Sunday, October 26, 2008

Interview: Bored Stiff

BORED STIFF are a new local band that I was introduced to through MOLESTED YOUTH. My first impression is that they remind me of SSD in that they are trying to sound heavy without sounding metal. The difference between BORED STIFF and Boston’s original jock gestapo are that Bored Stiff sing about matters of substance. Songs like “Holy War” and “Pigs on Parade” are clear songs about oppression. That’s something I admire in a band. Here is an interview we did on EXD.

Welcome to the show and introduce yourself and tell us what you do in the band.
Warren (W): I’m Warren I play bass.
Andy (An): My name is Andy I play guitar.
Amanda(A): I’m Amanda and I play drums.
D’Arcy (D): I’m D’Arcy and I just sorta yell.
How long has BORED STIFF been around for?
D: I think our first band practice was in June 2008?
An: Yeah it was like the end of June.
W: We played our first show in late August.
D: Not too long, a couple months.
How did the band form?
W: Well I played in MOLESTED YOUTH before I started doing BORED STIFF and I met D’Arcy at one of our shows and D’Arcy knew Andy, and D’Arcy knew Amanda.
An: Well, me and D’Arcy go back a bit. We were in a band earlier with some other guys and it was a cold winter. It didn’t work out so well.
D: So me and Andy were looking for other people and I had seen Warren at every show every weekend and I had been in a band with Amanda a year previous.
W: Wasn’t that a METALLICA cover band?
D: Yeah.
A: Shut up!
D: Amanda’s a bit embarrassed about that. I am too!
D: So I saw Warren at a show, and we were looking for someone else, and finally it was like “who can play drums?” and I knew Amanda from the old band. So that was it.
An: It just sorta snowballed from there.
W: Yes, snowballing, I believe it did just that.
It’s good though, it seems like everyone had a part to bring someone else into the band. Seems almost like tag.
W: Yes, just like a friendly game of tag.
Okay, so do you want to mention the previous bands you were in? Do they have names?
D: Warren’s other bands worth mentioning, nothing else is. MOLESTED YOUTH.
So where does the name BORED STIFF come from ? Is there a story behind that?
D: We were arguing about band names for a long time. A lot of them were BLACK FLAG song titles.
An: Yeah, my good one was TOTAL TRASH but it’s too close to TRASH TALK.
W: I think the rest of these guys had the name BORED STIFF a long time ago, it was mentioned and I sorta brought it back.
An: It’s what D’Arcy wanted to call the old band.
A: We had no choice.
D: Yeah, the other band. We sorta had the name before and it just sorta stuck, but for no particular reason. No story, it just sounds badass.
Yeah it’s a good name.
W: Why, thank you.
An: It’s pretty awesome.
So who do you consider influences on the band?
An: A lot of 80’s hardcore.
W: I’m pretty into money, but I think I made that joke before when he was here for the MOLESTED YOUTH interview.
Yeah you did, it’s old, retire it.
An: Those dreams where you feel like you’re falling...those are a pretty big influence.
D: If you’re talking about musical influences I think its a lot of later 80’s stuff from New York City and a lot of current California stuff like TRASH TALK and CEREMONY.
An: When we started off we were really snotty, we had almost a GERMS, like the L.A. scene sounded originally. You can hear that on the demo.
D: But the newer stuff is a lot more California. TRASH TALK.
You wanna know what I think?
W: Please tell us.
You guys remind me a lot of early Boston scene. Think “Glue” by DYS, and S.E.I.G.E.
W: I’ve never heard that comparison, but I do understand it.
It seems like it’s very...gutteral, pounding, just angry. I think that early Boston scene was really trying to be “heavy” without being “metal”.
D: That’s exactly what we’re going for with our newer stuff, I think.
An: Yeah we try to avoid metal as much as possible.
W: But we don’t try to avoid heavy! We welcome that.
So they played a lot slower, heavier, and pounding, and that’s what I get from you guys. When I listen to you guys I think of DYS right away.
An: Our sound also brings up a lot of early 90’s more experimental power violence that was slower and a lot longer.
D: I think our early stuff is really fast and our newer stuff is slowing down. It’s a nice variety.
