New Band of the Week: The Routines

Welsh rockers The Routines offer up a highly relatable brand of indie rock influenced by the tediousness of full-time menial work and enjoyable social observations.

Fuse that with a fast-paced, edgy rock sound and an honest, down-to-earth DIY approach and attitude – plus a tendency for jumping off stages during live shows – and this is a band that’s going places. It’s super catchy, engaging and generally really fun to listen to.

On their sound, the Caernarfon band’s frontman Dion Jones says: “Everyone I speak to quotes me a different band that we sound like. I’m yet to come across one that I’m not a fan of so that must be a good thing. Often we’re compared to The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, Slaves, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, IDLES and so forth. It could be a mixture of all those but in simple terms, it’s high energy rock n roll, big guitars and honest vocals. There’s no fake accents and stuff like that from us!”

The Routines is formed of a group of guys who’ve been friends since school and have played music together in various forms. The Routines first got together around late 2015 after Dion put a few acoustic solo shows behind him with, in his words, “a bit of messy rock’n’roll.” He got together with Jamie Thomas (bass) and Gethin Magee (drums), before adding Tom Hayes on guitar midway through the recording of their debut album.

They’ve released a few singles in Welsh, then a couple of English tracks led up to the album Does It Work For You?, which was released in December and launched with a gig at their favourite pub, The Crown in Caernarfon.

Dion told us: “It was packed to the ceiling and it was the best thing we could’ve hoped for as the first gig back after so much recording. Since its release, there’s been a decent reception for it. I often find myself walking into places and the album’s on, a lot of people like to talk to us about how they’re enjoying it. And little things like that make it quite rewarding.

“It’s an indie rock album in the main, on the heavier side, with flashes of Punk and packed full of energy. It’s for fans of IDLES, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Arctic Monkeys, Sleaford Mods and Jack White.”

The album starts with a bang thanks to excellent opening track Taxpayer, which kicks off with a funky stabbing riff that continues as drums kick into life. Engaging vocals come in with a light riff, then intensify with the line “If I listen to my colleagues and turn up for work every day, I’ll take pleasure from the interest that I’ll have to pay,” which gives way to a big cry of “Now I’m sick of this life” over heavier guitars.

Second time around the chorus gives way to cool high-pitched guitars, which drop into a smash of heavy guitars. They drop into a light little guitar lick under laid-back vocals, which build up to a heavier ending. Check it out in the video below:

The album is chocked full of energetic indie rock goodness, including most recent single Take It Or Leave. Check it out below:

And a personal favourite is the very cool People C’mon, which opens up with stabbing guitars answered by a hit of bass drum, a little scream, then an ascending riff over driving drums. Cool jerky vocals come in over a stabby bassline, then the ascending riff returns under cries of “People c’mon down” and a little cry of “Woohoo.” Give it a listen below:

And we’re loving the very Arctic Monkeys sounding Buzzcut, which is faster and angstier, opening up with a cool little riff then driving guitar chords. The opening line “So tell me why your tattoos are in Chinese” sets up a really fun track, which goes it with a very cool little guitar solo. Give it a listen below:

As mentioned, The Routines are fully DIY when it comes to their album creation process. Dion tells us: “It was certainly a learning curve as we didn’t go to any studios to record anything as we traditionally have. I set up a studio in my basement and that proved challenging enough as I’m the worst person you can imagine when it comes to DIY. We got there and everything bar the drums were recorded there. We used a small room in a factory to record the drums, I temporarily treated in for sound and it proved successful.

“For me, the amount of time it took to get everything right in terms of editing was a strain. And for the rest of the lads who weren’t involved in that side of things, it was probably more frustrating for them. But with the enormous help of Matt from MJA Mixing and Mastering, who for me is nothing short of a genius, we were able to get there together. It was a blessing to get someone like Matt on board as not only he is great at what he does in terms of mixing and mastering, he’s a great mate as well, super receptive of what you are going for as an artist and just a top bloke.

“It feels superb to have gone through those more frustrating times and being able to speak now about the finished product, feels like an even bigger accomplishment. Especially knowing that unlike most Welsh bands around us, we didn’t receive any sort of help to pay for it or in any advice sense.”

The band have a pretty broad range of musical influences, on which Dion tells us: “I think they differ a lot throughout the band in terms of personal influences. Jamie is a huge fan of Radiohead for example, Geth is a Coldplay man, Tom is into his Metal and Country while I’m obsessed with songwriters like Van Morrison and Glen Hansard. But in terms of influences on this band, you could think of bands who speak about social observations really, so IDLES, Sleaford Mods, early-Arctic Monkeys and maybe the early Stereophonics stuff?”

And on what inspires them to write music, Dion adds: “Well, the name The Routines comes from the same place as most of the songs on the album. We’ve all worked jobs that we absolutely hated in the past, some soul-destroying 9-5 jobs and the daily routines of the people that worked with us were exactly the same each day and really got under the skin.

“So those everyday, boring conversations in offices about what you had for tea and that you went to B&Q as you do every Saturday with your undead looking husband are what makes us write these songs. At one time, it was the only way of ridding ourselves of the frustration of having to face these people everyday and play their game.”

With their album now out and ready to be listened to, The Routines are solely focused on playing shows across the UK. This includes gigs in places as varied as Pwllheli on 14 March, then Glasgow and Nantwich on 30 and 31 March. And, as Dion tells us: “You truly cannot know who we are unless you come and see us play, trust me, you’ll be shattered afterwards!” More info on their upcoming gigs is here.

You can follow The Routines on Facebook and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.

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