Problem Patterns
by Interviews

It goes without saying that Problem Patterns are one of the most exciting punk bands going right now. Since forming in 2018, the Belfast-based quartet has been kicking out urgent, furious, and fun tracks that always seem to arrive at the perfect time and this is extremely evident on the first two singles from their upcoming album Blouse Club. “Who Do We Not Save?” sees the band ripping into the privatization of healthcare and “Letter of Resignation” is an upbeat, rage-fuelled yet joyful call for people to “tear it down and start again”. Blouse Club will be out later this year via Alcopop! Records and Problem Patterns will be playing some festival dates around Europe and the UK this summer.

Punknews editor Em Moore caught up with Beverley Boal, Bethany Crooks, Ciara King, and Alanah Smith over Zoom to talk about the new album, being called Kathleen Hanna's favourite new band, sausages, and so much more. Read the interview below!

You signed to Alcopop! Records in March and your debut full-length album Blouse Club will be out on the label later this year. How did you decide who to sign with? What has working with them been like?

Ciara: We were just having a big think about who was representing the type of bands that we were into and who we trusted. There’s a band from here called Cherym who were on the label so we asked them what it was like and they recommended it. It felt like a really good fit as well. Jack was coming over to Belfast and we met up with him and within an hour of meeting him, we had him downing a stout. A stout is like a Guinness, a beer. We were making him down a drink so it felt like we were getting on. [laughs] Then we took him back to the studio we recorded the album in and let him hear it. He loved it and we loved him and we all got on really well. It all kind of clicked that way.

We’ve loved working with them. We feel like they really get us. We’re quite goofy and really silly and all of our songs are serious but everything else is stupid. [laughs] He’s got a really good sense of humour. We were talking to him about making printed blouses and we were joking and he was like, “Yeah, let’s do it!” He’s up for any of our silly ideas which is great. Alcopop! are just great.

Alanah: They’re so supportive of us as well. They’re always contacting us like, “Are you up for supporting this gig?” So he’s really good at getting our name out there.

How many blouses do you need before you can join the blouse club?

Alanah: Blouse club is in your heart.

Beth: In Ireland after the war women weren’t allowed to drink in bars so they basically had underground speakeasies that were kind of unofficially lesbian bars. Men couldn’t come to them unless they were accompanied by a woman. There’s a bar in Belfast that has a wee area dedicated to that and we were in there one day and I was like, “That would be such a cool name for an album!” It worked on multiple levels with us wearing nice clothes in the promo photos. [laughs]

Ciara: And it sounds like ‘boys club’. It’s a joke on ‘boys club’ as well.

Beth: I feel like if you own a blouse, then you’re part of the blouse club. Just one blouse. That’s the price of admission. [laughs]

What can people expect from the new album?

Beth: I keep saying that it’s the least cohesive debut album ever. I mean that in a good way in that, the tone kinda jumps all over. We’ve got some very serious songs and then some very silly songs but the silly ones definitely have a serious message behind them. I think our tongues are firmly in our cheeks on those ones. Then we’ve re-recorded some of our previously released tracks because I feel like as musicians we’ve progressed. We recorded everything separately this time instead of just recording it live. That’s how we did our first EP. I think it’s a fun album. It’s a short album as well which is nice. [laughs] It’s about half an hour which is Problem Patterns style, I think.

Ciara: 12 songs in 27 minutes. [laughs]

Alanah: We’re living up to our reputation as weirdos. We hope.


The album was recorded and mixed by your longtime collaborator Niall Doran at Start Together Studio in Belfast and was mastered by Peter J Moore at The E Room in Toronto. What was the recording process like?

Beth: It was fun! We recorded it pretty quickly. It was over a few weekends that we split up because we went on tour with Bob Vylan in the middle of it. We tracked drums in two days and then we tracked bass and guitar in two days. It was very quick. We had a good time.

Bev: We all have full-time jobs so we booked the studio from Friday night to Monday early hours. We were in there very late some nights just trying to pump the album out and there was one situation where a late-night McDonald’s saved our lives. [laughs]

Alanah: I had to leave the building because everyone was going so loopy and I realized that we hadn’t eaten in hours so I was like, “I have to go and get McDonald’s for everybody because we’re all losing our minds”. [laughs]

Ciara: Yeah, Alanah saved us that night. I was trying to record this guitar thing and I kept completely dropping out of the song. Which made the song better. It was a good thing, it was a creative choice. [laughs]

Alanah: Ciara was just like, “What if I just don’t play on this song? What if I just don’t?” [laughs]

Beth: Niall has a full recording of that somewhere.

