“Of course you want to do right by other people, but there’s a certain point where you just have to work on yourself.” - Mariel Loveland of Candy Hearts, interviewed by Andy Waterfield
(Photo by Stephen Yang)
Hi, Mariel. For those who aren’t familiar with Candy Hearts, could you catch them up with who you are, and what each of you does?
Candy Hearts is, well, we’re a band obviously. I play guitar and sing, Kris Hayes plays better guitar, Christian Migliorese plays bass and Christina Picciano plays drums. Basically, everyone has their role in the band. I’m the songwriter and overly obsessive van driver (I drove no more than 5 above the speed limit all the way to Georgia); Christina is the “I get stuff done” kind of person and always speaks first when something seems not right or annoying; Kris is the tour dad and the kind of guy who always manages to have packed the stuff I would have left somewhere at a venue in the middle of no where; and Christian’s like that teenage little brother who gets into trouble sometimes but always has an interesting story.
Sounds like a pretty solid dynamic. Do you find that having that mix of temperaments and personalities helps keep things interesting?
I wouldn’t say it keeps things interesting, but it definitely keeps me sane. I can’t speak for the band, but I do know that whenever I have something I want to gossip or complain about, Christina always has my back and when it comes to being nervous and unable to handle whatever a situation might be, Kris is like the ultimate motivational speaker/life coach. Christian is like the perfect person to talk to about boys if only because he feeds me what I want to hear when I want to hear something I want to hear and lays down the truth when it’s really important. Basically, they’re some of the 3 people I feel like I can be not so pleasant around and they wouldn’t really take issue with it. I can be angry, mean or upset and if we argue, 20 minutes later it’s like nothing happened.
That sounds like a useful set of relationships when you’ve got to spend a lot of time in close proximity with one another. What’s your touring schedule been like this past year? Have you got much coming up?
Well, we toured in August down the east coast. We’re playing an unofficial CMJ show in a couple of a days in New York that we’re super excited about. In November we are playing some shows around the Boston area. It’s been kind of hard lately because pretty much the minute our record came out, our van broke. We’re hoping to have it settled by November so we can tour. Then we’ll likely go out in the spring or as soon as the ice and snow and winter driving hazards have calmed down.
Your current full length, Everyone’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy, is also your first through Kind of Like Records. How did you come to be involved with them, and how has it differed from your debut album, Ripped Up Jeans and Silly Dreams?
Actually, it was kind of strange how it came about. Our old bassist, Greg, who contributed a lot to this record, left to pursue his other band These Animals (they’re like cool vintagey indie rock) full time. Christian hopped on board because his band had recently broken up. Apparently his band had been talking to Lisa, who runs Kind of Like. Since we were shopping around for labels, he began talking to her and it just felt right. Even if most of my friends encouraged us to go in a different direction, with Kind of Like I didn’t feel like I was gaining a label — someone to put out our record. I was gaining a best friend, a crucial support system and somewhat of a personal manager/psychologist. She’s just the best!
The record is a lot different than our first to me. Our first was rushed — totally slapped together. I didn’t have a clear direction when I wrote it, nor did I really feel like any of us had a grasp on the way we wanted the record to sound. I was transitioning from being in a real solo-artist type band to something that was really a joint effort and well, a band. That was loud. On this record I feel like we had more of a cohesive idea of what we wanted and we were able to mesh some of our favorite parts of punk and our favorite parts of folk and alternative in a way that made sense together.
It’s always nice when people say awesome things about Lisa. She’s been a huge help every time I’ve needed to pick her brain about something for I Live Sweat, and she does come off as a lovely person.
The way you talk about it, it sounds like you’ve made a neat body swerve of the whole “difficult second album” cliche, and produced something more cohesive than the debut. Does that sound about right?
Yes that sounds about right, though I should note that every time I’m writing an album it really feels like I’m never going to be able to finish it and is always kind of a struggle. I’m sort of in that right now. It’s not pleasant.
A lot of your lyrics are strikingly honest about emotional vulnerability, or seem to be. Is that level of honesty important to you as a songwriter, and is there a downside at all?
All of my songs are more or less true stories. Sometimes the characters are a combination of different people, which leads those I know who might be listening to get a little confused, but it’s important to me to keep a level of honesty with my audience. When I sing a song that isn’t true for me, I feel like I’m cheating people, like I’m lying to myself. The song seems unimportant and just flat — like I’ve conned my friends into believing I deeply care about something that’s meaningless. I can’t work that way. When I draw from the things that I really feel at the core of me, that’s when I develop songs that I can be really be proud of, as afraid or unafraid as I am to put them out there. I also feel like people will respond to them better. I mean, it might be self-centered to say, but if I feel a certain way, someone else must too right?
That strikes me as being the opposite of self-centred, as it appeals to the idea of a common human experience. Expressing emotion through art has always struck me as a sympathetic impulse, for the most part, but that’s just me.
Beyond music, what kinds of things are you interested in?
I guess you’re kind of right. It depends on how you look at it.
Other than music, I really love writing and watching movies. Particularly horror movies! I also like reading, looking at clothes online that I will never be able to afford and going out with my friends.
I lose about two hours a week to staring at t-shirts I can’t justify buying. First world woes, etc.
Do you have any particular ambitions you want to fulfill, as an individual, and as a band member, in the coming year?
That’s a really hard question because I have a lot of goals both personally and band-wise, obviously everyone does. I want to tour europe, I want to make more money, I want to eat better and get more fit and further my career but I think the most important thing for me is to keep doing what I want to do and not get stuck in the rut of doing things that I don’t want to be doing. Sometimes that happens to me. I also really just want to produce work I can be proud of whether it’s in my songs or my writing.
Pretty sure doing what we want to do on our own terms is the holy grail of punk, eh?
I never really thought of it that way, but I guess your right. This whole “doing what I want” thing sort of came about when I was talking to Christian about being unhappy about something and he was just like stop complaining, don’t worry about it and do what you want. Doing what you want is the key to happiness. I think he might be right about that.
I’d sling in a couple of caveats about trying to do right by other people too, but I think I know what you mean.
Of course you want to do right by other people, but there’s a certain point where you just have to work on yourself. You can try to please everyone in the world, but if you’re not happy, does it matter? Plus, you’ll probably get really frustrated because there are always going to be those people you’ll never be able to please.
Oh, bugger pleasing them. As long as I’ve done the right thing by them and myself, I don’t care whether they like it or not.
You mentioned on Twitter recently that certain external factors affect your songwriting. Could you tell us a little bit about that, what kind of effect different factors have, and how you deal with it?
