Dead Pony: “We’ve been waiting so long to prove ourselves and show the world what we can do”

Music can be a powerful tool for political change, but sometimes we forget how much it can help us escape our reality, too. Enter: Dead Pony, and their cinematic debut record exploring everything from zombie apocalypses to mind control…

Dead Pony: “We’ve been waiting so long to prove ourselves and show the world what we can do”
Rachel Roberts
Euan Robertson

IGNORE THIS isn’t an instruction, it’s a dare. You can try to avert your ears from Dead Pony’s chock-a-block 16-track debut, but they’ve made that task pretty fucking hard. The Scottish four-piece had grown tired of being underestimated as a band by those around them, so back in January 2023 they crafted this record as a response.

“We had honestly gone through this shit-show as a band,” begins vocalist Anna Shields, as she and guitarist Blair Crichton chat with Kerrang! on a drizzly evening. “I always felt like [we were] making what [we] thought people wanted us to make, and it’s only within the past year and a half that we’ve really started to go down a heavy and alternative route. We’ve all started to be like, ‘Fuck this, let’s just do what we want.’”

“Those feelings of being ignored and also anger towards ignorance in general are definitely what shaped the album,” adds Blair. “The band feels like it’s in a different place now. We’re being true to ourselves.”

IGNORE THIS was produced and written by Blair and the rest of the band – Anna, bassist Liam Adams and drummer Euan Lyons – in its entirety. Anna says that their DIY approach was in part due to high costs of recording music today for small bands, but it’s also something they think will remain core to their ethos.

An album of this length is almost a thing of rare beauty these days, but it was no happy accident – it “was by design”. “We’ve been waiting so long to prove ourselves and show the world what we can do,” announces Blair. “We were like, ‘Okay, let’s create a huge album [where] every song is fucking amazing, and show everyone that we’re capable of doing this.’”

Having full creative control means that Dead Pony feel no pressure to serve the demands of social media or chase down virality, either. “I think that TikTok has been so poisonous for music,” considers Anna. “In some ways, [it’s] ruined the way that people write music. There’s a lot of songs that blow up on TikTok and 90 per cent of the song is literal dog shit, but the other 10 per cent of the song is cool and catchy.

“A lot of people now write with that 10 per cent in mind so [they] can go viral. I think we’ve always wanted to write music that we like and that sounds like us, which is energetic and heavy. I think if you chase something like that, then it’s probably never going to happen for you.”

Dead Pony’s drive to be audaciously themselves – whether they ‘fit in’ or not – has taken time. For Anna, that journey began back as a teen, and is something she explores in the song RAINBOWS. “That was the reason that we wrote that song: for people like me who grew up feeling a bit like an outcast. I used to struggle when we first started to gain a bit of recognition with imposter syndrome and feeling like, ‘Why are these people looking at me? Why are they coming to our gigs?’

“Accepting yourself for who you are, the way you look, who you are as a person, and really valuing and appreciating that – that’s changed not only the way I view my music, but my general lifestyle.”

Elsewhere on the record, the tracks don’t look inward at the band all that much, and they don’t take aim at society either. MK Nothing, for example, was written about mind control, and COBRA about “undead masses”. Sound bizarre? Anna can explain.

“One thing that we’ll always take inspiration from is film and TV,” she says. “That’s why the artwork is like a [VHS] collection, because we wanted the album to really sound like you were flicking through your old [videos], and this is the soundtrack to all the different movies.”

While she agrees that some tracks may seem like a metaphor for our present reality, can we ever expect Dead Pony to get truly political in the future? “I honestly try not to watch the news because I just find it so depressing,” admits Blair. “I like to use music as an escape. I think all of our songs will definitely have transferable attributes to them, but I don’t think we’re going to be like, ‘Arghh, I’m not happy about the price of train tickets (laughs).’”

“Not everything can be totally geared towards real life,” concludes Anna. “We want to live in a fantasy sometimes.”

Check out more:

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?