AMERICAN STANDARDS LASHES OUT WITH ANTI-MELODY BY: Stephanie Stevens
Emotionally charged hardcore punk band AMERICAN STANDARDS have rooted themselves in the Phoenix, AZ scene since the bands formation in 2011.
Throughout the bands career they have released numerous eps, LPS and demos but just recently the guys released 8 song release entitled ANTI-MELODY that all together surpasses anything I Have heard from the band. They are broadening their sound with some more melodic darker atmospheric sounds especially in the song BARTENDERS WITHOUT WINGS and the withering dreggy sound of CHICAGO OVERCOAT the guys are building on their already powerful sound. but still sticks you hard with the hardcore fast paced intensity in WRITERS BLOCK PARTY and DANGER MUSIC, #9. Lyrically these guys have always had a powerful message but on this disc a more emotionally charged state is being spewed out with the passing of some influential and close people to the bands family. This is what makes music stand out and true and when a band can bring you in with that you know they have an art.
So, with knowing just a little about this Arizona band and knowing that the new disc ANTI-MELODY had me intrigued I got to chat with vocalist Brandon Kellum about the bands formation, how emotionally charged he gets with his writing and finding out more about the new disc ANTI-MELODY
HOW DID THE BAND FORM AND DID YOU START OUT AS MORE OF A HARDCORE BAND OR PUNK BAND AND THEN INFLUENCES JUST GELLED INTO WHAT YOU ARE TODAY? AMERICAN STANDARDS is the bi-product of old news. In 2010 we had all left past projects with varying degrees of success and in one way or another managed to stumble across each other. We really didn't think much about genre at the time and focused more on what came organically. As a result, I don't know that we've ever fully been adopted by the hardcore, metal or punk communities. We seem to lay somewhere askew of each.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT LINE UP AND WHERE DID YOU FIND THESE GUYS? Around 2013 we went from a 5 piece to a 4 piece. The current line up consists of Corey Skowronski shredding the guitar, Steven Mandell slapping the bass, Mitch Hosier beating the shit out of the drums and myself yelling obnoxiously into a microphone. We found each other through a little bit of luck and a bit more of pure coincidence.
HOW HAS THE ARIZONA SCENE GROWN AND HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR BAND HAS HELPED OUT IN THE SCENE? As much as people like to think, I don't think our scene (or any scene) is too terribly different from each other. The people and the places may change but the overall themes stay the same. The popular genres are cyclical and grow till they burst, only to grow again. The concert goers follow suit. The more niche the genre is, the tighter knit the community is. I'd like to think that AMERICAN STANDARDS are a band that can bridge one crowd to another. We've never tried to be the most popular of any clique but rather be the band that's willing to disregard all that and opt to play with bands that we like and for people we enjoy to be around. Doesn't matter if that means supporting a hip hop artist or a death metal band. Maybe to some small extent we've inspired others to do the same. Seek out art that inspires, not art that fits a preconceived notation of what's "good".
WHO WOULD BE YOUR BIGGEST BAND INFLUENCE AND WHO GOT YOU INTO SINGING AND SONGWRITING? Always a hard question and probably varies a bit between members. In terms of playing music, probably a tossup between System Of A Down or Deftones. Those were the first bands that I got into where I really thought that maybe I could play music. I think what I took from them in terms of songwriting and having a more meaningful message still stay with me till this day.
YOUR SONGS LYRICALLY FROM PAST TO CURRENT RUN THE GAMET OF CORPORATE GREED, MEDIA SATIRE, LOSS AND PERSONAL STRUGGLE. WHAT DO YOU FIND THE HARDEST TO WRITE ABOUT? Writing closer to home always proves to be the hardest. It's easy to look externally and comment on what you see but exploring more personal topics carry a whole new weight.
ON ANTI-MELODY HOW MUCH PERSONAL EMOTION WAS PUT INTO THE SONGS OVER THE LOSS OF YOUR OLD GUITARIST CODY AND YOUR DEATH OF YOUR FATHER? I think that the loss of each plays a part into every aspect of the songs and really life in general now. It's changed my personal outlook on everything. As far as how much of the lyrics are directly about them, there's a song for my father "CANCER EATER" and one for Cody, "CHICAGO OVERCOAT".
SPEAKING OF YOUR OLD GUITAR PLAYERS PASSING IT WAS A SUICIDE I READ AND WITH THE RECENT LOSS OF CHESTER OF LINKIN PARK. HOW DO YOU VIEW THE WAY THESE GUYS TOOK THEIR LIVES AND FOR ANYONE OUT THERE IN THE SAME BOAT WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? It's an unexplainable feeling. Knowing how much it hurts for those that they were survived by, I can't imagine the pain and depression that they went through personally before it got to that point. I'm in no position to give advice but I will say that for anyone battling depression, reach out, get help. There will be better days to come if you allow them to.
YOU RELEASED THE SONG WRITERS BLOCK PARTY AS YOUR SINGLE WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT ONE AND WHO CAME UP WITH THE CONCEPT OF THE VIDEO? Lyrically, WRITERS BLOCK PARTY really served as the prelude to the album. It was also the musical bridge between writing for Hungry Hands and what was to become ANTI-MELODY. Where many may have expected us to go on either extreme, heavier or more polished, we really wanted to focus on what made us, us. For the video, I just wanted to do something fun that involved our friends/fans and that would show that despite the serious lyrical content and heavy music, we don't take ourselves too seriously. It was really an extension of our live show and derived from some actual experiences that we've encountered playing at the most unlikely of venues.
ONE TRACK THAT STOOD OUT FOR ME WAS BARTENDERS WITHOUT WINGS, A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE ALBUM IS THIS THE WAY YOU SEE AMERICAN STANDARDS GOING AND WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE THE TIDES IN SONG WRITING FOR THIS ONE BARTENDERS WITHOUT WINGS was really our way of paying homage to bands that we all loved in that style such as Underoath and From Autumn To Ashes. We also wanted to do something that people may not have expected from us where the guitar was less dirty and lyrics really had their chance to shine.
DESCRIBE TO SOMEONE CHECKING YOUR BAND OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 3 WORDS WHAT THEY WILL HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN A LIVE ATMOSPHERE AND IN A RECORDING? Raw, Passionate, Chaos.
LAST COMMENTS? No matter who you are or what you do, you have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others. If that means picking up an instrument and making them forget about their problems for a night or just lending an ear to listen, you can start now. Go out and be excellent to each other.