We had recently chatted with Mancunian hardcore punks Throwing Stuff on how they wanted to progress in their songwriting from their usual satirical repertoire. ‘Father’s Day’, the final song on their recently released debut album, ‘Fit, Fine & Well’, was highlighted as an example of this desire. “‘Father’s Day’ is a very important one to me,” explains vocalist Ben Small, “it’s about my experiences dealing with my dad’s brain tumour diagnosis and his gradual decline over the last year-and-a-half. It’s the first time I’ve ever written very openly and put myself out there like that, which is pretty damn daunting and scary. I still can’t really be around other people listening to the song because of how direct and emotional the lyrics are – immediately I feel pretty awkward.” Despite this, Small has found performing this song to be a “cathartic” form of release in dealing with this personal loss.
As for the track’s serious tone, which contrasts with their previous material, Small felt it was a “natural progression” for Throwing Stuff to go in. “It was a way for me to get my feelings out there as I’m not usually much of a talker, and to pay tribute to my dad with this thing that could be called art. Saying that, the decision to write the song came pretty immediately when I heard the rest of the guys pull the song together in practice. It had a way more emotive tone musically than anything else we had done before and I knew it would be the perfect fit for a song about my dad.” Yet, it should be noted that this won’t be a permanent “one-way” evolution. Instead, Small sees it as an expansion of Throwing Stuff’s emotive, tonal and thematic range. “I just think you write about what you know, and my dad’s illness was something that enveloped me in recent months.”
Directed by the band’s friend Andy Butler at Curbar Edge in the Peak District, the video for ‘Father’s Day’ seamlessly syncs up with the song’s delivery and themes. In it, we see the protagonist being chased by a hooded figure. Once he reaches a literal precipice, with no place to go, he comes face to face with the pursuer. With the lyrics in mind, do the visuals recount the inner fear of facing one’s emotions? “It’s definitely all wrapped up in fear, particularly fear for something you can’t see and the idea of being trapped,” explains Small on the video’s concept. “The tumour on my dad’s brain really impacted his ability to communicate – the longer it went on the more he struggled to find the words he needed to explain his thoughts. He would know what he wanted to say, but was unable to get it across. In that sense, he was trapped within his own mind, and the way that the character (one of my beautiful best mates Josh) ends up realising he is being chased by himself reflects how my dad didn’t have that emotional escape by being able to say how he felt about the illness and the way it was affecting him. So it’s not necessarily the fear of confronting inner emotions, but more the fear of not being able to confront them, how that isn’t even a choice.”
With such a harrowing concept in mind, Small elaborates that “the frantic nature of the chase” blended with the song’s delivery. As well as this, Small concludingly adds, “I also wanted it to reflect how insidious cancer is, how if you get that diagnosis it is always on your tail until remission or death, which is reflected in the fall in the end.”
‘Father’s Day’ is taken from Throwing Stuff’s debut album, ‘Fit, Fine & Well’, which was released earlier this month via TNS Records. The band will also be heading out on a UK tour with Clowns starting later this week, the dates of which are listed below.
21 MANCHESTER Manchester Punk Festival*
23 SHEFFIELD The Lughole
24 LIVERPOOL Maguire’s Pizza Bar
25 NORWICH The Owl Sanctuary
26 PLYMOUTH The Junction
27 BRIGHTON The Quadrant
28 LONDON Urban Bar
* Throwing Stuff only