Over the last 20 years, if you’ve been involved in the underground hardcore scene in the UK, you’d have had to been living under a rock if you weren’t aware of bands like Knuckledust and their community, known as the LBU. A collection of like-minded, passionate groups and individuals, the LBU has been responsible for some of the most important UKHC records and artists of the last two decades.
One of those groups, Ironed Out, formed in 2014 with the aim of adding something different to the scene. Featuring Wema Dust from LBU godfathers, Knuckledust, the band just dropped their new album, We Move As One, through GSR Records, so we spoke to members Louis Gino and Dave Makboo to find out more about the LBU community.
Thanks for your time. For our readers out there who may not be aware of the LBU, can you explain what it is?
Dave Makboo: “A collective of poor people’s music.”
From your own experiences, what was it that brought the London hardcore community together?
Makboo: “We’re from working-class areas, so a lot of us have been through the same struggles coming up. It’s easy to bond with people who’ve lived a similar life to yours.”
And how different is it now to when bands like Knuckledust first came out?
Makboo: “London wasn’t anywhere near as gentrified as it is now so before it was a lot more dangerous. I also think with music streaming and the easy access to digital music has absolutely changed how bands are booked and introduce themselves to the scene.”
Given the current lockdown restrictions, how has that affected the London hardcore community?
Makboo: “The heart of the scene here is live music so not being able to have shows is an enormous loss. A lot of people have gotten creative though and started up projects they’ve been sitting on for a while, with home recording being what it is it’s got a lot of people interested in home production and learning new ways to get music out there regardless.”
Let’s look back at some of your memories. What have been your favourite moments being around the LBU?
Makboo: “Stamping on racists. That and drinking/smoking with the mandem every time we meet up.”
Squat gigs, guerilla gigs, do you feel this side of the hardcore scene will thrive despite the lockdown restrictions?
Makboo: “I thought that it would have but, to be honest, I’ve only heard of literally one or two shows happen like that. Personally, I’d love that to happen more often and I think with venues dropping like flies it’s probably going to be the only way shows are for a while.”
On the subject of the LBU, the scene was made infamous by Knuckledust. Which other bands do you think epitomize the scene?
Makboo: “Ninebar and 50 Caliber. Those three bands are the originals which inspired many to come after.”
Which albums do you think hardcore fans should pick up to get a good overview of the community?
Makboo: “Time Won’t Heal This by Knuckledust is not only a London hardcore classic it’s a UKHC one. Raising the Bar by Ninebar is another old school one that’s straight fire from start to finish. Rucktion Records has an enormous back catalogue of LBU bands worth checking out.”
As an insider, what do you think is the one thing that surprises an outsider when they discover the LBU and what is people’s biggest misconception of the LBU?
Makboo: “People have no idea how friendly we are. Honestly, we’ll drink and make friends anywhere and everywhere all over the world regardless of how we look. We love raving you know.”
Ironed Out is the latest band. How did it all come together and what are your plans?
Makboo: “Basically, we all wanted to do a crossover band but very London-sounding, so when we had our first practice we set ourselves goals of first show, recording, etc… Essentially we wanted to play to as many people as we could and it’s still amazing to this day the reaction we’ve had to this band so we’re just going to carry on trying to reach as many people as we can to tell our story.”
The album was just released. What can hardcore/LBU fans expect from it?
Makboo: “Gang shouts, big riffs, and 140bpm bars.”
Going into 2021, where do you see the LBU and the hardcore scene as a whole going?
Makboo: “To be honest, I don’t know how the world is going to go, let alone hardcore. I just hope I can get on stage soon, I’m getting withdrawals. I need my live show fix like yesterday.”
Thanks for your time. Any final message for hardcore fans or anyone wanting to find out more about Ironed Out or the LBU?
Louis Gino: “You can find out more about us by checking our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages as well as GSR Records. For LBU bands definitely check out the Rucktion Records website and social media accounts. They’re the number one for underground hardcore/punk/metal.
Finally, hardcore is about being yourself and not following/conforming to trends. It’s a way of life for some people and to their credit, many have gone on to do positive things in their lives that today still benefit the scene and other aspects of people’s lives. In an ever-changing world, it’s up to us all to keep the faith and usher in the next generations that can carry the torch and expand this thing of ours.”