A Conversation With… Heartsink

This next band is one I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, especially since I was there for the unveiling of their new name. What was once One Way Street is now Heartsink, the collective Pop-Punkers from York. I did plan to speak to them at a previous gig a few months ago but circumstances meant I had to wait to chat to them on the last day at Pop Punk Pile Up.


Zak: First we have to say Ben is filling in for Jake today because he’s in Croatia at the moment.

Bryn: He’s in the sunshine, just not as cold as this though.

Zak: He’s just done a Game of Thrones set tour as well, and in a Liverpool bar at the moment. A Scouse bar in Croatia.

Jack: In Croatia of all places? It’s like going to London and finding a Geordie bar.

Zac: He sniffs out a Wetherspoons like a dog.

Bryn: He has a radar. He just sniffs them out and says this way.

Zak: He does have a book on Weatherspoon’s carpets as well.

Jack: That has to be an interesting but dull read

Tom: What did you get for Christmas? A book carpets.

Zac: Brilliant


Jack: So Pop Punk Pile Up?

Bryn: It feels really good to not only have played but to have been asked to play.

Zac: Adams put a lot of effort in.

Tom: The boys done good.

Bryn: And Ben did amazing on drums for us today.

Jack: Ben reminds me of someone from a film, I can’t put my finger on it.

Zac: A young tom cruise?

Bryn: I could see it.

Tom: Something from the eighties?

Jack: No Patrick Stewart was in it.

Zac: Oh that was green something…. Er…

Bryn: Green Room!

Jack: That’s it! From the punk band, the lead singer he reminds me of. But I was at the gig in December for the name change, what was the main reason?

Zac: It was an entirely different band now, new members and it felt right to do moving forward.

Jack: Well you’ve got a new drummer.

Bryn: Yeah we’re going to let Jake down easy.

Jack: Well he is your brother so there’ll be some tension around the Christmas table or some drake and josh style escapade. I imagine that was what your whole life was like growing up, just Drake and Josh.

Zac: No, it was more Zack and Cody but yeah, the name change, new lineup, new songs and new progression.

Tom: We’re doing a new music video in the next month or so.

Jack: I’ll keep my eyes and my ears peeled for that. And has there been anything new in the production?

Zac: Funnily enough, Ben produces all of our songs, mixes master.

Ben: Now brings the equipment and the talent brings it to a new level and I’m looking forward to producing some new stuff with them.


Jack: And is there anyone you’d love to tour with?

Zak: We’ve toured with a lot of bands but to be honest, Lyon Estates. I’d love to go back out with Better Days.

Bryn: We could do a full tour with Lyon Estates and all the bands Jonny Gill’s in you know? Jonny fest.

Jack: What was the first gig you remember going to?

Zak: The Darkness.

Jack: That’s a good alternative group to start with, I personally would’ve guessed Blink 182 from what I know about you.

Tom: What do you think mine was?

Zac: Rolling Stones?

Tom: Bearing in mind it was in 1997. It was Radiohead and DJ Shadow. It was at the Manchester 9x when it was called that.


Bryn: See I did the thing with seeing a lot of local bands, there was winder gardens and submarines, a lot of obscure places and bands but I think it was sponge, a really old Ska band.

Zac: The first big band was probably Biffy Clyro. I just wanted to sound cool by saying the darkness when they’re you’re cooler alternative.

Jack: mine was when The Duchess was still open a Halloween show, beyond all reason and RSJ and two weeks later, my dad took me to see Paramore.

Bryn: You’ve been recently haven’t you?

Zac: That was a really good gig.

Jack: I was just really happy to have seen them

Zak: What’s your’s ben? That’s something I’ve never asked you.

Ben: I didn’t start until I was 18 and I think my first was lees fest 2003. It was one of the most awesome Leeds fest lineups ever. I think there was InMe, Bowling For Soup, Linkin Park, Blink 182, Jay-Z

Bryn: Is that when Leeds fest played bands and not DJ’s?

Zac: It’s just a changing crowd now

Ben: I really wanted to see blink 182 and we watched slipknot beforehand and my girlfriend at the time broke her ankle so we had to go to a medical tent and I was sat thinking youuuuu. I sat there then asked can I go? And she said you can if you want and I went, alright see you. In hindsight I was horrible though but yeah.


Jack: And if you could sum up heartsink in three words what would they be?

Bryn: I think there are some words we wouldn’t allow Zak to say.

Zac: Erm.. I’d say anthemic, although that’s more an aspiration for us.

Bryn: I’d say 75% of us are organized but really fun, anytime you get to play music with your friends is a blessing in itself, where it goes it’s just a laugh and if we get the recognition that’s a plus.

