Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Gen Why - Modern Punk Rock Demanding Answers

No automatic alt text available.
Why did you pick your band name? How did you form?
There are several reasons the name "Gen Why" aka "Generation Why" became what it is. At first it was the latter, "Generation Why". I sat there thinking up band names, writing down anything that came to mind... thought about our generation, millennials... and how ridiculous we can be, and not only that but how great of a generation it can also be. Hence, the WHY. We question everything. We don't trust in the system as much as generations passed... and alternatively, some of my own generation annoy me as again WHY! (Why you act so ridiculous?!) Also, a song by the band Fidlar - Why Generation helped me along with this thought. Thanks guys for the inspiration! (Do we get free tickets to your shows now?)
As per how we formed well, mainly through craigslist funny enough! Needed a drummer and one of my friends helped us out there, sent me a link to a craiglist ad Bryan had posted looking for a band and well, here he is. Alex, well me and him worked with each other before in another band so he was obvious, Curtis (guitar) was craigslist as well. Now we have Dave on Bass and we found him at shows and through people talking about his skill on the bass guitar, so we have undergone a bit of a lineup change recently, but we're still moving along!

Will you continue releasing music on your own or do you plan on working with a record label?
For the time being, we plan on doing everything we can as DIY as possible! We book our own shows with people, make (alot) of our own merch, and we even record on our own thanks to Curtis and his skills at audio engineering! In the future when we play more and longer tours and want to release more albums, and have them distributed to record shops in other places, we may consider talking to a label for a bit of help. However, for now, it's all DIY! We still get down and dirty.

To me, in your music, I hear that classic street punk vibe mixed with a modern sound. How do you describe your music to people? 
We would describe our music, particularly when asked what type of music we play as Street Punk of course, sometimes Hardcore Punk as well, because I know that is definitely involved with our sound. The modern sound you're hearing is more likely coming from our collective interests in music combined, which sometimes is more than just punk even. I'd say it's a healthy mix of both classic and modern punk rock, not even just street. No one likes a singular label, but for the sake of knowing what sort of sound people are about to hear, sometimes it's needed. Also most of our major influences are all 2000s era Street Punk bands from Texas. What we grew up on.

What image do you think your music conveys? 
This is an interesting question, and it's one I sometimes think to myself even. As the performers and writers of this music, we may have a different image in mind than what the listener has. For instance, how you see yourself, isn't exactly how other people may see you...and that's not a bad thing. Personally, I'd like to think the general tone and image we convey is that of the modern youth struggle. Anxiety. Depression. Alcoholism. Frustrations with our political system and the "leaders" within it. A good portion of our music is politically driven, but not so much so that it's straight up cliche and over done, much more of it is about struggle and pain, but we also focus on the scene...unity, friends, fun, and ways to overcome the stress and anxiety that modern day America loves to throw at us. You know. The life of a punk in the 2010s. It's our story.
Image may contain: 1 person, night

Your band has gotten a good reputation in the live arena. How do you rate your live performance ability?
This question intimidates me and only because I try to stay away from sounding arrogant. However, we do have alot of faith in ourselves and as a band, we click very well. I believe our success in our live shows lies in that. Having such strong bonds between us. I will say this, we don't want to be that band that sounds better recorded than live. We strive to provide the best show we possibly can for the crowd, so they can feel the raw energy and emotion behind each of our songs.
The recording industry is constantly changing. Currently, lots of people prefer listening to streaming music. However others still prefer tangible music such as vinyl and CD. What are your thoughts?
Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and guitarI've always been an analog guy myself...I still fumble around with CD cases in my car when I go anywhere, and I have a bit of a vinyl collection as well! However, because so many people do love streaming as well, we understand that we should provide our music to anyone who would like to hear us, whether it be CDs and Vinyl or digital. It would be difficult as a band in 2018 to not have their music online for streaming purposes, and we want everyone to be able to hear us!

Anything you would like share, from new merch to upcoming shows/tours or songs/albums?
Yes actually we have alot going on, we generally do! We have a few upcoming shows in June, notably with Gutter Villain at La Playa on June 1, Hub City Stompers at Big Top Lounge on June 9th, and FYWROK in Tulsa with A Global Threat, The Exploited, Complete Control and many....many....many...more. I'd recommend checking that out for sure! We also do have more merch coming out for all these shows, mainly T-shirts. Finally, we are working on the finishing touches to our first EP - "Rotten Few" currently, just wrapping up vocals and misc. noises and whatnot we wanna toss into it. We can't say for sure when a release date will be, but we will go on and say it will likely be by the end of the summer, so keep an eye out for that! It's gonna be a bit of a rollercoaster but, we have alot to say, and alot of fun we wanna have! I'd also like to say thanks to everyone who has so far stood next to us and have gone to all our shows and have given us nothing but support and love! From all our Austin friends to our Tulsa friends, and people all over and certainly at home...we thank you very much, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon! Here’s to all you guys, cheers!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Terrorists - Houston Grindcore Terrorizing the City!

