First, What is your name and what do you do in Cloak/Dagger?
I am Jason Mazzola and I scream for the Dagger.
You guys have been a band for a couple years now, how have the bands personal influences changed since the start of the band? How has the punk and hardcore scene changed (in your opinion) since the start of the band?
When we first started we were big on Circle Jerks, D.I., Black Flag without Henry and some garage rock. Now I'm big into The Stooges and Black Flag with Henry. Punk and the Core is at a real good time right now where people don't follow the rules of being "punk" or "hardcore" as much. There are a lot of bands just playing what they want to play and drawing from a bunch of different influences that don't worry about fitting into a category. I am proud to say we are a part of that.
It's not every day you come across punk and hardcore bands getting comparisons to bands like Hot Snakes, was it the bands intention to write songs that didn't fit the usual hardcore mold?
Not at all. We just decided to do a faster more traditional hardcore band and the songs just turned out the way they did. We all like a lot of different bands and I think that combined things just ended up the way they did. Me and Collin Barth love Hot Snakes and you can hear a bit of their influence in his guitar playing but you can also hear Greg Ginn and obscure jazz musicians I don't know that he plays in the van in his playing.
Your debut record, We Are was released on September 11th 2007, was that intentional or coincidence? Do you guys consider yourselves a political band? What are your views on the current state of America?
We just happened to be released on 9/11. It was a high terror alert. I don't know if I would call us a political band because the lyrics we have aren't over the top political but we have played a war protest show in DC and a free show to get people to register to vote here in Richmond. I think that world wide the U.S. does not have a good reputation right now and that if all goes well the next president can turn that around. People need a different face to associate with the U.S. Bush is not doing anything for them.
Do you think the Reagan era is comparable to the Bush era? Does it seem that people, more specifically people in punk/hardcore, are caring less about their political environment?
Definitely. Bush is the new Reagan, 10 years from now when we look at fliers with W. on them it's going to be the same as seeing Black Flag fliers with Ronnie on them. I think people involved in this music are still political and it shows. I just think people choose a time and a place for it and not every show has to have that underlying theme there. Sometimes people just want to go to shows and hang out. Hardcore doesn't seem as political as it was in the 90's to me but I am also older and different view points on politics don't seem so extreme to me. The first time I heard a band speak against the government I was shocked.
Cloak/Dagger has a couple shows coming up in Europe, is this the bands first time to Europe? Any cool stories? What are the bands plans after you return from Europe?
This is our 2nd time going over but this time it's just to the UK. Last time we were there I broke my foot on stage and had to finish the 2 and a half weeks of the tour with a plaster cast. It was awful, the food was good, we lost a lot of money but we can't wait to go back. We have 9 new songs written and keep writing more. We are releasing a 2 song 7" on Jade Tree that is in the works now.
Speaking of shows, you guys are also playing the Fest in Gainsville this year. Is this the first time playing the Fest? What bands are you siked to see?
This is going to be our 3rd year playing The Fest and it's always a good show to be on and to go to. I'm looking forward to seeing Paint It Black, Municipal Waste and New Mexican Disaster Squad's last show. Sad to say there's no Marked Men this year.
Is punk/hardcore a young mans game?
Definitely. The older you get the harder it is to go on tour and come back home to bills and debt. It is also hard to drive hours to a show and not even make gas money back after playing. All that aside I love it but it takes it's toll on you when you get older. Rent and gas add up.
Finish the sentence: If I wasn't in a hardcore band, I would be...