Bryn: Money’s a nice thing but creating memories is more important to us.

Tom: I’d say chunky, about the sound

Bryn: I think that’s my addition to be honest.

Ben: We have the heavy breakdowns and stuff which has progressed, depends on the various guises

Jack: Various guises? Like Altered Sky with the beginning of their set?

Zac: Oh did Ana bring the plague mask out? I remember playing with them last year and I thought what’s going on?

Bryn: Coming to cleanse the building?

I started playing with you after I came on tour with, then they were just like do you wanna play guitar for us?

Zac: It took him a few months to say yes to us.

Jack: Were you just asking him at all hours of the night?

Zac: It was more of an internal struggle for him

Bryn: We just share members of every band now.

Bryn: It as like the same thing you said about Pile Up like on Friday it was so nice because all the bands knew each other like. Reunion and community but it’s just really nice and today it’s the same with the community and today a few have been coming up from the south, but we’ve been playing with them anyway The Young Harts and Counterpoint are really good and everyone knows each other.

Tom: We still need to say three words to describe us.

Bryn: Oh yeah.

Bryn: So chunky, anthemic, and erm… remember that list of words we gave you not to say?

Zac: Just fun isn’t it?

Tom: Colourful.

Bryn: And that’s just Zak’s hair.


You can listen to Heartsink’s track ‘Last Year’ below.

A Conversation With… Grumble Bee

I’ve seen Jack Bennett (Grumble Bee) twice now. One when it was just him and an acoustic guitar and another when it was him and the live band tearing up the stage at Pop Punk Pile Up on the Saturday date. There were a few things I wanted to ask him but can you guess the number one thing? The answer to the question being on Game Of Thrones.


Jack: Hey Jack. Two jacks here, jack-jack, squeezing in an Incredibles reference right there. How does it feel to be here.

Jack.B: It’s great. We’ve not played together properly for a while so I’m looking forward to playing the full band, I just got back from Europe so I’m looking forward to it.

Jack: I know, I got the chance to see you open for Normandie at the end of last year, I love it.

Jack.B; Now it’s a completely different vibe so it’s going to be a lot heavier so we’ll see what you think.

Jack: A lot heavier?

Jack.B: Yeah so we’ll see what you think.


Jack: The end of last year, you revealed you’d been working with HBO and Game Of Thrones, how did that come about?

Jack.B: Well, my manager, Ben one of his friends works for a distribution company and he sent this thing over and it was a basically a different company for Tv and Film and they sent over a brief saying… I can’t remember it exactly but it was something along the lines of something something ominous for sound for the track, it needed to sound dark and ominous and that was literally it. You know, they wanted that really large sounding epic thing so they sent Blood On Me and I had the stems for that for the remix and that but it was cool, I sent them 12 different versions and they ended up using my least favourite version of it.

Jack: Well, at the end of the day, it gets used.

Jack.B: Absolutely. It’s exposure as well and it’s game of thrones so that was just an amazing opportunity.

Jack: On exposure as well, new EP in June. What’s going to be different about that to past releases?

Jack.B: Well, other than it’s the first release I’ve mixed and mastered myself. Since I’ve built the studio, this is the first one I’ve done on my own since then. Obviously, I record everything in the studio by myself anyway so it’s a big process of doing that whole thing.

Jack: Is that the one you made yourself?

Jack.B: Well, with my parents, my dad and everyone but yeah, it’s ours.

Jack: And you’ve been learning everything about the process so it’s a full DIY aesthetic right there.

Jack.B: I mean I don’t wanna be too understating the fact I’ve been helped loads by my parents. They’ve given me the chance to do it. When I was like ten years old everyone wasn’t like get a real job, music was that for me. So I was always in music, I was always able to do that so rather than going to university and spending X amount on course fees, it was spending that on music stuff.

Jack: Money well invested.

Jack.B: Well, the thing is it is a massive investment and it goes a lot into the analogue gear which you can sell on for the same amount but it is pretty DIY but I built it for me, I didn’t build it for other bands and make a business for myself. But I made it so I could record my demo’s and that became a bit better and now I can do my own stuff and when it comes to the album I can do it to a high standard which I’m pretty proud of.  But it’s still learning so it’s hard to figure out the end goal at this time, it’s all about the time and the experience you put into it.  It’s the way forward


Jack: And with the festival season you’ve got Teddy Rocks to name one coming up and on top of that this year, you’ve had arcane roots but what’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Jack.B: On playing? I guess it’s just working out how to manage to play to a lot more people. It’s a little weird because we’ve played to smaller audienes because we’ve been in bands for ages and the Grumble Bee stuff is ten years old now but it’s about putting all that and putting the same amount of effort and passion that you would put into say Academy 1 of all things where there are a million more people and you’re putting the same amount of effort into things, you know people will still wanna watch you at a £6 show than they would at a £40 festival or wherever it would be but we still have to manage on the tour with them because the rooms were huge and the same is in Europe because a lot of people there were arcane roots fans so we were just this band people would think whos this. You just have to manage your expectations of what you think it’s going to be like, just enjoy it with what you’ve done and if you see people enjoying it, you know you’re doing something right, it comes across so well but it’s just being happy about it.

