I ask the band how they feel about their myriad post-punk comparisons, and what they would say best describes their sound. Without any disregard for the stylistic comparisons, Giulio jokes: “I would say it’s comparable to a Slinky rolling down the stairs.” Drummer Nirvana Heire thinks it’s simply, “An abruptly delivered cacophony of yelps and squeals.”