Words by Ed King & [SKETCH] / Pics courtesy of [SKETCH]

On Saturday 21st March, [SKETCH] will be playing at the O2 Institute 3 – alongside Louise Bartle’s Bloc Party splinter group, NOVACUB, supporting the alt-rock powerhouse REWS as they come to Birmingham on The Phoenix Tour.

Minimum age of entry to gig is 14 years old, with doors open from 6pm. Tickets are priced at £10 (+ booking fee) – as promoted by Metropolis Music and Birmingham Review.

For more gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page. Or for a direct link to online ticket sales, visit: www.reviewpublishing.net/product/rews-novacub-sketch-o2-institute-21-03-20

[SKETCH] are Birmingham’s own tartan clad rock/punkers, currently promoting their latest single ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ – set for release later this spring. Birmingham Review caught up with them for a small cranium crunch, ahead of their gig supporting REWS at the O2 Institute on Saturday 21st March:

BR: Hi [SKETCH], thanks for agreeing to a quick fire Q&A on the run up to next Saturday’s show supporting REWS – we’ve got a good feeling about this gig… any butterflies in [SKETCH] stomachs?

[SKETCH]: Hi, we have a good feeling about this show too. Wouldn’t say there’s butterflies just a nice excitement brewing as tickets start to sell and our Setlist was decided this week so we just can’t wait to get on stage.

BR: You’ve played the O2 Academy before, as part of the Catapult Club showcases there – but is this your first time at its sister venue across town?

[SKETCH]: Yeah, we played a few times with the Catapult Club when starting out as a band, it’s a great beginning circuit for any local acts. This isn’t our first show at the O2 Institute, we’ve headlined the Institute 3 a few times and had a gig in the bigger O2 Institute 2 as well; it’s a great venue with some good pedigree and we always enjoy playing there.

BR: On the run up to the REWS gig, we’ve been referring to you as ‘Birmingham’s own tartan clad rock/punksters’ – but geography aside (we know Matt comes from Stratford) how close to the mark are we musically?

[SKETCH]: To be honest pretty close. Whilst Foley would marry the very un-brummie Sid Vicious if he could and Joe adores the likes of Slash, Black Sabbath has played a part in all of our lives at some point and Foley and Matt both love the pioneering work Jaykae is doing in the grime scene and have followed him from his really early days. We think we carry that seemingly Birmingham (definitely nothing to do with Peaky Blinders) attitude of ‘work hard, play hard’, and it’s an attitude we have great pride in showcasing in our music.

BR: Individually, you embrace a wide spectrum of genres and styles – you’re all rock fans, sure, but Matt likes his hip hop and Foley started out playing the trumpet. How does this factor into your song writing?

[SKETCH]: Oh god, please don’t tell us Matt has asked you to beatbox whilst he ‘spits some bars!’ Yeah, we all come from different music backgrounds which helps massively when song writing. Matt and Foley do the majority of the composing before Joe and Sam put the needed icing on the cake.

BR: Who writes the lyrics? We’ve got a song about your girlfriend being a vampire in our minds…

[SKETCH]: It’s usually Matt who writes the lyrics. That song was actually about a couple of lovebirds in his class at college. It was the kind of relationship where one person was into it way too deep and despite all the warning signs they never learnt the lesson, so Matt imagined one night about being that person and how it must have been easier to think of your girlfriend as a vampire because she’s always out at night and smells of others rather than the seemingly bitter truth.

BR: And where did the tartan come from? It’s not a look everyone can pull off…

[SKETCH]: Have you spoken to our ex-girlfriends? They’re usually the ones who say we can’t pull the look off! It’s a look that Foley has triumphed since the beginning of the band and then Matt had the idea of everyone wearing a different colour of Tartan, almost like a teenage drink fuelled punk rock Power Rangers.

BR: We last saw you at The Sunflower Lounge, when you were smashing it wall to ceiling packed with The Pagans S.O.H and Kioko – great to see the show sold out, but how was that gig for you on stage?

[SKETCH]: Yeah, the last show at The Sunflower was a great one, especially to have the Pagans and Kioko on the bill to make it a jam packed night. It was a great show to play, very sweaty as all of our shows seem to be and if we remember correct one of the only days that week where it didn’t rain so someone up there was looking for us to have a good night.

BR: You’re playing with The Pagans S.O.H again on 30th May, this time at Muthers Studio. Was this after the success of The Sunflower Lounge show or are you just professionally stalking them?

[SKETCH]: We love that term, ‘professional stalking’. We’ve played with the Pagans a couple of times now and we love their energy. This gig came from conversations following the Sunflower Lounge show and it’s a show that we think will sell out quickly (we’ll be sure to invite you guys along!)

BR: But before that you’re supporting Barnsley alt rockers Hands Off Gretel, when they come to the O2 Academy on 7th ​May – a band with a pretty big online audience, over 22k Instagram and 25K Facebook followers. We heard you got that gig after sending them a copy of ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’

[SKETCH]: Yeah, we sent through ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ to the band and they passed us onto their agent who liked the track. It’s a show we’re really excited about and a band that are making some great music. It’s nice that this next track is getting some early recognition pre-release and hopefully it will do well for us.

BR: Any other bands you’re itching to support, you never know who might be coming to Birmingham…?

[SKETCH]: There are too many bands we would love to support! Anyone travelling with a great sound and who you could go for a pint with they’re usually the kind of people we get on best with. If we had to name names of bands we reckon we’d rock a stage with SWMRS, Muse, The Libertines, that kind of sound and attitude.

BR: ‘Do You Love Me?’ is an absurdly addictive track though, it certainly grabbed our attention. Again, with some great lyrics (‘Got rosy cheeks ‘cos I’m running from cop’ is our personal favourite). What’s next on the [SKETCH] release schedule?

[SKETCH]: ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ is next to release in April. We can exclusively let you guys know that we’ve been recording the music video for the song and we hope it’s a goodun.

BR: Will it be back to The Magic Garden, getting Gavin Monaghan in again as producer?

[SKETCH]: The recording of ‘Do You Love Me Yet?’ was the first time we’ve worked with Gavin and we had a great time in the studio so assuming dates can be matched we’d love to work with Gavin in The Magic Garden again shortly.

BR: And we have to ask, because it’s been ‘eagerly awaited’ for some time, but how is the debut album looking…? And why is it a problem when you’re cooking under the influence?

[SKETCH]: I think our parents are most eagerly awaiting an album so we can set up a direct debit and start paying them back for all of the equipment we’ve broke over the years! We have a couple of plans in place to release music a little differently to what the usual industry expects and we hope it’s a move that can really make a difference. One thing is for certain and that’s music is coming from April onwards!

In answer to the second part of the question, we decided to call our first EP Don’t Cook Drunk as a nod for the first time we all were in a room together (which was at a party).  The line-up was a little different back then and after the said party Matt decided to cook some chicken nuggets for the band but didn’t turn the oven on so after 20 minutes when he (with oven gloves) removed them from the oven, our then guitarist Charlie got through about 6 or 7 before we realised they were raw and he was ill for a few months. Matt hasn’t been seen cooking since…

[SKETCH] play at the O2 Institute 3 on Saturday 21st March, performing alongside NOVACUB and supporting REWS on The Phoenix Tour. For more gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page.

**Birmingham Review will donate £1 from all tickets sold through Review Publishing to the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign – click here for tickets: www.reviewpublishing.net/product/rews-novacub-sketch-o2-institute-21-03-20


For more on [SKETCH], visit www.sketchband.com 

For more on NOVACUB, visit www.wearenovacub.com
For more on REWS, visit www.rewsmusic.com

For more on the O2 Institute, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham


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