Whilst enjoying the weekend here at Manchester Punk Festival, we had the amazing opportunity to speak to two-piece punk band Glitchers. Commonly known for their iconic, pop-up street gigs, Jake and Sophie gave us an insight into their unusual, unique lives. 

Thank you for finding the time to come and have a chat with us! The first time we saw you guys was in Sheffield outside Church after their first Greebo night – I can certainly say you managed to shock everyone when you pulled up in the van, chucked your stuff on the side of the road and started playing. So I’ve got to ask, how did you decide to do something so unique?

Sophie: It was Jake’s idea really, wasn’t it?

Jake: Yeah, I came up with the idea just before lockdown and I was like, so sick of starting bands again and again and obviously as you get older, you don’t have a big friend group. So, you try to apply for gigs and they’re like “Well you’ve just started, so you need to sell this many tickets” and I’m like “Yeah but I need the gigs to make the fans” – and you’re just stuck in a cycle. And I was like, “Maybe we just set up outside” but then everything shut and I was like “Sophie, if I teach you how to play the drums, when stuff reopens shall we just try this idea out” and there were no venues, so we don’t have anything to lose and we’ve just never looked back really.

Sophie: Yep, it’s been nonstop since, pretty much [laughs]. 

How often would you say you’re out gigging?

Jake: Every week honestly.

Sophie: In the summer, it’s nearly every day as well. But it’s a bit cold at the minute and I don’t like playing in the cold. But sometimes it’ll be like minus one when I’m playing and I’m wearing my hoodie and halfway through I’m like “Oh no, big mistake,” because I’ll be too hot [laughs]. 

What you guys do is so different to a usual gig so I have to ask, have you ever gotten into trouble?

Sophie: We’ve had the police called on us a couple of times.

Jake: But that’s mainly because I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut [laughs]. Nothing I say is a lie, but it definitely rattles them up. But I always know where to stop and I’ll put my hands up in the air like “Are you really gonna arrest me?” We did get an ASBO in London, that was in Camden and it shocked us because we’ve done Camden so many times, the police drive past and they don’t care. But it was just this one day, there were two coppers stood there and there was a guy preaching, like shouting through a megaphone so I went up to them and said, “We’re gonna play some music in about ten minutes. It is gonna be loud but no louder than him and it will definitely be more friendly” and they kinda laughed it off. But then like halfway through the set, a police van pulled up and the big ego guy [laughs] comes running out and was like “You gotta stop” and I was like “I don’t think so.” So I just sat on my amp so they couldn’t turn it off and just kept playing.

Sophie: So then we got ASBO’s and I sent the picture to my mum and I was like, “Are you proud of me?” [laughs] And she was like, “What have you done now?”

Jake: It’s funny because we got most of it on video and they’ve got body cams, so each time something happens we just go to the police and say, “You shouldn’t have done this because we weren’t breaking the law” and then they have to investigate themselves, so nothing ever happens but it actually shows like, yeah come on leave us alone. I think the videos going viral on Facebook and TikTok of the policemen trying to shut us down and being humiliated have helped us a lot, because they don’t come near us as much now. So the word must’ve got around that like, if you see a punk band, just leave ’em to it [laughs]. 

Sophie: We’re not worth the hassle [jokingly]. It’s only a bit of music.

Jake: Like, yeah it is loud but it’s only for like fifteen minutes. So we do a short set and then we move along somewhere else, don’t we?

Sophie: Maybe if it was more socially acceptable, it would be different I’d say.

How do your parents feel about what you do?

[Both laugh]

Sophie: Polar opposites I think. Like, my mum loves it cuz my mum has always been into more rock and heavy metal and she’s like, “Well, if you’re happy.” The first time I said I was gonna go away and do this she was like, “No, you come back you, you do your job” and I was like, “I’m quitting my job” and she kept saying, “No, you do your job.” But then she kinda accepted that like, I can get a job at any point in my life and I can settle down at any point, so I might as well just have fun while I’m in my 20s. So yeah, she’s pretty supportive and my dad is as well. My dad is a proper rocker he’s always like, “I’m so proud of you.” He printed off all our gig posters and put them around his work. Yeah, my parents are amazing, they love us so much.

