I call the number as instructed, at 5pm on a Thursday afternoon. The ringing stops, and there is a moment of palpable discomfort before I am greeted to what sounds like a female voice. This unbeknown voice is assuring me Sydney Miskin-Sergeant, band leader of Working Men’s Club is running a little behind schedule, and if I wouldn’t mind ringing back in around 10 minutes. This is all very slick, I thought. Very professional and friendly. I sit in silence over the next few moments, pondering the swift rise to Heavenly fame for the young band from Todmorden. A twinge of nerves strike. Exactly 10 minutes later I try again. I’m expecting the worst. The call is answered in a ruckus, as if the phone had been quickly passed or dropped. When my ears are finally able register specific sounds, I can just about decode the voice of a thick, almost certainly half cut, Yorkshireman. He’s endearing, is Sydney. He apologises for his delay – he had to nip for a piss.
The tone of this interview rarely slips above Syd’s first remarks. This felt like less of an interview and more like a drunken catch up with an old mate. The kind of mate that’s channelling a new direction, a new sound, hairstyle? The sort of mate that’s carrying a chip on his shoulder… he’s lost love, you see – the ‘Manchester music scene’. It’s out of touch, Sydney reckons. “It’ll be back though, there’s too many good musicians in that city for it not to”. All in all, he’s the kind of mate you’d want to be around. His description of Neu!’sHallogallo made me realise that. “That song is more powerful than any line, or spliff you’ll ever have”. What a unique, and unarguable anti-drugs campaign! ‘Please call your local record store for more information. For just £20 we can put you our immediate action plan ‘Neu! 1’.
I decided to scrap the highly complex, industry accepted Venn diagram that some music publications have been using, and also thought it fair to push my album queries back a bit. I just wanted to continue on the non-important matters at hand, for a bit. It’s not like they just released their debut album or something.
A friend had purchased me a ticket for their show at Gorilla earlier this year. I was none the wiser to who the band even were. I checked them out on Apple Music and was shite scared to find out that I’d soon be dipping my toes into the very real, death-defying world of thrash metal, live! One reviewer claims they merge sounds from ‘crust’, ‘hard-core’, ‘grind’, and ‘other fucked up music’. I spent most of the day thinking about that.
“Yeah a few people have done that. I try pretend that we are the only Working Men’s Club, but I know that they exist. I’ve listened to them once: fucking hell, jesus christ; Jesus Christ, that’s proper inaudible caper that, init. I think we do the name justice more than they do. I’ll put it that way. Bless em’. They’re not even from fucking north either. ‘Working Men’s Club’, that’s a joke that”.
A 10 song debut. “It’s a nice even number” Sydney states. “It’s all about releasing a cohesive piece of work”, he says firmly, in regards to culling some tunes off the final mix. “Well that, and they couldn’t all fit it on one disc”. They’ve done a really neat job of it, too. It’s already one of those records that before the last track has even finished, your brain is projecting the first few notes of the next song. It’s pretty uncanny. In many ways, this debut is not only rousing due to the contents of the music itself, but it’s the promise of where this band could go, which gets me excited. That’s not to understate this debut, either. It’s 48 minutes of sinister dance tracks, jerky guitars, and more than a few guarantees of live shitting on the BBC. If there was ever a time to dance in your room to something dark and groovy, while propagating live profanities to our much beloved, heavily biased, holy grail of UK television, it would be 2020, wouldn’t it?
It’s nice to see that WMC were able to get a mini socially distant tour together with their album release. “It’s kind of got us on a roll now, and we wanna do more. Because, it’s like a normal gig – but with fuck all people”. Heavenly also organised the splattering of their album cover at YES during their shows in a New Order/Factory Records fashion. “It was a kind of weird surprise. Yeah it’s pretty mad. It looked pretty cool. I’ve heard they’ve had problems trying to get it off, though”, Sydney chuckles over the phone.
On some final thoughts, I wondered how Sydney has been dealing with the sudden rise into the public eye. It seems that every indie cindy in town knows about them. “It’s quite an overwhelming time really. Throughout the duration of the band, and with everything that’s happened. I have to keep taking moments out to think about everything, to think about about the mood, and the space I was in during the writing process of this record now it’s out. It was such a long time since we actually finished it. So it is quite overwhelming in a way, to go back into the record, and have to get back in that mind set – not necessarily in a good way either. It’s an interesting time. I’m just really happy it’s out. People can make of it what they want. It’s not on me anymore”.