Ciara: Yeah, we’ll get it saved. It is funny. It sounds like I’m being serious as if I was like, “I don’t wanna play on the song” but it was more like, “Guys, I’m humble enough to know the song sounds worse because I’m in it”. [laughs] The parts that I was adding just weren’t the little sprinkle of deliciousness that we were needing. But the studio was great and we love Start Together and we love Niall. It was a really peaceful but chaotic time.

Bev: I think it was cozy because we rented it out for those three days straight as well. We really settled in.

Alanah: And we’re so comfortable with Niall as well so we can just completely let loose around him.

Ciara: We had loads of fun with loads of new pedals and loads of weird sounds. We swapped a load of instruments and stuff out. We had a little jingle bell. We had so much fun and there’s a very famous household item that’s on the album. But we can’t say more than that.


What was the sanity-saving McDonald’s meal that you got?

Ciara: It was a round of McPlants.

Alanah: They’re vegan burgers but I don’t think they are available over there. They’re great. They definitely saved us. [laughs]

Ciara: They’re like mini vegan Big Macs. A Small Mac.

Beth: They’re like a dressed cheeseburger.

Ciara: A fancy cheeseburger with dressing. We really needed them. We were losing it. We were going into a loop over and over again in our heads and Alanah was like, “I’m making an executive decision to get McDonald’s”. We felt a lot better but we were in the studio until after midnight. It was intense.

How would you describe your songwriting process?

Alanah: It’s quite randomized to be honest because sometimes we won’t write for ages. Then when we got into album writing we were all very focused and went in with that exact intent but we all have different ideas. So it’ll be based on one person having the idea and maybe some lyrics or a hook and then we build from there and sometimes it all spills out really quickly. Sometimes it just doesn’t work at all so you just can it or leave it for later. But for the most part, we know we’ve done well when it does just write itself in ten minutes.

Beth: I always say that the songs that stick with us are the ones we don’t even remember writing. I couldn’t pinpoint when we wrote “Mediocre Man” because it was just fully formed. When we had written the album, we were trying to narrow down what was going on it and we went through and picked if the song was a ‘bop’ or a ‘flop’ and everybody had to be totally honest. I think we had more bops than flops which was good. There was a particular song that we were wrestling with and I think the message of the song was really important but we just couldn’t get it right. Then eventually something clicked and I don’t really remember what that was.

Bev: We switched instruments again I think.

Alanah: We added a new bassline and then it was working.

Bev: Whenever we’re writing songs we take recordings of ourselves when we play as well. I think they really save our lives because none of us remember. [laughs] We’re like, “Oh yeah, let’s play this shitty practice room recording” then we’re like, “Yeahhh that was sick! We can do that again!” It just gets better and better when we play it.

One of the big things with the band is everyone switches instruments and everyone sings. What was the first instrument that you learned to play? What’s your favourite thing to play?

Ciara: I sang in a band my whole time as a teenager. The first instrument that I ever actually played was the ukelele. I played it for six hours straight once and it was like, “Well, that’s that then”. Then the first instrument I fell in love with was bass because I just feel like I started playing bass one day and never stopped. I love it. It’s the coolest instrument. Bassists are the coolest band members and everybody knows it.


Beth: I’m the drummer primarily. I’ve been playing drums for sixteen years, I think. I started playing when I was 11 and I am most confident playing drums. I haven’t ventured into other instruments. I sing a song and it’s terrifying every single time that we do it. Ciara’s on the drums and I’m out front and I’m completely out of my comfort zone then. But I always enjoy it and I’m always really glad when I do it but I would stick to the drums, if possible. [laughs] I will probably play something on another song eventually.

Ciara: Yeah, you will. I think we should get you a glass beer bottle and a guitar so you can do that thing like “Weeeooo!”

Beth: Anything I can hide behind. [laughs]

Alanah: I actually started playing keyboards when I was very young and then I moved and stopped altogether. I’m always kinda sad that I didn’t stick to it because I feel like I maybe would’ve been alright by now. [laughs] After that I started playing guitar and singing. But actually, my favourite instrument to play is the bass because I feel way more confident on it than I am at guitar.

Bev: Are you hearing this!? What instrument do you think is the coolest?

I play bass so I’m biased. [laughs]

Bev: You all started out on cool instruments. Didn’t you start out playing the recorder in P1? My school had to do the recorder in P1. I play a little bit on the keyboard but as soon as my hands were big enough to play a guitar, that was me. [laughs] I started out on my mom’s old acoustic then I got an electric for my 14th birthday. For all that teenage angst I had. I think guitar is great. You can just play however you want.

Beth: You play it however you want.

Bev: I do play it however I want. I love it. I love my guitar as well. I’m obsessed with my guitar. It’s dark purple and it’s kinda sparkly. It’s a Gretsch and I love her. I love her with my whole life.