Jake: Yeah, I’ve been in bands for so long that my mum just doesn’t care anymore [laughs]. Each time I see her she’s like, “How’s it going?” I’m like, “Yeah, all good” and she’ll go, “You haven’t broken your legs yet? No? Okay.” Every time I say, “Oh mum, I hurt my elbow” she’ll say, “Well, self-inflicted init. You wouldn’t get that in a normal job” [continues to laugh]. But yeah, she doesn’t hate what we do, I think she finds it funny, doesn’t she?

Do you know of any other bands who have done something similar to yourselves?

Sophie: In America, it happens a lot, doesn’t it?

Jake: Yeah, there are some bands that, not to the point we do, but there’s a band at the moment who are going round in a bus and turn up outside of gigs, and some bands I think have used megaphones on stage and stuff, but I don’t think anyone’s done it to the extent that we’re doing. Like, obviously people busk, but I want to encourage more bands to do what we do. Like, it’s literally just a car battery, a megaphone and a drum kit, so just do it.

A car battery?

Jake: Yep. A car battery and an inverter. It powers everything. Like it’s not expensive.

Sophie: We wanna write a little manual of how to do street gigs, because we want so many people to do it.

Jake: And it works. Like, I’ve been in so many bands for so long and the growth is always so slow and what’s happened with this is like, it just blows my mind. We’re not the best musicians, we’re not trying to be the best, we’re just trying to have fun and people really resonate with it.

You guys have a really dedicated set of fans, how does that feel?

Sophie: I always find it really cringe when bands are like, “Oh my fans are my friends” but for us, they genuinely are. We even have a WhatsApp group and a Facebook group and everyone just chats and it’s so nice.

Jake: Like, we love doing our street tours because we’re like, “Well, we’re gonna go here and we know these people are gonna come so we can hang out with them” and so on. Like, we’ve met them all just by doing these gigs, yeah they’re fans but they’re also now our best friends all over the country.

Has anyone ever come up and grabbed the megaphone?

Sophie: A couple of times, yes.

Jake: And it’s normally, it’s the people who are on a hen-do or a stag-do. Like if I’m honest, not normally are people actually trying to sing the songs or anything like that, they’re just drunk out of their minds like, “Ooo, there’s a megaphone there!” [laughs] And most of the time, I’ll just let ’em get on with it and I’ll play a riff, it gives me a break for five minutes.

Sophie: I think what shocks people as well is because we’re so loud and Jake’s like, “AHHH” and jumping everywhere and they’ll come up to us after and be like, “You’re so nice” and I’m like, “We’re not actually that angry all the time” [laughs]. 

Jake: It’s just our outlet!

How long have you been performing as Glitchers?

Jake: 2021 was when we properly started. Cuz 2020, it was like March time, and Sophie started to play the drums like a little bit to see if you liked it-

Sophie: And that’s when lockdown was on.

Jake: Yeah, and Sophie was like, “I might as well just go for it” and that’s when I just taught her how to play the songs that I’d written. Like, she still can’t really play anything else [laughs]. She can play Helter Skelter by The Beatles.

Sophie: People always ask me, “What was your lockdown like?” and I’m like, “Drums, banana bread, Tiger King and a lot of golf on the PlayStation.” So yeah, literally just a lot of drumming every day on some naff electric kit we’d got, it was great.

Jake: And then we did a few bits in 2020, like just to get Sophie used to it. It was more of a, “You’ve never played in front of people, you’ve never done this before, do you actually like it?” gig.

Sophie: We did about five of them and then Jake was like, “Right, we’re gonna play outside Downing Street” and I was like “Great” [laughs]. Thrown me into the deep end here.

Jake: Well it was because like, the whole government said that “The arts weren’t a viable job” and I went, “We’ve gotta do something” and Sophie was like, “What, now?!” So I said, “If we’re gonna do this as that kinda band, yeah, now!” [laughs] And we just hired a truck and went down and did it.

Sophie: So I never had them nerves of playing because I was just thrown into it like, “Okay so, instead of playing in front of like 500 people in a club, you’re gonna be playing in front of loads of people on a high street and you have no choice” and I was like, “JAKEEEE!” Even now, I still play with my eyes closed.

