DEM are the people's champions

DEM is playing at Bands on the Square, Barnoldswick, on Sunday night. (s)
DEM is playing at Bands on the Square, Barnoldswick, on Sunday night. (s)
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This 80s-inspired rock band is bull-dozing down the walls of despondency threatening to cut our paths short.

Dead End Monday is championing the down-trodden and the disillusioned – creating an army of underdogs glued together by music - with a new album of melodic rock that sets emotive lyrics to rumbling, war-like rhythms.

Launched last weekend, Hey! blasts listeners across a spectrum of rock vibes: licks of punk; soft ballads; firings of grunge-metal; and a pummelling of heavy-rock.

“We’re a kind of 80s band with a modern twist,” said vocalist Rob Humphreys. “Our album is a contrast of slow and steady ballads and hard-rocking tracks.”

Leaving sour relationships, Rob and guitarist Phil Nicholson began writing music together as acoustic duo, Tickety-Boo, tracks they describe as “down-in-the-mouth” and “a bit depressive”. But at a gig with rock band Blue Star Tattoo, jolted by a hunger to play heavier live music – and recruiting bassist Scott Barwell and drummer Jack Marsden in 2015 - they made a pact to write inspiring songs that “suppress the dead-end Monday feeling”.

“We’re a voice for the people who can’t speak up,” Rob said, “but it doesn’t mean we’re doom and gloom.”

“We’re the people’s band,” added Phil. “We want fans to be our family. We’re trying to be uplifting and want people to take faith and inspiration from our songs. The beauty of music is that it’s a universal language - it moves you in many ways.”

There’s a striking honesty to their record: difficult and complex emotions are set to a thundering of rock, galvanising listeners and translating vulnerability into a melodic driving force.

“If we stay true to ourselves and write from the heart, it will mean something to people. When you write about what you’re feeling, it makes other people going through the same issues feel less alone,” said Rob.

Take Head Held High, a song “aimed at working-class people stuck in dead-end jobs.”

“We’ve both been stuck in that job but if you keep you’re head up and keep grafting, you can achieve anything you want,” said Phil.

“We’re both very proud to be working-class. We’ve worked hard to get where we are but we’ve never forgotten where we’re from.”

And it’s clear they’re proud of their respective Pendle towns, especially the music scene in Barnoldswick.

“It’s an area of really good bands - a town full of talent,” they said. “We’re very humbled by it all. It’s a community: everyone’s willing to help each other get to where they want to be.”

And it’s reflected, they said, in their own friendship.

“We have a strong bond,” they added. “We don’t have any band politics.”

Coming from tight communities, it’s no wonder their strongest influence is still the diet of music they were brought up on.

“I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin through my dad,” said Rob. “I remember being eight years-old, wearing my Guns and Roses bandana and listening to Sweet Child of Mine on MTV and thinking, ‘I want to be a rock star!’”

And ever since, they’ve thrived off that steady nourishment of music.

“It’s as important as the air we breathe. It’s in our blood. We’re borderline obsessive about it.”

The album is on sale on iTunes and Spotify. CDs will be sold at their gig on Sunday at Bands on the Square, Barnoldswick. Their set begins at 7-45pm. Entry is free.

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