Punk Rock Factory have been enjoying their very own rock star fairy tail after projecting themselves into our lives through the medium of YouTube during the infamous pandemic lockdowns. Now fully unleashed, the world is next with their sights locked on the land down under. That, alongside a string of celebrity fans and collaborators, the masters of punk rock covers have no need or desire to slow down now or for the foreseeable future. Stick man Kob has his own ideas on who he would like to work with on future projects. Discover the group online at: punkrockfactory.com.
So, it’s Damian with V13 and I’m joined by Kob from the Punk Rock Factory in his absolutely cracking Ghost vest.
Kob: “Of course, got to represent the boys, although I’m gonna miss them on Sunday, so I am devastated.”
Oh, you are not! How are you missing them?
“We’re flying out to Prague tomorrow morning, and it was announced so last minute. I’m devastated I love Ghost!”
You’re not that devastated, though, because you go into Prague tomorrow.
“That’s true. Yeah, every cloud. Yeah, I’m happy about that.”
So before we kick off, what’s actually happening in Prague?
“So we’re gonna out to play Rock for People tomorrow night and we’re playing after While She Sleeps and we’re playing at 1 am till 2 am. Tonight Sleep Token are playing at that same time, so it’s a really good slot. So we’re super happy with that.”
That is actually a banging slot. Did you see Sleep Token recently on their tour?
“I did. I absolutely love those guys. Yeah.”
I remember I saw them, it was in London, and I was supposed to be reviewing them. About halfway through I looked down at my phone on the notes and all I had written were words like mesmerizing, spellbinding, hypnotic. I was like, this isn’t review notes!
“This is a fan going oh, my God, look how good they are!”
Exactly they were incredible. So what I really want to talk about first is, I spoke to Benj and Ryan last year at Download and it was like almost the start of your rise, and now you’ve done an American tour?
“No, actually, at the last minute, we had some visa issues. So we didn’t end up doing it, but we’ve done the UK and Europe and we’re about to go to Australia, but we’re imminently there on the next American tour.”
You have got an Australian tour coming up, and I suppose we could call this your biggest one to date, really. So how did this come about? What’s going on?
“It just keeps growing every day. We’ve always had our eye on Australia, because the numbers are really good there and it’s actually going on sale today and from the last update I had, tickets are flying out, they’re not going to hang around long, it’s going to sell out really fast. It’s absolutely bonkers!”
So whereabouts are you playing in Australia? What is the one you’re looking forward to most?
“I’m really looking forward to Sydney. I’ve never been to Australia. We’re really excited, but Sydney especially. Although, disclaimer, we are terrified of spiders, all of us are terrified. So we’re hoping we don’t see any, but we’ll see.”
I think you’ll find in the in the cities you should be alright. Are you doing any shows in the outback?
“We’re just doing Sydney, Melbourne, oh, I can’t remember, but no, not too far out. Just the Gold Coast, the three kind of main ones there.”
So the evil side of me now really wants to find you on social media and just gradually post scary bug videos from Australia. I mean, you’ve seen the earthworms there? Non-threatening, but I’ve never thought I’d be scared of earthworms. Have you seen them? They look like a male appendage to a degree, but an earthworm!
“Dinosaur times over there! Some of the creatures! We spoke to a lot of bands and most of them are saying it’s okay, it’s not too much, but the odd band has said, oh yeah, there was a huntsman under the bed in the hotel! Please no! But it’s gonna be incredible.”
So who do you think will be the worst if you guys do come across a bug?
“I think I might be okay but I genuinely think Ryan might go out the window. We said if we’re doing like 70 down the motorway he’s like, I would rather jump out. So we’ll have to hold the windows up and hope for the best.”
So obviously you do mainly covers. You’ve done the Disney thing, which was absolutely huge. You’ve done the most recent album, which was more TV and movies and musicals; what have you got planned next? Are you sticking with the whole cover approach? Or do you think you’re gonna go with some more original material at this point?
“It will always be covers. Oh, so we have actually been talking to an American TV company that they’re releasing a new show and we’re potentially going to write the theme tune for that, so the only time we really delve into originals is going to be if we’re doing kind of like a Big Bang Theory style theme like the Barenaked Ladies. The covers is just working so well. We kind of don’t want to muddy the waters really, because a lot of the times with bands, you’re only as big as your last album. Sometimes it can take a band maybe a year or two to make that album. Whereas with us, prime example The Little Mermaid movie has come out recently, and a month before it was coming out we all thought why don’t we do that? Yeah, let’s do that.
So we went back to the studio the next day, and we just put that EP together really quick. Then we actually emailed Alissa (White-Gluz) from Arch Enemy because we’d spoke to her previously about jumping on the musicals albums but things just didn’t work out with Arch Enemy’s timing. We said look, if you got time do you want to do this? She was like “Part of Your World” is was my all time favorite song I would be honored to sing that and within a week or two we’d sorted that out and we released it three weeks later, so it’s just we work so fast because of the covers that if we were to do originals it would just kind of muddy the waters a little bit.”
