Hailing from Glastonbury, Having Never Performed Live, Sad Night Dynamite is One of the UKs Buzziest New Acts
Photography by Sirus F Gahan
When you’re a teenager growing up in the UK countryside, there’s not much to do other than sample drugs, drink cider in parks, maybe tinker about making music and be weird. Welcome to Sad Night Dynamite. Imagine being a band from Glastonbury, becoming one of the UK’s buzziest new acts and never having played a live gig. Welcome to Sad Night Dynamite. Made up of rascals, Archie Blagden and Josh Greacen, their music is menacing and intriguing. Their music videos disconcerting. ”Sad Night Dynamite is a bizarre fantasy built on real experiences,” explains Archie. “I think where we grew up, it just has quite an eerie feel at times.”
In Josh’s words, “if you stay in the villages we’re from, you marry your sister and never leave.” They made the move to London in 2019, first to east End’s Brick Lane. Then south of the river a few months later where most of 2020 was spent holed up in a subterranean flat on the outskirts of Peckham. If you find the band’s music frequently kind of sounds like an uncomfortable nocturnal adventure, that’s because most of it’s been made in an underground bunker where Josh and Archie are deprived of direct sunlight.
Sad Night Dynamite came to being while the pair were studying in different cities, chucking Logic files back and forth over email. The only rule being that there were no rules. The first tracks were good but it was with their third— “Icy Violence”— that something clicked. Debut EP, Snd001 appeared inconspicuously at the beginning of 2020 with subsequent releases like “Killshot” garnering big streaming numbers and giving the band vital momentum. 2021 introduced their self-titled debut mixtape to a rapidly expanding fanbase. It was the first fully fleshed-out approximation of the band’s immersive vision.
But they still hadn’t played a live show until this summer at London’s All Points East festival. “Lockdown kept us incubated from the outside world, so we had a lot of pent up energy,” Josh laughs. The performance included liberal use of a bullhorn and it also eventually lost him his favorite shirt to the crowd. “All Points East on that Friday night made up for all the wait- ing though. I don’t think either of us will forget it.” They smashed their debut.
The recent, tripped out single “Psychedelic Views (feat. IDK)” is a further glimpse down the rabbit hole of Sad Night Dynamite: one in which trap beats, Ennio Morricone-esque scores and a guest appearance by IDK (whose previous collabs include A$AP Ferg, Denzel Curry, and BJ the Chicago Kid) make total surreal sense out of the absurdity of the present day. “During the first lockdown,” Archie and Josh write, “we fled London and set up camp in a disused pub near the village where we grew up. It’s safe to say we were not liked by the locals. They were one step away from coming for us with pitchforks. You can imagine how well it went down when we stuck a ‘Black and Trans Lives Matter’ sign in the window. Then a rat died under the floorboards and in a weird way it made us delirious. “Psychedelic Views” is the result. We were dream- ing of another hotel. Far away, somewhere in the sun, which is where the song is set.”
The buzz intensifies with every passing moment. Their first live tour sold out immediately and their music’s getting noticed in all the right places. FKA twigs, Ashnikko, Shygirl and kings of trip-hop, Gorillaz are certified fans. “Noodle is actually in our Instagram DMs so that’s something,“ Josh laughs. “Although she does send quite short replies. We’ve grown up listening to Gorillaz and they’re definitely a big influence for us. Having the nod from them felt great. I remember hearing “Feel Good Inc.” on the film Stormbreaker when I was about 12. It was the best thing I’d ever heard.” Although Bristol– home of the UK trip-hop sound, and a fertile ground for experimental electro, drum n bass and dubstep— is relatively close to where they grew up, they didn’t spend much time in that scene nor did it seem to really influence them. “It would be a lie to say it did,” explains Josh. “It costs a lot of money to go out there because of the travel and stuff. The internet is what really influenced us growing up. You can pretty much find any music on there and that’s where we used to get our ideas.”
I wonder if being country folk, they’ve ever recorded nature sounds like the experimental producer, Tom Middleton. “To be hon- est we haven’t come across Tom before,” replies Archie. “We’ve yet to try this method out. Possibly in the future but I worry there aren’t enough 808s in nature. Maybe if you chuck a pig really hard against a tree.” Welcome to Sad Night Dynamite.