American Standards Q&A
August 10, 2013Posted by on
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us your role in the band.
I’m Brandon Kellum and I make obnoxious noises on the microphone while American Standards plays music.
2. For people who aren’t familiar with your band, can you give me a brief rundown of the history of American Standards and how you guys met?
In a nutshell, we all played for different bands so we knew of each other through them but not really on a personal level. When those bands stopped playing for one reason or another we connected through online musician ads. We knew we wanted to play something heavy and fast but wanted to avoid the cliche cookie cuter metal, hardcore and easycore buzzing in the scene at the time. We wanted something with some depth in the message conveyed through the lyrics. We also wanted the band to be sort of a platform for others to give back to their community. That last part I feel we’ve really achieved through the volunteer work, compilation CDs and benefit shows that we organize.
3. Tell me about the Still Life EP-How did the writing and recording process go?
Prior to Still Life we had a 3 song demo, and a second 2 song demo. The songs from those demos were mainly all songs written by one of the guys then presented to the others as a full product to kind of learn. I would then come in and write lyrics. For Still Life, it was our first time as American Standards piecing together ideas as a band. I think that’s what helped us achieve this sound by blending all these different influences that each member brought to the table.
4. How do you guys differ from other hardcore bands, what makes Still Life EPstand out?
I’d like to think a lot of things. One of which being our minimalist approach. Where as a lot of the heavier bands are looking to pummel your ears with as much double bass, blast beats, guitar sweeps and guttural vocals that they can fit into 3 minutes… We focus more on the dynamics of a song. Laying low on what part to make another stand out. When it comes to recording, we don’t feel the need to add all the post production bells and whistles. I think it helps it sound more like us and less like an experiment in pushing the envelope just for the sake of doing so, so to say. I also hope it opens people up to a new way of looking at things. Where it’s easy to draw an emotional connection from songs based on love and hate, we rarely if ever pull from this. Rather, the lyrics are more in the realm of socio-political themes and also self awareness and the desire to do something outside of oneself.
5. A lot of people describe your sound as very angry music. Is American Standards really as angry as those people would have us believe?
Haha. I wouldn’t say that we are “angry” all the time by any means. We are all down to earth guys that like to have fun like anyone else. But to take that a step further, I wouldn’t say that any anger that we do have is directed at one set person or thing, more so an anger at the complacently we all share as humans. It’s easy to fall into a comfort zone and complain about the things going on in the world that we don’t like. I think the first step is acknowledging what we’re doing right, coming together and celebrating in that, then finding what can be improved and working together to do so. Whether it be political or just changes that we would like to make in ourselves and day to day lives, it’s time that we take those steps forward to work on those goals. The day that I stop working towards progress is the day that I fall further from where I want to be.
6. I can definitely hear a lot of the punk and thrash influences in your music. What are some of the specific bands that really hold a lot of resonance for you?
There are so many. Refused, Rage Against The Machine, System of a Down, MewithoutYou, Every Time I Die… Those are all ones that really made me decide to play this kind of music.
7. You guys played the Punk Rock Picnic this past April alongside some big names, including Danzig and GWAR. What was that like, how’d it go?
That’s actually an interesting topic. Getting on the festival was huge for us. We were actually put on right before we knew GEAR and Danzig were the headliners. Unfortunately a series of events occurred behind the scenes and it was all called off. We don’t know all the details but know GWAR was the first to drop which they announced on their facebook. I think soon after, the venue fell through and they couldn’t recoup.
8. We know you’ve been working on releasing a full length album. Do you have a title for the album yet? What can fans expect to hear on the up-coming record?
Yes. The new album will be out September 14th and is titles ‘The Death of Rhythm and Blues’. It is huge for us in the sense that its over a year in the works. In addition, it marks a big change for American Standards. It will be the last album released with our original line up. After the release, our drummer Geoff and guitarist Brennen will be parting from the band (on good terms) and we’ll be bringing in replacements from some pretty well known bands in our area. We’ve actually already began writing with the new line up and have some tour announcements soon to come. As far as sound goes, this will definitely be an “angry” album for us. We went into it with all intentions to create some new melodic landscapes and experiment with some softer extremes then we have in the past. I think that although we did capture that, we also found these songs quickly becoming some of the fastest and heaviest ones that we’ve wrote to date. A lot of this coming from where we were at in all our lives and experiences that we have had over the past year. We couldn’t be more excited to put out the album and anticipate a single from it in August.
9. What’s something you guys are totally looking forwards to in the up-coming year?
The release of the new album for sure. Writing a follow up with the new line up. International touring.
10. Anything else you would like to add?
Nothing more than thank you for your time and support and thank you to everyone that has decided to come along with us for the ride.
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Interview by Lauren L.