Man, you’re getting personal! External factors affect my songwriting completely. When I wrote most of “Everything’s Amazing” I was in a relatively alright spot, coming off of a summer filled with friends, travel, love and music (that sounds so cheesy, whatever, but that’s all the stuff I like). Now I’m writing our next endeavor and I don’t feel the same way I used to feel. I’m not driving around in cars with my best friends blasting our favorite songs at 3 a.m., instead I’m in a huge city, going home on the subway alone and exhausted. It’s lonelier, it’s angrier and it’s different.
I think a lot of the new themes have to do with more adult things that I’m nervous for my grandmother to hear. I felt like a kid when I wrote our last album, but I don’t anymore, and you experience different things when you grow up. Basically a lot of what I write has to do with my inability to tell some people off (or even tell myself off) or just tell other people how I feel in general. At least when I sing it, I can feel better about not being able to say what I want to say.
You mentioned that you’re nervous about your grandmother hearing certain songs. Have you ever self-censored, or considered self-censoring, to avoid upsetting family or friends?
I certainly have not censored at all but I have been putting off showing these songs to people because I havent censored myself.
You certainly seem to be reflective about the process and context around the way your work is created. Do you feel that’s an important quality?
I kind of beat myself up when I’m creating just about anything. Usually that involves thinking a lot about my work or what helps me make it. It seems like it’s probably a good quality, even if it doesn’t feel that way always.
I reckon that about covers what I wanted to talk about. Anything else you’d like to add?
Hmmm. Nope! Oh, wait. If you’re in the US you should catch us on tour with Man Overboard in Feb! That’s all. Thanks, Andy.
No, thank you, Mariel. Always a pleasure.
“What can you contribute? What will you create that’s new?” Max Stern of Signals Midwest, interviewed by Andy Waterfield
(Andy’s note: I’ve embedded a Bandcamp player below so readers can listen to Latitudes and Longitudes as they read, should they be so inclined. I highly recommend it.)
(Photo by Aaron Feeder)
ILS: Hi, Max. Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself, Signals Midwest, and what part you play within the band?
Max: My name is Max Stern. I just turned 22 and I live in Cleveland, OH. I play guitar and sing in Signals Midwest. I go to school and work as a graphic designer, but most of my free time is dedicated to writing songs, booking/playing shows, and generally obsessing about music and all things related. I don’t sleep enough.
ILS: Sleep is for the weak, mate. As I understand it, Signals Midwest have just released your second full length, and your first material as a four piece, Latitudes and Longitudes. Do you fancy telling us a bit about that?
Max: We’d been playing as a 3-piece since September of 2008. My friend and I took a cross-country road trip in June of 2010, and we happened to stop in Kansas at the same time that Jeff (guitar) was home visiting his family. We ended up staying out until like 6 in the morning, and had a serious heart to heart about music and Star Wars, and he joined shortly after I got back from my trip. We wrote most of L&L with him and it allowed us to branch out a lot musically. I didn’t have to worry about filling out a sound as much, and it allowed us to do things that we never could have done otherwise. Something that comes to mind specifically is the second half of the song Construction Paper - there’s a section where Jeff and I are doing this crazy, jagged trade-off riff that turns into this big instrumental guitar solo thing. That, amongst many things on the record, would have never happened were we still a trio. The direction of our band changed drastically once he joined, and I’m really happy with it. We definitely went outside of our comfort zone, and I think it’s paying off.
We came home from tour this past August, having just released L&L on CD, and we decided to contact Will from Beartrap PR to do some press work for us. I knew he was part of Tiny Engines, but it didn’t really cross my mind that we could ever be a part of the label - seeing releases from Tigers Jaw, CSTVT, Restorations… It just seemed out of our league. Anyway, we had made a little bit of money on tour (which surprised the hell out of us), and we were all ready to send out like 50 CDs and a check, but the night before I was about to send all that stuff out I got an email from him that said “Hey, hold off on all that stuff. We want to do a vinyl release for this on Tiny Engines!” I got the email at like 1am and barely slept that night. I was a wreck at work the next day, but I was so happy!
So yeah, we’re working out the details right now and shooting for a late November release for the 12” version of L&L. We’re exploring a bunch of cool packaging ideas, and are gonna do some limited edition vinyl colors and screen-printed posters for the pre-order too. It’s all the stuff I’ve wanted to do with a project, but have never had the means to. Chuck, Will, and Jeff have all been so nice and communicative and open about the whole process. It’s really exciting.
(Photo by Donna Baluchi)
ILS: A Serious Heart to Heart About Music and Star Wars needs to be the title of a song, an album, or maybe even a memoir! Also, stoked to hear you’ve had such a good experience working with Beartrap and Tiny Engines. I’ve had a fair bit of dealings with them through I Live Sweat, and they’ve always come across as hard working blokes with a deep and sincere passion for what they do.
I’m also glad you brought up the guitar style on the record. I grew up on Queen records and the Bill and Ted films, so I’ve got a soft spot for bands who aren’t afraid to let shredding guitar parts take centre stage from time to time. There are a lot of great guitarists in punk, but there aren’t too many who give me that sense of power and freedom that comes with a sprawling solo. Matty Pop Chart and D. Boon are obvious examples for me, but who are your favourite guitarists in that regard? What kind of stuff did you grow up with, and do you feel that’s come out in your style now?
Max: I grew up on the Beatles probably more than any other band (thanks Mom & Dad!), and to this day George Harrison is still one of my favorite guitar players. He was the first guitarist I really noticed that could simultaneously play lead and rhythm at the same time, and what always got me was how effortless his riffs sounded, but how complex they actually were. That constant up/down motion while changing certain notes in a chord (see Here Comes the Sun for my favorite example) contributed hugely to my growth as a guitarist, and it’s a style I see echoed in one of my other favorite guitarists, Ted Leo. That combination of percussive picking style, but maintaining a focus on melody, was something I was attracted to very early on. I also had a big Hendrix phase, which led me to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and John Frusciante, who’s also another one of my favorites. All of those players inspired me to maintain chord shapes and find melodies within them, rather than draw a hard line between rhythmic chords and leads. That isn’t all I like to do, but it’s a big part of it.
I guess for my development in playing punk rock, Weezer’s first two records were a huge influence. The sparse use of acoustic guitars coupled with tons of fuzz and solos is something that stuck with me a lot. NoFX was another huge one. When I was 13 or 14, I had a solid month where I played along to all of The Decline every day. In terms of Signals Midwest (and especially for our new record), Matt Embree and Steve Choi from the RX Bandits were a huge influence. Once they got past their ska band days they wrote really progressive, melodic punk records that contained a ton of interesting ideas. Their riffs are poppy and catchy, but super technical, and play off of each other very well without each one directly following the other. There’s also some awesome guitar work coming from modern bands like Good Luck (I know you mentioned Matty Pop Chart earlier. Dude is so good!) and Algernon Cadwallader, but I think in terms of guitar work, RX has influenced me the most.
