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BIG, BOLD, BRASS - What is Punk? - Music Gateway

Photograph of the blog post author, Mary Woodcock

Mary Woodcock


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I’ve always relished moments where I could blare my Clash and Ramone’s vinyl; on my record player while my waist length curly black hair bounced all over the room with me.  Not once did I think of how Punk has been crossing genres for approximately the last 30 years. With the exception of the two groups, that I’ve listed above Punk is a fairly new musical OBSESSION for me.

Punk’s cultivated roots began to prosper in between 1969 – 1976 specifically in: The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. The unique sound that comes from this musical style clearly advocates a DIY attitude as is the present premise for our modern world.  I feel that is one of the most important aspects of Punk, it grew out of necessity into a world that had not been familiar with such a lush sound.   What I find most impressive is that it is not only melody based but an entire sub-culture of attire, cosmetics and hairstyles as well.

Why not use horns in Punk?


I started writing for The Punk Archive about a month or so after I’d gotten my feet wet scribing for Music Gateway.  Amongst my first assignments was to review the London, England UK based Independent Group entitled Ghouls; my review was of their current EP Great Expectations which included the tracks; Great Expectations, Nice to Know You, Gone Fishing and my favourite of the bunch Being Me.  I do not want to turn this article into a music review nevertheless, if you’ve no idea who Ghouls is I suggest that you educate yourself as this unique classification of sound is one to sincerely be appreciated.

The idiosyncratic sound hit me like a ton of bricks coming down for my cerebellum; accidentally falling from the roof of the penthouse suite by a lethargic worker who did not get enough sleep the night before.  I had never heard anything like that before; I thought the sound of horns to only be housed strictly within a quartet or full piece orchestra.  Never in my life would I have even considered that horns had a place or was ever required to create awesome Punk music.

Ghouls review & adored



The frenetic energy of Ghouls struck me right in the core to the point that I was unable to focus on anything else even during my children’s story time as you can see by the very last paragraph of my review:

“I will close with this final thought….if a melody adheres itself to your core, even during story time while Itsy Bitsy Spider is being sung by twenty screaming children at massive volume, all you hear from a distance is the inviting verse of the remarkable fusion you left behind at home. You will step on poor Itsy and listen with bended ear until your aura absorbs the sound into your inner world…”

The strong musical characteristics of this type of music left me paralysed to listen to anything else.  After reviewing the Ghouls I became quite curious as to not only the origins of Punk but how this unique sound had cultivated itself to be one of the largest independent musical movements.  The main thought process that I was able to digest is that musically there are so many varieties out there with a myriad of different artists that have a desire entrenched into them to have their music heard.  As an indie artist how do you chose where you belong?  I image a plethora of the Singer/Songwriters out there contemplate where they are going to fit in with a world that is completely saturated with music.  What dawned on me is the perfect solution, to establish your own niche of what your music represents and who you are.

Don’t be scared to engage eclectic sounds!


The global musical-tides are shifting, I hope with that more minds are open to the immense musical cross genre collaborations that are have started to evolve.  Otherwise, we are going to lay stagnant with the same sounds and in my opinion that will just NOT DO! I firmly believe that The Punk Genre was designed out of necessity for those individuals who are categorised as different. Even the word “punk” through out human history houses associations with negative connotations; behaving or acting badly.

If anything, we should take the lucid lesson that this wonderful style has most sincerely given us and cultivate the fact that it is ok to encompass ourselves with mysterious sounds fusing together in honour of this tremendous way of life. Killer lyrics and melody might be ingredients required to establish something wonderful but taking risks, holding true to yourself, incorporating instruments that YOU feel have a good sound to your music is the most essential part of Punk culture. I would also be willing to wager that Punk music could be composed with even the most random of vessels such as a theremin.

Stay tuned, my next article is an intimate interview with Millie Manders; Singer/Songwriter and Musical Business Student at the University of South West London.

Did you know that you can hire band members who play brass on Music Gateway? If you need one for your band or any recording, hire them here!

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