But even on the demo, you kind of mix it up, there’s a lot of slow, or at least, mid-tempo songs.
An: We like to see people dance, especially Nick Speal of MOLESTED YOUTH.
It’s a good mosh beat, don’t you think? So do you guys do any covers?
D: We’ve talked about that a lot, actually.
An: I’ve suggested a lot...but nobody likes any of my ideas.
Well you mentioned BLACK FLAG for instance, would you consider covering them possibly?
An: Yeah I’m trying to get us to cover “I’ve Had It” right now.
W: I think we should do “I Don’t Care”.
An: Pretty much any early BLACK FLAG song is good.
W: We should do a song off of “Family Man”.
An: “Do you want the swinging man or the family man”.
W: Really get the crowd involved...bring the mosh.
So I’m going to ask the record collection question now. If you had to limit your record collection to five punk releases, what would they be?
An: Oh my god.
W: You asked this question last time I was here and I still don’t have an answer for you.
That’s sad because you had time to prepare, you know I’m going to ask it.
An: Mine would be.... holy Jesus I can’t even think.
Okay don’t make it difficult, just think of five great releases! Honestly!
An: Mine would be the first three RAMONES records, “Unknown Pleasures” by JOY DIVISION and the CROSSED OUT discography
With JOY DIVISION, that’s crazy!
D: Mine would have to be CHAIN OF STRENGTH “The One Thing that Still Holds True”, MINOR THREAT discography, WEEZER’s “Pinkerton” album just blows my mind.
D: Oh god, that is a great record!
W: That is a really good record!
An: It is !
D: Number four and five’s tough.
D: Oh yeah, god, CURSED “II” definitely...but the last album...probably have to be...there’s this really great folk artist from Maryland called HOP ALONG QUEEN ANSLEIS ... oh, just makes my heart melt ... but that ain’t punk.
W: What in the hell is that !
D: It’s folk music. It’s pretty, she’s good.
Amanda do you want to answer this?
A: I really cannot choose five. This is like the hardest question of my life.
What are five great releases just off the top of your head?
A: Anything by TRASH TALK or CEREMONY.
A: Oh of course, “Kill Them All”! hahah, sorry, I got me.
Alright Warren, the mic has been passed.
W: Oh god, I don’t know...uh..
D: You’re a terrible interviewee.
What, you don’t listen to punk rock?
W: I hate that shit man.
An: Listen to some jazz conga.
W: That’s really good man, have you heard that stuff? It’s really, really good. Um, I don’t know, when I was here last time I know I said “Shattered” by the EXPLODING HEARTS, and I’m going to leave it at that.
So D’Arcy, do you write all the lyrics?
D: Yeah, I do.
An: Most of them. I contribute but he doesn’t listen to me.
W: Hey, actually, I have an answer.... the “Space Jam” soundtrack. (everyone laughs)
An: Excellent! Can I change mine to “Eternal E” by EASY E?
D: Um...yeah, 90% of the lyrics are written by me. He helps out a bit. He’s written a couple of songs that ….
An: That nobody likes!
D: No we liked them, but we ended up scrapping the musical ideas that didn’t work out, but Andy’s influence is definitely in there.
An: ugggghh...pft...(grumble).
D: But I consult him first if there’s a line I’m working on that I need help with.
And so what are some of the things you write about.
An: Not liking cops!
D: Yeah we have “Pigs on Parade” which is about not liking cops.
Is that song inspired by a particular story and maybe you could tell it?
D: To be perfectly honest its not inspired by a specific thing that happened. You would think that something terrible occurred but nothing did. I mean, I’ve been confronted by the police a few times, and none of them were very nice experiences but nothing in particular. Really what influenced that song was just trying to wrap my head around the idea that there’s a man out there with a gun and his job is to find there’s a beautiful idea of love and peace and sick people have warped that into segregation and hate, “I Have Issues” deals with depression, “Dead Meat” deals with hating everyone I know, “Oppression” deals with the New World Order – there’s a lot of stuff going on.
There’s a lot interesting stuff, that’s why I asked.
An: He’s very angry.
