Talking music and style influences

Sharks are the Midlands’ youngest punks: a quartet of childhood friends, barely out of short trousers, with smoldering good looks and cock-sure swaggers. These boys are getting their teenage kicks by playing grown-up gigs and looking the part - but beneath their leather-clad image are they really just a bunch of kids at heart? Clash found out when we caught up with vocalist James Mattock.
Is Sharks a homage to the Seventies band of the same name, by any chance?
No, we didn’t actually know about them when we started out. And there is also another band called The Sharks, who are a rockabilly band, and we didn’t realise they existed either. They complained so we want to stress that there is an important distinction to be made: there is NO ‘The’ in our name! People keep mistaking us for them and it’s really annoying.

Have you all got similar musical tastes?
We’ve all got really strong, individual characteristics and we’re into really different things, which is what makes the band. Andy and I write the music and the rest of us help bring it all together. The band would change drastically if we changed a member. We all meet on some kind of musical level - obviously we all like the music we play and that’s just a collection of different ideas. And we all love Joy Division and The Clash for example. I listened to a lot of my parents’ records as I was growing up - my dad was really into punk. We all know where each other are coming from.

Who’s the most fashion conscious band member?
Chris (bass) is definitely the most fashion conscious member of the band: he’s the one that spends the most money on clothes. We all like to dress differently to maintain our individuality, as it’s important to us. We’re not one of those bands who will ever dress the same just for an image. It’s sometimes cool when bands do that but it’s not really our thing and we just wear what we want to wear.

Where do you buy clothes?
Most of my clothes are hand-me-downs. I’ve got older brothers and I’m really lucky because my dad kept all of his old band T-shirts from the Seventies so I get to wear the real thing. If another band member buys something that’s too big, they’ll always give it to me. I don’t think you need to spend loads of money on clothes to look cool - it’s the opposite actually.

You recently toured with Gallows - any tales from the bus?
Every night on tour Gallows would play ‘Nervous Breakdown’ by Black Flag and me and Lee from Trash Talk would get on stage and sing it with them, which was an amazing rush of adrenalin and a dream come true. I’m not that mental usually but the first night I did it I stage dived right into the barrier and smashed my ribcage up. It went down hilariously with the rest of the crew though and I got punished for it every night. On film it looks a lot worse than it actually was though, I think it’s knocking about on YouTube somewhere...

What’s your fantasy festival line-up?
The Clash, The Ramones, Against Me!, Alkaline Trio, Social Distortion, and Black Flag, of course.

Words by April Welsh