Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mourningside a.d. interview with vocalist :Damon. April 8, 2010.

Vista: Can you answer the usual xerox copied fanzine question, who's in the band and who does what?

Damon: Of course. My name is Damon, and I do vocals for the band Mourningside A.D.. In no particular order of importance, we have Jake on guitar, Tuch playing bass, Anthony on drums and Jeremy on guitar.

Vista: Give us a brief history of the band. When did you guys start, music released so far, ex-members, etc.?

Damon: We formed in late 2008 and played our first show in early 2009. Our original line-up featured our long time friend, Spencer, on bass. He was replaced by Tuch, who had been helping the band in various ways up until that point, just before our first show. With this line-up, we recorded and released our demo, titled "Dispose EP". This rough demo was surprisingly embraced by a decent amount of people, which gave us more than enough motivation to put out our debut 7 inch last fall, titled "Confessions of Disbelief". 

Vista: Didn't you guys originally go under the name, "Mourningside", and now you guys are under the name, "Mourningside A.D."? Did some shitty major label band, with a shitty high priced lawyer threaten to kill your first born if you didn't change the name?

Damon: Hahaha. No. We weren't threatened in any fashion that could have possibly been molded into an interesting story or fairy tale {like the Holy Bible} but there was another band from Boston who had the same name, who did threaten us with legal action unless we did something to change our name. We came to an agreement that adding "A.D." would be a decent compromise. It was fine by us and there is no animosity between our two bands.

Vista: Tell us about some of your influences? I hear a lot of Chokehold in there. Is that a fair statement? Also, you guys have something to say lyrically...A true rarity in the hardcore scene these days! What are the lyrical topics you are touching on?

Damon: We have a wide range of influences, musically. All of them being 90's metalcore bands. We take a lot of influence from bands like {stand back and watch me name drop}, Unbroken, Mean Season, Groundwork, Chokehold, and Disembodied. The lyrics, like to music, cover a wide spectrum of thoughts, feelings, ideas and emotions, from religious and social manipulation, to self-reflection and depression.

Vista: Speaking of influences. Who are your influences, when talking about vocal-style and vocal approach?

Damon: Like the band itself, I pay ultimate tribute to the 90's metalcore genre with my vocal patterns and recording style. Layering is a key tool I use while recording,because everyone knows that the subject matter isn't important unless it's being screamed by multiple persons who, if you didn't know any better, were simply in the hallway singing along to various words that they happened to know while we were recording. But really, I take a lot of direction from bands like, Chokehold and Disembodied. Being the singer of a "heavy" band, while not possessing a heavy voice, I am forced to be more creative than brutish, in my approach.

Vista: Talk a little bit about the hardcore/metalcore scene going on these days on the West Coast. Any good bands out these that we should be on the lookout for? Also, what's up, club-wise? What type of places are holding shows? Anyone out there doing any fanzines or are kids like, "what the fuck is a fanzine"!!??

Damon: There's a wide variety of bands making things happen over here. In the past couple of years, the West Coast has certainly been doing things well. Just to name a few, and I know I'm leaving a lot of bands out {I'm sorry}, we have Abandon, Not Sorry, Envision, Feel Bad Now, and many, many more. Venues come and go in So Cal, but we manage to find places to have shows regardless, whether it's a warehouse, surf shop, or living room. As far as zines go, most I find are online, but that isn't to say that there aren't some zines floating around at various shows, but there's no doubt about it: Kids over here still get ink on their fingers from local zines.

Vista: What's the biggest problem that you see in today's current hardcore scene? Is it dudes in tight girl pants & guy-liner makeup? Or would it be bands who "think" they can actually sing? Or bands who have nothing to say/stand for? What's fuckin' up the scene nowadays, or is it just "awesome"?!

