Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dry Rot Interview

Dry Rot came through town the other week. Personally, I have some issues with the band being Christians. However, objectively, it is quality music and I decided to interview them anyways. They were nice guys and I got a free CD out of it. This interview was quite lengthy but in an attempt to keep it interesting I've edited it down quite a bit. My friend David helped me out on this one. Drew (vocals), Javier (drums), Adam (bass), Jordon (guitar)

INFORMATION: Marx once said that to demand a world with no spiritual illusions is to demand a world that needs no illusions. How would you guys respond to that?

Drew: That guy was a red right?


Drew: There ya go. I don't know if that quote has any relevence to me. I take issue with what he might have defined as "spiritual illusion". I think Marx is pretty intelligent but that statement doesn't mean anything to me. It's sort of arrogant.

INFORMATION: But either way, christianity is a political force in the U.S... I would assume you guys probably disavow that entirely but how do you reconcile yourself with the fact that your religion is a major current in the right wing?

Drew: You know what happens when you assume right? I personally don't think that politics and religion should mix in any form. It's an unrealistic ideal, but it's how I feel...I really don't like politics.

Adam: When you ask a question like that, there's some things that need to be defined.

Drew: I believe that religion, as said in the book of James, is caring for orphans and widows. So when I see someone on TV preaching, of course I think it's bogus.

Adam: Where we're coming from is this. We're believers in the spirit of the bible...A lot of what people view as christianity are aspects of it that have been socially manipulated.

INFORMATION: What are your guys' connection to Roderick McClain?

Drew: We went up with him to see Threatener at Burnt Ramen in 2005 and he got absolutely wasted and kept shouting that there were "no rules" here. Oh yeah, and he's an artistic genius.

INFORMATION: Is there a concept behind the new LP "Phillistine"?

Drew: Well, the lyrics I improvised between takes and incidentally a lot of the songs ended up being about birds -

Adam: If you listen closely on the record you can hear him eating (corn dogs) and popping cans of soda.

Drew: There's an overall theme of love throughout the record. Though a lot of bad things have happened in my life, at the same time I was graduating from college, got married. It ended up being very hard to write negative lyrics so there ends up being a very positive aspect to the whole record I think.

INFORMATION: What about the cover?

Drew: Originally it was just going to be a picture of my face really big.

Adam: We did it in my parents pool...we found a dead bird on the ground and decided to use it. My sister took the photo, and it's a re-enactment of the baptism of Christ.

INFORMATION: Upcoming plans, final comments?

Drew: We're not going to record until we're on Sub-Pop or higher. We're down with small fries, it's time to get up there! We have no plans to do any really extensive touring in the future. You can't play the music we play every night for very long, but we might fly out to the east coast if we can get the money together.

Yadokai Interview

Yadokai is my favorite bay area band. This scene hasn't had a band this intense and powerful in a long time. Also quite a change of pace: they're not total idiots or jerks. I interviewed them outside their studio on Grace Alley in San Francisco. Zach (vocals), Daiki (guitar 1), Max (guitar 2), Jake (bass), and Will (drums).

INFORMATION: What does Yadokai mean, and why did you choose that name?
Jake: It has a couple different meanings, but according to Wikipedia it means a Monk who becomes corrupt and it also means an old man who steals children from their rooms, it can also be a demon. In any case it's just evil.

Max: Yeah, it was pretty much all Jake's doing.

INFORMATION: You guys have a lot of hype and attention. You got a record deal very quickly (not without good reason though). Does this have any impact on the music? Do you feel this much popularity so fast might lock you into a set sound before you have time to develop?

Max: I think that anyone who would give us flack for growing or exploring musically based on ONE record we did, regardless of how fast it got put out, is lame in the first place. As musicians and as a band you grow, or you don't, but whatever happens happens.

INFORMATION: Daiki, you were in the great but short-lived Morpheme before this band started. Are any of these songs or riffs things you wrote for Morpheme first before you guys broke up?

Daiki: Mmmmmm, no. It's a completely different style. It's a combination of what we all bring. Max and Jake are in Face The Rail, Jake's also in Ecoli -

INFORMATION: Well who writes most of the material?