Ciara: I do love my bass. It’s my best friend.

Do you have names for your instruments?

Bev: Nah.

Ciara: Mine’s Sally.

Beth: Ciara has a really infamous bass as well called Puke which was the first bass she played in Problem Patterns. So Puke always has a soft spot in my heart.

Ciara: It has three tuning pegs and it’s falling apart and it barely has any tone anymore because the strings are so old. They haven’t been changed in thirteen years. She’s funky.


Beth: I don’t think you could name a drum kit. There are too many bits. You’d have to name them all individually.

Ciara: Why don’t you call it Lu, Ludwig?

Beth: Yeah but then you’d have Lu Jr and Lu Jr Jr.

Bev: Yeah, I’ll call mine Gregg. Old Gregg. Have you ever drank Baileys from a shoe?


In recent years we’ve seen priorities shift in the healthcare industry from people to profits and you address this on “Who Do We Not Save?” What is it like to be in a country with a public healthcare system that’s facing privatization?

Alanah: It’s really scary. We see our American friends having to deal with paying for treatments or not being able to pay for treatments. Look at the cost of insulin which is something that a lot of people need every day. The idea that we are heading towards that is a terrifying thought. There’s always been issues in the past decade or so and probably further back than then with closures and wait times. Wait times are ridiculous. It used to be even just something as simple as getting my ears cleaned out it used to be I could just go into my GP and be like, “I need this done” and the nurse would do it. Now I get put on a waiting list for close to a year. I forget what it’s for and I get sent to the specialist and I’m like, “Why am I here?” and they’re like, “We’re going to clean your ears” and I’m like, “Oh yeah!” [laughs] Something as simple as that. That’s not as serious as some people having to wait for cancer treatments and stuff like that but it’s like that’s how bad it is. It’s gone from being able to just go and pop in on your morning off to waiting so long that you forgot what you were going for.

Beth: Especially over the pandemic. They made NHS workers into ‘superheroes’ - which they absolutely are - but that’s what the government did instead of giving them any funding. People were in their front gardens clapping for NHS workers but that’s not slowing our hurtle toward privatization and people not being able to get treatment and people waiting in A&E for 9 hours isn’t being fixed by clapping on your front door.

Alanah: Exactly. There’s the whole thing of people now being like, “We can’t find any staff”. Well, that’s because a lot of them died during the pandemic. That’s probably a big factor as to why you can’t find nurses. They literally put their lives on the line. They can’t get a pay raise, they just get…

Beth: A wee clap.

Alanah: A wee clap and that’s it.

Beth: Pay the fucking nurses. That’s the takeaway.

Queer joy has always been something that you strive to highlight as a band and “Letter of Resignation” is a perfect example of it. What never fails to bring you joy?

Beth: I have a puppy at the minute and he’s really nice. He makes me really happy. He’s a little sausage dog called Jameson. Me and my fiance got him in February and he’s just class. He’s just this little wiggly guy. He makes me happy. Playing music with these guys makes me happy too.

All: Awwwww.

Alanah: I like our little tour playlists that we do together. We end up doing karaoke to them and that’s always a really nice moment. You’ll have kind of a few songs where you’re nodding along and stuff and then a big one will come on like Sheryl Crow. I was saying last week that Beth and I had our “Crossroads” moment. [laughs] Both of us screaming it in the back of the van.

Bev: I love my two cats. My cat is also what did you say? Wiggly guy?

Beth: Yeah! [laughs]

Bev: She’s a young one.

Beth: Isn’t she called Noodles?

Bev: Yeah, she’s very noodle-y. She’s got noodles in the brain and she’s got a noodle-y body. I love her. I also love food. Food always makes me happy. Food is my best friend.

Ciara: I like nature and water and peacefulness and grass and the outdoors and being outside of places that are warm and quality time with people that I love and food also. Spaghetti. I’m horny for spaghetti. [laughs] I am horny for spaghetti please make sure you recorded that.

Bev: We will not be silenced about how horny we are for spaghetti. [laughs]

Beth: We are a very food-motivated band. I feel like whenever we find out we’re going somewhere on tour we immediately look for where we can eat. I like to drink nice pints so I like to find places where we can drink nice pints too.

Alanah: We will book a gig somewhere and then we’re all immediately on Happy Cow looking for vegan places or Beth’s looking for pubs.

Ciara: The post-soundcheck pint.

Beth: That makes me happy. That’s quite a joy right there.

Ciara: The cold post-soundcheck pint.

Beth: The best one was after the first Le Tigre soundcheck. We were absolutely shitting ourselves. Then we got a pint and it was a good time. I’m horny for pints. [laughs]

Ciara: Yeah! Let’s go round and say what we’re horny for.


