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Stranglehold is a band from Melbourne, Australia, founded in 2008 by Lisa (Guitar/Vox), Brod (Guitar), Ben (Bass) and Lease (Drums). The band has its strongest points at the ferocious vocals and catchy choruses.
Questions answered by Lisa, singer of Stranglehold
__ Tell us how the band started
The idea of Stranglehold started in 2008. Lease (19 at the time) and I (16) met to talk about starting a band at a pub called the Birmy where we used to go to see punk and Oi bands. As we chatted over a beer we agreed on our influence and what we wanted the band to sound like. I had never played in a band before and Lease had only just started playing the drums. She wasn't too keen at first to have female vocals, the idea that it would sound soft and screechy but her mind changed quickly after our first jam.
Lease had the idea to ask Ben to play bass to get us started. Practising was easy to organise as Ben happened to have a home studio at the house he was renting with a drum kit and PA already setup from rehearsals in his others bands (Marching Orders, Napalm hearts). We had one original and one cover at our first practice. I think we played those two songs for weeks. We didn't let Ben leave after that.
A year or so later Brod (Bens brother) moved to Melbourne to play in Marching orders... So we asked him to play in Stranglehold aswell. Lease continued playing drums, Brod on lead guitar, Ben on bass and me on rhythm guitar and vocals.
__ What would you consider the biggest influences?
This is a tough question. We all have different influences from punk, Oi and hardcore. Some of those bands include Blitz, Stiff little fingers, Emergency & Bonecrusher....
__ Stranglehold is a band from Melbourne, Australia, and in 2012 you got one of yours songs released in the compilation Oi! This is street punk vol. 2 by Pirate Press, an american label. Wasn't the band kinda new at this point? How did that happened?
The release came about by a connection with Longshot records. Brod and Ben had previously released music with Mike at Longshot and maintain regular contact with him and what projects they are involved in.
__ A lot of people had theirs first contact with Stranglehold on this compilation. How much did everything changed for the band after the release of Oi! This is street punk Vol. 2 ?
It was a great opportunity to expose the band to a wider audience outside of Australia.
__ You've been in some other compilations and everytime the bands steals the attention of everyone. How is the process of choosing the right song to be in this kind of release?
Compilations are such a great way to get exposure as well as sharing a record with other great bands we love! To be honest we don't really have any strategy, we just choose a song that we believe represents the band well out of whatever we have recently recorded at the time :) Simple.
__ Another night alone was released in a xmas compilation. Do you guys usually play this song when december arrives?
We were happy to be apart of the Xmas compilation and the song "Another night alone" was a lot of fun to create.
We wanted to write more than just a Xmas carol or the typical beer drinking on xmas theme, something with a bit more depth. And so the song brings awareness to those less fortunate to be surrounded by family, friends, food and celebration on Christmas, and that the season isn't so jolly for some. We've actually never played it live!
__ Since the band has a female voice and is also from Australia, a lot of people immediately compare Stranglehold with The Distillers. Does that bother you guys at all?
Not really. We all have different influences and a mutual appreciation of The Distillers music. I grew up listening to the Distillers and it was a major inspiration of mine in starting a female fronted band that didn't sound weak. It comes as no surprise that we get compared, and on the surface I guess it has those similarities. I think that when people listen to our records then that comparison is dropped (hopefully!).
__ Feminism is one of a hot talk in the world right now. The ladies are showing up their voices and that seems to disturb some people. Have you ever had any bad feeling coming to the band because of 2 girls playing on it? Is the Oi! scene sexist?
We haven't experienced any sexism in the Australian Oi or punk scene at all. People and other bands at local gigs have always been curious of female musicians but also very supportive. I think having girls in the band can attract some unwanted attention but we want our music to speak for itself so we aren't interested in using the 'girl' angle. We had a lippy patron at our show onetime, he thought is was a good idea to stand right up the front to grab the mic and yell drunken slurs whilst we were playing… It is with great pride that I can say that I took the mic off that guy and kicked him in the chest so we could finish our set! He probably didn't see that coming.
__ You had worked with different labels now. Can you tell us which ones? And how important is to have "foreigner" labels releasing your material from other parts of the world?
We have been lucky enough to have released our records through Pirates press, Longshot, Contra & KB records. These labels have supported us and we are very grateful for the exposure and distribution around Europe and the U.S as the punk scenes are much larger there than at home in Aus.
__ Over the years you guys recorded many covers such as Moscow from Blitz, Stranglehold from UK SUBS and the most recent one, That's Entertainment from The Jam. Do you guys have fun doing that? How it is to choose the right song between four people? Did you ever had any feedback from the bands you covered?
It's a lot of fun doing covers from bands we love. We are open to each others suggestions and always willing to jam with it at rehearsal. We don't always choose a bands biggest song but we try to choose a song that we can make our own. If it sounds alright and we enjoy playing it, we go with it.
Yes- we passed on our records to Charlie Harper and the boys from UK Subs, and the drummer Jamie loved the sound and our version of the song Stranglehold.
__ Did you ever toured out of Australia? Tell us how was this experience.
We have mostly played shows interstate of Australia (Sydney, Wollongong). We did play one show in London at 12 Bar Club with 3/4 of Stranglehold. We had our friend Mike from Longshot records fill in on bass guitar for us. That was a bunch of fun!
__ Recently Lisa, the singer, and Brod, the guitar player, became parents. How it is to find a balance for the band now between diapers and punk rock?
There isn't a lot of balance at the moment. We are so happy and in love with our little guy so punk rock can take a break for a while as we settle more into being parents.
__ How is the street punk scene in Australia right now? There's any other band you would recommend?
Street punk in Melbourne has seen better days but there is some exciting bands around like Razor Cut, The Truth & The Opposition.
__ The new 7" Hold on have probably one of your biggest songs. It happened on purpose or it is just how the songs were born?
We had a break for 6 - 8 months or so from writing, and I had a couple of bits and pieces of songs I started working on. We jammed after some time off, and the songs just evolved from there as we worked on them together. We didn't mean to write such a long song, but 'Fire' ended up being perhaps the longest punk song recorded to date (6:04)! We played around with the intro and thought it sounded cool having a long build up. We were lucky enough to fit it onto a 7".
__ Can you pick a favorite song from your own band?
Personally, my favourite song is Filed and Forgotten. The song was written about lenient sentencing of violent offenders and I think it has a lot of impact. All our songs we play with a lot of heart, but this one in particular gives me chills!
__ Which band that still around is your favorite nowadays?
Stiff little fingers. We were lucky enough to see them at Rebellion in 2014. They were brilliant!
__ Did your ever shared the stage with any band that was a realization for you as a fan?
We haven't had the chance to play shows with bigger international bands but we always enjoy playing shows with local bands or interstate bands in the punk / Oi scene.
__ Send a message to your fans and to every kid around to world who wants to start a punk rock band.
Thanks for supporting Stranglehold guys. If you want to start a band, don't over think it, get together with some positive people and just jam, play what you enjoy and your unique sound will evolve naturally from there. Don't try to be anything but yourself. Peace!
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