ILS: On the lyrical side of things, how is that worked out? Do you write lyrics as a band, or as individuals?
Max: There are a few instances where the other guys have told me to tweak things a little bit, but that’s mostly me. I’ll be at the grocery store or driving back from school and I’ll get an idea, text it to myself with some ideas for a chord progression, and sit down with a guitar and a notebook once I get home. I can never write all the lyrics, or all the music, to a song separately - it’s always done with a guitar in one hand and a pen in the other. Lately I’ve been trying to write from other peoples’ perspectives - there are a few songs on L&L like In Tensions that I wrote from the perspective of my grandparents, and I’m trying to further that with our newer songs. John K. Samson (from the Weakerthans) is amazing at putting himself in other peoples’ shoes and writing lyrics from their perspectives and I truly envy his lyrical ability. I think I’ve cross-sectioned my life through music enough to the point where I should probably look for other subjects too. Who knows, though…
ILS: Was the song Family Crest written from your own perspective? What’s that one about? I was just listening to it now, and the references to mental states and dreams piqued my interest.
Max: I wrote the shell of that song in the basement of my girlfriend’s parents’ house in rural Ohio, at about 2 or 3am while everyone else was asleep. I remember whispering the first two lines over and over again because I didn’t want to wake anyone up, but I also didn’t have any sort of writing/recording device and knew I’d just have to remember it later on. It was written at a strange and transitional point in my life - I was in between schools and jobs, in a city and a house I’d never been to before, in a relationship that was still pretty new at that point, and was definitely having a bit of a crisis of conscience. That, and my phone was dead, and I couldn’t find the fucking light switch, so I was just kind of sitting there in the dark freaking out a little bit, wishing I could just go to sleep and slow my brain down for a moment. I suppose the song is about grappling between personal and professional lives, and the forces that drag us towards focusing on one or the other. Trying to make well-thought-out and informed decisions for the future, while not sacrificing personal aspirations; trying to figure out a legitimate way to pursue both, I guess. It was written over two years ago. If I wrote a song about all that now it’d be a lot different - maybe more cynical, more cautious. I’m not really sure - maybe I’ll give it another shot.
(Photo by Christine Froggatte)
ILS: I think that’s something a lot of us have to grapple with, especially within punk/hc, because it’s so common for us to grow up with ideals and aspirations that don’t always find an easy fit in society at large. Sometimes I think it might be a generational thing. Probably a bit naive, but sometimes I feel like our generation are going to take a huge hit for the easy credit the baby boomers enjoyed since the ’80s, and we’re barely even starting out. What do you think?
Max: What’s scary to me is that I think that “huge hit” is starting to affect our generation even now. What you’re talking about plays in hugely to what’s going on right now with Occupy Wall Street (and pretty much every other major US city). Not just in a punk sense, but in a general living and well-being sense. One of my best friends just dropped out of school to go join the occupation up in New York, and he’s got a lot of reasons - debt, student loans, and finding employment after leaving the academic bubble. It feels like we’re being groomed for a system that should have been restructured years ago.
It’s a strange time to be young. Maybe three of my friends know what they’re doing after they graduate college. When people from a more “professional” walk of life ask me what I want to do after I graduate, I just tell them I want to live in a van and play music for the rest of my life. It might not be how I feel in 10 or 20 years, but it certainly avoids conversations I don’t want to have.
ILS: Exactly. I graduated with my BA three years ago, went home to pay off my overdraft, and by the Autumn the economy had gone up the spout. Spent a year in a warehouse, then got my MSc in Social Research, only for the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition Government to cut funding to all social science courses two months later, so now I earn minimum wage in the daytime, and work on I Live Sweat in the evenings, in part to try and distract myself from the huge question mark where my future used to sit.
I used to think the idea of working for half a century was really scary, but, as I see it, it’s a lot scarier to have no idea whether you’ll even be able to do that.
I’m definitely seeing what looks like a huge ground swell in political activism from our generation, on both sides of the Atlantic. Neither the US, nor the United Kingdom, seems to have a genuinely progressive opposition party, with the weight of influence, or the sheer brass neck to stand up to the various powerful financial interests at play.
Max: I can agree - I’m definitely seeing that “ground swell” as you said. Sometimes I feel like focusing on the things that I do (music and design) is downright selfish, and that I should be doing something more productive and on a larger scale. My most political days were at age 12-13, listening almost exclusively to Anti-Flag and spray-painting “Goodbye America” on my Fruit of the Loom T-shirts that my parents bought me from Wal-Mart. I admit that I wasn’t really able to grasp the concept of irony at that point.
There’s a Frank Turner song called Photosynthesis that I’m starting to relate to immensely as I get older and plays in hugely (in my opinion, of course) to this conversation. For anyone who reads this, look up the lyrics. That guy can write the hell out of a song.
ILS: I’m definitely getting to the point where “the latest music fads all pass me by”, but I’d hope that I Live Sweat is testament to my refusal to grow up and shut up.
I dunno. Sometimes it feels like there’s something in our culture that is constantly telling us to sit back, shut up, and choose between the options prescribed to us. I think that’s a lot of the attraction of DIY music and culture, in that it feels genuine, and the transparency and modesty of the means by which it’s produced give it a feel of authenticity that a lot of people are looking for. Who knows?
(Photo by Christine Froggatte)
Max: I mean, people are attracted to DIY music for all kinds of different reasons. What you described is exactly why I was drawn to it, but I think the fact that you used the term “feel of authenticity” is something to be noted. Sometimes it is just a “feel”, and isn’t actually authentic. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are tons of people in DIY music who are kind, genuine, and overall great people, but I also think that there are people on both sides of the fence that don’t really get it. There are bands that posture as DIY, but just use it as a front to gain followers and make money, and there are people who think the world can just exist in basements and info-shops, and that bands that play big venues or 21+ shows, or license their music for something, are somehow morally reprehensible. Neither is the case, at least in my opinion.
To me, DIY means doing it your own way. Doing what you want to do and making your own decisions. It’s as simple as that. Just because you play in a basement, get some tattoos and sing songs about whiskey and cigarettes, doesn’t make you a DIY musician, and I think there are a ton of people that hide behind that. My question is this: What can you contribute? What will you create that’s new? How will you make things better for yourself and those around you, without being exclusionary? There’s so much going on that people just slap the “DIY” term on that just seems so counter-productive to me; stuff that’s just as limiting and unfair as the society that you’re supposedly an alternative to. It’s infuriating and creates just as many schisms and sects within a scene as there are outside of it.
