Friday, April 24, 2015

SHUT OUT - Skate Punk Coming Your Way!!

Recently you were featured in the The Music Buzz around Clear Lake film. Can you tell us how that came about and anything interesting that happened while filming?
Well I guess the most interesting thing about the filming of that video was that the filmer showed up that night to film another band, but just happened to show up early. He said he was shocked to walk into the venue to see a bunch of punks moshing around when he came to film a completely different pop rock band. Also, that was our first show so we were stoked to have our audience as energetic as they were. Another thing that happened during filming was that James (our drummer) went on rant about the local live music scene and supporting fellow musicians. It was an inspiring speech that unfortunately got cut due to the time limit of the video. We as a band all feel strongly about building a strong network of local punk rock/hardcore bands to promote each other and share shows with. I'd like to see bands from out of state looking to Houston as a prime destination to travel to for the punk scene.

You are described as a band that provokes thought. Let’s jump into that statement. Do you have a specific message? What topics do your lyrics cover?
Oh man, that a big umbrella to try to stuff everything under. If you really get down reading the lyrics to some of our songs you'll notice a strong trend of individualism, rising above, standing against the grain, etc.. But you've got to understand I wrote those themed songs through some rough times in the military. I've started to shift that theme slightly more towards other prospects as of late. I know I got into punk rock and skateboarding at a very young age because it was the niche I finally felt like I belonged in that would accept me for who I was. Shit, I always had problems with authority throughout my childhood. I mean I really try to emphasize the theme of self improvement as well in a lot of my songs, and sometimes that means throwing up the finger and standing your ground no matter what it takes. I really want to open people's eyes to stagnant situations in society which have become the status quo due to the lack of individualism. People need to stop letting the media define them and the social circles they so badly desire to be a part of. Let you be you. My motto in life is "My progression, not your perfection."

On your Bandcamp page you have the In Progress We Trust EP. What is next for new releases?
Well that EP was supposed to be 5 songs released months ago, but unfortunately we learned the lesson of backing up your computer during recording month the hard way. So long story short, we finished one song and had recorded the instrumentals for the rest of them right before our recording computer crashed. However, it made us a lot more focused on practice and writing new songs so I'm kinda glad it happened now. Actually, we are in the process of finishing our 5 song EP in the next 5-6 weeks. But don't be surprised if we start leaking new songs here and there on our FB page for shits and giggles though. We currently have about 9 songs in our current setlist but have damn near 20 other completely untouched songs that I've already written. We wish there were more hours in the day to speed up this whole process!

You played your first show in March of this year. Since then it looks like you’ve been on a great stint of live outings. Can you give some insight of how you got things rolling?
Okay so that's a long story, but I am going to do my best to paraphrase. I've been an on and off musician for a long time but only started songwriting almost as a form of therapy a few years back. Then shortly after moving here to Texas last Summer I got the news that my childhood best friend (who I learned to skate and play punk rock with) had passed away. So I put an old demo of one of my songs online one night and got a phone call from James and the rest of the guys saying they were aiming in the same direction of my music style. That was back during the weekend of Skatestock |||. Initially, we had another lead guitarist, Edwin, but his pomade business (Pomps Not Dead) took off right after we formed so we found his replacement, Christian, about 2-3 weeks later. Honestly, since then we just practice and songwrite as much as possible. But we all feel incredibly blessed that there is such a strong and growing punk rock community here in Houston. I mean, that's why we keep on coming out to jam with all our homies. We would not be anywhere near where we are now if it weren't for our badass friends/fans.


You are described as a skate punk band. Do all members skate? Give some history on what created the passion for skating.

Well skateboarding is literally #1 in my life. It has given me so much in life that I feel like I will not ever be able to repay it. The opportunities it has given me are endless. Shit, I know I've made international friends all over the world due to skateboarding. I've been skating myself for about 14 years now and have never really stopped. I also have no plans of ever stopping. I mean when you quit skating your practically quit living. That's how I personally feel on the subject. As far as the other guys, most of them skate. I know Jack and Jeremy have been skating on and off for ages and skate more now since we've met, and well Christian (our newest member and lead guitarist) is an absolute shredder. Crazy thing is that we met him at the skatepark when all of us went out skating one day. After seeing how he tore the park up on a 9 inch board I knew he was gonna be in the band before we even heard him pick up a guitar. Luckily he emulates his shredding on the guitar the same way he does on a skateboard.