Damon: A huge problem that I've encountered is a lack of discussion and cultivation of thoughts and ideas in a show type environment. This band has played many shows and I have spoken my mind about many topics. My opinions may be shared or disagreed with, scoffed at our applauded. The issue that I have is that whether someone in the crowd strongly agrees or disagrees with any idea or opinion I put on display, I never hear about it. No one chooses to approach me and tell me how dead wrong I am and why...Or even that I'm an asshole. Nothing. The typical show-goer will sneer and walk away, rather than challenge, speak, think, debate and grow with me, despite our differences of opinion. That is the big problem, in my opinion. Fashion and shitty music doesn't really concern me.

Vista: What are some stand out shows that you guys have played, so far? Also, has the band been to the East Coast yet? Any tour plans?

Damon: We haven't played any "big" shows, really. We do have a show coming up with Disembodied. That is a big deal to us. We have never been to the East Coast, but have been wanting to get out there. Someday, I hope. In late June/early July, we are planning on going to Seattle. We love the NW and we are looking forward to going back as soon as possible.

Vista: Were any of you guys in any other bands prior to Mournigside A.D.?

Damon: Everyone has been in a band or two, except me. This is my first experience in a band, and it's been a great one. I don't know if any of the guys would appreciate it if I were to mention any of their previous..."Efforts". Haha. Well just leave it at that.

Vista: What was your first exposure to punk/hardcore? Also, what was the first "core" show you ever attended?

Damon: My first exposure was from my mother, an old punker, who would play the Dead Kennedys while cleaning the house. With that base in punk rock, I slowly fell into it. My first hardcore show was a local band showcase at a club called, Chain Reaction. I can't even remember who played. All I remember is that it was sweaty, chaotic, and the most fun I ever had.

Vista: What are some goals for the band, if any? What was the driving force to even want to actually start a band?

Damon: Our number one goal was to put out a 7 inch record. immortalizing our music on wax was a dream we all shared. Now that we've accomplished that goal, our next goal is to put out a 12 inch record. The main reason this band was started is simple. We didn't like what most bands playing had to offer, so we set out to do things our way. So far, we've been true to that sentiment. 

Vista: I can really hear that you guys are into 90's style hardcore, which is kinda rare these days. In this day in age, most bands would rather be a math-core band or some shitty guitar-noodling "Swedish" metal influenced band. My question is, name some bands/albums that, in your opinion, really defined 90's hardcore?

Damon: Disembodied "Diablerie", from start to finish, this record is perfect. The heaviest band of the 90's with a vocalist, who didn't posses a heavy voice, but executed his role perfectly, made a record that will always stand the test of time. Unbroken "Life.Love.Regret.". The countless "Life.Love.Regret" tattoos floating around tells you how important this band and record was in the 90's. This record touches down on emotion and politics in a way that can be related to and not simply observed. Chokehold "Content With Dying". Whether you loved or hated this band, their impact was undeniable. Their politics, though somewhat black and white at times, were screamed with such conviction, that only the music and riffs on this record could fittingly compliment them. Those are my top three records.

Vista: Where did you guys come up with the name, "Mourningside"? Also, any meaning behind it?

Damon: We took the name Mourningside from a Mean Season song of the same title. We love Mean Season. That particular song is tragic and is also a far cry from their normal "hardcore" sound, just like our style is far removed from the typical style played by most bands in today's hardcore scene.

Vista: Outside of playing music, what are some of your interests and hobbies?

Damon: Everyone in the band shares very different hobbies and interests. For fun, I'll simply make a list of hobbies and interests and we'll let the reader imagine who's into which: Adult softball league, hockey, adult soccer league, Buddhist meditation, button making, death metal side projects, comic book collecting, break dancing, skateboarding, Star Wars collectible hording, and church going. Actually, disregard that last one.

Vista: That's all the questions that I got for you. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything else you'd like to say? What's up for the band in the spring/summer 2010? Also, what's the best way to get in touch with the band?

Damon: It's no trouble at all. Thank you for listening to our band and for taking the time to write these questions. As I said, we have a tour being planned right now for late July, for the NW. Keep an ear to the ground for another release this Summer. Another 7 inch or possibly a 12 inch is in the works. Best way to get in touch with us would be through our Myspace. WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MOURNINGSIDEHC. The best place for new and "exciting" information would be our blogspot.

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