Krakatoa Exclusive: An Interview with Battalion of Flies


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Hey! How’s it going? Welcome to another addition of the Krakatoa blog where we talk about music, bands and that addictive, kick-ass grass roots alt-scene. Today’s addition is a special one- an interivew with and a close look at Battalion of Flies; one of Scotland’s rising grassroots bands, whose members Craig Costello and his son Zack were very kind to grant an interview following their spectacular and energetic performance on Krakatoa’s stage on March 4th. This was part of their 3 day mini-tour which was held in Newcastle, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Who are Battalion of Flies?

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland Battalion of Flies have helped to keep grunge kicking since the band’s formation in 2003, notably with their 2004 debut album ‘Blue Lips, Cold Kiss’, and despite taking a hiatus between 2005 and 2018, not to mention having to best the kiss of death for all musicians that was lockdown, they haven’t lost touch with their roots or their indomitable spirit. If anything, they have overcome the pitfalls and hurdles in their way and have risen above the personal afflications that can halt any musician’s momentum. But don’t take my word for it, let’s see what they had to say.

“When you’re a musician…I don’t think you grow up necessarily”

Would you Like to introduce yourselves?

Craig Costello: Hi, I’m Craig Costello. I’m the lead singer and guitar player.

Zack: Hi, I’m Zack and I’m the lead/rythm guitarist.

Craig Costello: And on base we got Tony Noble and on drums we got CK Gillon.

How long have you been touring as a band? What has that experience been like for you over the years?

Craig Costello: Well, I’ll just go back to the start. We formed in 2003, got signed and released an album in 2004.

The cover for Battalion of Flies debut album: ‘Blue Lips, Cold Kiss

We started to climb the ladder, but the usual problems started…we had to part company with our drummer…he’s a good drummer…but…you know…

We disbanded in 2005 and although we had a lot of material for a second album it just never really materailised so we went our own separate ways and joined other bands. But then in 2018 CK, the drummer, approached me about ‘playing the music again’ so we contacted Tony who played in the latter stages of 2005, so he’s a kinda original member, and we eventually got my son, Zack, to play as a second guitarist.

When we got back together in 2018 we decided to do an anniversary show to celebrate the release of our first album which by then was 15 years old. Afterwards we started writing material and just kept going.

We got to making the EP (In Dark Meadows…Chaos Reigns) and there was just so much there…we felt that we had learned so much. It gave us a lot to do over lockdown…we couldn’t play live so we just started writing loads of new material.

Tommy Gleasen from Feeder mixed the EP for us, but he also added lots of different guitars and backing vocals to it that made the EP sound massive.

The EP in question…a short, but hard hitting selection of tracks with some profound and relatable social commentary

“Nothings original anymore, you’ve just got to put your own stamp on it”

Let’s talk about sound inspiration then. Hard alt-rock/grunge…how do you feel about that being used as a description of your sound?

Craig Costello: Originally, I think that fit us pretty well, but we’ve gone harder since then.

Harder than the first album?

Craig Costello: Yeah, definitely. First album was very grungy. Bit of Alice in Chains inspiration there. But you know that was the era when that type of sound was popular. Something I would have been listening to in my teens. That was a massive part of my life and listening to these bands and going to see them live… it changed my life. And it influenced the stuff we write. That style of music really spoke to me when it came out. But also thrash metal. I used to listen to lots of Metallcia and Megadeath. Steal from everyone, chuck it in a pot and see what happens. Nothings original anymore, you’ve just got to put your own stamp on it. But I can’t deny that grunge influenced me.

Does that mean there’s an upcoming album?

Craig Costello: Yes! It is already recorded, just needs to get mixed. When we get home after the mini-tour we’ll get back to work on it. There’s still some songs we want to added to it, so we’re not rushing it but hopefully it will be released this year. Its called ‘To the End’

What is the new album about?

Craig Costello: The EP dealt with the situation in the world at the time of the lockdown…whereas the new album is much more personal.

