Since their formation in 2007, a band called Sharks has exploded onto the punk scene. Hailing from England, their sound has been likened to that of punk-rock forefather The Clash, producing songs that are high energy and infinitely re-playable.Just shy of the one year anniversary of their first U.S. headline show at Berkeley, Sharks seems to be plunging headfirst into the music world and heading towards a bright future; they recently finished a run with Warped Tour and are currently touring with the legendary band Social Distortion. In addition, they’re releasing their latest album No Gods on March 20th.
Despite their success, it’s apparent Sharks possesses remarkable maturity not in just sound, but in the character of its members. When they sat down with me after a recent show at the Fox Theater in Oakland, I was pleasantly surprised by the down-to-earth nature of the entire group. This impression was solidified by drummer Sam Lister who noted, “Not one thing has changed in my personal life. I still have a job back home, and a girlfriend. I go home and get bored just like anyone else but it makes you appreciate all of it more.”
Singer and guitarist James Mattock, who provides uniquely rough but unclouded vocals and enthusiastic instrumentals, was rather soft spoken when discussing the band’s success but seemed incredibly optimistic, “[Over the past year], we’ve experienced Warped Tour and we’ve had a record. We went to Japan, that was cool, toured the U.S. and had a change in the lineup. It’s great now, it feels like we’re more complete and prepared.” Chemistry is exceptionally important to the Sharks, Mattock maintained “[guitarist Andrew Bayliss] will bring me a guitar part and that’s enough to inspire me to write [lyrics]. Our approach is difference, that’s what makes Sharks, the chemistry- we all have something different from each other”
Regarding their links to revolutionary punk bands, Mattock was exceptionally modest. On their current tour with Social Distortion, he said “It’s amazing, they’ve influenced us a lot, obviously, with their lyrics. It was incredible when we were asked to tour with them for the second time.” When Sharks’ constant comparisons to The Clash was mentioned, Mattock explained “We had this raw sound making music, scraping everything we had together to make our songs. I think that and our high energy is why people compare us so much to them.”
This high energy will continue to characterize Sharks’ upcoming album “No Gods” Mattock hinted, saying “We had a lot more time to really bring out the songs this time, we had five weeks in the studio, far more than what we’ve had before. We focused a lot more on the songwriting and let it really come together rather than just throwing in the energy but that will still be there.”
The energy and chemistry of the band’s members lends to the utter power of this band’s sound, which also features artful guitar riffs by Andrew Bayliss, dynamic drumming from Sam Lister and rather intricate but decidedly solid bass work courtesy of Tony Corrales, who also packs a punch of showmanship. In spite of their maturity and coveted status as an up-and-coming act, they were unabashedly excited about their excursion to San Francisco, which they were planning at the time of the interview. Bayliss mentioned “We love San Francisco, it’s great. I’m looking forward to visiting Alcatraz tomorrow. I hope it will be good.” It is indeed their grounded nature that sets their talent apart, giving them and their music a relatability that transcends their punk sound.