From locals to headliners: Neck Deep goes full circle at Slam Dunk

From locals to headliners: Neck Deep goes full circle at Slam Dunk

- By Ramon Gonzales

Vocalist Ben Barlow touches on the band's new single "STFU", his distaste for Boris Johnson and what it feels like going from a local band to a festival headliner.

In the last decade, Welsh punk pushers Neck Deep have gone from emerging prospects to one of the most exciting outfits in their genre in the span of four electrifying full length albums. Better framing the last decade of evolution and growth, the band's vocalist Ben Barlow checked in with our own Alicia Atout just before their headlining performance at this year's Slam Dunk Festival - an event the band was a local opener for some ten years prior.

Barlow fondly recalled what the band's start was like all those years ago - all of 17, 18 years young, experiencing what it was like to record music professionally for the first time, what it was like to tour and travel abroad for the first time - with a smile, he explains that it was a great time and only led to bigger and better. Barlow also shared that to mark their 10th anniversary, the band have some plans in the works and intend to revisit some of material that hasn't been played since their very beginning.

The frontman also spoke about the band's latest single in "STFU". Explaining that the song came from a recording session following the lifting of Covid restrictions and a long layoff, Barlow also detailed how the song is a bit of a "fuck you" just about everyone - including himself. Advocating the idea of listening more and saying less, Barlow said everyone seems to be a bit of a know-it-all and sometimes, it's wiser to, well... shut the fuck up and listen. He credits Green Day with a bit of the song's directional drive.

The conversation also steered toward the prevalence and the crutch of technology - dissecting how people seem so connect and yet so disconnected at the same time. Barlow contemplated how technology has both it's pros and cons but seemed convinced that people know it's not necessarily great for them - and yet here we are - tethered.

As for the idea of telling any one person specifically to shut the fuck up... Barlow pretty quickly decided he would have no issue aiming his decree squarely at Prime Minster Boris Johnson if he had the opportunity to do so. So there's that.

The two closed out with a bit of back and forth about wrestling, given that the band has been using a bit of that artistic aesthetic as of late. Barlow explained how the band's guitarist Matt West is the aficionado of the crew, with Barlow dabbling, heaving praise on the sport's biggest names like The Rock. Barlow also shared that if he were to ever wrestle, he would likely go the CM Punk route in terms of persona, while making the walk to the stage to something iconic from the likes of Black Sabbath - keeping it classic.

Check the full conversation with Alicia Atout and Ben Barlow of Neck Deep from Slam Dunk Festival below.

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