Nu-metal, magic tea towels and 'My Dealer': a chat with new teenager punk band Griptape

Written by Imogen Morris

Photos by Molly Locke

Griptape (@griptapeband) are a new teenage punk band from Warwickshire, consisting of Syd Sutherland on vocals, Sam Bryan on bass, Aydan Linney on drums and Max Thompson on guitar. The band debuted with single ‘My Dealer’, posted to their Instagram at the beginning of this year - a menacing grunge tune about drug use, with intense vocals and an ominous bassline to mirror the songs harsh lyrics. Their original name – Bong Babies – came about after the group literally cut a hole in a toy babies head and put a bong inside it, until they changed their name to Griptape after Max joined the band to reflect their passion for skateboarding.

Their influences include experimental rock group Mr Bungle to other bands such as Korn and Jane’s Addiction. “All of us listen to everything - eclectic, isn’t it?” said Max on the music tastes of the group. “We all have distinctly different music tastes, but everyone has something in common,” said Sam. “For me personally as a bassist, Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath and Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine,” Sam elaborated on his personal inspirations when making music. “I do want to start doing a lot of Alice In Chains styled stuff, I think that would be so fun.” In response, Aydan told us “I would do anything,” and Syd said he would love to try drill metal. All four members admitted Aydan does the majority of the writing: “I do everything in the band,” they all laughed. He composes music and sends it to the rest of the band to then work on together. Aydan learned to play bass and write music in year 8 when he formed a band with his friends, and then went on to study music at GCSE and A Level, leading him to expand to drums and guitar too.

The band touched on the influence drugs has on their music. “The only song we managed to make was about a dealer!” Max sniggered. “I’m usually pretty baked. I’ll skate and come back home, and I’ll just sit down and razz them out - or it’ll be based on someone I know or something that has happened,” described Syd on how he writes lyrics (to which Aydan laughed that “it’s always inappropriate”). “We make music everywhere. We’ll be hanging out and just pick up random instruments.”

“We just sit in a room and talk about it,” explained Sam about their process of writing music. “We sit with our instruments and just write shit out like ‘okay that sounds kind of sick, let’s do something with it.’” Syd stated: “we all have ideas of what we wanna do, not knowing we wanna put it all together into one song. Aydan would come in with a funky bit and I’ll have some noises to make,” – to which Aydan added - “then we’ll put it together and hopefully it’ll make something.”

“I wrote a song in year 5 called ‘Flim Flam the Magic Tea Towel’”, which we got a beautiful rendition of from Syd. “As a vocalist I don’t think Syd has gotten any better since then,” Sam teased – “Aydan doesn’t do everything!” Max added facetiously. We can only hope that ‘Flim Flam the Magic Tea Towel’ will be widely available soon on all streaming platforms.

When we asked about how they’d advise any new bands like themselves on what they learned so far, “start playing an instrument on your own and write anything. Soundtracks from films are so inspirational,” said Sam. “Start doing anything, don’t think about it,” Max added, “do it instead of just sitting there thinking ‘oh I could do that’.” Syd told us, “listen to the bands that inspired your favourite bands, then listen to the bands that inspired them. Just keep going back. And watch lots of films.”

Forming at the end of 2020, the nu-metal band have had to battle the complications of pandemic restrictions that limit their rehearsals and writing. “Our last rehearsal was 19th of December,” said Sam – “that was so long ago now” chimed in Max. “Honestly if any of us just had a garage we could do it but it’s just not feasible.” They toyed with the idea of doing an acoustic set, meaning they could rehearse outside, but they never got round to it: perhaps something to look out for from Griptape in the future? In terms of what the band would hope to achieve by the end this year; “the goal for now is to release maybe 3 or 4 singles. We just want to get singles down and go to a studio and bang them all out and try and release them on an actual platform. The dream would be an album,” explained Sam, and that their album cover would be "Max smoking Fred Durst." Syd added, “We’ll do a show end of summer. All we want to do is some wild live shows. We’ve already written about 4 or 5 [songs].”

YOUTH look forward to seeing what Griptape come up with soon when they can start rehearsing together again. Check them out on Instagram at @griptapeband.