Quite literally, a one question interview. Also known as 1QIs, we post these first to our social media on a near-daily basis, with the archival piece here. Check 'em out.
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An in-depth discussion with a band or artist, generally in the form of a straight Q&A – no editorializing.
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Album streams, our Set List "top five..." features, our year-end "best of" lists and other music-related miscellany.
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Contributions on a range of topics from a range of industry figures: musicians, filmmakers, editors and more.
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A melting pot of mixed content: movie, book and even video game reviews. Updated sporadically, but eclectically.
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A semi-regular column exploring new and rising local bands and artists deserving of attention.
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We post a variety of features in recurring series – click below to browse them.
A collection of items grouped by topic, eg. "Top 5 Worst Beatles Songs" or "Top 10 best '77 punk releases". Browse 18 features
A wide-ranging guest column written by BJ from Ancient Shores, mainly covering film but extending into philosophy and aesthetics too. Check out BJ's work on the A389 podcast. Browse 11 features
Guest column by T of Vegas Browse 10 features
A roundup of coverage of the annual punk rock festival held in Gainesville, Florida Browse 4 features
A life lived and lessons learned by Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers. Browse 4 features
Our annual roundup from Gainesville, FL's famous Fest. Browse 4 features
It's the end of 2013, so here's our best-of roundup for the last twelve months. Browse 4 features
SPB's coverage of the annual festival in Gainesville, Florida. Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2014. Browse 4 features
A brief but englightening chat with an artist who reveals an interesting or unexpected story from their career Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2015. Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2016. Browse 4 features
A collection of coverage rounding up the year 2012, covering our favorite albums, shows, bands, and more, as well as asking record labels and bands about their past twelve months in music Browse 3 features
A cookery column by Nick, vocalist with metal band The Famine. Veggie/vegan friendly! Browse 3 features
A semi-regular column where we choose a specific area and give a local scene report. Browse 1 features
Lauren Denitzio (The Measure [SA], The Worriers) SPB: What was your first tape (or cd or record)? Denitzio: The first cassette I ever bought was Gin Blossoms "New Miserable Experience" in 1993. I was nine years old and ordered it from that Columbia House mailorder catalog. Hey Jealousy was my first favorite song, and I still think that band is amazing. A year later Green Day released Dookie, which I still only have on cassette, and that's how I started listening to punk.
Quite literally, a one question interview. Also known as 1QIs, we post these first to our social media on a near-daily basis, with the archival piece here. Check 'em out.
Frank Discussion (The Feederz-guitar/vocals)
SPB: How did the current line-up come together?
Discussion: Clear Bob was our first bass player and he still lives in Arizona. Thomas at Slope first contacted him to see if he could reach me about the idea of doing another record. This was right after Annoying Orange won the election, ripping apart the last shred of credibility (and hope) the US government had, so I had to jump into the fray. Our original drummer Art Nouveau died a number of years back, but DH Peligro who played on our first album was down for it. So the lineup is all early Feederz and I think the energy shows it.
Mike Felumlee (The Bigger Empty)
SPB: Do you wear earplugs when you play? Why/why not?
Femumlee: Yes, I wear earplugs now, but have just started wearing them over the last couple of years.
This can be taken as a cautionary tale for the young rockers out there. I'm 42 years old and have been actively playing shows and touring since I was 17. For most of those years I did not wear ear plugs. I just couldn't get over how they seemed to kill the fun and had a hard time dealing with how my drums sounded when playing with them in. Fast forward 25 years and now I have significant hearing loss in my left ear, and very bad tinnitus in my right ear and wish I could go back and make my younger self wear the damn ear plugs! I would suggest that anyone playing live rock music frequently go see an Audiologist and get some custom plugs made. The filters on the custom plugs don't make things quite as muffled sounding as the foam earplugs you can buy at the drug store. You can also select how many db of reduction you want/need. The custom plugs are 100% worth the investment and I'll never play without them again!
