MUSIC INTERVIEW: Punk Rock Factory
Punk Rock Factory were never meant to be play at Download Festival. In fact, they were never even meant to play anywhere live, reveals drummer Andrew ‘Kob’ Robinson. The band, who take all your favourite show tunes, Disney movie themes and well known bangers, and dip them in the well of sugar sweet pop-punk, were only a lockdown escape from the chaos of the pandemic. But now, they are making a living touring the world and playing to a sea of fists in the air as far as the eye can see.
And Robinson is as amazed as he is delighted at the ever rising reach of Punk Rock Factory – a not so guilty pleasure any more.
“The beauty of this there was never any plans really with this band,” says Robinson excitedly. “We were simply four best mates who went to the studio on Newport and played some covers, had a jam and it was never supposed to be this. When things really started to kick off during lockdown on Tiktok we realised we were making a living off this now, but we genuinely didn’t ever imagine we’d play live as we didn’t think people would want it live.”
At Download, the South Wales quartet drew such a huge crowd to the Avalanche Stage that there were more than a thousand people listening to the band outside the tent, unable to get inside to catch a glimpse of the band.
“We didn’t expect that crazy turnout at all,” he goes on. “We were setting up before and when I saw the tent had a few in I thought to myself, ‘it’s half full that’s lovely.’ We will do our thing and live our best lives, but then we walked on that stage and could see the back of the tent and much further. It was wild, we couldn’t believe it. We always ask if we should be here? It goes down so well and it always still surprises us.”
From the off, Punk Rock Factory have gone big. Their first live show EVER wasn’t in some local boozer or at a small event for friends and family. Bloodstock was the scene of the PRF live debut. A festival famous for metal and all things ferocious and living loud.
“Our first ever show was at Bloodstock and it was mad,” reflects Robinson. “We were so scared, but that crowd was incredible. We thought we would be killed. Our second song was Let It Go from Frozen and we all just remember this big viking guy roaring ‘yassssss’ and we knew, at that moment, that we were supposed to be there.
“All our songs are guilty pleasures and I think half the time people feel awkward about it, but I love that Moana song as most people have kids or have seen the movies, but to make them a bit rocking and have everyone singing along, everyone just loves it. We assumed Bloodstock would be a one off and then Download called and we played the village, but it went so well so we got asked to do the secret set.
“From there we have played Slam Dunk on a smaller stage and the festival socials went so wild we had to be upgraded to a bigger stage.”
Download isn’t the end for this band of Disney loving rockers, and while European dates are fast approaching and a tour to Japan has been booked, the final boss of gigs for Robinson is of course a show at Disneyworld.
“We want to play Disneyworld so much,” he smiles. “We have the right songs, but everyone has a good time at our shows so a Disney show would be perfect. But for now we are off to Prague to play a 12k tent at a festival, Sweden, then Belladrum in Scotland and later in the year we have almost sold-out tours in the UK, Europe, Australia. Just today we signed to Avex Records in Japan and we are going there as well. I always said that Japan will be the one place that gets us most, as they love this over the top crazy stuff so essentially world domination.”
But what do ‘Kob’ and the crew listen to when they aren’t channelling their inner Elsa or Moana? Well, Swedish metallers Ghost of course.
“I take a lot of the inspiration for the things we do from Ghost,” explains Robinson. “It’s mostly the kind of the lore that surrounds them. The mystery, the videos they put out. I think Tobias is this genius who oversees everything. I’m obsessed with Ghost and KISS and bands like that.
“I love the music, but it’s more the way they are presented as a band and the way they tease stuff and the videos they put out. The way they tease stuff. When we were announced for Download we didn’t want to just say yeah we are playing Download. So we made a video like the way Ghost would tease. Our video was that we need to pack our bags with lots of easter eggs and hidden meanings: and before I forget Bring Me The Horizon, we would show a glimpse of a Slipknot beer keg so our fans would get the hints.”
Interview by: Eric Mackinnon