Is it just the two of you in the band?

Jake: Yeah! I mean, we normally have a roadie with us, one of our friends, who pretty much is on stage with us most of the time, because I drop stuff so much and kick stuff over or something breaks. So we always laugh and say there is a third member, but that member changes on whoever’s with us [laughs]. 

Sophie: And there’s always a group wherever we go, isn’t there?

Jake: Yeah, it’s nice because when we just started we had no fans so we’d just turn up on the high street and we’d just look at each other and go, “Are you ready?” like, no one knew what was about to happen. Whereas now, obviously when we turn up, we’ve got a few people in each place so it’s nice. We’re literally a pop-up punk gig.

Sophie: It makes you feel a little bit more protected as well, like anything could happen on the streets. If only it was that easy to just pop up though!

Jake: It’s getting easier now though because we’ve people who will help us and because they’re so eager to help, it literally takes like 20 seconds to unload the van.

What do you guys have planned for the summer?

Sophie: Lots of street gigs. Cuz at the moment we’re doing a lot of after-party gigs because so many bands are on tour. But in the summer, it’s festival season so you don’t get as many bands on tour, so it’ll be like a couple of daytime street gigs every day.

Jake: We wanna try some festivals, but it’s hard because they’re always out in the middle of nowhere so it’s gonna take being on the back of a flatbed truck which obviously costs money to hire, or we just get a bunch of us to kinda, hide in the van, pull up outside and everyone just grabs something and play quickly for as long as we can. But yeah, we’d love to try to do some of the festivals, but I think that’s gonna have to wait until we’re almost like “booked” on the little stage and just sneak all the gear into the main arena and just play. But like, we can’t do that until we’re inside because we can’t afford the festival tickets [laughs]. 

I’m guessing Download would be your dream?

Jake: Oh yeah, that would be sick. If it wasn’t the anniversary and it was all sold out and everything… We did say, we’d love to do the campsite, just like rock up and play there. But I think this year we’re like just let ’em have their party, we’ll do next year.

Sophie: We could just blag our way in. Like, “Hi, I’m Metallica” [laughs]. 

Jake: We need to plan it out but we’ve been so busy it’s like, we just need to take a couple of weeks off where we’re not doing as much and plan out the year, because we’ve got so many ideas and we’re like, “We wanna do this, we wanna do that” and then like, a month passes and we haven’t done any of it, we’ve just been out gigging. We need to stop for a second and see what’s what.

Sophie: We were like, “We’ll do a live from the streets EP” but then we were like, “Where are we gonna find somewhere that’s gonna let us play long enough to record without stopping us?”

How did you feel when you got the news that you’d be playing MPF? This must be huge for you both.

Jake: Oh yes, huge. Massive step. Again, because we play on the streets, I think a lot of people feel like, “Oh, they’re happy doing that” so we don’t get invited to as much. Which is fair enough but like also yeah, we do wanna be a real band too [laughs]. 

Sophie: It’s cold on the streets!

Jake: This a big milestone for us because, well we were just saying actually, it’s probably one of the biggest actual stage venues playing to that amount of people. Like, if it’s sold out then that’s gonna be like 500 capacity which obviously on the streets sometimes it’s been that at the after parties, but not everyone’s watching like, we can’t kid ourselves, you’re only ever playing to like fifty to a hundred at the most. So yeah, this is really good for us and to be asked too… I got really lazy to the point where I was like, “Well if we’re playing on the streets, everyone can see what we’re doing, I can’t be bothered to just beg everyone. If they want us to play, they’ll reach out to us” and yeah, it’s worked hasn’t it?

Sophie: They reached out a while ago actually. 

Jake: I think it was like the end of last year and I think they saw us outside of Outbreak Festival in Manchester and that helped. Then we got booked for Rebellion Festival last year cuz the guy that was booking that stage just happened to walk past one of our street gigs, and that’s why we say to just to play because you never know who’s walking past. Like, we were playing in Birmingham and I think it was the guitarist Pete Thorn, he’s like a solo-master guitar player kinda thing, but yeah he happened to be walking past and then just randomly followed us so people just randomly appreciate it!

