Becki and Marc from The Webb
THE WEBB describe themselves as “Quirky, first-Wave Punk / Goth revivalist” and even with all my experience in creative writing, I don’t think I could give them a better description! THE WEBB is a two-piece band made up of Marc (music) and Becki (vocals) from Merseyside in the UK. Their eclectic Electro-Goth-Punk, fun style has earned them quite a following.
One of the things that makes this band so unique is their stage aesthetic. Their live performance is more like a spooktacular cabaret. Marc and Becki go out of their way to entertain the crowd. Their stage set is playful and fun, consisting of anything from giant, cuddly spiders - to inflatable Halloween decorations. Fans can also purchase a collection of cute, goth dolls, made by the band. RoD had the pleasure of chatting on Zoom, to Marc and Becki from their home in the Wirral.
Reflections of Darkness: [RoD]: So you just played Rebellion Festival, how was that?
Marc:It was just a whirlwind of sheer punk insanity for like four days - just… everything you could ever imagine happening, happening every second of every moment.
Becki:But the thing is, we’ve both been to lots of Rebellions, I’ve been to about ten Rebellions, and I think Marc you’ve been to about ? It used to be called Holidays in the Sun, then it was called Wasted, then it was Rebellion.
Marc:I’ve been to loads.
Becki: But for THE WEBB to play was amazing! People would ask, oh do you think you’d play and we’re not strictly punk, we’re not punk-by-numbers, we’re not hard-core punk or anything like that,
Becki:So then, we eventually got on and we were told we could play, then 2020 - you know, what happened… so that was that. Then obviously, we got asked to play 2022, so for me personally it was a bit of a struggle, cos we were on, on a Saturday afternoon and I love to watch loads of bands and drink and eat. So I did some filming on a little camcorder of the whole thing. I did fifty-one minutes’ worth, and I put it up on YouTube earlier this evening, so they (the fans), can watch that and see that’s what I saw.
Marc: We only ever filmed part of it, cos obviously we’re not walking round with cameras on show.
Becki:I just sort of did it as a little project to keep me sane, then by Saturday night I was going yeah! And of course it gets madder and madder, but thanks yeah, it was a good thing to play.
RoD: It was remarkably diverse this year wasn’t it. There were a lot more mainstream bands, with R-Fest running concurrently to Rebellion.
Becki:Yeah, it was a new thing in conjunction with the council as well, so they could go for pretty much the bands that have been on Top of the Pops, so that was a big shift.
RoD: But then I guess they could apply for funding from the council.
Marc:But then it was bands like the STRANGLERS and ALTERED IMAGES, not like they were having SIMPLY RED on, is it.
Becki:Yeah, they still come under the punk/alternative banner, so they are getting the same crowd, as well. We were a bit cheeky, Marc’s a big HAWKWIND fan and I’ve never seen HAWKWIND before, so we thought, Ok, we’ll get there for them and we did, to experience the place and then we didn’t go again until the Sunday, I think, to see ALTERED IMAGES.
Marc:There’s so much going on, you couldn’t watch every band, you’d have to have a time machine. The only way you could see everything that’s on is if we could split our bodies into about 25 different pieces or something.
Becki:But we loved every minute of it.
RoD: So…I’ve been watching your videos on YouTube, and it just reminds me of the days when we weren’t called goth, we were all just “weirdos.”
Marc:The freaks that everybody wants to shout at as you walk down the street. That’s changed quite a bit though, that hasn’t it. People don’t really shout at you nowadays. People have got a bit more respectful of people looking differently, you know. Depends on where you live you know.
Becki: Well even wearing black, you know Victoriana and stuff back then, how many times did you get: “Cheer up love, has somebody died? Is it a funeral?” or “It’s not Halloween yet!”
Marc:It was almost like an alternative reality that you lived in in your head, but wasn’t always possible in real life, because there were too many restrictions in society. Life gets in the way, if you are going to go do the gardening, you’re not gonna… you know - put full make-up on to do the gardening, are you? It would look funny though, maybe we should do a video, where we are doing the gardening.