Also, just to clarify the comment about 21+ shows, I will take an all-ages show over a 21+ show any day, but after having been on long tours and facing the prospect of either playing a 21+ show or having nothing at all, I’ll take the 21+ show. It’s never a first choice, though.
ILS: There’s a bit in the Minutemen documentary, We Jam Econo, where Mike Watt says something similar to the following, and I’m paraphrasing at best:
“What is to be done where you’re at, and how you gonna do it?”
That, to me, is the essence of the thing. A few years ago, I’d get really pissed off when bands I loved signed to major labels, particularly when Alkaline Trio and Against Me! did it, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realise that real life doesn’t conform to our ideals all the time, and punk rock isn’t some seperate little utopia running parallel to the real world, but part of it. I’d still much rather bands were able to get what they want on independent labels, but I’m not shaking my fist at pictures of Tom Gabel anymore, know what I mean?
I think sometimes we can buy into the dream of this utopian road warrior thing, as fans, and when the reality of the thing hits us, like maybe Henry Rollins would prefer to sleep in a bed, or the Stooges fancy licensing some music so they can put some money by for old age, it feels like a betrayal because it’s undermining that thing we cling to during our nine to five lives. Like, as long as Against Me! are out there living this dream, we as listeners haven’t bought in to the system we find ourselves within? Does that make sense?
On the topic of 21+ shows, our drinking laws in the UK are a lot more relaxed, it being legal to drink with a meal at 14, and drink without at 18, so it’s not a huge jump, but bars, pubs, and clubs still dominate, and a lot of the time that’s just about economics.
(Photo by Ted Novotny)
Max: I’ve written a bunch of responses to that, but I don’t think I can put it any better than you just did. Especially the line about how if a band is out there “living this dream”, then we can essentially live vicariously through them because to us, they seem insulated from the system. Nobody’s insulated from it - it’s just how you choose to conduct yourself.
ILS: Yeah. I’m a great believer in trying to change the world for a better, but I think you’ve got to pick your battles just to get by on the day to day, especially if you’re not lucky enough to have a lot of money behind you.
Are you much of a reader, and if so, what kind of stuff do you like to read?
Max: I’m not gonna lie to you - between music and design I don’t find a lot of time to do it. I read constantly when I was younger, but as soon as I picked up a guitar it kind of took the place of everything else. I have a habit of picking up a book, reading it about halfway through, getting sidetracked out of my routine, and totally forgetting about it. Right now I’m about in the middle of Slaughterhouse V and I’m very determined to finish it - it’s my first venture into reading Vonnegut, and it’s phenomenal so far.
And if you’ve got any recommendations I’m definitely listening.
ILS: I’ve never read any Vonnegut, but I’ve got a mate who swears by him. My favourite novel is The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. It’s philosophical sci-fi, and it examines a lot of the questions about ideology and utopian thinking that we’ve talked about here. Other than that, Human Punk and The Prison House by John King. For my money, he’s the greatest English novelist of our time, but a lot of people write him off without reading him because his debut novel, The Football Factory, was adapted into a feature film. The novel examined football violence and the surrounding culture from a range of points of view, and the film really didn’t, so he’s got an ill-deserved rep as a bloke who rights about, and for, hooligans, when he’s actually one of the most interesting and challenging liberal voices around. He’s also got a habit of standing up for working class culture, which isn’t particularly popular with our privately educated broadsheet journos, but whatever.
Max: I will admit that I like reading stories of adventure and travel a lot. I had a Kerouac phase, and I stumbled across this book called Exit 25 Utopia at a used book sale for $2 that basically chronicles the ’70s punk scene through the eyes of a few touring musicians based out of New York City. That era, and the crazy fusion of punk and Hip-Hop as they emerged in popularity, was awesome to read about. It makes sense that the books I like are related to music and travel, but I guess I need to broaden my horizons a bit. I promise I’ll check out your recommendations as soon as I’m done with SH5… so I’ll probably have them read by the time I’m 30.
ILS: That punk and Hip-Hop had strong roots in the same city in the same timeframe is a fact a lot of people miss. For my money, the basic philosophical tenets of the two are very similar, although they emerged from very different circumstances.
I think we should wind this up shortly, lest we natter about awesome stuff forevermore. Anything you want to plug, as far as Signals Midwest, or friends’ bands go?
Max: I grew up listening to punk and Hip-Hop, writing graffiti and skateboarding. It all served as an alternative and viable means of self-expression, and I definitely agree with you about the basic shared philosophy behind a lot of it.
As for plugs? Uh… our record comes out in November on Tiny Engines. They have been insanely cool so far. I think the pre-orders will be up in November, and they’ll ship early December. We’ll be doing some cool art prints, and colored vinyl and stuff, for the pre-order, so keep an eye out for that!
We also have two split 7”s coming out, one that we’re self-releasing late this month with our friends in Shady Ave. from PA and one in January on Solidarity Recordings with a killer band from LA called The French Exit. So we have a bunch of new music on the way. You can hear our whole discography at http://signalsmidwest.bandcamp.com.
One more thing that I want anyone who reads this to know: don’t sleep on bands from Ohio! There is so much great music coming out of this state and it’s amazing to be part of it. Check out every one of these bands: Worship This!, American War, Annabel, The Sidekicks, Reverse the Curse, Tin Armor, Andy Cook and the Wanderloons, Delay, Vacation, New Creases, The Fucking Cops, Two Hand Fools, Ultra Ultra, Gunnerson, Northwestern, Cherry Cola Champions… I know I’m definitely forgetting people, but the bottom line is that Ohio rules.
Thanks for the interview, this was super fun.
ILS: Already all over Tin Armor, and The Fucking Cops, but I’ll give the rest a go, too. Thanks Max.
Andy does I Live Sweat. You can find him… here.
“…fear is the main thing that debilitates us and keeps us from really living the way that we want to live.” - Interview with Witt from The Wild
(Andy’s note: The following interview is a tale of two sofas. I wrote the questions whilst watching Dogtown and Z-Boys in my pants on my mate’s sofa, and Witt wrote the answers while laid up on his parents’ sofa recovering from surgery. The Wild’s Set Ourselves Free is available for free download from the donation based label Quote Unquote Records here. It’s also available on LP and that thing with the lasers from Asian Man Records here. It was one of my top 5 records of 2010. Go and get it. Now!)
(Photo by Jake Cunningham)
Q: Right then, we’ll start with the generic band interview question, which I always hate asking, but it kind of needs to be asked. For readers unfamiliar with The Wild, how long have you been a band, and who does what?
