Fall 1997 - From The Pressed Press
Interview with Jason, Shelby, Nathan
This was the first interview we did for the first issue of the Pressed Press. Really, we had know idea what we were doing, but these guys were so much fun to goof around with, and still one of the wittiest groups we've interviewed. This was conducted in Fall of 1997, all photos by Gloria Darlington.
Jason: Jason Hamacher, I play drums. I'm 21 years old.
Nathan: I'm Nathan Burke, I play bass. I'm also 21.
Shelby: Shelby Cinca [guitar, vocals]
Tell us about the labels you've been on:
Shelby: Ok. The labels we've been on... Our first records were released on our own label that was entitled Gnome records, that Jason and I did. Our first 7 inch, demo tape and our other tape, "Molotov Cocktail Party". Soon after, we released a CD on Level Records, in Washington DC. That label was just a small up and coming indie label...
Jason: Up and coming?
(Nathan & Jason laugh)
Shelby: They had the intentions of being up and coming back then. But I don't know. Anyway, Their distributionwas horrible.
Jason: That's why they weren't up and coming.
Shelby: Their distribution was horrible and they didn't do a lot of the things that most labels would be able to do, and then... that was just one record.
Jason: That means they're up and coming. They didn't do anything...
Shelby: No, no up and coming as in they had some good releases, if they had good distribution..
Jason: or if they did anything
Shelby: Yeah or if they did anything, like work behind it, like pushing the records anywhere. Ok, then we had a record on Double Deuce in New York City. And they did a great job, seeing how they paid for our recording and put out ads, got stuff reviewed as much as a lot of labels. Like Art Monk [Construction], and a lot of labels, the guys who ran them had other full time jobs and stuff so it wasn't like where every day they're working on pushing our records..
Jason: We're friends with the guy who runs Jade Tree. Jade Tree does so much stuff for their bands. They getthem interviews, get them on shows, get their record out everywhere. Always working for the band, with the band. And Double Deuce couldn't do that. They couldn't do that very much. And we had asked them to, and they just said that they were not really able to do stuff like that. They did a good job, but for what we wanted to do... we wished they could have done more.
Shelby: They did the best that two guys, both having full time jobs could do.
Jason: Yeah, they did an awesome job.
Shelby: Yeah, our record showed up everywhere.
Jason: Everywhere, basically.
Shelby: And the vinyl of that record was released on Lovitt records, which is the label I do with my friend John Lowit.
Jason: Are you guys up and coming?
Shelby: We're up and coming. And we have good distribution. And that makes us a step up above everyone else. That kind of helped us because Double Deuce wasn't in as many indie stores, cause they were in a lot of "Tower"s and stuff like that. A lot of people in the smaller stores didn't know about it. So by the vinyl being on Lovitt, it kind of helped us get into smaller stores.
Jason: So then we did a split with Art Monk Construction.
Nathan: Yeah, the Lovitt LP.
Shelby: And then...
Jason: That's a long-winded answer.
Shelby: We've done various things with smaller labels and compilations. So, now on our next release we're on Tooth & Nail records in Seattle.
Jason: They're awesome.
Shelby: They have good distribution, they have like 15 people working at the label and that's all they do, and they will take care of us. It's a good feeling. We feel like we're being taken care of, it's a nice thing. But actually, we have one more record to do on Double Deuce. It's gonna be a compilation of our demos and B-sides, I guess. Something like that. But our next records are cooler. [*la&la%la$la#la@la!].(some weird Shelby noise)
Okay. So list your other bands, since you all do a number of side projects...
Jason: I play drums for FRODUS, I play drums for Battery...
Shelby: Side bands.
Jason: Shut up.
Shelby: side bands!
Jason: I sing. I sing for a band called Mancake, play drums, bass like once every four or five months for this band called the Jerks and the Travelers of Tyme and then possibly, I don't know because of my schedule, I'll be in this band called Agoraphobic Nosebleed. It's a grind band.
Nathan: Uh... me? Let's see... there's FRODUS. I just... sort of ended a thing with this band called Real Cool Rain that I sang and played guitar for, and well... did the majority of the set for, but I think that's kind of over. We're going to be putting out our record, so then... what else do I do? I play drums with some project, but I don't know what's going to happen with that. I'm starting to work on some ambient and solo stuff, but I don't know what I'm gonna call that yet. I feel like, I don't have 17 things.
Shelby: And I do. FRODUS, and side bands that don't take up much time would be the Jerks, Travelers of Tyme and I have this little solo thing called Loki and the Improbable Solution.
Nathan: Very nice.
Shelby: Yeah. Thank you.
What do you think of the people who go to your shows?
Jason: I think they're awesome.
Shelby: yeah. A lot of different types of people go to our shows.
Shelby: Like, we'll get the hardcore kids, then we'll get like...
Jason: the pop kids
Shelby: Indie rockers, whatever, because it.. We blend different elements, I guess, in our music.
