Lewis Perks of Sub Cultures discusses their new EP, musical influences, and recording at the infamous Rockfield Studios

Sub Cultures’ debut EP is just about to drop, and the guys are more than excited for the release. Highwire Magazine caught up with their guitarist Lewis Perks to find out more.

“We’re already kinda thinking about recording an album, but that will be the next step,” said Perks looking ahead already. At the moment, the band are concentrating on getting the EP out to the right people and building up a following. This should not be too hard because we’ve heard the EP, and it’s great, but the band are very fresh on the scene.

Sub Cultures are a young indie/alternative four-piece hailing from the border of South Wales and Gloucestershire. The band was formed in Gloucestershire in 2019 by close school-friends Kane Radnor (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Lewis Perks (lead guitar), who swiftly recruited Charlie Foster (bass) and Eric Karvik (drums) to complete the line-up. They have quickly developed their own hard, driving, pulsating sound along with a reputation for intense live shows.

Perks describes their sound as “quite energetic.” This is hardly surprising as a lot of their influence comes from ’90s bands as well as more modern indie bands like Title Fight, JAWS, and Fountains DC. “Fountains DC are really good. A Hero’s Death is a really, really good album,” he told us. 

At the moment, the Sub Cultures guitarist has been listening to some of the newer bands they’re influenced by to pass the time in lockdown. “There’s a band called Shame that I really really like; they’ve just released an album called Drunk Tank Pink; it’s just so good,” he said. “It follows on from their previous release, which they recorded at Rockfield funnily enough,” he continued.

Rockfield Studios is a recording studio just outside the village of Rockfield, Monmouthshire, Wales. It has a fantastic music history and has hosted some formidable bands during their recording process. Bands that the Sub Cultures lads would look up to, including Oasis, The Stone Roses, and Manic Street Preachers, to name a few.

Clearly, it was all a little mind-blowing for Perks, who makes no secret how he feels about recording there. “It’s quite surreal to go there and think about all of our influences who have gone there over the years, like all the music we listen to,” said Perks. “We grew up in the area knowing about Rockfield. It’s just really surreal because locally, we’ve always seen Rockfield as this place where only the great people go, where the real musician’s record,” he continued.

Unlike many other studios based in cities, Rockfield has a special vibe, as this young musician explained: “They haven’t got the vibe that Rockfield has. It’s in the middle of nowhere, fields all around you. It connects you and makes you appreciate nature in a way.” As if it wasn’t enough to record in a legendary studio, the band also had a great producer in the way of Jack Boston, whose credits include The Cure and Beth Orton, amongst others.

“He’s an amazing person,” confirms Perks as he talks about the experience. “It was absolutely magical. There was not a moment in the studio where we were stuck; it all really flowed well together. We all had a laugh. Overall it was an amazing experience.” You can tell by his voice that he means it, that the experience has impacted him personally and musically. But what effect has it had on the EP as a whole?

Perks lets us know that their music has developed somewhat in this recording process compared to their previous releases. “They differ in tonality wise the rest of the stuff we’ve recorded was 80’s inspired and really poppy in a way,” he said. “These four tracks that we’ve recorded for the Sub Cultures EP are a lot heavier. They represent us more as people,” he continued.

Much like everybody else, the band have not been able to play live in a while. This band member is looking forward to playing all the new songs but a couple in particular.” The first track on the EP is called ‘Comedown’ and the last track ‘Ride With You’ because I really like the structure,” he told us when asked. “It’s quite different from every other song. There’s something about the dynamic of that track. It starts off, and you think you know where it’s going, and then it changes up completely,” he said.

Obviously, he loves playing all the band’s music and has been playing the guitar since the very young age of six. “My sister had a classical guitar that she got from a catalogue, but she didn’t really take it up as such,” he explained. “When I was in school, I got bullied a lot, so I just used to stay home all the time. I was a really anxious kid. I just used to play and teach myself it kind of just went from there,” he continued. It wasn’t long before he knew he wanted a career in music.

Perks can still remember the first music he ever brought. “The first-ever album I brought was by a band called Korn; I had an obsession with them from a really early age. It was called See You On The Other Side. I can remember going into Woolworths with my nan and her buying me the album,” he said. It’s been a long time since you could go into a Woolworths and buy a CD as they went out of business in 2015. 

This and other closures have changed the way we consume music as we moved away from concrete stores. We’re still left thinking that one day we’ll be interviewing a musician, and they’ll tell us the first record they ever brought was a Sub Cultures one. For now, however, their debut eponymously-titled EP will be released on March 26, 2021, via Prank Monkey Records. You can get a hold of it in all the usual places, and we strongly suggest you do. 

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