"The best part about recording at The Kings Arms was getting 50% off on their Sunday dinners!"
Merging the sounds of punk and psychedelia, Manchester-based Springfield Elementary released their first single, ‘Machine Fiend’, in 2019. Since, they’ve released an EP and two singles, the latest being ‘Doctor Doctor’. FUZZY caught up with band members Billy Goodwin (vocals/guitar), Brad Lewis (lead guitar), Liam Moffat (bass), and Chris Tomkinson (drums) to discuss the rise of post-punk, using a pub as a recording studio, and the future of Springfield Elementary.
FUZZY: Describe your music in three words!
Group: Feline fuzzed fiesta!
FUZZY: ‘Doctor Doctor’ was released on the 19th of June. Congrats! It sounds great. Could you tell me a little bit about it?
Brad: We’ve had this one in our setlist for a while now and it hasn’t been missed out of many gigs. I wrote the riff and chords to it and the boys helped me structure it into a full song. I think we wanted to have this song as a stand-alone single because the message of the song is a bit more personal. With all the controversy of current politics, Brexit and mental health being talked about a lot more, it seemed right to have this as our next release.
FUZZY: I’m not sure whether this was intentional, but the vocals sound a bit Liam Gallagher-esque! Who are your main musical influences?
Billy: It wasn’t intentional but we’re both Mancunians who can’t sing haha.
Brad: Billy's had his voice compared to a few famous Mancunian singers, must be the Oldham accent! For me, growing up around Manchester, bands like Joy Division and The Happy Mondays have been a big thing. 60s psychedelia has probably been the main one for me though. The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and more recent trippy bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre and early Tame Impala.
Chris: My main musical influences have been a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and classic music that my dad used to play, like Thin Lizzy and The Who.
Liam: It probably started with the 60s psychedelic and experimental stuff like 13th Floor Elevators, Hendrix and CAN, and then moved onto loving the 90s Seattle sounds like Mudhoney, Soundgarden and, of course, Nirvana.
FUZZY: What’s in store for Springfield Elementary for the rest of the year? Any other single releases?
Group: We’re mainly playing it by ear. We’ve had our first few practices since lockdown and it’s been great sharing our ideas and writing together again. We have a few gigs lined up in the autumn that we’ve been looking forward to since February haha! We’ll be playing You Are Not Alone Festival in November. All the profits are going towards Manchester Mind. We’ll be looking to record again in the next couple of months. It will probably be a bit more than just a single but the details aren’t set yet so we won’t say too much.
FUZZY: Where did you guys meet?
Group: Brad, Billy and Liam met in halls at uni and we met Chris after Billy put a post on the Manchester music scene Facebook page looking for a drummer to start a band.
FUZZY: You’re also into punk and psychedelia. There are many post-punk acts emerging at the moment, perhaps off the back of the success of acts like IDLES, Slaves, Fontaines, etc. Any favourite punk names, both original and modern?
Brad: I’ve been loving Fontaines recently. I’ve listened to Yak and Squid quite a bit too. They stand out as my current favourites.
Chris: We’ve played with a few bands with post-punk vibes over the last couple of years. My personal favourites are Earls from Leeds, Salt the Snail and The Crapsons from Leeds. The Crapsons have put on an all-dayer with us in Liverpool on the August bank holiday, Crapfest! Fingers crossed that will be going ahead!
FUZZY: The ‘You Show Me’ EP, which was released in December 2019, was recorded at The Kings Arms in Salford, which is certainly very interesting. Was this a conscious choice or was it the only option you had? I’m intrigued!
Group: Billy's good friends with Mark Simpson (of The Happy Soul and Songcraft Recordings) who works at the pub. It was fortunate we knew him because I don’t think we would have known where to start looking for someone to record with us! Most of the recording we did was in the upstairs theatre, so not your typical studio set-up. The best part was getting 50% off on their Sunday dinners!
FUZZY: You’re Manchester-based! The music scene here is certainly very vibrant and has the legacy of Madchester and suchlike running through its veins. What’s it like to be based here? Do you feel as though you have a name to live up to?
Brad: I don't feel pressure to live up to famous Manchester bands like Oasis or The Stone Roses. There are so many great up and coming Manchester bands that we play with and I think these keep you on your toes and make you want to work harder, as there's a lot of competition.
FUZZY: Finally: what’s been your favourite album release of 2020?
Brad: I ordered the Sports Team album the other week and I've been loving that. I haven't really heard much of their stuff before, but the lyrics stand out to me. It's been a while since I've really gotten into a proper indie album.
Liam: Pigs X7 – Viscerals. I saw the band at Manchester Psych Festival last year and they melted my face off, one of my favourite sets of the year. This album picks up where we left off.
Billy: Run The Jewels - RTJ4. I’m already a massive fan and the album came at a poignant time, with themes about black and working-class people’s struggles and their need to rise up.
Words by Eleanor Noyce.
29th June 2020.