Entrevista con Negative Standards

NSliveNegative Standards de San Francisco, una banda de hardcore oscuro que si aun no escuchas, esto te puede ayudar a despertar el interés suficiente para ir a bandcamp, escuchar su discografía y posiblemente, te den ganas de golpear a los puercos que rondan por tu casa.

-Thanks for the time and consideration to do this short interview. I{m going to start with the question that’s always asked, ¿When and who form the band?

Will: At the end of 2008 our singer Will got pneumonia and wrote the first batch of songs while he was stuck at home. I had just moved to Oakland and was playing in a shitty band, and he asked if I wanted to play bass in a new project where he would sing. We tried out one drummer, who turned out to be a turd, and then ended up asking Al if he wanted to play guitar, since he and Will had been in Acts of Sedition together for a long time.

Max: I was living in the Bay in the summer of 2009 and started playing drums with those dudes, we came up with a handful of songs at the practice space in East Oakland and recording them on the 924 Gilman soundboard. Then I had to move back to the East Coast to be a college dickbag for another year, but had already decided that I would move back to continue the project afterwards.

-¿The name of your band have an specific meaning or all of you agree with the name?

Will: It’s certainly open to interpretation, the other Will came up with it but I’m not even sure he knew exactly what it meant at the time. Personally I take it as referring to the struggle to define one’s life primarily through negation, which is largely how I interact with the world. It’s a lot more palpable for me to understand the modes of living that I want to resist, and to identify what around me is worthy of destruction, than to create positive political projects or identities.

Max: I like Negative Approach. Not as people, though.

-¿Do you have side projects?

Will: Not side projects, but we are all in other bands. Will plays bass and sings in Reivers, which is a fast hardcore band, and he and Al are still in Acts of Sedition. Al’s also been playing bass in Pills for about as long as we’ve been a band, they’re really fast mathcore in the vein of Botch. I just started a band with my housemates called Nasty Dilemma, it’s super dreamy post-punk with lots of effects pedals. None of us know how to write songs so it’s kind of a jam band at this point.

Max: I play drums in a black metal/punk band called A Katharsia, kind of in the vein of Bone Awl but spacier. We haven’t played a show yet but are going to record next month. I also drum in an unnamed power violence project with singer Will and Sven from Reivers. It’s ignorant.

-¿How was your experience on the European tour? It’s the first time on the old continent?

Max: Being an American child of privilege I had been to Europe when I was young, but under very different circumstances. It was amazing to experience such a whirlwind of places and people and to get to do so on the basis of a shared love of music and an identification with d.i.y. ethics. Now that I’ve had a little more time to reflect on the experience, I find myself sticking on how the collective and anti-oppressive nature of many of the spaces we got to play was a refreshing alternative to a lot of experiences I’ve had in the American punk scene. And while it’s important not to idealize or romanticize the European squat scene, it was a great relief to see people operating in that way on such a large scale, and lightened a general despair about humanity.

Will: It was such an amazing time and we all felt really lucky to be treated so well as a new and mostly unknown band from halfway across the world. We made so many friends and got to play with some of our favorite bands, and learn about a lot of new projects too. It sounds cliché, but I really couldn’t have asked for more, definitely hoping that we can make it back there soon.

-¿American festivals or European Festivals? Every audience is different, but which do you prefer? 

Max: We didn’t play any of the big festivals in Europe, which seems be a distinctive institution over there, but we did play a number of smaller fests and weekend-long events such as the Køpi squat twenty year anniversary. It’s hard to answer the question because you’re talking about two very different cultures, but as I said before, many of the spaces that these smaller fests occurred in were organized around the idea that d.i.y. punk and radical politics can be a common project. I haven’t seen that attitude as prominent in American festivals, but at the same time I can’t pretend I would feel more at home at a European festival for fairly mundane reasons of language and upbringing. That experience highlighted how much more the American scene could be energized by radical ideas.

