VBAH Talks to: Coda Rushing

Emerging as a beacon in troubled times, Coda Rushing released the critically acclaimed ‘Welcome To The Struggle‘ and ‘Methods of Escape‘ – EPs tackling the political and social landscape with wit ‘n’ wisdom. Their third EP ‘Light A Fire is burning on the horizon, and to give you a glimpse, they’ve released the manifesto that is ‘Stay Angry’. We spoke to Mitchell Taylor and Craig Hudson to delve deeper..
You’ve just released the third, and, so far, most politically charged song from the forthcoming EP.  What is the message and why should people “Stay angry”?

Mitchell: Where do I start?!  We’ve been becoming increasingly passive as a society.  People see the need to “be kind” as coming above everything else, so the likes of racism, ableism, misogyny, gets the chance to get its claws in and grow.  Manipulative sociopaths use the whole “be kind” thing as a tool to shame those who stand up against them.
We need to get comfortable with anger, it’s part of who we are and it’s not a bad thing. It’s a response to the constant grinding down that life has become, a motivator for change, it’s how we can show our disdain at the constant fuckery of life. The more we make our anger known the harder it is to ignore. We can’t be passive anymore.
As Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against The Machine says “Anger is a gift”. You can’t combat hatred with kindness all the time, it’s your right to make your anger known. Fuck what people think, call out the scum who thrive off the misery of others – make their world as hostile as they make yours.

You’ve once again embraced different styles and sounds.. and SAX! Tell me about the creative process and influences for this track..
Craig: Thank you for mentioning the Sax – it’s genuinely my favourite instrument! This track for me is “Charlie Parker meets Jamie T”.  The story behind this one starts with Mitchell turning up for one of our sessions with the song already composed on guitar. I dropped a stinky beat, Mitch laid down the guitar, that earwormy bassline and his vocal, then I got to work finishing what was already an exceptional song.
Inspired by the jazzy chords Mitchell had used, I decided to dive into the sample packs and see what I could string together. Unlike with ‘Funding the Funded’, where I’d painstakingly crafted each instrument and sound, I knew this one needed a more “cassette tape” hip-hop approach. The main bulk of the work was in building atmosphere for what was already there, a few catchy lines on the keys and then arranging all of the brass/wind samples. I think altogether there were around 30-50 different sax/trumpet/trombone samples from all kinds of places. Each one cut, pitch-corrected, time-stretched and all that good stuff. The break section in the middle was a lot of fun to craft, but I think the most enjoyable part for me was arranging the string sections for the chorus, which was all done in Cakewalk using my keyboard.
I’d be a fool not to mention the fact that had Hacker (our live bassist) and Alice (Mitchell’s partner) have provided backing vocals on all of the new EP tracks, which has added a lot of subtle beauty to our sound – I’m very pleased with how this one turned out.
Also, we decided to leave the mastering to the professionals this time – shout out to Katvaly Glenn – which has made the finished tracks sound even better. To summarise, this whole EP has been a huge team effort and this track in particular exemplifies that.

The video looked a lot of fun to make?

Mitchell: It was a lot of fun for sure. We’ve been working with a young filmmaker named Sam under his ‘Tiberius Studios’ banner for the last three videos. I’ve known Sam for a couple years now as he’s been a member of the youth theatre project I help run (Act Out/Act Up) and his enthusiasm and passion for filming is huge, definitely someone we’ll be working with for the foreseeable future.

We filmed on a stretch of the Grand Union Canal that was part of the stomping ground of our sadly departed friend Marcus Pennell. This song wouldn’t exist without him so it seemed fitting to film it there.

And you’re a dab hand in the kitchen it seems?

Mitchell: Look, I know the omelette wasn’t great, but honestly it tasted fine and I’m not a chef. Just a geezer who regularly breaks eggs.

How does the new EP compare with your previous releases?
Craig: As I see it, ‘Welcome to the Struggle’ was our way of politely saying hello, ‘Methods of Escape’ was our way of sharing our outlook on life and ‘Light a Fire’ is an outright call to action – things are not okay and it’s time to be (constructively) angry.
As always, I was blown away with what Mitchell brought to this project, both in terms of his lyrical input and outstanding musicality. His raw reflection of the challenges we as a species face is truly inspiring, and it’s a pleasure to play my part in sharing his vision with everyone who listens.
Mitchell: The new EP is a much more reflective set of songs, there’s the usual politics, but a lot more discussion about our place in the “arts” than ever before. This time it’s not about finding our place or navigating the world, it’s a clear statement of who we are and what we stand for. In three words it’s about:  Community. Creativity. Confrontation.

There’s been a big change to the live setup. What was behind this decision and how is it working out?
Craig: I think the important thing to bear in mind is that we’d never fully intended to go out gigging in the way we did for the first couple of years – it was very much a “needs must/opportunity knocks” sort of affair. We’d been out a couple of times, performing to a CD player and the vibe was just totally off, so we’d put a pin in Coda Rushing live. Then, after a few times hanging out, jamming together and coming up with ideas for EP 2 (Methods of Escape) we had a rough idea of some guitar chords we might use if ever we wanted to perform the songs in that way. Flash forward a few weeks; Mitchell, Widget (drums) and I are quarter of a mile from the Camper Calling Festival site, huddled behind some trees, knocking out what would be our only real rehearsal before heading to the stage.
Truth be told, there was a fair amount of deviation from the reference material (I got the chords VERY wrong) but we laid the seeds for some pretty fun alternative versions that day. When Hacker & Blue got involved it kinda snowballed into this whole other sound, completely separate from our recorded tracks. The entire time there were conversations happening about how we could bring it all together, then we took a bit of a break over winter to work on this latest EP. During that break I’ve managed to invest in some new equipment, develop new ideas and work closely with the live band to make this year’s performances way more “larger than life”. We’ve resampled the first 2 EPs and the new one, fused that with a lot of our existing live ideas and I’ve got to say… it’s better than ever! If you come to see us live in 2024, you will not be disappointed.

What can we expect from coda rushing for the rest of 2024?
Craig: Quite a lot, if I’m honest! First of all, our 3rd EP ‘Light a Fire’, is due for release April 5th. That alone should get you excited, because we really have stepped it up this time.
We’ll be taking the show back on the road, new songs included, and hitting as many stops along the way as we can – keep an eye on our socials for venues and dates.
I’m also working towards completing ‘Applewood Underhand’s House Party’, a compilation of instrumental dance tracks, which I’m now around halfway through. If you want to stay up to date with that, follow us on Bandcamp and you’ll receive updates whenever we release a new track.
Last, but not least, we’ll be getting our feet wet once again this festival season, with 3 bookings already under our belts. That is honestly our favourite time of year, so if you’re about, come loiter in a field and sing some songs with us!

That’ll just about wrap up 2024, just in time for us to tuck away and begin work on EP 4. Strap in, it’s going to be a ride!