Meet: BCOS RSNS – London purveyors of post-punk

London DIY scenesters BCOS RSNS commemorate lost live music venue The Buffalo Bar in their latest single taken from their forthcoming eponymous album. The much-missed Highbury venue gets name-checked in their hymn to the grassroots scene. Backseat Mafia caught up with Abi and Carl from the band to hear all about their random Norwegian fan club, a local London legend and the anger, sadness and humour of their debut album. 

Well hello BCOS RSNS! Who are you? 

Abi: Hello! I’m Abi! I play guitar and sing!

Carl: I’m Carl, I play guitar but don’t sing.

Abi: Matt (bass) and Jen (drums) can’t come to the phone right now.

How did you get here? Tell us about your music journey?

Abi: Oh, what a journey! I’ve been hanging around the edges of bands and daydreaming about being in them since I was at university; but it took a very long time! One day, I realised I had spent far too much of my life not playing instruments and not being in bands and then one day I just decided to stop making excuses, taught myself guitar and started being in bands. Fronting one needed a bit more of a run up; I’d been writing songs but didn’t feel like recruiting someone else to sing them. Eventually I realised that the same lesson applied and I should just do it!

Carl: I’ve been playing in scrappy punky bands on and off since I was about 14, hosting community radio shows where I mostly play small bands since 18, and putting on gigs since 25. 

So if you’re ‘first on at the Buffalo Bar’…who else is on the bill with you at this BCOS RSNS festival?

Abi: I don’t know if I’d want to headline a festival! Being first on is great because you play and then you can enjoy yourself. So, if we’re bringing back the Buffalo Bar for an imaginary festival then I’d also like to bring back Elastica and the Talking Heads.

Got any weird gig stories you want to share?

Abi: As BCOS RSNS, I think it was the Norwegians who had apparently heard us on the radio over there and turned up at a gig in Hackney to see us. I still have no idea what station it was or how they came across us!

You namecheck Keith TOTP – tell the world, just who is this living legend of the London scene?

Abi: Keith is many things. He is the beating heart of our community. He has a band himself – Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band, which at a typical gig contains around 10 members on stage. They don’t rehearse and it’s just glorious. As such, his attitude to life has been an inspiration before I’d even properly met him, and he’s been a supporter of my musical endeavours and the band since day one. The time in the studio with him producing our album was an absolute delight.

Take us out on your best day in London?

Abi: Funnily enough, OK Cupid asked me the same question! 

It’s a Saturday and I wake up around 10am after a decent night’s sleep. I go to the local cafe for brunch with a friend. It’s sunny so we can have a can in the park. We bump into another friend. I return home, do one last run-through on the guitar of what I’ll be doing tonight, pack my gear and relax for a bit. I make my way to the venue at the appointed hour for soundcheck. We’re opening for a band that I love. After soundcheck, I get some food and chat to friends who are already there. We go on, it goes well, people like the new stuff. Nobody tries to talk to me when I’m packing up my instrument. Afterwards, I say hello to everyone I know, and a few people I don’t, and the rest of the acts. After that, we go to someone’s place (maybe mine if I’m close?) for an after-party.

What really winds you up about London? What do you love?

Abi: Housing costs and the hollowing out of zone 1. Which are the same problem really. I love everything else.

Carl: Yeah, very much the same. The cost of living here is awful, but the city itself is great. There’s always something to do, way more gigs and scenes at any one time than anywhere else in the country, just because of the size of it.

Apart from your good selves, of course, which artists should we be checking out?

Abi: Panic Pocket! Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something! Charley Stone!

Carl: Fightmilk, Schande, Whitelands, Rubber, and Gay Skeleton Club, to name a few off the top of my head.

Tell us about your forthcoming album?

Abi: It is ten songs totalling about half an hour, with varying balances of anger, sadness and humour.

You have the album launch set for May 25th – what can we expect? 

Abi: We’ve asked two of our favourite bands to support us and they said yes! And it’s at one of our favourite venues – the Cavendish Arms in Stockwell. We’ll be playing all the songs we know and maybe one or two we don’t!

What’s your favourite track to play live?

Abi: ‘Turn It Off’! It’s our next single and has two of my favourite bits in songs – a bit where I say “turn off the guitar” and everyone stops playing, and then a bit where I just shout and then the band comes back in as I’m finished.

Carl: Probably the same for me. ‘Buffalo Bar’ is great too, especially live when other people who went there are in attendance and get really into it.

Tell us a joke?

Abi: I’m always getting Tim Vine and Tim Key confused. I’m lost in Tim.

BCOS RSNS eponymous debut album is out on 22nd May. Join them for their album release party at The Cavendish Arms, Stockwell on 25th May.

Debut single “(First on at) The Buffalo Bar” is out now 



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