UK Ramones tribute act The Ramonas, recently released their first album of original material, “First World Problems.” The album is a follow-up to the bands 2016 EP “You Asked For It” which features 14 tracks and 30 minutes of high energy melodic punk rock. I caught up with the band to talk about the new album, along with what their plans are for 2018! You’ll also want to check out our review of the album, as “First World Problems” has become one of our favorites around here.
We definitely have a good balance between everything, our personalities make it into the tribute side of things and vice versa, the band overall has evolved such a lot over the years.
Now that the album has been out for a couple of months, are you happy with how the reactions have been so far?
Victoria: It’s been overwhelmingly positive which has been amazing. We’ve had a lot of interest from people who weren’t necessarily fans of tribute side of things before so it’s definitely widened our audience.
Lisa: Yes, we are really happy with the reaction and have been really blown away with the positive reaction we have had so far. Everyone has been very supportive.
Camille: Absolutely! It’s so cool that everyone has been so positive and a lot of our followers have loved the tunes even though it’s something a bit different from what they’re used to hearing us play!
What made you decide to start writing original material, and when did you start?
Victoria: It’s something that we’ve always wanted to do, it was just deciding how and when to do it. Lisa and I had had lots of song ideas floating around for a few years but it all came together more recently when Camille and Maxine joined the band.
Your album features a great blend of classic punk rock, but there are many other influences that add more personality to the mix: Do you consciously try to tap into different influences when writing, or do you simply do what feels right?
Lisa: We didn’t consciously try to add certain influences, I guess it’s just the way the songs developed and from our own music tastes. (Apart from Roadkill- I really wanted to write a Motörhead inspired song)
Camille: Not consciously but I grew up listening to and playing a lot of grunge and 70’s rock so a lot of that just naturally makes its way into my playing without even thinking about it I guess!
Victoria: Overall it was a very natural process, we had ideas of ways we wanted things to sound but the tracks generally developed organically. The album definitely represents many of our wider influences outside of the Ramones!
Maxine: Yeah, for me as I listen to a lot of different music alongside punk rock I struggle to write for any one genre completely authentically! It’s not on purpose haha!
How long did it take you to record the whole album, and did you experience any challenge throughout the process?
Lisa: We recorded the album over the space of 4 days and pretty much live too. Some song structures were pretty much decided in the studio but there were no major challenges we came across (luckily).
Victoria: It was a fun process, we wanted to keep the whole thing pretty raw and not too over produced.
If you had to pick a single song off the album for a new listener to check out for the first time, which one would you choose and why?
Lisa: I would pick the opening track ‘2016’ as its aggressive, fast but also melodic and features a bit of comedy with the Trump overdubs.
Victoria: Hard to choose but I’d go for First World Problems, as it’s probably not what you’d expect from us.
Maxine: I’d probably go for ‘I Can’t Cope’, though my favourite changes daily. I like how unforgiving and ballsy it is right from the start, and builds into a chaotic conclusion.
Camille: My favourite is constantly changing, but at the moment it’s the title track, First World Problems. It’s just a really catchy melody, with a great riff and groove to it.
Poser, The First Single From The Album “First World Problems”
Something that stands out to me (and I love) is from the number of tracks, to the album length, it gives a nostalgic feel of an old school punk record. Did any of listen to the bands from the 70,s 80s growing up as 90s kids, or did you discover that music later?
Maxine: I mostly discovered that music in my late teen years. Of course I grew up with some of the classics from those eras but my older sister was into a lot of 90’s stuff so that’s what I grew up on.
Camille: I listened to and do still listen to a lot of 70’s music – especially Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Jimi to name a few. The punk I listened to growing up was more from the late 80’s/early 90’s like Descendents and Bad Religion and I got into the older stuff a bit later on.
Later this year, are you touring in support of this album, or is this going to be more of a hybrid act with both covers and originals?
Maxine: We’ll be playing a mix across the year- some full original gigs, lots of tribute shows and lots of a mix of the two!
Speaking of your shows, are there any songs from “First World Problems” that have stood out as the most enjoyable to perform live?
Maxine: At the moment I absolutely love playing the title track. We recently supported the UK Subs at the 100 Club and ended our set with it, I left the stage buzzing.
Camille: I honestly love playing them all, I just think it works well as a collective thing!
Victoria: They’re all fun to play live, I really enjoy jumping around to Roadkill; The Daily Fail is also fun as it has a lot of backing vocals and is instantly catchy.
You do a phenomenal job of bringing The Ramones music, style, and attitude back to the stage, and of course now you have your own thing under that banner. Has the transition from being a tribute band, to your own style and music been difficult? Or do you feel as if there is a balance in your identity.
Victoria: We definitely have a good balance between everything, our personalities make it into the tribute side of things and vice versa, the band overall has evolved such a lot over the years.
Camille: I think everyone has been so supportive of it that for me personally it’s felt pretty natural and easy to go between the two and in many cases combine them in a set.
What is your opinion on the current state of punk rock? Especially in the legendary UK scene.
Camille: I’ve felt for the past 10 years or so, with the rock scene in general, that it could always be more prominent. But the punk rock community feels so special when you’re a part of it, it doesn’t really matter so much that it’s not as mainstream as it used to be!
What are your plans for 2018?
Victoria: Lots of touring and continuing to promote the new album, we’ll be making more music videos too so keep an eye out for those.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, is there anything else you’d like to add for the fans?
Camille: Thanks so much for all the continued support and we really hope to see you at some shows this year!
Victoria: Yeah, a massive shout out to everyone who has supported and worked with us, we feel really lucky to be part of the amazing punk community.