Sophie: Yes that’s why we like doing the street gigs because you never know who’s gonna be there. Also we’ve had so many people come up to us on the streets who are in wheelchairs that say, “We can’t go to gigs” and they love that we do this, because then they can see a band cuz they can’t actually go to venue gigs.

Jake: Yeah and people with all kinds of disabilities. Even the homeless have come up to us like, we’ll always go up to ’em if we’re accidentally setting up near someone and say, “We’re just gonna be loud for ten minutes” and it’s got to the point where we go up to some of them and they’re like, “Oh yeah, we’ve heard of who you are, we’re well excited!” and that warms my heart, because it’s like, it is music for everyone, you know. Old, young, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or you’re poor like it does not matter just people enjoy it.

Sophie: We do get a lot of comments like, “Think about the kids” but they love it. We literally had this kid like almost fully moshing in Manchester once.

Jake: Yeah, there was a video of him like jumping to his knees straight after I did.

Sophie:  He was copying you and it was so sweet! Kids absolutely love it and we always get those comments, “Think about the kids and the older people,” but they love it.

Jake: I’m like, “Yeah well that old woman just put a tenner in the bucket and that kid is having the best day of her life so…” [laughs]. 

That’s so heartwarming to know that homeless people enjoy it too!

Sophie: Yeah, they’re so sweet. I mean, most people can’t afford to go to gigs because we all know how expensive gigs are!

Jake: It’s actually the main reason we do all of our stuff for donations because growing up, I was always so poor that if my mum managed to get me a ticket to a gig, I could never afford the merch or anything and I was like, “I need to save up for months to go,” so I thought maybe it’s time to just flip it on its head. It might upset some people, but it’s gonna make so many people’s day. Like, we were saying that people who have now seen us anywhere, can just come to a gig and know that they’re gonna be warm and happy and have a good time.

Sophie: It’s the same with our merch like, on Bandcamp, we have a like, price of cost which is literally like sixty pence for a t-shirt.

Jake: We literally just go to charity shops and buy the fifty pence rails and then make all the merch ourselves.

Sophie: Literally we go in there with like, arms full of t-shirts and we’re like, “Can we have all of these please?” [laughs]. 

Jake: We’re THE most DIY band without even meaning to be. Like, we’re literally at home on our days off with rollers out, painting shirts, folding the CDs, the covers and stuff. Everything.

Shout out to you guys! So, if you could tour with any band, who would it be?

Sophie: If I could’ve toured with Nirvana, just because they’re like my top band, like they’re my favourite band ever. But the band I’d really wanna tour with are broken up.

Jake: You’re gonna say my choice now aren’t you?!

Sophie & Jake: Every Time I Die.

Sophie: They split up last year, didn’t they?

Jake: Yeah… Worst day of my life. They’re now maybe turning into two bands so there’s a potential.

Sophie: I would love to tour with Rage Against The Machine or like, Bring Me The Horizon. I mean, Lee follows us on Instagram and we keep messaging him like, “Please” [laughs].

Jake: Yes. And like, we know they’re aware of us because when we set up outside of their gig at Pryzm, that was like a year and a half ago, something like that? Well, they put us in their little promo video for the gig so they know who we are, they filmed us out of their dressing room-

Sophie: And I’m like, “Let us innnnn!”

Jake: We are kinda friends with Static Dress cuz they just seemed to be playing lots of gigs that we set up outside of, we just kinda got friends with em and we’re like, “Someone just put in a nice word for us. We’re nice people, we promise!” They’re such nice people and an incredible band too, one of my favourite bands at the moment.

Sophie: I mean, touring-wise, it was always My Chemical Romance but we already kinda did that.

Jake: Well yeah but that wasn’t inside. I mean it was incredible playing in the car park. Like, no band has ever been asked by a member of their favourite band to come and do something like that and we were in shock for ages.

Who from the band reached out?

Jake: Frank did. Like, he randomly messaged us when he saw a video of us online and was like, “This is really sick” and then when they put the tour dates up, we jokingly replied to the story saying, “Oh, we’ll see you outside” and he was like, “Let’s make it happen” and we were genuinely like, “Holy shit, this is childhood heroes, I have a MCR rucksack and everything.”

