weekly updated blog for Oi! – punk – ska – reggae
The four-piece streetpunk band Noi!se recently delivered the debute 10″ ‘This is who we are’. With this release the band proved they are one of the best newcomers in the streetpunk arena. Questions were answered by Matt.
July 2011 – band website
Can you shortly introduce the band and the members and how would you describe your sound?
Noi!se is a 4 piece Streetpunk band from Tacoma, WA, USA. It is: Miko on drums, Justin on lead guitar and backing vocals, Nate on vocals and rhythm guitar and I do vocals and bass. Our sound is essentially melodic streetpunk which is nothing more than a byproduct of our collective influences: everything from Soul, to Hardcore to Streetpunk to Reggae and everything in between. Every member of Noi!se has been known to be partial to old school hip hop as well… though, I don’t think that has had any bearing on our sound… haha!
What have you released so far and are there any new releases scheduled?
The Walk Beside Us EP was our first release. Then we recorded the This Is Who We Are 10″. While waiting for the release of the 10″ we recorded two tracks for a possible split with Patriot, then just before I deployed, we recorded Idle Action, which will appear on a couple of different compilations. We will release a CD of everything we have recorded as well as some live footage and videos hopefully in the fall. We plan on recording again when I get home, and doing a West Coast tour with Patriot as well as playing in Europe in the future and hitting the U.S East coast.
In 2010 you recorded some songs for a promo and a demo. From that moment it went fairly quickly with the band. Did you expect that people would enjoy your music that much?
Absolutely not. When we started playing, we focused on playing music that we really liked and while we hoped people would like it, we really weren’t sure how Noi!se would be received. The response to our music has really been amazing and the support we’ve gotten has been incredibly humbling. Hopefully as we continue on as a band, we continue to get the same reaction from people as we release more music.
Matt, only a few weeks after your 10″ was released you went to Afghanistan. Isn’t it difficult to promote your album when you can’t do any gigs?
Not at all. The number of people that have discovered us through the internet is indescribably larger than the ones that have discovered us at shows, which is how it is for most bands these days I imagine… I mean, bands that aren’t forced fed to the masses through MTV and all that other shit. If you want new, good music, you can’t wait for it to come to you. For better or worse the net can reach people that touring can’t… specially in this scene.
I know living in the Pacific North West, if you don’t actively search the web for good bands and just wait for them to come through town, you are going to have an extremely limited music selection. We have also been blessed to get some great support from other great bands in our scene. When bands like Old Firm Casuals, The Broadsiders, Hounds and Harlots, Armed Suspects, the Harrington Saints, The Gestalts and others (that I will kick myself for not remembering later) ask people to check us out, it really means a great deal. The American scene is very tight knit. We do as much cross promotion as we can because it’s all about strengthening the scene here.
You’re in Afghanistan cause you’re the army. How is it like to be in the army being in into Oi! & streetpunk. Do your collegues understand your music? The song Warrior Down, is it about being in the army?
Justin and I are both in the Army and I think while our experiences in the Army both here and abroad contribute to what we bring to the band, I don’t think that this is the case to a large degree. Apart from some of the things we do at work, and having to leave our families for extended periods of time, a Soldier’s life in the U.S. is very similar to anyone else’s. We actually get more time off than Nate and Miko who are both tattooers by trade. Being in the scene really has no bearing on my career one way or the other. The coworkers that I have exposed to our music have been very receptive to it and I’m very proud of the fact that Noi!se is being played on ipods all over Iraq and Afghanistan. I think Soldiers understand our music for the same reason a factory worker, or a construction worker or most anyone else that has to work for a living does… because we write songs about everyday people and the frustration we feel about the world around us. That is a theme that most anyone can relate to in some respect, but we don’t write music to appeal to everyone. We write about what is going on around us, and what is going on around us, is going on around a great many people.
Nate wrote Warrior Down and it is one of my favorite songs on the 10″. The song is about friends that have passed away. I think that song is a great way to illustrate the point I just made. You don’t have to be a Soldier to watch someone you care deeply about get taken before their time. Nate wrote that specifically about some of his loved ones, but it is a theme that resonates with a lot of people for obvious reasons. His lyrical abilities are one of the band’s major assets, in my opinion.
You recorded the Cock Sparrer song Take ’em All as tribute to the Seattle Sounders. Football is still relatively unpopular in the USA, yet i was surprised to find quite a lot of internet movies of tifo actions. Can you tell a bit more about football culture in the USA and do you have any own involvement in it?
SOUNDERS!!! Yes, football is much less popular here than in, well, just about every country on earth. There are some things Americans just don’t warm up to…like the metric system. Noi!se is definitely a Sounders FC band and we have a running football feud with the Broadsiders who are diehard FC Dallas fans. The Broadsiders’ vocalist, Austin, went to a Sounders/ FC Dallas match in Seattle with my wife and I and it was a great time… primarily because the Sounders kicked the shit out of ’em, but also to watch how mad Austin got when his team lost. It’s all in fun, though. The Broadsiders are our brothers and we love them dearly.
