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Belfast queer feminist punk band Problem Patterns sign to Alcopop! Records

Belfast queer feminist punk band Problem Patterns sign to Alcopop! Records

Photo of Beflast band Problem Patterns

The Belfast band Problem Patterns last year released ‘YAW’ which stands for “Yes All Women”, a response to the killings of Sarah Everard and Ashling Murphy last year.

Now, the queer feminist punk band, who like to swap instruments and vocals have announced they have signed to Alcopop! Records for their debut album later this year.

Who Do We Not Save?’ is the band’s first single from the album to come, a song addressing the Tories’ policies and systematic attempts to privatise the NHS.

“Our healthcare system has been falling apart for years due to cuts, and the pandemic only sped up the process. We constantly see campaigns telling people to ask for help, especially in regards to mental health, but the reality is that the services we need are under too much pressure. The line ‘We’re one or two paychecks away’ refers to the fact that many of us will be in a lot of trouble if privatisation becomes reality here. The title itself is lifted verbatim from Dominic Cumming’s photo of the white board used to plan the UK government’s early response to COVID. We thought it would be fitting to use it for the single’s cover art, too.”

The video for the song was directed by band member Alanah Smith and shot on location at the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, filmed and edited by Darren Hill, with Penny McGovern as camera assistant, and Fionn Dempsey playing the patient.

Problem Patterns – Who Do We Not Save? 

Alanah Smith says:

“I wanted the video to capture the chaotic energy of the song,. I pictured the storyline as soon as we’d finished the song. In the first half, you have stressed out healthcare workers trying to save a life without the tools to be able to do so. Meanwhile, there’s a shady business deal to sell off what little is left of public healthcare, big menacing grins and all. I wanted to approach this with a bit of comedy, because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”

“I made the medical supplies and instruments (except the toy drums) with things like cardboard and yarn, as I wanted everything to look extremely cheap and ultimately useless. The death scene in the ambulance was inspired by the film ‘Dave Made A Maze’, where they used things like confetti and glitter in place of standard fake blood.”

Problem Patterns Live dates:

15.03.23 – The Black Box, Belfast (Pink Pound)
17.03.23 – The Garage, London (w/ Fight Like Apes)
07.04.23 – Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast (Friday Fest w/ Axis Of, Mob Wife)
30.04.23 – Bollox, Manchester (Sound Of The Other City Festival)
15.07.23 – Ost Hafen, Berlin (My People Fest w/ FAIM, Dying For It)
22.07.23 – EBGBs, Liverpool (Crapfest w/ Crapsons, Piss Kitti)
19.08.23 – Glasgow (Core Festival)

Problem Patterns:
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About Problem Patterns

Problem Patterns originated in Belfast in 2018, formed by the group’s collective fury over a high-profile rape trial. Their debut single ‘Allegedly’ was swiftly written, recorded, and released at the end of 2018 in response. The quartet are not limited by age, ability, or binary identities. They don’t have a front person, but instead swap instruments and roles to ensure that each member of the group has a voice.

As a unit, they are vocal proponents of inclusive, queer punk rock, and have shared stages and tours with Queen Zee, JOHN, Pink Suits, Bob Vylan and more, and are part of a supportive musical community in Belfast that includes Gender Chores and Strange New Places. Their live shows are a celebratory and uplifting experience; outbreaks of fun and positive havoc are all part of the experience.

Reconnecting during a break in the pandemic after a short hiatus, the quartet realised that their mission was more important than ever, and their rage was extra-critical. This, surely, was punk rock time.

“We came back for our first writing practice and we had all this built-up anger,” Alanah says. “The kettle was boiling over,” agrees Bethany. “So much happened during lockdown with the government, with the NHS, with the Sarah Everard case. We were really devastated.” And so they feverishly set to work on new songs to express their grief and anger.

Latest single ‘Who Do We Not Save?’ is the first new material from the band since their 2022 single ‘Y.A.W’—an acronym for ‘Yes All Women’ and a retort to the social media excuse-me, “Not All Men”—which was penned in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Sarah Everard. “We’re trying to help people get through certain situations,” says Beverley, “Or speak to situations that people are living at this moment. It’s hard to hold things back.”

Recently name-checked as Kathleen Hanna’s new favourite group, the quartet’s admiration for her seminal band Bikini Kill and the riot grrrl movement led to an online conversation with Hanna, who advised them from her Los Angeles porch that if there wasn’t a backlash, then the band weren’t doing their job properly.

“She’s been a big part of relighting the fire, and the trust and confidence we have in ourselves as a band,” says Ciara. “We’ve far more of a ‘fuck it’ attitude than we’ve ever had. And we already had that. Punk provides protest songs and it provides a release for feelings.”

“We’re talking about whatever important is currently happening right now,” agrees Beverley. “Always.”

With plenty more news to come, the band already have a busy schedule shaping up for 2023, with support slots alongside And So I Watch You From Afar… and Fight Like Apes, plus appearances at Friday Fest, Sound of The Other City, My People Fest, Crapfest, and Core Festival, with further live dates TBA.

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