“I’ve always been the kind of guy that writes what he knows, because if that’s how you’re feeling about something and its genuine then I think people can really relate to that”

So, I really wanted to talk to you about ‘Blue Lips, Cold Kiss’- in your single from that album, ‘Weight of the World’, listening to it I felt there was a lot of raw, emotional energy emanating from that song. I mean, the lyrics are rather explicit. Are they only grounded in personal loss or are you trying to say something more?

Craig Costello: Yeah, definitely super personal. And its weird because I didn’t realize what I was writing about until afterwards… and then the band are going, “you do know that this is about your ex-wife (chuckles) oh yeah, so it is. You know, I was just writing stuff about how I felt and then you get caught up in arrangements and the music. But with ‘weight of the world’… yeah, its really personal. It’s a song about loss and feeling that you’re not good enough and people leaving you and how you feel like the lights gone from you. I was married before and there was a lot of shit happening, and a lot of it came out in that album. It has to be slightly cryptic, but then people can interpret it how they want. If you think its about climate change then it is. Lots of bands have really vague themes to their music that makes it really bland. If you can listen to something and go “oh fuck, he’s  really lived through something and its come through the song” then I think its so much more powerful. Yeah, I’d say that album is very biographical.

So, you would be okay with dying as an author?

Craig Costello: As soon as its released, its no longer up to you as an artist.

One of my favorite songs from your first album was ‘Unclean’, particularly the lyrics: ‘I feel so inclean unclean watching TV screens- what were you watching?

Craig Costello: Hahahaha! Well…I think I’ll just let you decide that. You make up your own mind and I’ll just take the meaning of that to my grave.

Respect. Fair enough

Craig Costello: With ‘Unclean’…that was during when reality TV was popular, you know Big Brother and stuff, and it all just felt so voyeuristic and watching people sleep…its just weird. And its worse now, you know, people are getting married and they’ve never even met before and it’s a tv show. Its ridiculous.

With the advent of social media and spotify, along with the slew of various musicians that the general public has easy access to, have you found it difficult to get your music out there or does that not really concern you?

Craig Costello: It’s a double edged sword I guess because you don’t need a label anymore you can just do it yourself, but also the markets kinda flooded so you have think up of ways of standing out. And I think that’s particularly the case in the last couple of years with not being able to gig. We were building up a lot of momentum and then lockdown just hit, and that wave just crashed. But hopefully things will start getting back to normal just now and we’ll try and build it up again.

What’s your take on contemporary rock and/or metal bands on the scene right now? Anything that stands out to you in particular?

Craig Costello: I like a lot of it. There’s a Scottish band I’m really into just now they’re called Bleed from Within- they are absolutely amazing! There’s lots of good bands going through Scotland just now. Obviously the bigger bands – Gojira, you know, Meshuga…and the older ones like Machine Head are still sounding great. I really love Nothing but Thieves as well. Slaves to Gravity… they were amazing and they really should have been bigger than they were. What about you, Zack?

Anything about contemporary rock/metal that stands out to you?

Zack: Just…everything my Dad said.

(Cue laughter)

Craig Costello: Plus he’s a massive Dream Theatre fan.

Dream Theatre?

Craig Costello: Yeah, I mean they’ve been going a long time now, but I saw them back in the day as well before they were really big. Thre’s lots of stuff and, really, we listen to a lot of the same things even though he’s considerably younger than me. And, especially when you’re into music you should keep trying to find new stuff and we try and do that, especially at the local level as well.

For example?

Craig Costello: For example, Darkness Divine, 6 Years Silence- we’ve played with them and thy’re a good emerging band. There are lots of good bands that are on our level that are trying to break through.

What’s it like trying to balance being on tour with the struggle to party, or not to party?

Craig Costello: I don’t know. I don’t actually try and set any rules for myself other than being faithful to my wife, but with everything else, you know, you’ve only got one life. I’ve been to Ireland and Northern Ireland playing and when someone asks, “Do you want to go to a house party?” I says, “yeah”. I have no idea where I’m going and despite the risks, you know, its just life experiences and you’ve got to experience life. Now I’m dragging my son along with me on my adventures

Zack: Yeah, its great! A really good way of gaining experience.

Have you ever played in Krakatoa before?

Craig Costello: First time here. The last time we were playing in Aberdeen was 2004. But I checked Krakatoa out before we came, and its great venue, great set up and we’ll definitely come back.

