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 20 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 14 features
Guest column by T of Vegas Browse 13 features
One-question interviews with artists where we find out about the gear and equipment they use to achieve their sound. Browse 13 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
Our summary of the best music (and more) of 2018. Browse 3 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
There’s so much music released, whether physically or digitally, that keeping up with what’s going on becomes almost like a full time job. With Only Death Is Real, the aim is to bring you something new. Browse 3 features
A cookery column by Nick, vocalist with metal band The Famine. Veggie/vegan friendly! Browse 3 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2017. Browse 2 features
A regular series by Robert F. Browse 2 features
A semi-regular column where we choose a specific area and give a local scene report. Browse 1 features
Our coverage of the annual Fest extravaganza. Browse 1 features
Gareth Dickson (solo, Vashti Bunyan) SPB: Is it unusual to be considered a "cult" artist or almost semi-legendary while still recording music? What kind of pressures does that produce? Dickson: Ha, nice question, I had to check that it was actually intended for me. I never think of myself in that way, I always feel like I'm still struggling to make any real impact. But I know that there are now people out there who listen to and get what I do and I'm grateful for that. In a way that could add an extra pressure, knowing that ...
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.
Blag Dahlia (Dwarves – vocals)
SPB: What is the most important vocal element when doing sound check for a Dwarves show?
Blag Dahlia: A sound man who isn’t profoundly retarded. They do exist, but to find them you have to travel far and wide sorting through countless buffoons until, like the princess and the pea, you find one that’s just right. Then you fire him for doing heroin while driving the van.
Chris (Rational Anthem – bass/backing vocals)
SPB: How do you determine who sings in a given song?
Chris: These days Noelle sings all of the songs. Chris does harmonies and backups. We split writing duties but since Noelle has the stronger voice we let her sing all the songs these days. We used to toy with the idea of going back and forth but realized we should just be utilizing the strongest singer’s voice so the songs can shine.
The Cactus Blossoms
SPB: Who is your favorite currently active country musician?
Jack and Page: Willie Nelson
Roddy Bottum (Nastie Band - keyboards)
SPB: With Nastie Band, what keyboard do you play and how did you make this choice?
Bottum: I play an Oberheim reissue by Dave Smith. It's called an OB-6. I play it cause it's a reissue of the first keyboard I owned. like to keep things close to my history.
What is the strangest trend you see in modern music (music-wise or industry-wise)?
The strangest trend I see in modern music is the return of the cassette tape. Who would've thought? I know, I know...there are cassette tape purists that will claim the media format never really went away and that's true. But one cannot deny their severe decline in popularity when CDs came around. It's not that I am not into the idea of cassette tapes, I simply don't get it. I don't understand the resurgence. Personally, I am a CD guy. I love collecting CDs. I also love collecting vinyl. Side note: I find it quite annoying when I read about how popular vinyl is now because it has always been popular in punk and hardcore. It never stopped being popular in punk and hardcore and I suspect it never will.
Sonically, tapes can't compare to other formats (especially vinyl) and maintaining their quality can be difficult. How many times have you had to stop the tape deck, open it and very carefully pull out the tape while trying not to tear the delicate tape ribbon after it was half-eaten and chewed up by your increasingly insufficient (and hungry) tape deck? If you're a kid born in the ‘70s or ‘80s then you know what I'm talking about.
Now, I should clarify that our previous album, Youngblood, was released in all formats including cassette tape. But before you rush to judgement and acuse me of eating my words please allow me to indulge you with a story.... I played the Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in 2013 and met a young couple, Brian and Kristen Burdzy. These two lovebirds were newlyweds, just married in Vegas that morning, and liked my music. I was the first band they saw live since tying the knot that day. We became fast friends and then they offered to put out our next record on cassette. It would be their first release as a couple on their label Music Is None Of Our Business Records and stands as a token of rememberance for their wedding day and subsequent anniversaries. Well, I'm happy to say the release came to fruition (and they've since gone out of print) and the happy couple now live in Connecticut with their daughter, Sheena.
SPB: How do you preserve your voice while on tour?
Ryan: Years ago I used to shred my vocal chords. Then I started singing at a volume level and in a range of pitch that suits my voice. I’ve had no problems or concerns since then.
Patrick Delaney (Nastie Band)
SPB: The name Nastie Band kind of speaks for itself. Where there any runner-up names?
