An interview with Male Bonding

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male bonding

Bonding sessions (not the kinky kind) can be a fulfilling experience. Heart-to-hearts over ice cream and vodka with close friends do more to release bottled up childhood neuroses than a thousand years in therapy. Or: Crank up the volume on Male Bonding’s thrashed out, squealing feedback and disperse the daemons with some mean drumming and bed-jump head banging.

And yeah it’s some scratchy lo-fi, post-punk goodness but it’s done so well you end up forgetting the long list of influences that brought Male Bonding to the feet of an effects pedal.

We interviewed Robin Christian from the band, and start with a list and end with a word.

Which superheroes of music, art and literature influenced you as a band?

The Beach Boys, JD Salinger, Wipers, John Fante, Diane Arbus, Nirvana…

You’re signed to Sub Pop- how did that occur? What’s it like being on a label that have previously brought out some of the best music ever?

We put out a record on our label PVI last year and someone at Sub Pop bought a copy. The record collected four bands – Old Blood, Graffiti Island, Rapid Youth and Male Bonding and has a dog on the front cover. It never had a proper name, just a catalogue number so sometimes we get asked if we have ‘that dog record’ at shows. Now it’s for sale on the Sub Pop website next to an advert for ‘Bleach’, weird…can’t believe it really! Were very proud to be a part of what they do.

Does being based in London help you creatively?

Yes I think so. I mean, London is fast and busy but we like to be busy too, you have to be. When we started this band we were good friends just grabbing bits of time to do it whenever we could. It was fun – just felt right so we gave it more time. Our friends are very talented and its impossible not to be inspired by the people you know doing things, this isn’t exclusive to London though.

We have tried to document some of this talent on our next PVI release which is eleven bands on a 12″ and split released with Conan from Graffiti Island’s label Italian Beach Babes. When things are shitty here, that can be inspiring too but we try not to dwell on the negative, we make it something else

How much does the physical production of music matter to you i.e producing vinyls and album art work? Do you think the internet is wrecks strengthens the d.i.y music industry?

Strengthens it, makes it easier to “reach out”, share, and everyone gets a platform. As for artwork so far that’s all been done by ourselves or people we know. We don’t have rules on this though, just that we agree on an idea. 

Do you think it’s important to tour with people who have a similar sound or band ethos?

It's more important if people are friendly, if you like the music too I’d say that’s a bonus. I can’t think of a bad story about any band we’ve played with, but when we do it'll give us something to talk about in the van. Not so sure about a similar sound, I like shows with a varied line-up and its interesting seeing how different bands operate. We’ve played with some great bands already… Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Nodzzz, The Soft Pack, The Smith Westerns.

How do you keep your sound fresh?

Honestly don’t think about it too much. We are always writing and then playing the new songs in our sets to stop things feeling stale. John is writing lots of songs right now but often we write them together too. There are no rules.

Does rock’n’roll still exist in any form?