Just as Bill Shakespeare once told, everyone has a role on all the world’s stage and with their new single ‘White Rooms And People’ Todmorden’s hippest punk-funk 4-piece are reminding us that, in the likelihood of impending Armageddon, there’s never been a better time to step up.
“People have an important role to play,” affirms Working Men’s Club’s singer and chief beat-maker Sydney Minskey-Sargeant, alluding to the origins of the band’s newest release. “Creative power is incredibly important in these times, whether it’s to soothe people’s pain, distract them or address how fucked up the world is right now. There are things we have to accept but there are also things we can do; the power has always been there so it’s about time we used it again.”
As their revolving carousel of members and sonic activism cranks up another gear, Working Men’s Club’s fervent agenda is unwavering. Third single ‘White Rooms And People’ is deliberately elusive in its subject-matter (though right-wing political journalists may wish to close their ears) yet the band’s metamorphosis adds vibrancy and growth in character. Now joining Syd, alongside bassist Liam Ogburn, the Club’s most recent recruits include guitarist and synth whizz Rob Graham (of Drenge) and the multi-talented cool of Mairead O’Connor (of Moonlandingz) on guitar, keys and vocals. Together, Working Men’s Club’s infectious rhythm section is enhanced with synths that shift to anthemic bullshit-detecting disco beats.
“These are dark times we are living in; this world is forever more and more depressing but there is solitude in music and anyone can indulge in it, however hard these times are,” Syd affirms. “You can either tuck yourself away and cradle into a ball to make music as a way of distraction or square up to people and scream in their faces. I try and do a bit of both!”
As anyone catching the band’s incendiary live shows will attest, Working Men’s Club do precisely that. From tiny supports at Todmorden’s Golden Lion to a 3-month residency at Manchester venue YES, many a crowd member will have found their noses inches from Syd’s visceral yells. Fittingly, finding themselves as kindred comrades with Fat White Family or finishing 2019 playing in front of 2500 people with Mac Demarco at their nearest Apollo, up and down the country the Working Men’s Club gospel has garnered a growing legion of dedicated followers with each show. “Big or small, all the shows have been great. That’s what touring is about; you earn your keep and try to make the show as good each night. We keep going.”
Despite all that time on the road the album, they say, is done with ‘White Rooms and People’s jabbing funk and danceable groove offering a delectable flavour of what’s next. Built from one of Liam’s bass motifs, the track evolved through the band’s tried-and-tested method of Syd working on the guitar melody and lyrics in his bedroom before taking the raw tracks to his fellow Club members. “Adding more up-tempo programmed drums and synths seem to have really uplifted the song from what it was initially, Syd tells. A few rhythmic changes later and the song emerged from recordings with Alex Greaves at Leeds’s Nave studio before the gang re-joined producer Ross Orton (The Fall, Roots Manuva, M.I.A, Arctic Monkeys) in Sheffield. “Ross has been a massive part of the band since working on ‘Teeth’… using his gear and dance music production know-how, he’s almost like an unseen member of the band,” Syd says.
Entirely unapologetic, Working men’s Club continue to cause hips to shake and legs to groove whilst drastically growing their audience. Making many ones to watch lists for 2020 their mission for the new decade is simple; “We’ll just enter 2020 with the same ethos as before; see what happens and where it takes us.” Syd tells. “Hopefully people will continue to like our music and come to shows so we can continue to make music and play for them. That’s all we can ever wish for.”