// archives


This tag is associated with 3 posts

Interview: Elway

Colorado punk band Elway recently released their latest album, Leavetaking on the 25th of June. I got the chance to speak with frontman Tim Browne about the new record, his musical influences and more. Check out the interview below!

Hi there! Firstly, can I have you introduce yourself and tell us your role in the band? 
My name’s Tim, and I play guitar and sing in Elway.

You guys have recently released your new full length, Leavetaking on June 25th. How do you think it differs from your previous material?
I can’t speak as to whether or not the new record will be received as more ‘mature’ or ‘focused’ than our previous efforts.  I can say, however, that there is almost nothing I would change about these songs if I could go back and rewrite them, and I don’t know if I can say that about the older stuff.  The record is a little more earnest heartache than drunken-punk-party-anthem-USA.  It’s still got the same skeleton that Delusions had in that it’s mostly a mid-tempo punk record with moments of EpiFat skate punk and a pinch of depressing indie.

Do you have any personal favorite tracks off the new record? Can you tell us about them?

My favorite song on the record is called “One Flew West,” which is kinda the weirdest song on there.  There are a lot of weird riffs and tones in that song that I think are really cool, and it goes from carrying a kind of 90s emo strut to full blown punk song to balladry without sounding overwrought somehow.

Elway - Leavetaking

What would you say were your biggest inspirations when writing this album?
I was committed to writing songs that would read as interestingly as they would sound.  I was constantly reading Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, and Jack London over the course of writing the songs, so there are a lot of references that take pieces of their work which I think all point toward a common theme.

Can you tell us about your songwriting process as a band?
Usually I write the lyrics and the vague structure of the song on an acoustic guitar and we workshop it in rehearsal until we’ve added all the tinsel and leads and drum fills and backup vocals.  After we’ve had a song sitting around long enough that we start playing it live, we eventually figure out a few more things that we could change before we record it, so we go back to workshopping it.

What bands are your biggest musical influences growing up?
As kids, my parents raised me and my siblings on Bob Dylan.  Then I was the hugest Bad Religion fan, well I still am, but I used to be like their ***biggest*** fan.  I know all the words to “The Positive Aspect of Negative Thinking,” and any true BR fan knows that that shit is pretty devotional.  I used to always listen to NOFX, Pulley, No Use For A Name, Lagwagon etc…  I started to get a little older and discovered stuff like The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music.

What’s your opinion on the modern punk scene and how do you think your band fits into it?
I love how the genre continually stretches itself out and becomes less and less orthodox.  It’s never been easier to get your music out there via the internet and tour.  This has flooded the scene with tons of shit bands, but also there’s a lot more palpable buzz about the scene than there was when I first started playing in bands, y’know… pre-Myspace or whatever.  If you have a ton of bands just basically bouncing ideas for how to expand the genre off one another eventually you’re going to get awesome new bands.  Where do we fit in all of this?  Well, we keep it pretty simple, but I love trying new little things in our songs that don’t sound like they’d necessarily fit on an old Punk O’ Rama comp.  A friend of mine said he thought that the punk rock zeitgeist was “growing up,” and I have to confess that I’m fine with that.

Tell us about life on tour. Do you have a favorite tour story you’d like to share?
One time on our first tour ever, we found about 50 pies still in their boxes in a Trader Joe’s trash compacter in Richmond, Virginia.  We ate as much pie as we could possibly handle for days before ultimately selling them at the merch table.  I believe Garrett’s first impulse upon realizing how many delicious pies we had was to smash one directly into the side of my head, mixing strawberry and rhubarb chunks in with my ahem… immaculately bleached hair.  I don’t know if that’s my favorite tour story, but that’s the one that involved eating the most pie.  I love being out on the road more than anything in the world, and we always manage to have a blast on tour.  We’re a few days away from spending the next 4 months on the road and I am pumped.

Pick up their new album off of iTunes and catch them on tour this summer! Check out their tour dates here and for more information, try their Facebook page.

