Thursday, May 24, 2012

Not Your Choice - E.P review

 'Rest in Peace, Live in Combat' is the title of the first E.P produced by metal/hardcore band Not Your Choice.  Hailing from the small town of Paderborn in Germany and forming in 2009, 'Rest in Peace, Live in Combat' is a polished and mature E.P that belies the age of this young band.  Starting out as a group of friends that had similar tastes in music, Not Your Choice began life as more of a thrashmetal band before the inclusion of second guitarist Chris in 2010 who brought with him a more of a punk influence.  "We have already gone through quite a long process and it isn't finished yet, but I guess it never will be and that's what it's all about isn't it?".
The Not Your Choice sound is intense, intricate and demonstrates a high quality of musicianship.  Lyrically the content is heavy, passion fuelled and written in English.  "I reckon that English is a nice, melodic language.  It feels good to write lyrics in another language that the one you use everyday to order your coffee, joke with your friends or to curse your neighbour who stomps his broom against his ceiling". 
The sophisticated musicianship, powerful lyrics and overall intensity makes Not Your Choice a band to watch.

Go check them out:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Such Gold interview

An unprecedented amount of photographers swarm the tiny First Unitarian Church stage as Such Gold play. It's the most media attention I've ever seen for a show here, even for bands like Thursday or Four Year Strong. "They were all up in my business!" laughs Skylar Sarkis. "I was like, 'Don't you take a picture of me singing,' because I look like an idiot." He mimics a frozen face and bandmate Nate Derby cracks up in agreement. I'm sitting with the two Such Gold guitarists in the side chapel upstairs, the faint sound of Comeback Kid's set below us. The crowd were just as emphatic as the photographers, piling on top of each other to sing into vocalist Ben Kotin's mic. It's a wonder no cameras were broken, but Nate admits the band have become accustomed to their fan's antics. "Although last night, I had my pedal board up by the front of the stage and kids were stage diving. One kid hit the pedal board that changes the samples, so I went to press the loop from the beginning of 'Minstrels' and it was the loop from 'Four Superbowls.' I didn't realize it until twenty seconds in and everyone was looking at me."

I first met Nate a few weeks previous at the Alternative Press showcase during South by Southwest, where they played alongside Cancer Bats, The Early November, and The Amity Affliction. "... We got to hang out with Braid a bit [at SXSW], which was ridiculous." Nate and I originally began talking about a friend of mine who lived in Such Gold's hometown of Rochester, New York and always complained there were never any decent shows there. Nate disagreed, stating that "[The music scene in Rochester] is all venue based, there are house shows, just no house venues. They got shut down... It's fluxuated over the years. Polar Bear Club started getting bigger, we played shows, then promoters started booking cooler bands and now there are great shows every week."

Nate and Skylar reveal that their upcoming full-length album, which was slated to be released this month, has been pushed back again to the summer. I asked them if working on that was any different than the splits and EPs they've put out.
Skylar- "I got asked that question earlier and I just said 'No.' It's just a bigger chunk of time."
Nate- "Yeah, it definitely represents us in the last year...We have songs that were written in January of last year and not finished until January of this year."
Skylar- "It almost sounds like two EPs put together. The first and second half could easily be their own CDs."
The unnamed album was produced by Steve Evetts, known for working with heavier bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Sepultura. "Oh, we're going metal with this album." jokes Skylar. "No, he did Lifetime and Saves the Day too."
Nate- "He produced many of our favourite albums. Honestly, he somehow found out about us and contacted the label. We had a phone conversation with him and were like, 'Fuck yeah, lets do this!'"
Take Aim- "Steve Evetts played bass on one of Vanilla Ice's albums, that's a good connection to have. *laughs*"
Skylar- "That and Razor & Tie [Such Gold's label] does Kidz Bop!"
Take Aim- "No way! I had no idea!"
Nate- "Which one of our songs would be a Kidz Bop song?"
Skylar- "Storyteller."
Nate- "That would be hilarious."

No Trigger & Such Gold AUS Tour 11 Webocumentary from Brendan Coughlin on Vimeo.