Does the name Shut Out have any specific significance? 
The great thing about our name is it has a broad meaning and can mean an array of different things to each individual. Initially, it came from the idea of feeling like our voices are not heard in the way our country is ran. We're told that we live in a Democracy but that seems like a false claim most of the time. Sure we have the right to vote and what not, but who is really making the big decisions you know? I hate getting into politics so I'll stop myself there, but other meanings to the name I feel strongly about exist as well. Such as the fact that the general consensus of the world we live in seems to frown upon those who speak up against the grain. Oh and it's a coined soccer term as well. Let's go Dynamo!

Feel free to say anything I left out…
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me and we really look forward to tearing shit up with Khobretti and Hogs of War in June!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tangerine Dream - That Familiar Cinematic Synth Sound

I have been a longtime fan of film scores. I like just about everything that Italian horror masters Goblin have done. Stewart Copeland (Rumble Fish), Howard Shore (Scanners), John Carpenter (Escape from New York) Giorgio Moroder (Scarface) and Jeremy Schmidt (Beyond the Black Rainbow) have also created some memorable background sounds. However, my favorite is Tangerine Dream.
Tangerine Dream, a name may not be familiar to most but many should find their sound very familiar. Tangerine Dream is a German electronic band that has released an enormous amount of albums, but they are mainly known for their soundtrack work. Of the many films they have scored, my favorites are The Keep, Near Dark, Risky Business, Sorcerer, Legend, The Park is Mine, Wavelength…ahh I could go on.
Their ambient music is like no other and it creates an unmistakable, atmospheric landscape. Each of the films listed above would have a completely different feel had they been scored by someone else. Their music has a mood inducing effect that truly makes the films stand out.

For instance, The Keep is a slowly paced, brooding gothic horror film with very little action. Some would say it is rather boring, but the score is what entices me to watch it over and over. During the long, dream-like sequences it feels as if the music has my attention frozen.

Another example of how their music can change the course of a movie is the 1983 Tom Cruise vehicle Risky Business. When I viewed it for the first time it had just been taken out of theaters and was debuting on cable. The trailer gave the impression of another light-hearted, teen-sex comedy filled with pop rock music. The film was just that, yet Tangerine Dream’s score gave it a totally opposite vibe. It was comedy twisted with a dark mood. At the time, I found it very strange but that is what always stood out from the movie.

Another film, Near Dark, the vampire epic that battled fellow movie The Lost Boys for 80s bloodsucking supremacy (you could argue for Fright Night and The Hunger as well). I like both films for different reasons, but of the two, Near Dark is the superior output. The film itself has a great cast (Lance Henrikson and Bill Paxton) mixed with horror and action. Tangerine Dream’s contribution is what truly what mends the cinematography together into a masterpiece.

I could easily review each film the band scored and go on and on with accolades. Their music is incredible and I listen to it quite often. I find the best time for listening is when doing something creative…maybe when I have a dull knife to my throat.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Agnostic Front - Victim in Pain ..hear the needle CRACK and POP

In the past I used to be an avid vinyl collector but since then I have off the band wagon. The main reason is space. Records and CDs tend to take up a lot of space. I already have an entire bedroom full of records, CDs, cassettes and VHS tapes. So I have become quite selective of what I buy these days. Not to ramble too off topic, vinyl. Another issue for the lay off of records is convenience. Yes records do have the best sound, but for me, I rarely have time to sit around the house to listen to them. My listening is mostly restrained to the car. So of course CDs, and dare I say MP3s, are the only option.
So what the hell does all that have to do with Victim in Pain? Well the other day I finally had some free time to turn on the record player. Of course, Victim was my choice. This record was extremely influential on my youth and listening to it today still gives me that raw, punk rock energy. When I first heard it, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the distorted bass guitar. That raw bulldozer weaved everything together into something special. From beginning to end, it is unrelenting and it can never be recreated.

For all you vinyl nerds, I am proud to say I have the original 1984 Rat Cage CAT# MOTR 29 pressing. It is definitely one of my prized possessions. I own this album in all its formats, but that original gatefold is the best! ………Well it was a prized possession until some drunk idiot tripped and went head first into the turntable and shattered the record….