WORDS: LUCA CESCON
Two years after their latest release, Leeds’ hardcore-punk outfit Big Cheese are ready to deliver their urgency, fears and mosh-driven madness packed into their new record called Punishment Park. The record will feature nine new tracks and is due to be released by the legendary D.I.Y. London-based label Quality Control HQ.
Big Cheese are part of an underground group of bands that belong to the New Wave Of British Hardcore, a super hard-working punk movement that is clearly shaking the foundations of these genres. As musicians, their main goal is to release as many records, demos and EPs as possible, and Big Cheese are no exception to this amazing logic.
“HONESTLY, IT FEELS LIKE IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING…”
“Honestly, it feels like it’s been a long time coming”, reflects Big Cheese’s member Razor about their new record writing process. Punishment Park sounds like an important yet crucial step forward for the band, starting from one of the main aspects of a record: its artwork. We’ve been listening to Big Cheese’s discography for some years now and yes, the band has always chosen black and white images and colours for its releases. Nicky Rat – who worked with the band for what concerns its logo and merch – matched in the best way possible the Punishment Park’s lyrics. The whole result of this record “feels like a full package and we’re all proud of it”, told us Razor.
“WE ARE AT THE EXPENSE OF THOSE WITH TOTAL POWER, AND WE HAVE TO CONNECT WITH THINGS DIFFERENTLY, FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE…”
Beside these aspects, Leeds’ own Big Cheese are pushing hardcore even further, revealing some details about what inspired their new record’s title. Drawing inspiration from a 1971 film of the same name, Punishment Park title is linked an reflected in today’s reality: from “totalitarianism and its prevalence in some countries” to the “constant and unrelenting surveillance” we all must live with. As sadly admitted by Big Cheese’s member Razor, “we are at expense of those with total power, and we have to connect with things differently, for better or for worse”. Moreover, socio-political aspects are reflected in one of the band’s new song, which perfectly explains “the state of our woeful country”.
We thought it was the right conversation into which we could talk about the state of modern UK affairs and all its controversies, and Big Cheese are one of those bands that clearly think that hardcore should be more of an “escape” rather than having a political agenda. Brexit-related hard times have pushed Razor and his band to push on the gas of “solidarity and support”. Furthermore, support can come from a label as well, once a band like Big Cheese needs to keep releasing its perfect mix of raw hardcore and fast punk.
“IT REALLY CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF THE SCENE.”
Quality Control HQ is definitely one of those labels that care about bands and we obviously found Razor on our same page about this: “Quality Control HQ feels like a home for hardcore punk in the UK. It really captures the essence of the scene”. Luckily, UK bands are still strongly linked to the D.I.Y. culture. Razor himself told us that “D.I.Y. is the only way to go”, highlighting that hardcore is that kind of music into which you put all your expectations just to “release a tape or play a gig” without waiting for some big label to buy your band’s music with “dollar signs in its eyes”. Big Cheese’s new record will allow this band to plan tours and gigs all over the year. By the way, we’ve always wondered what this Leeds’ band name was about … So Razor hit us with a direct response that shows what hardcore-punk has to be nowadays: Big Cheese are as they tell us, “Hungry!”.
Punishment Park Is Out NOW Via Quality Control Records