Jack: I think you just have to fear the audience not coming closer to the stage sometimes.

Jack.B: Up to the barrier?

Jack: Yeah.

Jack.B: Well, I don’t mind because obviously you get that with different people and I’m always thinking I can suit playing to my dad and then I can to the most hardcore fan of everything. What I’ve noticed is that there’s this guy at one show in Manchester where I was thinking he’s not into the show and my amp blew up, the first time in ten years and I’m thinking why’s he being so grumpy. And then he came up and said it was a great show. So you’ve gotta take that into consideration playing, you have to think it’s not their job to enjoy it, it’s your job to make them enjoy it you know? It’s your job to have a good show, to make them get into it. I’ve never been like everyone sit down but for me, it’s never been a thing, if the music’s good enough, the music will stand on its own.

Jack.B: Have you seen the full band before?

Jack: No yet but tonight. And after the summer what’s the plan?

Jack.B: I’m trying to record two albums, one is the debut album and then the second album all at once and I’m demoing for that at the moment so I’ll hopefully be ready to go around March April next year with the full album with a single at the end of this year. Also, I want to do an acoustic tour at the end of this year which was something I really enjoyed doing because I was like I’m really into it and there are proper acoustic artists who do this as their job and I didn’t wanna be the singer songwriter who is an acoustic guitarist who just does that but I feel it gives me a chance to do that where I can’t complain about not being able to hear the mix and now the full badn we can have everything fine. But touring I’d love to do some shows here like Selby, not the major cities, off the track like Manchester and London so enjoying it like that would be cool but the album has been long coming but being the producer for it as well it is much more difficult to bring it out. I demo the tracks and then go into the studio which is my own studio and then record it as you would in an actual studio but when I’m demoing I’m thinking I’ll change this because you’re not paying for the time, so you can do that until you’re happy with it and go crazy.


Jack: And if you could sum up grumble bee in three words, what would they be?

Jack.B: I guess caramel soy latte or maybe oat latte because I don’t know what I sound like, it’s heavier stuff live and acoustic so different from what I do. I still have the grit, I’ll still be screaming and that so it’s kind of a weird thing to say what my sound is. It’s alt rock but what exactly is alt rock? Alternative rock? It’s not really a thing anymore.

Jack: There’s a lot of different things on that spectrum because it can range from hard to soft rock.

Jack.B: And there can be a lot of different layering like prog rock. It’s hard to summarise so I like to put out poppy songs but in a heavier format but still have a pop chorus. But I say soya latte because I want to go have a coffee but I can’t find any Costas that are open here.






You can view Grumble Bee’s latest video for ‘Heron’ below.

A Conversation With… Kaya Tarsus (Blood Youth)

It may be a celebration of Pop Punk at this iteration of Pile Up but that doesn’t mean there are no heavier bands included in the lineup. Fresh off headlining European dates, I sat down with Kaya Tarsus of Blood Youth to chat on what’s on the horizon.


Jack: Hello there, so you’re at Pop Punk Pile Up, how’s it feel to be a part of the festival?

Kaya: It’s great. We’ve literally just got here and we don’t know too much about it but it’s cool when I walked in, it looked really lively.

Jack: Oh absolutely, I’ve been waiting for this one for a while now and glad to see a bunch of local bands, it’s really good for the scene. You’ve just gotten off some headlining dates, how have those been going down?

Kaya: Amazing.  It was so good, we’ve been all over Europe, headlining and playing festivals and we got back really late last night and it’s incredible playing to rooms of people all over the world.

Jack: And now you’re in the heart of England. Is this one of the last dates you have?

Kaya: This is one of the last dates before we go to the studio and start the new album. We’ve just been touring so much, we have to start work on the next one really.

Jack: Is that a personal reason, or the label saying you have to?