The Wild has been a band for about 3 years. We’ve had a lot of different members. It’s kind of crazy to think about, but I’ll try and get it all right. Right now ‘The Wild’ is: Dakota on bass, Dianna on vocals and tambourines, Witt on guitar, vocals, and harmonica, Steve on Banjo and vocals, and Chris on drums. Past drummers are Joe, Alec, Kyle William, and Kylee. Past bass players are Ben, Michael, and Dylan. Past singers are Genna, Lucy, Rebecca, and Lindsey. We feel really happy to have shared songs, travels, and friendship with so many people.
Q: When friends ask me about your sound, I tend to describe you as the lovechild of Defiance, Ohio and This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, with an extra twist of lyrical flair and positivity. Does that seem a fair description?
This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb and Defiance, Ohio are amazing bands and definitely had an influence on us. They are bands that really introduced us to what DIY punk was all about, and we found a lot of honesty, positivity, and values in what they were doing. I have always been a huge folk music fan… Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Phil Ochs taught me about the importance of ‘saying something’ with your music, so I think that is where our style of lyricism comes from. I was really inspired by their narrative songwriting style. Those guys really said that, ‘it’s not enough to just make music for the sake of making music.’
It was a lot of the 90’s era Lookout Records bands that really got me into punk music. The energy and fun in what they created was really inspiring to me and spoke to me as someone that felt ‘different’ or ‘outside’ of everyone at school. So… I guess our music draws from both of those things… and the there’s Springsteen… which I could write a novel about, so I’ll just say that he’s my hero and a huge influence.
Q: One of the things that struck me most about your 2010 album, Set Ourselves Free, is that it’s an enormously positive record. Was that a conscious decision, to produce that kind of work, or did that just come out naturally through your songwriting process?
I think it did turn out to be a very ‘positive’ record. Some of it was conscious and some it was unconscious. Sometimes I feel like the songs I write aren’t necessarily about things that I have experienced, but they are about things I need to hear to feel better…. Like reminders to myself that things are going to be all right. I wanted to help other people feel good with our music… Playing music is really the only way I have found that I can interact openly with strangers, so that was a conscious thing… to write songs to let people know that they are part of making this world a great place and that we’re all in this together…the good parts and bad parts. The unconscious parts were the ones that were more like projections of what I wanted to hear or believe.
Q: I don’t know whether it’s just me bringing my particular baggage to the table, but a few of the songs on the records, particularly Set Ourselves Free, and Together Underground, seem to deal with pushing through fears, catching yourself over-thinking things, and trying to maintain an attitude that looks outward in trying to approach life and personal relationships in the best possible way. Do you think that’s a fair appraisal?
Yeah… I think that is a fair appraisal. I mean… that’s what those songs were about for me when I wrote them… I guess they were a way for me to remind myself that fear is the main thing that debilitates us and keeps us from really living the way that we want to live. We get so caught up in our heads and our plans and all of the bullshit that becomes so important to us, that we forget to experience fun, love, and happiness.
Sometimes when I get really scared, I have to ask myself “what is it that I’m actually scared of?” Usually it is something stupid (or important), but it is something that I can work through with just a change of perspective… I think I write songs about that stuff to try and change my own perspective about the things I’m scared of. We’re taught to be scared…we buy things because we’re scared…we do what people tell us because we’re scared, but we can make a decision to at least try and not be… I think that is what that record is really about.
When we recorded that record, we were all going through a lot of things and I think some of that energy was caught during the sessions. We did the record ‘live’ to 2” tape. I remember getting off the phone with my mom after she told me that my grandfather had died and we did ‘Burn Up In the Setting Sun’ in one take. I think music should be made like that… like it’s life or death and like it’s important. I really have a hard time getting into a lot of new ‘hip’ music that seems like it’s made by people that don’t give a fuck.
Q: There’s a significant amount of political content in your work, but it comes across, to me at least, in a very humanistic way, putting the lived experience of individuals ahead of pushing any particular ideology. Philosophically speaking, where do you see your place in terms of politics, both personal politics, and politics in the broader sense? Is separating the two even helpful, in your opinion?
I think a lot of what you’re talking about comes from what I learned listening to a lot of folk music. Guthrie, Dylan, and even Springsteen could tell stories about people and situations in their songs that really challenged your beliefs, values, and ideals. I guess we all have ideas about how we wish the world was, but it really humanizes those ideals when they are applied to the story of another person. It’s really hard to feel idealism and have it mean anything if you can’t also feel compassion and sympathy.
I think everyone in the band has their own political beliefs, so I won’t speak for anyone else, but I personally identify as an anarchist. I am against war, nationalism, patriarchy, animal-cruelty, and racism… I do understand though that unless I actively work against those things, I am part of an oppressive class. So… I think that it is important to understand that there is a difference between personal politics and broader politics, like you said, because everyone should come up with their own values…. They should pursue what they believe in, but we should all understand that our decisions do make an impact on the rest of the world, and in that sense the personal and political are not that separate. The main thing I think is that it’s up to us to create the world that we want to live in.
All politicians are the same. They are about profits before people. You can’t trust any of them… they are really just puppets for the corporate world at this point. At the end of the day they will make decisions and place votes based on what will make them and their corporate friends the most money. I think President Obama is a great example of this. People believe that he would change their lives… that he would help the marginalized and oppressed. Some of the most racist and backwards laws about immigration have been passed under his watch, major anti-union legislation has been passed during his term, and people are being kicked out of their homes every day in marginalized neighborhoods, because of predatory financial institutions, and he has done nothing to stop this. He has proven over and over again that his ‘change’ was a marketing scheme. It is crazy that a man would win the Nobel peace prize and be involved in two wars and be responsible for the bombing of multiple countries and the deaths of thousands and thousands of innocent people. It’s all really up to us and the choices we make every day, but they have taught us to feel otherwise… like we rely on them and that they have the power.
Q: Did you all come up together in the same scene?
I think the easiest answer to this question is ‘no.’ We all grew up in different scenes in different parts of the country. That ‘s something that is really exciting to me… the fact that so many different people, from different backgrounds, and with different experiences and interests can come together and have fun making music and traveling together.
Q: What’s going on in Atlanta right now, in terms of DIY, musically or otherwise? What should we and our readers be looking out for?
Atlanta has a very interesting punk scene. Sometimes it feels a little divided, but not necessarily in a negative way. There are just different types of punk bands that make different types of music that different people are into, but it is really cool when bands come to town that everyone is excited about and all the punks get a chance to hang out and dance together.
Atlanta has been put on the map recently for Hip-hop (commercial Hip-hop), metal, and reverbed out garage rock, and we don’t really fit into those categories… haha. The DIY scene is very strong. We have some great people doing Food not Bombs and there some really cool other things like the radical punk marching band called the Atlanta Sedition Orchestra. It is really cool, because Dianna had a part in getting both of those things going.
