LIFE is a relatively new band from Hull, England, and their music came recommended to us by some guy called Mike D from the Beastie Boys.
Though our source’s credibility was questionable, we checked them out anyway. What we discovered was an incredibly raw, fast, modern punk band that sound like they sleep with their fists raised in the air. We spoke to LIFE’s vocalist, Mez, who splits his time between the band and working at a local youth centre for kids “who have basically been shat on by the government.” Punk’s not dead, you guys. It’s actually never been more full of life.
Hey Mez. I noticed a lot of your songs from the new album are heavily political, like “In Your Hands” and “Euromillions”. Can we talk about what’s going on right now in the UK and even the world at large?
I guess politically in Hull it’s quite relevant to the situation in the UK, especially the swing to the right wing and leaving Europe. Myself and our drummer, Stewart, are youth workers at a centre in Hull. We’re one of the only places in the UK who give hope and access to kids who have fallen through the gaps in terms of traditional education and who have basically been shat on by the government. We offer a creative way for them to get back on track, through art and music projects and simple things like food banks and sexual health—all the kind of stuff that a lot of the young people in Hull are missing at the moment. We’re a political band in a sense, and we’re pretty much disgusted with the political climate in the UK at the moment. I think worldwide it’s a scary place right now, too.
Your work at the centre sounds incredible. How do you think music can help these kids?
I think music can help because it gives hope and empowers people. You know, real music. We’re quite a passionate band and our lyrics always comment on youth culture, and we’re trying to address subjects that are quite hard hitting but in a way that relates to people. I think music’s a form of escapism, but it’s also a way of informing people about what’s going on and doing stuff about it.
Do you think punk, in particular, is the best vehicle for that?
I think punk has traditionally been anti-establishment. I think there’s all sorts of music that can get messages across, but punk being so instant and easily accessible creates that sense of chest beating pride which I think relates to those struggling.
Have the kids you teach in the centre seen you play?
Yeah, they’ve seen us play. Some of the youngsters we work with we take on tour with us, to help with our merch or to help us set up the stage. We don’t have a team ourselves, so it’s just like the four of us and our manager. We’ve done everything independently, so we try to keep the community involved and take the kids on tour. We want them to be part of the record—we try and keep it very close to us and involve the people that mean the most to us.
Your debut album comes out May 26. How long has this record been in the making?
A while, to be honest! The band hasn’t been around for too long—two or three years—but some of those songs have been in me and my brother (co-frontman of LIFE) for like six years now, and we’re just thankful for the opportunity to get in the studio and record. We’ve only ever had enough money to do singles, so we’ve only ever done one track at a time, but we were fortunate to get some money from PRS, who have funded the album for us. The whole process was amazing and just felt right.
Do you think this album would have happened if you didn’t work where you do?
It just sounds like it’s such a big influence. I think it’s an influence, but one of my pet hates is bands who talk about being “revolutionaries” or being political, yet they’re bagging a record from their parents’ house or some studio that their parents have bought them. But we haven’t got that privilege. I just feel like it needs to be told from an angle that is believable, where sometimes I just think the industry creates revolutionaries that aren’t real, y’know? They’re just silver spooned.
Before you go, I just have to ask, with a band name like yours, what do you think happens when you die?
Well, I think the name is eternal in itself. Life will always be there, irrelevant if I go. I know that sounds a bit hippy, but you know, life is always there, innit?