SPB: What band has the best logo of all time?
Tomber Lever: We would say that Titus Andronicus has the best band logo! Not only is it a T and A for their name, it’s an upside down cross and an anarchy sign! No Gods, No Masters!
Jason Navarro (Hellmouth, Suicide Machines)
SPB: You’ve released a trilogy of records. How has your original vision changed over the years it took for the releases to come to fruition?
Navarro: Well, I never thought the trilogy would end on a more positive note. Which partially through the record it became personal and became a positive change in the way I look at myself and the world. Granted we do always tie in oroborus with most of our concept of the trilogy -- as applied every new beginning has to have and the final ending -- I just didn't know that we would see what the change should become with the third installment., I just figured it would be a complete negative end but, in all actuality, it became a positive thing.
The album cover which our sun dwarfing in becoming a black hole
Which will be the final say in the end of mankind because even after an apocalypse or war to end all wars man would more than like be doomed to repeat its mistakes. And do I repeat my mistakes myself personally, which is more what this album’s oblivion was about. This band and music has calmed me to the point I don’t need it anymore.
SPB: You (and Matthew Shipp) come from two different eras of the NY free jazz scene. What did you discover in your recording sessions, about either the past and the present of the scene?
Kapp: Although there is twenty years between us and each era is different, there are very similar aspects.
One is the level of commitment which was life or death back then and is the same now in Matthew, I feel two is that the need to adjust the system of the ‘60s was urgent. Personal freedom was on the line and young people were " dropping out," no matter what the risk, to express themselves and protest oppression of any kind. This is beginning to happen again now because of "45" etc, and as a result, conventional art (which can be beautiful and valid) is still too limited for these new urgent times.
Third, I could find the sound of the people I played with in the sixties in my drums!
With the people I've recorded with lately, some are Ivo Perleman, Ras Moshe, Tyler Mitchell, and especially Matthew Shipp. I get their core sound deep in my drums...This is powerful, spiritual, vibrational therapy heading out into the planet. It seems to fill me with new restorative life energy: practical immortality, if you will.
Tim Martinkøvixxx (Fast Break! Records – label manager)
SPB: What is the best pop song of the last 10 years?
Martinkøvixxx: I'm going to cite a track that I found wholly by accident but not, not entirely by design.. Independent music is where my heart lies, so an argument can be made for many tracks form many labels / artists / genres but I'm going to throw a pair of loaded dice and call your decade card at the X.
Artist: DANGER O's
Album: Little Machines © 2007
Track: Wolf In Sheeps Clothing
This track is the epitome of indie power pop, with a simple melodic guitar and bass driven open soaked in electric icing, all marching with a beat that drives us to a cliff where intertwined vocal melodies carry us as we fall through the sky into an chorus that drowns us in cascading and refracting neon light. It's a fun ride from beginning to end, and a brilliant execution of everything pop.
SPB: Your new album features a fair deal of spiritual themes, for instance the themes of creation, destruction, rebirth and repetition. Do you feel that themes from your own background, such as Hinduism, bring a more personal and unique tone to your concepts, and act as an aid in the construction of your music?
KidambI: Absolutely. The entire construction of the Holy Science suite is based around the ideas contained within Hindu scripture regarding time cycles. The suite follows these time cycles by name starting with first era of "creation" or the Sathya-Yuga followed by the Treta-Yuga, Dvapara-Yuga and finally the current era of chaos and destruction, the Kali-Yuga. The conception of time as cycles of birth, death and rebirth is a central idea in Hindu philosophy. I grew up Tamil Brahmin and it had a huge impact on me for better or worse. Hinduism as it is practiced today here in the US and in India, is a fairly conservative ideology even though the philosophy is actually incredibly radical and open. I was and still am negotiating that dichotomy and pushed back against the more conservative aspects as I was growing up. At the same time, the spiritual and philosophical ideas largely shape how I view the world and inevitably influence my thinking when it comes to music and creativity, especially improvisation. In Hinduism we have this idea of ego-destruction as a path to truth and I find improvising is one of the few activities where I've felt like I can get close to this idea of transcendence. These Hindu ideas also had a profound impact on artists including John and Alice Coltrane, who are some of my biggest musical influences, so it sort of comes full circle for me. I think the influence of these ideas in my music is not unique in that the influence exists, rather the filter that these ideas flow through. My own identity, personality, musical background and other musical influences transform these ideas into something I think is unique and to be honest pretty weird!
