Problem Patterns take on the A-Z challenge

Our A-Z challenge is a fun way to get to know the many bands and artists out there. Here it’s the turn of Problem Patterns to tell us all about themselves!

A song that made you want to make music?

Alanah: Shakespeare’s Sister – “Stay
Bev: Gossip’s “Standing in the Way of Control” – I love the guitar in it so much

Ciara: Hall Of MirrorsThe Distillers or Lounge Act by Nirvana
Beth: Black SheepMetric

Best rider you’ve had?

Alanah: It wasn’t anything too extravagant, just a wholesome gesture. Spilt Milk Festival gave us packed lunches as it was a dry show – this was great for me as I don’t drink anyway. It was fully vegan and it made such a difference when the post-gig dinner we had gone for turned out to be a bit of a let down.
Bev: I remember when we supported Queen Zee in Limelight and we were really excited there was fruit on the rider – it’s the small things. If we’re ever asked about rider requests I always ask for tiny oranges hahaha
Ciara: I don’t know, everyone throws down a fantastic hummus spread tbh. We once got Blood Orange Cider & endless Beamish from a wonderful bartender in Cork on Beth’s bday and that made my day.
Beth: I agree with ciara, the endless birthday Beamish was a delight.

Craziest moment you’ve experienced in the band?

Alanah: The obvious answer is the fact that Kathleen Hanna likes us. She really loves this live stream we did during lock down. I watch that back and we sound so small compared to how we do now – we hadn’t played for the better part of a year at that point and it was in a really small room. I just really hope she likes our actual show.
Bev: I’m not fantastic with the old accepting praise, so getting any sort of acknowledgement from people I respect is always crazy to me, and getting the chance to play alongside some of my favourite musicians is incredible.
Ciara: Probably hearing we are opening for Le Tigre tbh or the time we got a fancy rental car cuz the woman fancied Bev and then we crashed it
Beth: Honestly Kathleen constantly supporting our band has been so crazy and exciting. Hayley Williams once told us we were “punk af” back when we first started so that’s also a contender.

Deepest lyric one of your songs features?

Alanah: It hasn’t been released yet, but the last song on our album is probably the deepest I’ve felt any lyric I’ve had to sing. I think it will resonate with a lot of people.
Ciara: “I’ve got 100s of suits but no place to go” … too relatable
Bev: Also not released, but I have a song where I’m like a big capitalist billionaire selling a secret formula that reduces bark and maximises bite who is on the Forbes list
Beth: I think TERFs Out has some pretty hard hitting lyrics, and it seems to be more relevant every day.

Easiest song you wrote?

Alanah: I feel like most of our songs happen really quickly once we get the ball rolling. Sometimes we don’t actually remember writing them, they just appear in our setlists. There’s a new, unreleased one we have called “Picture Of Health” that was seemingly written in ten minutes as Bev had a guitar riff already in mind.
Bev: The guitar riff Alanah’s talking about was sung into my phone while walking through the country to my granny’s in Portglenone. But I’d forgotten my phone at home so the longest part of writing that song was getting someone to message my partner and ask him to send the voice note to us hahaha
Ciara: Domestic Bliss, we didn’t even really write it. We just played it once and it was done forever lol
Beth: Any PP songs that have stayed in our set have been easy to write. If we find ourselves wrestling with a song it’s most likely not going to work.

Favourite song in your set?

Alanah:Who Do We Not Save?” Especially now that it has been released and a few folks in the audience have been singing along.

Bev: Y.A.W is great craic, we usually start with it and begin with this long stream of noise, Ciara riffs on the bass while I press every pedal in turn on my board, Beth goes wild on the drums and Alanah looks fierce AF. It’s different every time and gets us hyped up to have fun with the rest of the set. I also usually come over to Ciara just before the solo and we play the bass and guitar as close together as we can without ruining the sound or go down to the ground and it feels like we’re playing with fire haha
Ciara: Probably Y.A.W. I love playing it live every time
Beth: I always love playing Mediocre Man. It’s just filthy.

Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?

Alanah: Karen O so she can screech again like the good old days.

Bev: Gerard Way, a queer icon
Ciara: Mollie Rush from Tokky Horror plz
Beth: Let’s get The B-52s on a song, that would be class.

Hardest thing about being in a band?

Alanah: Getting anything scheduled. No one tells you how much admin goes into being in a band but I don’t mind that part so much.
Bev: I love DIY but do I really have to do it til I die?
Ciara: Travelling and fatigue. We’ve hallucinated from tiredness before. Money also, we have none.
Beth: It’s like being in a relationship with 3 other people, it takes a lot of patience and empathy and it is hard work sometimes but I love my 3 life band partners lol.

Interesting fact about one of your members?

Alanah: Beth went to a drag show with her girlfriend Kenz and the two of them ended up sitting with Jeff Goldblum – it’s in a documentary show he made.
Bev: Beth has a miniature dachshund called Jameson and he’s sooo cute

Ciara: Beth is a PHD worm doctor
Beth: I feel like I need to write a fact about myself… I can lick my elbow

Jokes you have in the band?

