Meet: Manchester’s Newcomers ‘Martial Arts’

Two singles in, Manchester’s must-see punk band is causing quite a stir. It was time we got in and found out what all the fuss is about, as these guys look set to have a very bright future.

Give us a potted history of the band

We formed in South Manchester in Autumn of 2022- we’d all been mates and been in bands before this, but that was when we really decided to go for it together. We hail from all over England, From South Shields to Bath, but we’re all firmly situated in Manchester now- four of us live together, with our drummer living around the corner. We’re currently in the midst of a May tour with our friends Splint, who are a fantastic band, and we have a gig to look forward to in Paris in June, which will be our first EU show. We plan to keep the positive momentum going moving forward.

Who inspired you to start making music

We’ve all had upbringings surrounded by our parents’ music- all of us have been obsessed with music from an early age, and this just naturally carried into us picking up instruments. 

We bonded as a group over Shame’s ‘Drunk Tank Pink’- that record came out around the time that we decided to get the band going and it was a huge reference point in our early rehearsals- we wanted to capture a lot of the raw energy that we heard in that record, the fierceness that didn’t sacrifice melody- that’s a big one for us. 

What do you say if you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone who’s never heard you

First and foremost, we want to be loud- we don’t want to be polite, and we want people to get moving at the shows. Within that, though, there are dynamics and layers that go beyond basic punk sensibilities. We aren’t afraid of pretty moments, and we weave things together to create music that isn’t predictable- and makes answering this question difficult! We’d be more keen to tell someone who hasn’t heard us to get down to a show.

Tell us about your new track

We Recorded ‘Defector’ with Seadna McPhail in Airtight Studios in Chorlton in South Manchester, and then it went over to Liverpool to be mixed by Tarek Musa. We’ve released it on Akoustik Anarkhy, who are a long standing alternative label in Manchester that we’re very much involved with. The track itself came about very quickly, we latched onto a lead line that our frontman Jim had written, and wanted to capture our enthusiasm by getting ideas down quickly. It took shape in one night of fleshing it out really- once we knew where it wanted to go it seemed obvious. We love playing it live, the nature of it makes you want to move and latch on to the hooks.

Where can we get hold of it

You can find it in all the usual places. We’ve got a music video coming out next week that blood sweat and tears have been poured into, so look out for that!

Tell us how you write

It’s first and foremost a collaborative process. As all the guitarists live together, we’ll keep an ear out for what we’re all playing in the house, and let each other know when we’ve heard something good. From there we’ll take it to the practice room, sometimes with a clear structure in mind, sometimes with just a guitar line, and jam it from there. Sometimes it all comes together in an hour, and sometimes it’s a painstaking process, no two tracks have come about the same way. The music always comes first, and the lyrics are fleshed out afterwards, which is a much more solitary process. 

Tell us about your live show What would be your dream gig

We like our shows to flow well- it’s a performance, so we don’t want spells where we aren’t playing- it’s all about the music rather than crowd interaction. That’s what we prefer when we watch gigs, and that’s how we want to present ourselves. There are ever-evolving interludes that are a purely live measure, they’ll never see the recording studio, but that’s something we think makes our shows unpredictable and interesting. Our dream gig would, unsurprisingly, be a slot or nine at Glastonbury. 

What can we expect from you in the near future

We’re going to release more music in 2024, and play as many gigs as we can across the UK and Europe.

Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo

Jim: Nervous Entertainment- Tigers and Flies

Matty: Winterreise- Jerskin Fendrix

Jack: Fester- Legss

Jude: Leaves Turn Inside You- Unwound

Tom: Heligoland- Massive Attack

Check out the bands track Defector, below:

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