Friday, July 1, 2016

SUBSTANCE - Punk that'll make you wanna sniff glue

I really like your raw, unpolished, punk rock approach. Although raw, it definitely works. Upon first seeing you live, my first thought was that of The Germs. Tell us a little bit about your background and how Substance came about.
Derek: We used to be a hip hop group called D-money And The Pawnz
Nathan: We actually came out of a way shittier punk band called Ebola Goats. I was on drums and Derek was on vocals just like Substance. Our original bass player was also in that band but he quit Substance to jerk off full time. The gig he skipped actually is when we got Alex to play bass that night and from then on he was in the band.
Ethan: I just joined the band.
Alex: I played bass in punk and metal bands throughout high school but stopped
playing for the most part when I began college. Early spring semester I decided to go check out Derek and the new punk band he was in and apparently their bassist pulled a dick move and quit before this show I went to see them at. With no other options Derek asked if I wanted to play in Substance and if I wanted to play that night despite not knowing any of the songs as well as my refusal to learn them before hand. However that became a moot point because the shitty bass that Super Happy Funland graciously allowed me to borrow (after none of the bourgeois punks from the other bands would help me out) didn't have an input jack so I just spazzed out and flailed around for our set that I actually didn’t play.
I’ve been seeing your name routinely on gig flyers. How is the live circuit treating you?
Derek: Really good. We always get a pretty good reaction even though it's 98% gimmicks. We've been playing in front of both punks and hardcore kids and get the occasional head nod or foot tap which is tight. One time I took my pants off during our set and this drunk ass dad told me to put them back on and threatened to fight me. That's probably a good representation of our shows.
Nathan: As long as we don't fuck up, pretty good.
Alex: The shows have been great, we have a tight knit punk and hardcore community as all of us know which really makes it fun. We pretty much play a show every two weeks since I’ve joined the band and we recently played in San Antonio. It's no doubt the dirtiest Derek has ever gotten at a show with a nice lil dirt and green slime combo.
So far you’ve released the 2016 Demo. As I mentioned earlier with The Germs, your debut release totally reminds me of something some the late 70s LA scene. The answer is obvious, but is that era where you draw most of your influences from? Derek: Haha not at all for most of us believe it or not. I'm probably the only one in the band who listens to stuff from that era. I dig Germs, The Screamers, Black Flag and stuff like that. I guess we have that sound because we take from band like Gag and Glue and they seem to be influenced by that NYHC sound so maybe that's it.
Nathan: Yeah I listen to mostly rap and modern hardcore bands. The only punk bands I was listening to when we wrote that were Glue and Bad Brains.
Alex: I listened to a lot of hardcore punk when I was a teenager and really got back into it once I've joined Substance but for me my biggest inspiration is bands that lose their minds on stage.
Besides the demo, do you have any new recordings planned?
Derek: We have two coming out in the future. We've got a promo/live tape coming out in a bit on Murder On Ponce which is out of Atlanta. Then we're making a 7 inch that we're probably gonna self-release and go broke doing. It's going to be way better than the demo. It's nastier and totally hateful.
Your lyrics are rebellious in nature. Can you give insight of what’s in your mind?
Derek: It's a lot of what happens around me that influences the lyrics. You see people every day getting stuck in jobs they hate or people trying to point fingers and say someone is wrong for believing something that hasn't been presented to them. A lot of people my age are just taking what’s being handed to them by social media or by their parents and I think it's utter bull shit. It may be cliche for me to write about not wanting to conform but that's how I feel daily. I don't want to be like you.
You are also a photographer and videographer. You did a great job on Supremacy’s Southpaw video. Can you tell us more about your digital media arts?
Derek: Thank you. My work so far consists mainly of documenting shows and it's really fulfilling because I love to look back on the photos and remember the whole experience of it. This year though, I'm going to continue documenting but also try and move into a more artful space. I haven't found out how exactly I want to express myself through my photography and videos but I'm going to experiment and try to capture that attitude of resisting the norm and remaining positive.
We will finish up with anything you would like to add.
We love Halston, John Baldwin, everyone in Wild Thing, Darby Crash, Manda, Josh Borsarge, Bucky, Jacob V, Kevin, Martin, Aria, Kaylin, Miri, Alex's dad's truck, and a bunch of other people. I wanna be a--baller, shot caller. Twenty inch blades--on the impala.