On behalf of the many Australian Such Gold fans (watch the above video for awesomeness), I have to ask if they're planning on making the long voyage over to Oz again. "Brock, who booked our last tour has been talking with our management about bringing us back and we want it to happen, just we don't know what's going on, so much is completely up in the air still," explains Nate. "We're booked up until June right now and our record's not coming out until mid-summer. We want to go back, but who knows. I'm sure we will at the end of the year if everything works out. It's just really expensive... We did Costa Rica in June and are super in debt from that. We make an investment every time we go overseas and the pay-off isn't always immediate."

Nate has a blog of his own, Long Days Long Nights, where he documents touring life as well as interviewing fellow musicians, but it has been on hiatus the past few months. "I've been so busy. It was just a cool idea. With the touring and recording a new album, I couldn't focus on it and had to put it on stand-by....I was going to do a tour blog for this tour, but I'm probably just going to do one at the end." Such Gold have indeed been busy, touring almost non-stop this year, currently with hardcore heroes Comeback Kid and Foundation.
Nate- "We got two tour offers and everyone wanted us to do the Set Your Goals/Cartel tour and we were like, 'No.'"
Skylar- "We wanted to do a hardcore tour to see what it would be like and its been really cool."
Nate- "This is the crowd that we see ourselves playing for...We were already on a pop tour when we got the two offers and had to go with Comeback Kid."

I end the interview with the mention of Such Gold playing Bamboozle, only to discover it was unfortunately an error. "You know, somebody else asked us that," laughs Nate. "I don't think we are. We would! Whoever put that up on our site fucked up." The Razor & Tie interns must have been rocking out too much to this to realize their mistake.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Murder by Death Australian Tour

With the tour recently being postponed until May, Murder by Death are still on the way for a seven date tour of Australia. With a south western sound blended with dark undertones, Murder by Death have been described as everything from 'Gothic' to 'alt country'. I spoke to singer, Adam Turla about their eclectic sound, the upcoming Australia tour and plans for a new album.
Angie Hurlock

Since forming in Bloomington, Indiana as a group of friends making music for fun, Murder by Death have gone on to release five albums and five EP's and cemented themselves as an intense live band with a compelling sound. Murder by Death's sound is unusual and has been labelled as everything from country to Gothic, but labelling the music is something that vocalist Adam Turla tries not to do. “Being eclectic is kinda our thing. I guess we mainly try to be a rock 'n' roll band with hints of Americana and some darker themes. When someone like my grandmother asks what we sound like I say, 'Dark rock 'n' roll with a cello'.

This eclectic sound stems from the diverse musical influences of the band, for Adam these include Percy Sledge, Sam Cooke, Ziggy Stardust era Bowie, The Cure and Os Mutantes. “I like groups/musicians that own their sound. We have very eclectic tastes and generally just enjoy the music of groups that go out and do their own thing and do it well”. Lately Adam has been listening to some of his friends bands and thinks that our readers should do the same. “O'Death is a friends band that put out what I think was the best record of 2011, it's called 'Outside'. It is such a well arranged, beautiful and creepy record, I love it. Our friends J Roddy Walston also put out an amazing record called 'J Roddy Walston'. It is a really fun rock 'n' roll, with a weird Queen meets Thin Lizzy meets Jerry Lee Lewis vibe”.

As Murder by Death prepare to come down to Australia for the first time they're incredibly excited for the shows and so are a lot of Australians who have been waiting for Murder by Death to grace our shores for years. “We've gotten so many e-mails from Aussie's who have been waiting for us to come there, but I think we might be even more excited than them! We are taking a week off to enjoy Australia too, as it's a place we have always wanted to go. I'm flying up to the Great Barrier Reef to scuba and snorkel and I hope to get some rock climbing in too while I'm there”. When it comes to the live shows, Australians should brace themselves for some rowdiness at a Murder by Death show. “The more the audience gives, the more we give. I love a good sing along. We have a tight show that we have worked on for many years. We plan to play stuff from all our records so people who have been waiting years to see us will get to hear the variety of sounds we have gone for. I can't wait”.