Nathan: Just local kids that are into music, you know?
And if you were a kind of cheese, what kind of cheese would you be and why?
Jason: I'd be face cheese... it's just good. I'd be donkey cheese.
Shelby: I'd be ricotta because it's in cannolis, and cannolis are good.
Jason: Or grilled cheese... I'd actually be Habanero Jack because it's spicy. It's hot!
What did you listen to during the 80's?
Jason: Damn, the 80's. What grade was the 80's?
Shelby: A lot. A lot of grades. Michael Jackson, New Edition...Rockwell, Nucleus and then I moved on to heavy metal such as Guns & Roses.
Shelby: And to this day I will say the Queensryche "Operation: Mindcrime" album is brilliant.
Nathan: I guess I started off with Duran Duran, A-Ha and then that kinda went into, like, New Order, the Smiths, and stuff, and Joy Division, and that kind of developed into whatever was going on in the 90's at that point, I guess British pop, something like that.
Jason: I liked all the radio music when I was in fourth grade, then I sort of listened to Metallica, Kreator, Sepultura, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, Uniform Choice, Youth of Today, and Miami Soundwave.
What's your opinion, if any, on the New Kids On The Block?
Jason: I'd like to fight one of them before I die.
Shelby: I'd like to be one of them before I die.
Jason: Look at them. I'd like to kick their ass before I die.
Shelby: Why would I like to be one? Not an actual member that existed, but my own, me.
Jason: Donnie, Joey, Shelby...
Shelby: It would be cool.
Jason: I'd like to stab one, just so I could say I did, you know?
Where do you see the band going in the next few years?
Jason: Locating New Kids and fighting one of them. Doing a side project with Donnie.
Shelby: Well first off we'd like to...
Nathan: Go back to (Record) Conversion for practice.
Shelby: We would be relocating to Japan, basically, yes. I don't know where we'd be in the next couple years.
Shelby: Because it's Japan.
Jason: In the next couple of years I'd like to play wherever we feel like it.
Jason: To have people want us to play wherever we feel like it.
Shelby: You see, I look at the details, he(Jason) looks at the big picture
Nathan: And I...
Shelby: That's why we're a team.
Nathan: And I'm the yes man'. I'm like "That sounds good".
What's an important issue in American Society to you?
Jason: Uh, the "Pledge of Allegiance"...
Pro or Con?
Shelby: He's just joking. Just shut him up.
Jason: Because I feel strongly...
Nathan: The flag waves in America...
Jason: Umm.. What? Repeat the question again?
Nathan: A serious issue. An American societal issue.
Nathan: It seems like it's taking us awhile to answer.
Shelby: There's a lot of issues.
Jason: How about..., nah. Health Care.
Jason: No, I'm serious, my friend's from Sweden if, he got sick over here, there's no way we could've gotten him help because we didn't have any money. But if he was back home he would've gotten well and medicine for $1.00. You know, if you break your leg in Sweden it's free to get fixed.
Shelby: But there taxes are really high.
Jason: But they do it well.
And how would you deal with the problem?
Jason: Oh, I have no clue.
Shelby: Bomb them.
Jason: I'm not political.
Shelby: Raise taxes. Steal from the rich to give to everyone else.
So, you'd be Robin Hood?
Shelby: Well, I'm not really sure how I would do it.
Jason: I don't know the political system very well. I don't know anything about it.
What do you think of the radio?
Jason: Technically, or just in general.
Nathan: Ha Ha. Technically. I think it's great.
Jason: I like listening to baseball games on the radio.
Shelby: I think it's a good medium for that thing. I don't really listen to the radio however, although there is some people.
As far as music goes.
Jason: It's fine. There is some good stuff. It comes and goes.
Nathan: I dunno, I think the D.C. area's is kind of lacking in something...
Shelby: Jazz station, rap station, oldies station. You can find something occasionally that is enjoyable. I like the new Foo Fighters album, I like Oasis.
Gloria: Oasis is alright, but I don't like the Foo Fighters.
Jason: Have you heard the new album , the whole thing? The whole thing is really good.
Nathan: Yeah, it rules.
Gloria: I avoid all Foo Fighters.
Jason: I like the radio.
Shelby: Yeah see, but more or less there's a lot of regurgitated...
Nathan: ... I think there needs to be some...
Shelby: ... corporate college rock...
Nathan: ... Some state sponsored, someone that didn't need to make money so they could be playing a lot more interesting stuff...
Shelby: WDIY that Positive Force was trying to put together, but I don't know what happened with that, there were a lot of bands that could open that up it'd be pretty cool.
Nathan: It's just so expensive to ... get ... radio power.
Shelby: Oh, political issues. I know my political issues, I'm trying to think. Education's important because that's... that's an issue I would mention.
Nathan: Because it's just like "drone academy," it's just like " here you go" here's some kids and they're all...
