VBAH Talks To Coda Rushing

Complex beats matched with deep spoken word poetry, Coda Rushing have released two of our favourite EPs, and since hitting the stage as a full live band, are now one of our favourite live acts.  They return to The Castle, Luton this week following their triumphant debut last year, so naturally we had to catch up with the man of many words, Mitchell Taylor.

Since ‘Welcome to the Struggle‘ was named our EP of the year in 2021, you’ve released another with a difference in sound & approach. Tell us about ‘Methods of Escape‘.

Well, first off – cheers! Obviously 2021 was a pretty dark and depressing year for everyone, normally people just want me to stop banging on and get on with life but yeah, that year had really done a number on people.

‘Methods of Escape’ comes from a different place than the first EP, lyrically I’m taking on far more personal topics for the majority of the tracks (‘Could Be’ aside, that’s still a socialist manifesto disguised as a song) and to go along with that, we wanted to create music we were more personally connected with. When we put the first EP together Craig (Guitar/Keys/Vocals) had already created all the music, we just strapped my poems to what was there – it was beautiful!  This time we both decided we wanted no samples, everything would be made from scratch and we would write together. What followed was a few weeks of us each making drum patterns and bass hooks on Pocket Operators before putting the pieces together, working with real instruments and forming the tracks. Craig worked some real magic with those, and well – you’ve heard the results.

There’s obviously a deep seeded political & social awareness within your songs. How important is it to put a message in the music? 

What’s the point of writing lyrics without a message? Just fucking hum. I grew up listening to The Clash, Housemartins, Beautiful South, Billy Bragg and Public Enemy – all fiercely political and message driven. Not songs just about being angry, but positive calls to action. That’s what is important. Music is a delivery tool for ideas. People engage with music, develop emotional connections to it and it comes to define moments in their lives. The messages stick too. I think my message is pretty consistent, stand up for what you believe in, for those who can’t stand up for themselves and for those who came before. We are the descendants of Chartists, Diggers and Suffragettes, we’re the same people who fought back the fascists at Cable Street. Opposition to tyranny is who we are. As long as we fight back, there is always hope.

Coda Rushing are now a live act, and a very good one at that. How did you get the band together and how have you found the transition?

Again, cheers! Playing with the band is an absolute blast. Couldn’t imagine a better bunch to be doing this with.

The band kind of fell into place quite organically. Myself and Craig always wanted to turn the songs into something we could perform live so we started working on the classic man with guitar/man talking approach for a bit. Then last summer I was performing at Camper Calling festival, and managed to get Craig and our drummer Widget in with me, so we thought we’d jam the songs out with Widget on the Cajon – later that day we all played a set together on the poetry stage and it just worked. When we got home from that we built up the rest of the band. Blue on percussion – me and Craig play in the Bread and Dripping Experience with Blue and he’s exceptional, in more than just his percussion ability – and Hacker on Bass, not only cracking on bass, but also Craig’s Dad and a lifelong musical companion for us both.

It’s honestly been a breeze working with the band, everything just sort of fell into place quite quickly – we’ve all played in bands with each other in some capacity for nearly a decade now so we all have that comfort and trust with each other. Honestly, I love these blokes.

As a politically minded gent, you must be pretty dismayed at the current shitshow we’re living through?Fuck. Where do I start? We’re living through yet another economic disaster brought on by greed and selfish pricks. Wages are too low to do anything other than survive. Everything is increasing in price almost daily. Our government’s response? Scapegoat immigrants, build detention centres in Rwanda, demonise a bloke who sells crisps and lurch further towards fascism than ever before. It seems utterly hopeless right now. There’s no clear opposition to the party that has spent the best part of a decade and a half twisting the nation into what it is today. However, we can’t give up, can’t lie down and say “oh that’s just the way things are”, we can’t run away to some promised better land. We deserve more than that, this island deserves more than that. No great change will ever be easy, if times were good we wouldn’t need a change. In a telegram sent before his execution by firing squad, Swedish-American Labour Organiser Joe Hill told a friend “Don’t waste any time in mourning. Organise!”. That’s what we’ve got to do. Don’t mourn the present, fight for the future.If there were to be changes within the music industry, which changes would you say are important?

Be honest about what your venue is. So many places claim to “support grassroots local music” then you check their listings and it’s 90% tribute acts, covers groups and karaoke. I understand it from a business point of view, it’s broad market appeal. But for a band writing their own material those environments are just oppressive – creatives feel less valued than copyists. As Chumbawamba would say, “The Boy Bands Have Won”.

Also, keep your ticket prices down whatever way you can. Times are tough, don’t put people off before they even get through the door.

What does the future hold in store for Coda Rushing?

Fuck knows. We’ve got a live album and film on the way out by the summer, a bunch of gigs already in the diary and on top of that we’re working on new material to record and hopefully release by the end of the year. It’s all very “go” at the moment. We’re just happy to be doing something.

Don’t miss Coda Rushing alongside Seven Sentinels and Jacob Kyte (of Sourdough) as Vandalism Begins At Home and Seeing Eye Rum brings you a night of lyrical poetic musical prowess. Prepare to be moved from your head to your dancing shoes as we once again stand in solidarity and say “Enough Is Enough!”