Alanah: I don’t know if it’s any one particular joke, but we can all make each other laugh very hard over something very little.
Bev: We have running jokes about babying Henry the Hoover, having a nip slip / Slipknort, pretending we’re going to do things that annoy Beth, the way that Ciara and I both thought for a month that YAW was just a funny noise that summed up the vibe of the song rather than standing for “Yes All Women”, loads of stupid stuff, we’re very silly behind all the angry shouting Ciara: We have this really stupid joke about how nipples are norts and when they slip out of your top, they’re called Slipnorts but it might be a bit too high brow for most people
Beth: Bev the usually the source of a lot of our inside jokes. She’s just the most mental person ever so anything she says is pretty unhinged.

Key to writing a song?

Alanah: It’s the old adage that you have to write about what you know. It has to come from a real place – people can tell what is genuine. It also helps when you work with people who support and uplift you. There has to be some real trust there with your bandmates – you are creating this together.
Bev: We all balance work and musicianship, so for me it’s about not beating yourself up about not being productive creatively all the time. Go with the inspiration when it hits. Which, when you’re a punk living in a capitalist hellscape, is often. I write down or record whatever idea I’ve had immediately and then come back to it when I have the time and space. For example, Letter of Resignation (not released yet but part of our live shows!) was written after I was driving through Belfast and saw an ex-Christian minister, who had been fired for saying there was nothing wrong with homosexuality, which immediately inspired the chorus “I’m standing up for who I believe in/you can’t fire me I’m leaving” and later that night I couldn’t do anything else until I sat down and worked through my own experiences in the rest of the lyrics – it’s really cathartic to work through your thoughts that way. I brought the lyrics to the rest of the band and was like, this should sound fun, shouty, upbeat, and they smashed it.
Ciara: Vibe communication so you know you’re on the same page and vibe to write the song Beth: I usually let these 3 do the hard work and come in with a funky drum groove to save the day at the end.

Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a song?

Alanah: When we played Other Voices, Cardigan in Wales. We drove from Belfast to Rosslare, but then we ended up having to stay overnight in a hotel there due to a bad storm. The ferry the next morning was still very wobbly due to the windy seas and had a delay setting off. I think we left Belfast at about 5pm and then arrived in Cardigan at about 2pm the next day.
Ciara: Umm… Cardigan in Wales I think . However, we travelled for 40 days and nights just to get around London for one show
Bev: We’re heading to Berlin in July which will be the longest distance! But yes travelling can be the worst – it’s a good thing we all like each other lol

Beth: I don’t have anything to add to this one but I am very excited for playing in Berlin.

Most inspiring musician you’ve experienced?

Alanah: In terms of bands we’ve supported, it would be Post Punk Podge or Bob Vylan. Outside of that, Dee Sada. She’s a multi instrumentalist that has been in a lot of bands over the years – my most recent favourite being Paper Birch.
Bev: I love Bob Vylan, it was an absolute privilege seeing them do their thing five nights in a row last year and it was just as exciting every night. I also love Post Punk Podge, again, what an incredible live show. More internationally, I am in love with Lizzo and BTS – their live shows make me want to go out and boss life, be true to myself, and make music that builds up our community and makes them feel empowered.
Ciara: The many Bobs of Bob Vylan. They make me wanna punch through a wall.
Beth: look I’m going to say Hayley Williams. I’ve been obsessed with her since I was 11, she has always had an amazing stage presence and managed to remain grounded when the music industry vilified her. I’d love to have a chat with her about all the sexism in the scene lol.

New band you’d recommend?

Alanah: Jock are the most fun live band in Belfast at the moment.
Bev: We’re all obsessed with Jock. Their first single ‘What a Drag’ is out this week and I cannot wait
Ciara: Probably Jock from Belfast, they’re insane
Beth: JOCK!! They’re so cool!

Opening for this band would be ideal?

Alanah: I have the same answer for this every time – Pissed Jeans. I’ve had tickets to see them multiple times and have been sick/missed each one. I just want to support them for my own selfish reasons.
Bev: L7. They really said, “I came back to bitch.” Are you kidding me?? Also Otoboke Beaver – they sing about hating men and loving food, it speaks to me.
Ciara: Bikini Kill or L7.
Beth: Bikini Kill or (never gonna happen) Paramore lol.

Place you’d most like to tour?

Alanah: I really want to tour in Ontario, Canada. I grew up there and it would just be really nice to be able to have my friends and family come and see us. Ideally I’d love to play Toronto and London (Ontario) as those would have been the two places I saw the most concerts growing up, but it would be really funny to do some smaller show in Ingersoll. There aren’t really any proper venues there, it’s the kind of place where you’ll have bands playing in the local union hall or something.
Bev: Touring Canada would mean so much to Alanah
Ciara: Canada! For Alanah’s hometown shows, so please fund this if you’re rich
Beth: I’d love to do a big crazy North American tour

Quote you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Alanah: “One brick today is one less for tomorrow” – (1905 ‘Can’t Change Everything’)
Bev: Everybody, I know you can believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you will know how to ride a bike. You will get the hang of it, I know it. If you keep practising, you will get better and better as you do it. Thumbs up everybody for rock and roll.
Ciara: It’s never too late and do it yourself!
Beth: Bigger dummies than you.