What do you like to drink?

Craig Costello: In the house I like to drink Gin and Tonic. I kinda stopped drinking beer a while ago, but I normally drink lager and I tried Budvar in the bar and its really really nice. The other two members are into their craft beer and ales, but I don’t really like it to be honest.

Zack: I tried a Cider here. I don’t know what it is, but I really liked it. I’m mostly into Rum and coke, especially Kraken and coke.

“And I cry like the sun is gone…”

And so Krakatoa’s time with Battalion of Flies came to an end (for now) with Craig and Zack, as they told me they would, staying on till late after the show, enjoing very modest amounts of Budvar and Kraken and cola…naturally. And as the party was winding down, on was struck with just how personable they both were as individuals. Despite the numerous obstacles that have been hurled at them, whether they were personal ones or out of their control entirely, they were clearly over and done with it. More so, they had ascended beyond their afflictions-thrusting forward towards new horizons. If it does feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders, then this experienced band have proven that they can easily carry it. Highly looking forward to their newest album ‘To the End’ and hope you are too! See you in the next one.

Check out this single from their debut album, ‘Blue Lips, Cold Kiss’

Krakatoa Exclusive: An Interview with Forest Fires


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But first, some context…

Greetings and welcome to the newest edition of Krakatoa’s blog where we talk music, bands and the alternative culture we all love and cherish. Today, we delve into Forest Fires, an alt-rock band from Aberdeen, Scotland who have been part of the grass roots music scene for years gracing us with their peeling guitars, poignant vocals and all set against a backdrop of subtle synthesizers that give their sound an iconic, unique flavor.

They’re a hard working, determined and highly motivated band, and with their debut album ‘Naked Ape’ turning three years old this July they have recently dropped a new single ‘Deadweight’, hinting that a new album is in the works.

The Interview

Most noteworthy was their appearance at Krakatoa’s mighty and epic event- Eruption! Battle of the Bands: The Grand Final. Here, they did not emerge as the final victors, but were no less downbeat about it than when they first found out they made it to the final. Enough teasing. let’s see what they had to say.

Krak: First of all, can you introduce yourselves?

Scott: I’m Scott, I sing and I play the guitar in Forest Fires.

Paul: I’m Paul, I play the guitar in Forest Fires.

Alan: My name is Allen and I play a synthesiser in Forest Fires.

Jack: I’m Jack and I play the Drums in Forest Fires.

Krak: Awesome! How did you guys get together to make Forest Fires?

Scott: Short version, Jack and I have been in forest fires for years and there have been some band member changes… Paul came in when we first began, and Alan came shortly after that.

Paul: Just a mutual love in Rock and roll. [cue laughter]

Krak: Because you just mentioned Rock and Roll, what kind of bands, icons and music genres do you relate to and why?

Alan: As a band, it’s kind of hard because, if you triangulate everybody’s influences, it’s all fairly dull, it’s like your Beatles, Radiohead and all that that everyone has listened to. We try and make things a bit more complex and fun, you guys are more into other types of stuff.

Paul: Yeah, we do enjoy a lot of instrumental music. Although we enjoy Rock, Rube and other classics are quite important.

Krak: How do you feel about being part of the Finals?

Jack: We didn’t really expect to or think we would but it’s a thrill to be here.

Alan: it’s really fun playing in a room full of people, especially at Krakatoa during Battle of the Bands. Our last two gigs here were the most fun we have done.

Krak: Thank you so much! That is amazing to hear.

Paul: It’s really cool because most “Battle of the Bands” [events] are kinda quite awkward of “let’s beat the other team!” but everyone is so nice…

Scott: It’s been an ethos of comradery here.

Krak: That is so wonderful to hear such lovely, lovely things: have you ever been to Krakatoa before? What do you like about it and why?

Scott: My favourite thing about Krakatoa is the Rhubarb Cider

All members: Yas! It is so good!

Scott: Yeah, been here a lot drinking, meeting my friends, seeing other bands.

Allen: Big shout out to the non-Alcoholic Budvar… I was driving along for this gig, and the previous gigs and drank a few of them. Yeah! Very good.