Friday, June 17, 2016

JESSICA GARCIA - Band Photographer, Sound Engineer, Renaissance Lady...

First off, how long have you been shooting pictures? Also what initially attracted you to this art form?
I got into I got into photography by accident, it started when I would go to the shows I would always take pictures of my friend's bands. They took notice and said hey start taking pictures. What attracted me to this was music. I love music and the local scene. Growing up I had all my favorite band pictures and posters on the wall. That's were I get all my ideas.

Are you self taught or did you have any schooling?
I'm completely self-taught. Looking at other people's great work, reading books and going to the shows gives me all the ideas. I'm originally an audio engineer so I kind of took what I've learned in the studio and applied it to my photography

A great photograph tells a story, but what do you look for in an image?
What I look for in an image would be the art form and catching the moment at the shows. It's the people, the bands and the crowd is what I like capturing, you know having a great time. I love black and white photography also that's my favorite.

What kind of camera and lens do you use?
My camera that I use is an Nikon d3200 and my favorite lens are 35mm, 50mm, and Rokinon 8mm fisheye. Fisheye is what I love to shoot in.

Are their any photographers who influence you?
I don't have all the names of my favorite photographers but my favorite era of photography is the 90's. I grew up with viny records and cassettes. When I was a kid I would stare at the pictures on the album covers. All the band's photo shoots were in different places. That's where I would get all my ideas at. Also over the years my friends have been a big influence in my photography. They’re always supportive.

In looking over your online portfolio, you have a wide variety images ranging from live action to staged group shots. Who are your favorite bands to shoot?
I try to attend all the metal and hardcore shows that I can. So far my favoirte photo shoots have been with Die young, Agamemnon, K.T.C.M., Some Nerve, Supremacytx, BLUNT, Mastema, Counterblast, Will to Live and many more.

The Houston independent music scene seems to be stronger than ever as far as quality bands. Over your years of being involved, what changes, for better or worse, have your witnessed?
For the better, I like the fact that more bands are coming back, and that everyone is helping each other out. The Houston music scene has become more vibrant. As far as for the worse, I can't really say.

As for your audio engineering, how long have you been doing that? Tell us more about your studio and what bands you have worked with.
I have been a professional audio engineer for 5 years. Graduated from Houston Community college audio program in 2012. My friend and business partner and I are co-owners of 360 recording studios. We're happy to record all genres of music, we specialize in Metal and hardcore. We're passionate about our work, and music is our way of life. We have work with a lot of local Houston bands and bands from other parts of Texas. Some bands we work with are Mastema, BLUNT, Supremacytx, Mirror the Humans, CALACAS, Aguila Black, Piss Poor and many more.
Thanks for your time. Are there any final comments you would like to add?
I love Houston and I hope the scene keeps growing. Thank you so much for the opportunity on this interview.

Monday, June 13, 2016

WIRED UP - Vinyl Records, CDs and Books are Dead? Wrong!

Wired Up is new boutique in Houston specializing in music, books and novelties. It is the brainchild of three knowledgeable, enthusiastic veterans of the music scene. With that being said, please tell how this venture all came together?
Ryan- the beautiful thing about this partnership is Wired Up, in some way, shape or form, has been a dream for all of us in different ways. So we had signed the lease on cutthroat eastside, and were in the build out phase when the wired up space became available. I initially thought it was possibly too small but perfect for a new/first venture. I always had a dream of owning a record/culture store that was sort of a hub/hangout for other fellow weirdos but I had 0 experience with this kind of business other than being a consumer. Every time I ran into Bucky around town he was talking about opening his own shop but never had a location down. He was the first person I thought about hitting up. All the while I had been hanging out with Toby and him and I would sort of bullshit about eventually doing our own shop. I just never knew how serious he was. After Bucky was on board I hit up Toby and he was 100% down.

