Hailing from Exeter, Okay, Bye are the self-described, “punk rock power couple” of Grace and Tom. The duo first emerged back in 2019 with their debut, self-titled EP, which was followed up last year with the six-track EP, Personal Hell. The band are part of an increasingly thriving DIY-scene in Exeter, and when not making their own merch, or recording and mixing their own music, play in various other bands and offer music and recording lessons from their home studio.
Personal Hell is a delightfully to-the-point affair, with few tracks even touching the three minute mark as they rush through anarchic, blasts of feminist punk-rock, citing influences from Diet Cig to No Doubt and Greenday in their pre-arena-filling days. The record opens with Better Than Ever, a track about learning to pat yourself on the back from time to time and appreciate your achievements, set to a soundtrack of pounding drums and yelpy vocals reminiscent of the 80’s post-punk heyday. Elsewhere, Apathy takes aim at the work-day grind and Alone, with its particularly excellent strut of a guitar-line, is a song about loneliness and finding the one person who seems to cut through your defences. Particularly wonderful is the topical penultimate track Bubble, a track about the never-ending media cycle, the pressure to always be engaged and the need from time-to-time to take a second to bury your head in the sand and embrace not having to understand everything all at once. There’s something honest, raw and charming about Okay, Bye’s music; a band making music their own way and sounding great in the process.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Okay, Bye?
We’re a two-piece punk rock power couple. We write fun but fierce bops about being a creative person stuck in a capitalist society. Grace is the vocalist and guitarist and Tom is the drummer and recording engineer/producer.
We have a mega DIY ethos and recorded, mixed and mastered our new EP ourselves. Pre-COVID, we were also offering free music lessons/help/advice for people wanting to start out at our home studio.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Grace: OB actually started as a solo project, so i did some sad gal acoustic songs, but i hated it so got Tom in to spice things up. Our first gig was mostly a flurry of nerves but felt amazing afterwards. Also we were supporting Martha which was cool cos we love them!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Grace: Personally, I often use songwriting as a way to vent. People don’t mind so much about you complaining when it has a catchy melody… Also nothing gets those feelings off your chest like screaming them out over your own distorted guitar, let me tell ya.
Although actually, we do both make other forms of art too! Tom is an excellent photographer and professional hairdresser and I am an illustrator.
FTR: What can people expect from the Okay Bye live show?
For two people, we have a lot of energy and have great chemistry on stage. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and want playing music and being in a band to seem really accessible for anyone! We make sure our material is very well rehearsed and we are hitting all the right notes, however the chat in between is always pretty off piste and any mistakes while playing are embraced and laughed off
FTR: What’s next for Okay Bye?
We just released our latest EP, Personal Hell, on 12” baby pink marbled vinyl, which is super exciting!
Grace: During lockdown, I’ve written tonnes of new songs, so our next mission is to record an album. We also have everything crossed that we will be able to tour again this year as our 2019 tour was some of the most fun we’ve ever had!
They Listen To…
Probably Not – Your Worth
Don’t Worry – As If By Magic
Disgusting News – Rip It Up
Southwest Hotel – Dogwood
Bad Idea – Winter
Personal Hell is out now. Click HERE for more information on Okay, Bye.