There has been quite a buzz on the internet about your band. Tell us your story.
The band made its debut early 2017. It started off as a side project since majority of the members were in the full time band G.O.D.S. But as that started to meet its end, we began putting full focus into The Terrorists. Originally when we started we just wanted to write a bunch of fast songs, play a few shows and party with our friends. It's grown into something bigger since then.

Like classic old Napalm Death your album, "Pesadilla Americana", has a great amount of catchy, circle pit worthy rock and fast sections. Give us some insight on the writing, recording and conceptualizing of the record?
Fast, angry, chaotic and straight to the point is always the formula. Every song is written to rip from beginning to end. We don't get caught up in arrogant artsy musician’s pride. Fuck the bullshit. Let's grind! Our record was recorded live at Southwing Audio. We wanted the energy of a live show to translate into our record. We wanted a raw and dangerous sound. Southwing exceeded our expectations.

As demonstrated on the live scene, your music easily fits on just about any heavy music bill. Is that your plan to transcend the tag of just being a grindcore band?
Not so much the plan but more how it turned out. At our very core we are a grind band. From the execution to the sounds we choose. But we don't put ourselves in a box and everyone is welcome. From metalheads to hardcore guys. We are all here, we are all pissed and you can't fuck with any of us. We have alot more in common than alot of people think.

What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Majority of the lyrics on ' Pesadilla Americana' are about the struggles of living in a first world country. The translation of 'Pesadilla Americana' is 'American nightmare' We've all been through it. From poverty, crooked cops, struggle and just how ugly the world can really be. As time passes we grow and learn more about the fucked up world. I’m sure the lyrics and songs will grow right along with us.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
There's been alot. Making time for the band while still supporting our families. Money is always an issue. But I'd say the biggest is getting the local scene to identify with what we are doing. We get alot of love and props. But we are also looked at sideways for trying something different. Houston is very focused. The kids like what they like. You can't blame them for that. It only motivates us to be the best at what we are doing. To stand out even more from the crowd. We have the mentality that even if you're not into our particular style you're gonna feel this pain.

The band name is simple and to the point. I think it is fitting with your music. What is the background on coming up with the name?
We just wanted something that scares people. With all the shit going on in the world the word 'terrorists' is taboo. When people see the name I think they don't know what to think about it. Makes it more interesting and frightening. But we aren't real terrorists. Haha

Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
Our jobs. haha But for real our families and TXDS have always been so supportive over everything we've done over the years. If it wasn't for them believing in us who knows where we would be? We are forever grateful to them.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Johnae Whitaker of Live and Loud Productions: Keeping Punk alive in Houston

You are constantly out in the scene checking out new bands. It’s obvious that you have a passion for music. When and what sparked this obsession?
I’m not really sure to be honest. I’ve always loved music. Growing up my Dad was the song leader at the church, my folks forced me to! My Mom had me in 4 dance classes a week, trying to burn my hyper energy!

Can you give us some insight of your process in organizing a show (talking with the bands/venues, promotion, etc)?
This entire thing was forced upon me, and I didn’t want to do it. I had no one to show me the ropes, or bad habits. Back home I was at a venue, so that part was simple. As far as bands, when it’s a touring band of course I listen and take the time to decide on a good pairing and send the local band links. Usually everyone is on board, unless work or they are in another band that’s playing. As far as promotion, I had to get creative. Sometimes I would invite my friends from Norml to have a table, or I would get a food truck to come out. Something that would grab the kid’s attention. Occasionally when I know I have a killer band coming I might send out invites to like band page before I actually promote. I also like to post videos of the bands. Honestly, I don’t even understand how it all came together and the shows I pull off. I’m usually just as amazed as the next person!

This is a continuation of the previous question. What you do is considered being in the music business. However, it could be called the “people” business due to the fact you have to deal with many different personalities. What’s your approach in that department?
I treat everyone the same. Granted, there have been a handful of occasions I had to get the fan girl out of me before I met them face to face. I’m honest and truthful with the bands. I’ll do whatever I can that’s in my reach to help. Such as find contacts wherever they are trying to go, or a spot to crash, and I’ve helped a handful find a venue for their show. I’m down for the cause, and nowadays most realize that. Occasionally some mistake my friendliness and helpfulness for something else and start flirting. But I’ve learned when that does happen to, again, just be honest and usually tell them ‘I just want to book your band’. However, other than the creepiness sometimes, I haven’t had too many personality conflicts.