Will: For me, I personally found the culture of shows in Europe to be a lot more comfortable than in America, for all of the reasons Max said and especially the consistent effort we witnessed around creating safe and inclusive spaces within punk. It was also really refreshing to be in a scene that’s not so anti-intellectual, which is something I find to be really irritating in a lot of American contexts. The only hard thing in Europe was getting over that fact that, especially in German-speaking places, no one dances when you play! We played a few sets where several hundred people were standing there totally still, and to us they seemed sooo bored, but afterwards everyone was super positive. It’s also very strange for us to play on a stage every night, we’ve probably played less than ten shows in North America where there was a legit stage and a sound guy.

-¿European airports are as stringent as the U.S. airports?  Any trouble to get there and play a bunch of shows?

Will: We had no trouble whatsoever getting into Europe. I literally had a bass in my hand when I went through customs and the lady didn’t even lean over the counter to see what I was holding. Getting into the UK was slightly more stressful, but in the end all they did was steal Max’s knife.

Max: I know this doesn’t exactly answer your question, but it’s worth mention that in the Berlin-Tegel International Airport feature special vending machines that dispense products including but not limited to vibrating cock-rings and something called a “travel pussy”.

-Apart from the split with Whitehorse, is there unreleased material or what are the future plans?

Will: There’s no unreleased material, and honestly probably never will be. Our songs just take us too long to write and record, so we usually have a pretty solid plan when we go into the studio how we’re going to use everything. We’re working on a new LP right now, called Fetters, that will hopefully come out towards the end of the year.

What about Vendetta Records, how you start editing with this German label?

Will: After we put out our first EP as a cassette, we emailed it out to a few of our favorite labels to ask if they might be interested in pressing it to vinyl, or releasing new stuff in the future. Stefan doesn’t actually listen to digital music, but he watched some live videos of us and ended up buying a copy of the tape. We kept talking back and forth and after a while the conversation became “so, when I put out this LP…” and that was that. It was kind of the perfect fit, they’ve just put out so many of our favorite releases in a bunch of the genres we draw from. He ended up helping us a ton in booking the Euro tour, and we actually slept in the record store (Bis Aufs Messer) that he co-owns with Robert from Adagio 830 for a few nights in Berlin.

-2013 soon will be finished  is done and some people have their top list. ¿What’s your favorite records so far?

Max: I’m really bad at listing things by year but off the top of my head I can think of some pretty amazing LPs that were put out by the New Flesh, Pallbearer, Fell Voices and Vastum as well as 7″s by the mighty Permanent Ruin and Diehard (R.I.P.).

Will: A few that really stood out to me are the Pleasure Leftists 7″, and LPs by Cloud Rat, Hard Skin, OvO, and Violent Party. Framtid, obviously. I was also really impressed by this Chilean band Föllakzoid, they have a kind of neo-Krautrock feel and the new album is amazing.

-¿Bands you would like to suggest?

Max: See above. Fossor House are good. Graves at Sea is playing shows again and doing so with the utmost of brutality. Sutekh Hexen has been upping the blackened noise ante around town. I’ve also been listening to a lot of stuff by the Delmonas, Cülo, and Klaus Schulze.

Will: Communion of Thieves from El Paso continue to put out some of the best metal/punk out there, I guess they’ll have their first vinyl out soon which is exciting. Some new band I’m excited locally about are Ritual Control, Pig DNA, Cold Circuits. That Flesh World LP is mindblowingly good. Xenotaph is a new black metal band from the Bay Area that’s impressed me. Dispirit continues to be one of the sickest black/doom bands around, hoping they finally release an LP this year.

-¿Any plans to do a west coast tour and include Tijuana?

Will: We’d love to come back to Tijuana, we played the Polis y Ratas fest that Maladie set up there a few years ago. Not sure when we’ll make it there next, maybe on our U.S. tour in the fall. We are trying to do a Central Mexico tour this spring, probably in May, and we’re really excited about that.

-¿Where we can get your records in U.S?

Will: You can get them from us, through our website or just email negativestandards@gmail.com. Cory from Halo of Flies keeps all of our stuff in stock too, along with pretty much every other d.i.y. hardcore/metal release you could possibly want

-¿Anything else you want to add?

Max: Thanks for the support!