Bruce Lamont (Brain Tentacles)
SBP: You have a dense and complex sound, heavily featuring jazz influences and an extreme metal basis. Since you are all heavily involved in the more experimental edge of the heavy spectrum, what do you feel like is the next step for the sound of Brain Tentacles?
Lamont: 2017 is the year that we are gonna go for broke. Taking more risks, more chances. We have nothing to lose.
How bout you?
Fluffy (The Ejector Seats/The By-Products – bass/vocals)
SPB: How has the increasing digitalization of music changed how you listen to or consume music?
Fluffy: Well...this is a sensitive subject for me!
Mostly...I hate the digitization of music! I'm not a "purist" or anything...I just love records and the whole process/religious experience of listening to them. Don't get me wrong, I think the technology is incredible: recording band practices on your phone and emailing them to everyone before they even get home from practice is great; being able to pop your stuff up online and instantly be connected to the 4 corners of the planet is a game changer and a time saver...But as far as listening, I like my records and the whole selection process! Yes...a strange ritual to most...understandable to some.
Portability?!?? you ask...Well, I'm fine with CDs. CDs are pretty great in comparison to tapes! Although tapes definitely helped humanity to take their tunes on the road in the ancient past, I personally have lost sssssssssooooooooooooo much good music from my tapes being eaten, that the simple sight of a cassette makes my blood pressure rise!
So, to simply answer your question, the way digitzation has most changed how I consume music, is that I will go to a band's site, listen to a couple of tracks, and if I dig them, I'll buy the vinyl!
SPB: How did you come to work with Jeff Burke on II?
Andrea: Not a very special story. We love Marked Men and Radioactivity and when we find out he was touring Europe we simply asked him if he would like to come record us, and he said "Yes."
Leo Ashline (Street Sects)
SPB: There is a fair amount of your new album that was written focusing on the subject of addiction, which stemmed also from personal experiences. Do you feel that Street Sects has aided you, in that it acts as an outlet for your emotions?
Ashline: Definitely. For my end, Street Sects was created specifically to be an outlet for that negative, self-destructive energy. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol hasn't eliminated those feelings, it just helps to keep me alive and out of jail. Street Sects gives me a reason to get out of bed, to do something with my life, with that energy. I'm still a mess even without those addictions, but if I didn't have Street Sects I would probably be dead, or worse.
For the record, SS isn't a straight edge band and we aren't trying to push some kind of sobriety agenda. I get why people want to get fucked up. It feels good. But, if people who are struggling with addiction or just a general lack of self worth hear our music or read the lyrics and get something from it that maybe inspires or comforts them in some way, then that would be priceless to me. I remember towards the end of my days as an addict, when I was still drinking every day and smoking crack as often as I could get my hands on it, I read this Vice interview with Tina from How I Quit Crack where she talked about how music was the sole thing that helped her get away from using. I was at an absolute low when I read that, and it even though it took me another 6 to 8 months before I went to rehab and started getting my shit together, I never forgot that. It was inspiring. For all the negativity and self-disillusionment Shaun and I pour into this project, I hope that maybe someday, something positive can come out of it.
Raymondo (Collision Course Records)
SPB: What is your dayjob and how does it affect/influence/interfere with your label operations?
Raymondo: Well....I'd like to say I sit around in my sunglasses drinking lattes and looking at my phone all day...but running an indie punk label isn't that lucrative!!!! Soooo...I get up at the crack of dawn with my faithful partner, Daisy and we get our lattes to-go and get into the daily routine of running a window cleaning business.