Reason for the title of your recent/forthcoming release?

Who Do We Not Save?” Is about the state of the healthcare system, and we took the title from Dominic Cumming’s photo of the white board that was used to plan the UK government’s early response to COVID. It is such a grim phrase but also epitomises the Tory party’s priorities.

See us live at?

May 13th: The Great Escape, Brighton
June 5th: Supporting Le Tigre, Albert Hall, Manchester
June 6th: Supporting Le Tigre, Barrowlands, Glasgow
July 15th: My People Fest, Berlin
July 22nd: Crapfest, Liverpool

The old days of music were better than the current, do you agree?

Alanah: Not necessarily. Obviously, our predecessors were the ones that were creating, experimenting and shaping different genres, but that’s not to say that’s not still happening now. It’s important to honour those that came before us, but there should always be space for something new and exciting – especially when it comes to highlighting different voices and experiences.
Bev: 100% no. The equipment needed to create music has become so much more accessible and people can record themselves in their bedroom and so many different voices and experiences are being expressed. Of course, it’s harder to keep track of everything coming out and I feel like most radio stations either focus on the old days or the same handful of musicians on major labels which makes the music on the charts today seem stagnant and unexciting. But if you do a bit of digging on the internet there is some amazing stuff out there for everyone.

Ciara: Nah, surely we have the joys of everything we had then plus now the amazing acts and artists emerging and less creepy old men running the scenes 🙂
Beth: no chance! Yes we romanticise the old days and look at them through rose tinted glasses but the scene is so much more diverse nowadays and it’s much less of a boys club.

Unusual merchandise?

Alanah: I want action figures of us doing really mundane things. Not even us with our instruments, just something like answering emails or eating carrot sticks backstage.

Bev: I was asked this once in a spoken interview and I said rentable bouncy castles with big bold patterns on them. I panic under pressure, that is not a good idea. But seriously, I want to do sticks of rock. Or vapes.
Ciara: Not really at the minute but we are open to weird and wonderful suggestions?
Beth: Problem Patterns baking kit like Dolly Parton has in the US.

Variations you’d like to do on any of your songs?

Alanah: I want to revisit “Mediocre Man” and make it heavier, with creepier vocals.
Bev: Alanah did a remix of Day and Age with Megan Thee Stallion which is a fantastic variation hahaha – please message us to convince Alanah to put it up on Soundcloud. But also someone recently said I “play guitar with contempt” which describes my current approach perfectly – I’d like to go back to our first couple of songs and redo them with more contempt and less self consciousness.
Ciara: More swapping, more weirdness, less intelligible sounds
Beth: I think our early recordings don’t really do the songs justice, I’d like to revisit those and make them more true to how we play them live.

What do your fans mean to you?

Alanah: We are so used to seeing our friends at our gigs, which is obviously lovely, that it’s strange when we see people in the audience that we don’t know. We are very lucky that we get to go to other cities and that people show up. It means the world that anyone would take the time to listen to us.
Ciara: Literally everything, they genuinely help us keep going by showing up, supporting, buying merch, sharing our stuff online and being wee angels and dotes
Bev: I am so humbled and grateful that anyone listens to anything we make, thank you for the support
Beth: I guess I don’t really consider us having fans lol I just feel so privileged that people listen to our music and come to see us live. They’re all our mates.

X-rays or any treatments needed for band-related injuries?

Alanah: Ciara and I are really bad for show-related injuries. We always say we will take it easy on stage and then the next day we’re comparing knee problems. We never learn.
Bev: Hmmm I had a really dodgy knee for a couple weeks after driving to Donegal and back in one day for a show. I also bruised both knees after falling while getting back ONTO the stage after jumping off it fine in Galway. But my knees are wrecked from skating anyway so what can ya do
Ciara: I busted my lip open on stage once with the mic and the venue made me keep a cotton bud in mouth all night lol
Beth: thankfully I’ve not been injured yet… touch wood

You’re late for a show, whose fault is it?

Alanah: It’s probably Bev (sorry Bev)
Ciara: I want to throw Bev under the bus here because she isn’t the CEO of time but that’s because she doesn’t believe in it tbf. It is most likely me looking for my phone though.

Bev: A wizard is never late nor early. I arrive precisely when I mean to. And yes time is a made up concept.
Beth: it’s definitely not my fault lol

Zoo animal that best describes the personality of your band?

Alanah: Red pandas
Bev: Zebra – a bad ass black and white pattern, affectionate with their own herd, but would soon kick ye to death if you crossed them
Ciara: A big silverback gorilla with a bad attitude and a soft side
Beth: honey badger, they’re vicious

Elizabeth Birt

May 11, 2023

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


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