What’s your take on the so called digital takeover of traditional music and book pressing? 

Ryan- I think we're in this sort of beautiful period where people are finally realizing a fucking download or words on a nook isn’t going to cut it. People are wanting the physical packaging, the full experience again and don’t want to cheat themselves of this anymore. It’s definitely still not for everyone, but there is undeniably a movement of people who appreciate the experience of the needle hitting the record and sitting on the floor looking at the liner notes and packaging. The same with books, people like us want to hold it, smell the pages, actually flip through it, bend it, check out the art works, etc...

I know you recently opened and are growing, but already you have a great selection of vinyl. What do you currently stock and what do you plan to add?
Ryan- Shit that the 3 of us like. All 3 of us have had a hand in ordering to make sure we have a diverse enough selection that best represent us. We definitely plan on expanding; we're in the stage where all our money is going back into ordering.

Houston has a great independent music scene and some great record stores such as long standing entities Sound Exchange and Vinal Edge. However, I feel the time is ripe for a new record store bringing in fresh ideas. It will bring even more credibility to Houston. Your thoughts?
Ryan- On average, there are 300 people moving to the Houston area a day. This is allowing places like Wired Up and Deep End to not only open in the same city as Vinal Edge, Sound Exchange, Heights Vinyl, etc... but to be able to thrive, which we all have the opportunity to

Keeping with the tradition of the late Domy Books, you stock a plethora of unusual books covering many subjects. What can a customer expect when looking through your printed matter section?
Ryan- titties

Also I cannot forget all the independent and B-film Blue-Rays and DVDs you have. What criteria do you look for in whether or not to carry a film? Also give some personal details of some of your favorite films.
Ryan- I love our selection so far. People can expect a lot (titties) but the one thing that we'll always sort of build and stock up on are music/sub/art culture documentaries and b-movie/horror classics with some gore in there as well.

Besides the store, a coffee shop will soon reside in the front area, which will create a great atmosphere for coffee, music and art. When will that be complete?
Ryan- January 2016 all 3 businesses will be running. Until then we will actually be serving complimentary Greenway Coffee in Wired Up

Is there anything you would like to add?
Ryan- We plan on throwing a lot more events in our community. Follow @houstononthemap and @wireduprecordsandbooks for more info.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

KEMO FOR EMO - Punk Rock that Burns a Memory in your Mind

Your band has been around since 2003. What have the past 13 years been like for you? What are some of the most memorable moments?
A lot has happened since 2003 and most of our stories are best kept for drunken nights.  We have experience getting signed at a young age, putting out a full length, almost getting signed with Columbia records, bailing members out of jail in New Orleans, Hard Rock CafĂ© performance, played with Dynamite Boy, The Queers, Fenix TX, Unwritten Law, NOFX, released a series of music videos, split up, got back together, made an appearance in the Pop-Punk edition of Alternative Press, played as The Ramones with an actual Ramone in the audience, met a ton of great local acts over the years and watched the Houston Punk Rock scene blossom back into something that holds some weight.  


You have a catchy band name. Is there an interesting story behind it?
The story behind the name has many different origins but basically it comes down to one thing; the truth.  Back in the early 2000’s we were a bunch of punk rock kids who wanted to make fun of the new rise of emo kids.  We were going to start a comedy band and write ultra-sappy sad songs.  As time went on we starting clicking and gaining momentum bringing in our actual love of pop-punk music.  We started writing the songs we wanted to write.  A few years went by, we got signed, put out an EP, a full length, and gained a following.  By that point the name was not going anywhere.  Somewhere along the way we had someone at a venue ask us if it meant, “medicine for emotion”.  That stuck with us and we often use that as a short explanation.      


The band has a nice clean sound, definitely a pop punk influence. When starting the group, was the initial goal to create a pop punk sound? The reason I ask is because many times when a band starts out, their music tends to sound nothing like the original idea.
Besides writing sappy mock emo songs for a short time, Pop-punk was always the obvious influence as we grew up in the Houston scene listening to River Fenix, Dig Dug, 30 Foot Fall, and Dynamite Boy.  We wanted to join the ranks and share the stage with our heroes and make a name for ourselves.  Also national acts like Green Day, MxPx, Local H, and The Offspring were in every CD binder we had so Pop-Punk was going to rear its melodic head. 

