We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of Dissociates’ new album A Capital Idea (listen below), which is scheduled to be officially released through Safety Second Records on November 10th.
You can read a track by track for the album below, provided by Dissociates frontman Dan Stevens.
TRACK BY TRACK
A song about getting older and hoping your fire doesn’t go out. We jammed this up over a bottle of bourbon, on a winters night locked in the tunbridge wells forum, which backs onto these big woods, so that feel was definitely in my head when I wrote the lyrics. That and the idea that I’ve been warped by all this loud music, so I not really ever happy unless I’m playing it, even though that can have a really destructive effect on the rest of your life. It’s an addiction, not to getting famous or anything, but to that feeling of noise and catharsis. We’ve all always been outsiders, probably Ned the least so, and the line “if this is a club we ain’t a member” sums it up. Sometimes I think everyone wishes they could turn on their heel and head off to the woods to clear their head with their old friends. I certainly do.
Our 2016 was a shocker. Both with Brexit here and in the US. I’ve always wanted to write a “Year Zero” song, even though it obviously dates immediately, and of all the years I can remember this has been the worst in terms of how you feel being a Brit abroad. Embarrassed and angry. I wanted to capture that feeling in a song.
The lyrics talk about the Brexit zenophobia vibes that peaked last year, which I feel seeped into everyone’s heads like radioactive waste. I live right near the north london train line, where every week in the middle of the night they send a train with all the nuclear waste from Sizewell and Dungeness up to Sellafield for reprocessing. Just rumbling along with poison right through the middle of the city. BNFL makes loads of money turning nuclear waste into even more dangerous plutonium, a lot of it imported waste from other countries. I bet they’ll make sure that nice little money earner is protected no matter what happens with the Brexit deal. We’re still very proud to be the dustman of Europe.
Useless Wooden Toys
I still skateboard, although my knees are too knackered to do much more than pop an Ollie these days! Sometimes I feel like a right old twerp on it, but then what else would I be doing? Vegging in front of the telly? Dwindling away in a pub? Same goes with playing these guitars. I think we all know we should grow up by this point. Just doesn’t seem a very attractive option, haha.
The title is ripped off an old 80s skate video. The video for the song is by our mate Sam who does videos for Slaves. He’s a G.
‘Delete All’ is about a nasty break up – nuff said! I was trying to channel Henry Rollins and Little Richard in the vocals.
‘Dial House’ is about someone I know who decided to give up their “normal life and go live in Dial House, which is an open house collective in Essex founded by Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher from Crass. It’s about the inevitability of people scorning those who make a clean break and try to find themselves and the shock of change. Also about the risk of bad old habits slipping back when you count on someone else’s ideology to save you.
This is an old one that Ned wrote and we recorded originally with Ben from Down I Go. The lyrics are imagining what it would be like if you got off the tube at one of the deserted stations. A lot of them were used as shelters during the blitz then I guess TFL shut them down because they weren’t getting used enough. I’m reading a book at the moment by Peter Ackroyd, who wrote one of my favourite books, Hawksmoor. This one is about subterranean London, from the buried rivers, to the old jails that used to be buried under Newgate and Clerkenwell. And of course all the fall out shelters they built under Westminster for the MPs to scurry into when they push the button. Atalanta was a hunter in Greek mythology who was impossible to keep up with. I feel like that when I’m standing on the tube at rush hour. Running along, trying to keep up with work, life, etc when all I want to do is prise open the doors and sod it all off.
Gulf of Mexico
This started of being a straight up song about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the recklessness of Big Oil. But as I thought about it, and read about it, I realised lots of workers died too. They’re just regular people, admittedly pretty well paid ones by labourer standards, but regular guys following company procedures. It wasn’t them who designed the pipe wrong and caused it to go boo . But as is often the case, I start seeing both sides of a story then think “pick a side Stevens!”. So I decided that in my song, all these oil rig workers are sleaze balls who spend their off days at strip clubs then check their girlfriends’ text messages when they get back, and only helped in the clean up to get some extra overtime money. It was pretty easy to write the words once I’d made that decision.
One day I really want to do the piano bit at the beginning live, get Freddie Mercury about it. That’d be fun.
When we were recording this one in Middle Farm (which is in the middle of nowhere), Ned was doing his guitar take and suddenly the studio got zapped by lightning. It blew the Internet out, but the power came back on and he kept going. We had the amps really loud and all of a sudden we stared hearing radio coming through the monitors. We’d picked up some weather forecast from China, talking about a tsunami hitting Fukushima! That’s what you hear in the break down. It was pretty crazy.
Pretty straightforward. I’ve always been really aware that apart from the Ruction Records guys, there aren’t many punk bands these days who write about what it’s like growing up in London and that love/hate thing of being surrounded by so many people, feeling suffocated and ripped off and threatened, yet being unable to leave cos it’s just got so much action and energy. I wanted to write a kind of “yeah we’re from London and you probably thing we’re poncey wankers, but fuck you” We do get all the investment and all the attention but we also have to live with the daily fear of getting blown up or run over by some copycat nutter in a rented transit van, so we have it tough too. I’ve met so many people who move here, then spend the whole time bitching about it. Shut up or leave! Plenty of other people who will happily take your place.
But the city don’t care and it doesn’t need me to defend it. The city’s hard, the city’s fair, as the Libertines said.
‘Long player’ is about my Dad’s mate who played in a rock ‘n’ roll band for literally 60 years. He had this gold jacket he’d wear on stage and the last time I saw him, he was in a wheelchair and gave my Dad his jacket, to give to me. Dave’s band never got very far but he never lost the love of doing it, so it’s my way of putting Dissociates in a wider perspective. These guys were playing shit shows, getting hassled by the squares, having their van break down 20 years before I was born! It’s punk by a different name and I suddenly felt proud to be part of a continuum, rather than feeling like a failure cos we haven’t played the main stage at Reading yet….
‘Radio Galway’ is punk nostalgia for us. A time when there was less to worry about. The concept is we’re all holed up in this tower block (Ned lived on the 15th floor), playing our music from the roof to the deaf ears of London.
Radio Galway is a reference to the name of the tower block, not the town in Ireland! We’ve often felt nobody’s listening to what we’re shouting about and living somewhere like Shoreditch, where there is so much other (mostly crap) music being played, just amplifies that sense of us vs them. Ultimately we’ll keep playing the music, even if no-one’s listening…