It has always seemed like Atlanta has a lot of potential and sometimes it is really exciting to live in a city like that and sometimes it is frustrating, because there is a lot of progress that needs to be made to make it the city that we all want to live in. As far as punk bands to look out for… Bad Mammals are my favorite pop-punk band in Atlanta right now, campaign is an awesome band with awesome people, and I really like a band called the weather underground which is a political hardcore band.
Q: How does it feel to be putting work out through Quote Unquote and Asian Man Records? Asian Man especially, has a huge history. Were you fans of those labels before you joined them, and if so, which of their releases really stand out for you and why?
Yeah… we feel extremely grateful to have the opportunity to release our records with such great labels. I was a huge lookout records fan when I was a kid, so it’s still pretty crazy to me that we release music on the same label as The Queers, Kepi Ghoulie, and all of those guys that came to Asian Man after Lookout went under. Alkaline Trio has always been one of my favorite bands, so goddamnit is definitely a stand out Asian Man release for me.
Mike Park at Asian Man is one of the nicest and best people we’ve ever worked with, and it’s cool how he fosters an amazing ‘family’ of musicians that span a pretty wide array of punk music, but he has somehow found a bunch of bands that fit together in a strange way as one cohesive group… based on politics or sound or aesthetic.
I had never heard of Quote Unquote Records before I met Jeff Rosenstock. He has become a great friend and someone that I respect and look up to a bunch. He has really progressive ideas about the music industry and how to release records and all of that. He has been amazing to ‘The Wild’ and we are so grateful to him. I think everything Quote Unquote has released is standout.
Q: Since I Live Sweat is also, at least a bit, about comics, it’s probably worth asking about those too. Are any of you comics readers? If you do have a paper crack habit, what kind of stuff do you like to read?
Haha!! I’ve always really liked comics, but I wouldn’t even pretend to be an expert or anything like that. Personally I really like Jeffrey Lewis’ comics Guff and Fuff, and I think my favorite comics are Jeffrey Brown’s…like ‘Every Girl is the End of the World For Me.’ I like things about underdogs.
Q: What’s the first third of 2011 been like for you? What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
2011 has been a great year for us so far. We spent the first couple of months writing and recording our songs for a new split that is coming out on June 21st on Solidarity Recordings with our friends Run Forever from Pittsburgh, PA. We are really proud of the songs and very excited for the split 7”. Those songs are also going to be on an upcoming Asian Man CD release called ‘A Collection.’ That album is made up of stuff that our older fans will probably have besides the new songs, but we wanted our newer fans and fans abroad to have these songs and some other unreleased, acoustic, and live tracks. It is a really cool release for us, because we get a chance to look back on everything up to this point. It is really amazing to think about how many awesome people we have met and amazing experiences we have had. ‘A Collection’ will be out on Asian Man and Quote Unquote (for download) on July 12th.
We’ve had the chance to play some amazing festivals so far this year, like Stay Sweet Fest in Richmond, VA with bands like Bomb the Music Industry!, The Menzingers, and The Sidekicks. We are leaving for an awesome tour in a few days that is going to take us all over the country and to some awesome festivals like the Asian Man 15th anniversary festival in San Francisco, the Plan-It-X fest in Bloomington, IN, and we are doing a run with Andrew Jackson Jihad and a run with BTMI! and Cheap Girls. It is going to be the best summer ever! All of the dates are on our website… www.thewildatl.com.
We will be writing and recording our next full length once we get back from tour and hope to have it recorded by the end of the year… We’ve been working on some songs for it and I think it’s going to be our best album yet.
Q: Where’s the best place for our readers to keep track of you, and your work?
The best places to find out about stuff we’re doing are our website (www.thewildatl.com) and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thewildatl). We try to keep them pretty up to date. We really love hearing from people, so write us at firstname.lastname@example.org… it might take us a little while, but I promise we’ll write back.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for asking us to do this interview… we’ve always enjoyed reading on I Live Sweat. Dianna is excited to write something for the series on sexism in punk rock that you have been doing. We really love hearing from our fans and interacting with them on the road… Please check out our tour dates and come say hello if we come to your city. We love making new friends.
The wild – Summer Tour ‘11
(check out thewildatl.com for most up-to-date information)
May 30th – Richmond, VA @ The Rock Garden – with RVIVR, Timeshares, Sundials, and Hold Tight
May 31st – Washington, DC/Frederick, MD @ All Saints Episcopal Church – with bouncing betty (members of the riot folk collective), Young Mountain, and more
June 2nd – Philladelphia, PA @ LAVA – Wooden Shoe’s May Month of Anarchy Party – with ceasefire, born in a cent, and bouncing betty
June 3rd – Brooklyn, NY @ Hillstock Music Festival (285 Kent Ave.) – with Zebu, brave little abacus, so so glos, eskalators, and a lot more bands at different spaces throughout the weekend
June 4th – Lexington, KY @ Crucial Fun Fest JR./In Your House Fest – with Run, Forever, Spraynard, Dr. Dinosaur, young mountain, and a lot more
June 5th – Nashville, TN @ Little Hamilton - with Run, Forever, Chicken Little, Patron Saint of Disappointment, and more
June 6th – Memphis, TN – St. Blues Guitar Workshop (Early Show!!) – with Run, Forever, the star killers, and brennan whalen
June 7th – Ft. Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill – with Run, Forever and more
June 8th – Houston, TX @ Sedition Books – with Run, Forever and more
June 9th – Austin, TX @ Trailer Park Records – with Run, Forever, Days n’ Daze, and more
June 10th – San Antonio, TX @ The Baltimore House – with Run, Forever, the sticky bandits, and more
June 11th – Las Cruces, NM @ The Trainyard – with Dr. Dinosaur and more
June 12th – Tucson, AZ @ TBA – with Dr. Dinosaur and more
June 13th – Riverside, CA @ 3485 University Ave. – with Watercolor Paintings, Spoonboy, the boy who could fly, new york taxi, cindy milstein (speaking), and more
June 14th – San Jose, CA @ The Texas Toast House – with Spraynard and more
June 15th – Santa Cruz, CA @ 105 Pioneer St – with Spraynard, Russ Rankin (Good Riddance), and more
June 16th – San Francisco, CA @ Viracocha (really cool underground show space in the mission… visit viracochasf.com for details) – with Dreams and Shady Maples
June 17th – San Francisco, CA @ Asian Man Records 15th Anniversary Festival Show @ the bottom of the hill – with Andrew Jackson Jihad, O’Pioneers, Shinobu, and Pteradon ***SOLD OUT***
June 18th – Reno, NV – Rainshadow Community Center – with Andrew Jackson Jihad
June 19th – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court – with Andrew Jackson Jihad
June 20th – Kasper, WY @ American Legion – with Andrew Jackson Jihad
June 21st – Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep – with Andrew Jackson Jihad
June 23rd – St. Louis, MO @ the Firebird – with Andrew Jackson Jihad
June 24th – Bloomington, IN @ Plan-it-X Fest!! – With Defiance, Ohio, Nana Grizol, David Dondero, Dead Dog, Madeline, and a lot more awesome bands throughout the weekend…including the mountain goats! ***SOLD OUT***
June 25th – Newport, KY @ Southgate House Ballroom – with Andrew Jackson Jihad
June 27th –– Cincinnati, OH @ TBA – with vacation and more
June 28th – Pittsburgh, PA @ 222 Ormsby – with Light Hearted, run forever, and more
June 29th – New Haven, CT @ Lily’s Pad – with Bomb the Music Industry!, Cheap Girls, NYR and more
June 30th – Northampton, MA @ TBA – (still need help with something in this area… let us know if you can help out)
July 1st – New London, CT @ TBA - (still need help with something in this area… let us know if you can help out)
July 2nd – Washington DC @ Saint Stephens Church – with Bomb the Music Industry!, The Max Levine Ensemble, Cheap Girls, and Algernon Cadwallader
July 3rd – Brooklyn, NY @ Club Europa – with Bomb the Music Industry!, Cheap Girls, and more
“Dude! Comics! Yes!”: a split interview with Ryan Rockwell of Mixtapes and Nick Woods of Direct Hit!
