Monday, July 5, 2010

Dangers



Here's an interview I did with Al from Dangers last week after their show with Graf Orlock at Bar 32. We did it outside in the van where it was quiet, it was however really cold. I didn't really know much about Dangers before the show, but I really enjoyed.

So we've got Al here, he's from Dangers. How are you handling the cold?

Well (laughs)....not very well. People come to California in the winter time, they're like “what the hell, it's cold here.” I say “yeah, we have seasons too”. I knew it would be cold, but not this cold. Especially because you guys do celsius, I had a day where I was looking at the numbers, I thought, twelve, I could do that, it's probably 25, 30F. Everyone else dressed a lot more appropriately than me tonight. All I have is this sweatshirt. I think tomorrow I might go buy something warmer.

You're touring with Graf Orlock, have you toured with them before?

Yeah, we're all really good friends. We share...Graf Orlock's guitarist is our guitarist as well. That wasn't always the case though. A couple of years ago Dangers toured with Graf Orlock, we got to being friends with Justin, he eventually joined our band. Any touring we do is usually with Graf, or his other band Ghostlimb. He's a very busy man. Some people thought they would be on this tour too, but they're doing a trip to Canada later this year instead. Touring with Graf is a lot of fun, as well all know each other so well. We've lived in each other's houses, it's almost like it's not just another band that we're travelling with. It's like, this is what we do, let's take it to Australia.

How are you liking Australia so far?

There's two aspects to it, there's the country, then the shows. The country itself, I'm actually really surprised at, this may be because we're here in winter. There's probably a different vibe than in summer, but it seems as if everyone is really relaxed. The phrase we really hear a lot is “no worries”. Makes you wonder if these guys worry about anything. We got a speeding ticket the other day, Justin said “oh, I'm so sorry”. He said no worries. If there's no worries, there should be no ticket then! Let's go!

The people have been really interesting. It's been very refreshing. The people are a lot more knowledgeable about the world, kinda like Europe, where people know what's going on in other countries, as opposed to where we're from, where they don't give a fuck.

Show wise, it's interesting. People will stand there as if they don't give a fuck, arms crossed, a slight clap after each song, then they'll buy a load of merch and say how great we were. At first, I was offended...well, not offended, but wondering to they like us? They have their own way of doing things though. It's refreshing for me though. Having less people, you know, handing out the microphone to them, that kind of standard hardcore bullshit, it gives me a chance to be more introspective about the lyrics. Think about what I'm saying as we're playing it. I think our performances have been somewhat better than at home, for that reason.

How about the show tonight?

Tonight...in Canberra, it's interesting, we don't ever play bars, or 18+ shows back at home. We only play, basements, halls, community centres, that kind of thing. It would be good if we could be like Fugazi, say we'll only do all ages shows, $5 entry across the world, but we're not as good a band as Fugazi. Dealing with some of these places, we played another club place in Sydney, it was called Blink or something, that was a pretty weird experience for us. What's really cool about it, no matter what the shell, the shows will still be...affecting I guess is the best word for it. Kids will come up to us, tell us they've never heard us before, they'll be interested in some of the ideas that we have. That's a good as I could expect really. The same thing happened tonight, I didn't really expect that many people at the show, Tuesday night, we're from ten thousand miles away. Humbling, I think that's the best word to describe it.

I'll admit I'm one who didn't know much about the band before tonight. Tell us a bit about your records.

We've got two LPs now. One is called Anger, it came out in about 2006 or 7. Will still play a couple of songs of that, the kids seem to respond a bit more to those songs then the ones from our new album. The new one is called “Messy, Isn't It”. That name comes from an author, Richard Brautigan who was living in California in the sixties and seventies. He had written a lot books, he was the end of the beat movement. He was a depressive man, he went back to his house and shot himself, nobody cared about him, so he wasn't found for two months. The police eventually went to see what happened to this guy nobody had heard about for two months, it was a shotgun to the head. The note next to it said “Messy, isn't it”. We thought, as a band the ideas in this record, it's quite long, there's eighteen songs, but it's more of a whole movement. It's not like The Wall or anything, some epic Pink Floyd piece, it's about questioning each day what the purpose of being here is. The sun will blow up some day and we won't exist, what makes today important. A lot of familial stuff is on the record, with the themes. What my mum had to go through being a single mother, having to have a career just to feed us. You wonder, would it have been better had she not had kids. It's about trying to understand your place in the world. We're really proud of it.

Are you guys from San Francisco?

Partly, both bands are kind of a strange mix of people. Most of us are based in the Los Angeles area, but in saying that, the drummer lives two hours from me, I live at the beach, Justin our guitarist lives an hour away from me and our bass player lives in San Francisco, which is six hours drive away. Practice is...occasional, but intense. We set aside times for doing band stuff.

