Learning disability band Fish Police set for Sunderland gig

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A band regarded as being at the cutting edge of the learning disability music scene, will make their Sunderland debut next month.

The Fish Police, a glitch-pop band from South London, will take to the stage at Pop Recs Ltd, in Fawcett Street on April 7.

The tour is the brainchild of musician Richard Phoenix from London punk band Sauna Youth who founded a organisation called Constant Flux to provide opportunities for musicians with learning disabilities.

The first of its kind, the organisation is aimed at breaking down the barriers of social isolation faced by many with a learning disability.

“I was blown away when I first heard The Fish Police and it was always in the back of my mind to go on tour with them,” Richard explained. “They work really hard to make their music, they rehearse regularly.

“They hadn’t ever gone on tour but, for me, as a musician, I’ve always thought it’s really important to tour as a band, to play music away from where you live.

“It’s a way for them to promote their album – The Marzipan Transformations will be released on the same day as the Sunderland gig – while also raising awareness of issues surrounding bands made up of musicians with learning difficulties.

“When you work with vulnerable adults there are certain things you have to take into consideration, which you wouldn’t have to think about on the regular touring circuit.”

The Fish Police combine surreal pop imagery with glitched beats and a strong visual aesthetic creating their own unique blend of electronic left-field pop.

Their sound is inspired by the likes of MF Doom and Kraftwerk.

The band is made up of Dean Rodney (singer, rapper, songwriter), Matthew Howe (guitar) and Charles Stuart (keys, co-songwriter and background vocals) and their live line-up features players from Grace Jones and Mark Ronson’s bands.

The tour will see them play across the UK with bands from both the learning disabled and the DIY alternative scene including Fair Ohs, Trash Kit, Ultimate Thunder and Daniel Wakeford.

Speaking about why the tour has chosen to play Pop Recs, Richard said: “It’s a really amazing space. Its doors are open to all sections of the community and this gig underlines that.”

l The Fish Police play Pop Recs Ltd on April 7. Tickets are £3. Carers can attend for free with a donation.

Katy Wheeler