Sophie: We knew this from the October and had to keep it quiet until the day of the gig and we just wanted to tell everyone. It was one of those moments where you just look at each other like [shocked face]. 

Jake: I remember you running out of the house. We were at a friend’s because we were playing some street gigs and you come running out going, “YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE THIS!!!!” [laughs]. 

Sophie: I was triple-checking the blue tick like, “Is it real?”

Jake: But yeah, that was great fun. I mean, I’d love to play with one of Frank’s bands. I loved all his little projects he’s done on the side and as much as I think I’d love to support someone big like MCR, I’d love to be in those smaller rooms, with those people, playing those gigs.

Sophie: Even going to gigs, I prefer the smaller ones to like the big venues.

Jake: Yeah absolutely cuz you can’t connect with ’em as easily. But yeah, in all honesty, I think I’d love to go with Static Dress. I think that would be good. Or even Stray From The Path, I’m a big fan of them. Like, big fans. So yeah, as much as everyone shoots for the stars, nah, I’m happy just, you know, doing those decent venues, because you just have fun and I feel like if we were playing a stadium, we’d be so nervous, so stressed, there would be so many people going, “What are these doing, where does this go?” and I’d be like, “It’s just one amp can I just turn it on and play please” [laughs].

Sophie: I feel like cuz there’s two of us, we’d look really tiny on the stage too.

Sounds like you need some backup dancers… What does life on the road look like to you guys?

Sophie: All the gear in the van, bourbon biscuits, a lot of bourbons.

Jake: Yeah, lots of snacks. We try to eat properly but very often when it’s street gigs season, we’ll wake up, maybe have breakfast, we’ll rush out, play the first street gig and then it’s like, normally we’ll have planned another a couple of hours away. So we’re straight in the van, drive to the next one, play there and then it’s whoever we’re staying with, or if we’re parking up in a campsite we’ll check in and then we’re like, “Shit, it’s seven o’clock, we need to eat.” Now we’ve got the van and we can kinda cook, it’s a bit easier. But when we first started and we were in the car, we’d get to a hotel or wherever we were staying and the tradition was, “What shall we have? Let’s have a look at the takeaway”… it will be nine o’clock before we order because we can NEVER decide what we want and then I’ll look at the price and be like, “I swear we can get this cheaper, come on keep looking” [laughs]. 

Sophie: We’ll be trying to find all the discount codes and stuff.

I feel like you two are the type to go into Tesco late at night and get all the reduced stuff.

[Both laugh]

Sophie: Oh my god, yes. We love a yellow sticker!

Jake: But yeah this year is gonna be different, because we’ve travelled so much of the country and we haven’t seen anything because we’re only ever in the city for like, half an hour. So we said we’re gonna play once at lunchtime and either an after party or another evening one at like five or six o’clock, so we can actually see people and do stuff cuz we don’t do enough.

Do you manage to get home often or are you always on the go?

Sophie: We have to go home because we have two house rabbits [laughs].

Jake: Yes. we did have a life before we started Glitchers. Like, we keep saying that we wish we’d come up with this idea and either stayed at home with parents and not got a house, not started a life together and THEN decide, “Oh, it’d be really cool to go travel.”

Sophie: The rabbits are fine for like, three or four days on their own. We’d bring them but they’re so scared of everything, one of them is deaf so they wouldn’t notice but yeah, they’re fine for a few days, we pack them up with loads of hay and if we’re even a day longer then three or four, they’re so grumpy with us, they’re like, “You left us!” So we have to go back for them, otherwise I don’t think we’d ever go home.

Jake: They do have like, 75% of the house while we’re away like, the living room, the stairs, they can roam whenever they want and because they’re together in a pair, they do their own thing and because of that, we go home like, normally three days out of four in a week. But recently, because of the after parties, it’s been maybe two days a week. Just quickly nipping home, making sure they’re okay, sleep and then we’re straight out the next morning.

Sophie: There have been many PlayStation cables chewed through and they only seem to go for the ones that are plugged in [laughs].