Alanah: We’re all horny for pints except for me.

Ciara: You’re horny for boba.

Bev: Horny for hydration.

Alanah: Horny for hydration. [laughs]

Ciara: That’s our next song, don’t tell anyone.

What’s the best food you’ve had on tour?

Bev: That’s really sad though!

Ciara: Why?

Bev: Because the best food that we had was in Liverpool. We got these amazing breaded garlic mushrooms, just incredible. We went back the year after and they discontinued them to do these gross, sloppy garlic mushrooms.

Beth: It was the worst!

Alanah: It’s really hard to describe because the original ones were like breaded pub grub. When we got there it says the exact same thing on the menu so we order multiple plates.

Beth: We spent a year talking about these mushrooms and we were like, “We’re going back to Liverpool, we’re going to get these mushrooms!” Then we ordered them and it was like a sloppy greasy mess.

Alanah: They were weird variations of mushrooms like shiitake and enoki but in a creamy sludge. It was awful.

Beth: Heartbreaking.

Alanah: And Beth even messaged the restaurant while we were still there like, “Where are your mushrooms?” [laughs]

Bev: And they said, “Oh, we’ve got this fantastic new mushroom dish” and we were like, “No you don’t!”

Beth: R.I.P. to the garlic mushrooms from Down the Hatch in Liverpool.

Ciara: I want to give a shoutout to Beer and Wings Co in Preston who followed me back three years later after we’d been there in the middle of the night. [laughs]

Alanah: Preston’s a smaller city, maybe a town. We played there a couple of years ago and found literally the best vegan wings we’ve ever had in our lives.

Ciara: They were amazing! They were Coca-Cola flavoured.

Alanah: It was like a barbeque sauce with Coca-Cola in it.

Beth: We’re probably talking more about food than our music - but there was a festival in Wales that was a seaside town and there was this amazing lady who made Jamaican/West Indies food like fried plantain and curry and stuff and it was amazing. Incredible. It was not a huge portion so it was good before we went on stage. It was the best.

Alanah: It was incredible.

Beth: I was literally thinking about that earlier.

Ciara: It was so good.

Alanah: It was the first time any of you had had plantain and that was the best possible way for you to have them.

Beth: She was also so cool.

Alanah: She just had her tunes on and was having a chat. She was amazing.

Ciara and Beth: Would plantain again.

Bev: Our next album is going to be all about food. Horny for food. Horny for grub.


Alanah: Punkews exclusive we’ve already sorted our second album name.

“Bring Back Our Garlic Mushrooms” is the lead single.

Everyone: Yes!

Beth: I feel passionate enough about it to write a song.

Bev: [singing] Make them breaded, make them breaded, make them breaded. Bring back our garlic mushrooms!! Make them breaded, make them breaded.

Alanah: See, this is the writing process! [laughs]

What is the first step towards tearing it down and starting again?

Bev: Goodness me. I had a lot to say there and I didn’t know how to say it so I was just like, “Tear it all down and start again”. “Letter of Resignation” is sort of about me leaving the church rather than a job. I guess I wanted a job in the church but then I decided I didn’t before I got a job in the church. I went to college for it and all, I did a degree. “Tear it all down” is like there’s these years and years of tradition so let’s just tear it all back and start again. Get rid of it. Get rid of all your rules and regulations. I asked you guys like, “Should I write more about what I actually mean here?” but then we were like, “No let’s keep it simple”. More people can relate to it than like tear whatever you want down and start again.

What changes do you want to see made in the music industry to make it a more inclusive place for women and LGBTQ+ folks?

Beth: We need to stop booking abusers as headline acts. I basically just want every man who has been accused of anything to listen to “18+” by Scene Queen. It’s the fucking best song ever written.

Alanah: The fact that she’s going around festivals singing that is just incredible. It’s such a power move.

Beth: I love it! More people like Scene Queen.

Bev: I think some festivals are so safe with the bands that they book. We’ve been seeing Iron Maiden and Metallica everywhere and they’ve been going too long. Give it a rest! Give us a go, you know what I mean. They’re not giving any opportunities to anyone else.

Alanah: There was a discussion about this recently because Bring Me The Horizon had just headlined one of the nights at Download and they were considered ‘new headliners’ but they've been around for ages! It’s so wild that a band of their stature and career is considered a ‘new headliner’ at that kind of thing whereas, at any other festival, they would immediately be the headliner. I don’t even listen to them but with the size of their career, it’s wild. They just kinda recycle through the same few names.

