Sharks may come from Britain, but now, they are invading America and are the happiest they have ever been. The punk rock quartet has achieved great success since crossing the Atlantic earlier this year. Just a few months after their arrival, the four-piece toured as the opening act for Social Distortion, were exposed to large audiences and have been feverishly promoting their full-length debut compilation “The Joys Of Living 2008-2010.” Thus far, they are receiving quite a bit of fanfare.

“It’s a real nice feeling coming over here. People seem more motivated about the music,” lead singer and guitarist James Mattock says. “I don’t know what it is, but it kinda seems like everyone likes us -- especially people in bands. We seem to kinda get on. It’s been constantly gradual, so I think if we carry on what we’re doing, more and more people are just gonna hear us and that’s what we intend to do.”

Their strategy seems to be working as music heads have been sinking their teeth into “The Joys Of Living 2008-2010.” Although it’s considered Sharks’ debut album, it’s more of a collection comprised of the songs from their previous three EPs -- “Common Grounds,” “Shallow Waters” and “Show Of Hands” -- with two brand new tracks.

Age of Discovery

While the music has an old-school punk spirit that oozes on records like “Capital Youth,” Fallen On Deaf Ears” and “It All Relates,” the Brits also incorporate more advanced musicianship and a rock ‘n roll flare that beams on gems like “More Blue” and “Sweet Harness.”

For Mattock, the album represents the age of discovery for a young adult, and an evolution he and his band mates are currently going through. “We’re not a band that writes ourselves into a particular corner -- whether it be music or lyrics or artwork. We kinda explore,” the 20-year-old explains. “I’m still kinda exploring personal feelings, views and life in general. That record kinda sums up our teenage years and looking back now, the lyrics pretty much reflect a teenage boy’s life to me and what a teenager thinks about.”

Growing up in central England, Mattock was heavily influenced by his parents’ CD collection -- a collection that included The Clash, The Ramones and The Stranglers. In 2007, the singer and his friend, guitarist Andrew Bayliss, formed Sharks. With the addition of bassist Cris O’Reilly and drummer Sam Lister, the lineup was finalized in 2009.

Struggles at Home

Over the next two years, the quartet would release a several EPs and performed quite frequently in the United Kingdom. Despite opening for artists like the Lost Prophets and Gaslight Anthem, it was difficult to build a presence in their home surroundings.

“It’s been a real, real struggle to actually get going in the UK,” Mattock admits. “When I think about the scene, there is no scene. There’s only a handful of bands and they’re all over, so it’s not that thriving to be honest. People stay in their little corners and are not willing to break out and unify with anyone else. They’re just content with what they’re doing -- playing local bars and stuff. So I wouldn’t say the scene is really alive and what we’re looking for. That’s why we’re sorta hitting up the whole world and finding somewhere to fit in. America is already a lot more responsive, so that’s good.”

People stay in their little corners and are not willing to break out and unify with anyone else.

Ever since signing with Rise Records, it’s been smooth sailing. Sharks have already traveled around the country with Social Distortion and will continue to promote “The Joys Of Living 2008-2010” this summer on the Warped Tour. Now, their primary objective is to impact the fans -- just like The Clash, The Ramones and The Strangers have done to Mattock.

“I hope they experience something that has never existed in their life before, and makes them think and makes them feel a way they never felt before in the exact same way some specific music did for me,” he says. “The main goal is to connect on an emotional level because I think that’s the most powerful form of communication -- that sorta unspoken emotional connection you can feel with music.”

Sharks are now in the deep waters of America and it’s exactly where they want to be.


  • James Mattock: Vocals/Guitar
  • Andrew Bayliss: Guitar
  • Cris O’Reilly: Bass
  • Sam Lister: Drums

For more from Bear Frazer, follow him on Twitter.



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