How many shows a month do you usually book and what have been some of your favorites?
Back home being at a venue it was every weekend, usually 2 shows per weekend. But, I had to book all genres. Here in Houston, Live and Loud Productions is an independent so I can do as I choose. Originally, my plan was 2 shows a month. But things just fall in my lap so there have been times where it’s been 4-5 shows a month. My favorites?’re killing me. I get excited about all of them! Back home my favorites were probably a show I had with The Bulemics and Die Fast. And another show was Mobile Deathcamp with Beefcake the Mighty from GWAR, Todd Evans. Annnd I threw a bday bash for my dear friend Amanda and The Guillotines played...epic! Here in Houston, my bday bash with Revels, All Opposed, On the Cinder, and Goodnight Gallows was awesome! I was dumbfounded by the turnout! October Friday the 13th was amazing with All Gonna Die, Gen Why, Broke Off, Feels Like Murder, and TV Casualties, and a show in November with Sorted Scoundrels, Bottom of the Food Chain, Broke Off, and...well...Khobretti! I have a few I haven’t announced yet they will probably be on that list!

What are your favorite venues and why?
Rudyards is my favorite. It’s home away from home. Even though everyone complains about the stairs of death, everyone wants to play there. It’s a pretty chill environment. I actually like the creepiness of Super Happy Fun Land, it’s pretty creepy with all those doll eyes looking at you!

You previously booked many shows in Beaumont. What was the scene like out there?
There was a point in time when there actually was a pretty damn good scene over there. But once Jimmy Soul and Chuck Dorian moved from the area (yes I totally called y’all out...) it started to die down.

Final thoughts?
I love doing what I do. I never imagined I would get all this love! Or so many would know who I am! I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices, but I can’t imagine not doing this. I’m in love with the Houston punk scene, and very proud and honored to be a part of it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sketchy Trench - Gnarly Punk Rock from San Antonio

Your music has refreshing melodies without challenging the integrity of a true punk rock attitude. What was your initial approach when starting the band?
People say punk rock ain't got rules, and musically that's true. For a lot of us the core is still about the same shit it's always been about - subversion of imposed norms, rebellion against a corrupt society, and musical and personal freedom. But the specific sub-genre you might get labeled under isn't important. There are so many amazing, passionate bands out there, all playing different styles, and we wanna play with all of em. So we intentionally put a mix together that hopefully allows us to do that. Our sound is basically a blend of shit we grew up on, shit we love, and shit we found ourselves more naturally able to write. We enjoy being creative, so people who dig melody and harmony might like that. But we also play hard and fast and loud, cuz that's what we like to see when we go to shows.

Sketchy Trench is a unique name. What is the story behind it?
Just skateboarding, really. Sketchy trench, like a gnarly ditch. Embankments and drainage ditches are just my favorite shit to skate. Also I guess we thought the phrase had a bit of a ring to it.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?
We might be too young of a band to have much of an answer for that; we've been playing less than a year at this point. Once we had a full setlist, we started gigging and haven't really stopped. Playing shows is all I really ever wanna do, so it's cool. But it makes it challenging to find time to write. We plan to take a month off soon and dedicate that time to new songs. Hopefully once that's done we'll have something to compare our current set to. That being said, I'm admittedly very fortunate to have the band members I do. They're talented and dedicated, so in that regard I can say the music continues to become tighter all the time, for sure.

How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
Sexy J plays guitar. I've known him since 2nd grade. We each moved around for a while, but then we both ended up in San Antonio recently. We use to be in a band together, so we decided to try to start another one. About a year ago he and I wrote some demos right before we recruited Sketchy T (he plays bass). T and I had been playing for a few months in a thrash band, which I stole him from (but they're cool with it.) With the help of my primo (shout out to Ryan), we put the demos out looking for a drummer. Did a few shows with a few different drummers. Then Chia came highly recommended, and once he sat in, we saw why. Booked the first show in April 2017, first show with the current line-up a month or two after.

You do good amount of touring. How often do you hit the road and what are some memorable stories?
The cool thing about living in Texas is you can basically tour without ever leaving the state. There's a ton of rad cities and scenes, so we can stay playing all the time without having to really go too far. So that's most of what we've been doing. We did do a run to California in January and we hit a half-dozen states on the way there and back. The whole thing was memorable. Makes you wanna just do that all the time. Stories from that trip involve hotel rumbles, beached whales on the curb at Denny's, geriatric circle pits, and drugs so good you forget how to walk. But nothing crazy. So we're planning a midwest trip in the summer and hopefully a longer east coast tour next year.

I really enjoy all your videos and graphics. People do not seem to understand the amount of time it takes to create this sort of content. Is this all done within the band or do you have help from friends?
Thanks. Dude, no shit. I spend most of my waking life just making flyers and messaging motherfuckers all day. But it has been effective in keeping us booked, and that's the end goal. And I do enjoy it. Honestly, I enjoy everything about being in a band, so that makes it easier to spend the time it takes. But specifically for videos and graphics, we definitely couldn't do it without friends. The music and art communities here work together beautifully. We're honored to have homies contribute their talents whenever possible. Shout out to Cros, Evil Dave, Crazy Dave, Gilstock, Speed, Antons, Avi, and all the friends who lend us your art or shoot us at shows.

Final words?
Our girlfriends rule.