Interview: The Dirt Radicals

The Dirt Radicals - Enter Destroyer
I recently got the chance to speak with London-based punk band, The Dirt Radicals about their upcoming release, Enter Destroyer, their tour experiences, their first musical inspirations and more. Check out the interview below!

Hey guys! First off, can you introduce yourselves and tell us your roles in the band?

Matt: Hey, I’m Matt and I play drums in The Dirt Radicals. I also do a bit of backing vox.

Mas: I’m Mas, I play the guitar and sing in The Dirt Radicals.

Sam: Hi, I’m Sam I slappa’zi’bass-mahn and sing in The Dirt Radicals. And write a lot.

With Enter Destroyer set to drop on the 25th, can you tell us a bit about the writing/recording process?

Matt: We started off recording in studios around the world. From Singapore to Tokyo to London… Using gear we love and people we want to work with. Then we took more and more control over the recording process until it was completely DIY. We always wanted it mastered at Blasting Room Studios. We love the albums they do over there, so we decided to get Enter Destroyer mastered with Jason Livermore. Go and check out what he has worked on… nuts!

Do you have any personal favorites off of the new record? Can you tell us a bit about those?

Matt: My personal favourite is 25, Alive. It takes me back to my ‘skater punk’ roots. It’s also the fastest song on the album.

Mas: Each song has a different story, background and message and I love them all and it’s the kind of thing that’ll change over time depending on your mood and such, but my personal fav’ at the moment is March April Maybe.

Sam: I’m with Mas on this one. But, I’m also really digging the set of balls The One That Got Away (With Murder) has on it. Just a bit more attitude’y  and I think it’ll be a good ‘Live’ song.

Enter Destroyer

Is there anything you did differently? What can your long-time fans expect from the new record?

Matt: We used one of those sub-kick mics on the kick drum. We’ve never used one before and it just opened up a whole load of control when it came to mixing drums. Other than that, a nice DW kit, and a selection of snares… Fun times!

Mas: I’ve almost always been the only guitarist in this band since our older days and so I’ve always had to keep in mind not to do anything that can’t be played live, like layers and harmonies that’d need more than 1 guitar to play, but with this record the songs are a lot more dynamic sounding and structured so I focused more on letting the songs have whatever they needed to have. The guys would come to me and say “Hey I think this part needs more depth?”, if we all agree then I’d go and record some clean arpeggios to add some depth. Turned out great and the songs sound epic as hell.

Vocal-wise, there’s a lot more going on as compared to our older stuff. With Matt in the ensemble, there is a lot more going on with vocal melodies/parts. Sam and I tried different techniques like the slides in The Greatest Depression Since The Great Depression and The One That Got Away (With Murder), and experimented a lot with our throats to hit a higher range like in iHate and My Everything.

Sam: I think fans expect to walk away from the album kinda confident in The Dirt Radicals? If that makes sense? We took a really long time making Enter Destroyer and I think people will be more willing to say they’re confidently a fan of the band after listening to it.

Sonically, what bands would you say are your biggest inspirations with this release and/or past releases?

Mas: I can’t really think of one right away as there are too many, but with the death of Tony Sly, I went over a lot of his music and realized how much I was influenced by him. It might not be anything noticeable but the ideas, his messages and everything. He was an amazing musician.

Matt: Yeah I have to agree with what Masashi said. I also found that I was just trying to be a more solid musician on this album. Just doing what is necessary and playing consistently – I think that comes from some of the latest releases of my all time fav bands like MXPX and NOFX.

Sam: One night Mas and I got pretty fucked up listening to The Wallflowers in my apartment in Chancery Lane, right above a Chicken Cottage. I think that was a really pivotal point in ‘making the album’ for us. The music was good, there was the smell of friend chicken in the air, and we kinda just spaced out listening to The Wallflowers’ One Headlight about 17 times. Sonically, I think we took a lot away from that night. We were also pretty messed up for about 3 days later…

You’ve mentioned that Enter Destroyer features a darker, rock-infused edge to your signature punk sound. Care to elaborate?

Matt: We never sat down and said ‘let’s write a dark album’… I’d say it’s just very honest. In terms of what we were going through when making it. It’s not all doom and gloom though.