RoD: Would you say your music has a kind of nostalgia about the old scene? I noticed you had Where have all the boot boys gone, on YouTube.
Becki:Well, that was because my friend in school, she liked punk - probably liked punk more than I did, so I bought her a punk compilation album, taped it for myself first - as you do, gave her, her present and that was that. Then I was playing that track as I was making my little dolls and I was singing along and I didn’t know all the words, but it just struck a chord in me - and we love messing about don’t we. I could hear it, but (to Marc), you’re the music person.
Marc: We were aiming for that early 80s sound, but we’re not technically as brilliant as say THE HUMAN LEAGUE but kind of do it more of a kind of SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK style, sort of.
Becki:We only did it a few months ago, and we’re lucky cos we can practice in our little room in the garage.
Marc:That’s why we haven’t got a garden, we’ve got a garage with a studio in it so.
Becki:We thought we’d just throw it in the set and people might know it.
Marc:We love the originals of the stuff we do. We’re not trying to say we can do it better, cos that’s impossible, we’re trying to make it just in a different style. Imagine if someone was to be transported from there to there and they happen to be born in the 80s and were just singing about these things.
Becki:To be fair, we could probably cover about a 100 songs: ‘Fade to grey’ all sorts you know, but I tell you what I do like, which I think it mildly important is a song with male vocals and that’s got ‘Boys’ in the title hasn’t it… Boot boys and we’re also doing ‘Moped Lads’ by PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES, so we’re doing that as well. We didn’t get chance to do that in Blackpool cos we only had 30 minutes but isn’t’ that funny - boys and lads.
Marc:All I can hear is SABRINA now, singing about boys. It’s took me to another level (laughs).
RoD: Who are your main influences, music-wise?
Becki:That’s a good question actually, because there is music that you like, but then that usually influences our input.
Marc:I think music that you liked once, you’re always going to like. You’ve never really liked a band and then gone; ooh I don’t like em anymore. I love stuff I listened to when I was about 5! I was just in Liverpool and liked LED ZEPPELIN when I was like 5, because I was going into houses and listening to that, and it stuck. I was born in 65 so when the 70s kicked in, it was all like SWEET and you just take all that with you and it was just a progression into punk rock and electronic music. I still love heavy metal and still love punk and still love electronic.
Becki: You see my fave bands when I was a kid, it was the BEATLES, ABBA, BLONDIE - still a massive BLONDIE fan. My cousin was into GARY NUMAN, so I heard a lot of GARY NUMAN - so loved him. Then the SMITHS, COCTAEU TWINS, then I discovered BAUHAUS, early CURE, KILLING JOKE, but then I kind of had a cut-off point.
Marc:Yeah, everyone has a cut-off point, don’t they?
Becki:Then I had a friend with tapes of like MARILYN MANSON early on, NIRVANA, SOUNDGARDEN etc but my pull was dark lyrics - anything with dark lyrics, death, and suicide and all this, I’m like, I’m there, I get that. We only started doing anything in 2012, but we made a conscious decision not to have a full band. We played around, not wanting guitars in the band. We sort of have some guitar in some songs, we’ll just write songs after songs after songs, but we try and be a bit choosier these days. We kind of just go with the flow. We don’t really have a plan.
Becki:Because we like a lot of alternative music, so Marc will have an idea in his head and he’ll say, ‘I’ve got this great tune and it sounds like KILLING JOKE.’ So he gets the drums down, gets the keyboards going, then it changes, then he adds things, then I’ll put lyrics on, then it sounds nothing like KILLING JOKE! People will say “Oh I love that song, it sounds like” and then come up with someone who sound nothing like KILLING JOKE!
Marc:It sounds like us! (laughs)
Becki: We try consciously sometimes to… I’ll say, ‘Let’s write a song - a proper BLONDIE pop song - a big, strong anthem.
Marc:It never really happens! Every band really should strive to just sound like themselves. They shouldn’t strive to sound like anybody else.