How did you come up with the band name?

Sophie: That was all Jake.

Jake: Yep, that was all me. Me and a friend were trying to come up with a new band name and I was like, “I need to start a new band”, cuz I’d been in one for years and he was like, “Well what you gonna call is then?” We literally went backwards and forwards with song titles and he sent “Glitches” without the “r” in it and I went, “Hold on a minute, put an r in it” and he’s like, “That might work” and that’s as far as it went. Then once we got going, we were like, “Actually, this name fits us” because we are kinda like a glitch in the system, because we’re doing what we want and we’re a glitch because when we turn up, we’re loud and then once we’ve packed up, we look around and it’s like we’ve never been there.

Sophie: It also makes it really easy when you’re doing design work because it’s like, “Here’s a photo of us, let’s just put a glitch filter on that. Sorted” [laughs]. 

Jake: But yeah, I’d written some songs on what I wanted the band to sound like but at that point, I hadn’t planned to be on the streets, it was just gonna be another standard band.

That’s so ironic! So, zombie apocalypse, what’s your weapon of choice?

Sophie: I’ve been watching a lot of The Walking Dead. I would probably pick, like, I really like Michonne’s sword. I think that’s a good choice because guns run out of ammo so quickly and swords, well, you can just sharpen it and you’re good to go. So yeah, a sword. Like a proper samurai sword.

Jake: I think that’s a good idea. See, we were talking about a zombie apocalypse the other day and my plan was to just go find a forest and climb a tree, because I’m assuming zombies can’t climb because the weight would just rip their arms off.

Sophie: Well it depends on what universe the zombies are in.

Jake: Yeah so, my plan was always just to escape rather than kill them but I suppose, let’s go classic, I’ll have a chainsaw. That’s always what I used to play with when I played Dead Island.

Sophie: But what happens when it runs out of fuel? You could use your guitar. You smash that all the time and it hasn’t broken yet.

Jake: Maybe I’ll just make some sort of, saw spinning thing and in the process, I’m probably dying while Sophie’s just slashing them, not bothered by what you’re killing [laughs]. 

Here’s a fun question I truly believe reveals your personality, if you were a soup, what flavour would you be?

Jake: Shall we do each other? I think you’d be a classic-

Sophie: No.

Jake: Heinz tomato soup.

Sophie: So you’re calling me basic [laughs]

Jake: Nah, because everyone loves it and when you have it, there is a little bit of a tang to it.

Sophie: I was gonna say that I would be vegetable soup because I’m chunky and funky. But no, you go with tomato… you can be oxtail because it’s gross [laughs]. 

Jake: I’d be a noodle soup. Chicken noodle soup.

Sophie: Yes, 100%, like a ramen.

Jake: Vegan, chicken noodle soup. Well, most of those noodle soups you buy in a packet say chicken and then you turn it around and it’s vegan, so I have no idea what they put in them.

Sophie: It’s just cuz your hair is like ramen noodles.

Jake: Yes it is.

[A few moments later]

Sophie: I am not tomato soup, I’m chunky vegetable [everyone laughs]. 

I feel like this is going to go on forever now.

Sophie: Yes, I’m gonna be waking up in the middle of the night like, “JAKE, I KNOW WHAT SOUP YOU ARE!!”

I could talk to you both for hours but we’re gonna have to bring it to an end, is there anything you’d like to add/promote?

Jake: Well, our EP came out last year, Ctrl Alt Deland we never really promoted it if I’m honest. We spent so long getting it ready and then we went on tour and just kinda forgot [laughs]. So if everyone could go and find out EP, we do have music out. But yeah, just wait for the summer. We’re gonna be doing loads of street gigs. We wanna do a little camping weekend, where people can come along and we’ll do like, two or three street gigs a day altogether. Also, try and follow us on social media, we are actively trying to keep people in the know of where we’re gonna play. We’ll find our way around social media and have as many parties in the streets as we can. Maybe try and get some more bands out with us this year. But yeah, here’s to the summer.

[We promised Sophie that we wouldn’t forget to mention she loves Negan from The Walking Dead.] 

Interview by: Sian Connolly

Tags : Glitchers