Photo Credit: Nathaniel Shannon
Florida, Gainesville specifically, has been a hotbed of punk rock and hardcore music forever. It's produced some of the biggest bands in the scene. Alumni include Against Me!, Dikembe, Hot Water Music, not to mention rock n' roll legend Tom Petty. But chances are, if you a fan of melodic hardcore, you'd be familiar with my favourite Gainesville band, As Friends Rust. If you are into bands like Grade, Boy Sets Fire & Avail, i would highly recommend you checking them out. They happen to be playing Germany this weekend so please go and see them (and also get me a t-shirt or two, size Large thanks), and i was lucky enough to get Damien, their singer, to let me pick his brain.
1. Is there an album that, when you heard it changed your life?
Minor Threat - Out of Step. I'd been into metal and some British punk stuff, but all of those genres subscribed to some degree of costumery and pomp that kept me from wholly relating. Minor Threat was the band that open my eyes to t-shirt clad, sneaker-wearing American hardcore, and the idea that bands can be kids like me, my age, playing basements, rather than just older, intimidating cartoonish characters lording over their audiences.
2. What release are you most proud of being a part of?
Damien Done - Charm Offensive. Having been "just the singer" for many years, in many bands, figuring out how to write songs on a guitar was pretty daunting - not so much technically, but because I felt really insecure stepping out my lane. After about 14 years of self-consciousness and self-sabotage, my first recording Stay Black was released, and I immediately set about the task of putting together an album's worth of material, for fear that I may again lose momentum.
I put a lot of myself into Charm Offensive over a couple of years, and in addition to writing, singing and playing guitar, I handled the drum programming and keys/piano. I also programmed most of the bass lines, which (luckily) James Paul Wisner, the producer, replayed on an actual bass, as well as adding some vital second guitar parts.
I think it's an interesting and unexpected record, and it's just all-around something I never expected to be able to do, let alone using home-recorded tracks and working on mixing and production remotely, entirely through email and exhaustive telephone conversations about tones and levels.
3. Is there an album or are there any albums you regret ever getting rid of and are finding it hard to replace? Eating and paying the bills is important, but so is music...
Not really. I guess maybe I wish I'd hung onto the first pressing of Hum's Downward is Heavenward, which I believe I bought the day it was released. I hear those are pretty coveted these days.
4. If you were forced to listen to FIVE albums for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Fuck. I'd need a lot more time to figure this out for sure, but off the top of my head I'd say:
Pixies - Trompe Le Monde
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
Sepultura - Arise
Wire - Pink Flag
5. What has the rest of 2019 got in store for you?
In January, we announced that As Friends Rust is writing new material and will be recording a new LP (the first new music since 2002) later in the year. We're on track, and it's been a fun process. We also played a single club show in Brooklyn in April, and in early June we'll be playing Booze Cruise Festival in Hamburg, Germany.
Meanwhile, Damien Done had a new EP recorded, which will come out... I don't know. Eventually. We're playing a lot locally, and are planning some east coast dates in the fall.