The good parts??? In & out, fast, 80% of clients pay the same day, so... that helps...and the hours are whatever you make 'em. I like to wrap it up by noon. I'm happy if I'm done by 2pm & try to always be back to the base by 3pm!
That gives me time to chill, make lunch, pack orders and check emails & still get to the post office!!!
When you add in recording & playing in bands and going to see friends bands etc....it's a pretty full week!! 'cept when it rains. That's when I get to sleep in & listen to records!!!
SPB: What’s the most recent “grower” record you picked up that took a while to click?
Kyle: "Prey," the latest from Planes Mistaken for Stars. It's one of those records that feels so dense on the first play through but keeps rewarding over repeat listens. Sonically, the songs tend to bleed into each other (brilliantly so, as I've come to realize) which made it hard to sink the hooks. I remember being in a sort of trance the first time I got through it -- "Wait, that's it? But that was only,like 3 songs, right?" A real time-traveling record.
After a while though, the nuance starts to reveal itself. Tracks like "She Who Steps" and "Black Rabbit" have this almost Lynchian vibe about them that starts creeping in after a while. There's something so sinister about the record as a whole, really. It tells a different story each time. It sticks with you. I just wish it were longer!
SPB: You have a classical background in your musical upbringing, but moved further and further into the experimental scene when you moved to the US. What was it that pulled you towards this scene, and what is the allure of a freer musical form?
Lee: It was about finding the very personal voice within the instrument, cello in my case.
I never fully felt comfortable or connected playing only classical or jazz standards because it was not my very own...then, when I began to improvise and write more original pieces, I just felt this immense sense of freedom along with strong desire to go deeper and deeper... Meanwhile, I am constantly aware of how having that background in classical training from early on provided me a great foundation to build on.
The biggest allure in playing in freer form is that actually it's not free at all and rather you need to utilize every little piece of knowledge and experience you've gathered in order to make improvisation something meaningful... Also, playing with others who will challenge me to come up with musical responses that make sense to me is another big attraction... but then of course sometimes it's just fun to play...
Drew Riekman (Blessed – guitar/vocals)
SPB: What is your favorite 1990s artist?
Riekman: When I received the email, the first question I asked myself was “Is this the favourite 1990's artist in relation to myself, or in relation to our band?” I settled on selecting someone that relates more to the band than how I personally feel. Even though it's probably the easiest and most bland answer anyone under the umbrella of “Post-Hardcore” can give; the answer is Fugazi. I know I'm using a loophole because they also existed two years in the ‘80s and two years into the 2000's, but I hope it's justified as they spent the bulk of their existence in the ‘90s.
The breadth of music that their discography touches on is inspiring. It's served as a reminder that when we're writing there's no wrong answers, and that songs are what we, as the artists/creators, determine them to be. It's easy to get caught up in asking yourself about flow – “does this part make sense here? Is this dynamic change too weird or abrupt?” It's great to have a band you can look to, who took risks and made interesting decisions -- always with amazing results in my opinion. It's subjective, but all the different dynamics, timing, and structures always made the song more interesting and enjoyable for me.
They're also one of the first bands, besides local and Western Canadian bands, that helped us realize it was possible to make things happen on your own terms. As teenagers, two of our members were fortunate enough to have Edmonton (Northern Canadian city) band Cope take our first band on its first self-booked tour. The idea that you didn't have to wait around for booking agents to tour, for labels to release your music, or for managers to help connect you to like-minded people was one of the best lessons teenagers making weird hardcore music could learn. Because those opportunities almost certainly never would have come to us where we live, in Abbotsford, BC. But those ideals and work ethic, derived from Fugazi and bands of the same ilk, helped us persevere and work towards making things happen for ourselves, which lead us to the still growing, amazing DIY community we've been so lucky to inhabit.
