UK technical melodic punk band Darko recently released the anti-misogynist anthem The Ladder, followed by the statement written by their new singer Tom. The band also shared the full lyrics for the song. You can check it out below.
Here’s the full statement, previously posted on the band’s official Facebook page:Hey friends, singer Tom here – thanks for the awesome response to last week’s launch of ‘The Ladder’. I couldn’t be prouder and more excited – but if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to talk a little bit about what the song is actually about. Every one of us lives in a cis-het male-dominated world. We like to pretend otherwise, but the punk rock scene is not an exception.
As a massive fan it pains me to say it – but of all the modern punk rock sub-scenes, Skate Punk is perhaps the very worst at addressing the issue of misogyny. Uncoincidentally, it’s also arguably the most male-dominated music genre in the entire world.
‘The Ladder’, describes how every fan, band member, and promoter have parts to play in making this community safer for everybody (and improving gender representation within it).
Whenever a demographic is ‘othered’, there will always be fundamental issues with how they’re treated. It’s a vicious cycle: a lack of empathy or understanding of the issues results in an inevitable lack of urgency in tackling them. When raising the subject of gender discrimination it’s common to be accused of ‘virtue signalling’ or ‘white knighting’ by people skeptical of ones’ intentions. But this isn’t about scoring points – we need to help move conversations forward. We can’t afford not to.
There are sickening, very real consequences when creepy, abusive behaviour in this scene goes unchecked. Nobody’s perfect, but we’ve failed miserably as a collective to open up the floor for FAR too long. It’s time more men in bands used their platforms to highlight this.
The patriarchy has a stranglehold on every walk of life, every profession, and every form of entertainment.
Case in point – in 2020 the #SpeakingOut movement looked to remove abusers and challenge the systemic norms (mostly designed and upheld by men) that had allowed creeps and sex criminals to thrive unfettered at every level of the pro wrestling industry.
Working in the industry as a writer and backstage producer, I guess I was in a quite unique position of being able to see parallels between the horrors coming to light in this vastly necessary campaign, and accounts of agonisingly familiar and close-to-home atrocities happening in the punk rock scene.
Please read this report if you think I’m talking out of my arse: EveryPunk.com
‘The Ladder’ is inspired by the real stories and practical conclusions highlighted in this work.
Long story short, we need an urgent cultural reassessment – starting by doing away with the “I’m one of the good ones” mentality that so many of us are wedded to.
As writer @jaythenerdkid put it: “Fighting learned male entitlement means assuming the burden of vigilance. It means assessing the harm you’re capable of causing, and then being proactive in mitigating it.”
So, where do we start? Other than radical zero-tolerance policies, I think a fairly manageable first step to creating a ‘new normal’ would be to support and do whatever we can to elevate diverse acts, with the hope of ushering in more equitable show and festival lineups.
I’m not calling for boycotts of all-male lineups – we’d barely play any shows! Promoting is a difficult, often thankless job, and nobody wants to risk losing money by booking unestablished acts. But that’s exactly why we need to do what we can to help build artists up.
To help all of us get the ball rolling, here’s an amazing database of diverse acts put together by our friends at Diversify Your Scene UK/Ireland https://linktr.ee/Diversifyyourscene
If we use this awesome resource to find bands we enjoy, then use whatever platforms we have to help them raise their status, make them undeniable, and get them in front of more people, we can start to foster in a positive change.
“How can we bring change with only people who look like us up on stage?”.
Over a raucous decade, DARKO have by definition, become veterans of the UK Punk scene and it is not uncommon to see them standing as an essential name within the intricate and complex world of contemporary Punk and Hardcore.
The band, urgent and charged with conviction, are set to continue championing and contributing to the health of the very scene that birthed them as they pen the narrative of their new chapter.
In 2020, longtime voicebox Dan Smith returned to his native Australia and parted ways with the band after so long in the vox seat. Dan’s evocative, emphatic and emotional lyricisms have left quite the legacy throughout the band’s releases. Darko’s four other noisemakers have curated a backdrop of vicious, hybridised Skate Punk and Melodic Hardcore that has been pushed beyond itself across thirty countries.
Darko have now enlisted longtime touring compadre Tom West of UK shredders, Almeida. The band have never hid from what ails them or the society they inhabit but with West at the vocal helm now and forgoing the complacent societal padding forced upon us all, his lyrical discomfort has spurred the band’s most unbarred barrage yet.
West uses his new platform to immediately urge fellow punks to take a stand against the scene’s “embedded misogyny”, screaming “How can we bring change with only people who look like us up on stage?”. Katz Hinsley of Manchester’s Follow Your Dreams adds her signature yells to the track’s crescendo, with the passionate refrain “the scene is big enough for every one of us”.
Darko’s evolution is tied to their past but with threads so long that there is an abundance of slack to play with. Notes of Polar Bear Club, Mastodon, A Wilhelm Scream, Protest The Hero, Rise Against and Propagandhi can all be savoured in their contemporary flavor profile.