How did you get into punk/hardcore music? First Show? Best Show?
- The first show I attended was Warzone with One King Down opening. Raybeez wore oversized work gloves and was drenched in sweat. I don’t know what about that appealed to my 15 year old mind, but it made an impression. I remember he said, “this is better than drugs” really softly into the mic after a song and it spoke to me for some reason.
Is it different now then when you first got into it?
- Difficult question. It often feels different to me, but then I take a minute and look at it under the microscope and it seems very much the same. For example, I don’t relate at all to what kids are into right now. Death metal with hardcore parts is really gross to my ears. So I am one of those old haters who can’t understand the kids. But when I was a kid listening to 108 constantly, there was definitely older dudes who had been into Sick of it All or Youth of Today who couldn’t understand where I was coming from. So ultimately that part is the same. I would argue that 108 had as much or more substance than much of what came before it, but a 16 year old may feel that way about whatever nonsense they are listening to.
In the world of “real hardcore” I think a major change has been the growing abundance of junior hardcore historians. When I was a kid there wasn’t this bizarre fixation with the past. Don’t get me wrong, it’s only natural to research the origins of your interests, but I’m amazed at the proliferation of internet blogs celebrating the obscure and rightfully forgotten music of earlier eras. Everyone in North America should own the Negative Approach discography, but does everyone really need the Parliament Kids 7” from 1983?
Anyone who listens to End Of A Year will notice right off the bat that you guys aren't your typical punk/hardcore band. What are the bands influences as a whole? What inspirers the music/lyric writing process?
-Tough question because we have wildly disparate listening habits. Our music always seems to have an anxious feeling to it. That may be our common influence- anxiety. For myself, major influences are Lungfish, Elvis Costello, the 90’s hardcore music I grew up in, and Philip Jose Farmer. Distance from things I want. That’s what most music is probably about at the end of the day. Aside from pop punk; I don’t know what that music is about.
You guys have had a pretty big year so far including a European tour, an American tour, a new record label and a slew of split 7", how has that been? Any crazy tour stories? How are you guys handling the pressure of everything that is coming your way?
- We can’t always tour as often as we “should,” so to remind people we’re alive we have gotten really into 7”’s. We’ve been blown away by the amount of offers we get for those and it feels wrong to pass them up when they come from good labels, people, or bands.
Finding a label to invest in you fully and commit to a relationship is a different sort of thing. We feel lucky to have formed this connection with Deathwish. 7”’s are like anonymous sex or sex with friends. A full-length and the associated promotion of it is like a marriage. A little more serious.
We are the anti-crazy story tour band. Some bands are magnets for that sort of thing, but we are really military in our approach to travel. We arrive, play our music, fall asleep on the cleanest floor we can find. If I thought about it I could probably cite a million incidents of the US or Europe being weird as hell and giving us something strange to look at but almost none of those stories would involve us intentionally putting ourselves in that situation.
As mentioned before you guys signed to, what is arguably the biggest label in punk and hardcore today, Deathwish Inc. How did that come about? What exactly is going to be released on Deathwish? What is it like working with a bigger label?
- Around the time our relationship with Revelation was dissolving, I shot Tre at Deathwish an Email and told him what we were about and what we were looking for. I didn’t think about it again for a couple months until I found out Tre had been poking around, asking questions about us. So I hit him with another Email and said, “listen man, I know you like us.” At this point we engaged in a multi-month conversation, got to know each other, determined we don’t hate each other, and from there it was a go.
Right now we are recording for a 7” Deathwish will be releasing this autumn. After that we’ve got a 7” and a 10” we owe Hex Records and Red Leader Records respectively, and hopefully by summer we’ll be seeing a full-length on Deathwish.
Working with Deathwish has been a bit of mindfuck in a way. We’re used to doing everything ourselves and coming out of pocket for certain stuff. Deathwish doesn’t pay our rents or buy our girls new shoes, but they’ve been quick to offer if they thought we needed something. That is a crazy idea, to me at least.
So far I’m really happy with our relationship with Deathwish. It seems to be the best of both worlds. If I want to talk to the dudes who run Deathwish, I’ll call. So in that respect, it’s a very small label. But there is also a small staff there who can take on different responsibilities for us and take some work off my shoulders and in that respect it’s like a larger label.
How did you decide which bands you wanted to do split releases with?
- Mostly, bands approach us in a friendly way and we appreciate them asking and it turns into a conversation. If we get along well and we can fit it into our recording schedule, we’ll make it work. We don’t get caught up on who is en vogue right now or any of that nonsense. If you are a band making good music that is full of cool dudes, we’re open to it.
Maybe it's just me, but i definitely fell as if the songs on Disappear Here are a little bit more rough and jaged sounding, as opposed to Sincerely, which seems to have a bit more of a melodic side, was this intentional (or am i completely off)?
- I think I’ve gotten better as a singer (however slightly), the other guys have gotten better at their instruments, and the band has gotten better as a unit. With us, nothing is intentional. We try to set a course or parameters for ourselves, but it never takes. We just get together and bang’m out. Songs are just whatever comes out.
Besides the bands that are on the splits, are there any bands that you are currently siked on?
- Mistletoe from Syracuse is a current favorite of mine. Helms Alee; Coke Bust; Bill Callahan; Engineer; some of the stuff I’m personally into.
What do you think about the current state of the punk/hardcore scene? Any current bands you think people should know about?
- Every time I get bummed on punk and hardcore I’m pulled out of it for a moment by good bands playing in those scenes or styles. Right now I am most into Mistletoe from Syracuse and Helms Alee from the Northwest, though that is probably considered metal.
Top 3 Records Ever? Hardcore/Non Hardcore
- It’s probably subject to change, but these have been consistently important to me:
- Lungfish – Talking Songs for Walking
- Earth Crisis – Destroy the Machines
- Elvis Costello – Armed Forces
Top 3 Books?
- Also subject to change:
- Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
- To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
- A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming election?
- I’ve been to 45 states and I can say with confidence that the US is chock full of hicks, hillbillies, rednecks, hayseeds, yokals, and rubes. Intelligent people are hostages here. I’m sure whichever of these tickets win: my needs will not be met.
I’m young and have a brain in my head so I won’t be voting McCain, but I’m also not terribly impressed with Obama. The nation is split in half and I don’t see any man capable of uniting it. When I here politicians call for non-partisanship I have to laugh. There are fundamental ideological differences between the voters, how can anyone hope that the people who represent them will come together?
I’ll likely find some oddball weirdo to vote for.
Any last words?
- Thank you for the interview and thank you to anyone who reads it.
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