In November of 2010, Kind of Like Records released a split 7” featuring Cincinnati’s Mixtapes and Milwaukee’s Direct Hit! Each band contributed one new song, and a cover of the other band’s new song. It was rad, and it’s unrelenting radness inspired the interview you’re about to read.
Since both bands played the same songs on the 7”, both bands were asked the exact same questions for this interview. Said questions were written under the influence of heavy caffeine binges and copious amounts of Batman: the Animated Series. The band members who answered said questions were Ryan Rockwell of Mixtapes and Nick Woods of Direct Hit!, and they answered with vigour!
Q: Let’s begin at the beginning. Who does what, and how long have your respective bands been together?
RR: Well we started writing about a year and some change ago, we played our first show in March of 2010, and right now Maura and Ryan sing and play guitar, my man 2 gun suga duga plays bass, and Kamal hits things!
NW: “Direct Hit” has technically been a band since 2007, but the group didn’t really have a steady lineup until the end of last year. Originally, it was just me, and my friends Brian and Jackson. But since around September or October of 2009, it’s been me on guitar and mic, Danny Walkowiak on drums, Robbie Schroeder on bass, and Mike Esser on guitar. We had a keyboard player for most of this past year too, but she quit a couple months ago, and before that, I think the band had three different bass players, and four different drummers… Says a lot about what a bunch of dickheads we are I guess. We’ve gotten a lot better since we first started though, I think, and everyone has brought their own perspective to the kind of music we play, and the attitude we carry ourselves with.
Q: Since this interview is about the Mixtapes/Direct Hit! split, on which both bands play one of their songs, and also cover the other band’s song, this is a split interview, with both bands being asked the exact same questions. When you first heard that idea, what was your gut response, honestly?
RR: I thought it was cool! I already liked Direct Hit’s music and we had separately talked about doing something together beforehand anyways! So when a label came and said I want to do a split with you guys, on pretty vinyl, it was perfect.
NW: The idea about the split? I was pumped as fuck. I had heard Mixtapes before when Death To False Hope posted DH#4 on their site, and I liked their music a lot. I still do. The interplay between Ryan and Maura’s voices is awesome. I haven’t heard that kind of thing in front of that kind of sound much before. But then again, I also listen to a lot of Top 40 and old hardcore, where it’s either a robot singing to me, or a bunch of dudes. Point being, I was really excited to have my band’s name next to theirs. Most bands blow; Mixtapes definitely don’t.
Q: How did you come to be involved in the split? Tell us the story. Our readers love stories!
RR: Lisa got my number from Scotty at Death To False Hope Records, and said she likes our songs a lot and wanted to do the split. There’s not much of a good story, but if you want a good story I’ll tell you one, just text me.
NW: I’m sure there’s another side to it from Lisa, but as far as I can tell, I sent her a link to our stuff on accident right after DH#3 came out. That was really when things started coming together for us in terms of how I wanted the band to sound, so I was in this mode of talking my shit up to anyone who wouldn’t punch me in the face for mentioning it. I’m pretty sure Twitter was involved somehow. Anyway, I think she heard our stuff that way at first, but I had no idea that anyone was into it at all. I figured I was just being a pest. But when DH#4 came out, Scotty from Death To False Hope Records sent us a note, asking if he could post the songs on his site for free download, where I think Lisa noticed it again, and it was a few weeks after that that she sent us a note saying she wanted to help us out with a split 7” record. None of my old bands had gotten to put any of our music on vinyl, so I was psyched out of my mind about that. But it was even more awesome when she mentioned that the other band on it was gonna be Mixtapes.
Q: And what’s your favourite thing about the other band? I mean, you must be pretty into them, to cover their song and let them near one of yours.
RR: I love Direct Hit’s energy, and for all that weed they smoke they stay energetic. They are fun to watch and the songs are just damn good!
NW: I think it’s two things. One, like I said before, the way Ryan and Maura arrange their vocal parts is really interesting for me. Maura’s got this totally delicate, kind of soft-spoken way of doing her parts, and Ryan’s voice is the exact opposite, just totally loud and atonal and nasally. For most bands, it’s usually one or the other. The fact that Mixtapes put both together makes their songs a lot more interesting from tune to tune, and gives them a lot more dynamic range than most other groups.
The second is that I just think Mixtapes is a really good band. They can actually play their parts, together, in tune, and in time. They know how to write high-energy pop music. I think if you’re a band like Monotonix or something, where the intensity of the performance is more interesting than what you’re playing, you can get away with just making noise. But it’s really rare for us in a day and age where anyone can make a great-sounding record for $100 and book a tour through MySpace that we actually get to be involved with another group that can actually play together, and write songs that you’ll remember 10 minutes later. Most bands I’ve met want to either party or get famous. We’re really fortunate to be on a record with a band like Mixtapes who actually gives a shit about the music part - I think that’s getting more and more rare.
Q: I came up with the split interview idea whilst watching the two-part Two Face origin story episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, which is kind of apt, because I live sweat… is mostly about punk rock, but a little bit about comics too! Who are your favourite Batman villains? Give reasons if you can.
