Friday, December 7, 2007
Interview and intro text by Wolf
I've known guitarist SCOTT WILLIAMS (AKA: EPIC WARFARE) from DOUBLE NEGATIVE for atleast 15 years. Most of that time watching him on stage at some club performing in whatever band he was in at the time. I'll never forget the time, while he was in the band DADDY, playing a show at KINGS years ago. He started insulting all the scenester types in the audience. He also made his feelings clear about people from CHAPEL HILL and a local free weekly newspaper's music dept. My friends and I just laughed our asses off, it was a beautiful moment because we agreed with him.
When I finally got onto MySpace, he was one of the first individuals to contact me. He told me about his new band DOUBLE NEGATIVE and about all of their upcoming shows. Unfortunately because of my then hectic work schedule, I missed a lot of opportunities to see them perform. Finally on a Wednesday night last Winter I saw them play at the Flint Place. And to me it was like an epiphany, since I never believed a band today could still play Hardcore Punk in the style from 1980-82 ever again. Atleast not without coming across as fake or rehashing. That night I became a believer in DOUBLE NEGATIVE. Another crazy thing happened that night, their drummer BRIAN WALSBY and I finally talked. Yeah sounds strange, but we have known about each other for years. We just never talked to one another. I've seen him play in various bands and he always heard I was a Punk Psychopath.
Now they have released their debut 10 song LP "THE WONDERRFUL AND FRIGHTENING WORLD OF DOUBLE NEGATIVE" on NO WAY Records. In SCUMFEAST 6 (old format) I called it the best Hardcore release I've heard in decades. Now other people around the country, if not the world, will get their chance to hear DOUBLE NEGATIVE too.
DOUBLE NEGATIVE are:
KC - Vocals
EPIC WARFARE - Guitar
KAMPF TAPES - Bass
WALSBY - Drums
BRIAN WALSBY was nice enough to answer a few questions, even though people think I'm mean.
SCUMFEAST - I'd like to start from the beginning of the band's history. Since you're all veterans of the underground music scene, how did you all get together to form DOUBLE NEGATIVE?
We have been friends since the mid-eighties but alot had changed in our lives since then. At the end of 2005 we all went to an underground house party and saw the new wave of young punk bands. They all seemed pretty into it and it was inspiring enough for us to decide to form a band that was likeminded. We thought that we could do this and that was pretty much how it all started, which was January of 2006.
SCUMFEAST - The band's logo harkens back to the past when many Punk/Hardcore bands had a simple recognizable logo, which you would see spray-painted on bathroom walls of nightclubs across the country. BLACK FLAG's "The Bars" or the CIRCLE JERKS' "Skankman" to name a few. Who came up with the logo?
Gosh, I forgot. I wanna say that it was probably Scott. I think it was. I really like the logo. It does harken back to that era with those logos. I'm sure that was the idea behind it.
SCUMFEAST - The logo used to be red, white, and black. You replaced the red with gold, why was that?
Kevin thought it looked too nazi-ish. I suppose he was right in the end. That is all we heard when we first came out with those colors for our stickers. Almost a year goes by and right before our album comes out, Kevin decided all of this. It ended up looking alot better in gold anyways, the cover has this weird GERMS/SWANS thing for it. I still wish we could have had the big mohawked skull on it. Maybe next time.
SCUMFEAST - When and where was your debut gig and how were you first received by the audience?
We played maybe 3 months into the band's existence and it was in front of a bunch of people at Kings. We were received really well and we were surprised.
SCUMFEAST - Did you always have long range plans for this band (ie: touring, recording, etc)?
Not at all, that was thinking too far ahead for when we first started. I think we just wanted to have a good time
SCUMFEAST - Aside from your music, the other reason I like DOUBLE NEGATIVE is that you are not a cliché of the past. Did that ever come up in discussion when you started the band?