The future of Murder by Death is bright, with the Australian tour pending and work on their follow up to 'Good Morning, Magpie' almost complete. “We are in the studio with producer John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky, St Vincent, Black Mountain) right now. We've been holed up in Dallas, Texas, working on a new record that will hopefully be out late this spring or early summer”. After this next album is released another Australian tour is on the cards for Murder by Death with hopes that Adelaide and Perth, who are missing out on shows this time round will be included in the tour next time.

Make sure you get along to a Murder by Death show this May.
Thursday 17th May | The Evelyn, Melbourne

Friday 18th May | The National Hotel, Geelong

Saturday 19th May | The Wall, Sydney

Sunday 20th May | Cambridge Hotel / Side Bar (Chino's), Newcastle
Tickets only available at the door on the night of the show.

Thursday 24th May | Surfers Paradise Beer Garden, Gold Coast
Tickets only available at the door on the night of the show.

Friday 25th May | The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
Tickets only available at the door on the night of the show.

Saturday 26th May | The Jubilee Hotel, Brisbane

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adam McIlwee of Tigers Jaw

I stand with Adam McIlwee in the kitchen of My Parents House, the former Spraynard residence and host to West Chester's best basement shows. The Tigers Jaw singer/guitarist takes a long pause to contemplate who his favourite character from 'The Office' is, while I nervously glance over at a hissing vat of pasta on the stove. Adam decides on intern turned failed CEO Ryan and the water starts to boil over. As we both rush over to turn the stove down, Tom May from The Menzingers and Corey Ciresi of Lee Corey Oswald enter the room. Insert 'How many band members from Scranton does it take to make spaghetti?' quip here. "Trying to steal my interview?" Adam jokes. Pat Graham of Spraynard walks in, apologizing for leaving the water on unattended and forgetting about it. Mystery solved and the interview can continue.

Take Aim Zine.: You're doing a few new solo songs tonight, what made you decide to pursue that?
Adam McIlwee: [Tigers Jaw] wanted to tour with Lee Corey Oswald, but the rest of the band couldn't do the tour, so they asked me if I'd just do it on my own and I said yes.
T.A.Z.: Did you already have songs?
A.M.: No. Well, I had some in mind and this put some pressure on me to finish them and have new stuff.
T.A.Z.: Are you recording your solo work?
A.M.: I already did. I have CDs with three songs.
T.A.Z.: I heard you're also doing a zine. Does that go along with the album?
A.M.: Well, I don't have that with me...
Pat: Ha, the way you said that sounded so sad!
A.M.: I mean, I don't have it ready for this tour. I wouldn't have been able to get it printed. It's unrelated [to the album], but it's all from me, so I guess there's something similar about everything.
T.A.Z.: Writing for one, I obviously love zines. Have you ever made one before?
A.M.: For school and stuff.
T.A.Z.: You made zines for projects? That's so cool!
A.M.: Yeah, for English class.

T.A.Z.: Tigers Jaw are working on a new album, how far into that are you guys?
A.M.: Not very. I know Ben has a song, I have one we've practiced a bit. We don't have that many songs finished and we've agreed to do a lot of other stuff, so it's going slowly.
Corey: Am I allowed to watch your interview?
T.A.Z.: Yes! You can participate if you want.
A.M.: I have to text my Mom, she sent me like four texts in a row.
Corey: I'll answer a question while he does that! Pretend I'm Adam though.
Pat: What's your favourite restaurant?
Corey: That's a good question. I'll go with Buona Pizza in downtown Scranton.
A.M.: I wouldn't say it like that... I don't get pizza there, only cheesesteaks. And hoagies.
[Note to foreign readers- A hoagie is what everyone outside of the PA/NJ/NY area calls a 'submarine sandwich.' Either way, both names are silly and they're delicious, so no arguments about it.]
T.A.Z.: Are Tigers Jaw playing Bamboozle again this year?
A.M.: *laughing* I don't think so. They haven't asked us yet and they would have by now.
T.A.Z.: I remember you saying the only other band you wanted to see that night was Das Racist and they were on at the same time as you guys.
A.M.: Yes! I was so bummed!
T.A.Z.: Did you ever get to see or talk to them?
A.M.: Nop,e, never did. I mean, I got to see a lot of other great bands, but I was looking forward to their set.