Delaney: Nastie Band was, iz, and will be the only name. We all surrendered to it joining the band as the name preceded us. NASTIE is the iron rod that rules us.
Jamie Stillman (EarthQuaker Devices - President/Product Designer)
SPB: EarthQuaker has a reputation for high quality, versatile builds that artists can use in the studio, live, and in experimental environments, ie writing. What did the collaboration with Sunn O))) mean to Earthquaker on a personal level, and did you approach this project with goals related to a specific aspect of the Sunn O))) tone, or is it mean to capture something else about Sunn O)))?
Stillman: Life Pedal came about after I was introduced to Greg Anderson by our mutual friend Jim Tuerk from Reverb. Jim thought we would hit it off, so we scheduled a quick call to see if there was a mutual interest in working on a project together. That “quick call” lasted two hours. It turned out Jim was right! Greg and Stephen have a similar background; coming up in the DIY punk/hardcore/metal scene and having strong interests in obscure artists and gear. We really clicked.
Doing artist pedals was something I never considered as I’ve always just worked on things I would personally like to use. To me, SUNN was the perfect artist to break out with. They are serious about what they do and they have forged their own path and gained a large devoted following the hard way. They have a highly unique approach to their aesthetic and an unmistakable sound and vibe. I think it parallels how [EarthQuaker Devices] operates as a brand.
With Life Pedal, I set out to capture exactly what the band wanted. Every aspect of this was directed by the band and carried out between the both of us. The circuit is an amalgamation of the gear you would typically find on their personal pedalboards, all housed in a single enclosure. It wasn’t meant to be a pedal that would emulate the sound of Sunn O))) live, it was designed to be used by SUNN and give others access to their tools. The packaging was designed and laid out by Stephen O’Malley and the box was even manufactured in the same facility as the LP jackets for Life Metal. The design process embodied the DIY spirit that we both came from and it was an extremely cool project to be involved in!
AEF (Starless Domain)
SPB: What electronic equipment/synthesisers do you use and what led you to those in particular?
AEF: On the album EOS I went fairly simple with synthesizers and only used a Roland JP-8000. This was mostly due to my gear being in storage and, since this was our first run writing music for Starless Domain, I felt it best to utilize this synth first due to its familiarity and ability to reach some fairly spacey sounds.
The JP-8000 is a beast of a synth! After owning it for several years, I’m pretty certain that some of my inspirations in black metal have also used this synth. It’s cold, it’s spacey, and if you want to produce some classic hardstyle, there really is nothing better.
For ALMA I ended up digging out a couple more synths from storage. One being the Yamaha TG33, an FM synth from the early ‘90s. It has this really interesting vector control knob which allows you to sort of morph through 4 different voices. There are a lot of dark potentials with this synth and I have always considered this to be great for dark ambient music.
The other synth I dug out of storage for this was the DSI Tetr4. Typically, I have seen this and much of the DSI line utilized in tekno and of the likes. Truth be told, this is why I got it. It’s an affordable 4-voice analogue synth and very compact. There are a lot of limitations with it, but its rich analogue sound was really something I wanted to bring to the table of Starless Domain. I had worked on some pad-like designs for it over a year ago and hoped that maybe it would sound well for ALMA. I felt it did. It ended up being the primary synth in ALMA.
I also brought along my favorite reverb Eventide’s Space reverb for guitars. The TG33 and the Tetr4 don’t have keys for playing therefor making Arturia’s Keystep a handy midi controller to incorporate with our recording session. Not to mention it gave me an excuse to add an arpeggiated synth line occasionally.
Josh Fleming (Vandoliers)
SPB: Take us through your gear setup from your last tour?
Fleming: We roll around the country as a six-piece band, stuffing everything in to the back of a Ford Transit named Vannah Montana. I play a Gibson SJ200 and SJ100 ‘cause they are giant and I love swinging them around, Dustin our lead guitarist plays a blue Telecaster and Les Paul trad pro through an old Orange Thunderverb 100 and a 2X12 Vox cab with V30’s. Mark our bassist rolls with a pair of Guild Starfires (just like Murry Hammond from Old 97’s), Guyton our drummer plays a one up two low, five piece Ludwig kit from the ‘70s with a soundguy-approved 26” kick drum, Cory twiddles his fingers on all 88 keys of a Korg SV1 and our fiddle player saws across a fiddle that was given to him by Bryan Duckworth, the fiddle player from Robert Earl Keen.