Mas: As we grow up and get older we go through a lot of stuff and sometimes it can get pretty overwhelming that we forget what it was like when we were kids… Enter Destroyer to me is letting it in and accepting it in order to move forward with life.

Sam: Yeah, I’d say we still have that energetic punk rock vibe going on… It’s just gone in a new direction. I think we made a record that we would want to listen to as 28 year old punk rock fans.

Anything specific that inspired that change?

Matt: For me, I think we are just growing and with that our taste in music evolves. I think we are finally maturing? [Laughs]

Mas: Personal lives I guess. Moving out of Singapore and starting up new lives elsewhere has been quite a lesson.

Sam: I think the biggest inspiration for change in music style was our Live Show. I wanted to make sure we had some cool stuff to work with live.

You guys are now based in London. What’s the music scene like there? How does it compare to a place like Singapore and why did you decided to move there?

Matt: It’s pretty dog eat dog. A million bands, a million venues… It’s hard to get your head above the water.

Mas: There definitely is a wider scene there and bands are touring all the time so it motivates us a lot as a band.

Do you think growing up in a country as an expat that has shaped the way you’ve developed as a band and as musicians?

Matt: I wouldn’t know because I haven’t lived a different life to compare it to what I’ve been through. If you know what I mean? But if I had to guess – I’d say we had the same struggles (booking gigs, recording, making fans etc.). Just little things are different I guess. Like you can’t really hop in a van and tour Singapore. You know?

Mas: We got to go through lifestyles that I don’t think any international band has ever been through, and I believe it just adds to it.

On a more personal note, where would you do consider your “home country”, and why?

Matt: No clue! Haha. I’d say England is ‘home’ at the moment. I have my friends and family here. But I’ll also always consider Singapore and Australia home too. I grew up there!

Mas: I feel pretty safe being back in Nagano, my hometown in Japan although I’ve only lived there for 3 years throughout my life.

Sam: Cue the song Pop-Punk Left Me In A Pop-Funk off the new record to hear my answer in full…

[Laughs] Can’t wait to hear it. What’re some of your favorite things about being in a band?

Matt: Seeing someone in a crowd in another country sing along to one of your songs is pretty powerful. Nothing really beats it!

Mas: Being able to travel with my best friends, getting free drinks, driving in van for 15 hours and smelling like shit.

Sam: I think walking away from a real special show with Mas and Matt, and re-grouping, and being like ‘That was fucking awesome.’, and just partying together after the show. We have a few of those shows which we treasure pretty dearly.

The Dirt Radicals' Show
Speaking of shows, do you have a favorite tour/show you’ve played?

Matt: A show we did with Sum 41 at the Hard Rock Cafe Singapore. It was my birthday, and the crowd was awesome. How can you top that?

Mas: Our first visit to Indonesia was pretty epic and memorable.

Sam: We did a small club show in Nagano, Japan last year which was our own headlining show. I just remember the crowd going nuts, and looking at the guys thinking how far we’d come with the most massive smile on my face.

Lastly, let’s talk about some firsts. How did your first band come together? 

Matt: Going to gigs and making friends. [Laughs] Old fashioned. Didn’t have any of that ‘internet’ stuff back then!

Mas: We met at a gig when we were in different bands and found out that we lived close, hung out for drinks and jammed and bam!

What about your first musical experiences?

Matt: Playing the trumpet in a school band. I sucked and I hated it. Always wanted to be on the drums.

Mas: I think my first cry was in a key of Bb minor… Then I started learning the piano when I was 5.

Sam: I caught the drumstick at a Presidents of United States of America concert when I was 12. They were my favorite band in the world, and I remember just holding that drumstick for dear life thinking “That’s all I want to do. I want to be in a band.”.

Awesome. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us guys! Any last words you’d like to share?

Matt: Come down to one of our gigs and hang out with us. We love meeting people and trying local beers.

Mas: Thank you! Check out our stuff online!

Sam: Buy our new album on iTunes – it’s good shit!