T.A.Z.: You do interviews on your blog with web comic artists and cartoonists, what are some of your favourite comics or graphic novels?
A.M.: Matt Seneca's 'Affected'... Anything by Jack Kirby. Batman.
T.A.Z.: You mention Kreayshawn on your blog a lot too.
A.M.: She's my inspiration! All the songs I'm doing tonight are because of her and her friends. I sample her in them.
T.A.Z.: Her friends? Like that other girl who just walks around and says two things in 'Gucci Gucci'?
A.M.: They just kicked her out! They're called 'The White Girl Mob' and Kreayshawn and V-Nasty kicked Li'l Debbie out!
T.A.Z.: *laughing* Her name is Li'l Debbie? I did not know that.
[note to foreign readers- Little Debbie is an American brand of pre-packaged desserts, so this is about as funny as a rapper with the nickname Tim Tam.]
A.M.: And V-Nasty just released an album with Gucci Mane.
T.A.Z.: Have you seen the fish taco parody of 'Gucci Gucci'? It's like the story of my life.
A.M.: No, I haven't. I'll have to look that up.
T.A.Z.: The girl in it looks exactly like her. So, do Tigers Jaw have any overseas tours planned for 2012?
A.M.: We want to do a million things, like go back to the U.K. and eventually get to California.
T.A.Z.: Australia?
A.M.: Oh yeah! Australia and Japan are my top two.

At this point, I asked a question about movies that somehow veered into everyone in the kitchen nerding out about MTV's 'True Life.' Fun fact: Corey almost had his own episode about being in a long-distance relationship.

T.A.Z.: What was your favourite piece of news in 2011?
A.M.: That Li'l Debbie got kicked out of Kreayshawn's crew. *laughs*
T.A.Z.: You should contact her and do an album together!
A.M.: I actually tried to get in touch with her on Twitter.
T.A.Z.: We'll send her this interview and make it happen!
A.M.: Yes!

So, if any of you out there personally know Li'l Debbie, get this to her ASAP. If you don't know her, Twitter link the crap out of this article to her. If you live in the US, be sure to make it out to Tigers Jaw's upcoming tour with Captain We're Sinking! and (on the second half of the tour) Balance & Composure. If you don't live in the US, buy Tigers Jaw's self titled album!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Static Jacks interview

Right before Halloween, I had a chat over the phone with The Static Jacks' guitarist, Henry Kaye before he played a sold-out show at Johnny Brendas opening for The Wombats. The New Jersey band recently released their debut album, If You're Young on Fearless Records; for a taste of their music, check out the new video for "Into the Sun" above!