Beth: Even in Belfast we have two big festivals here and every year they book the same two acts. It’s always Stereophonics, it’s always Tom Jones, Picture This. It’s always the same bands and it’s always bands with men. This year they’ve got Lizzo and Florence + The Machine and they’re the first women headliners since Paramore played in 2012. It’s been eleven years.

Bev: Let more rock and metal babes play!

Beth: More Paramore! Fucking put them on every year!

Bev: And us!

Beth: That’s the problem. I feel like a lot of promotors need to sell tickets and they know that these bands sell tickets and they’re not willing to take any risks and book something different. It’s boring.

Alanah: It’s a lack of wanting to take risks across the whole industry. And then a lot of issues with certain things like women and queer folks in alternative music can be perceived as a trend thing sometimes and it isn’t. It should just be the standard that there’s diversity. But whenever someone does become more popular they’re seen as an industry plant if they’re not straight, white men. You’ve had it with Meet Me @ The Altar and then recently with Nova Twins. I’ve seen them on festival lineups for years! They have been grafting and they’re finally doing well and being able to tour the world and stuff like that. Now obviously because they’ve had that next level of success up from being a DIY band, people are like, “Industry plants! Industry plants!” just because they’re two women of colour. No! It’s because they’ve worked their asses off! They’ve literally been a band for ten years now. But you know if some lads came out of nowhere, like literally Bono’s son, they get straight to the top and everyone’s like, “Ach, those lads have been working so hard. Good for them!” It’s like that is literally Bono’s kid.

Bev: Isn’t it great that the radio and the labels are getting behind this cool new band that happens to be Bono’s son??

Ciara: We’re coming for you Bono’s son! [laughs]

Alanah: It’s just stuff like that. Separating what could be seen as people jumping on trends and stuff but it’s not, it’s a lot of people working very hard and finally getting recognition as they should. And like Beth said earlier, there needs to be more safety across the industry.

A big thing in recent years - I say ‘recent years’ but it’s been forever - is with the constant news of someone being outed as a creep or something like that but they still get booked. People are like, “They’re trying to cancel me! They’re trying to cancel me!” it’s like, “NO. None of us are trying to cancel anybody. We just want you to hold yourself accountable and you’re doing fine. You’re still getting booked for gigs”. Especially when it’s in the pop-punk world.

Ciara and Beth: We need to check their hard drives.

Alanah: Yeah, check their hard drives! [laughs] Urrgh. Check their Google search history.

Beth: Check their fucking Instagrams. Those are the worst.

Alanah: Yeah! Check the Instagrams.

Beth: “Get those children off your bus!”

Ciara: Musicians should have to post their DMs every day at 12. [laughs] Except me.

Bev: I got left on ‘seen’ earlier, it’s fine.

Alanah: Left on read for making a joke.

Bev: I was just making a wee joke about an innocent sausage.

Ciara: Our friend is a touring photographer and she got back to her hotel today and she found two cooked sausages in a ziploc bag in her luggage. She didn’t cook those sausages!

Alanah: She didn’t put them there! She said that she’d gone through two airports so at one of those stops someone put a bag of cooked sausages in her bag. Literally a bag of two cooked sausages and she has no idea where they came from. She put it on Instagram so obviously everyone was making jokes about it. Bev asked what the brand of sausages was. [laughs]

Bev: I said, “They’d be yummy with a bit of red sauce” but she hasn’t replied.

Alanah: Just imagine traveling all day, opening up your bag, and finding a bag of two sausages and you don’t know where they came from. They’re just in a ziploc bag. They weren’t bought from some shop. They were someone’s snack.

Bev: Forget about the sausages. [laughs] We’re more than the sausages.

Alanah: But we’re not more than sausage dogs, which brings us back to Jameson.

People take themselves too seriously sometimes so we have to have sausage stories to balance it out.

Beth: That’s one thing that people can never say about us. I don’t think we take ourselves seriously enough. I think that’s our problem. [laughs]

You will be playing some festivals this summer including My People Fest in Berlin, Crapfest in Liverpool, Greenbelt Fest in Kettering, and Core Fest in Glasgow. What are you looking forward to the most about these shows?

Beth: I’m excited to go to Germany. I’ve never been to Germany before.

Ciara: Me neither.

Beth: As I said previously, I want to drink lots of nice pints.

Bev: I’m excited for the food and the beer!

Ciara: I’m excited for the food and the beer as well.

Alanah: I’m excited for the food and the bands.

Ciara: Crapfest is a really great one because Crapsons are really, really good friends of ours so it’s always a good old Liverpoolian-Belfast big banter fest. I’m excited for that reason. Berlin is exciting. Then Core Fest is so cool sounding. We had a great time in Glasgow recently so I’m excited to go back there.

Beth: And then we’re playing in Kettering.