RR: I’d say Scarecrow, and I don’t mean this pussified version of scarecrow some kids have come to know today. I mean the scarecrow who fucks with Batman’s head and takes him to a different world and just does crazy and scary shit to Batman. He is definitely the most terrifying villain. I’d say scarecrow followed by the Riddler!
NW: Dude! Comics! Yes!
I haven’t read Batman all that much, but I fucking LOVE The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke. The Killing Joke more probably. So I’ll just go with the Joker as my favorite Batman villain, since he’s the focus of that book. I started reading comics when I was 10 or 11, but then I got into playing guitar, and stopped for a long time. I had always read them when I was a kid for the blood and guts and sex and stuff like that, so when my brother bought me a copy of Watchmen a few years ago, it was really cool to see that comics could be about a lot more than that. The Killing Joke was one of those for me especially… I read it right after Watchmen because I wanted to get into everything that Alan Moore had done. The idea that the Joker was actually this really psychologically complex, paranoid, freaked-out guy hooked me. In a way, it’s kind of ruined superhero comics for me, because I always find myself questioning the motives of all the characters now, which is fucking ridiculous when you’re just trying to get through the first issue of Blackest Night or something. I guess that’s why I like the Joker though… He’s always got this motivation to show everyone they’re all just as fucking crazy as he is, and they just don’t know it. I think that’s a totally awesome revelation to come about in a comic book, especially from a villain.
Q: Apart from your esteemed split-mates, who are your favourite two DIY/independent bands operating right now?
RR: That’s a really hard question, if we are talking punk rock bands I’d say Dear Landlord and Banner Pilot. They write great tunes and we have had the pleasure of sharing stages and being buddies with them. The Dopamines also write some great songs but they are assholes.
Outside of the punx world I still love They Might Be Giants. They have been doing their own thing forever and I love almost every album they have put out, and I’ve been rocking a lot of the new Jesse Malin album. I love it.
NW: Two groups: Masked Intruder, and Devon Kay & The Solutions. Neither of them have material out yet, but they will soon, and you’ll shit yourself when you hear it.
Q: Which band, in your opinion, recorded the best second album of all time?
RR: These questions are hard. All of them are the kind where I will write an answer then later second guess it, but just for the first thing that comes to my head when I saw that I would say either Weezer Pinkerton or Counting Crows Recovering The Satellites. I think they both did exactly what you wouldn’t expect for a second album that follows a hugely successful first album, and I think they both rule. I like the Counting Crows album better though and I don’t even care what any of you have to say about it.
NW: Pinkerton, by Weezer. I’m sure you get that a lot. Also, just for the record, Weezer is an absolutely fucking terrible, awful, joke of a band now that needs to break up as badly as Metallica does so they quit fucking ruining the great memories that I still have of them. That being said, Pinkerton is without question, I think, Weezer’s best album, even though they wrote some pretty classic tunes before that. Can someone please explain to me how to make drums sound like that? Please? That whole album sounds totally raw, and totally gigantic at the same time - Just four dudes thrashing their instruments. You can seriously FEEL the angst coming off of Rivers Cuomo, and it’s a totally self-aware angst, making it all the worse. I always felt like I could tell he knew all of the songs were total emoey bummers, but if he didn’t let them out he’d kill himself, so he made up for the emo by yelling a lot more, and making everyone else in the band hit their shit a lot harder. That tension carries throughout the whole album. All of my favorite records are like that - The ones that sound like something bad is going to happen if you turn them off. But most bands pull out those kinds of stops either on their debut, or their last record - Weezer’s the only group I know of that did it on the second one.
Q: Can you name three sequels that are better than the originals?
RR: Of course I can, the Land Before Time 2, 3 and 4. If that doesn’t count I like Die Hard 3 better than one, not by a whole lot because one is so good, but 3 is probably my favorite movie, 2 isn’t that good but I let it pass. So since technically 3 is a sequel to the second one then that for sure is.
NW: 28 Weeks Later, The Dark Knight, and Jackass 2. 28 Weeks Later has the best opening scene in a zombie movie of all time. The Dark Knight was the best movie in 2008. And Jackass 2 is better than Jackass just because it’s a lot grosser, more violent and more intense. I always felt like those dudes really upped the coke intake with that one.
Q: Are these ‘two’ themed questions getting silly yet?
RR: Not really, I am enjoying them so far, WHY AREN’T THERE MORE?!
NW: Hell no! If you keep asking good questions, you can use the word “two” all you want.
Q: What’s next for you, as a band, and as individuals?
RR: Well we just released our new EP/7 inch called A Short Collection Of Short Songs, so please go get it! www.animalstylerecords.com After you get the split, then this month we are recording another split and working on our full length, and have a lot of cool shows coming up. As people we just pretty much party.
NW: I try not to think about it too much. I’m having a lot of fun now, and I’ll ruin it by worrying about what’s gonna happen down the line. As far as stuff that I know is gonna happen. We have a split 7” coming out on glow-in-the-dark vinyl with our friends from Delaware, Tit Patrol, that should be released sometime this spring. We start recording our full-length album in a few weeks, which is going to have the 10 best songs from DH#1-#5 on it. We don’t have a label for that one yet though, so we’re not sure when it’s gonna come out. And we’ll be on tour for a little bit this summer, probably in the northeast U.S.
As far as personal stuff… I’m a grad student, Danny’s an EMT, Robbie works construction, and Mike runs a pizza shop. We’re all busy. Really wish this whole “rock band” thing would pay enough so that we could quit. None of us are holding our breaths though.
Q: Lisa at Kind of Like Records is pretty awesome, don’t ya reckon? She sent us the record for free, so we think she’s awesome! What was your experience of working with her and the label?
RR: Every day I tried to make her experience as difficult as I possibly could, and I would think of new and exciting ways to do that every day!
NW: Hell yeah she’s awesome! I’ve got nothing but great things to say about Lisa. She made getting this record out really easy, and she did so at great personal expense. Fuck lucrative, it’s not even CHEAP to put out a release, especially from a band like ours that not many people cared about at the time. She’s done a lot to let people know we exist.
Q: Where can our readers find out more about all of you and what you do?
RR: I suppose our MySpace or Facebook, but really just listen to our songs or come watch us, it gets REAL personal.
NW: You can download free music from us at http://directhit.bandcamp.com, and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/directhitband. We have a MySpace page too, but that site sucks. Don’t go there.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
RR: I enjoy the television shows Prison Break and Sons Of Anarchy immensely. I’m real stoked on Portal 2. I drink a lot of diet pop, or soda, depending on what you call it.
NW: Ryan Rockwell likes ICP.
(Photos were robbed off the band’s own MySpace and Facebook pages. If you were the photographer for either, have a word at email@example.com and I’ll remove your work/pop a credit up for ya, - Andy)