1. What are your top five albums that were released in 2017? (In order 1-5)
- Metz - Strange Peace
- Mutoid Man - War Moans
- Elder - Reflections of a Floating World
- Municipal Waste - Slime and Punishment
- Queens of the Stone Age - Villains
2. What band did you discover in 2017 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?
Whores! These guys hit such a sweet spot between sludge and noise rock, and really sound like they're channeling so many bands we love. I appreciate how they are able to give shape to relatively simple songs by mixing up the guitar tones, creative use of feedback, and well-placed breaks...creating structure through texture. We have a habit of over-complicating our songs sometimes by writing too many riffs and parts, and it's really valuable to be reminded by bands like this that you can sound super heavy and compelling while keeping it simple and just playing hard.
Also, it doesn't really count as "discovery," but we started digging deeper into Frank Zappa's catalogue. It's inspiring and rewarding and sometimes frustrating. It also helps put things in perspective, whenever we start to worry that the songs we're working on are too stylistically diverse, sonically varied, or weird.
3. How will you remember 2017? (In terms of music)
2017 is a milestone for us because we put out a record we're really proud of (Screen). So I'll always remember it in terms of that accomplishment, and playing shows / touring to try and support that record.
I'm not sure why, but I didn't find 2017 to be a great year in terms of new albums. For me personally, 2016 brought so many fantastic albums that I still listen to regularly... this past year just didn't measure up. While I was trying to come up with the "top 5," almost every record that immediately sprung to mind was from 2016.
It has been a great year for live performances, though. A lot of heavy bands that I love have played SF in the last year: Exodus, Unsane, Iron Reagan, Helms Alee, Whores, Big Business, Anciients, Hammers of Misfortune, Vektor, Trap Them, Nails... and a ton more shows I'm forgetting. This week the Jesus Lizard is coming to town, which is really exciting — they're a big influence and I never got a chance to see them back in the day. So I have a feeling I'll remember 2017 for this!
4. What can we look forward to from you in 2018?
We will keep pushing for more exposure for our newest record. But, we're pretty much always working on new songs, too — Enver in particular is very prolific and constantly throwing out new ideas. So we'll start weaving some new material into our set over the course of the new year. We're already starting to veer towards slightly more complex arrangements, so the next record (whenever that rolls around) is probably going to be a slightly weirder, more compositionally ambitious one.
5. What records are you looking forward to most in 2018?
I really liked the thrash band Black Fast's last record, and I think they're going to put something out next year. Likewise for American Sharks — I love their vibe, the straightforward driving energy of their last album, and the fact that it blasted by in like 20 minutes. I'm looking forward to hearing new stuff from them.
Apparently Tool is going to release a new album, and I have to admit I'm curious to see how that sounds (it's not really my jam any more... but dammit, teenage-me just can't help it.)
6. For most, 2017 will be remembered as a year of political and social conflict. How does that cultural atmosphere influence your own music or artistic life?
We're not a political band, so our music doesn't speak to the current political climate directly. But I think it's impossible not to be psychologically and emotionally affected by what's going on — the turn that the country has taken politically is baffling and depressing to us. We have a lot of late-night conversations about it, when we're taking a break from practice and drinking a few beers — how incredulous and sad we are to watch democratic norms being abandoned and public institutions being dismantled. Like a lot of people, I think, we feel powerless to stop it. We do take some solace in being in California, which feels like a slightly more rational and hopeful place. And although we don't make music specifically about these subjects, for me personally, the act of playing music itself is cathartic and uplifting and helps me stay sane.