Alanah: The Kettering one is our first-ever camping festival. We literally we’ve been a band for almost five years now and we’ve never done the weekender camping woodsy stage thing ever. This will be our first one.

Ciara: We’ve never played outside.

Beth: These two have!

Alanah: Bev and I have but it was for a charity thing so it doesn’t really count. The two of us recently did a counterprotest thing to some transphobes that were coming to Belfast. We matched up with our friends Gender Chores and called it Gender Problems which was very fitting. It was actually quite a big stage which was surprising, we thought it was going to be a little DIY thing but it was this proper big festival stage outside. The two of us have done an outdoor gig but the four of us have not.

Ciara: Me and Beth just weren’t available for that. We are also anti-transphobes. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to go, we just couldn’t make it. I just wanted to make that clear.

Alanah: Beth wasn’t even in Belfast. It was purely just a nice idea that we would mash up with the other ones and the name worked out really well for the particular event. But if we could’ve all been there that would’ve also been great.

Bev: We all have a great time together. I’m excited to travel.

Alanah: I’m so excited about Berlin because there’s a couple of bands from the US that I never thought I would get to see in my life like Dying For It. I recently discovered FAIM because of that lineup and I think it’s their last-ever Euro tour so I’m really excited that we get to see their potentially last-ever Berlin gig. Very, very excited for Dying For It because they’ve been a big inspiration to me since Problem Patterns started and I genuinely didn’t think I would get to see them. We get to play at the same festival which is wild. I think they’re on the day after us which means I can fully relax and enjoy their set instead of worrying about ours. But they’re really cool people and have always been really supportive of Problem Patterns as well. I’m really excited to meet them and hang out and get vegan food. Berlin is really cool so it’s going to be a really good time and it’s the week of my birthday so it’s just like treats all around. It’s Berlin, my birthday, and Liverpool in the same week. It’s great!

Have you gotten any camping tips for Greenbelt Fest?

Alanah: No but I’m like how can we do it without camping?

Beth: Yeah, I don’t wanna camp.

Ciara: We’re not camping. We’re not those people.

Alanah: I just know that I am not that person. I grew up in Canada and your holidays are usually going camping. That’s what you do as a vacation and I hated it. I had friends who would go off to cottages and stuff but we weren’t that kind of family, we were camping in tents and I couldn’t stand it. [laughs] I’m away from that. I’m over it. It’s another time in my life that I don’t want to return to and especially not having to play a gig because we’re always so sweaty after a gig. I can’t imagine going into a bug-filled environment.

Bev: These are such divas!

Ciara: You sleep on the ground.

Bev: I’ll sleep on the ground. I camped growing up and I love it.

Beth: I camped growing up too. I had a caravan though. I’d sleep in a caravan.

Ciara: I camped last year and I hate it. You’re a slug.

Bev: I am a slug.

Alanah: Of all of us, Bev would be the one to be into it.

Beth: And to answer your camping tip, book a hotel. That’s our camping tip.

Alanah: Book a hotel.

Ciara: Save up.

Bev: Get better friends.


Ciara: Save money by getting a room for three by having a gross guitarist. [laughs]

Bev: I’m not even going to bring a tent.

Alanah: You’ll just chance it.

Bev: Grandly.

Alanah: See that’s the thing, I was like, “Oh we’ve never played one before” but it’s probably because of that reason. The camping thing is not for us. We like cleanliness and glamour.

Bev: I like grossness.

Ciara: Bev is the Shrek of Problem Patterns. [laughs]

Bev: Don’t come for me in my swamp!


Ciara: If anybody in this band lives in a swamp, it’s Bev. We are at her house and her house is beautiful by the way.

Kathleen Hanna has called Problem Patterns her new favourite band. What did you think when you heard that?

Beth: We lost our ever-loving minds.

Ciara: Screaming, crying, throwing up.

Beth: We’ve all been insane Bikini Kill fans and Le Tigre fans for years so for her to take the time to watch our YouTube video is amazing and then to have any kind of relationship with her is a bonus and a privilege. We feel very, very lucky.

Alanah: Especially after the gigs we just played opening for Le Tigre and the fact that she went on Instagram and said, “I’ve been waiting two years to see them!” It was just really nice.

Ciara: She’s been so supportive of us and we can’t appreciate it enough.

How was opening for Le Tigre?

Beth: Best gigs we’ve ever played!

Alanah: I don’t know if it was just the combination of all the emotions but the crowd was amazing. The sound engineers on both nights were amazing. The atmosphere was just incredible. We also got to see Le Tigre twice which was incredible. It was such a treat. They were the most fun in the world even though they also had these quite heavy moments. We always talk about ourselves being quite a cathartic space as a band but that was a pure outpouring of every emotion both good and bad. It was incredible just to witness that two nights in a row. It was an honour.

