Image via Revenant Earth

Static Dress are the post-hardcore band from Leeds making you miss MySpace

10 things you need to know about the northern four piece inspired by 00s emo and fronted by Olli Appleyard.

by Frankie Dunn
04 February 2021, 3:47pm

Image via Revenant Earth

Watch any one of Static Dress’ exceptional and yet completely homemade music videos and you’ll be transported to the heady days of post-hardcore and emo circa 2005. But the Leeds-based band only formed one year ago, and they’re far too young to have ever used MySpace. So how did a bunch of friends in their early 20s so authentically encapsulate the sound of an era they didn’t cry, pierce their lips and dye their hair through? It all started with singer and creative mastermind, Olli Appleyard. 

Olli grew up in Bradford, a city in the north of England that’s famous for The Great Fairy Hoax of 1917 and Zayn Malik. “It's a city that has a bad name,” he says, “but being from there you find beauty within the bad things. The music scene is completely non-existent though, so growing up, I had to venture out to cities like Leeds and Manchester.” Isolated and starved of the live music he so craved, young Olli had discovered a whole new world of early 2000s emo through his older sibling. “It was mainly in the form of My Chemical Romance, who were very popular at the time -- some of my earliest memories involve the cover artwork of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge.” 

In fact, before he could even read properly, Olli was leafing through copies of Kerrang! and consuming their regular ‘best of’ compilation CDs. “In terms of finding post-hardcore, that was purely by accident,” he remembers. “I wanted to hear the heavy parts of bands, but also good choruses.” Although it wasn’t until he teamed up with his friends — bassist Conner Riley, drummer Sam Kay and guitarist Tom Black — and began making music, that the former photographer and videographer was introduced to the full spectrum of the two genres. “I didn't even know half of the comparisons we were receiving,” he admits of likenesses drawn to Underoath, Finch and The Bled. “We just set out to make music that we liked. We didn't intend to fall into any particular genre.” 

Of course, a key focus for any new band is their live performance, something which the pandemic-stricken music industry is currently attempting to navigate. Static Dress’ last live show, back in February 2020, was actually part of the band’s very first tour. “We were lucky enough to be the opening band for [Canadian hardcore punk band] Counterparts,” Olli says. “We played The Dome in London, which has to be one of my life highlights.” 

With that cut short, Static Dress branched out into the world of live streaming, turning performances into full-blown events transmitted via YouTube. “It is possible to create your own world and make it more than just ‘four people on a screen playing a song’,” Olli reflects. “People have said that they’re getting bored of live streams, but that’s because people need to keep switching it up, keep it relevant. You need to keep reinventing the wheel.”

Discover more about Static Dress via these 10 quite interesting facts below…

 1. Olli’s earliest musical memory is discovering his dad’s old cassettes
“He and my mother made them when they used to tape songs off the local radio, so they could play them back. They consisted of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and SO much Aerosmith.”

2. Ask Olli what music Static Dress make and he’ll say they’re ‘emotional’
“The vessel that is used as a genre may be decided in the moment or process of writing the song. It may be in an electronic sense, an acoustic, a full band, poetry, etc. The possibilities that we can portray ‘emotion’ within are endless.”

3. Although Static Dress would’ve sounded right at home on it, Olli never had MySpace
“We frequently get mentioned alongside the MySpace era of music and people say we provide a type of nostalgia, but when MySpace was relevant, I was around far too young. I completely missed that entire hype and barely understood it! I love seeing how much of an impact a site like MySpace had on music as a whole though, and how it could be the means to make a band explode.” 

4. Their local music scene in Leeds is looking pretty rough at the moment
“We have grassroots venues left in the dark by the government with little to no help or very little funding. Our local DIY venue Boom is very much under this bracket and have had to take measures into their own hands, creating and making their space into different things to try keep money coming into the business without the doors being open to the public.” 

5. The greatest performance Olli has ever witnessed might surprise you
“It has to be seeing The Weeknd at Leeds Arena in 2017. From the stage production to the live sound, every part about his set was perfectly calculated, down to the last note.”

6. And the greatest thing anyone has ever said about their music might too
“I had a guy approach me after a show and tell me that our music had given him a spark to learn guitar again, to want to create music. Personally, that's the goal for all of this. I want to inspire people to make better, do better and not settle for a norm that is stale and boring. I want to prove you can do this on your own as long as you are dedicated enough to want to make it work, and to sacrifice whatever it takes to get to where you want to be.” 

7. If Olli could have somebody else's voice, he’d pick either Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden and Audioslave) or rock pioneer Little Richard
“Although they’re on completely different waves and spectrums, they both had so much identity and character behind them. They could be very subtle and held back, but then be explosive and extremely energetic, all while maintaining originality and not just being a vocal demonstration. Something I think is lacking with most singers these days is that we all strive to be pitch perfect and autotuned. But having the odd flat note, the odd crunch or an elongated breath/scream is really what makes a good performance a truly honest one.”

8. There aren't enough handclaps in music these days, but these guys just put them in their single "safeword". Their all-time favourite claps are…
“The claps from Enter Shikari’s ‘Sorry You're Not A Winner’. I almost feel like having a part like that within a song eliminates any reason for someone to not try to join in, even if you can't dance or sing -- everyone can clap!”

9. You might not suspect it, but Olli is secretly a gaming nerd
“I'm a massive fan of OG gaming (N64, PS1, PS2) as it is what I was brought up on. It was my first type of escape into a world where I could create and be anything but myself and for me, that was perfect. I moved schools when I was younger, so not having many friends and being terrible at traditional sports, it kinda just worked its way into my life naturally. Anything up until the end of the PS2 cycle, for me, was the peak of gaming. There's a lot of those themes incorporated into our visual art.”

10. Pandemic schmandemic. This lot have been prolifically creating the whole time and have plenty to offer up in 2021
“We have a whole bunch of plans in store for this year and the current state of the world is just a very large hurdle we must climb over. We haven’t for one second just been sitting around waiting for the world to fix itself, so there’s a lot to be shared when the time is right.”

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