Daiki: Jake and Max are pretty much driving the process.

Max: I might write one or two riffs at practice but usually they tell me it sucks. Really Jake writes most of the stuff.

Jake: I'll come up with something but Will is kind of the final say on everything.

Max: The buck stops with him!

Will: I'm not the final say! If it sounds good we do it!

INFORMATION: Zach, what is the sound "Hemophiliac" about?

Zach: It's not really disease-specific. It's more of a metaphor of things that happen in life...the shit that people go through, and I'd prefer not to go too much deeper into it.

INFORMATION: You guys are one of the noisiest bands I've heard. Is that simply an aesthetic choice or does it have any conceptual significance? Does it express something?

Max: Our stuff isn't simple three chord riffage. It's really abrupt and obtuse and that makes it sound much more noisy when people hear it.

Jake: Dude, we want to be REALLY loud. Double stack everything and make people's ears bleed. We want fights to break out -

INFORMATION: That's definitely happened.

Jake: Yeah.

Max: The loudness comes from the fact that we want to be the most agressive band in the bay area. We want total chaos, destruction, hate and violence.

INFORMATION: Zach, you don't like any American hardcore, you're almost solely into foreign HC. What are your reasons for that?

Zach: Well growing up in the bay, all "American" hardcore bands are pretty lame. I just like a lot of the UK stuff, beyond a few bands like B.O.S., Diatribe, or Iconoclast most U.S. bands just don't really do it for me. Kind of poppy almost.

INFORMATION: Well a lot of those bands are geared towards being really political, promoting anarchism and such, are you an anarchist or political?

Zach: Not necessarily, I just like the agression of the music.

Will: I'm the same way. I started listening to international harrdcore before I got into American hardcore. Bands like Heresy and Ripcord are some of my favorite bands, obviously Japanese hardcore is probably my favorite genre out of anything. Maybe the grass is just greener on the other side.

Jake: Most international hardcore bands are just fierce as hell while a lot of American bands are really polished and so international hardcore caters to that ugly pissed off ethic way more.

Max: As far as the scene now goes, the whole 80's American hardcore revival was really cool, but it's sorta served its purpose and most of the stuff along that line now is incredibly boring and repetitive. I'm not gonna talk shit but a lot of these 80's revival kids in the bay area talk a bunch of shit over the internet nowadays and it's stupid.

INFORMATION: Daiki, you grew up in San Diego. Were you in any bands down there, is there any old demos people could try to dig up from that time?

Daiki: I was in a band called Massacro. They were from Tijuana but they would come up here to practice. Kinda chaotic hardcore. There's a CD released by some label in Mexico city, but that's about it.

INFORMATION: What are some of your favorite non-punk bands? Music completely off the hardcore spectrum...

Max: French Synth-Wave like Marie Moore, and french pop, a lot of electronic stuff like The Fawns.

Jake: I just listen to Devo and that's pretty much all I listen to. Devo and The Doors.

Zach: Alkaline Trio is my favorite band, in all honesty. And all side-projects associated with it.

Will: I listen to a lot of post-punk stuff like Wire, Gang of Four, Wedding Present, My Bloody Valentine, that's pretty much all I listen to anymore. The extent of my listening to hardcore these days is just Systematic Death.

Daiki: I just listen to hardcore all the time....but I do like Madonna. I think the album from 5 years ago is amazing.

Max: Oh, HIP HOP. Coug nut, Cellski, Dre Dog...

INFORMATION: Upcoming plans, final comments?

Jake: We're supposed to have some kind of 7" out sometime soon on Video Disease records.

Max: We're playing with Crow May 25th at the Knockout in SF. A shout out to all our friends in Ecoli and Migraine because they've been so supportive of us.

Zach: I don't like "mysterious guy" hardcore. It should not be a genre, it's lame and all sounds the same.

Jake: Yeah fuck all these "mysterious" kids who like our band.

Max: Messageboards are cool.....not.

INFORMATION: Well, I'm gonna wrap it up I think...