In our latest Band Spotlight, we chat to Paul Sarel of alternative pop artists, Bunkerpop.
S] What’s the Bunkerpop mission statement?
Bunkerpop exist purely for the sheer joy of performing and being amongst the wonderful people of our community and beyond. Bunkerpop adopted the ‘People Power in the Disco Hour’ statement from the amazing Cornershop. It seems to sum up our philosophy in that we believe the audience is as much a part of the evening’s entertainment as the band are when we play live. Without their energy, we just couldn’t carry it off. They feed us and we feed them.
Sharing the stage is important to us as we want to break down the barriers between band and audience. Many of them are more talented than us anyway so it makes perfect sense to include them. We dream of a time when the entire band is replaced by someone from the crowd and we can watch the glorious chaos of it all with a pint at the bar. The people of Hull and beyond have backed us in everything we’ve done, from the Kickstarter funding to jumping on a minibus to attend gigs out of town. It’s a collective…..from the dancers, artists, the film makers, the recording engineers, the friends, the labels and promoters….a machine and we are all working in harmony with each other with respect, generosity and a whole lot of arsing around. It’s social action with a groovy soundtrack provided by the band.
S] What are the biggest challenges do you face as a band?
We have been very lucky in that we have received a lot of support and advice since we started. We also have a lot of experience from all the years we’ve played in other bands and projects so I guess we’re a patient bunch and often find the answers from the knowledge we already have when a challenge presents itself. We’re doing a lot of the boring stuff ourselves so it’s a matter of embracing all the challenges that come along. We have self-produced the single and album.
We’ll be putting it out on our own ‘Fast & Bulbous’ label, we’re arranging our own tour, emailing radio stations, doing the artwork, messaging publications, blogs, and friends and doing all the social media…totally DIY. The biggest challenge is finding the time but somehow, we’ve managed it alongside normal things like full-time jobs, death, loss, separation, upset, births, joy, pain and happiness.
S] What motivates you guys, outside of music – think specific people, places, games and movies for example?
Being from Hull is something we’re massively proud of and it is at the core of most things we take part in. We’re motivated by creativity and playfulness. It’s great to see other people from the area doing brilliant things such as Anna Bean with her art and photography ; Russ Litten’s spoken word and poetry; and Michelle Dee, Jo Ashbridge and Tamar Draper with their dance projects.
There is a feeling of change and we are all embracing that outlook. There’s always been amazing things happening but it feels more legitimate to shout about it now. The confidence of 2017 has helped I’m sure. Sean McAllister’s film about the Beats Bus or the Adelphi becoming a CIC give you an enormous sense of pride and make you believe it’s worth carrying on.
S] What do you think about Hull’s music scene as a whole?
The scene is very healthy and there is a massive number of bands doing their own thing and making a success of it. It’s all very positive and folks are attending local gigs, getting sweaty and seeing bands from the area. Most gig-goers are smart enough to know that the small intimate gigs are often ten times better than going to a massive £80 a ticket arena gig to see a ‘superstar’ perform a set of moderate songs for ninety minutes. Friends like Corrine, Bob, Tom and Ros go to over a hundred gigs a year in the area. They’re central to it along with the venues, promoters and bands.
S] How do you define success as a band?
Success is all very relative to what you set out to do and is clearly subject to change as you reach one goal and move on to another. At the beginning, we were just happy to be creating new music and entertaining people at gigs. We want to continue doing that but want each show to be better than the last with the addition of new ideas. It’s got to maintain the freshness and air of spontaneity. The release of our debut Kickstarter funded album on June 7th sets the bar a little bit higher in terms of Bunkerpop being a success.
We’ve already had good feedback about the LP which is pleasing but we’d like it to be listened to and then listened to again and again and again. We are very proud of it and feel it deserves some attention.