Take ’em All is just one of the chants our team has that come from songs 99% of the crowd has never heard of. My favorite Sick of it All song – Us Vs Them – is another one. Every time we’re at a match and start those chants I wonder how many people singing along have any idea what the next verse is. Major League Soccer is growing in popularity, although I think its lack thereof is one of the things that makes it so appealing to some people. I would say in that respect, it’s a lot like our scene. That fact that it only appeals to some people is an attribute, not a flaw. Think of the person you hate the most at your job… seriously, do it. Ask yourself this question. Do you want to share your music scene with this asshole? How about your Football Club? Probably not.
In your song What Happened To The Kids you speak out your dissapointment of the new generation of punk kids, yet i have the impression that the Oi! & punk scene in the USA is growing each day, so what’s the reason of your pessimism?
What Happened To The Kids is probably the most misinterpreted songs I have ever written. It was written about three years ago as a response to two things: The first was my reaction to a show I went to see in Tacoma after my wife and I just moved here. The first band played, and though there were lots of people there, their reaction to the music would lead one to the conclusion that they were listening to an insurance seminar. Then the next band played and it was the same thing, except they would nod their heads while wearing a deer in headlights expression on their faces. You could argue that it was the bands, but the next show I went to see was the same way… and the next, and the next.
My frustration initially was with the fact that these kids had no clue what to do at a punk rock show. Then I started to see the real problem and that leads to the next reason behind the song. Around the time the 10″ was written, the Tacoma area had a huge influx of kids using the internet to discover the Oi!/ Streetpunk scene then shaving each other in and starting ‘crews’. I have absolutely no problem with kids discovering the scene through the internet (this is something that has been misconstrued by quite a few reviewers… Noi!se would definitely not be where it is without the internet). The problem I have is with people not recognizing that while the internet is great for exposing people to new music and the scene in general, it can also be used to take away personal accountability and allow people to create a false persona (I’m pretty sure that our scene isn’t the only area where this has become a problem).
When kids aren’t shown how to be a skin, or what that really means then all they can do is act out their intirperatation (however misguided) of what that is… which is almost never a good thing. Then as they get more and more of their friends into the scene you have a bunch of kids who know fuck all about what it is they think they are. The song isn’t an old guy’s jaded depiction of the ‘kids nowadays’. It’s a warning that we have to take responsibility for our scene and reel these kids in and show them what the scene is all about.
I think that kids coming into this scene is a great thing, but just like any time someone begins something new, it has to be done correctly and with the right mind set and understanding of what that decision entails. Kids watching a movie or looking at a pictures on a website and deciding they’re skins is very much like deciding you are a Mixed Martial Arts fighter after watching a UFC match… and the outcome can sometimes be the same.
The reactions to your 10″ are mainly enthusiastic. When can we expect first full length?
We are really happy with the reaction we’ve received from the 10″. Much of that is owed to Jessie O’Donnell who is our sound engineer/ “please make us sound good” technician. Also, Muna Salik has done an amazing job on both of our releases and is working on our split with Razors in the Night, Sydney Ducks and the Broadsiders as we speak.
As soon as I get home, we are going to start working on new material. We should have a full length ready to go by next summer. This go around we are going to take things a little slower. We recorded our last two releases in a day (each), and though we were really happy with how they came out, there are things that all of us feel could have been done better. This time we’ve asked our buddy, Lars Frederiksen to help us out with production and some guest vocals. He has been really supportive of the band which has been amazing for us, given the amount of respect we all have for what he’s done both musically and for the scene in general. And while I’m on that subject, let me address something. “What do you think of Lars’ new band and him being a skin… etc?” has been a question I’ve both seen and been asked many, many times in the past few months. Here is my humble opinion. Lars has done more for this scene than anyone I have seen talking shit on line. He’s supported countless bands coming up (including Noi!se) and done production for some of the greatest American Oi! Bands ever like my two favorite bands, Patriot and the Anti- Heros just to name a few. He did a column in Loud Fast Rules highlighting the Oi! Streetpunk scene. I could keep going, but the bottom line is that the guy has been using his notoriety to cast a positive light on this scene every chance he’s gotten since he has had the notoriety to do it with. Old Firm Casuals are a great band that are going to do great things for Streetpunk. Period.
Do you have any closing comments?
Thanks so much for the interview, Paul. I really appreciate it. There is some great music out there and zines like yours really help spread the word. We really need some more in the States (though, Suburban Rebels is a zine that has just gotten off the ground… and to a great start, I might add).
Please check out some of the newer American bands making the aforementioned great music: Old Firm Casuals, Sydney Ducks, Harrington Saints, The Gestalts, Hounds and Harlots, Armed Suspects, The Broadsiders, 45 Adapters, Bishops Green (my friend Greg of Alternate Action’s new band), Razors in the Night, Crusades (Jimmy, Chuck and Nate from Whiskey Rebels’ new band), Stagger and Fall. Check out Longshot Music, Contra Records, Oi! The Boat Records and all of the bands on them. Thanks to everyone who has come to our shows, bought our records or just listened to us at all. It really means a lot. You can contact the band through our facebook page.