Kaya: It’s a bit of both. We’ve ended the cycle and now we’ll go in the studio in the next two months and crack on with that really. It’s very much the way everything’s scheduled with the label and our agents really. Around this time, we start work on the next steps basically

Jack: And you’ve got some pretty big festivals on the agenda as well, Jera On Air and Leeds and Reading.

Kaya: Yes we do. It’s gonna be really cool to play those.

Jack: If you can get a new track into those set, would you.

Kaya: Maybe, we’d have to record and work everything out first for that to happen but we’ll see. That’d be really cool to do.

Jack: The shows you’ve been doing recently have been in support of the debut record but how do those tracks feel now they’re one year on?

Kaya: Amazing really. I can’t believe that it’s one year already because that record has done so much for us. We’ve played arenas from that album supporting Prophets of Rage and touring all around the world, played Download Festival and this so it feels like we actually haven’t stopped playing that album which is really cool. We’re ready to change up the set now because we’ve played it so many times but as artists and musicians, it’s going to be great t mix it up.

Jack: I was going to ask about your tattoo, is that a reminder of something?

Kaya: That’s actually one of our songs, our only acoustic song and what might probably be our only acoustic song so it’s really personal to me so I always have that as a reminder.

Jack: I might have to get that as well, just breathe, just breathe.

Kaya: That to.

Jack: Is there anything not too many people know about the record?

Kaya: Not really, it speaks for itself and we speak for ourselves as musicians in the way we put out our music and how we advertise and what you see is what you get so there isn’t really any secrets. We’re a really aggressive band in our music and we might not be aggressive as people but it comes across on our stage shows.

Jack: On challenges in the past 12 months, what were your biggest in your eyes?

Kaya: Probably just personal challenges, being on the road a lot, there’s not any time for anything else. When you’re a band, the shows we play and the tours we do, there’s not much for anything else in your life in having a girlfriend or have a family life so that can really play on you as a person so I would say the biggest challenge in a band is how you are as a person.

Jack: Are you going to have any hobbies however little you might pick up or return to when you’re in the studio?

Kaya: Not in the studio, the only one I have is when I’m in my apartment and I get to play my PlayStation. So that’s the closest thing I have to a hobby.

Jack: Are you looking forward to any games in particular?

Kaya: God of war, the new one.

Jack: Spiderman

Kaya: Erm, days gone looks great

Jack: And then there’s a way out

Kaya: Aye, we play a lot of Fortnite on the road as well

Jack: I’ve been addicted to that lately, it’s not really helped

Kaya: But it’s a lot of fun

Jack: And apart from the record, what’s going to be the plan?

Kaya: Well in June and July we’ll be on the road with Stone Sour and we supported them for a tour and then we come back for some festivals but everything’s in motion at the minute for after the tour so that’s still in planning.

Jack: And if you could sum up the band in three words, what would they be?

Kaya: Ermm…

Jack: This is always a difficult one for some bands but it’s surprising what words are said.

Kaya: Passionate, heavy and aggressive.


You can view Blood Youth’s latest video for Parasite below.

A Conversation With… Adam Ruane

First off to kick off this series of festival interviews is to meet the person who spearheaded the whole festival, well, the whole Pop Punk Pile Up Experience. He’s been involved with music for years now and currently runs Riff Media UK, it was a pleasure to talk to Adam Ruane about the festival, who’d he have and the reason Saturday night had two headlining bands (No complaints here).


Adam: Hey I’m Adam, I run Riff Media and now I run Pile up festival as well. I’ve been doing this for about ten years, this is the first year doing the festival. I run press and do interviews with bands, I’ve been doing a little bit of everything for a while now.

Jack: So on the festival, massive achievement here but I have to ask why Selby?

Adam: It’s kind of homecoming because when I was 16 I started at the Riverside which was The Venue and Ian who houses The Venue now runs The Riverside and he gave me a chance to promote bands and he showed me how to do it all. And before last year we had no shows for about five years because I just stopped. I just fell out of love with music, just focussed on my day job really. And we came back to it, did Oxjam in Scunthorpe and when it got to the point of doing the festival it was like a homecoming for us because I did shows here for six years but we’re starting it where I did shows. Also, a lot of bands are from York and Leeds anyway so we have a lot of people coming that way and they have the chance to come see them all under one roof.

Jack: And why a festival as well?