Pre-order Enter Destroyer on iTunes here! The Dirt Radicals will begin their UK tour to support the new release this July. Check out the dates here!


Review: Sister City – Carbon Footprint

Sister City – Carbon Footprint

Released: June 14, 2011
Label: Unsigned
Purchase: Bandcamp

Having never heard of Sister City, formed only in 2007, I had no idea what to expect upon downloading their new album Carbon Footprint. I saw the genre “indie punk” thrown around quite a bit, but such a description is too vague to actually say much.

Opener “Hit Too Hard” finally put a sound to the name. Even though it didn’t quite answer the question of what “indie punk” means, it did provide a ballpark sound to work with. Initially, Sister City sounds like an opening band, reminiscent of The Loved Ones or The Measure, taking cues from bigger bands, but still lacking the chops to be headliners themselves. There is a familiar, almost generic feel to the music, but under the surface, there is a passion and effort driving the band, which is demonstrated all throughout the album.

The passion is most easily heard through frontman Adam Linder’s lyrics. Like early Rise Against, he’s usually making a point about the state of the human condition, but instead of actually calling for action like Tim McIlrath, he limits himself to biting observations with a cynicism very much in the vein of Say Anything’s Max Bemis. “The things I want are simple things, like love and trust and sanity” Linder notes on “IMPERATIVE.” Closer “How Much” brings his unease to a climax, “For a couplet I sold what was left of my integrity and I don’t have any goals / but I do have an apartment in a city full of people, and a subtle, sinking feeling we’re all equals.”

Lines like these permeate every song, but unfortunately, few of them actually stick, largely because there’s a distance to them, an apathy that doesn’t inspire the listener to do something about it. Linder’s vocals don’t help much either. They’re neither bad nor particularly good – they just tend to add to the generic overall sound.

While the music in general sounds largely familiar, Sister City does distinguish itself from the pack to some extent with their poignant use of rests. They immediately set to this trend in the stop-start “Hit Too Hard” and continue through with such usages as the pre-chorus holds of “Some Prefer Nettles,” the one beat rests on the repeated chorus of “IMPERATIVE.”  The rests are very calculated to add impact to the lyrics, and nearly always work well. It’s just a small touch, but it does make their music more distinct.

There is a certain level of maturity in their musicianship as well. Many of their songs have different phases to them- they don’t usually end up in the same musical place where they were at the beginning, but they’re still within the general sound, so the song isn’t too disjointed. For the most part, this too works fairly consistently, such as with the double-time outro topping off the already engaging “Ellis Island Blues.” The biggest offender with this patchwork style is “Eff That” which suffers from too much schizophrenia. The smooth verses don’t blend well with the No Use For A Name-sounding chorus, and the bridge is much too forced, making it one of the only songs that would be considered weak overall.

While much of their music is familiar, familiarity isn’t always a negative thing either. Sister City wear their influences on their sleeves, and fans of the general scene won’t be disappointed. Much of their music sounds like a lighter version of Against Me!, and they wear this influence proudly, even naming a song “Reinventing Adm Linder.” Ironically, this song is eerily similar to “Hey There Delilah.” Plain White T’s comparison notwithstanding, it’s actually one of the album’s lyrically strongest and catchiest songs overall.

Swaying away from Against Me!, Sister City turn to NOFX with “IMPERATIVE,” driven by a bouncing bass that sounds like it’s straight out of “Timmy the Turtle.” Pulling out all of the stops, “How Much” channelsManchester Orchestra with a slow buildup to a climactic finale. These songs are generally good for what they’re worth, but at the same time, they feel like the diet version of some of your favorite bands.

Overall, even after a few spins, I still find that Sister City is a very difficult band to describe. After some thought, I have concluded that one of the most apt metaphors is that Sister City is a cloud. The band can’t be clearly defined or put into one particular musical box. Their influences are numerous, yet they still have a single cohesive, recognizable sound. Finally, there is definitely substance to their music and lyrics, but when you reach out to touch it, you may not end up feeling much in the end.


Standout tracks: “Ellis Island Blues” and “Reinventing Adm Linder”