Take Aim Zine: How was CMJ?
Henry Kaye: It was good, though pretty brief because we had to leave right away to start the tour we're on now with The Wombats. We played two shows, both went really well.
T.A.Z.: One was with We Are Scientists, right?
H.K.: Yeah, that was a really good one! It was a party for our management company, all these incredible bands. Quite the show to end on before starting this tour.
T.A.Z.: I know it's only a day in, but how is the tour going?
H.K.: Incredible! Last night we played in D.C. at the 9:30 Club. It's a pretty funny story, it was an early show, our start time was at 5:30, so the morning we left Jersey for D.C. we had van trouble and couldn't leave until the afternoon. After flooring it down to the show, we pulled up to the venue at 5:32, two minutes into our set, ran onstage and immediately started playing. The place was already packed with loads of people, we played a great show and everyone loved it. It was a crazy, whirlwind day. An interesting start, but so far, so good!
T.A.Z.: Oh phew, glad you guys made it! So, you guys are signed to Fearless and have a very different sound than other bands on the label.
H.K.: Oh, definitely.
T.A.Z.: What was the reaction when people found out you signed with them?
H.K.: I think Fearless fans don't mind. So far they seem to be into it, because we pull from early punk influences that a lot of these kids seem to like... We've gotten a number of new, younger fans at shows that treat us really well, give us candy bars and stuff. *laughs*
T.A.Z.: Had you heard of Fearless or were familiar with any of their bands before you signed to them?
H.K.: I never really listened to any of their current bands, but I love their earlier bands like At the Drive In. That had an impact on me. Oh, and Eve 6, who I really liked when I was younger.
T.A.Z.: Fearless is pretty famous for their 'Pop Goes...' series, would you ever do a cover for one of those in the future?
H.K.: Oh wow, I never really thought about that... It would be fun, but we never talked about it.
T.A.Z.: One of The Static Jacks' t-shirt designs is a play on The Misfits skull logo, are you big Misfits fans?
H.K.: They're one of our favourites, especially since they're from New Jersey as well. Ian, our singer, his voice always gets compared to Glenn Danzig's vocals and it's the greatest compliment ever.
T.A.Z.: Heck yeah, New Jersey! Is that how all of you met, in high school there?
H.K.: Myself, Nick (our drummer), and Ian are from Westfield, New Jersey. We started playing music together when we were 14, Freshman year of high school... Then after we graduated high school, we brought on Mike, our bass player who grew up a town over from us. So we're all from the same county in New Jersey.
T.A.Z.: Did you come to Philly a lot or were you more the New York type?
H.K.: We got our start playing in New York, but we went to Philly plenty of times. We're at Johnny Brendas now, we've also played World Cafe Live a few times. New York City is closer to us, but Philly is still only an hour and a half away.
T.A.Z.: You said on your Twitter that you're a big fan of Halloween, what are some of your favourite scary movies?
H.K.: It's not a movie, but I just downloaded all the Simpsons 'Treehouse of Horror' episodes.
T.A.Z.: Oh man, those are the best!
H.K: Yeah! I just like all those cartoon Halloween specials from the 90s. And the 'Boy Meets World' Halloween episode, you know, where it's a 'Scream' parody.
T.A.Z.: Yes! The one kid's name is Kenny and he gets killed with a pencil through the head!
H.K.: "They killed Kenny!"
T.A.Z.: The best line in the whole episode is where Corey points at the mark the pencil left behind and says, "We'll always remember he was this tall!"
H.K.: Classic television.
T.A.Z.: In one of your music videos, it shows you busking on the street, do you do that a lot?
H.K.: It's been a while, but there was a year or year and a half period where we would busk at Union Square in New York on a regular basis, like a few times a week. We just thought it was a really good way to get the word out and have people exposed to our in a different way from usual.
T.A.Z.: It is a pretty unique way of being heard.
H.K.: It's a great community and we got good responses. We did it when we were down at SXSW and in Montreal, we try to do it as much as we can.
T.A.Z.: I read a while back that The Static Jacks did a Daytrotter session, but I can't find it. Did they have to scrap it? What happened with that?
H.K.: *laughing* What happened was we got there to do it and unfortunately, after three hours of set-up and whatever, the engineer spilled coffee all over the mixing board, ruining all the tracking and everything we'd worked on.
T.A.Z.: Oh no!
H.K.: I can say though, that on Halloween we're doing another one in Austin, where they set up a new studio. So we're going back to do another one that will hopefully not have any problems and that will be online shortly.
T.A.Z.: Are you doing a show that night too?
H.K.: Sadly, no. We tried to get a Halloween show.... We're playing VooDoo Fest in New Orleans, so we're going to celebrate that weekend.
T.A.Z.: Are you working on any new material?
H.K.: Right after we made the album, we recorded an EP together, so it was around the same time of the creation of If You're Young.... I'm not even sure what the plan is for putting that out, but I imagine it'll be in a number of months and that'll be our follow-up. We're already prepared and one step ahead.
T.A.Z.: Another thing I saw on your Twitter is that you guys went to Marvel Comics headquarters. I'm super jealous! How'd you manage to get in there?
H.K.: Their website director, the editor for, he got our CD somehow and Tweeted about it as a thank you. We just got to talking and our publicist put us in touch, so we got to go to the headquarters and hang out for the day. Ian and I went over and did a short interview with them, got to meet the staff, and got a lot of free comics. It was one of the best days of my life.
T.A.Z.: Who's your favourite Marvel character or what's your favourite series?
H.K.: I have to say I like Spiderman best. There's one volume called 'Spiderman Blue' by Tim Sale, that's the best. And the early stuff with Gwen Stacy that Stan Lee wrote. So, I'm excited about the new movie coming out.
T.A.Z.: Oh yeah, because she's in it. Have you seen the preview for 'The Avengers?'
H.K.: Yes I have, they showed it to us when we were at the headquarters that day, before they prepared the world for that.
T.A.Z.: Wow, before anyone else! Well, that's about all the questions I have for today, thanks for talking with me and have a great show!
H.K.: Thanks, take care!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back from the Morgue - Mad Sin in Australia