W: Everything kind of sucks.
An: Inside the band we call him “Angry D’Arcy”.
D: There’s a joke going where I was “the serious one”.
An: You still are the serious one!
That’s okay, you want your voice to be the serious one. What would be your favorite song from a lyrical standpoint and why?
An: Ah Jesus.
W: Not Jesus.
An: (to Warren) You’re a fool. That’s a really hard question, I gotta say “Pigs On Parade” is up there, because it does speak on so many levels about cops.
W: Yeah I think “Pigs on Parade” is my favourite too. That’s always been my favourite song we’ve had. I just think its really kick ass.
An: It’s everybody’s favourite song because it gets everybody dancing.
D: I think “I Have Issues” and “Dead Meat” are pretty personal songs about dealing with depression and hating everyone, which not a lot of people can completely relate to. “Holy War” is also from a very specific standpoint and my rant against organized religion, but “Pigs on Parade” I think a lot of people really like the lyrics to, because everyone can relate to that. Everyone has to deal with the cops everyday. They’re out there. From my point of view I quite like oppression, its simple “Your right hand holds me down, my left hand makes a fist”.
Amanda, do you have a favorite song from a lyrical standpoint? I know the drummer never usually has an opinion but...
A: My opinion doesn’t matter so.
D: Whoa!
W: Yeah, all you do is hit stuff.
A: I just do what they tell me.
An: she doesn’t even get paid.
W: Wait, I don’t get paid !
Is there a song that stands out?
A: I’d have to say “Pigs on Parade”. I just have to agree or else I’ll get hurt later.
W: That is just a really killer song.
So you guys have a demo out, how long ago was that put out.
D: We had two practices, wrote five songs in those two practices and the next time we were in the same room was in my basement recording.
W: That was still during the summer.
Did you rent equipment and record it yourselves or get someone to help you with it?
An: Yeah D’Arcy’s brother recorded everything for us. We rented equipment, I think we still owe Amanda money for that.
W: I’ll pay you back eventually.
D: What I thought was pretty cool about that was, I’m pretty sure that was the third time we had all been in the same room. We wrote those first five songs really fast and just wanted to put them on tape.
I wouldn’t have guessed. It sounded like a studio recording.
An: In that sense, there was a lot of stuff set up down there, but still pretty raw sounding in the end.
What’s the response been to the demo?
D: The first show we played, which I believe was two weeks after we’d recorded, we sold every single demo we had made.
W: Well to be fair, we only made like 25.
An: But it was a cool feeling.
W: The response has been pretty great so far. Everyone I’ve talked to is really into it.
An: Everything’s going so great, there’s no way to describe it other than a perfect snowball.
Have you got any feedback from anybody? What are people saying?
An: After shows you just hear everyone telling you how great your set was, people coming up to us and just like “dude, that was so intense”. Its been amazing so far.
Okay, I want you to tell me a story about your second show. Is this the D’Arcy thing, where he flew in from Halifax?
An: First of all, I had broken my foot and I was still on crutches at this point.
Oh yeah, jumping off of a...
An: Fell off. If I had jumped off I would’ve landed right in that pool. No, I fell off and yeah I broke...
What did you fall off of?
An: I fell off of Nick’s second story roof.
Jumping into a pool.
W: To be honest I thought he was dead for a while.
So how many things did you break?
An: I fractured my heel bone, I ripped open my other foot so there’s a flappy piece of skin hanging everywhere, I had to get sixteen stitches. There was also a fracture in my pelvis but it turned out later it could be unrelated and maybe I got it skateboarding or something...
D: But the story you’re referring to is I woke up in Halifax, had to catch the plane that night at like three in the morning, got back to Toronto at eight in the morning. By now I hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours, and then I stayed up all day until the show that night. Got there two hours late, and at that point I hadn’t slept in almost 36 hours. I was exhausted, dying, but we played the show anyway. Afterwards people said it was so intense, but honestly I don’t rememeber any of it. I was dead.
An: That show was almost disasterous, because he showed up so late.
Was this also the pig-guts or pig-blood show?
