This is an archive of the band profile for The Red Pills.
Our live show 'has to be seen to be believed' according to Rebecca Atkinson of Leeds Music Scene and has been described as 'refreshingly bonkers' and 'bracing stuff.' Major Two Scoops describes this as coming from 'wanting to involve people in having a good time. 'I've seen so many bands just turn up and play without putting on a show. If you're in the audience, how do you connect with that?'
Who are The Red Pills?
We formed in September 2008, taking our name* from 'The Matrix. Keanu Reeves' character 'Neo' is given a choice of pills to ingest - red or blue. Taking the blue pill will allow Neo to live a cosy, comfortable lie. Taking the red pill will allow him to wake up to the truth. We chose our name before the rise of the so-called 'Red Pill movement'. This 'movement' is nothing to do with us. We don't support or condone it, as it's a load of old misogynist shite.
Despite being a laid back, self-ridiculing bunch valuing off-the-wall humour and often touching on sleazier topics, we're equally at home railing against the injustices of the world.
What are The Red Pills up to these days?
Our second album 'Landmines For Clowns' is about celebrities and political figures who fucked things up, either for themselves or for everyone else.
Following on from our debut, 'Northern Rock', Landmines For Clowns is the first full album recorded with (now longest serving) bassist Sean. As a result, it's a more bass-driven album which has enabled us to focus on catchy, noisy, tightly-written funk, punk, rock 'n' roll songs.
Drummer, Jim on the album title and themes:
"Sean and Nick came up with the title one night in the pub and put it to us at practice the next week. Tom really likes it 'cos he thinks it riffs on The Dead Kennedys. It also fits the songs we have in that the clowns are the celebs / politicians and the landmines are the songs. One landmine per clown. You'll have to guess who the songs are about. Some are really obvious, some not so much. If you want answers, come to one of our gigs!"
Making the album
The band's very strong DIY ethic is evident in everything they do. Tom on the process of making the album:
"Nobody owns us and that's the way we like it. It's hard enough getting democratic agreement within the band without outsiders sticking their noses in. That said, we all found it very easy to agree during the making of Landmines. I think we've got a relaxed but effective songwriting process now. It's just as well, because we also do all our own artwork, web design, gig booking, advertising and admin. It's hard work but very rewarding because you get that 'I made this' feeling."
This process is not just reflected in the writing of songs, but in the album's production. The band sourced their own recording equipment, space and software with production duties fulfilled by guitarist Nick:
"Most of the recording was done in a warehouse room that we rent, with a few overdubs being added in my bedroom. We recorded drums, bass and rhythm guitar together for that raw 'live' feel, then added lead guitar and vocals. I mixed the tracks in ProTools (which I had to learn first) and mastered in WaveLab. While editing, I heard the songs so much that I couldn't tell the difference anymore so I asked the lads to test the mixes on various speakers. The notes were really useful; mostly they were small tweaks although Tom kept sending me massive lists. It was all constructive though and in the end we got something that we're all very proud of."
Releasing the album
Landmines For Clowns' thirteen tracks will be available to download from the Official Store on a 'pay what you want' basis. Sean explains what prompted this generosity:
"The biggest problem unsigned bands like ourselves have is getting heard. Northern Rock did well in that we recouped our costs and put ourselves in a better position to record Landmines, but it didn't reach as many people as we'd have liked. So, Landmines being 'pay what you want' hopefully means more people will listen and share with their friends. If people do want to pay full whack, that would be much appreciated (paid downloads and CDs come with bonus tracks) but we're equally happy if someone downloads it free, shares with their friends and comes to a gig."
Why this album and why now?
Tom says: "It's time to wake up! We don't want to be controlled by politicians, the media, corporations, advertisers or anyone else, although obviously there's a need for some law and order. Anarchy is a wonderful idea but it would never work due to the 2% of destructive, selfish idiots who'd spoil it for the rest of us. On this album we're lashing out at people who've been given a kind of power, either the power to make decisions or the power to influence through their actions. These people have abused it either wilfully or through their own ignorance. It doesn't seem like many bands have much to say about all of that these days, everyone's got too comfortable. Let's shake things up!"
Landmines For Clowns is released worldwide on 29 April 2016 with a launch party at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 29 April 2016. Attendees can pay what they want to enter, and all paying attendees will be entered into a prize draw with a chance to win a copy of the album and t-shirts..