So there you have it. Not only do they showcase talent and a transgressive alt-rock sound, but they’re also very personable and generally down to earth bunch of lads.

Please do check them out if you’re curious; they’re worth a look. And we’ll see you in the next post. ;))

Krakatoa Exxxclusive An Interview with Masenko


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Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to Krakatoa’s THIRD EVER exclusive interview! Maskenko as always played magnificently on our stage at Krakatoa. These guys were Fantastic at Punk Fest. Krakatoa had the privilege to catch up with the lovely Masenko band prior lockdown at our Eruption shows, they were so fantastic to chat with!

Masenko: “He’s here! Typical! Always one!” *Laughs

Krakatoa: “No worries! We’re all good? So, first of all, introduce yourselves and your band.”

T: “So, we’re Masenko, the bassist is Jack…”

C: “… I’m Chera, I play rhythm guitar.”

T: “I’m Tony and I’m the drummer and more or less lead singer.”

B: “I’m Bensi and I play lead guitar.”

Krakatoa: “Nice! That’s interesting, having the lead singer and the drummer in the same role.”

T: “Well, funnily enough, we started off with me as the bassist!”

J: “And me as the drummer.”

Krakatoa: “Oh, okay!”

*Laughs

T: “I have been playing the drums for a lot longer and to a degree more classically trained through sheet music and… I think we just thought he was a much better base player than I was.”

J: “Yeah and we were also switching around in the middle of songs… and decided to stick to a structure.”

T: “And I had done the whole singing and drumming thing before.”

J: “And it just worked from there…!”

Krakatoa: “Out of interest, what inspired your band to be as it is? How did you guys come together?”

T: “Funny you should say this, my mum and Chera’s mum are friends. Two Filipino ladies, we’re “halfs” and it’s just like most mums, especially in Filipino culture “Oh! Your kid should play with my kid!!”, so me and Chera were messaging each other trying to arrange a jam together -never did- but we did so Bensi, my childhood friend was invited.”

B: “We’re honorary Filipinos!!”

*Laughs!

T: “So I was like “Do you wanna come along and meet my mum’s friends daughter? We’re gonna have a jam.” Me and Bensi played together since school. So, we did that and became three people and were missing a drummer, and Jack…”

J: “We’ve known each other like for a good long time now.”

T: “… So I called him up and we played covers for a long time, then started playing original stuff, just going into the archives, played like each other’s songs and went with the flow from there.”

Krakatoa: “Nice!”

T: “And here we are.”

J: “One thing I would say about us is that we’re close friends; more tightly close than band members. We just have that vibe together, not just musically.”

Krakatoa: “That’s great though, isn’t it? Because you get that creative collaboration.”

B: “Exactly! When it comes to playing on stage and to having that presence, I wouldn’t say showmanship but along those lines –CHEMISTRY!”

T: “We learn as we go! We’re still learning.”

Krakatoa: “How long have you guys been together?”

: “Four/five years!”

: “Three and a bit…”

: “Well, we’ve all done something together at some point.”

: “Three or four years then!”

Krakatoa: “How would you describe your band’s music style? Or what musical styles or icons do you relate to and why?”

: “I think we had trouble defining ourselves for a long time.”

: “It often felt like we were three different bands.”

: “Rock and alternative?”

: “We’re rock and alternative!”

: “Though when we first played at Krakatoa, we got the reject genre. We didn’t know what this was, like “What even is that?””

: “We just write songs and bring them to each other and just adapt to how we want to feel musically.”

: “What do you like about Krakatoa and why?”

: “Well, its sound system and production team are amazing to work with, we get feedback… the communication between the band and the sound team are top-notch!”

Krakatoa: “That is really good feedback! We’ve never had anyone talk about our sound team in such a way. They shall be absolutely delighted!”

Krakatoa: “That’s great! Thank you very much for your time!”

Chera: “Thank you!” 