Becki:I think sometimes that’s a case of - people form a band, and they want instant success so they think, “If we sound like them, loads of other people will like us.” It doesn’t matter whether you are OASIS or THE BEATLES or whoever, that happens.
Marc:And I could always see that whenever one of these bands had success - OASIS or BLUR - all these other bands wanted to be them!
Becki:But it’s a shame when it happens in the punk, goth, alternative world. We went to see a GARY NUMAN tribute night or whatever you wanna call it, at the Manchester Academy and there a couple of bands doing GARY NUMAN and was one band that stood out and they were called DEVIANT UK and they were good because they were different! We found them before we were there, and we thought we like them; we’ll go and watch them.
RoD: Speaking of gigs, do you guys do the European circuit?
Becki:We don’t really like travelling, do we?
Marc: I wish someone would invent those jumping belts like they had in the ‘Tomorrow People’ (70’s, British sci-fi show) if you remember that. That was the 70s - about 75, I think.
RoD: I remember that it had a really ominous sounding theme tune!
Becki:Oh yes, I remember that.
Marc: I think when we do gigs as well, we try to take people back to a time that never was and maybe should never be - you know - but it’s just a crazy mishmash of what’s going on in our brains. It’s what goes on in your brain really - just a mishmash of everything you know.
RoD: That was kind of like the early 80s though, when all these bands were experimenting with music, and you were getting all these different sounds coming out! People weren’t quite as polished, and the sound was rawer and more experimental.
Marc:I think that’s better in some ways. I just find that we sometimes struggle with production, because everything we do, we do it all ourselves. We don’t always really know what we’re doing, and people would probably say that they can tell! (laughs)
RoD: Your stuff is reminiscent of the Batcave bands - SPECIMEN, SEX GANG CHILDREN, FLESH FOR LULU etc.
Becki:That’s probably what gives us our DIY 80s charm! Funnily enough the first person who contacted us - cos we gave out some free CDs in 2013, the guy came back, and he said that, “love what you do!” then he gave us gigs and things. He said, “Because you remind me of the Batcave style.” So just what you are saying now.
Marc:Just do what you want. Write a song on the guitar or the bass or whatever and you get a sound - and you think, “Oh yeah, that sounds good.” Then you record that, and you add another sound to it - drums or whatever or you’ve done the keyboard first and you add the guitar. That’s just how music works.
Becki:Marc does all the music, so he doesn’t have anyone next to him going: “Ooh what about bass guitar?” Or “What about this?” He doesn’t have to deal with anyone.
Marc:I can just go and hide away and write music for a few days and then take it to Becki and say: “What do you think?”
RoD: So do you produce your own stuff as well then?
Becki:Yep, he does everything, which is quite a feat isn’t it.I just come up with the lyrics and he’ll have an input. Sometimes, I’ll write pages and pages of a really convoluted story with ya know - lyrical twists and things, and he’ll say: “It’s too wordy!”
Marc:Then we get the opposite. I’ll write a song and we start off with loads of words and we’ll go, “This is great!” …and we get three lines! That’s all yer getting and I’ll go, “right we gonna go with that!” (laughs). We have crazy ideas, but it makes it fun - it’s gotta be fun.
Becki:Yeah! I mean if you don’t enjoy doing it, there’s no point!
RoD: How much do you think the attitude has changed towards alternatives / goths whatever label you want to use? Do you think it’s easier these days to walk around, than say… thirty years ago?
Marc:Obviously, the punks and the goths, the mods, the skinheads, and all of them, we’re all alternative so we all get on. They’re all factions which altogether, make one bigger faction against the mainstream of the world.
Becki:But interestingly enough, because we play punk gigs, we find it hard to get them both coming to each other’s, ya know!
Marc:Yeah ,we don’t - we hardly ever see any goths coming to punk gigs and vice versa.
Becki:There are a few
Marc:Yeah ,there are a few goths who come to punk gigs and equally the other way round. I think we find that the punks are less likely to go to a goth gig. Goths will more likely go to a punk gig as opposed to the other way round.
