Interview with vocalist Dan O’Mahony
By Tom Haugen
Having spearheaded seminal outfits Carry Nation, 411 and No For An Answer (to name a few), Dan O’Mahony returns with a new band comprised of members who have played a vital role in hardcore’s evolution. Always insightful, O’Mahony shares some thoughts on this new project.
You’ve been away from music for a while now. What was the catalyst for a new band at this point in your life?
On a personal level I’d been looking for an outlet like this for a while but always talked myself out of it. Typical ‘is there even an audience?’ and ‘aren’t I getting a little old for this?’ type excuses and such. Then came Rev 25 in June of last year. It was the best couple of days I’d had in years. NFAA approached the whole thing from a sort of let’s get some smiles out of this and not try to reproduce the past angle that people really seemed to dig. The end result, I started to grasp that there is a massive number of people from my generation still motivated by anxiety and rebellion of sorts, but it’s a different animal now; ‘age rage,’ if you will. It’s from that angle that I got comfortable.
As far as the other fellas, Chris Lohman and Mike Hartsfield share business space and this line up is their brainchild. I’m lucky to have been asked and am grateful for the creative freedom in terms of name and presentation that comes with working with people I’ve known for decades.
With the level of HC celebrity in Done Dying, there are undoubtedly a lot of high expectations. Do you guys feel any pressure to trump anything you’ve done in the past?
No. We’ve all been visible in one way or another over the last couple years, people know we’re men not boys at this point. Expect the output to reflect that in spades. Furthermore, every single one of us is better at our respective role now. A good example: I hadn’t played with Kevin much since the late 90’s and by the end of our first session it was clear to me, his instincts behind the drums are even greater now.
Those that have been around and are familiar with the work Done Dying members have done before are probably already anticipating the music. How are you guys thinking about seeking out the younger ears?
I think it’s an artistic misstep to write with the audience in mind, and frankly, I’m looking for common ground with my own generation. Tax debt, divorce, parenthood, underhanded business dealings, foreclosure, loneliness, fears about the long term future, etc. are more interesting fodder for songs in my current day opinion than loyalty to the scene, perceived betrayal, or hoodlum babble could possibly be. Trust me, I’ve committed those thematic crimes. They won’t be coming back.
Similarly, the music reflects our history and to do otherwise or pursue a sound favorable to what came later would be theater not self-expression, and probably wouldn’t hold the guys’ attention for long when it comes to formulating riffs, etc.
Hardcore is a much different scene now, as is the music industry. How do you feel the band will fit in today’s version of hardcore?
My personal hope is that we’ll be an unexpected sore thumb that meets with appreciation from those who’ve had decades to digest that life isn’t getting any easier. I have this theory that the older crowd won’t dance but they’ll roar a mighty roar, sweat profusely, and laugh in all the right places.
We have an agenda, no two ways about it, but how we fit today’s scene isn’t a factor. That wouldn’t work. Look for a combination of “We’re here, this is who we are, love it or leave it” and the strategic use of friendships and connections now decades strong. We’d like to play with our heroes, those that came before us, etc, while also trying to find a rage driven way to show the mileage laden types how it’s done in the here and now. We’ll see how that pans out.
What’s in store for 2013 for the band? Is touring an option with all the outside responsibilities the members have?
As soon as humanly possible we want to get our 7” vinyl debut in the can for Irish Voodoo Records, and then get out there and test the waters. Mike and Chris have kids and entrepreneurial responsibilities that make the old six weeks on the road template virtually impossible, but I think we all agree that travel will be a necessity. Beyond that, I think material will flow, I haven’t been this angry or thought out in my messaging in over a decade and these guys seem to just bleed great riffs!