SPB: A lot of bands in this scene only exist for a short amount of time. 69 Enfermos has been active for over 20 years. What's the secret to that success?
Dalin: Well, It's been such a long ride since we were just a bunch of kids dreaming about playing with the Fat/Epitaph bands and touring around the world…and to be honest, I think the "secret" may be that we still dream about playing with the Fat/Epitaph bands and touring around the world.
We are still amazed with every show orfFestival we play and we do it because we still love what we do. For us, playing punk rock is about having fun with your friends, meeting new people/places and following our dreams. And that's something we're doing together as a band.
I could say that after more than 20 years we're still having fun and dreaming the same dreams we had when we were younger.
SPB: The two of you recorded the album on your own. How does the band’s live setup work?
Anthem Grief: The two of us met through a previous band that was around for a short time. The two of us were the only ones who really clicked in that band. Throughout the years after that project was finished, Gee took me under his wing and we discovered how parallel our writing styles were. We thought, “Fuck it , we are going to do this completely backwards; we’ll write the entire record by ourselves, record it , then we will find others that can put up with us. So, to answer your question...we don’t play live yet; it’s been a long year jam packed with lots of changes and we are just now getting back to writing and finding the missing pieces.
Russ (Good Riddance)
SPB: What do you remember of playing your first live show?
Russ: I remember it being euphoric, the sense of watching people move and go crazy to the music my band was playing.
We weren’t very good at our instruments then, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Almost our entire set consisted of Sex Pistols covers I’d cajoled the others into playing, but it still felt like it was our music, our show.
I remember we ran out of songs, but we didn’t want to stop playing, and we couldn’t wait to do it again.
SPB: What is your preferred guitar model for personal playing, and how has your production work affected that choice?
Bisi: I started way late on guitar. I was a drummer during my teens, through my early years recording. It was drumming that helped me work with the early hip-hop I did (Afrika Bambaataa, "Rockit," etc.) And I also had mind towards fx and sampling with my drumming. Sometime in the mid-late '80s I veered away from hip-hop and very avant-garde stuff, and did my first rock bands, like Sonic Youth and Live Skull.
Soon after this, in the early '90s, I got the bug for picking up guitar. I felt that in the music I was interested in, there wasn't a place for me as a drummer and how I played. At first I started with fucked up guitars and weird ad hoc tunings – jeez, I wonder where that came from. But soon with grunge-era, big-but-heavy guitar sounds, I needed something with solid bottom, strong output, easy to move around the neck. Some bands I worked with that were heavy, leaning toward math, used an SG – particularly Duane Trower in Season To Risk whom I recorded in '93. His was a '65 SG. So that's where I went, and still am. I have an Epiphone SG though – I want to be safe on the cost because of touring, flying, etc.
Check out BC35 Volume Two: The 35 Year Anniversary of BC Studio, a tribute to Martin and his studio.
Photo by Joan Hacker
Chuck (Batshit Crazy – guitar)
SPB: What kind of guitar do you use, and how/why did you choose this one?
Chuck: For the Batshit Crazy record I totally stumbled into using this DEAN guitar. The background of the guitar is I used to own a Recording & Rehearsal studio and I had bought a cheap Dean guitar (not even sure of the model) for literally like $150 (with shipping) just to rent to bands who may need one last minute or as a fill in if someone broke a string and didn't want to take the time to change one. Well, as I began writing songs for this band, I had the Dean sitting in the corner and it was the only guitar of mine not in a case (never bothered to buy one for it because the case would be worth more than the guitar) so I grabbed it and used it to write and demo the songs. When it was time to record I tried going through all my other guitars, even borrowed a real nice Fender Strat from a buddy but something was amiss. The tone was so good on the Dean demos that I ended going back to it and using it on the whole album. The only thing I did was put on some new Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings (10's if I remember right) and muffled my Orange Rockerverb 50 amp into a little corner in my home studio. The only other thing I can come up with is, so many people have played on that guitar over the years that it had been tweaked so many times it literally was dialed in to perfection. Either that or the thing is possessed which worked out great for a horror punk record!
Seth Babb and Chris Berry (Repeater Records)
SPB: What stood out to you most in the reissue process as you revisited Gospel’s The Moon Is a Dead World?