Do you have a central location to meet?

We meet in LA, Vitriol Records , our guitarist runs that. We have a garage space, half is filled with records we send out, the other half has been converted into a 7x7 soundproof room. We hash out everything, each band has their own time for doing things. So we're spread out all through California, but centralised in Los Angeles.

Have you guys toured Europe before?

We haven't done Europe yet. We're planning on heading there in the Spring for us, so about six months down the track. We'll do an East Coast US tour, then to Canada, then over to Europe.

Who put this tour together?

The first half was done by a booking agency, Strike Hard. We've never worked with a booking agency before, so that's a new experience for us. The main reason we came to Australia, we got a whole bunch of emails from people here for the past year and a half or so, they were really passionate about it, we've met some of these people over here, and they're all really happy that we came over, but really, we had no idea where to start.

This guy Daniel from Strike Hard, he kept emailing us, telling he'd love to help us out. We were hesitant to do it, we've never worked with a booking agency before. We kept talking to him, told him the important things we wanted. A majority of all ages shows, working on break even stuff, we don't want to worry about big fancy clubs or that kind of thing. He was pretty receptive to that. The best thing about it is, they didn't ask for any money either, it's just like a mutual helping each other out kind of thing. From here on, the rest of the tour is booked by the guys in Robotosaurus. Their guitarist actually put out our record on CD here. They came over to the US last year, it's going to be awesome to play with them.

You've played some pretty regional places on this tour, Lismore, Orange, tell us a bit about them.

We didn't end up getting to play the Lismore show, the show went on, but we couldn't make it there. The Gold Coast, I know there's shows there, but that one had a bit of a different feel to it. We played in Maclean as well, that was pretty similar to Orange. These shows in the middle of nowhere, we think it's similar to back home. Shows on either coast, they're always pretty good. In between though, there's two thousand miles in between....what's going to happen in Boise, Idaho or Little Rock, Arkansas.

The thing about the show last night, no one had ever heard of us, but they were happy, they told us we were the first touring band that had played in Orange. It was at a guy's house, there were twenty people there. Some of them didn't even like loud music, they were just young kids who didn't have anything else to do. With those shows, there's no posturing, no being “part of the scene”. It's just a bunch of friends that are there. I was joking about it before we played today, but I did about four stagedives of a tiny couch into no one, kids were going crazy. One kid had a seizure during Graf Orlock's set. He has epilepsy as well, but he was going so crazy that he had a seizure. It was a scary thing, but at the same time, you think in a town like Orange, this music can drive a kid to literally lose his mind. The shows are memorable for different reasons. Here, you want to break down the barrier between the band and the crowd, we're just people, let's share some ideas. At a show like that, it's like, your life sucks, every day, here's an oasis for you. Let's all go crazy.

It's a different breed of people in those kind of places. We're all vegetarian, they're all like...what's that. They're not idiots though, they're just joking around. We played with a band called Vegan Hate Violence, we were wondering if they were going to beat us up or what. After the show, their mum cooked us a vegan feast. That wouldn't happen in America.

What sort of places do you play in America? Mainly California?

All the west coast. I would say our best shows are in Washington, up the coast. There's Seattle up there, and this little town called Bremerton. There's a place there called The Tiki House, it's all these 16, 17, 18 year old kids living in the house with no parents. We play in the garage there, around seventy people will show up. There used to be this band there called Ape Escape. Instead of a microphone, they would have a banana, and kids would take bites out of the banana. We have some good shows in San Francisco. In LA we mainly book our own shows, some in halls, some in this run down business called Hyde Park Half. Anywhere really small, when you play there, it makes your band feel huge. Those our favourites.

Where will you stay tonight?

With the bass player...from 4 Dead. Morgan. Hopefully we stay with him. Hopefully it's warm.

Anything left to add?

Yeah, we always like to say this at the end of our interviews, people ask us about what bands are our influences, that kind of thing. We usually skip them. Music is so ubiquitous these days, it's out there on the internet, you can find it easily. For us, the big thing is reading more books. I'm currently reading Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse. For our band we try to pull a lot from books. It's more fulfilling than just a song. It's something that can stick with you for ever and ever, in a different way to music.

Do any of you do any writing of your own?

We all do some our own writing. I'm doing a book right now, fiction, short stories. Hopefully that will be finished soon.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Thank you.

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Daniel is now living in Santiago de Chile. You can find some more writing at I Love Chile

Recent Issues of Capital Eyes zine:

Issue 12- Sticky's Target 168: Russia
Issue 11- Yoko Oh No, Elysian
Issue 10- Break Even, Alexisonfire (reprints)
Issue 9- Jerkstore, Ruiner, To The North
Issue 8- 4 Dead, Dangers
Issue 7- Polar Bear Club, Jungle Fever