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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Album streams, our Set List "top five..." features, our year-end "best of" lists and other music-related miscellany.
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Guest column by T of Vegas Browse 12 features
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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
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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
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Steve Brodsky (Cave In) SPB: Can you like a musician whose politics you disagree with? Brodsky: Well, ZZ Top did play at George W. Bush's inaugural ceremony and it hasn't stopped me from listening to "Tejas" at least once a month.
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.
Travis (The Penske File)
SPB: Has your band ever been robbed on the road? (Did you recover any of your losses?)
Travis: I would love to answer no to this question and be done with it, but that wouldn't be truthful. Last winter we were on tour in Europe. A few shows in, we stopped off in Milan, Italy for a gig. We found a gravy parking spot a few strides from the venue and loaded in our gear and set up for sound check as we do nightly. Following sound check, a few of us went back to the van to grab some things and noticed two windows on our rented Ford Transit had been smashed in, panic and dread set in as we rummaged the remaining remnants in the van. All of our personal bags were stolen except mine oddly enough. Jokes were immediately fired off about my bag smelling too rancid even for petty thieves. This did some good in softening the blow of the communal violation.
At the end of the day we were lucky as all that was stolen from us was clothes and toiletries: necessities, but easily replaceable ones. The biggest kick in the pants ended up being the two broken windows which we were unable to fix, despite daily attempts, for the next two weeks. We drove through cold nights and colder mornings with the winter air assaulting our senses and were forced to load in and out the contents of the van multiple times daily and often had to leave someone in our troupe to serve as van watchdog while others went for meals, walks etc.
Along with our clothing, the thieves robbed us of a lot of the fun down time on tour, but alas did not steal our determination. We eventually were able to find a temporary solution to the windowless conundrum and finished the tour with high spirits ... more or less ;)
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages
SPB: What is your favorite restaurant to visit on tour?
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages: BBQ anywhere southern U.S.A
Sean Bohrman (Burger Records)
SPB: What is the most touching or memorable thing a fan has told you about the label?
Sean: It's happened a few times, but inspiring people to start their own labels is really gratifying. I feel inspirational in a "if these guys can do it why can't I?" type of way. Like when the Ramones toured in the early days and people were inspired to start their own bands.
That's an awesome feeling for me.
Ojo Por Ojo
SPB: How likely are you to pick up a record based off its cover with no knowledge of the band or music?
Ojo Por Ojo: I have done it several times with good and bad results but it's always entertaining and fun. As a kid and before the world paid so much attention to old Mexican punk, I remember I saw at a flea market this weird looking record with an eye on the cover, very German expressionist looking and it mesmerized me. The back cover had a bat and some guys looking very late ‘80s new wave and almost goth then somewhere you could read it was made in México. The guy in charge of the stand didn't care much for the record and he sold it to me for less than 50 pesos. Playing it at home was one of the most incredible musical experiences I ever had. Back in those days Mexican music was overlooked by Mexicans thinking it wasn't as good as stuff from USA or Europe and here you had a band challenging that stupid conception. That was the first Las Animas Del Cuarto Oscuro LP.
SPB: Who is your favorite lyricist?
Shannon: Vi Subversa of Poison Girls. The way that she weaves the personal into the political until they are indistinguishable from each other is somehow subtle and biting all at once. Her lyrics were usually playful without ever making you question her seriousness. I think a lot of the imagery she uses is meant to draw the listener in and invite comparisons to their own lives, as opposed to making a didactic proclamation. If you're writing about alienation, gender roles, love and sex, etc. in a punk band without being familiar with her work, you're doing yourself an insane disservice. One of the greats.
Jeffrey Tucholski (Gentle Leader XIV)
SPB: What was your favorite band in high school? Do they influence your songwriting or ethics in any measurable way today?
The three of us all went to high school in the mid to late ‘90s so, as one might guess, there was no shortage of legit terrible music to listen in that era that has since fallen through the cracks of time into irrelevancy. We recently just unloaded all our old CDs in a move and the vast majority from that timeframe are literally worthless* (I know because we tried to trade them in, ha!). People in college around that same time with more discerning ears had better options as the whole indie / college rock scene was really taking off. GBV, Pixies, Sonic Youth, etc were all major label bands at that point but you needed some semblance of an attention span to listen to them. Those all would have been better influential options but my 16 year-old skate-punk self skipped straight from grade school grunge to the endless cacophony of west coast "punk" and fake ass rude boy nine-piece ska bands. Music that truly has not stood the test of time. The only take away for me at this point is an acute awareness that tastes change through time for the artist and the listener and that good music stays good and bad music stays bad, whether you liked it or not.
