A fella named Vova interviewed me via email for a zine he's doing in Russia. It was an interesting little thing to do. I'd like to see the translated version at some point.
Introduce you and your band at first.
My name is Matthew. I sing in the band. Our bass player's name is Chris. Burt plays guitar. Darren plays drums.
Where did you get your name?
The name of our band comes from a record by a band called The Descendents. They have an album called Everything Sucks. It has always been one of my favorites since I first heard it, and as a phrase on its own I think "everything sucks" sums up many aspects of life nicely. It's negative, but in such a way that it's almost comical I feel.
How old are you?
I am 27 years old. I will be 28 soon. All the band members are around my age, Burt is a few years older.
Do you go to school?
I am back in college after a long time off. I spent four years taking care of my grandparents and working full time management positions. After they passed away, I quit my job to go back to school full time.
Do you Skate?
I am terrible at skating, but a lot of folks I know are great at it. I know a lot of people get into punk and hardcore through skateboard culture. Darren is a highly accomplished roller blader. He always wants to play hockey.
When you are decided to come together and start to play? when was first repetition and how it was? Did you play in any other bands before ES.
Darren and I had been friends for a long time. We played in a band called Legs Up together. Legs Up almost toured a few times, but problems with our van and our regular lives prevented us from doing so full time. After Legs Up broke up, Darren and I kept talking about wanting to do another band. I had met Burt in a Shakespeare's tragedies english class at community college. Burt was in a band called Irony of Lightfoot when he was very young. One of the first shows I remember going to was to see Irony of Lightfoot play. was my younger brother's best friend. I also worked with Chris at a record store. Darren and I asked Burt to come and jam with us. We invited Chris also. It was odd at first, trying to channel the ideas we had in our heads about what the band should sound like into actual songs. Burt got frustrated and started hammering out this pretty cool riff. Darren started playing along with it. Before we knew it...we had our first song. We quickly wrote a few more that incorporated different musical ideas and influences.
Tell about your and other members music tastes.
We're all into a lot of different bands and performers. Burt's favorite singer is Bjork. Burt and I have gone to see Morrissey together a number of times. Chris is a big fan of a lot of melodic hardcore and pop punk bands. He also likes a great deal of indie rock from the '90s such as Pavement and Archers of Loaf. Darren is very knowledgeable when it comes to old school hip hop. He used to have a in high school. They performed at my eighteenth birthday party. Lately I have been listening to Silkworm, The Future of the Left, Ink and Dagger, The Silver Jews, and the soundtrack to the film La Bamba. I just recently got the Pavement vinyl reissue of Brighten the Corners with so many extra tracks on it. It's awesome. I enjoy a lot of early "rock and roll" groups...doo wop and r & b singers. The Clash are one of my favorite bands. Burt and I are big nerds about The Smiths and Pulp. Darren and Chris make fun of us for it. Everyone in the band really enjoys the releases from Dischord Records. Darren and I love Black Flag. We all have been going to shows on Long Island for years as well. There are a ton of great bands that have been from here in the last 20 years.
What sort of books are you interested in?
I am a fairly big reader. I am going to school to become an English teacher. Some of my favorite authors would be considered "post modern." My favorite book is V by Thomas Pynchon. I am not a big fan of some of his other books, but V to me has something very worthwhile to say. It also uses many references to film, music, and culture to create something new out of those references. It takes place during a time period I have studied a lot. 1950's America. I am fascinated by the idea of collage, the use of two or more ideas, objects, or pieces, to make something new that has a different meaning than the original pieces.
where does ES rehearse? you have your own plase or you go to rehearsal base?
We split our rehearsal time between my basement and a "pay by the hour" spot nearby where Darren lives in Queens near New York City.
Who are writting the lyrics, and who make the music?
I write the lyrics. The boys come up with the music. I usually have notebooks with a few lines here or there and then I figure out what fits best where on new songs the band writes
Which of ES song is most important for you, that has the lot of meaning? And have you got a song that now nothing means to you?
The most important song to me I would say is World War Three. I am proud of the fact that I was able to express certain feelings about being confused with what to do with my life in a way that others have told me they relate to. I also tried some sort of collage with images of watching different television shows in an attempt to demonstrate aimlessness, frustration, and boredom. World War Three itself is a reference to one of my favorite songs "paranoid chant" by the Minutemen. I took some lyrics from that song and changed them around to reflect how I feel about similar things. If you get a chance, you should really check out The Minutemen. They were all over the place musically and very intelligent and heartfelt lyrically. One of the truly innovative bands of the early american hardcore movement.
There aren't any songs that mean nothing to me, but the meanings have changed over the years. Although I may have thought of one thing when originally writing the song, playing it a certain amount of times, perhaps changing a word or phrase around changes how I feel about it.
Do you thing that in your lyrics and also in music you put all that you want, your thought and feelings?
I try to. I try to come off as genuine as I can in writing lyrics. There are a lot of topics I have not touched on, and our new songs will certainly touch on some of those ideas.
Something about your concerts. How often? What was the best for you? How many people visit it? Maybe you want to tell about some band that was playing with you. Have you got a tour in USA, maybe you going to europe?