Shelby: But, you know, education. It's the stem of a lot of problems, like, you know, crime... etc. etc.
Jason: Bad radio stations...
Shelby: If they educated people more it may make crime dwindle a bit, you know, I don't think people know what's right or wrong, I guess.
Jason: We should just shoot all the violent people.
What do you think about people who try to dress like you(Shelby)?
Shelby: People who try to dress like me?
Yeah. We've seen them.
Shelby: Like me?
Yes, like you.
Shelby: You or me?
Jason: Well, what do you mean by dressing like him. You mean that one kid?
People that just go for... no, there's a lot of them. I've seen them.
Nathan: Maybe he just dresses like everyone else...
Jason: Maybe they're not dressing like him. Maybe he's dressing like them so they'll like his music.
Jason: Do you mean wearing the glasses or actually dressing?
Shelby: I don't know.
Jason: I think I've seen a couple, but who's to say why they're dressing like that.
Nathan: I felt slightly alarmed by it, personally, because I almost talked to somebody, I almost went up and was like "When are we gonna start our thing?..." and I almost went up to somebody and was like "Hey, when are we going to start promoting the stuff?" and it was just some kid. And I just felt kinda weird, you know...
Shelby: I dunno, I can't really say that, you know...
Jason: You're the guru.
Shelby: You see, the whole dressing issue, see, back in the 70's there was a government conspiracy...
Nathan: Oh God... the aliens are coming...
Jason: Here it comes...
Shelby: Ha ha... People like Buddy Holly and etc. were clones in the secret government laboratory, so me and a lot of other people in this world are just merely clones...
Nathan: Ha ha ha!
Jason: Aw, man...
So you consider yourself a clone?
Shelby: You see, I'm a clone of one of the greatest beings.
Jason: He doesn't know why...
Shelby: I don't know why I was put on this earth after being created in this laboratory.
Would a clone be an improvement, or...
Shelby: It's more of an infestation, like a parasite.
Is your brain better than the person that was cloned... Are you a superior being?
Shelby: I'm equal to the clone.
Nathan: I'm not because my brain isn't that good.
Jason: I just suck. I work in a grocery store.
What do you think about(an anonymous third party)'s comment... that you sound like Fugazi? That's not our opinion.
Jason: Hmm... I dunno... Listen[to their music].
Nathan: Exactly (ha ha)
Jason: I dunno... I don't think Fugazi... I dunno... I mean, that's kinda...
Nathan: I can see where there can be some dissonant chords as equal to Fugazi...
Shelby: But we're not like "kjtgxdkjgxshgv".
Jason: That's gonna be hard to print.
Kara: I'll try my best.
Nathan: I think most people ... the basic thing that people confuse Fugazi with FRODUS has gotta be the fact that we're from DC, we have some "dissonant chords."
Jason: We use drums and guitars.
Jason: I mean, I could maybe see it, but not really.
Nathan: I mean, I think all three of us like Fugazi is but that doesn't necessarily...
Jason: I only have one record, I don't listen to them that much at all, you know, I mean, I think they're great, but I don't...
Nathan: I think we have...
Jason: If I was to name my influences, Fugazi would not be one of them.
Nathan: Would you say that we have more of a sense of humor than Fugazi?
Kara: In hardcore in general, there is so many people with no sense of humor, and it bothers me a lot.
Jason: I thought that as well, but that's completely not true. I think its kind of a surprise because bands that sound like they're mean have been really nice guys, you know what I mean? And they like all kinds of music, which is kind neat because I didn't really expect that, you know, coming into the scene.
Nathan: Most people who play hardcore don't listen to it.
Jason: It's true!
Shelby: The guy from Integrity listens to Martin Denny.
Nathan: The guys from Bluebird were doing like trip-hop side projects, and the guys in Will Haven had a Future Sound of London CD that they were listening to, you know what I mean, it was kinda cool, but like I'm sure there is some uptight people.
Jason: Well, what gives you the impression that they're mean?
Nathan: I dunno, I can see that... I mean, I used to have that impression too. Like... Before I started meeting them, I kind of had the impression, just from the little I knew, it's like "Grrr" just like they'd sound like they'd try to be all hard all the time and stuff... but... you know... if they're like that then that is just too bad for them because they probably aren't having that much fun, so, whatever.
I think that is all of our questions.
Jason: Favorite colors, favorite Atari 2600 games... Frogger, what about you.
Nathan: River Raid.
Shelby: Maybe Choplifter was my favorite, no ET...
Jason: Burger Time!
Nathan: Oh! Burger time! That actually rules.
Shelby: He's a comedian.
Shelby: Any final comments?
Jason: Do you have any final pressing questions?
Shelby: INTENTION REMOVAL... that is my final comment
Jason: See ya in the pit.
Shelby: No don't say that one.
Jason: That's mine!
Nathan: Well, I don't know. That's my final comment. That sounds nice.