Ciara: There were a few tears.

Alanah: It was emotional.

Beth: There were quite a few tears. The crowd was so lovely. We were at the merch stand every night and everyone was so nice coming up and talking to us. Everyone who followed us on Instagram or anything sent us nice messages. We were in the van like, “Did you see this? That was so lovely! Did you talk to this person?” It was really special because we’ve never played gigs on that scale before. Those were the two biggest gigs we’ve ever played. We were terrified but I think it was the absolute best-case scenario. There was no way we could’ve imagined them going any better.

Alanah: The only issue, and we’ll laugh about it now, was we are not used to playing stages that big so all of us got unplugged at one point. Our leads are just not long enough for those stages.

Ciara: First song in. Absolute hellfire. Stuff’s flying everywhere. People are screaming. People are on fire. [laughs]

Alanah: Bev ran over to Ciara and Bev became unplugged. Then Ciara tried to go the other way and Ciara became unplugged.

Ciara: Our tour manager Brendy is running onto the stage trying his best to get everything back and plugged in and then he just gave up.

Alanah: We learned that for those situations we need to get some longer leads.

Bev: Yeah and practice running around the stage at soundcheck. That’s my pro tip for playing bigger stages.

Ciara: If for whatever reason you’re a small band and you’ve just been asked to play the biggest gigs of your life, run around the stage with your leads to make sure that they won’t fly out.

Bev: Or you’ll have an idea of where your radius is, where you can get to.

Alanah: For “Letter of Resignation”, Bev likes to jump into the crowd, and obviously for this one, it was a very different setup than usual because typically she’ll just run off the stage and have a very short jump into the crowd and will be back on stage in thirty seconds. Whereas with this one both nights we had to clear it with security that they would be ok with her doing that. These are very big stages and if I had’ve done it, my ankles would have been broken. But she hopped off and went over the barrier and she was gone both times for a good two minutes. The rest of us are on stage like, “Do-do-do-do”. We don’t know where she is. Usually, we can see her and she’s got the mic with her but for these shows, she had to leave it on stage. She’s running up and down the barrier giving people high fives and we’re like, “When is she coming back up?” The first night we were told that we had run over our time a little bit so they let us off five minutes early the second night to account for that kind of thing.

Ciara: But we’re a really good band. We do really good shows on time. 90% of the time.

Alanah: We are very professional.

Ciara: And our leads stay in our guitars most of the time.

Alanah: The amount of stuff that was unplugged was substantially less on the second night. We kept saying afterward that we need to get to a point of being a band that has wireless guitars and mics but then I think that’d be too much power. Some of us might decide to go on a bus and see how far it can go before they go out of range.

Ciara: GoPro yourself back into the gig.

Bev: [laughs]

Alanah: I just feel like one of us would absolutely be like, “How far out of range can I go before the audio stops?”. Too much power! Maybe we do need cables. They were legitimately two of the best nights of my life so far. It’s like you don’t want to peak too early but where do we go from here? [laughs]

Beth: It’s all downhill. It’s fine.

Ciara: We’re very optimistic for the future. We’ve lived our dreams so everything else is just bonus dreams from here on out.

How would you describe the punk scene in Belfast?

Alanah: Small. Tiny.

Beth: And full of men.

Alanah: We’re not really involved in that part either.

Ciara: Like in the traditional punk scene.

Beth: We kinda carved ourselves out a space and we’re happy where we are in that space.

Alanah: I wouldn’t even say we’re involved in the punk scene necessarily. We’ve kinda got a little scene in Belfast that happens to be made up of a few different genres and some nice folks. There’s not too much of a musical crossover really.

Ciara: We’re from a weird little place.

Beth: I think people are really surprised at how small the scene is here. We’re very, very selective of who we play with and we try to be as conscious of any allegations or anything. I think it’s just safer for us to have our own wee pocket where we play. I think that’s safer for everyone.

Alanah: There’s definitely some really great bands. They’re just not necessarily punk bands.

What are you listening to now?

Beth: The new Bully album came out a couple of weeks ago and it’s amazing. I’ve been listening to it all day. I’ve been listening to a lot of Le Tigre for no reason. [laughs] The new Kylie Minogue song, “Padam Padam” is incredible so I’ve just been listening to that on repeat.

Alanah: I’m really bad for fixating on one single song and killing it, running it into the ground. I really love Hemlock Springs. She’s like a weird modern Kate Bush that I saw on TikTok one day and she’s just amazing. I really like Leith Ross from Canada who makes me very sad but they have very, very good stuff. I’m actually really obsessed with an old song. [laughs] And it proves she’s not absolute crap that we were all kinda raised to believe as such - Yoko Ono has a song called “Nobody Sees Me Like You Do”. It’s the best song ever and I would argue better than anything John Lennon ever wrote even though it’s about him.