Adam: We always wanted to do the festival, I’ve done all dayers before so that’s nothing new so I’ve always wanted to do it and it’s a backbone for the company moving forward, it’s what we’ve wanted to do for a while when we started doing press and journalism, that rapidly grew like a wildfire and in the space of a year we were doing major bands and events but it was a small blog which had a turnover of 10 viewers a week if not a month and we were doing major stuff as well but that grew massively, when we started doing shows we went from nothing to crowds of 60-80 people in there. When we started the scene was thriving in Selby, it was amazing and that’s how we started and spiralled and grown from that, that’s what it is. I don’t know if we’ve been lucky or there’s someone telling us to check us out or what but honestly, since starting that’s where we are now, we started doing press and bands have started asking us can you book us a show and we’ve had to say we don’t really book shows but then they replied can you not just book us one? But at the time, we only promoted them. And we said we’ll see what we can do, so we spoke to Ian and he said yeah come and do it and then we could. It’s just grown from that and it’s been mental.

Jack: When you were going through the process of booking the shows was there any bands you just had to have?

Adam: Mallory Knox, immediately and they said they couldn’t. Well, no we asked The Bottom Line first because they’re a great band and probably they’re the scenes next big thing and they’re just guys with their heads screwed on and then Mallory Knox was originally going on the Friday headline and they said they couldn’t do it, we’re not booking any shows then we booked every other band and 3-4 months before the festival and then they actually could play the show. They were a band I really wanted and thought right, we’ll have two headliners and last night was mental and for Selby to have those two bands in Selby’s is an achievement in itself

Jack: I thought right Mallory Knox definitely that’ll be great but I never imagined that would bring that many people to Selby, considering the last bus and trains are around 10PM.

Adam: Aye, we thought it was going to be flat but it was crazy. Going by the ticket sales it was crazy. It was great to have.

Jack: If you had the budget, who would you have?

Adam: Don Broco in a heartbeat. We asked for them this year to play Selby and then realised the capacity was too low. They wanted 3,000 cap space but if I had the money to, I’d get them.

Jack: Oh they know how to put on a show. I saw them on their headline tour but had to leave after the first few songs because of the timings of the trains. I was kicking myself and I saw the Instagrams and I thought no, I have to turn my phone off.

Adam: Well, next year Don Broco is who we’re trying to build the festival around next year so all plans are facing that. We really want them for next year. But others? Rancid, Alkaline Trio. Just bands I like, that’s what I want.

Jack: I was going to ask as well, Woes were on the bill a while back but pulled out of it.

Adam: They’d be really cool as well, I mean they had other plans that clashed so they couldn’t be here sadly but we’d love to have them here, it would be awesome. WSTR would be awesome. I met them while doing press at Leeds fest. I spoke to Andy and he was really cool to speak to. We’re trying to get bands who people want to see and are still quite big. I mean The King Blues did a pretty big tour last year, they played Download, they did two sets actually on the same day and they seemed the perfect band to book for the first festival. And to have them and Mallory Knox is incredible. For the York one, we tried getting Glamour of the kill, we have Teenage Bottlerocket and A Wilhelm scream and begged and begged for The Blackout and the drummer is playing the York festival. If I could get The Blackout though would be my life completed.

*NOTE: The York Pile Up festival has been cancelled due to reasons out of their control*


Jack: Would you get on your hands and knees?

Adam: I’d do anything so if they’re reading or listening to this, anything because I know Slam Dunk will try and make that happen so that’s our main issue. We’re trying to be on that same level with similar bands but they’re able to get the bigger bands and more stages so we’re trying to fight over the right bands to get in because they cant play both so we’re trying to get in first but there’s so many we want and could’ve had that we could’ve done a third festival, but we didn’t want to do that with the two festivals already going forward.

Jack: Not this year at least.

Adam: No, not this year, next year or in five years time at the very least, one or two at the very most. No chance.

Jack: So next year will the venue still be at Selby?

Adam: We’re not sure at the moment because The Venue has had some problems with the council anyway with noise complaints which is stupid so we don’t know what the future of The Benue will be but I know that Ian won’t just walk away from running a music venue. It’s what he does, it’s what he wants to do, it’s what he’s amazing at doing. So he will have a venue anyway so I’d love for it to be with run with him wherever he ends up going. I’m sure we’ll go with Ian because he ’s supportive of what we do and we had a chat with him last night, he’s really supportive of us and he really loves what we’re doing. So if not Selby, it’ll close. I live in Goole, so it’s ideal for me as well so I can get all my locals down as well. It’ll be in Yorkshire so it’ll be close to where I am, maybe York, maybe Selby. In York as well because I’ve always wanted to run one there. There are loads of plans floating about, so many promoters that are all over the country who always want to team up so there might be some team-ups, some crossovers with Pile Up and other promoters so there might be split shows and there’s so much planned so it’s only going to go up. It can only get better but I don’t wanna jinx it, I don’t wanna, it can get worse so there’s a middle ground.