Dave Rohm (Radon)
SPB: What’s your favorite 1990s Radon song to play live?
Rohm: My favorite 1990’s Radon song to play live is called “Exhaustra.” It’s a house-rocking metal song that reminds me of the bands that we grew up listening to in Gainesville, FL. It mostly reminds me of one of my favorite bands from Gainesville called The Doldrums. The Doldrums played in the late ‘80s and were mixing punk and metal in a way that was different than thrash and different than metal-core. It sounded Southern and badass. It had real soul but it was aggressive at the same time.
I like “Exhaustra” because it really gets things started at a show. It unifies the band by the way the beat lays out. And it also hooks the crowd into what we are doing.
The first two studio sessions we did as a band were released on two separate four-song 7”s that came out around 1991 or so.
If you can find them definitely pick them up because there were not that many pressed.
These songs are also on our purple album (called We Bare All on No Idea Records). This album has our first two studio sessions and a bunch of live tracks from the early ‘90s in Gainesville.
You can also hear them at our bandcamp site at Radon1.bandcamp.com
Kyle Shutt (The Sword)
SPB: How did you choose your weapons in the NES-inspired “Used Future” video?
Kyle: Creating that video was a really fun experience. I came up with the story and Bryan (Richie, The Sword’s bassist) called up a friend we had at Rooster Teeth, who brought the idea to life.
I wanted the weapons that each of us were equipped with to reflect our personalities as well as fall in line with classic JRPG attack patterns.
One of JD’s (The Sword’s vocalist) favorite sci-fi characters has always been Han Solo, so he got the blaster, capable of doing strong damage to one enemy per attack. People are always telling me that I melt their faces, so I got the flame thrower, capable of doing moderate damage to multiple enemies per attack. Bryan is the best technical engineer among us, so he got a computer for debuffing enemies and hacking into locked doors. Jimmy (Vela III, The Sword’s drummer) is definitely the berserker of the group, so he uses his bare hand to pummel enemies. He even suplexes the train boss as a nod to Final Fantasy 6.
But you can’t have a JRPG without a limit break, so when our powers combine we destroy the evil robot overlord with... The Sword.
It’s my favorite music video ever, check it out!
Photo by Jack Thompson
SPB: There are all kinds of anniversary album/compilations out there. How did you choose this approach to celebration the milestone?
Martin: I didn't really see the milestone coming. Maybe it's because the date of that first Eno recording is an odd year - 1981. It wasn't until I got assaulted outside the studio, and bandmate Oliver Drew wanted to do a crowdfund for my expenses, that I added up the years and realized there was something there. Oliver had proposed we do a "recording of the century," where a crowd of us would make a hellish racket that wouldn't be "good" but would "sound great."
We ended up tweaking that concept, but the core of it being focused on individual members of bands, as opposed to proper bands remained, as a collective spirit. And Genevieve Fernworthy and I went through the long process of allocating people with each other wherever they didn't self-select – JG Thirlwell and Dana Schechter (Insect Ark) chose each other, for instance. Even exceptions to the 'no band' rule didn't start out that way. I suggested to Dave W and Ego of White Hills that they do something different, not like their normal band, and not called that. But then it was obvious that it was still White Hills, Dave just has his way of playing. And with New Old Skull, Rich Hutchins told me he'd like to do something with Marnie Greenholz. I later realized, "holy shit we got a Live Skull reunion here!"
So I think the large group of people, all spontaneously doing things with other people who have this space in common, is what's different from other anniversary comps – and we're not even done. There's a Volume 2 coming because so much was recorded – a whole weekend's worth. We had to break it in two. And there'll be a BC40, BC50 – Maybe BC100!"
Photo by Joan Hacker
Johnny Iguana (The Claudettes)
SPB: How did the band come to combine the different musical styles that make the Claudettes so unique?
Johny: I had every intention of making the Claudettes a pretty straight-up blues-piano band, but as I wrote even the first three or four instrumentals, I found the Tin Pan Alley stuff I'd been playing late (Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin...) creeping in...those melodramatic chord changes...and then little bits of Schumann classical passages (a la Kinderszenen) and some punky Minutemen endings (as on our instrumental "Hammer & Tickle") and trippy Meat Puppets echoed-out peyote-fueled excursions; some of our bluesy/rootsy instrumentals ended up collapsing into dreamy, classical-esque bridges. I just find that my ear takes certain keys and chord changes and wants to take them to dreamland for a while before returning them unharmed. I must listen to these urges. I'm writing first and foremost for myself, to be as honest and expressive as I can be--and I know that sounds funny when speaking of instrumental music (which our first recordings were), but I do think that chord progressions can be honest or dishonest, just like lyrics.
