With a riotous blend of scratchy guitar riffs and bellowing vocals, Manchester’s post punks Document are doing their hometown proud with their recent EP release A Camera Wanders All Night. Influenced by 70s and 80s indie pioneers such as The Fall and The Smiths, Document shine with their thrilling post-punk stomps, shouty vocals and sharp lyricism. Their noir-tinged stunner ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’ – inspired by John le Carré’s novel of the same name – envelops and exhilarates you each and every step.
The Manchester’s five-piece came about the end of January 2019. Alex Evans (vocals), Josh Franks (rhythm guitar) and Charlie Marriott (lead guitar) had had their minds on starting a project for quite some time. Once they started living in a flat together, the three figured it would be the perfect opportunity to do some songwriting and get the ball rolling. Hoping to get in a room as soon as possible to have a bit of a jam, Max Grindle and Will Smith were later invited to join in on bass and drums. The full-fledged band booked their debut shows about a fortnight after their first couples of practices, and the rest is history.
Recently, we spoke with guitarist Charlie Marriott about his favourite The Smiths’ album, the charm of different post-punk vocal delivery and his love for Call of Duty and Dungeons and Dragons. Thriving to be an essential ring of the city’s modern punk revival, Document are one to look out for this decade.
An interview with Charlie Marriott from Document
What inspired the band name?
Funnily enough, the name ‘Document’ actually came from the title of a REM album. It came to our attention when I was looking through my records for inspiration and that one just jumped out as a strong contender.
How does coming from Manchester influence your music?
We’re all big fans of the music that came from Manchester. Being a part of the music scene that has such an interesting history does influence our songwriting to some degree. Bands like Joy Division, The Fall and The Smiths definitely have an impact on us. I think you can gauge their influence from our own songs and how we perform on stage.
Tell us more about your latest EP A Camera Wanders All Night.
This is our first full release which we recorded last year at the Nave Studio in Leeds. Many of the songs were written when we first started the band. It was such an amazing feeling to be able to share the final product with everyone after sitting on it for so long. The songs on the record are all very different in terms of their sound, though our producer Alex Greaves was able to pick up on the chemistry between the five of us. We like to think it’s a cohesive record which encapsulates what we’re all about as a band.
How do you make sure that you’re always up for experimentation in songwriting?
We follow all sorts of avenues when writing our songs. The five of us all have so many different influences and we try to utilise them in our songwriting whenever we can. The newer stuff we’ve been writing is a bit different to those on A Camera Wanders All Night. Experimenting with synthesisers and other electronic elements has opened our eyes to a different way of writing tunes. It has led us to create songs with a slightly different atmosphere and energy to them.
The vocals have a distinctive post-punk edge (kind of reminds us of King Krule). How would you assess your overall vocal style and delivery?
Alex’s vocal style is very unique in the sense that he manages to utilise melody within the delivery of spoken word; something I personally find is hard to get right. Artists like King Krule like you mentioned, or Ian Curtis and Mark E Smith are some artists who manage to achieve this through their vocal delivery. Mark E Smith is particularly a big influence on Alex, if you hadn’t guessed already. He also has a great singing voice which you can hear on tracks like ‘The World Until Yesterday’ from our EP. It’s something we’re trying to fit into our songs more with our newer material and move on from the typical delivery you would find within the genre of post-punk.
Share with us the most influential record in your life.
The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths. This is a very hard question to answer but I’ve chosen The Queen is Dead because of how much I love the album and how it inspired me as a musician. I had been weaned on The Smiths’ music by my parents when I was younger but never really understood it until I was about 15 and listened to it of my own accord.
Johnny Marr is my all-time guitar hero and his work on this record still has a huge impact on how I write and play. It made me realise that you didn’t need distortion and over-the-top solos to create an impactful song. It could be done through the use of melody, rhythm and more intricate guitar-playing which in turn also creates a more unique sound.
What non-musical hobbies do you have strong attachments to?
With there being five of us, we have loads of hobbies individually. That said, we all share a love of footy, gaming and pints. After lockdown we are hoping to organise a regular band Dungeons and Dragons evening too, which should be a laugh, even if we might become social pariahs in certain circles when the information is leaked.
Have you been staying productive during lockdown downtime?
As active as we can be under these circumstances! We’re currently trying to organise events and other exciting things for post-corona, but it’s hard to get everything set in stone with all the uncertainty. Lots of boozing and Call of Duty have been taking place too but I’m unsure whether that’s classed as being productive to be honest.
What can we expect and look forward to from Document in the near future?
Hopefully we will be getting into the studio to record some new singles in the near future with the aim of them being released in late summer/early autumn. Post-lockdown however, you can expect plenty of gigs so we can finally play this EP live for you all.