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This Ain’t A Scene: Allusondrugs

When we decided to start a new magazine, we thought long and hard about the best way to introduce ourselves. Mission statements? Manifestos? Rambling paragraphs about what we stood for and how we were different? Nah. Not for us. Instead, we decided to catch up with some of our favourite bands. Not to try to group them together, or to make a new scene – just to say they’re great. That’s what Upset is about.

“It’s because we’re amazing, actually,” the distinctive Allusondrugs frontman Jason Moules provides as the definitive reason for their snowballing success. It’s a statement he offers bluntly; far from playful yet entirely void of arrogance. There’s a commendable self-belief on display that Jason delivers with a nonchalant confidence, punctuated by his relaxed sway that heightens comparisons to legendary Nirvana vocalist Kurt Cobain. “It’s just passion really,” he continues. “People can tell we’re doing it for the right reasons.”

This unapologetic attitude appears to be doing the thick-accented Yorkshire five-piece no harm. If anything, it’s seen them rise through the echelons of the British underground, leading them hastily towards the head of the pack. Those distracted by their free-spirited image and their mischievous persona may find themselves swiftly blindsided by the strong work ethic on which they base their philosophy.

“If I wasn’t here, I’d just be at home. I wouldn’t be out or anything. I’d just be playing guitar,” Jason admits shortly before taking to the smallest stage at this year’s Download Festival. Fighting against his nerves, something Jason isn’t ashamed to openly admit, he explains that everything the band have achieved is down to a relentless work schedule. “What can I say? You do well and you get good gigs,” he states adamantly.

“I don’t mean it in a disrespectful way,” Jason offers as an agreeable caveat. Everything offered in conversation carries with it a refreshing sincerity. “You get a lot of bands who wonder why they aren’t going anywhere, but then they only practice just once a week. You know what I mean. Practice five times a week. Gig five times a week. In two years, see where you are at.”

Primarily influenced by grunge, Allusondrugs are quick to shake off the revivalist tag. Mention of the phrase is met with an unsubtle eye roll by both Jason and his bandmate Damien Hughes, who prefers to go as Damo. Musically the band’s overt focus on melody far outweighs that of the genre’s heyday. “There’s not really anything else like us out there,” Damo states tentatively when questioned about their appeal.

It’s a sound that has seen them take to various stages with differing focuses over the last eighteen months. Picked up by the BBC, their first big break saw them play the Introducing Stage at Reading & Leeds Festival, leading to a support slot for electro-rock stalwarts Enter Shakari in the first quarter of 2015. “We only played for the first time as a band just over 12 months ago,” Jason says humbly, “now we’re playing to one and a half thousand people with Shikari.”

A five year plan keeps Allusondrugs rolling. Each milestone, although not dictated by the plan, edges the band closer to their ultimate goal. “Follow your dreams, that’s how it works”, he offers somewhat flippantly. “We just said we were going to take it all the way,” he counters when questioned over the simplicity of his previous statement. “We’re going to sell millions of records. That’s our five year plan, and we’re six months ahead of schedule.”

Naturally, exposure has a big part to play in their plan. Both Damo and Jason agree that their placement at a range of eclectic showcase festivals and their tireless touring routine are key in achieving their aims. “It’s one of the main factors that has got us where we are today,” Jason exclaims emphatically, speaking of Allusondrugs’ work ethic. “We’re all workaholics, at least with this type of work.”

Their more frivolous impression is underpinned by careful structure; one that provides a path but retains creative control and freedom. “As a musician you can’t just turn up somewhere and expect people to love you,” Jason muses. “You can’t just go on stage and be average.” A lot of time and careful attention is directed into Allusondrugs, and as Damo points out rather matter-of-factly, not all band members partake in the hedonistic lifestyle signalled by their moniker.

“People only have to talk to us to decide if we’re right for them or not,” Jason continues. “It’s the same with watching us. That’s why we play festivals, because it’s such a divided crowd. A lot of people like it but they might not check us out any other time.”

To those who can’t be persuaded to enjoy their tones, Jason has a fitting response. “I don’t give a fuck if people don’t like us. It’s not going to stop us doing what we do,” he states with confidence. This assuredness sits alongside their diligence to aid their propulsion. “It’s pointless to worry about what people don’t like about you. We’re not going to change because of it,” he adds.

Allusondrugs are completely clear on who they are and what they want to achieve. Their plan pushes them in the right direction, and their unwavering confidence in their own sound keeps them on track. “If anyone tried to change us, we’d just come back with shaven heads,” Jason jokes at the idea of heavy-handed label influence, particularly the idea of being forced to veer further towards traditionalist grunge. “We’d wear matching shell suits… that’s never been done before,” Damo adds with a laugh.

“We’ll keep doing this… as long as I don’t die, or we all fall out,” Jason concludes. 

Taken from the August issue of Upset – order a copy now.