The mighty Collins Dictionary defines demob-happy as an expression that means "to feel elated in anticipation of demobilization from the armed forces or feeling elated and carefree in anticipation of the end of any onerous or unpleasant period." It also happens to be the name of one of the most exciting new bands of 2015 and with their debut album Dream Soda comes a collection of songs that are thrilling, angry and arguably spell the end to a dry period of predictably similar guitar bands. With their punchy, no-bullshit songs that are full of huge riffs, they will have you losing your cool within seconds of listening. Having been drawn in by the long-haired grungers' big sound and electrifying live shows, we took the boys bowling to find out more about the making of their rule-breaking debut and how the infamous Demobile (their customised van, which comes complete with hammocks) came into existence.

Upon talking to Demob Happy, one thing becomes immediately clear; this is a band who cannot wait for their debut album to come out and a real excitement surrounds them, like kids at Christmas, but in all fairness it is a debut that has been a pretty long time coming. The Brighton-based band originally started playing together around 5 years ago when they still resided in Newcastle, but it has been mainly been in the past 12 months that things have really stepped up a gear. Their 5 years as a band has meant that they have had ample time to really develop their sound, although they insist that the only thing that has really changed is that they are probably more restrained now, and song lengths have gone from 8-10 minutes to a more standard 3-4 minute. When asked what they think it is about them that has really excited people, however, they seem completely baffled but also humbled that this has been the case, as frontman Matthew Marcantonio contemplates "I really do not know... I think it's just because we are the underdogs. We are like The Mighty Ducks in my eyes."



Although they have been making music for many years, there was never any real rush to make an album, as drummer Tom Armstrong ponders over his pint "we always wanted to do an album, but it was kind of just about waiting for the right time, we were just existing as a band... we just had loads of fun and loved every minute of it." And it seems that now really is the perfect time. Dream Soda is an album that was custom-made to take you an journey of emotions, as Marcantonio explains "we had this big system of breaking things down and the criteria as to whether or not it could be part of the album. Each song needed to be a part of the journey."

As well as taking you on a journey of emotions, there is something about Dream Soda that has a timelessness about it, as though it could be from the past like a record you stumble across in a record store but equally something you imagine yourself listening to in 20 years time and still really enjoying. This is in part due to the fact that they spent a large proportion of their time studying the records they love in an attempt to try and understand what it was about these albums that made them love them, as Marcantonio explains "we were like 'we've been loving music for all these years, like 15/20 years, what is is about these albums?' it was like this feeling, we wanted the album to kind of verge on these feelings."



The making of this album was no laughing matter, and Marcantonio is very clear in articulating that simply putting together some songs and calling it 'an album' was never going to cut it: "we knew we could bash out 12 songs but we wanted it to be this actual thing. It had to be the best it could be." The fact they originally went into the studio with around 60 different songs to choose from meant that the band had to be ruthless in what stayed and what went. Things got so serious when it came to organising the album that things became somewhat formulaic as Armstrong explains further, "there were tiers of emotions and tiers of intensity and all the songs were put into categories and we'd be like 'oh we have too many tier threes... but that's going to have to go.'"

Every detail was meticulously thought through, and although some of the songs had been with the band for up to two years, everything was re-touched, re-thought and refined until it matched their expectations. Even the can design that adorns the album cover had to be just perfect, as Armstrong describes how intense his search for the perfect can became: "I looked at 70,000 can designs on the internet. I went from the 1950s to today. We had artists working on it, but in the end we just did it ourselves."



This all makes Demob Happy sound like a group of really serious guys, but that could not be further from the truth, for Marcantonio it's all about not taking yourselves too seriously: "we never talked about what we should do or what should make, and never take it that seriously. I was talking to Barry about what we loved about the '60s' bands and it was just like the fact they pissed about." This is a band who do everything for the sheer love of it, and the whole life of the band has been incredibly natural, even from its inception, as Marcantonio expresses how easy it was for them to start making music, "I think we were really lucky because we bypassed that really awkward stage that people go through where they feel they need to find a band. We were just friends and we realised that we should be a band, and that's how easy it was." They are in it to have good fun and to enjoy every second of it, having always just wanted to just spend their time making music, as Armstrong perfectly articulates, "it's about taking the creative process and the shit around it seriously, but accidentally walking a fine line and not taking yourselves too seriously."

Then there is their trusty Demobile, "she's an old wonderful thing, there was a moment a couple of weeks ago where we thought it was the end. We've had her for three years and we put beds in and hammocks in. It sleeps seven of us." The old van is a crucial part of the band, and gets them A to B, as well as being infamous for staging various impromptu gigs for the band in the past. Demob are not too concerned about the 'glamourous' side of the music business, they are really completely in it for the music.



This is not to say that they are without ambition or focus, and they are clearly a band who know exactly where they sit in the world of music and have something they want to fight for. As Rihanna's megahit 'We Found Love' plays out over the bowling alley stereo in Elephant and Castle, their real frustration with today's music scene kicks in: "there's an emotional integrity that has been lost, and for me as a songwriter, that they are using chord sequences that are evocative of those things. It just doesn't touch anything... That 'live for the weekend' thing, and these chords are evocative of that. I don't want to get too technical but I know what they are doing and it pisses me off because it is so easy to do."

Marcantonio has previously spoken about his frustration with the lack of songwriting skills he sees in today's mainstream music, and at the root of it all, it's because he sincerely believes that people deserve better: "it feels more subtle manipulation, and I don't like that idea, because the message isn't positive, it's negative. I'm an old man, but I feel it's a destructive thing, and music is meant to be there to inspire and this type of music just puts a thumb over people and it's shit. And although it doesn't have to be guitar music, it's about quality. We need people who do something for the good of people and the good of everyone."



That's not to say they believe that all has been lost in today's music, Demob are just calling for people to be more demanding, and in many ways Armstrong sees a lot of positivity for the future of music as a whole: "to be honest, I think to a young guy and young girl, I think an electric guitar is always going to be pretty fucking cool. And a drum kit, like the physicality of it, and sitting at it and kicking the shit out of it. And having production software is cool as well. It's another route in. It doesn't need to be about domination, it's got to a point where there can be all these different people with all these different tastes and that can be represented."

All photos by Hollie Fernando.