Check them out via their link tree!!!

https://linktr.ee/masenko?fbclid=IwAR3wUYd1N6zsbCuq9S0gUBDsErJeRoK2Xj-_5Aocuc2V48O9vj4ZJAfvIBk

Krakatoa Exxxclusive Gypsy Roots at Alt Fest


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After reopening the Bar, we had a fantastic Autumn as the Granite City got in full swing! The team managed to catch Gypsy Roots after their brilliantly successful set at Alt-Fest. With their latest members: Isaac, Chris, Johnny (of Bliss), Paloma, and Joseph, we had a great natter to get  to know them better from their music and how they experiment with their styles musically and politically. 

Krak: So, Just finished an amazing gig at Alt-Fest with the fantastic Gypsy Roots Band at Krakatoa Aberdeen! How are you guys doin’? How was the thrill of it all? 

Paloma: always so much fun! It was awesome, good to be back in Krak. It’s been two years.

Krak: Two years?! How did you guys cope with the Pandemic, what did you do over that time-space? 

Issac: It wasn’t too bad, we had our flat, and practised there… When Covid restrictions went down, we jammed, hung out in my spare bedroom which was really good because I was able to learn all the songs, then we moved into the living room where we practised all the time rather than buy a practice space.

John: Which helps a lot. 

Issac: totally chill environment at home, Chris the drummer lives with me at home as well so it was chill.

Chris: It was a rollercoaster… like… with restrictions so when we could jam.

Joseph: Always challenges. 

Krak: Well I can tell ya, it was certainly a good show tonight so give yourselves a pat on the back like check you’s!!! you’re back!

GR: Yaaayyy!!!

Krak: Who are the original OGS and who thought of kickstarting Gypsy Roots? 

Paloma: I used to run events in Aberdeen called Abedontique and had a Reggae band come to Aberdeen and we needed a support band so I thought “Oh hey guys! let’s form our own support band!” so it was me, Joseph, Chris, Liam and AJ and then John replaced AJ later on.

GR: So we had a month to play songs for Tunnels… worst gig ever. [Laughs]

Paloma: Chris was on keys at the time, Liam was on drums, and Chris had this keyboard, y’know it had those background tunes that come with it, like the cheesy….yeah

Krak: Oh no!

Joeseph: Yes! so halfway through the gig, Tunnels and the next room and the next band were really loud also we heard this drumbeat and it was playing through the song! So we swapped the band about… kinda hectic 

Krak: Challenge accepted though! Considering how reggae is a very political music genre historically, and your Instagram page seems political, is that just part of the territory or is that something you are into? You’re part of different co-operative groups outside the band, and your songs do give out positive and powerful political statements.

Paloma: For me- I can’t write about anything else! That is something I’m really, really passionate about so if I’m not into it, can’t write about it like “love” I can’t as it’s really really cringey. 

Isaac: we all have a very similar view of the world which does connect us as friends and as bandmates. Really feel very happy to be part of the statement and the band.

Paloma: Family man.

Issac: It’s so rare to see that on a lot of bands as it is very difficult, but we all fit and we’re all good friends too.

Krak: How do you feel about playing at Krakatoa? As we do have similar political interests and viewpoints, how do you guys feel about being here?

Isaac: It’s our home.

GR: For a whole year, we played at Krakatoa once a month or even every second month.

Krak: What is your favourite drink here by the way? 

Issac: I like the Tropical Cider, the lilies one?

Krak: Oh Yes! We have that on rotation!

Joseph: My best and least favourite drink is the Zombie Pirate. [Laughs]

Krak: YES!

GR: Does the job, it does exactly what you need it to do which is to get drunk.

Paloma: I LIKE ANYTHING WITH RUM!

Krak: Well our cocktails are all rum-based, have you tried them? 

Paloma, Yes, I’ve tried the Zombie.

Krak: Have you tried our 1883’s?

Issac: Oh yes! The one with the strawberry in the middle? That was good memories with that, the bowls for them were ace! I’m surprised they haven’t broken yet!

Krak: Touch wood! [Laughs]

John: Proper shoutout to you guys though, you do really good absinthe!

Krak: Thank you so much for your time guys! Especially so last minute. Hope you guys come play again here very soon. 

John: Thank you very much for talking to us! 

Everyone! PEAAAACCCEEEEE!!!!!

Check them out on Instagram and Facebook! 

Congratulations Vulpine!!!


