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- How did the band members meet?
We’ve gone through more lineup changes than Whitesnake but originally it all started from Craigslist. We vaguely knew each other from past bands and ultimately connected through classified posts.
- What exactly is “guerilla punk”? It seems to be something you’re known for.
You know, originally it was just something that someone had labeled us as after doing a tour where all the venues coincidently or not happened to be taco shops. I think as a band we’ve always had this DIY mindset where we’ve focused on controlling our own path and making things happen rather than relying on that fabled “big break”. At the end of the day, we’re responsible for our own successes and failures, 100%.
- How did you go about releasing your early material?
With all the heart and passion we could muster but with little of the money or resources a proper release deserved. We pressed a few hundred EPs independently, folded them into handmade envelopes and stenciled each individually. Lyrical content has always been a key focus of the band so we even included handwritten lyric sheets. I still remember the weekend we committed to the undertaking. We were all smiles for the first handful until we got about a hundred in several hours later.
- Was it easy to gain the following you have?
Easy is relative. We’re beyond appreciative and fortunate to have the friends and fans that we do but it definitely took every day of the last five years to work towards where we are today. We’re consistently the “odd men out” at shows, playing to both spectrums of audiences from indie to deathcore. In the end, it seems that some people tend to latch on to us as some sort of outcast or underdog though. We’ll take it.
- What made you choose to go after sociopolitical topics?
For where I am in my life I really just wanted to challenge myself to write on a different plane than many of my peers. I didn’t (and sometimes still don’t) feel I have anything more of value to add to the conversation of love and hate. So what I do write about is change and struggle at both a personal level and as a society.
- Do you think that being politically charged will alienate you from potential peers (or even fans)?
That’s a good question. I suppose it could but I’d hope our approach to it doesn’t. We’re not here to shove our political views down anyone’s throat. Rather, just to open some eyes to what’s out there and to question long rooted beliefs including our own. The best part about talking about this kind of stuff freely to open minded people is that our ideas are constantly growing and evolving.
- Why did you almost forgo instrumentation on the song “Self-Entitled”?
For the song “Self-Entitled” I had actually came into practice with the lyrics and melody already planned out. I asked our drummer to give me a steady kick to show everyone the idea and that’s pretty much what we stuck with. Looking back, I really like the fact that the vocals (and lyrics) are at the forefront of the song.
- How well did “Still Life” do after its release?
“Still Life” did better than we could have hoped for. I had just left doing vocals for The Hostage Situation at the time and came into this as more of a project just for fun. I never thought that 5 years later it would have led us to seeing a large portion of the US and connecting with some of the most genuine friends and fans I’ve ever experienced in my career.
- What is a “net label” and why did you choose such a method for furthering “Still Life” distribution?
A net label runs under creative common licenses to promote and distribute music online while the artist retains all the rights to the music. It just made sense for us to team up with net labels such as Torn Flesh Records that have proven track records of quality releases and provide another hand in the pot helping us get our music out to new audiences.
- What is the significance of the crossroads artwork on “The Death of Rhythm and Blues?
The imagery as a whole for The Death Of Rhythm And Blues was based around the story of Robert Johnson. He was said to have sold his soul to the devil for talent, notoriety and all that comes with it. It was a real challenging time for American Standards. We had just lost our original guitarist and drummer right in the middle of recording what we had planned to be a full length follow up to the Still Life album. We felt we had put so much time and work into building the band up and now we were at this metaphorical crossroads of starting over from scratch or choosing to move forward despite the obstacles.
- Why did you end up leaving the We Are Triumphant and Victory Records labels?
We had a very indirect relationship with Victory. They distributed the Still Life album but it pretty much ended there. We were signed to We Are Triumphant back in 2012 and found out soon after that it wasn’t for us. The label dealt more in quantity of artists over quality of music. They didn’t do a thing in lines of artist development. At the end of the day it was an endless roster of revolving bands being asked to promote a failing label.
- What has been your best show so far?
That’s a tough one. We’ve been fortunate enough to share the stage with so many bands that I look up to such as Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Comeback Kid, Emery, Atreyu, Stray From The Path etc… Honestly, some of our best shows though have been the small ones in warehouses and houses where people are just experiencing the genre for the first time. That’s where I’m taken back to my first time connecting to this style of music and it gives me that instant nostalgia.
- Are you planning to play any local shows anytime soon?
Our next two local shows are;
May 19th at Club Red in Mesa with Atreyu
June 8th at Club Red in Mesa with Winds Of Plague & Rings Of Saturn
- How did you finance and release “Hungry Hands”?
Hungry Hands was the product of crowd funding and successful bartering. We had a modest goal that we were able to achieve with the help of our friends, family and fans then we made that shoestring budget work. It was the first time we released on CD, vinyl and cassette and we also got a music video out of it.
- What are your next plans?
We’ll be touring through May with the very awesome Coma Prevail (ex-The Bled/Scary Kids Scarring Kids) then recording the new full length at King Size Sound Labs in California in June.
- Final Thoughts
Watch The Twilight Zone.