American Standards: Rock n Roll 2.0by Hot Off The Press (Release) on Jan. 10, 2013, under Press Releases
We recently had the chance to catch up with Brandon Kellum, the vocalist of American Standards via phone interview while they were on the road. American Standards is a punk infused hardcore band from Phoenix, Arizona. They recently signed to We Are Triumphant and released the EP “Still Life” being distributed by Victory Records. They’ve also been touring the US the better part of 2012 sharing the stage with bands such as Sick Of It All, Touché Amore, Joyce Manor, Trial and The Greenery with talks of international dates in 2013. They will be playing No Radio’s CD Release with Lariats and Such Confidence Saturday January 12th at TLMS (125 w Ventura St Tucson AZ 85705) in Tucson.
TC: You’ve recently signed to a very well recognized record label. How have things changed for the band since signing?
Brandon: Honestly, things haven’t changed much. As a band, we’ve always pushed to make things happen for ourselves and never expected anyone else to be responsible for us reaching our goals. With all the resources online, it’s really easy for a band to take the DIY approach. Especially with such a supportive music community. These are reasons signing to a label was never a priority. When we first started talking with Greg Long (CEO of We Are Triumphant), we wanted to make sure we could continue as such. We still handle our own recording, touring, merchandise and marketing. Everyone at WAT has been great and very supportive so far.
TC: Still Life has been received with great response as a truly innovative album. Reviews say it transcends genres and will pave the way for future heavy bands. How was the album approached?
Brandon: Still Life was very much a product of our environment. Lyrically, there are unifying themes of complacency and a desire for change and progression at an internal and external level. Musically it was the idea to make something heavy but different.
TC: I’ve noticed that in your songs. In a genre that relies heavily on high production, double bass, guitar sweeps and guttural vocals, Still Life took a sharp turn in a different direction. Even without those elements, Still Life stands up as a violently heavy but utterly dynamic piece if art. How was the recording process?
Brandon: Thank you! Recording was great. We tracked with Joe Gerhard of JM Studios in Mesa AZ. They’ve recorded several of our friends bands as well as done pre-production for local favorites such as Eyes Set To Kill, The Word Alive and Man Made Machine. It’s a very relaxed but professional environment. While recording there, we learned a lot about what we do well which has helped us focus in for the new album.
TC: When can we expect the new album and where will the sound take us?
Brandon: We’re shooting for the full length to be released in mid 2013. I think we’ve really expanded the dynamics in the songwriting. It will be some of the heaviest stuff we’ve released but still maintain the melody and structure. I think contrasting the extremes is what we are really into. We may even have a guest feature or two, so keep an ear out.
TC: What else can we expect from American Standards in 2013?
Brandon: A lot of touring. At this point, we already have more tour dates planned in the first half of 2013 than we’ve done in total for 2012. We also have a few big festivals that we will be a part of. Unfortunately we can’t announce them at this point though. I’d also expect to see us organize another Hope For The Hopeless compilation CD and show benefiting one of the non profits we support.
TC: What’s touring with American Standards like?
Brandon: The biggest part of touring seems to be driving. It’s drive 8 hours to play 30 minutes. So we try to entertain ourselves in that 8 hours by listening to not so distant nostalgia bands and taking grotesque candid pictures of each other to post on Instagram. There’s also a game we made on chat roulette/omegle but we won’t go into that.
TC: I’m sure you get asked it a lot, but what would be your dream tour?
Brandon: System Of A Down, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Refused and Every Time I Die. Make it happen.
TC: What Arizona locals should we keep an ear out for?
Brandon: Lariats, Sleepwalker, Your Young, Greeley Estates, Run With The Hunted and Man Made Machine. Each have really owned their style.
TC: Any other notable bands that you’ve played with on the road?
Brandon; Too many to name. I would definitely check out Dead Pilots, Alaska, Plagues, Tidemouth, Guttershark and Wolves though.
TC: I think that will fill up the iPod a bit and keep us busy listening to new jams. Any advice to other bands that are may just getting started?
Brandon: Do it for you. I think too many bands are following their influences so closely that they’ll always be a step behind. Find your own sound and stick to it. You’ll play a lot of shows where you don’t fit in and people just don’t get it, but I think that’s what will ultimately gain you respect. You won’t be following another bands path, you’ll be paving your own for others to follow. Don’t expect any fame or recognition. You’ll just stress out over that. If it happens, it happens. If not, at least have fun along the way. No one cares about the one note you missed in a song, so don’t talk about it the second you get off stage. And above all, music isn’t a competition. Stop racing to be the heaviest, fastest or most technical. Just write good music that you believe in. Network with everyone and build a supportive community.
TC: What’s the best part and worst part of being in a band?
Brandon: The best would be the people you meet. I can attribute 99% of the people I talk to and hang out with on a daily basis outside of work to music and being in a band. Some of my best friends I’ve met through shows. I even owe my current job to it. The worst is rough. It’d have to be, being away from the ones you love to do something that you love so much. Writing, recording and touring takes up a lot if free time. Balancing the schedules of four guys, our day jobs and a full time band is always hard too. And also the feeling that you can always do better. Write a better song, play harder at a show….But that’s art, its imperfect.
TC: I think I’ve taken up enough of your time. Anything else you’d like to mention?
Brandon: Don’t take everything so seriously, live life, have fun. Make some memories. Just because you listen to heavier stuff doesn’t mean you have to fit any pre-made mold. I think that pretty much covers it. Thanks for talking to us and thanks to anyone that has and is supporting us in any sort of way.
American Standards EP “Still Life” can now be found in stores and online through ITunes, Amazon, Spotify and Rhapsody. You can also pick up their merchandise through their Bandcamp and Victory Records Web Store. For tour dates, free downloads and band updates be sure to check them out online at:
SEE AMERICAN STANDARDS AT TLMS IN TUCSON ON SATURDAY JANUARY 12TH FOR NO RADIO’S ALBUM RELEASE WITH LARIATS AND SUCH CONFIDENCE