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One of our fave bands Vulpine released their EP and partied with us in October!

We at Krakatoa Bar are so happy that they chose to celebrate their success with us! We’re even happier that they came back and went hardcore for our fundraiser ALT FEST the very next day!

Here is a taster of the top tunes they had on for us:

Check out their Social Media Pages and get your hands on their EP!

Well done lads! Hope to see you soon!

A Welcome Back and a Happy Hogmanay


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Welcome back you cool cats and kittens and Merry Freakin’ Christmas…

After two years all comfy during watching Netflix, video chatting to our pals and grannies through this Armageddon facing many a scary challenge during our 9-5s and at home – we have been REOPENED!!!!

Dust off those Doc’s n dancing shoes, work that casual comfy- or glam the F up – with a mask and get your post-apocalyptic freak on at our Hogmanay Hula!

While we have been away, we’ve been flexing our tentacles with our fundraisers for a STATE OF THE ART ventilation system that cleans our air inside every three minutes, taking care of our you, our bar, and having one amazing good time in the process. Because we all love a party… without an unwelcome present afterwards.

Since we’ve reopened, we had excellent Cocktail Training with our lovely newbies, met the cast of the Circus of Horrors, and Partying til’ dawn from 3pm with our Punk, Metal, and Rock Fests!! You guys sure knew how to party!

Thank you so much to our bands who came to play for us! It was great to see everyone supporting us and with your help, we made a lot of Surpluses to fund our new Ventilation Project! It’s great we have these fundraisers because it gets the Music and Creative Community to re-connect and gives you the “Who’s Who” to listen to in Scotland! 

If you didn’t make it, or you want to rehear samples of tunes from the Bands Check them out here!

In seriousness, thank you all so much for your contribution to our Social Media Pages to make this possible! A round of applause to our Krakatoa Team with our armoury of brooms, rubber gloves, and cleaning sprays to make our neon-lit cave of wonders spick and span. Massive applause for the Essential Workers, the Students, who resiliently adapted through, the artists who collaborated with us online, and lastly, YOU for supporting us during these strange times.

We Rockin’! We Rollin’! If you haven’t seen us yet:

Come By!

Have a Bevy!

Welcome, Home!

Monthly Squid Happy Halloween Special


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To our dearest: Customers, Musicians, Rockers, Tiki Drinkers, Hula Enthusiasts, Crazy Black Cats and Ghoulish Creatures of the Night and Party Scene of Aberdeen;

We hope you love our little pastel, sickly, sugary-sweet nightmare…

Have a Happy Halloween Weekend.

Sluggish Hugs and Fishy Kisses:

Everyone at Krakatoa. x

Monthly Squid COVID Catch Up


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Hello, hello- long time no see? Currently Krakatoa is coming back-back-back again after our time in lockdown and oh boy aren’t we so excited to see you all again!

Although our beloved Silver City is currently going through it’s second rounds of lockdown, Krakatoa and it’s amazing crew is currently doing a fundraiser to create a brand new Ventilation System that can help our crew and you safely as we rock out to our latest and greatest gigs coming up in the next year.

Within 3 days, we are a third of the way towards our goal of £20,000! We would also like to thank Chaos Creations, the Granite City Roller Derby and our amazing customers and friends and family in supporting our cause!

We are so excited to glamour up the place and we hope to see you soon!! To help us out- just gis’ a cheeky click on the link below.

Virtual Concerts Scotland Check them OOUUUTTT!!!!


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Hello you Mad Maxes and Mad Maxines. So! COV-19 or Corona (not the beer) has closed our bars and have us locked insider homes and it’s barely a week and it’s grim outside like some dystopian sci-fi crossed with a Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Movie. No worries good chaps!

a few of creative geniuses kick-started a Virtual Gig which starts rocking out tonight and play those COV and post apocalyptic blues away!

If you want to join in our merry band of good tunes or just to blast out and support your Local Music Industry by promoting amazing and talented Peeps: put on your dancing shoes; those grooving trews; a dash of red lippy and click this link below!!!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/201653174496800/about/

And then click watch party! Can’t wait to see you Hunnies!!! x Its gonna be a wild one and in the safety of your homes!