28/02/2013 07:55 GMT | Updated 30/04/2013 06:12 BST

Bleach Blood: Lifeline Back to Punk

Possessing that louche, rough and tumble aspect of a north London music venue, The Finsbury crouches on Green Lanes at Finsbury Park's eastern edge. It's packed, the floor wet with spilt ale, the air thick with cat calls.

It's 30 minutes to showtime, and Jamie Jazz, the lead singer and songwriter of Bleach Blood, looks through the window at the melee and lights a cigarette.


'We've only been together seven or eight months. I started this project after having written a bunch of songs in my bedroom,' he says. 'Before I was in a band called The King Blues. We were together for about nine years and did everything you could do as a band. We started out playing in squats because we were a bunch of squat punk kids. We did it out of necessity. We were broke. Our only way out was making music. We had no future, other than the music.'

So this bloke's roughed it, creating something out of nothing, and despite his 28 years, the combative, pre-gig fatalism of an older man enshrouds him. 'When I make music I try and be as honest as I can with it. You can expect a lot of honesty tonight. That's who I am as a writer.'

Guitar bands are manifold in London town, and it's been a while since that fact could be stated with any certainty. Tastes are reverting as live music played in intimate venues becomes a necessary constant in these cash-strapped, culturally arid times.

'We were young, poor and angry and I didn't know how to deal with that,' says Jamie, lighting another of what will be a succession of cigarettes. 'Back then punk made sense of my anger. From that point we met like-minded people and squatted together and jammed together. Then one day we started The King Blues and from there something sparked. And people took to that. We played in squats first and from there began to tour the country, playing in small venues. We ended up making magazine covers.'

Such is the merry-go-round nature of the business, Bleach Blood now sets out its stall in the smaller, choicer venue and comprises Jamie on guitar (he's a lefty but plays righthanded), Charlie Elliot on bass, Paul Mullen on rhythm guitar and the exuberant Paul 'Invisible Frank' Lane on drums. Their brand of melodic pop punk has drawn a huge crowd of women to the venue, at whom Jamie squints through the window.

The band's label receives a glowing endorsement. 'When The King Blues left Universal, Transmission Recordings picked us up. They give us freedom and with Transmission, most of our deals are done in the pub.'

But how has the industry changed? 'The days of saying to a record label "I need £30,000 to go into a studio" are long gone. If you want that now, you shouldn't be making music because you've got the fundamentals of making music completely and utterly wrong.'

Transmission Recordings is also home to rising star Sam Gray and is one of the first labels to have learned that to succeed it had to return to the roots of music while keeping things financially sound. 'Being a songwriter is a hard hustle but I'm focused. Transmission has looked after me as a friend, even when I was inactive and in a fallow creative period. The label is like a family.'

So it's a label in it for the long haul? 'Absolutely. When money runs out, big labels are nowhere to be seen, which isn't the case with Transmission. When a label and an artist have a mutual passion for the art being created, it's a beautiful and rare thing.'


The set is to be an hour long. He stubs out his cigarette and stands. 'No one wants to see some expansive prog set, so we'll go in, play some songs and have a bit of fun,' he laughs. 'Musically, I love punk. My favourite records are Inflammable Material, Never Mind The Bollocks and Pump Up The Valuum. I think The Shape Of Punk To Come by Refused was one of the most important punk records of all time.

'I grew up with ska and reggae and I'll always let my sound develop. Although I know I don't like Pink Floyd and nothing can change my mind about that! I write pop songs. I do what I want. I'm not interested in rules and sticking by them. That'll stifle me.'

And the highlights to listen out for? 'That'll be Darling (Don't Dive Without Me), Anything Anything [the band's next single] and a cover of Teddybears STHLM's Punkrocker. They're tonight's stand-out tracks.'

Then with a flick of the fag butt, he's off to sling a guitar over his shoulder, give the nod to 'Invisible Frank' and do what he does best. It's London calling.

© Jason Holmes 2013 / / @JasonAHolmes

Photographs by George Stavrou (

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