We play roughly once a month. Usually they are with bands we are friends with. Some of my favorite bands to play with are the Weed Hounds, Iron Chic, Bastard Cut, Jonesin', the Fellow Project and Speed Speed Speed. One of my favorite shows was one I booked a few years ago. A good friend of the band's mother had died. We set up a show at a bar and a hundred and twenty people came to help our friend out and pay for the show. I was able to hand him all of the money we made at the door to help his family out. It felt good to be able to use this little scene of people into music to help someone out. Usually I like to bring snacks to the shows we play. It's a fun thing to do and a good way to make up for the fact that we might not be very good. One time I bought pizza for everyone who came to our show. That was fun. I really enjoy playing our friend Mike's house. He clears his living room out for bands to play in and it's always a real fun time. Mike is one of the best fellas around. He runs the record label Dead Broke Rekerds. He helped put our new record out. We all love Mike. As far as touring. We would love to be able to play a few shows outside of Long Island and New York City, but we all have pretty serious jobs, relationships, and family obligations. If everything worked out where we could go to Europe and have a few folks feed us and give us places to play we would do it in a heartbeat.
What is hardcore for you? And what is Everything Sucks for you?
Hardcore for me is just a word. I love so many bands that folks might call hardcore, but I try to just think of it in terms of "music I like." I don't like to put a stamp on something because there are so many things that come to mind when people say the word "hardcore" and not all of them are good things. I don't wish to be a part of those negative aspects. Also, I love so many things that have nothing to do with hardcore the way most people see it. I find about different bands every day and fall in love with them. Some of them are very heavy. Some of them aren't. Some of them are weird. Some of them aren't.
Everything Sucks is a good time for me. I get to write about my life and then shout what I've written at people. Some folks shout my words back at me. It's a cool feeling to see and hear that. It doesn't happen that often, but when it does...it means a great deal to me. It's interesting to hear what the boys come up with musically as well. I get to dance around like an idiot when we play too. I'm kind of an awkward, odd, lame guy and I get to be as odd and lame as I want when I have a microphone.
Have you ever think, that you have missed something in your life?
I said before I spent years living with my grandparents. I miss my grandmother practically every second. She was a wonderful lady. She lived her life laughing and that is something I attempt to do. I would like to write much more about her, but I fear I won't do her justice just shouting about shit while loud music plays.
"...than to join the balding uncle brigade…sitting around bitching about everything."
what did you mean under balding uncle brigade?
and "sitting around bitching about everything" I understand as - people sitting in front of tv most of time and all the time tell bullshit about some of their surrounding. So that?
"balding uncle brigade" pretty much means just that: an army of middle aged uncles who maybe didn't amount to much in their own lives just sitting around talking bullshit about how they think people should act, or the country should be run, or their surroundings, or anything like that. the image is not based on anyone personally as all my uncles are pretty great fellas, but i do have this fear/vision that we can all become "balding uncles" if we're not careful. i don't know if that makes things any clearer, or confuses the matter more.
Maybe any member of ES is straightedge or vegetarian? how do you feel about sxe and vegi?
Darren is straight edge. None of us are vegetarian. I feel that both are choices that should be made for the right reasons. I don't believe in doing drugs and drinking just because all of my friends are doing it. I also don't believe in not doing drugs and not drinking just because all of my friends are doing it. I eat meat, but I've had a lot of friends who do not. I've learned to make a few vegan friendly meals. There are all vegetarian places to eat which are delicious as well.
Tell something about scene in NY, it relationship and about hc\punk crew.
The scene is interesting. There are so many different styles of music being played almost every night in both New York City and Long Island. The variety and diversity is great, but it can also be frustrating and depressing that the diversity isn't all happening at the same show, or that folks can be close minded to just how many different, great things are going on.
What do you feel about merch? Do you plan to make T-shirts, hoodies or longsleeves?
I think merch can be fun. We try to have fun designs on our shirts. We recently made a shirt of two rich fat cats eating hot dogs, which is a reference to one of our lyrics. It's a funny image, but it does sum up one of our songs nicely. Also, Darren's awesome girlfriend Charlotte designed it. She is one of my best friends and it's always nice to have good friends involved with helping your band. We don't plan on mass producing fifteen different shirt designs because I feel that sort of takes away from the band as a creative entity. We're not looking to cash in on selling shirts, we just want to make back the money we put into them. In order to keep the prices somewhat low, we don't put that much money into making different designs. If we invested in five different shirt designs, we would have to sell them for more money to make our money back. I'd much rather put my money into making another record, or feeding my dog.
What about - by Matthew Brennan? I look up it at ES store. It is incarnation of your idea of collage, showing Star Wars on the other hand?
Star Wars was a zine I put out when the band first started compiling our lyrics, random lyrics we hadn't used yet, a few odd little stories, and some other writings. I called it Star Wars because we all thought it would be funny to have a little book called Star Wars that had nothing to do with the science fiction films. Also, growing up I was obsessed with Star Wars and still know way too much about the original movies than any grown man should. I keep meaning to do a new one with some of my friends doing illustrations for some story ideas I have, but I tend to get lazy about things sometimes.
And say a few words for Russian hc\punk kids please.
Hello Russian kids. I'm very glad to hear from your friend Vova. I think it's a great thing that you folks are into all sorts of music. Keep looking into different bands. Keep reading, keep listening, keep making your own music too. Good luck.