Interview – Honour Your Pain

UKHC juggernauts Honour Your Pain have been laying waste to venues across Europe in the past few months. M3 grilled frontman Nick Clay about illegal downloads, Simon Cowell and, erm, croissants…!

M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Nick – I work in Sales for a student accommodation company in Bristol, it was a cool office job but due to bureaucracy it is now basically a call centre. Frustrating. That’s where I work, that pays for me to ‘do’ what I do, which is a vocalist in a UKHC band. Although I would not list that as my Job because I am not on a salary in the band, I earn next to nothing, and to list it as Work suggests it is something you do not enjoy, being in a band is not work, it’s great fun.

What inspired you to form Honour Your Pain? What is your own musical background?
I have been in bands since I was 15, gigging etc, like most people I started with little confidence and would form a new band every few months, and just went about doing it the wrong way. When you’re younger it’s more about wanting to get known and get signed to Earache records etc and all that shit, as much as I look back with fond memories I am glad I am older and (hopefully) wiser, and I do it for the right reasons, because I enjoy it, and I feel I need to, it’s my outlet – it’s where I get my aggression and stress out, I have a good life but I get pissed off like everyone else. My dad was in a Jimi Hendrix covers bands and he listened to everything from Pink Floyd to Morbid Angel and Tangerine Dream – so yeah a large part of me being such a music geek is down to my Dad, cheers Dad!

Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
One thing I have learnt through the years, from speaking to the odd person(s) that has broken through and got signed to a major/ bigger label is that you end up in loads of debt, and it’s not as glamorous as people perceive it to be, it sounds like a total cop out but I would rather be well known in the underground than a nobody in the mainstream. I think people are wising up to the fact that being on the X Factor and sucking Simon Cowell’s cock isn’t really the right way to go about it – my nieces think that just being in a band makes you money, they have an excuse though because they are very young, worryingly a lot of people still think that you sell an album for £15 or something and you get all of that… I have heard of artists self releasing their own music, turning down record labels, and having a more comfortable living doing it that way, as far as I am aware Immortal Technique self released a lot of his own stuff.

I am sure Chris Brown would disagree with what I am saying, but to my knowledge I don’t think signing to a major label is the answer to your prayers.

Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
It’s definitely tragic to an extent, I’m 29 but I am still a young man, I remember when I was first getting into music and we would make tapes for each other, spend a lot of time putting compilations together and you would really appreciate the feedback you got from the person receiving the tape, because you put effort into it, and you did a ‘needs analysis’ and really put thought into it, now people click a few buttons and a huge amount of music or video can change hands in minutes – don’t get me wrong, that’s awesome, but yeah sometimes you can’t get that sense of pride or achievement that you could buying a CD with your hard earned money or spending hours making a compilation tape for a girl you fancy, or your mate who you are persuading to listen to Slayer more instead of The Beautiful South. Saying this I do download music, it’s quick and easy and if I really like it I buy the physical product. You have to move with the times, and all this helps bands like Honour Your Pain network and get more exposure. I imagine without social media and the digital age we would not have just come back from Europe and being fed croissants for breakfast.

What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
CD, if I had the option and the money I would have hundreds more, there was a point when I had 800+ CD’s, but I sold a lot of those and have them now as MP3’s and on my PS3, or my Phone.

I know I’ll need to get a record player at some point, hearing too many people saying for years about how vinyl is the best, and I’ll take their word for it, because a lot of the people who say that are a bit older and know what they are talking about.

Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
I think a lot of really young people see albums and the physical product differently to how the older guys do, in the same way I prefer CD’s to vinyl, people 20 years older than me will no doubt like vinyl more… I think younger people are exposed in a large way to a quick fix musically, get it , listen to it and love it or hate it within 15 minutes rather than getting the physical thing, with the new artwork, reading the inlay etc… I think people still love music the same but have less incentive to really spend time listening to it, if you get something for £3-4 quid downloaded then yeah whatever, but if you pay £10 for a physical CD , you’re going to make an effort to sit down and listen to it.

Recently, there seem to be a large number of bands offering their releases for free via sites like Bandcamp. What do you think of this distribution method, do you think it is a realistic solution to the problem of illegal downloading?
I think it’s great to be honest, if you can afford to do that it’s a nice gesture to fans of potential fans. If we could do it we would, but it costs a lot to get a decent recording these days.

What is your take on the current SOPA/ACTA controversy?
If it’s about what I think it is, countering piracy, I think that if money is being lost, someone will always be held accountable for it, human life… whatever, but if someone illegally acquires the new Lady Gaga album then heads will roll.

What do you personally believe the future of music distribution will look like?
Me personally, I would like to start buying CD’s more again, I would like record labels to realise that a lot of people in the current economic climate don’t always have £10-15 for an album, that potentially has 5 or so good songs on it – a lot of the shit out today is stuff that’s £12 one minute and in cash converters for 75p the next! I hope more talented artists start coming through the mainstream – apart from the odd novelty song to listen to in da club haha -there is a lot of shit out there, I think the quality of music and artistic expression has to increase before we should even try and plot where music distribution is going. Smart people will get bored of being fed the same shit… then again there are some pretty dumb people in the world at the moment, so maybe we should be worrying?

Finally, what does the future hold for Honour Your Pain?
Well, more Euro gigs would be awesome, go further afield, release another CD, sell more t shirts, meet more people, make more friends, and let out anger out on a shit load of people, cos life is awesome , but there’s a lot to write songs about. I agree with great men like Henry Rollins who say you have a duty to be a bit pissed off with mediocrity and the mundane. we would like to keep doing what were doing, ideally I would like to do it for a living, but we’ll see what happens. it’s only ever about Hard Work.

Honour Your Pain have just finished filiming their new video for the song ‘Stand Aside’, which you can watch here. For more information on Honour Your Pain, you can follow them on Facebook, or check out the music and merchandise available through their Big Cartel page. You can also see the band live on their upcoming European tour at –

3/03/2012 – Apple & Parrot, Torquay, UK w/ United Blood, Cast Iron Jaw & more

08/04/2012 – The Croft, Bristol, UK w/ Becoming Rome, Failure To Follow, Bound By Exile, Everest Never Falls, Rise Of An Empire & Depths

13/04/2012 – Le Cornwal, Tournai, Belgium w/ When Diamonds Fade, Coroners & Crossroads

14/04/2012 – Cafe Bluff, Heerlen, Netherlands w/ Verona

03/06/2012 – The Croft, Bristol, UK w/ Continents, Failure To Follow, Burials, Wolfpack, Becoming Rome & Hostile Theory

31/08/2012 – Le Cornwall, Tournai, Belgium

01/09/2012 – Lugano, Switzerland – TBC

02/09/2012 – TBC

03/09/2012 – TBC

04/09/2012 – Tabor, Czech Republic

05/09/2012 – Teplice, Czech Republic

06/09/2012 – Wroclaw, Poland – TBC

07/09/2012 – TBC

08/09/2012 – TBC

09/9/2012 – Rotterdam, Netherlands

 

If you would like to book Honour Your Pain you can contact the band at honouryourpain@hotmail.co.uk

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About M3 Event

The music industry is rapidly changing. The internet has enabled widespread piracy, as well as a variety of new business and distribution models. We want to offer an engaged audience in and around the Euregion an opportunity to develop a coherent and detailed picture of the future of music distribution. On the 31st of May 2012 a music conference in Maastricht, consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking. We hope to utilise the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon.

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