Over time, I've started writing specifically for the band members who are with me, and that means writing for Berit and Zach. Their personalities and temperaments and skills define where we're going musically, 'cause I'm writing for them now. I love those two and I love writing for them. We have found a Claudettes sound--call it blues-punk-soul-a-billy or whatever--and it stands apart from so much else because it's not synth- or guitar-driven...it's really piano- and voice-driven.
Miski Dee (City Mouse)
SPB: What is the most irritating thing that reviewers say about your band or that you overhear in the crowd?
Miski Dee: I think the most annoying thing is hearing us being compared to another band just because there is another female in it when the band has absolutely nothing in common with us musically.
Roger (Breag Naofa – guitar)
SPB: Do any of your musician friends have tinnitus?
Roger: I can’t speak on behalf of my fellow musicians, but I myself have it. Although it might be a mild enough form that it’s not maddening like other folks describe it. It’s a constant ringing in my ear I’ve had for a few decades now. I have been a musician since my early teens and playing heavy music for most of it. I did start wearing ear plugs earlier than my musician counterparts, but noticed in quiet situations I hear a constant high pitch ringing. Typically in bed, but can also detect it when I have ear plugs in. I recently started meditating for my own goddamn sanity, and funny enough the quiet reflection brings about having to acknowledge the ringing in my ear. I take note of it, but let it pass. Good news is, we’re so bombarded by noise on a daily basis, I never really notice it most of the time, and the times it’s quiet, I’m either too tired (too used to it?) that it doesn’t bother me and meditation has taught me to take note of it and then basically keep on concentrating.
In old age, I plan on using it as an excuse to not hear peoples boring stories or criticism of my old cynical ways.
Andrea (Sect Mark)
SPB: How did you get involved with Iron Lung Records?
Andrea: We already got in touch by email with Iron Lung previously and we knew they enjoyed our demo recording in 2017.
When we recorded "Worship", Iron Lung was on the top of the list of labels we hoped for. When they said, "Cool, let's do it!" I fell off my chair.
Harrison Nida (Victory Kid)
SPB: Who is your favorite band/artist from the 2000-2010 era?
Harrison: We chose Sum 41 because of their impact on the scene moving from the early 2000s. They’re metal infusions were inspirational to a ton of bands, which ultimately led to the hardcore scene. Also to have All Killer No Filler, Does This Look Infected, and Chuck in within a span of 4 years is super impressive, and all three of those records were awesome and really pushed the genre.
SPB: What is a hyped band, TV show, or movie that you just can’t get into?
Cormy: Not really interested in the daily churn of the hype machine. More interested in anti-hype and the macro ways in which that's influencing culture. Through my work I frequently encounter the ways (some subtle & complex, others dumb & bludgeoning) in which business interests manipulate the public in ethically dubious fashion via geotargeting, data-mining, good old fashioned propaganda etc. The way in which people have begun responding to this is fascinating.
Trust has rarely been such a rare commodity in society at large and individuals are increasingly cynical, often to the point that they've lost sight of whether they themselves are speaking in earnest, or speaking with irony. Social trends are increasingly reactive as people become decreasingly proactive - they prefer to tap & scroll rather than reflect & create. You see this a lot with subcultural types who believe themselves above cheap corporate tricks. But in the process of attempting to inoculate yourself against hype and manipulation, it's easy to become a cartoon rebel. The recent churlish backlash against various punk festivals is a good illustration of this.
But to actually answer your question, Pete reckons Mad Max Fury Road sucks donkey balls but that's cos he's a bassist. The rest of us recognise that it's the best thing since mankind discovered how to slice bread.
Brandon (Loud Boyz – vocals)
SPB: Another group shares your name when you do a Google search. Assuming you already know this, how did you approach this situation?
Brandon: We got our name from some shitty graffiti a kid put up. And to be honest I didn’t even know someone else had our name is spelled with a z?! lol but we just typically but DC behind our name to avoid any confusion.
Sean Moriarty (The Cabin Fever)
SPB: Which song would you want played at your funeral?
Sean: The song I want played at my funeral is "Love Life" by the band Lush. This song appeared as a B-side from their seminal ‘90s album "Split" and it perfectly encapsulates the sad beauty that is life. The song begins with a kick drum like a newborn's heartbeat and grows into life and then eventually fades and represents the cycle of life itself.
Matthew (The Fleeting Ends)
SPB: What is your favorite book about music?