Beth: We’re really big Beatles fans.

Bev: Hey look, I have been listening to a lot of the White Album recently, not one word of a joke.

Ciara: Two people in this band hate the Beatles and two people in this band love the Beatles. But we all agree that we are bigger than the Beatles.

Alanah: We are bigger than the Beatles but not as big as Slipknot.

Beth: We’re not as big as Slipknot. One day we’ll get there.

Bev: I love Slipknot. Ciara, what are you listening to?

Ciara: The Beatles.

Bev: I’m listening to the Beatles as well. I’m going through this phase where I listen to a lot of The Gossip and Sleigh Bells.

Alanah: There’s a really good album that just came out actually by a band called Pinksqueeze and it’s called Be Gay Have Fun. I just think that’s great. I’m all about it.

Beth: We like to be gay and also to have fun.

Ciara: There’s a fraction of gayness to the band, we haven’t figured it out.

Bev: It seems like you have.

Beth: Ciara’s figured it out.

Ciara: I’m going to do the math.


You all dressed up like Slipknot for a Halloween show once. Are you going to do a Slipknot cover?

Ciara: We dressed up like them for Halloween once and we totally became terrifying looking as the makeup and costumes faded.

Beth: I want to do “Eeyore”. I need to get a double kick before we start covering Slipknot.

Ciara: I think we’re going to do “People = Shit”.

Beth: “People = Shit” would be pretty good too.

Ciara: It’s not even any of our favourites I’m assuming, but I think it would be really funny.

Beth: I just like the bit of “Eeyore” where he screams “Fuck”. I just want to do that.

Ciara: We can do that.

Bev: Let’s do a mashup of different songs.

Ciara: Medley!

Beth: Like a Grease Megamix but with Slipknot.

Ciara: Slipknot Megamix.


Bev: For Ciara’s birthday we got her a Slipknot T-shirt but it actually has us dressed like Slipknot on it.

Ciara: And I didn’t know! I didn’t clock it for ages!

Alanah: It’s a photo of us dressed like Slipknot.

Ciara: I think I was confused why there was only four of them. [laughs]

Alanah: It doesn’t actually say Slipknot.

Ciara: It says Slipknort.

Alanah: Which is what we call a nip slip. [laughs]

What does the future hold for Problem Patterns?

Beth: Album and then hopefully doing some shows with the album. I would like to do some American shows but we don’t have anything in the diary.

Alanah: I would love to do some Canadian shows. I grew up there and I would love for us to go do hometown shows and play Toronto and stuff like that. If there are any Canadian promotors that read this hit us up! [laughs]

Ciara: We’re writing album number two. Riffing that baby.

Alanah: The weird thing is that we’ve been sitting on album one and it’ll come out in a few months but we’re already eager to write new stuff because we’ve already been playing Blouse Club songs for a while now even though some of them still need to make it into the setlist. Some might never, some might get played once and that’ll be it. Definitely want to write some new stuff now that the big Le Tigre gigs are done.

Beth: We’re going to become bigger than Slipknot.

Alanah: That’s the goal!

Ciara: Slipknot if you’re reading this, which we know you are, we’re coming for your gig. We’re going to headline Download and they’re going to headline McHugh’s.


Beth: McHugh’s is a basement bar in Belfast. That’s where Slipknot is going to play.

Bev: I’ve read your book, Corey Taylor, now you read us.

Beth: If you wrote a book, I’d read it. Maybe Bev will write a book.

Ciara: Bev’s autobiography is going to come out in 2024.

Bev: I was thinking about this the other day actually and I was like, “I don’t have enough memories for a book”. So if any ghostwriters want to hit me up.

Beth: Em might write it for you.

Bev: Em?

Hell yeah!

Bev: Let’s do it.

Beth: I’ve got the quote for the front cover. It’s going to say, “Flipping fantastic”.


Beth: We’ve really gone off the rails. I think we should start a festival called Sausage Fest and we won’t book a single man.

Ciara: Yes! That’s it.

Bev: I love it.

Ciara: Sausage Fest 2024, you’re coming to it.

07.07.23Dublin, IEBello Bar -Trans-Fusion Trans Arts Festival
15.07.23Berlin, DEMy People Fest
22.07.23Liverpool, UKCrapfest
19.08.23Glasgow, UKCore Festival
26.08.23Kettering ,UKGreenbelt Festival
03-06.10.23Dublin, IEIreland Music Week
17.11.23London, UKSebright Arms