There are so many other bands and people that deserve the title of Favourite or Most Important, there really isn't just one. But as far as ‘90s artists, it's hard to ignore the building blocks that Fugazi gives to bands.
Check out Blessed on Soundcloud.
SPB: What is the most thankless job in the music industry?
Tom: We think one of the most thankless jobs in the industry is putting on DIY gigs and organizing DIY venues. Having a vibrant, encouraging DIY venue in your hometown is such a great asset for young bands. In Ireland there's such a strong drinking culture that unless you're gonna draw a large crowd that buys a lot of pints, it can be expensive to put on shows in bars and traditional music clubs.
We have a lot of respect for people who go out of their way to put on gigs and performances in different spaces and break away from the pub/alcohol culture. These alternative venues often serve as great incubators for musical projects and underground culture. Unfortunately the reality is that these spaces are often expensive and stressful to maintain. With a policy of low cover charge and BYOB, they usually don't last very long. I don't know if it's fair to say it's all thankless though, people can have a lot of love for these places and the memories they have there. It's just a sad truth that they are mostly a labour of love for the people organizing them.
Poli (The Bombpops)
SPB: What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Poli: Worst job we've ever had... well, Jen and I are both servers at restaurants in Los Angeles, so that's an obvious one. But I actually have a story of us working together.
Jen and I did catering here in LA quite a few times and, even though, you get to see some cool houses and sneak some fancy food, it mostly sucks. We ended up both working a Halloween party in Hollywood for George Clooney's tequila company "Casamigos." It was baller, there was high security, tons of celebs in intense costumes and we had to tray pass. It was a nightmare. There's nothing worse than trying to squeeze by Paris Hilton with a tray and getting smooshed into a bush, smashed in the face by a Victoria Secret Model Angel's wing, and run down by Leonardo DiCaprio's mob of babes. It was way too crowded, we felt like pieces of shit and we seriously wished we hid Halloween costumes in our bags and changed inside to join the party. We had to get out of there, so we snuck a couple of airplane bottles of tequila into our pockets and bailed saying we were sick from food poisoning, never catering again.
Steve & Bryan (Breakin’ Even Fest)
SPB: How are you approaching Fest #2 differently than #1?
Breakin' Even: We definitely focused on making Breakin' Even Fest All Ages this year. Last year, all ages were admitted, but needed a chaperone.
We also expanded our lineup beyond just East Coast bands, including Sidekicks from Ohio and Pkew Pkew Pkew from Toronto. Last year we learning how to do a fest (and still are). Sometimes bringing people from far can be more complex – like trying to fit our fest into a tour route, or just making it financially viable for both parties.
Other than that, our approach remains the same: to book people we like who make music we love. Having a single stage and time for only 13 bands makes this a difficult task – we can't book everyone we'd like each year. So that means we'll have to keep booking it!
Breakin' Even Fest takes place May 5-6 in Washington, DC.
Dustin Cole Hayes (Making New Enemies)
SPB: How much space in your house is dedicated to music storage (whether instruments or records)?
Hayes: Well, unfortunately for my roommates 50% of our basement is filled up with all my music and recording gear. Then that gear is matched by an equal amount of friend’s gear left and forgotten about over time. So in total we have like 10 different amps and cabs of all sizes, two full drum sets, and a cornucopia of guitars and pedals strewn around. My roommates literally have to carve a path through the gear to the washer and dryer like a hoarder’s house…
I’d say I make up for it by cleaning the kitchen and floors a lot but I’m not sure if they’d even agree…
Mike Park (Asian Man Records)
SPB: What gives you the biggest sense of accomplishment through your years at Asian Man and as a part of the overall music scene?
Park: Developing lifelong friendships even when money and fame and power are usually the root of success in this corrupt business called the music business. This is my biggest accomplishments. When I constantly hear these nightmare stories of bands/labels fighting/suing each other and shit talking, I sit back and find solace in creating an oasis of good people whom I can call friends for life.
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