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British punk band Gallows’ fourth album, Desolation Sounds, is packed full of aggression and passion and explores new realms of gothic fantasy. Drummer Lee Barratt talks to The Big Issue in the North ahead of their gig at Manchester’s Sound Control, 27 May.

Why have you chosen to release this album through your own record label?
Given the chance, I think most bands would like to have that creative control over all aspects of a release. Having no label pressure is pretty nice, especially after being on a massive major label such as Warner Bros in the past.

What influenced Desolation Sounds?
I think we’re all very much influenced by what’s going on with certain trends in music and the media when it comes to writing music. But Desolation Sounds has a dark, almost swamp-like feel to it which comes from our guitar player, Laurent, watching shows like True Detective while Wade draws a lot of influence from books on the occult when it comes to his lyric writing.

How does Desolation Sounds compare with self- titled album Gallows?
At certain times on the self- titled album, we may have held back with experimenting with certain sounds or styles just because Wade was
still new to the band and it possibly wasn’t the right time to alienate fans who’d stuck with us through the vocalist change. When it came to writing Desolation Sounds it was almost like we were writing the album just for ourselves. We wanted to be more creative and branch out into certain styles that we hadn’t tried in the past.

What has been your most memorable gig – and why?
Playing Grey Britain in full at the Electric Ballroom in London a few years ago will always stick out in my memory. We played the whole album from start to finish with a string quartet on stage and it just felt like an “event” for the band and something we probably wouldn’t ever repeat. We also nailed the songs perfectly that night, which for a band that’s as chaotic on stage as Gallows is quite an achievement.

This year is Gallows’ tenth birthday. What advice would you give your 2005 self?
Don’t get married!

Helen Burt

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