Introducing: Piston Slap
I've known Zak and Henry for quite a while now having met them at University. They've formed a phenomenal two piece alternative rock band, Piston Slap and I was eager to speak to them about the band and what they have been up to!
The Flipside: Hi! Could you introduce us to the band?
Henry: Hi, I'm Henry, I play guitar and do vocals but every now and again I have been known to whip out a harmonica for a laugh.
Zak: I’m Zak, I play drums in band and it’s probably a good thing that I don’t sing.
The Flipside: How was Piston Slap formed?
Zak: ‘Twas a pretty simple formation really, I asked Henry if he wanted to try a two piece setup for a DMU Music Society showcase, having had very little experience but maximum enjoyment from playing drums, I wanted to do it a bit more, Henry said yes.
Henry: Yeah we met in the Highcross spoons in 2017 and bonded over a mutual love of Biffy Clyro. Then, a year later, Zak was basically like "wanna form a two piece?".
The Flipside: For people who haven’t listened to you before, how would you describe your music?
Henry: Fat and Fuzzy alt-blues-rock, probs best described as blue alt-rock, all pentatonic scale riffing.
Zak: Yeah pretty straight forward crashing blues riff rock, although we’re trying to make our sound a little bit more wonky cos straight 4/4 can get a little bit boring
Henry: Yeah I think the wonkiness is definitely starting to sneak in there a bit, mainly with the most recent song we've finished writing.
Henry Webb of Piston Slap
The Flipside: Which bands/artists are your biggest inspirations?
Henry: The band I think that has the biggest common influence over the band is definitely The Black Keys. But also, my riffs tend to come from a place between Rival Sons and Timmas, which is probably a good way to describe the band's sound to a degree. Timmas had a massive influence on me while I was at uni, and when me and Zak came together as a band, I think them and Earls were the guys on the local scene that we looked up to the most.
Zak: Yeah we’re big fans of the black keys, my favourite in the same kinda genre has gotta be Cleft, but they’re just way beyond the level of any two piece. I’ve ever seen, Timmas are class and I’m a big fan of Lightning Bolt, probably the first band to do the two piece stuff that’s evolved into The White Stripes, Royal Blood etc.
The Flipside: What’s been your favourite memory with the band so far?
Henry: There has been so many, Like recording and releasing "River", or the various times we've thrown something weird into a song live just cause we thought it'd be a laugh.
But the best memories have got to be the various times I've seen people genuinely enjoy themselves while we're playing. If the people watching are having a good time, we're having the best time. I go to gigs to have a good time with my mates so whether people are heavily vibing or just having a bit of a laugh with their mates at our gigs, them having fun with us is always the best bit.
Zak: Its not a memory per se but we like to play covers in Piston Slap and because of the nature of the two piece sometimes we try a song and it feels a little empty, but the best feeling is when we feel like we can replicate a cover somewhat well with only two instruments, always feels good
The Flipside: Who would be your ideal band to go out on tour with?
Zak: Biffy Clyro
Henry: Yeah Biffy [Clyro] would be sick to tour with for sure. My all time favourite band is Fatherson, and although our sound is quite different to theirs, I think touring with them would be crazy cool.
Zak Plumb of Piston Slap
The Flipside: What is your favourite song of your own making?
Zak: Probably that new one that doesn’t have a name, I know that’s not very helpful at all...
Henry: Yeah, that one's pretty cool. My personal favourite has got to be "River", mainly because I love the singable quality to the riff. Also, it's 'breakdown' section hits pretty hard live.
The Flipside: What's in the pipeline for Piston Slap?
Zak: Hopefully get the other songs we’ve got recorded this year if the DMU studios are open, then just promote it a little bit, hard to say under the current situation.
Henry: Yeah we've got songs ready to record that we've been playing live for a while, just as soon as we can get in the studio we will. Writing, recording and live shows are all on the way, just a bit delayed thanks to the Covid situation.
The Flipside: Give us five (or more) artists that you think we and our readers should be checking out.
Zak: Delta Sleep, Puppy, Black Peaks, Reuben, Arcane Roots
Henry: Scumbag Lion (Zak's actually their bassist), Pillow Fort, Homeless Shakespeare, Sarpa Salpa, Baby Lung, Peter Rose, Groove and the Bathtub Pings, GroundCulture. My list of bands you've got to check out is pretty much endless. There's so many great local bands about too that deserve more recognition too, so best way to find great new bands is go and watch gigs at small/independent venues and watch support acts too.
Zak: Yeah, Homeless Shakespeare [& The Pigeon Theatre] are really cool and really fun live and Groove and the Bathtub Pings are just wicked!
The Flipside: How do we follow Piston Slap online?
Henry: You can follow us on Instagram (@pistonslapband) and Facebook (Piston Slap).
You can also find our debut single "River" on all streaming platforms right now, we also have put some of our favourite tracks into a couple of Spotify playlists for you to check out.
You can find Piston Slap on Spotify here.