This week Mad Sin kicks off their long awaited Australian tour with their first show in Brisbane on Thursday night featuring Casino Rumbles, Mouthguard and The Vampers. The German psychobilly legends are playing six shows across Australia which are sure to be wild and with a possibility of pyrotechnics. I spoke to singer Koefte de Ville about 'Burn and Rise', Psychobilly and Adam Ant.

Angie Hurlock

Released in 2010, 'Burn and Rise' is the eleventh album from Germany's Mad Sin. With an aim to return to more of a rockabilly sound with this latest album, the songs 'Nine Lives' and 'Sex, Love, Blood'n'Death' firmly cement the rockabilly roots of Mad Sin. “We started working on it [Burn and Rise] and it was our plan to get back to our roots which are more rockabilly and early punk stuff. The album we did before we went a little too far with the sound and it was too fast.” During the writing of the album, Mad Sin suffered the loss friends which affected the album making it very autobiographical and influencing the title. “A lot of shit happened to us, a lot of people died, shit happened in our private lives when we were in the process of writing the songs. We didn't want to do a dark album with depressive sort of stuff. We thought the people that we lost wouldn't want that, they would want us to have a big fucking party. So we came up with the idea of calling 'Burn and Rise', burn the old shit and rise up again”.

Despite most songs on the album being written in English, there are a handful of songs in Koefte's native tongue, German. Mostly Mad Sin songs are in English to reach a larger audience however, with the emotive nature of 'Burn and Rise', Koefte found the words for some songs felt more organic in German. “There is one song, 'Für Immer' which is really a love song. I split up with my girlfriend when all that shit was happening and I wrote the song in German because it came from my heart, it came naturally. Geisterfahrer, I always wanted to do that song because we just love that title. Geisterfahrer, which is the word for the guys that drive on the wrong side of the road, its kinda a metaphoric song and it kinda had to be in German. I think on the next album there will be some more songs in German, because people enjoy it here”.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Mad Sin and their influence on modern psychobilly, but the scene was almost non existent in the early 80s when Koefte first became interested in the rockabilly scene. “ I started when psychobilly wasn't even there, as a rockabilly teddy boy. That was like 1981 and in Germany there were no psychobilly bands. I was listening to a lot of old rockabilly stuff, I was eleven years old when I started and I had no money. From there on it kinda evolved, it was like Psychobilly was the new thing with rockabilly an old style and there was new rockabilly, those cat kinda bands which were a little more soft. But then the Meteors came with their very first album. We started to be at first very rockabilly and psychobilly came later. We changed our clothes from traditional teddy boy gear to jeans and boots and stud belts and stuff like this and we had the flat tops, you know stuff like that. Berlin was a big underground scene at the time, a lot of street fights between the gangs, but everyone was into music”. On the 20 years of Sin album Mad Sin cover Adam Ant's 1985 hit, “Vive Le Rock”. Despite Koefte finding Adam Ant a little too mainstream during the 80's, it was a song they had wanted to cover for a while. “I always liked some [Adam Ant] songs, I like when he was still with the Ants, 'Stand and Deliver' and 'Goody two shoes', the early stuff that was more new wave punk. But the 'Vive Le Rock' album we always liked because it had that certain rockabilly influence. You know more of the songs sounded a mix between old rockabilly and T. Rex or something like that. We just covered it and it turned out great. We just did it and we never released it really, it was just for us and somehow it never seemed to fit on anything. But we thought with the 20 years thing we could put it on there because it had never been released”.

