Who’s outside the Bovril factory? Words on Average Life Complaints

Photos by Sebastian Garraway

We are seeing a growing anxiety, but also a wider consciousness, in relation to today’s political climate: especially amongst young people. Music has traditionally been used as a form of political and social commentary, and it’s safe to say that we’ve seen a rise of this post-Brexit. South London band “Average Life Complaints” draw inspiration from the original post-punk bands of the 70s and 80s. Through their music, they take aim at current political and social issues such as the wealth gap in the UK, beauty standards and fake news. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Charlie and Albert to talk about getting started as a band during the pandemic.

Could you tell me what Average Life Complaints are about?

It mostly came from our social frustrations, which come through in the lyrics and songs. It comes from a perspective talking about social and political issues, and things we’re annoyed about – hence the band name.

What’s pissing you off currently?

Just the tories in general, really. Even Labour at the moment – we don’t like Keir Starmer and his politics very much. I just don’t think there’s much hope at the moment. We don’t like capitalism. The system is broken, it doesn’t work for young people. It doesn’t work for the working class, even people my dad’s age. So many are struggling at the moment.

Do you feel like young people aren’t as engaged in politics, compared the olders?

Maybe, though I think a lot of young people have been coming out to vote. I think it’s difficult, as well, because the media is so biased – you really have to go out and find things out for yourself.

Why is it so important to sing about these things?

We’re definitely inspired by post-punk bands in the 70s and 80s, who were singing about these topics, with a very similar message. I think it’s important to carry through that message and tradition, especially in the current political climate, rather than writing love songs or pop songs.

What was it like starting out as a band during the pandemic?

It was quite a surreal time for everyone. The pubs weren’t open, but rehearsal rooms were, for some reason, so we’d just get some drinks and play some music. The tubes were also running, so sometimes we would get on the tube and travel back and forth. It was a good way to stay warm.

Do you feel like the pandemic has been beneficial to those wanting to make music?

Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of bands coming through. I think it allowed a lot of musicians a bit of time to actually write properly. That’s probably why there’s been such an explosion of bands.

Will we see an album soon?

We’re working towards it. When that’ll be, we’re not sure yet.

Make sure to catch Average Life Complaints at their next London gig at The George Tavern on the 25th September. Their next single, ‘Falling Asleep’, is out on September 30th.

Words by Emilie Heggland

Images by Sebastian Garraway