Becki:I like to think that when we play at punk gigs, which are pure punk, we unleash their inner goth! They’ll come up to you and go, “Well I do like BAUHAUS, and I do like THE HUMAN LEAGUE, and I do like SOFT CELL and a bit of electro pop.” We’ve also been to some goth gigs, and we’ve got, “Oh well I do listen to some early DAMNED and I think the CLASH were ok.”
Marc:I would say if there’s promoters out there, to getting more exciting with the line-up ya know - to have a punk band on with a goth band and an electro band and a heavy metal band. I think it would be great for loads of people. They are all different types of alternative people. You could include ska, reggae…everyone together. Promoters should do a gig like that! The first people are never usually successful are they, it’s like when they first brought out mobile phones. Whoever does it has got to be brave and put their money where their mouth is!
Becki:I guess as well, if we’re a cross-over band, and you’ll hear them (the DJ) just even on the disco, play different genres. Howard from Carpe Noctum in Leeds, will play ‘Ace of Spades’ by MOTORHEAD after playing an hour of SISTERS (OF MERCY).
RoD: Did you ever go to Wendyhouse in Leeds? By the end of the night, everyone was drunk and dancing to Britney Spears.
Becki:No, cos we’re not from there.
Marc:We had Planet X, in Liverpool. people would come from all over the world to go there! I used to either go there or go through to The Banshee, in Manchester. Then when that closed down, there was Jilly’s Rockworld in Manchester.
RoD: Yes, they had three rooms - one for the goths, one for the rockers and one in the middle for all those who…
Marc:Didn’t know what they were! (laughs) Am I goth? Am I metal? I can’t decide! Who wants to be in a gang though? Be an individual!
Becki:Yeah, I never used to say, “Oh I’m a goth” or “I’m a punk.” I’m just me and you’d be the same, wouldn’t you? (To Marc)
RoD: How long has the band been together?
Becki:Marc has been in bands for years though.
Marc:How it happened… I was messing around writing songs and stuff, and I realised I needed a singer so I asked Becki if she would give singing a go.
Becki:And I did, and he recorded it and I was like, “Don’t watch me, it’s making me nervous!” Then my dad had bought a small keyboard, but didn’t really have time to use it, so I said, “We’ll have it!”
Marc:Then I realised that we had all the equipment to make CDs, so we made CDs and handed them out. They had my email address on, and we started getting asked to do gigs.
Becki:It was about five months between making CDs and getting gigs. We’ve never had to ask; we just get approached. I keep a book with all the dates we’ve played written down.
Marc:So when we’re old and in a nursing home, we can look back at it and go, “We did this!”
RoD: And I have to mention those dolls - my friend had them on her Facebook page and they are adorable. Tell us about those.
Becki:Oh yes, the dolls! I love them and they are popular. I only sell them at our gigs, the first batch sold at Carpe Noctum in Leeds in 2015. They were smaller back then with faces individually drawn using coloured Sharpie pens! The link to the band merch was simply the doll's dresses had cobwebs designs on the fabric. Over the years they've had different fabrics, lots of black & white lace, plus their faces are painted on using a stencil I made to look like Siouxsie Sioux's classic eye makeup. It is heart-warming when grown up goths, punks etc dance round at our gigs with their dolls, share photos and come back for more. As Stuart from GOTHZILLA said “Gotta collect them all”.
RoD: So what’s next for THE WEBB?
Marc:Wherever the future takes us, I’m working on a project that is a bit of a story about those times in the 80s. It will make up part of the set. We have 3 songs written already just got to record them, with a couple of covers thrown in, but presented in more of a soundscape style akin to thoughts and feelings as my head is constantly full of music, Think of THE GLOVES ‘Blue Sunshine’. It will be available in a physical format at gigs as well as the usual name your price on our Bandcamp page.
RoD: Thank you very much for speaking to us
Photos by Richie Yates