This November hails the first time that Mad Sin have come to Australia and they're looking forward to putting on some great shows to some wild audiences. “It's kinda surreal for us to go to Australia. We started here in Berlin and now we've evolved and seen half of the world, but we never expected Australia so that's a very big thing for us in a way for making it with the music. Also we like a lot of Australian people we've met here in Europe, America and Japan and we're friends with The Fireballs and Zombie Ghost Train. They [Zombie Ghost Train] are good friends of ours, we've known them a long time. When they first came over here I tried to get them a record deal when they only had the demo tape going on and it kinda worked out. So you know all those people we've met from Australia are really cool, so we're really looking forward to partying after the shows. We will have some days off and we definitely want to see the beach and all that and also the nature there”. Australian audiences can also expect an amazing live show from Mad Sin with each show different to the last. “What we give is what we feel and what we are. Unfortunately I think we cannot do our fire show cos we have some things going on where we set fire to the bass at certain parts of the show, but I don't think we are allowed to do this in the venues over there as far as I know. We're going to try to do it. But anyway its going to be very wild and spontaneous and different. We're not one of those bands where the audience expects the same things at each show. So you better come to all the shows. If you want to see the whole picture you have to come to all the shows”.

Mad Sin are doing six dates on this Australian tour heading down the east coast and even making it to Perth, so make sure get a long to at least one to experience and celebrate the legendary psychobilly of Mad Sin. “I just want to say after 25 years we are ready to go over and if you're into this type of music, we hope to see you there and I would appreciate to see you there. Offer us some drinks after the show, if we're not too tired, we're going to be there and will party with you guys”.

3rd November | Hi-Fi Bar, BRISBANE 18+
4th November | Shed 5, GOLD COAST All Ages
5th November | Annandale Hotel, SYDNEY 18+
6th November | Cambridge Hotel, NEWCASTLE 18+
11th November | Hi-Fi Bar, MELBOURNE 18+
12th November | Rosemount Hotel, PERTH 18+

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spraynard at LAVA Space

Alas, none of my photos turned out well due to me being short and pinned up against some amps the whole set. So, the very cool Mary Jane Jacobs allowed me to use her pictures from the show, please visit her tumblr blog for more fantastic shots.

I've talked with a number of bands for Take Aim and various other publications, but I only recently realized I've never interviewed a Pennsylvania band and sought to correct it by having a chat with one of my local favourites, Spraynard from West Chester. Two weeks ago, they played a show with fellow PA group Algernon Cadwallader at LAVA Space, a radical non-profit community building that supports charities like Project SAFE (which the concert benefited) and protests such as the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Spraynard gave a short, high-energy show where they were almost engulfed by the crowd who pushed forward to passionately sing along. Despite the excitement, everyone respected the venue and gave cheers for random nostalgia when the band asked whether people remembered the '90s sitcom Hangin' with Mr Cooper.

Known for being a great band comprised of even greater dudes, Spraynard started out with friends who turned into fans and now they befriend most of their fans. "Our main goal is to meet as many people as we can," explains Pat. I talked with the two Pats (Pat Graham, the singer/guitarist and Pat Ware, the drummer also known as Dos) at the end of the night while bassist Mark Dickinson finished loading out. Harris from opening band Sundials was jokingly brought over to be "Mark" until the real one came back. They all pondered my decidedly difficult opening question about their favourite Pokémon (Dos said Snorlax, Pat claimed Ditto and Harris admitted "Pikachu is the only one I know"), followed by the even tougher task of describing what it was like to be hand picked by Kid Dynamite to support them at their recent reunion show.
Pat- "Kid Dynamite is like THE perfect band, that's the safe thing to say. We all met because we liked Kid Dynamite in high school, so to play that show and hear that Dan Yemin likes our band is indescribable."
Dos- "He [Dan Yemin] came up to me and talked about Spraynard for ten minutes and I just thought, 'What are you doing? Your band is all I care about, don't talk to me about my band."
Pat- "I think that show will be the most important one we ever play."

