The Shape Of DIY Punk in Scotland

make-that-a-take-records-scotlandWhen it comes to DIY punk in Scotland, few are as involved at making things happen as Derrick Johnston. So he’s kindly agreed to bring us up to speed. Because let’s face it, what I know about the hardcore punk scene would fit on the back of a fucking stamp.

Greetings good people of Pet Piranha land, My name is Derrick. I play guitar and sing in a punk rock band called Uniforms and am a founder member of the Make-That-A-Take Records DIY collective based in Dundee. I’ve been friends with Andy for a long time, since Mercury Tilt Switch was in its infancy, and he asked me to write a blog for the site, so here I am.

Andy is one of the good guys in the DIY scene, so it’s my pleasure to write for him/you. I must also apologise to Andy for getting this column to him later than I said I would. I got back from tour, went straight back to work then hit the post-tour malaise; my bad.

Things have been busy up this way.

Uniforms have just completed a UK tour with our good friends Loaded 45 from Colorado, USA. We met Ryan (bassist) at Fest 10 in 2011 and we became pals after we met him as a guest artist at Anthem Tattoo in Gainesville. We spent three weeks on the west coast of the USA with Loaded 45 last summer, taking in the Rocky Mountains, Las Vegas, the Pacific Coast Highway, San Diego, the Mexican border, the Arizona desert and more landmarks and madness than you could possibly imagine.

It was a mind-blowing experience for all of us, especially considering the timing of the tour, as my father had died two weeks previously.

In the second leg, we returned the favour by offering them a rainy Friday night in Stirling, a freezing night in Leeds, hours on the M6 and the lingering wet cold of winter. Sorry guys! That said, I hope Jonny (driver/Uniforms’ bassist) did a good job of playing tour guides.

We took in Stirling Castle, Stonehenge, The Cavern and Anfield, Old Trafford, the Houses of Parliament, Hadrian’s Wall and heaps more. In between all the sight-seeing, most importantly, we played a whole bunch of shows. After the first night playing in Perth, we jumped in the van and took off around the UK, covering almost two and a half thousand miles in the process.

Unfortunately, due to being a small DIY unable to compete with the big boys and their pricey Record Store Day limited editions, our split 7” records weren’t with us in time for tour.

It will, however, be available soon at shows and online from Make-That-A-Take. 


deeker playing live

Wherever we went, regardless of venue size, etc, we were treated with the utmost respect and were very well taken care of. It’s the spirit of togetherness and co-dependency that binds the UK DIY punk scene together, a sense that we’re all in this strange and exciting mess of thoughts and people together, making shit happen. The shows themselves were pretty much amazing across the board. That half hour makes all the hard work worthwhile. 

I’m not saying that times were not without their hairy moments, but, for once, there were no serious issues; nobody tried to rip us off or steal from us, we were fed, watered, paid and accommodated almost everywhere we went and the shows were awesome, some of the craziest of my life. Also, the van didn’t break down and only needed one part replaced, at which point we killed a couple of hours in Welshpool. 

To my mind, that’s a very successful tour.

There are good people doing good things all throughout the UK and we as a band extend our collective thanks and gratitude to Tupthumper Promotions, the guys in Sink Alaska (incredible band, check them out), Tim Loud in Leeds, Dirty Vultures in Rhyl, Team Beard Records in Cardiff, Jon and everyone at The Cavern in Exeter, Die Trying in Brighton, Ollie and Till The Wheels in London, United Cambridge, Spannered in Warrington, Antipop Records in Liverpool, the guys in A Victory At Sea and Billy Liar for helping us out along the way. The DIY is built on friendships and we thank our friends for being there for us. 

Talking of friends, the Uniforms’ split 7” with our Welsh pals Question The Mark is now available for pre-order with instant digital download from Team Beard Records.

The records are on their way and will be with us soon. Next up for Uniforms is writing material for our full length with a few shows over the summer, before gearing up for more touring later in the year.

Make-That-A-Take wise, things have also been moving forward. We recently released the “Shape Of Cowpunk To Come” split CD featuring Maxwell’s Dead and The Walking Targets and only have a slack handful of copies left. We were also involved in releasing the “Ghosts of Punk Rock” EP by Billy Liar in collaboration with Forest Records in Edinburgh. That CD was limited to 100 and is now pretty much sold out.

We’ll also being issue the fifth Make Yer Ane Comp in the near future. We’ve got some more releases in the pipeline so keep an eye on things over the summer. All of our releases and merch are available from our Bandcamp page.

Across the wider Scottish DIY scene, there is a lot going on. 

Punk Rock Rammy in Glasgow have brought some incredible bands over recently including The Flatliners, Bouncing Souls, Joey Cape, Make Do And Mend, The Ataris and loads more, including The Menzingers coming up in Edinburgh that is already sold out, quite remarkable for a DIY show in August.

Struggletown Records, The Final Comedown and Hawkchild DIY are taking care of business in Glasgow too, with hundreds of other collective catering for every taste you could imagine.

Walk The Plank and Anti-Manifesto also continue to keep the fire burning in the capital, and MTAT ourselves have dipped our toe in the water in cahoots with Billy Liar and will be putting on our first show at The Banshee Labyrinth on Tuesday 7th May when we host Canadian punks Fist City alongside Fuck, Fifteen Dead and Cleavers.

On the home front, we’ll be hosting folk-punk pionners Ghost Mice along with an exemplary supporting cast on Monday 24th June at Cerberus Bar, Dundee and welcoming The Cut Ups back to Scotland on August 1st. We’ve got a whole host of amazing shows to announce for later in the summer, but I can’t spill the beans quite yet until we’ve got everything sorted out.

After that, we’ll be working towards Book Yer Ane Fest VII which will be running from Friday 29th November through Sunday 1st December. There will also be a pre-fest show of some description in Dundee on Thursday 28th. We’ll be announcing bands gradually across the next few months but have already confirmed Broadcaster from New York, the incredible Stay Clean Jolene from Manchester (seek out their 7” on Drunken Sailor Records, it’s one of the best debut UK punk records I’ve ever heard) and the returning Antillectual from The Netherlands.

We’re still in the process of confirming all the bands, so if anyone wants to get involved, please get in touch. We’re also going to have a record fair of sorts, with loads of merch, etc, so if people with distros and labels want to get on board, please give us a shout also.

Right, I think that’s quite enough plugging for now. Thanks to everyone who continues to support what we do. It’s not always easy doing what we do in a place such as Dundee, but there is such a wealth of talent in the area that it’s sometimes easy to take it for granted.

GW and The Rusty Hip Collective are hard at work endeavouring to bring the disparate arts scenes together, in the spirit of the old Undergroundscene, Tin Roof is an exemplary art collective and an absolute credit to those involved; that’s all before you consider some of the incredible bands from around here, both historically and currently; Kaddish, Fat Goth, Bonehouse, Shithawks, Little Anchors…Seek and you shall find.

You can keep in touch with the undertakings on the MTAT collective at;
Twitter: @makethatatake

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