I really like your videos. Can you go through the process of how you create a concept, film and edit your videos? What kind of camera and video editing program do you use?

First off, thank you very much!  As far as music videos go, it really started off with the album concept.  The album was written based on real life events and were written in sequential order based on the way a certain personal tragedy played out.  As any Hollywood adaptation goes, we wanted to throw away the literal version of the story for the “movie” and make something that would play out better theatrically.  The characters of John and Camille were thought up and over several months the story came to life.  All 4 parts of the story were realized before we shot the first frame.  We knew exactly where this story was going to begin and end.  This was always meant to be a short film.  That is why we were able to use the actress that is in the video on the cover of the album and on our merchandise.  The entire album and video series needed to be completely cohesive.  

The first video for The Cause / The Straightline was shot with a single camera, a Canon 6D using only a handheld stabilizer (Flycam 3000) and a Jib.  It was shot 10 seconds at a time as we shot in raw format and took roughly 8 days to shoot.  Everything is edited using Adobe Premiere and I color grade using DaVinci Resolve Pro. 

We have finished principal photography on Chapter 3: No Tell and are currently wrapping up post production.  We hope to have it released within the next 4 weeks.  No Tell was shot using two different cameras.  The first was a Black Magic Cinema Production 4K camera with an EF mount.  We switched between 50mm lenses and 24-70.  The second camera used was a Black Magic pocket cinema camera.  This is a micro four thirds camera.  We used a metabones adapter to mount a 12-35mm lens for most of the shots, then an EF adapter for a 50mm Canon lens for hand held shots.  A Ronin gimbal was used for almost everything, although a Jib was used for a few of the wider band performance shots.   


Let’s talk about your discography starting with your current release A Picture Perfect Romance. How does it differ from your other releases?
A Picture Perfect Romance is an extremely personal record.  So personal that we recorded it 3 separate times to get it right.  From the lyrical content to the order of the tracks to the tone of the guitars, right down to the order of the kick drum hits, they were all calculated to make sure the tone and the mood of the songs were conveyed exactly the way we wanted them to be.  This album has literal blood, sweat, tears, fear, heartache, and miles and miles of living on it.  If everyone could see what life dealt out for these songs to be written, it would hit much harder in the chest.  That’s why we felt a theatrical storyline would help convey a love/loss scenario where the listener would allow the songs to sink in on a deeper level.     

Is A Picture Perfect Romance a concept album? If so, can you give more details about it? It is autobiographical?
APPR is a concept album based on reality, written from a personal place but delivered to the world disguised as a story about fictional characters.  

The lyrics, if you really listen beginning to end through the whole album will really explain what the album was written about.  Love, drugs, loss, fear, anxiety, promises.  Everything brutal that someone can go through, but not everyone comes out of.  We came out on top this time and this album is a way of, “shedding” these experiences.   Recording the accomplishments and the achievements of facing your demons head on and winning.  This was relinquishing it’s power and putting it out to the world in hopes that we will never have to relive it again but knowing we are that much stronger for making it through.   

It seems like things are going really well with the band’s popularity? Your thoughts?
As you stated before, we have been at this since 2003 and this time around we are working our butts off.  This is no longer a few kids hoping for a record deal.  This is a group of men with a proactive approach to everything and we are working 24/7 to make this our legacy.  Everything we do, we try to it as big and as best as we can.  Whether it be a cover show, or opening for NOFX, or making a music video.  Whatever we put our name on we try to make it something outstanding.  This is our passion and we put our all into it and we hope that everyone who listens, and watches can enjoy it as much as we do.  We would love to do this and only this for the rest of our lives and we are very blessed to be doing as well as we are.  We would love to get that call from Fat Wreck Chords, but right now the future looks very bright.  