That’s a fair one. I mean, bands do covers all the time and put an original twist on it, but for some reason, in my experience, punk covers always just seemed to be the piece de resistance as it were. They just can’t really be done badly.
“Of course they do. All the Punk Goes Pop albums, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, us, obviously, we grew up and we were obsessed with those guys. Everyone loves a punk cover. I’m always out there looking for the punk covers. When they’re done right and done well, it’s incredible.”
What would you say your best or favourite punk cover album or song might be?
“Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Are a Drag. That, yeah, or any of their albums to be fair.”
So I’ll be honest, it wasn’t recorded particularly well, but I think my personal favourite was Greased by Less Than Jake.
“Oh, of course. Yeah, I totally forgot about that.”
A lot of people do. Circling back to a previous question, though. What will be next for you guys? Have you got anything planned? Any new projects? Obviously, you’ve done the Disney thing, you’ve done the musicals; what else do you think you’d like to go for?
“So we’ve been kicking around a few ideas, but one of the things that we keep coming back to is anime and manga, because we’re going to be pushing so hard in Japan now. We have had so much success from the Pokemon theme tune and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. We’re not huge anime fans anyway, but we’ve checked out a lot of the things like Demon Slayer and things like that and we think we can really do some good with those. So whether it’s an EP or a full album, we’re going to do that. Also knowing us because we just work so fast, we’ll probably do that and then something else will happen.
Also, there’s a live action Moana coming out, so what we’ll do is redo the old songs that are from our first Disney album which works so well for us, add in a bunch of new ones, and maybe get some new special guests on those. We kind of work so fast for this stuff, there’s always something happening. Let’s jump on it. So if a band come out and they do something or a big single, we’re probably just jump in the studio and record it in a day.”
Now, you mentioned the special guests that you do have, and this is almost something that helps define you as a band. Who have you not worked with that you would absolutely jump at the chance to get on board?
“We’ve got some huge names in mind. Obviously, the absolute crème de la crème would be Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, anyone from Blink 182, but we really want to work with Pierre (Bouvier) from Simple Plan especially. So we had Jeff Stinco, the guitarist, come in and do a solo on “Waving Through a Window” and we finally met all the band the other day at Slam Dunk, and we just had such a great time with them, and they said oh, maybe we should look at some tours together and stuff, so we got our sights set on him, but anyone really for me personally, it will be Tobias Forge, don’t know if that’s ever gonna happen but also James Hetfield, there’s so many.”
Since you said, Tobias Forge, all I can think about is like a weird punk rock Ghost mash-up! What song have you got in mind that would work so well with that kind of Gothic operatic style that would work so well with punk, and a, well I suppose a Disney song just because that is what you guys are mainly known for.
“Well, I really want to start doing some classic rock stuff. We did Kiss; “God Gave Rock and Roll to You,” and Gene Simmons actually tweeted about it! I’m a huge Kiss fan; I’m like covered in Kiss tattoos. When he tweeted, I was like, right, I quit. I quit. I’m done. We’ve completed everything. Now I’ve achieved my goals I’d love to do like an (Iron) Maiden punk cover album, or Kiss or Ghost or Metallica, but we don’t know how that stuff will go down, because they are so passionate, those fans, at least with the Disney stuff, It’s like a guilty pleasure whereas, Metallica or Maiden is not a guilty pleasure. It’s a life for all of us. So it’s kind of like, how would that go down? But one day, I think I think we’re gonna have to try something like Judas Priest and things like Iron Maiden. That’d be incredible.”
Well, I don’t think I’ve got anything else I want to ask. I’ll be honest, I could stand there and chat to you about random crap all day, but I know you’re busy so I’m gonna say thank you so much Kob, and I promise I’ll catch you when you next in the UK?
“October. I don’t know what the first day is. I think it might be Bristol, but we’ve got the entire run, and they’re about to sell out quite soon.”
Wonderful. Well, I’ll try and get press because I actually do need to do a review of one of your shows now.
“Send us a message, and we’ll sort it out.”
Amazing, thank you so much.
“Thanks so much.”
Punk Rock Factory hit the road in October. Dates are below, and you can buy tickets here.
10/19 – BRISTOL SWX
10/20 – GLASGOW O2 Academy
10/21 – NEWCASTLE University
10/22 – SHEFFIELD O2 Academy 2
10/24 – NORWICH Epic Studios
10/25 – BRIGHTON Concorde 2
10/27 – OXFORD O2 Academy
10/28 – LEEDS Uni Stylus
10/29 – LONDON O2 Academy Islington
11/01 – SOUTHAMPTON 1865
11/03 – MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
11/04 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute