Paint It Black interview

Having been on the a label such as Jade Tree Records, Paint It Black have serious credentials. The Philadelphia based band who released their first full album in 2003 decided this year to release two 7″ EPs over two different labels, with Amnesia coming out on Bridge Nine Records and Fat Wreck Chords releasing Surrender.With members that have been involved with the likes of Lifetime and Kid Dynamite, vocalist Dan Yemin spoke to us about the songwriting process as well as their major influences.

Why did you decide to release two EPs through two different labels this year?

The decision to put out 7″ EP’s instead of albums at this point was sort of intended to find a way to release music more frequently with less downtime between records. The process of writing and arranging full-length albums had begun to test our patience. We decided that it would be exciting to experiment with working with different labels, because we’ve been working exclusively with one label for so long, we had no idea what it would be like to work with other people. We’ve always focused on trying to do something substantially new with each release.

How did you go about hooking up with the record labels that you did for these releases?

We’ve been friends with the people at both Bridge Nine and Fat Wreck for a long time, and we knew that people at both labels were supportive , and interested in, what we as a band have been doing. So we just asked…

How has your experience of record labels been throughout your career? How do you think they’re coping with the current state of panic with regards to record sales vs illegal downloading etc?

We’ve generally had positive experiences with labels. For the most part, my experience with labels is that they do their best to support their bands, and leave the bands alone to make the music they want to make. But, make music for long enough and you’ll realize that most people in bands are big babies in a lot of ways (this includes us) and are never happy with anything. No matter how much the label does for a band, and no matter how hard they push a record, bands inevitably want more. So everyone has something negative to say about the label they’re on after they’ve done a record or two with the same people. I’ve seen it a million times.

So many bands have complaints about the label that puts out their records, and labels learn that no matter how hard they work their bands are never satisfied. So there usually ends up being a somewhat adversarial relationship between bands and labels, even though they’re totally dependent on each other. I think there are 3 ways that most labels are dealing with illegal downloading and the drastic decline in record sales: Some people are just giving up and quitting. Some people are dramatically scaling back their operations and going back to the days when pretty much every independent label was someone’s hobby run out of their bedroom or basement. The third category includes labels that have found another way to subsidize their income so that they can still afford to release music. The labels in this last category make most of their money selling t-shirts or running a distro, so that they can afford to lose some money releasing records.

Do you think there will still be a place for record labels in the future?

Depends on how far in the future we’re talking about. There will probably need to be people crazy enough to give a band $5000.00 to record an album until we figure out a really inexpensive way to make hi-quality, organic-sounding recordings, which has not happened yet.

Should the two EP releases be viewed very much as a pair or are they their own separate entities?

I think that they each stand alone as strong releases, but they were obviously written and recorded during the same period of time, so that its also interesting to think of them as a matched set, or as the first two pieces in a longer series of releases.

How long did they take to write and when were the songs written?

The songs were written during the later part of 2008 and the early part of 2009, except for “Bliss,” which was mostly written during 2007. That one took my a long time to finish though, in contrast with “Sacred,” or “Cipher” which were written very quickly.

How about the recording process? How long was it and how did it go in general?

Recording is always really exciting but also really stressful. Once the drums are finished the stress level goes way down though. I was very unhappy with the vocals at first, although now I think that they’re the best performances we’ve ever gotten down. I put myself in a very stupid situation, because I had to fly home for two days to go to work, so that meant that I basically had to do my parts in one afternoon. I was really down on myself and depressed about how bad my throat felt, but I think that as a result of the stress we got very stripped down, visceral vocal takes. We recorded and mixed both EP’s in a week at God City in April 2009.

‘Surrender’ sounds a lot more raw than last year’s full length ‘New Lexicon’. Were the two releases produced under very different circumstances? How did the influences for the full length and the 2 EPs differ?

“New Lexicon” was recorded in two different places and had more people involved in the creative process, because most of the instruments and vocals were recorded by our friend J.Robbins (Jawbox, Government Issue), who produces a lot of indie rock stuff, and then we did sampling, sound manipulations and mixing with Oktopus, who makes all the beats for indie hip hop giants Dalek. In the end was like two different albums: one was a “normal” Paint It Black album, and the other was a total sonic collaboration with Oktopus, where we were learning so much from each other in this really short, intense period of time.

The EP’s we released this year were more stripped down in terms of sound and instrumentation, and I would say that we’re always drawing from new influences as we progress as a band. The influences that I think are more apparent during this recording session include Swans, Discharge, the Pixies, Born Against, Talk Is Poison, Jawbreaker, Ink & Dagger, Dead & Gone and dub-step.

What were the best parts of the UK shows?

Having a short, low-stress tour with our friends in Ceremony, staying out of prison, and visiting Scotland for the first time. As usual, were super-nerds in Manchester and spent the day visiting places pictured on Smiths record covers.

Which live shows are more fun do you think? – Lifetime, Kid Dynamite or Paint It Black shows?

It’s a totally unfair question! I get very different things out of each experience. Playing in Lifetime is like having sex with an ex-lover who you’ve known for a really long time and are still close friends with. Kid Dynamite was like a “rebound relationship,” totally exciting, but maybe for some of the wrong reasons, and Paint It Black is that relationship you have when you’re older and wiser and learned from all your youthful mistakes, and are ready to make a new set of adult mistakes, a totally different kind of thrill.

Lastly, which three records should everyone own?

If you are talking hardcore then Minor Threat, “Out of Step”; Bad Brains “ROIR Cassette”; Black Flag “The First Four Years”. If we’re talking music in general, there’s no way to narrow it down to three records. But I can’t even bear to think about what might be wrong with your world if you don’t own Led Zeppelin “Houses of the Holy”, Tribe Called Quest “Low End Theory”, and a good collections of early Motown singles.

Paint It Black releases can all be found at


Fake Problems interview

Fake Problems are a band who have recently released their second album “It’s Great to Be Alive,” they’ve toured all over the place extensively, and their latest release was produced by AJ Mogis, not a bad resume for a relatively young band!

They just scoured Europe with Frank Turner and Jonathan Teggart caught up with singer/guitarist Chris Farren to ask him a few questions on why Fakey P’s are becoming a name that is on everyone’s lips in the UK right now.

So Chris, Fake Problems started out as a one man project, what was it like for others to join an already established one man project, and how was it for you to adapt to being in a band?

Well, this is a pretty common misconception the public has about our band. Although I started the band, I never played solo or marketed the band like that. It was just a brief period where I didn’t know anyone I wanted to be in a band with. I had been in bands before, so I was used to working with other people.

So, where does the name come from?

The name Fake Problems is just taken from a quote from the movie “Predator 2”.

Touring’s obviously an important part of your band, why do you feel it’s so important being on tour?

In our experience, and the experience of many of our friends, touring is the only real way to thrive as a young band. We meet countless new friends and other bands, it’s great for networking. And it’s also great to travel the world at such young ages as us. It can get tiring, and isolating to be away from home for so long – but at a certain point the road gives me that sense of familiarity and comfort.

What are the main things that influence you as a band?

I’d say personal relationships, goals, ambition and FUN.

You guys are influenced by Bright Eyes and Cursive, what was it like working with AJ Mogis on your new album?

It was AMAZING! AJ is such a great producer and he was the perfect fit for “It’s Great To Be Alive“. He really captured the sound we wanted to create and has a great creative mind.

Is this the first time you guys have ever played with Frank Turner, does he influence you at all?

Frank Turner is a massive influence on me. He’s been a friend of ours for the past two or three years. I was introduced to his music by my friend Jeremy, from the great Touche Amore. We had the CD for a while, and then Casey Lee, our guitarist, asked Frank if he’d like to be a part of his Good Friends Records. GFR put out “Campfire Punkrock” on 10″, and we toured twice in the states with Frank as support.

What’s it been like coming back to the UK and how has this time around with Frank Turner differed to your other visits? What do you have in store for the UK in the future?

This time around is great! It’s very massive crowds and it’s the most exposure we’ve ever gotten in the UK. It’s a bit alienating at times, as people are specifically here to see Frank and don’t really care about us -but it’s essentially our job to make them care. We’ve had a few successful headline UK tours that have gone over well – and we plan to come back sometime in April 2010 for another headline run.

I see that you’re touring with the Dillinger Escape Plan, there’ll be a wide group of people at them shows, do you think Dillinger fans will be able to get into your music?

It’s a pretty eclectic tour – Thursday, DEP and us. I think each band brings something totally unique to the table, and from my experience, each band has pretty open minded fans. I think we’ll be received well.

Finally what other plans have you got for the future?

We’re currently working on writing our third full length record, which will hopefully be out in Summer 2010. We have about 20 songs written and five that I really like. We’ll see what happens.

Check out their album “It’s Great to be Alive” is currently out on Side One Dummy Records, and it’s awesome so go check it out!


Ian Glasper ‘Trapped in a Scene’ interview

Author Ian Glasper’s latest book ‘Trapped in a Scene’ is just out, and completes his trilogy of Eighties UK Punk.

‘Trapped…’ charters the latter part of the decade and, like it’s predecessors ‘Burning Britain’ (early Eighties) and “The Day the Country Died’ (Anarcho-Punk) is extremely well researched and as definitive a piece of writing you are going to find on an era that, for the most part, was a strictly subterranean phenomenon, that existed off the radar of the mainstream, but thrived none the less.

It was a time when cities like Nottingham, Birmingham and Leamington Spa (!!) were hot beds of furious musical activity, and Ian was there, on the frontline, playing bass in his band Decadence Within. He manifestly remains passionate and dedicated to Punk Rock.

Pete Craven delves into the hotpot of hardcore to find out more about Trapped and the way it was put together..

Let’s get right back… was there a pivotal moment that got you hooked on Punk, or at least interested??!!

Uh yeah, that would have been when my cousin Mobs played me the ‘Decontrol’ single by Discharge! I was aware of punk by then, and really into Killing Joke and the Antz and stuff, but that was a pivotal moment because I’d never heard so much intensity – ever!

And how did that develop in to a life long passion?

Well, you know how it goes with punk rock – one minute you’re listening to the music, the next you decide you’re going to have a go at playing it, and it all escalated from there! I got more and more into it, and spent every penny I earned on my various paper rounds on new records as they came out – I had a big brown bag put to one side in the local record store, and I’d collect what I could pay for each week, and they were good enough to keep the rest there for me! Thing is, I was ordering new stuff for the slate quicker than I was clearing it, haha!

When did you start writing, with fanzines?

I did my own fanzine called Little Things Please Little Minds – that lasted five or six issues, but got me into putting pen to paper… everyone did a fanzine back then though, didn’t they? It was just another way of expressing yourself – I had a lot of shit to get off my chest, but I was very shy, so it was easier to write it down than scream it from the roof-tops…

And then you progressed on to bigger magazines, notably Terrorizer…

I didn’t start writing for Terrorizer until ’93? Issue no. 3 – and I’ve been sullying their pages ever since… respect to Rob Clymo for giving me my ‘big break’ and letting me do the Hardcore Holocaust column!

Writing a few reviews is one thing, but nailing a whole book is a big next step! Was it a long held ambition to document the Punk of your youth?

No, not really, I always fancied writing a horror novel, to be honest! But I was reviewing for Record Collector, all these different books about Sid Vicious and The Clash and the usual suspects, and I just kept thinking, ‘Where’s the book on Discharge?’ in the end, I took the plunge and decided to write it myself…

Did you set out with the idea of an Eighties Trilogy (if you will!) or did that just develop as the project evolved?

It was only when I was about halfway through the second book that the trilogy idea really cemented in my head – it was too daunting a prospect to think about properly until then, haha! I knew I wanted to write about all the underground bands of the Eighties, and I knew it was too big a thing to do in just one book, unless it was going to be 1000+ pages and cost £30, but I didn’t really have the nerve to commit to it until I was already officially halfway there!

I remember talking with a mate of mine when Burning Britain came out, and we were stoked that someone had actually documented an era of Punk that was really important to us but had been rarely acknowledged. We’d been too young to properly experience the ’77 explosion… but when the early 80’s hit we’d been old enough to finally get involved. Was that a similar experience for you?

Absolutely! A lot of the older punks laughed at me and my mates ‘cos we didn’t ‘know the score’… we dressed badly, couldn’t hold our booze, and couldn’t get into any of the best gigs!

They were still listening to the Stranglers and Damned (both great bands, of course) and I was listening to ‘immature shit’ like Disorder and Varukers… I think everyone defines their punk rock experience as the time when they really got involved them, and for me that was 1981/1982 – everything prior to that was just something I read about or glimpsed on TV.

Particularly with the Anarcho and Hardcore books you’ve reached out to people who were involved in those scenes for information, which must be quite rewarding, knowing that elements of that network of friends still exists, and in some cases are still very active

It’s amazing how many people were dragged screaming and kicking from the woodwork for these books – and some of them even felt motivated enough to start up their musical endeavours again, which is kinda crazy to think about, but I’m glad I helped bring some of these old friends back together and get them talking again.

Below: Ian in Stampin’ Ground at the Kingston Peel. Photo: Naki

Ok, ‘Trapped in a Scene’ is finally out… it’s a big book isn’t it! Did you really have to limit yourself on the content this time around?

It could have been BIGGER, haha! I had to hold a few bands over and edit a few chapters down, to bring it under the number of pages where we could keep it to £14.99 RRP… to be honest, you could go on and on and keep unearthing bands and releases and new pictures and fliers, but eventually you have to draw a line somewhere and set a deadline for yourself.

Working thru the book early on got me thinking (and digging deep in to the memory banks!) that my first taste of what became UKHC was most likely hearing The Stupids on a compilation tape in ’84 I’m guessing. What about you, when did you start to see the emergence of these new bands?

I was going to the Mermaid in Brum every weekend and seeing a lot of incredibly noisy, aggressive and FAST bands… it never dawned on me that it was a ‘scene’ until a few years later, but it was an exciting time to be staggering about a dance floor with a bottle of cider in your hand!

The evolving momentum and increasing overseas influence on UK punk must have rubbed off on Decadence Within, because your sound began to evolve from its more Anarcho inspired origins…

To be honest, DW’s sound changed with each new member the band brought in… Kev was a shouter, but when we got Rid in, who could actually sing, it opened all sorts of possibilities up to us… similarly each guitarist had a different set of influences they brought to the table that really affected our sound… Kris was a big Hendrix fan, Giv a big Celtic Frost fan, and Joey was totally into Satriani! Their very different playing styles all impacted massively upon our overall sound…

Looking back, what do you think made the late Eighties so vibrant?

The personalities, of course, all the great, crazy people like Boff and Ivor The Diver and Hellguts Weird Beard – people who were basically legends before they ever joined bands! And then the music – so diverse, so much going on – thrash metal meets USHC meets anarcho punk meets tripped out reggae dub meets sing-along street punk meets… well, you get the picture! And then there was the network of friends you alluded to – hundreds of folk trading tapes and soaping stamps and COMMUNICATING without computers and mobile phones! Who woulda thought, eh?

Taking the books title from Heresy’s famous lament on the clear limitations they came to experience during those halcyon hardcore days… (“Is this Alternative? Alternative in name only, Role plays the same with a new adopted name”) you seem keen to get across the (balanced) point that as the Eighties progressed some bands were garnering big followings, moving away from their punk ‘roots’, with options for a more commercial (dare I say it) crossover, and that caused a negative reaction in certain quarters… friendships were often tested, or broken….

Yeah, my own band Decadence Within even experienced it a bit, and we were total small fry compared to the likes of Napalm and Heresy, so they must have really felt it. We copped all sorts of flak for appearing in Metal Forces and stuff… which seemed really weird, because we had a very positive message and we just wanted to communicate it to as many people as possible. I’ve never bought into that introspective scene mentality… you can expand your horizons without selling out your principles!

Do you think it’s fair to say that the period covered in ‘Trapped…’ was also the point that punk in the UK started to split off into specific sub genres, which developed their own more and more insular scenes, and that’s carried on to this day? I particularly remember as 1989 progressed going to gigs in (my hometown) Brighton and the crowds becoming more and more divided… thrashers, anarcho/crusties, hardcore kids, skaters, punks… straight edgers…

Well, it’s an interesting theory, mate! It did suddenly fragment, didn’t it? in many ways, it WAS the beginning of the end as far as a united punk underground went, but I think that’s human nature, to carve things up and try to keep the best for ourselves – the punk scene was no different, as much as we liked to kid ourselves that it was… at least with age and hindsight, we transcend some of that silliness – the annual Rebellion Festival is a fantastic example of how the clans can co-exist harmoniously once again.

Trying to contact all those people from the past, especially those no longer associated with Punk must have turned up a few interesting stories in themselves!

It’s surprising really, but most of them are still ‘punk’ in some way or another… if only in general attitude… most ex-punks still have a healthy mistrust of authority etc. you might stop spiking your hair up (mainly ‘cos we lose it!), but it’s hard to walk away from all those ideals, unless you were faking it in the first place, of course… thankfully, most of the people I’ve spoken to for the books cared about it then, and still care about it – to a greater or lesser extent – even now.

Photo: Decadence Within (1994), Turen, Poland

And for all the positive feedback I can imagine you’ve received from people in bands that you’ve covered, have there been any adverse reactions… people pissed off at what was written about them… or maybe that they weren’t included??!

There’s usually a few folk who feel they’ve been misrepresented by whichever of their ex-band colleagues I ended up interviewing, but that’s always going to happen, with the volatile relationships and fragile egos that go hand-in-hand with making music… you get very (very) close to what you create and it’s awful to see it belittled by someone – who often helped you create it – in print… but overall the response has been terrific to all three books… I don’t have any hidden agenda here, I’m just trying to document the scene as accurately as possible before some of these more obscure bands – who had just as much of worth to say as the ‘bigger’ ones – are forgotten

How did you conduct the interviews; face-to-face, email, phone?

Bit of everything – mainly e-mail and phone, but a good percentage face to face too!

Would it be fair to say that trawling back thru all these old bands (for all three books) has been a voyage of discovery, hearing and learning about bands/music that you missed out on first time around?

To be honest, there have been very few bands I’m discovering for the first time, because I needed to know of them in the first place to want to include them… but it’s been great rediscovering some of the bands that I haven’t listened to in many a year. Especially some of the bands who only did one or two demos, or just a single, or whatever… several kind friends of mine burnt stuff from their vaults to CDR for me (I parted ways with much of my tape and vinyl collection several years ago) and it was great to blast stuff by The Uprising and Terrorain and Bad Beach and Pink Turds In Space again.

You hold down a day job, and have a young family, so to write three books in your spare time must have taken an incredible level of discipline!

Yeah, I work pretty long hours, and have two kids who I like to spend quality time with, as well as the band (s) I’m in and the magazine I contribute to, so sometimes it’s near midnight before I settle down to write… and then I’m face down on my keyboard within the hour – that’s why this third book took so bleeding long!!

I’ve read that you may return with a book on UK Thrash Metal… which with the recent Thrash revival would certainly be opportune timing

I’ve always loved thrash metal, and I’ve always felt the UK thrash metal scene has been overlooked somewhat, so it’s about time someone redressed the balance a little… a lot of that metal stuff fed into and out from the punk scene as well, so it’ll tie in with the first three books on some levels

Talking of which… your band Suicide Watch have a new album, right?

We’re giving our new album – Figurehead Of Pain – away for free download, c/o of the kind people at Mosh Pit Tragedy Records… we spent a lot of time writing and recording those songs, and I’m pretty proud of the results, and we’d love as many folk as possible to hear it – hence the ‘pay as little as you like’ nature of the release… you can download the whole thing: music, cover, lyrics, insert, blah, blah, blah…

I also read you are regrouping with some former members of Stampin’ Ground in a new outfit Betrayed By Many… when can we expect activity??!!

Very soon! It’s me, Mobs and Ade from SG, who were the three song-writers in that band, plus Dan Philp from Pointdown and Jim from Seventh Cross. We’re recording a demo right now, and we have our first show booked for December – in Athens, of all places! We’ve got some SG chestnuts in the set, and the new material is disgustingly heavy too… it’s sounding pretty good so far.

And of course you joined Flux of Pink Indians a couple of years ago to play bass for a few gigs, which, on a personal level, must have been pretty awesome!

It was indeed pretty awesome! I learnt to play bass plonking along to Tube Disasters, and absolutely loved their early Eighties material, so to spend some time playing my favourite tunes with the guys that wrote them was brilliant! We only did the four gigs though – Steve’s Feeding…’ show, the 1 in 12, one in Dijon, and one with the Subhumans in Islington, and that’s yer lot, Colsk isn’t interested in a full-time resurrection. Shame though, ‘cos we were really getting our shit together, and I was having a ball (bit of a trek to practise though!) There should be a live DVD from the aforementioned gigs surfacing sometime soon though, as a little keepsake of the reunion.

Is you record label Blackfish still active?

Unfortunately not, I quit while I was ahead (i.e. just before I was about to run up some serious debts!) back in 2003… 20 releases on BFRex was enough anyway, I was losing my focus a bit

Having immersed yourself in so much old music, are you still able to keep abreast of new bands? Who’s got you excited at the moment?

Mmm, I’ve not got my finger on the pulse the way I used to have but recently I’ve been blown away by Jello Biafra’s new band, the Guantanamo Bay School of Medicine… I also like Cross Stitched Eyes, War/System, Bad Samaritans, Your Demise, Rumplestiltskin Grinder… all sorts of shit really.

C’mon then Ian, if any one can, you definitely can… let’s have your Top Ten Eighties UK Punk records. (Drum roll… please)…

In no particular order, and based on sheer number of plays over the years:

Rudimentary Peni ‘Death Church’
Anti-Pasti ‘The Last Call’
Icons Of Filth ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’
Chron Gen ‘Chron Gen’
Omega Tribe ‘Angry Songs’
GBH ‘City Baby Attacked By Rats’
Conflict ‘Increase The Pressure’
Discharge ‘Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing’
Broken Bones ‘Dem Bones’
The Mob ‘Let The Tribe Increase’
The Exploited ‘Troops Of Tomorrow’
Crass ‘Stations Of The Crass’

Yes, I know that’s twelve… ten is just impossible! Ha!

Trapped in a Scene is out now via Cherry Red Find Ian online at Myspace


The Silent Years Interview

The Silent Years’ album ‘The Globe’ was released to critical acclaim in their native US earlier this year.

This week (19th October to be precise) the album got its UK release and we managed to catch up with singer Josh Epstein to talk about their thoughts on the UK music scene and how they can relate to it, as well as discussing their history, present and future.

You’re a band from Detroit, however you are making music that’s really big in England at the moment, were you aware of the English music scene in writing your latest record or is it something new to you?

The English music scene is relatively new to us. There always seem to be British ex patriots at our shows in the States, and they often tell us that we would go over well in the UK. I think that’s the extent of our experience there!

How important is the UK to you in terms of music and how do you feel about the prospect of touring over here?

The UK seems to me to be more receptive to music that sounds different from the rest. I’ve heard that many bands from the US have to succeed in the UK before people at home take notice of them, which speaks to the UK audience’s tastes quite well. We are very excited to tour over there in the next few months.

When did you all start out making music and what drew you to it to begin with?

I actually was humming in my crib as a 9 month old, and my family is quite musical so I’ve been playing instruments and vocalizing all my life. Music is just the oldest thing in the world that endures and I can’t imagine not being drawn to it.

How did you all meet? What are the dynamics within the group like?

We all met around Detroit as members of various projects in the music scene. The Detroit music scene is very small and everyone gets on well with each other for the most part. We are all pretty close friends and treat being with each other in the band like an opportunity to spend time with good friends.

I understand from another interview that you got your name from a former member’s time spent in mime school, was it not strange keeping the name thought of by someone who’s not in the band anymore?

It was a bit strange to keep the name, but that member (Ryan Trager) actually still plays with us from time to time. There are never any hard feelings when someone decides to try something else. We treat this project like a giant annual family reunion sometimes!

You have a sound that’s pretty fresh and there haven’t been a great deal of American bands making it, what are the main things that influence you?

I think that we all genuinely love all types of music. Currently, I’m on a Paul Simon kick that is bordering on sickness. I’ve also been listening to T.P. Orchestra Poly-rhythmo a lot lately. I go through periods where I’m just rabidly digesting the newest stuff out there, but typically before we go to record I listen to the old standards.

From reading your biography you obviously are a busy band with the release of albums. ep’s and touring, what else do you do to keep yourselves busy when not doing band things?

I have been writing for other artists lately and producing some bands. I’ve gotten really comfortable in the studio because we’ve recorded ourselves for as long as I can recall out of necessity so I love to try and work with other bands and artists when possible.

I’ve also been working on a Broadway production with a talented friend and am trying to start a project where we get the remaining members of The Funk Brothers back together to record in the old Motown Studio called “Hittsville USA” in Detroit. The rest of the group all have projects that they are working on like writing children’s books and making electronic music.

As you’ve had quite a few releases in your time as a band, recording must be a huge part of it for you, what is the recording process like for you?

We try to record as often as we can because as a musician you’re always looking forward to the next project and given the speed of information these days it’s now feasible to release almost as fast as you can record. We usually record in my parents’ basement because we’ve figured it out for the most part acoustically. We will usually do Drums and Bass first, then Cassie and I add way too much stuff and we wind up with ungodly sessions with 115 tracks which are a pain to mix.

A lot of bands don’t really enjoy recording and would prefer to tour a lot, which do you prefer and what attracts you to what you prefer?

I think that both are wonderful, but at this point I’ve grown to realize that they are 2 entirely different animals. Performing is a less creative process (save the preparations for touring and show planning) and more of a group experience. We try to make sure that everyone in the room at our show leaves feeling like they had an experience. Recording and writing is a wholly emotional release and so it’s far different. I think it’s probably healthy to do both as often as one can.

You’ve toured with quite an array of bands in your time from the kooks to motion city soundtrack, how do fans of different genres of music react to you? Are there any genres that are particularly loving or hostile?

We are a fairly broad band in terms of style, so we perform with many different types of groups. I am very happy for anyone who is pursuing a passion so I love playing with all types of bands. We’ve been lucky in that our performance is fairly interactive so we are pretty accessible to all in the live setting. I think that a lot of bands forget that as a performer it’s your job to make people have a good time, and we really try to do that.

What is your live show like? Anything out of the ordinary that happens on stage?

Our live show is a living and changing thing. We never plan things, and sometimes we’ll have up to 18 people playing with us. Spontaneity is the key to creating an experience that’s unique and genuine.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?

In September we are headed to Los Angeles to make a new full length record in a new environment. We are hoping to do a UK tour sometime soon. Hopefully we’ll have a new full length out in early 2010.


Lady Starlight interview

We were at the Download Festival this year watching Voivod in a tent when we were introduced to LADY STARLIGHT. Any girl bold enough to open up a conversation calling herself a Lady from NYC was good by us so we got chatting and a relationship over the web has blossomed since.

For those not in the know, Lady Starlight is actually Lady Gaga‘s DJ….yep, that very same press dominating, pop princess with the creamy blonde hair, huge make up bills and amazing outfits who sings songs about her Poker Face. With a few million record sales in Gaga’s CV and worldwide recognition, Starlight has decided its now her turn to take over London’s celebrity and UK rock and roll scene and you know what? You heard it here first as she has decided to kick things off right here at Crossfire.

You can witness her party fueled debut London DJ set exclusively at this year’s Crossfire Halloween Massacre on Saturday 31st October if you have your advance ticket already. Get them now before they are all gone. But know one thing, this Lady will not be playing squeeky clean pop music! Read on and find out more here…

So why are you so called Lady Starlight?

After the song by The Sweet

Does New York City have many Ladies?

Now it does…

What do you do when you are not DJ’ing?

I make clothes, collect records and write about fashion and music.

How did you hook up with Lady Gaga? What’s the connection?

She was dating one of my best friends who is the manager of the bar I used to go-go dance at.

Are you officially Lada Gaga’s DJ?

The original DJ.

What is your role in her global success?

My style, performance art and djing inspired her persona. I was also one who told her to take off her pants because I rarely wore any myself…

Must be fun to hang at the awards ceremonies etc – was that you we saw at the VMA’s on the red carpet?

Indeed! We were both clad in white, head to toe. Unplanned by the way! Actually the VMA’s are pretty pathetic, mostly full of hangers on. It’s all bullshit and about nothing but money.

Top 5 funny things you and Lady Gaga have gotten away with so far?!

1. The ULTIMATE for me was spinning doom metal legends Pentagram to a pop audience at Lollapalooza!
2. Getting banned from a few venues for lighting hairspray on fire onstage.
3. Getting a citation for public indecency.
3. Getting banned from a few venues for using a fog machine.
4. Falling down several times during one performance (alcohol and stripper heels mix about as well as vodka and wine)
5. Getting a citation for public indecency.

Most raucous night out?

Any of the above….

Is that it?

I’m saving the best for the book honey…

What do you play out in your DJ set?

Rock and metal party anthems…

Are you out there to put the hairspray back into people’s lives?! Is there enough of this going on?

Hair: The bigger the better.

Steel Panther, yes or no?

Yes, but when did they get confused with an actual band?? It’s a comedy show!!

Top 5 45’s of all time?

1. Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills
2. The Sweet – Fox on the Run
3. Guns and Roses – Welcome to the Jungle
4. Alice Cooper – Schools Out
5. Faith No More – Epic
6. Judas Priest – Living After Midnight

Will this be your UK debut as a DJ in London?

Yes! I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!

What do you know about the Crossfire Halloween Massacre?

Everybody gets laid.

Why did you choose to debut your UK set at this event?

Because I want to get laid.

What outfit will you be wearing this Halloween?

It’s a secret…but I will be representing the U.S. of A.

Any fashion tips for girls before the event?

Check your pants at the door.

Ever gone skateboarding before?

Yes. Sprained my ankle and was on crutches for a month…I think it’s safe to say I wasn’t very good at it!

Top 5 things that Lady’s like to do on the road?

1. Shop for records.

2. Go to ghetto thrift stores.

3. Run (I compete in road races).

4. Drink beer.

5. Meet boys.

How come if we search your name on google images you have your fanny out with Lady Gaga between your legs?

She was just showing me her best poker face.

Any final words of warning for people coming to this year’s Halloween Massacre?

Protect your retinas. I shoot laser beams from my fingers…

Rock your heart out with sing-alongs from Lady Starlight’s debut London DJ set at the Crossfire Halloween Massacre on Saturday 31st October. Book your tickets in advance before they sell out from


Wall Street Riots Interview

London pop-rock upstarts Wall Street Riots are fast rising on the underground scene with their raucously infectious tunes and vibrant live sets. Having released their debut – an EP titled ‘Playground Politics‘ – back in May, the band is back with a bang and new single ‘One More Ride‘ which is out now.

Make sure you catch the band at their sporadic London and regional dates in between time spent writing and recording new material. Make sure you check out their MySpace [above] but in the meantime, read what vocalist Charlie Cosser had to say to Crossfire below!

What did you guys set out to create with Wall Street Riots?

We aim to write good songs, play sweaty live shows and have a laugh.

How did you all meet?

Karnig (guitaritst) and I met at school at the age of nine and started writing together in a series of awful bands. Mike (bassist) joined when we were 15 and Rich joined us three about a 2 years ago. Shortly after that we became Wall Street Riots.

What happened when you first put your musical skills together?

As I said before our early bands were terrible! We played a series of pop punk and nu-metal covers in our early teens which were admittedly a lot of fun. Eventually we got better and better at our instruments and started putting half decent tunes together.

Any advice to bands who are just getting together for the first time? How do you know when the chemistry is right?

Rehearse and never stop writing. When we first started out we were desperate to tour and play as many shows as possible without knowing what we were doing. You have to know you’re ready before showing the rest of the world. At the same time live experience did us a hell of a lot of good – but it’s important not to rush.

What is the best show you’ve played to date?

A lot of the underage shows are serious fun. The kids go crazy and give us an awesome reception. RAR at the Albany Theatre was great.

Where would you love to play at some point in your career as a band?

We want to travel the world and play in as many weird places as possible. I know for me Japan and Australia would be amazing. But also venues like Brixton Academy and the 02 would be sick.

What are your goals over the next year or so?

We are currently writing our debut album so the plan is to get that done and do some more touring.

Who are your heroes – musical and non-musical?

Musical: Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Silverchair, The Police
Non-musical: Mickey Rourke

Which other new bands out there are worth checking out in your opinion?

I’m loving Passion Pit!

What have been your favourite records of the year so far?

The latest Friendly Fires, new Black Eyed Peas and Biffy Clyro.

What’s the new single ‘One More Ride‘ about?

It’s about relapsing on addiction or even a silly vice. The moment where you give into temptation and do something you shouldn’t and the 30 seconds of euphoria you get before the guilt kicks in.

Have you got any particularly interesting or unusual topics that are on your list to write about when creating new material?

Well we’ve already conquered some, for example Dr.King is all about a guy we knew who lied about having a brain tumor to get the girl, which is a true story. But I’m desperate to write about the time Mike (bassist) was kidnapped and thrown into the back of a car at knife point. We might have to co-write those lyrics…

How would you like people to describe your sound?

It sounds like a really good pepperoni pizza… or chicken.

Do any of you skate? If so, what would you like to say to all the skaters reading this?

My mum used to say: “Wear you helmet otherwise you’ll have a head like a squashed tomato”. I sucked at skating.


The Get Up Kids interview

The last time Crossfire went along to interview The Get Up Kids, back in 2004, it resulted in a broken Dictaphone, some hastily scribbled quotes on pub napkins, the mother of all hangovers courtesy of the Pope brothers and a sheepish email to Zac the editor the next morning. Definitely not one of our finest moments…!

Shortly after the band’s 3 night stand at The Barfly in Camden they decided to call it quits, with band members joining new projects and taking on new ventures, and we thought we’d heard the last of The Get Up Kids. But then, last autumn keyboardist James Dewees started dropping hints of a reunion and the rumour mill truly cranked up to overdrive, and by the time the band announced an official reunion show we knew it was just a matter of time before they crossed the Atlantic to play some UK shows.

The comeback coincides with the ten year anniversary of their seminal album ‘Something to Write Home About‘. Having been touted as one of the most influential ’emo’ bands (a label they have always shrugged off, and have even apologised for) their return has resulted in sold out UK and European tours, and a US tour stretching through to the end of the year. There’s been no confirmation of further material and the band have been somewhat cagey about what the future holds – so Dee Massey sat down with guitarist Jim Suptic, along with cameo’s from bassist Rob Pope and his brother, drummer Ryan, for a chat about why they broke up in the first place, what bought them back together and what’s next for The Get Up Kids.

So, welcome back to the UK! We’ve missed you!

JIM SUPTIC: Hey thanks! We’ve missed the UK – it’s been a while, I don’t think I’ve been here for about 5 years?

Last time we saw The Get Up Kids you were doing your 3 night stand at The Barfly..

JS – Oh that was a lot of fun!

..and then you went and broke up on us and never came back! What happened?

JS – Yes…well….basically I’m not going to point fingers but certain members of the band didn’t want to carry on. We were going to do a world tour around the time we were breaking up, but then it ended up just being a US run, we wanted to come back but that just didn’t happen. Hopefully it was worth the wait?

You’ve been pretty busy in the interim though? Didn’t you set up your own record label?

JS – Er yeah, but it really doesn’t exist anymore [laughs], it tanked! ‘Let’s start a label at the worst possible time to start a record label…hmm…let’s sell music when no ones buying it!’ [laughs]

Ryan Pope walks in.

Ryan I am busy! [laughs]

Ryan Pope walks out.

Like everyone else in Get Up Kids you joined another band, you were in Blackpool Lights – what’s behind the English name?

JS – Because we were watching The Beatles Anthology and George Harrison was talking about the Magical Mystery Tour, and people taking little holidays to Blackpool in vans to see the Blackpool Lights, and I’d never even heard of it, but thought ‘ that sounds cool’ , and thought it was quite campy, thought it was the perfect band name! Yet another band name with a Beatles reference in it…

Are you still playing with them, or will The Get Up Kids take preference now?

JS – No…not really with them anymore [laughs] But I still have a bunch of songs I wrote for what was supposed to be our second record but…you know once you turn 30, if you’ve not making a lot of money playing music its hard to convince people to do it, like sleeping on floors and stuff. I mean, it was fun…

RYAN POPE: It’s hard to find good people to play with…

JS – Yeah it is. I mean I loved everyone I played with, and we got to go to Japan, we toured with Social Distortion, we did some cool things! It may come out some day as just my solo record or something, just for fun, but I don’t know, we’ll see. I’m having fun with [The Get Up Kids] right now.

So what was behind the decision to get back together? Who made that first call?

JS – Well the long story is that we had this accountant that disappeared! We hadn’t really done any business, but we were still generating money as a band because we were still selling some merchandise, things like that – but our accountant literally vanished. We had to get together to deal with it and everyone was getting along, and we just thought…hey…let’s play a show! That’s basically how it came about…

What was it like when you first got into the rehearsal room?

In about 3 seconds it was like we hadn’t stopped. We’ve played these songs so many times and it’s like second nature…it’s like muscle memory! It just snaps back into place!

Out of interest – when James started dropping hints when Reggie were on tour last year – was that a PR ploy?

JS – [laughs] I don’t think so!

RP – James just has a big fucking mouth!

JS – [laughs] Yeah…but I mean, since we’re taking this as unseriously as possible maybe because if we fail…

You won’t fail! You’re selling out shows…!

JS – I know I know and that’s great – but if expectations are so high, then maybe if we don’t take it so seriously then …I mean we are taking it seriously but in our heads, if we just play nonchalant I guess it’s less pressure on us.

Are there any changes to the band this time round?

JS – Well we’re a lot more sober! [laughs]

RP – We are?

JS – Well I am! [laughs] It’s different!

RP – If we’re more sober now we must’ve been drinking a lot back then

Well last time we saw you, you were into the Jägermeister, just before your birthday…

RP – Oh yeah! [laughs] It was before my birthday! I remember those tubes…that was fun!

JS – At that point I think you start taking things for granted because you’ve done it so much. But now – this is all just fun ….

RP – It feels like now we have a little more time to reflect.

JS – I just know that trying to start a band and how hard it is – makes you appreciate it more. I mean Rob played in some bands and worked his butt off, White Whale etc – its hard to get people to come…now we see how lucky we are that people still give a shit about [The Get Up Kids].Its not easy to be successful playing music and this time round we get that..

Ryan Pope walks back in again.

So the question everyone wants answered…is this a one off tour, or will you be back?

JS – [laughs] We’ll see what happens you know? Rob plays in Spoon, James is My Chemical Romance’s touring keyboard player – and they’re going to be busy boys, but I think as long as we’re having fun we’re going to keep doing this. We do want to come back – when people say ‘it’s the last time we’ll ever be here’…erm we never said that! We’re going to come and play some gigs, and have a good time! I almost feel like we did diss Europe and we want to make amends.

We did feel a bit left out when you came over for that festival in Europe in the spring…and then didn’t come to the UK!

JS – Ok ok here’s the deal! Bands are contractually obligated…we couldn’t announce any shows because the festival wants exclusivity, that’s why they pay you heaps of money, they want to feel like it’s an exclusive show.

Would you come back for any UK festivals?

JS – We were initially talking about doing Reading, but for an established band it’s financially better for us to do our own shows. It’s not like its ‘we’ve got to get new fans, this’ll really break us!’

RP – Next year we’ll do the festivals.

JS – Well we’ll see…..Ryan!

Well it’s good to hear you’ll be sticking around…

JS – [laughs] I said we’ll see!

We saw those pictures of the band in the studio on twitter – were you just rehearsing or are you writing new material?

RP – We already started messing about with some stuff…

JS – Yeah we might have been writing some songs.

Will you be going back into the studio with Ed Rose?

JS – Maybe….

Has Black Lodge [the recording studio owned and run by The Get Up Kids] really for sale?

JS – Yes it’s for sale! If any UK buyer is interested….any off shore interest…

RP – But it’s still going, but yeah…its for sale. But it’s still operating.

Would you record in there again?

RP – Sure. With Ed.

JS – Once again – we’re not announcing anything! [laughs] We’re trying to be cryptic…

RP – That’s not cryptic!

JS – I mean…I mean…we played a new song two nights in a row…and we might play it again tonight! So there are kids sitting there going ‘ what is that song? Is that a cover?’ and we’ll like ‘” Yeah…it’s a cover…of a Get Up Kids song!” [laughs]

You guys have access to a whole new fan base since people like Pete Wentz started citing you as a huge influence…

JS – Do we have a new fan base because of that? I don’t know, I honestly don’t. But I know the crowds are older but there are also definitely a lot of people who never saw us before. Last night was a really good mix; I could see people in their early 30’s to kids who were 18. This is only our 4th show in the UK but I know with the shows we played when we were headlining – before we always had a young crowd and they always did really poorly at the bar, and now they’re saying ‘this was the best night we had in 3 months’. Is that a good thing?

Clearly all Get Up Kids fans like to drink!

JS – [laughs] It’s just showing that our fans are older now!

So what bands are you listening to on the road?

JS – Erm…We’ve been listening to that new Phoenix record, the new Grizzly Bear record.

RP – Foreign Born

JS – Yeah they sound cool. Rob’s always the guy who’s saying ‘Jim you’ll like this’.

RP – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

JS – I just listen to what Rob tells me! And usually 90% of the time I dig it…

What are your three most essential items for taking on tour with you?

JS – Three most essential items…hmm…contact solution.

RP – Boring!

JS – Oh I don’t know…um….now my computer, I’ve never had a laptop and in Europe now I can use skype and be able to talk to my wife whenever I want, that’s definitely one. Also a photo of my daughter, and….what’s the third most important thing Ryan? A happy disposition!

RP -Headphones!

What’s your favourite drink after a show?

JS – Well these kids (points to Rob and Ryan) have got me onto Jameson and soda, which is nice. I’m noticing we are drinking less and less beer as a band, we’re drinking more wine. We’re real cultured! [laughs] But right after a show, that’s when I’m most likely to have a beer…or water.

What’s your best hangover cure then?

JS – Sleep! Actually green tea!

Very grown up! Wine and now green tea!

JS – I know I know! I should say ‘More liquor’ – that’s the only way!

What’s your best memory of being in The Get Up Kids?

JS – There are too many. Some of my favourite memories are from the first times…I mean I love traveling, I am truly a road dog, I love being on the road. So the first time we came to Europe, being 19 – it was amazing. And the first time we went to Japan. Every time we experience something new. Even though we’ve been before to cities, like Manchester, I always try to experience something new.

RP – Your best new experience was when you first felt the touch of a grown man…[laughs]

JS – [laughs] I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about…ignore him!

Ryan, what’s your favourite experience with The Get Up Kids?

RP – Probably the first time we went to Japan, that was a lot of fun. Very memorable. And um…not really the show part but the traveling and meeting people..

JS – You see these shows really get in the way of us having a good time! [laughs]

Also, Ryan is it true you own a restaurant now?

RP – Yeah, it’s a bar café . It’s called The Bourgeois Pig.

JS – It’s very European, its really nice actually! Its like a coffee shop with a bar…Its where the intellectuals go [laughs]

RP – Don’t listen to him!

JS – It’s my interview! It is nice though, its not like a frat bar.

And finally, can you give us some words of wisdom? Words to live by for the Crossfire readers?

JS – Words to live by? This is fucking serious shit! Ryan?

RP – This is your interview man!

JS – Shit..ermm.. Enjoy the moment and…I love music? I’m kidding! I’m kidding!

RP – Oh you’ve stumped him with this one!

JS – Oh I have a good philosophy, “When you have second changes….run with it. ”

To pre-order the special 10th Anniversary Edition of ‘Something to Write Home About’ go to For further info on The Get Up Kids check out


Broadway Calls interview

BROADWAY CALLS‘ second album (their first for legendary indie SideOneDummy) has just been released and we caught up with singer/guitarist Ty Vaughn to find out more about the album, what the band has been up to this year and what they have coming up.

Good Views, Bad News‘ is out now and the band play Reading and Leeds, as well as supporting The Offspring and Rival Schools this month.

Hi Ty, tell us what were the main inspirations for your new album?

Mostly just trying to cope with a harsh northwest winter. I got snowed in, and trying to write a good pop punk summer album when the power is out, and there’s a blizzard outside isn’t easy. So I would listen to Teenage Bottlerocket, Jimmy Eat World, Screeching Weasel… Poppy stuff, but the lyrics were closer to Jawbreaker.

How do you feel about it being released through Side One Dummy?

We’re so happy to be with them. They’re the best. Such a great roster of bands, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. They work really hard with us, and we’re a good match.

You’ve toured with some pretty amazing bands this year (and are about to hit the UK with Rival Schools and The Offspring). What have been the highlights?

Touring with Alkaline Trio across Europe for a month was incredible. We had never been to mainland Europe, so to experience it for the first time, with one of our favorite bands, was literally a dream come true. Also we did a headlining tour of the West coast, with an amazing band called The Menzingers. That was extremely fun.

Who would you put on your ideal tour?

Green Day, Blink 182, Dead To Me, and us. I’d love to watch Chicken from DTM make fun of the crowds every night.

What’s the best line-up you’ve ever been a part of?

Tomorrow we’re playing a fest in California with Comadre, Dead To Me, Hour Of The Wolf, Make Do And Mend, Sabretooth Zombie and lots of others. Our friends in Set It Straight had a final show a couple years ago, and it was pretty much every amazing hardcore band from the West coast. That was one of my favorite shows ever.

What bands come to mind when you think of the ultimate punk rock show?

The Ramones, Jawbreaker, The Descendents, Green Day, Kid Dynamite, Refused!

What are the best and worst things about touring?

The best thing is meeting new friends, and seeing familiar faces every night. The worst thing is missing loved ones at home.

What do you think of the Reading and Leeds line-up? Who will you be checking out?

I haven’t seen AFI for years! Never seen Brand New. Stoked to see Frank Turner, Gaslight Anthem, Radiohead, and we’re going a day early to see the lock-up bands. Lots of friends on that stage like Polar Bear Club and Set Your Goals.

What’s been the greatest achievement of your career so far?

Definitely our new record. It’s the biggest, best thing we’ve ever created. That and being able to travel around the world doing the one thing that we love more than anything.

You were originally signed to Billie Joe’s label. If you had your own record label, what up and coming bands would you like to sign?

The Menzingers!!!! They don’t need my help though. They’re going to be just fine on their own. Everyone please check them out!!!!

What’s the most important thing you learnt when you were a band just starting out?

Be honest. Don’t be fake in the songs or on stage. People see right through that stuff.

What are your feelings on the digital versus physical in terms of music releases? Will physical formats ever become obsolete do you think?

I hope not. I understand that formats come and go, but vinyl is making a comeback, because it’s still cool to sit down and look through the liner notes of an album and look at the artwork. I hope it never goes 100% digital.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Will there be a full headline tour in the UK at any point?

We’ll definitely be back in the UK this year, but we’ll probably be supporting someone. And trust me, it’s an amazing punk/hardcore band! We’re stoked!!!


Keep on guessing who that band will be but in the meantime Broadway Calls’ new album is released this very week and we’re pleased as punch to present an exclusive track from the record for streaming at this link HERE. Go have a listen to ‘Best Year’- you can also stream the rest of the album by clicking through on the ‘webwheel’.


Goes Cube interview

Live shots by Ana Monroe

New York’s Goes Cube recently released one of the most glorious and triumphantly loud records Crossfire has heard this year.

Without having yet stepped on British soil they’ve deservedly caught the attention of the rock press with their “dizzying and unexpected drum fills, bizarrely and lowly-tuned guitars, and unrelenting bass”. Crossfire’s Trotty P caught up with Guitar/Vocalist David Obuchowski to get the low down and find out exactly what the bizarrely named trio are all about…

Who are Goes Cube? What kind of music do you play?

Goes Cube is a band from New York (Brooklyn). We play heavymusic. People say it’s a mixture of metal, punk, hardcore, post rock, and artsy stuff. We don’t disagree. The record that was just released, Another Day Has Passed, has all those elements. Our next record probably will, too, but it’s also going to be much heavier and faster.

It’s an obvious one, but why are you called Goes Cube?

Goes Cube means Go Die. How? Technology…

Talking of cubes, what do you think about scientists genetically modifying tomatoes to be cubes so they pack easier? Do you care?

Are you kidding? That’s pretty weird. They ought to genetically modify them (and other fruits/vegetables) to not hurt people who have Crohns disease. I miss salad.

How did you come together and what were your intentions when you started the band?

The band started in 2003. It was founded by me (David, guitar, vocals) and Matthew Frey (bass). He recently left the band (the record release showwas also his farewell show) and is now running marathons. We had a drum machine. Matt never played a bass in his life. My concept of playing bass was “play exactly what I am playing, but instead of chords, play the root notes.” So I’d show him where the root notes were. From there, Matt developed his own style of playing that I can honestly say I’ve never heard before. He didn’t do many fills, but it was constant and his tone was brutal. From the get-go, we set out to make punishing music. We even called our drum machine “The Beating Machine.” It was all about being loud and aggressive. It was, on one hand, a reaction to a lot of shit being played (and still played) in New York at the time, and also a representation of more personal things.

Anyways, in terms of goals, this is where it gets interesting: Matt’s goals wereoriginally just to fuck around and have fun. Mine were much serious. I’d been playing in bands since I was 11 or 12, and had always felt that being in a band was supposed to be part of my life in a larger sense (not just a hobby). So when Matt and I started Goes Cube, I was already thinking about touring and putting out records. Matt tempered me. I like to think I motivated him. Matt ended up dedicating 6 years of his life to Goes Cube and playing bass—things that were originally just a hobby. He and I are still best friends. And now he’s in better shape than everyone, and he drinks just as much beer as the rest of us. Not cool.

So when did Kenny join up with you guys then?

Kenny joined the band in 2005, though his first show with us was in 2006. We’d just gotten to the point where the Beating Machine wasn’t doing nearly what we wanted it to. So we brought in Kenny who was back in my first band when I was 12 and he was 13. Kenny changed everything immediately. The world of Goes Cube changed literally overnight. All I can say is that Kenny is an insane drummer. Insane!

and Matt?

Matt Tyson, who runs the site, took over Matt Frey’s place in May of 2009. Matt Tyson had been a longtime supporter of Goes Cube (EarFarm wrote about Goes Cube the day after Kenny’s first show), and he’d actually come on tour with us for 5 weeks to document our first cross country tour in 2007. Since then, he’d become a very close friend to all of us. So we asked him to join because we coudn’t picture having someone in the band who wasn’t a great friend.

You don’t sound much like a New York band. How do you fit into the scene there and how has it influenced you?

We don’t fit into the scene. I don’t even believe there is a scene. I believe there are a lot of pretentious and insecure people hanging around with other pretentious and insecure people, and they tell themselves that there’s a scene so they can all feel special and like they belong. I think these people wish it was the 80s, or at least wish it was back when the Strokes was still the second coming of rock and roll. I think being in New York is both an amazing thing, and also an awful thing.

There is opportunity in New York. And I do believe it forces you to work your ass off if you want to rise above. But for all the cultural diversity, it’s amazing how same-y the bands sound. And, you know what, the crowds seemed to love it like that. And the press.

Now, I will say, Kenny and I are from right outside of New York. We grew up listening to Quicksand and Sick Of It All, and shit like that. So I think there is some New York influence in our music, even if it’s not contemporary. But it also only accounts for a fraction of our sound.

What are your plans for the next year?

Our ideal plan for the next year would be to finish writing the record (it’s already about 70% written), tour a bit, play some great CMJ shows, record the new record, enjoy the holidays with family, then tour the UK and maybe other parts of Europe, come home to spend a bit of home time, then tour around SXSW like we do every year, then come home for a bit then have the record come out and do it all over again. I say that’s the idea because some of that stuff is already happening, and other stuff isn’t for sure.

Tell us 3 things we probably won’t know about Goes Cube…

1. We don’t smoke, nor do we use any drugs. We do drink, though, so YES you can buy us a beer or a whiskey.
2. We have self-booked every single tour we have ever taken.
3. We did actually exist and write music that sounded just like this before we’d ever even heard a note of Torche’s music.

What are your favourite songs from your own career and the inspiration behind them?

This is a hard question to answer because the music and the lyrics come from different places just about 99% of the time. So, for instance, one of our new songs is called “Property,” and it’s one of our most brutal and heavy songs. The inspiration for the music was that we, as a band, had been experiencing some frustrating shit, and fighting a lot (not with ourselves). I won’t go more into it. But the lyrics are really about my wife. It’s a love song using some of our own inside jokes. Though, it’s purposely written in a way that I think most people will take it as a commentary on materialism.

Saab Sonnet” is on the record that’s out now. Musically, writing that song was as close to stream of consciousness as you can get in terms of writing structured music. Again, though, the lyrics were separate. Those were about a time in my life where I had sort of resigned myself to something, and told myself I had different goals than I really did. “Goes Cube Song 57” is kind of a favorite of ours, too. That oneis about someone cutting off their nose to spite their face. Someone told our drummer once that they were pissed that I wrote that song about them. I hadn’t, but as the old saying goes, if the shoe fits…

One of my favorite songs on Another Day Has Passed is “Bluest Sky.” The music was us really wanting to push ourselves (on ADHP, it’s the heaviest most brutal song; on the new record it would fit right in, and be one of the more tame songs if I had to guess). But the lyrics and title are kind of funny. We had just written the music, and we were pracitcing. I said, “OK, let’s play the newest guy.” Kenny said, “What’s it called? ‘Bluest Sky’?” I said, “Well it wasn’t, but it is now.” So that was the inspiration for the lyrics.

Lastly, there’s another new song called “The Homes Of.” I wrote the music and words together, and they’re very personal, though not in some kind of bad/deep-pain-only-I-can-understand way. I envision that when we record that song, there will be some guest vocals, and it’s looking like that guest is going to be a really amazing artist, someone we admire quite a bit. But it will also be quite the surprise.

Sounds exciting, we will await the news. OK let’s end on what 5 bands do you recommend we check out?

Jones Street Station (gorgeous, countryish, mellow rock), Hull (beyond epic metal), Giraffes (a way too catchy, way too fun blend of metal and 70s rock), Constants (gorgeous atmospheric melodic with bursts occasional bursts of metal), and oh…what the hell: Napalm Death. They’re pretty obscure. You’ve probably never heard of them. Also, check out Freshkills, Necropolis, Destructo Swarmbots, Paul Michel, Austerity Program, Red Beard, and Valient Thorr. And then go back and check out Gaunt and New Bomb Turks. Shit, I’m way over 5, aren’t I? Math was never my strong suit.


Young Guns Interview

Young Guns are a bright, youthful band hailing from High Wycombe. Forming less than 2 years ago they are already quickly making a name for themselves after shows with the likes of Funeral For A Friend, Aiden and We Are The Ocean, and the release of their debut EP ‘”Mirrors“.

The band are also nominated for ‘Best British Newcomer’ at this year’s Kerrang! Awards. We caught up with them to talk all things Guns.

You just released your debut EP ‘Mirrors‘. What’s the feedback been like so far? Have you had anyone you really admire / look up to say that they’re into your band?

The feedback so far has been pretty awesome – we’re a bit overwhelmed with how well Mirrors has been received. We’re all really proud of the songs but to get the response we’ve had is definitely amazing. We’ve always looked up to UK bands that were good enough and dedicated enough to break out of the scene and be something more, so having bands like Lostprophets come back to us and say they’re down with our music is rad.. Having said that, there are some awesome bands around in the UK, people I really admire as musicians like the boys in Deaf Havana, Outcry Collective and all the other bands we always name check (haha!) so that they genuinely like our music means a lot to me/us. Oh and Malcolm Young!!

I heard an interesting story about something that happened during your video shoot for single ‘In The Night’ involving you guys performing on train tracks with a train fast approaching. What happened exactly?

Ahh… Yeah that was our first video experience. We got the brilliant Lawrence Hardy to shoot the video for us but were really strapped for cash, so found a cool disused train track in the middle of nowhere that we could film on. Getting all our gear over fences and down muddy banks in the dead of night is not a fun experience, but was definitely topped off by it turning out the the tracks weren’t actually abandoned at all which we only realised when a freight train came flying down the track towards us! It was while I was filming so I had the lights in my eyes and couldn’t fucking see anything, all I heard was John scream ‘train!’

We definitely set a record for shifting a whole stage set-up of gear, we got everything off the rails in about 5 seconds haha! The train rolled to a stop in front of us sitting in the shadows under the railway bridge and the driver went mental at us… Luckily we managed to avoid getting arrested and squeezed in a bit more filming after the train had gone on. Very clever.

You guys are nominated for ‘Best British Newcomer’ at this year’s Kerrang! Awards. How does that feel? The Awards ceremony is renowned for its endless supply of free alcohol. Are you planning on taking it easy to avoid potentially making a fool of yourself in front of some of the biggest names in rock, or are you going to go all out and party?

Are you kidding? It feels fucking awesome! We didn’t push for people to vote for us as we didn’t think we stood a chance, which makes getting nominated even better for us… We’ll probably try and keep ourselves under control for as long as possible, but in all honesty, win or lose, it’s the Kerrang awards man!! I’m sure we’re going to end up pretty messy. I WILL meet Corey Taylor no matter what happens. This is my aim for the night.

Have your live shows changed since you’ve gained recognition in the press and been nominated for awards? Does there seem to be more people who know who you are and sing along? Or even more people turning up in general?

Yeah, you know, we haven’t been together all that long and there’s definitely been a shift of late, but we work hard and have managed to get ourselves around a fair bit off our own backs but there’s definitely a better response happening lately. All this other stuff that we’ve got happening to us right now is so fucking exciting and we do love every minute of it, but at the end of the day playing shows is the reason you start a band, and having people turn up sing along and get involved means 10,000 times more than any award or bit of press will ever mean. It sounds a bit cliched but it’s true, seeing people getting involved when we play is literally the best feeling ever.

Who do you think will be nominated for Best Newcomer at next year’s awards? Are there any bands who have caught your eye already and you feel deserve it?

Deaf Havana, Outcry Collective, Out of Sight, All Forgotten…. tough question, there’s shit loads of wicked bands around right now.

What award would you most like to win if you could be up for all of them? Some bands would feel more honoured to win best live band rather than best album, how important is putting on a great live show to you? would you rather be better live or on record?

Yeah I’m gonna go with popular opinion with that one, definitely best live band. Putting on a live show is the most important aspect to us really, I’d like to think that we’re good on record and good live but in different ways! Being in the studio and bringing a song to life is something I think we’re really good at doing, but we’re always trying as hard as we can to bring the best live show that we can bring as well, I’d love Young Guns to be one of those bands that people talk about for being a real experience live.

You recently played at Download Festival. How was that? Is that the most prestigious show you’ve played so far? Do you feel more pressure before a show like that or do you face every gig the same way?

Download was unbelievable.. DOWNLOAD!! We stayed there as long as possible to soak up every last ounce of the experience haha! Definitely the most prestigious, there wasn’t any real pressure but it was definitely a new experience playing a show like that, I could see Staind from where I was on our stage, all the way over on the main stage which was pretty surreal. We try to approach every show in the same way at the moment, try to bring the energy and intimacy of a small stage show to a larger stage. Standing at the foot of the gangway going up to the back of the stage was definitely a little moment for us.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Any tours we should know about? Have you started working towards your next release yet or are you still focused on the current EP? Would you consider including any of the tracks on ‘Mirrors’ on a full length or do you want a completely fresh record?

Ah, well our plans pretty much consist of tour, tour and then tour some more, plus we’re going to keep one eye on writing material for our first full length which should (hopefully!) be out first half of next year, with a single maybe around the beginning of the new year. We start off our own headlining tour which begins on the 18th of July which is gonna be awesome, plus we’ve obviously got some shows with Lostprophets in August which are going to be mental!

We’re also playing Sonisphere so there’s no excuse not to see us! We’ve got a lot lined up for this year but I’ve got to be a good boy and keep that stuff under my hat for now… As for the EP/Album thing, it’s a tough one ‘cos you don’t want to just recycle the same old shit, and moving on is important, but at the same time those songs mean a lot to us and I’d like to think that they’re good enough for more people to hear than in all likelihood will ever hear our EP, so who knows..! If we did I doubt we’d put all four on though.

Young Guns’ EP Mirrors is out now on Live Forever Records and you can find them at MySpace here.