Honestly, we never discussed stuff like that at all. I think it's pretty obvious that alot of what we are about is inspired by the past, especially the 80s hardcore world. But we didn't try to recreate any of that. We didn't even know what would come out of us but since we all knew a thing or two about how to play this style of music, it seemed to work out well. Kevin and I were talking a while ago about how much better this band is then the bands we used to be in when we first started playing this stuff. We always hear from kids about SCARED STRAIGHT and SUBCULTURE since we were in those bands, but this band is alot better then those.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: I used to have that SCARED STRAIGHT LP and saw SUBCULTURE back in the day. Yes, DOUBLE NEGATIVE are better.)
SCUMFEAST - We're close together in age so we remember when Hardcore emerged out of the rubble of the original Punk movement in the early 80s. And I will say that the majority of individuals of my generation agree that Hardcore went from good to bad to pathetic. But now 25 years later it seems to have cycled around to the good stuff again. Yourselves and CROSS LAWS are perfect examples of that. Would you agree with that assessment?
Somewhat, I mean I totally lost interest in hardcore in general after a certain point because it just ended up sounding the same. It was getting boring and generic. This was during the end of the 80s. There was too much music I liked that I couldn't just dismiss solely because it wasn't hardcore enough. In the 90s, I couldn't think of maybe 2 or 3 bands that I liked that were hardcore, whatever that was. These days there seems to be so many sub genres for all styles of music and most of it sounds pretty disposable to me any way you slice it. There seems to be alot more hardcore stuff coming out that tips it's hat to the 80s sound and some of them are really fun in a live setting.
But I probably wouldn't go home and listen to them. Only the bands FUCKED UP and the CARBONAS have really done that for me. And that is just how it is for me. That is just how it is for me not the other members of the band and it is certainly not meant to be a knock on anyone out there doing things.
SCUMFEAST - You've released your debut LP on NO WAY Records, who's in charge of that label?
Brandon and Lauren, two nice youngsters.
SCUMFEAST - How many copies of the LP are in the first pressing?
I think one thousand? Maybe I'm wrong. It came out on CD as well. I do know for a fact that it is going into it's third pressing on vinyl which is great.
SCUMFEAST - Will this release be vinyl only or do you plan to have it available on CD?
See above answer. The CD is enhanced with some live footage as well.
SCUMFEAST - Why did you have it playable at 45 RPM speed and not at the normal 331/3rd LP speed?
Justin taped "Rehumanization" and played it for us. It sounded like VENOM or ENTOMBED. It actually sounded pretty good.
SCUMFEAST - While looking at the liner notes on the sleeve insert, I see that you recorded it at MINIMUM WAGE STUDIOS in Richmond, Virginia. So why didn't you record it in your hometown of Raleigh, NC?
Originally we were going to self-finance a recording with COC's Mike Dean. I had recorded with him before and it just made sense to do that considering his pedigree and that he is a friend. Also he's a longtime influence from times where he was leader of that band when they were at their peak. But then Brendan and Lauren made us the offer and it was going to be paid by them so we couldn't pass it up. They all live in Richmond and that is where Lance has his studio. Working with Lance was easy and the whole thing came out far above my expectations. It came out sounding really great.
SCUMFEAST - There's quite a few bands on MySpace who are selling their songs on their sites. I know a few local area bands that are making out better financially by selling songs than full length CDs. Do you plan on trying that?
It hasn't come up to my memory. Who knows? Probably not?
SCUMFEAST - Other than SCUMFEAST Zine, have you received other favorable reviews for the LP, be it local or otherwise?
Quite a bit and almost all of them have been very supportive. Even the one review that wasn't was still pretty good. They thought the record really kicked in towards the end and it reminded them of old DIE KREUZEN and they wished it was like that all the way through. Being compared to DIE KREUZEN isn't a bad thing at all so that was cool.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: According to the "Indie Rockers Guide To Reviewing Music", under the musical term "hardcore punk" it states that "whenever reviewing hardcore punk, always namedrop bands like DIE KREUZEN or VOID so you will look cool and hip to that scene." Secondly the local pro-socialist/indie rock free weekly compared you to DIE KREUZEN. SCUMFEAST zine didn't because we know music and indie rockers are college radio losers.)
SCUMFEAST - In my review of your LP I called it the best Hardcore release I've heard in decades. In hindsight I should've said 20 years instead of decades to clarify what I meant to readers who were too young to remember. Still with that said do you consider my statement hyperbole or do you see the release to be true to my words of praise?