Let’s finish off by giving some details of what we can expect next from you guys.
We have Chapter 3: No Tell music video coming out within the next few weeks, then we will start principal photography on the final music video of the series.  We have a show at Warehouse live on June 11th supporting our good friends Soapbox Revolution for their upcoming CD Release.  In July we will embark on a Texas tour with our friends Four Letter Language and PRP.

Larry Fenix

Friday, June 3, 2016

KRVSHR - Disgusting Horror Hiding in the Darkness

Your band has been busy spreading a hateful, dark sound around these parts. When hearing your music I imagine being in a filthy, dark place filled with disease. In my book that’s a complement. Can you tell us how the band formed and what was the goal early on?
Steven and I had started writing riffs about 10 years ago and tried to get people to jam under the name Churchburner. We all but abandoned the idea until Luke and I sat down one night and discussed starting a band. It was very important to me that Steven was involved. Met Mike through Dave Ellington. Knew Adam (first drummer) for years as well.
That first record turned out to be the soundtrack to my divorce. My wife and I have since reconciled, but that was a terrible and dark time. Mike had just gotten out of rehab and needed a good group of dudes that wouldn't push him towards living like shit.
The goal was, and is, to do whatever the fuck we want. Fuck labels. Doom. Metal. Hardcore. Whatever. It's all punk rock.

The members have all been in a variety of different styled bands in the past. How is the writing chemistry between contrasting backgrounds?
Writing works like this: I show up with an assload of riffs, we put them together. Then a song happens. Luke and I played in Pride Kills, but I was also jamming in Bowel at the same time. Before hardcore became the same thing as nu-metal, I considered it all the same. It still should be. Integrity, Burning Witch, Slayer, Goatsnake, Negative Approach, His Hero is Gone...all the same shit. None of us ever got into that "flat billed hat rapcore" shit so we don't have any hurdles there. Haha

The name Krvshr definitely complements the music. Who came up with the idea to spell it in this odd fashion?
Well we had a million name ideas that everyone had already "taken". We were set on Churchburner, but the guys from Vital Remains have a band called that. Mike grew up in a black metal scene, so KRVSHR is a nod to the cult side of music but still explains what we do: crush. He came up with the name.

Let’s talk about the Church Burner 12”. Was it all completely self funded? I believe you told me it was pressed in Europe. How was that process?
All self funded. All tracks are single take. We paid for every bit of everything ourselves. Including the dinner plate thick vinyl. Our shit got out sourced to the Czech Republic and they sent back covers that were fucking pixelated. The dude that initially recorded us fucked us around real bad, so we bought our own pre production studio and send it out to Greg at Earhammer in Oakland for final mix and master. The new shit destroys the old shit and we will be re recording hill people and soul eater.
The process of dealing with a shitbag producer is so fucking shitty and ruins the whole process. You couldn't pay me enough to deal with that shit again.

Also I know you have a split release coming out with BLK OPS. Will that be vinyl as well? When can we expect that to hit the streets?
BLK OPS split. We are label shopping right now. Not sure when it's dropping. But it's brutal as hell.

I really like the lyrics. They are simple, yet extremely dark. Can you go into detail about the lyric writing process, the themes and inspiration? What is “Hill People” about? By the way, that is my favorite Krvshr song.
Hill people is about mongoloid freaks stealing your children. Simple enough. We are currently writing a full length that contains 75% songs like that.

Besides creating brutality, you are also a tattoo artist. How did you get into the industry and what is your favorite style to tattooing?
Been involved in the industry going on 20 years. Tattooing 13 years. I prefer old American style above all.


Lastly, give me some final words.
Shit, no one really wants to hear what I have to say. I am currently disgusted with the state of underground music. Hardcore got ruined by paper gangsters. "Doom metal" seems to be a bunch of pg13 rehashed sabbath riffs. Metal is dominated by overproduced garbage. People love to look scary and edgy and blah blah blah, but the "heart" of it all seems to have all but vanished. Now it's the image. Stupid fucking selfies. People making tough faces. I’d love to make a funeral pyre full of flat billed hats and rock n roll vests. The only good new shit anymore is the newest Leviathan.