The real Mark finally joins in, laughing as we recall what Harris had answered on his behalf ("I play as Pikachu in 'Super Smash Brothers,' so that works," he says). We exchange more Dan Yemin stories (I saw him in Trader Joes once, that's all I had to contribute) and talk about the First Unitarian Church, home to the infamous Jimmy. "Just playing there was huge..." Pat smiles, "It's our old stomping grounds." Playing FU Church is a big deal, especially for local bands, but Spraynard prefer places like LAVA Space.
Pat- "I love it here... It has so much cool information."
Mark- "Yeah, there's an educational part to it too."
Dos- "A lot of times at shows now, you forget about what we're actually here for. We're not just here to jump around and drink... You gotta be doing something productive."

My first Spraynard gig was several years ago in a mutual friend's garage next to a small chicken coop, a quintessentially Pennsylvania type of show. For Spraynard, it's the bigger shows they find unusual.
Mark- "Any situation we manage to get stuck in is always very humorous to us..."
Dos- "Because we're best friends, no matter what the circumstance or how weird it is, we'd all rather be playing in a basement with friends in front of us."
Pat- "We're all on the same page all the time, which is rare for a lot of bands. Or for a lot of people in general. We don't mind playing bigger shows with a lot of people, it's a cool experience, but we're more comfortable at shows like this. At the end of the day, we just try to be real, to not get ahead of ourselves and forget that we're kids having fun playing shitty pop-punk songs."

One such big festival Spraynard have coming up is the Fest in Gainesville, Florida. The guys agree it's sure to be a good time where they can see a lot of bands they've toured with before in one place, but it's also bound to be a Bro Fest with lots of drinking. Not big on partying (Pat and Mark don't drink, Dos only has the occasional beer), Spraynard are all about having a good time by simply enjoying the company of friends and maybe a copy of 'Mallrats.' The only dangerous incident on tour they can think of was a few days earlier when Mark had to go to the ER because he drank too much soda.
Dos- "One of our first shows, there was a huge fight that broke out and we all ran and went 'AAAAH!' *laughs* We don't have any interest in fighting."
Pat- "You always hear about bands that are like, 'Oh, we jumped off this cliff and went into a dumpster and got food!' We're like, 'We sat in our van, hung out, and talked about movies.'"

At this point, we start discussing our friend Ed, who I know from high school and they currently live with. They insist I include a story where their smoke alarm went off for no reason in the middle of the night and Ed punched it repeatedly, yelling "I was snoozing so hard!" Classic Ed. It's always funny to see how many people you know are inter-connected in the Philadelphia/Philly suburb communities, especially now that Pennsylvania bands like The Wonder Years, Title Fight, and many others are becoming known around the world. Is the Pennsylvania scene going to be the 2010s equivalent of the influence New Jersey's scene had on music in the 2000s?
Mark- "It piggybacks off itself, if you have a bunch of bands, one of them will start a label and eventually that will inspire other bands... Philly and the surrounding area has been swelling for a while."
Pat- "It also helps that Philly is a hub for a lot of places. Scranton had an exodus here... So, you got The Menzingers. Then the Tigers Jaw kids. People just want to be in a city and with all their friends."
Dos- "The coolest part of the PA scene is all the bands are friends. The Menzingers are totally going to be famous, but us and Algernon are never going to be that, we'll be underground. Please mark us down as saying that The Menzingers will be in a movie."
Pat- *laughing* "A World War Two movie!"
Dos- "We didn't grow up here [in Philly], but all our friends moved here... We used to be a bit bitter towards the city, but it's more about the people.The actual town [of West Chester] kind of sucks... but our friends, those 30 or 40 kids we know are what make it special."
Pat- "The atmosphere is unmatched. Philly has so many kids..."
Mark- "Tonight there were four or five shows going on [in Philly], it makes you feel small."

Other than their current tour and The Fest, Spraynard have a lot of plans for the rest of the year and 2012.
Dos- "In January to August, we're going to try to do a month in Europe and the UK. We have a few other festivals, the Stay Sweet Fest in Richmond, which we were just confirmed for. A few on the East Coast, maybe West Coast, we're going to see how far we can go. Any time we're not on tour, we're bummed out and wish we were on tour."
Mark- "We wanna be Black Flag really bad. *laughs* Long hair Henry Rollins era Black Flag."