Thanks, well I don't know. I wouldn't consider us anything special but maybe because we actually saw all of those old bands that everybody loves form way back then. And maybe because we played this style of music way back then. Perhaps it does lend us some ability to do something that might be a little bit more something you can sink your teeth into but we never planned any of that. And we were quite glad to read such things.
SCUMFEAST - The live shot photo on the back of the lyric sheet, was that taken at the Flint Place?
Yeah, Hank took that picture and we all thought it was a good one so there you go.
SCUMFEAST - As far as the songwriting goes, does everyone contribute to the writing?
Scott usually kicks off the whole thing with a few rifts and everyone ends up throwing in their two cents. It takes alot longer to piece it together then it seems, although sometimes we've written songs in like ten minutes. Not usually though.
SCUMFEAST - Are you hitting a cowbell in the song "Redshift"?
That is the last appearance of my ice bell that I have had for twelve years. I lost it not too long ago but I got a new one.
SCUMFEAST - Just for the hell of it, I listened to the LP at 331/3rd speed with the volume turned up really high just to see if it sounded like the MELVINS. That's an obvious reference to your favorite band. Actually it sounds like the DEHUMANIZERS, which is pretty cool. It's almost like having two releases for the price of one. No I didn't play it backwards since that would be stupid but have you tried listening to it at 331/3rd speed?
See that last VENOM/ENTOMBED reference for that answer.
SCUMFEAST - Getting back to doing shows, you've regulars on the local house show circuit, is that because of a lack of viable venues to have shows billed as Punk/Hardcore locally?
I have mixed feelings about this. I love the energy and responce from the house shows but sometimes they can be a drag as well. It would be nice to get a little money but I think that is ultimately the band's fault more than anyone elses. As far as clubs go, it would be nice to do more of those but sometimes you don't get the same feeling as the house parties when those run smoothly. So you are in sort of a Catch-22 situation in regards to all of that. I feel if we can play anywhere, from a basement all the way to the Los Angeles Forum, then why the hell not? I would love to mix things up alot more. I don't think it would be a bad idea since I really want to limit what we do as a band or where we can play.
SCUMFEAST - You played a few shows at the now closed down nightclub KINGS BARCADE here in Raleigh. Do you see any other area venues that will pick up those shows?
Out of all of us, I'm the most out of the loop as far as knowing about these things. So I can't offer any opinion.
SCUMFEAST - I find it funny how the local "arts community" is crying about the closing of KINGS and the continued threat to all small businesses in downtown. And yet it was this same group of people who supported the politicians (the mayor and most of the city council who are now in power) who are directly responsible for the closing of KINGS by giving the go ahead to building a convention center that the public voted against. Are these people hypocrites?
Probably so, but you know how it is. There will always be something around the corner. These things seem to go in waves.
SCUMFEAST - Since the city has now enacted laws that give it the power to declare certain properties as public nuisances and have condemned certain properties, which made it easy for developers to buy property owners out. Are you worried that the city will go after places that are part of the local House Show Circuit next?
It already has happened, hasn't it? Really how long could those things last anyways? If I was living near one of those, I would've called the cops a long time ago. The best party is always the one that is not held at your house, so you can leave and go home. And besides, we are not talking about acoustic hoedowns where middle-aged guys with ponytails sitting around and eating carob cookies. We're talking drunks peeing on lawns where loud blasting music is being heard. Is it any surprise that people living in residential areas get these things shut down and call the cops?
SCUMFEAST - Outside of the band, what kind of work does everyone in the band do for support?
We all have boring regular jobs and some of us have hobbies and pastimes that also help bring in chump change. It would be too boring to go into really.
SCUMFEAST - Do you plan on some touring this Fall?
Yeah but we can only really go out for little jaunts but things on that horizon might change in the near future.
SCUMFEAST - Is there anything else up and coming for DOUBLE NEGATIVE that fans should be looking forward to?
A bunch of stuff, more songs, a seven inch, maybe another one in the future and hopefully a new album by the next summer.
Posted by brian walsby at 11:16 AM