Repeater: The thing that really stood out putting out the reissue of “The Moon is a Dead World” was just how well this album holds up. Everything about it, the songs obviously, but all the other parts as well from the artwork to the recording it still feels like such a cohesive piece of art.
Rainer Fronz (Learning Curve Records)
SPB: Besides music, what other arts interest you?
Fronz: Besides releasing records with Leaning Curve Records and searching the internet/basement shows for new dirgey bands, I have some other things I like and love.
First off as far as a huge interest and effort go to my kid. She is the best thing ever. I love hanging and playing with her on a daily basis. She is very interested in listening to music and experimenting with instruments. It is amazing to watch her grow and develop her mind right in front of us.
I am also an avid gardener. I love planting vegetables and flowers and watching them grow. It is very peaceful to watch plants go thru their life process. It is also very satisfying to enjoy the fruits of your labor all summer and fall.
Things that are not music but the same breed of obsession include comics (mainly Marvel) and baseball. Go, Twins.
That pretty much sums up the life of Rainer!
Eric Saylor (Reunions – guitar/vocals)
SPB: Can you walk us through your guitar gear?
Saylor: I have two pretty distinct setups I like to run; both are pretty basic. Most of the time I'll run my LTD EC-1000 into a Mesa DC-10 paired with an oversized Mesa 4x12. I've spent a lot of time in bands that tune real low and use a lot of gain so this is definitely a somewhat weird combo for what Reunions does. Most people associate Mesa with the Rectifier or Mark series amps but this really sits in a strange place in between the two of those. In my experience, it's a little closer to the Mark-IV but just not quite the same. It doesn't have that over-compressed thing I feel like Rectos do but still palm mutes super tight (which I use way too much) just in a more organic way if that makes sense. I love ESP's LTD series, they're way better than anything Epiphone and I think above a lot of Gibson branded stuff. People should overlook the metalcore association. Pickups in there are just pretty basic Duncan JBs if I'm remembering the last time I switched correctly.
The other I like to use is an American Telecaster with a Bare Kunckle Pile Driver into an early 80's Peavey Rock Master with the same Mesa 4x12 because V30s are the best speaker and Mesa cabs are just my favorite I've ever used. I think there's something about being oversized that beefs everything up really nice too. This combo works really well for the more indie aspects Reunions but the Pile Driver's are a pretty hot tele pickup to still up the punx. When we record I really like to use these two together for all rhythm tracks."
Fotis Tzanakis (The Contenders – guitar)
SPB: Can you walk us through your guitar gear?
Tzanakis: Here's a more detailed way of how I come to the sound for my guitar playing for Contenders: I play a Peerless solid body. I treat recordings and gigs quite differently when it comes to how my guitar will sound.
Both at recordings and gigs I aim to keep my sound as simple as possible. This means no effect pedals. I tend to record with a Fender Twin Reverb '65 reissue. It is a very "classic" amp that comes the closest to the sound I want to approach with my songs. When it comes to gigs, given the fact that we very rarely tour outside of Athens, Greece, I opt to choose the amp I'll play keeping the space we'll be playing in mind.
Now as far as how I go approaching the sound is this: Having the role of the rhythm guitarist in the band I want my guitar to have more mids and less bass, but not to the point it sounds "too thin." So I usually set treble: 3.5, middle, 6,, bass: 4,5, reverb: 2. These settings work for me on Fender Twin Reverb '65 but they might slightly vary. Then I also play with knobs of my guitar to add a little more details.
Martin Defatte (Guerilla Ghosts)
SPB: Who is your favorite artist to see live?
Defatte: My favorite artist to see live these days would have to be Carnage the Executioner. Living in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee ends up being a tour stop for him a few times a year. I first saw him... must be 13-14 years ago now. Lately, he's been foregoing DJs and backing tracks and handling his musical accompaniment by beatboxing and making noise into a series of loopers and guitar pedals. It's quite a site to see. I've seen him rock the Cactus Club for nearly two hours... all on-the-fly. I like to describe him as a combination of Michael Winslow from Police Academy (you know, the guy who makes all the weird sound effects with his mouth) and The Fat Boys' style Human Beat Box. Mix that, with a looper pedal and a master class in emceeing and that's one hell of a show.
Check him out next time he comes to your town:
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