Matthew: My favorite book about music would have to be Starman -- a David Bowie biography that paints a fascinating portrait of someone that I'd quite confidently call a complete original. I love reading about his complete refusal to give up on his long and hard fight for success and, just when he captures the world's attention with his creation of the Ziggy Stardust character, he kills him off and moves on to a number of other sounds and images. I especially loved reading about his creation of "Plastic Soul" with the "Young Americans" album which he recorded in my hometown of Philadelphia. Most artists would savor the success he had with that number one album, but he continued to recreate his sound, moving to Berlin to create Low, Lodger and Heroes. Then comes most people's favorite "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" which, in my opinion, gave birth to bands like the Pixies. The man just continued to recreate himself with albums like "Let's Dance". It seems that every time he had himself a hit sound or image, he would go and fearlessly reinvent himself and I think that's the type of bravery that musicians these days could learn from.
SPB: How did you first get involved with (or meet) Halo of Flies?
Erik: I first met Cory from Halo Of Flies Records in about the year 2000. At the time, he was playing guitar in a local deathgrind band called Leval Blessing. I was a huge fan, and went to a lot of their shows. Eventually, Leval Blessing disbanded, and they formed the band which eventually became Protestant. I played bass in that band for a few years; Cory played guitar and sang.
A few years later, I started a grindcore band called Half Gorilla, and Cory released a couple 7-inches of ours early on in the label’s existence. A few years later yet, and another new band of mine (Northless) worked with Cory on numerous releases, starting in 2008 and up to and including our latest record, Last Bastion Of Cowardice, released in late 2017.
It was an honor and privilege to work with Cory. Halo Of Flies consistently released incredible music, and Cory’s role in furthering the reach of all my bands cannot be overstated. He made it possible for us to get our music out there in a big way. The time, resources, and energy he spent are basically incalculable. That man has a seriously inspiring work ethic and resolve worthy of praise beyond whatever words I can supply. The cessation of his label will leave a large void in the music community, and the world will be worse off for not having HOF around. Truly a bummer. RIP
Mike Law (Wild Arrows)
SPB: What is the most valuable thing you’ve lost on tour?
Mike: I almost lost a show, does that count? On tour I have a tendency to want to walk around and see everything I can, sometimes until four or five am. It's usually one of the big positives for me about traveling. Last year on Wild Arrows tour I had a great time walking around Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn all night. I saw the sun come up in Riga over the the Daugava next to some of the last few Zeppelin hangers in the world. But other times it doesn't work out so well.
On the first New Idea Society tour in Japan I got really lost a few hours before the show. I didn't have a cell phone but I figured with a few hours it would be no problem to eventually find my way back. The problem was that the Osaka neighborhood I was in, of course, was one of those totally packed neon glowing cluster of blocks. Not only was there stuff everywhere but the venue was on the 25th floor of a big building. So it wasn't at ground level and there are a lot of other big buildings around. As I wandered around I tried to ask people about where the rock club was but even when I found someone who spoke English they didn't know. I was trying to narrow down the big buildings when I realized there was only 45 minutes until our set time. I started to panic a bit and I got more frantic. I could picture Tadashi and Hideki's faces as they told me it was OK I missed the show. But it wouldn't have been OK. It was a huge sold out show and they had flown us over for the first time risking a lot of money for themselves. Suddenly, I saw a computer store and I ran in to use one of the display computers. I figured if I could sign into my email I could see the name of the club and someone could show me how to get there. The keys are all obviously in Japanese. I run in and claw at them, only 20 minutes until set time. I clumsily get into my email somehow and scroll to the last itinerary only to see TBD next to the name of the venue...! I am literally sweating at this point, 10 minutes to set time, and through the window my eyes lock on the backpack of a girl walking briskly by, it's a pin with my band name on it. I practically knock someone over rushing out the door and I grab this poor girl. She swings around to look at me and understandably looks startled, a 6"2 guy just grabbed her arm. I start pointing at her pin and talking fast. All of the sudden she realizes what is going on and points at her watch, it's 7 minutes to set time. We start running and... no exaggeration, I was in the the building the show is in, it just looks totally different from that side of the street. In my defense, a lot different. We run up an escalator and smash the buttons on the elevator and it comes immediately. I get off and run past security into the back room, it's two minutes to set time and I slow down. I walk to the backstage and I see everyone is really, really, stressed that I wasn't there, then immediately mad that I was so irresponsible. We walk on stage and to this day it's one of the best shows I've ever played. But I did learn my lesson, now I carry a copy of the address where I'm going in my pocket when I go for a walk, every time. I didn't get to say thank you to that girl, hopefully someday I'll be able to.
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