W: No that was our first show, at Siesta Nouveau, not Jay’s house. During the REPROBATES their singer like brought out a bag of pig’s guts and they were nasty and wet and sandy feeling, and he went nuts and started throwing them at everybody. Eventually Jay, the singer for BAD SKIN, just like wrapped them around his face and started running into everybody. It was so gnarly! During our second show at Jay’s house, I forget what band it was, I think it was BAD SKIN’s set, someone brought out a jar of strawberry jam... and there was chocolate sauce everywhere. It looked like a total warzone. It looked like shit hit the fan.
Quite literally. What are your thoughts on the Toronto scene at the moment?
An: It’s wonderful. One of the greatest things about it, y’know there’s all these “beard-hardcore” type guys, that are just like straight-outta-highschool and they’re all like “all you young kids in hardcore are ruining everything. You gotta be old to be into this shit” Elitist shit. It’s great because in Toronto there are so many young bands and people that are just picking things up and with the last year with Stuck In The City, everything in our scene is just going so beautifully.
W: Yeah Stuck In The City is making it a lot easier for younger bands to get noticed and they’ve been doing a great job with it and I totally respect what Greg and his crew are doing.
What are the band’s plans for the next while. You played a bunch of new songs tonight, obviously wrote new material.
An: Yeah we’re playing November 9th with SOUL CONTROL and IN TIME and RAH.
D: I dunno, we were talking about mixing the set we did today and releasing that as our new demo. There’s nine or ten songs on there. That’s our demo redone plus five or six new ones. That’ll be our new release.
W: Things are moving really fast in this band, it’s kind of amazing. Its just always “going”.
An: I’m not saying this in any negative way but if everything ended tomorrow I would be happy, I’m just super happy with everything we’ve done so far, we’ve been able to do so much in such a little time.
And you guys were remarking earlier how everything in this band seems to be working, and before when we were downstairs you guys were talking about how easy it is to be in this band.
An: Ironically, as great as everything’s going, we’re really accident prone.
Do you plan on touring at all?
W: That would be amazing!
D: There’s been a couple little jokes about us and RAH doing a little summer tour, but I don’t know if that’s really going to happen.
A: Japan 2009. (laughter)
W: I’ve already booked the flight
An: I’ve got this little guy who’s gonna show us around and translate everything. His name is Miroki.
Warren: Miroki’s a nice guy.
An: He accepts payment in BORED STIFF demos.
W: Does he take pictures of former US presidents?
An: He does!
D: I have no idea what you guys are talking about! but yeah, the band’s plan is just upwards and onwards. Just get as far and as big as we can and ....
A: And then sell out.
Warren: Just hang hard, man.
An: We’re selling out next week.
D: If anyone from MTV is listening, we’d like to be on TV everyday forever. Thank you.
An: We want money and women. That’s about it.
A: And men.
W: I’m just down to hang hard for a while.
Alright, enough of your dreams. What’s the best way for people to get in touch with the band?
An: Well, you could yell really loud from your roof, but that won’t work super good. It would be pretty novel though.
W: Just put up the Bat signal, we’ll be there in a sec.
D: We have a myspace account,, and we’re playing around Toronto every couple weeks.
An: And you can come talk to us after shows, we’re pretty friendly.
W: Well, I’m not very friendly.
Any last comments?
An: Hi Ivan.
W: I’d like to make a few ma boy Travis, ma girl Christina, oh and there’s this guy in this room standing over here. He’s my brother, he’s kind of a dickhead, whats up Natalie? What’s going on Manir? Y’know who’s sick? RAH, RAH is sick! what’s up RAH?!
An: You know who are sick? BLACK FLAG.
D: Yeah shout-outs to Henry Rollins.
W: What’s up Henry? you listening?
Amanda: Happy birthday Laura!
W: Happy birthday Laura, I don’t know who you are ...
D: I know my family is listening at home. My girlfriend Brie, so hi, hello!
W: Hi D’Arcy’s mom!
A: Hi Brie!
D: Big shout out to Greg & Stuck in The City, MOLESTED YOUTH, RAH, EATING GLASS - the new record rules.
W: Those guys are tearing it up in the scene. They’re doing big things.

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