Interview by Hutch
I could write for awhile about this band. But I won’t soil responses with my inflated prose when a good man gives honest, sincere, articulate responses. I can only encourage you to read this and then go purchase each recorded slab of wax which Noi!se has recorded. If you even claim to like one punk song on Earth, then you will find this music attractive and extremely invigorating. Solemn and intelligent lyrics are intensified by rough rhythms and emotional guitar tones that demand reactions. The band is from Tacoma with two members active in the service of this country. They all have jobs and hobbies (follow Nate on Instagram to see tons of hot rods and tattoos) and families. The fact that they can get three chords together is impressive. But they elevate the game with a commanding presence on each track. And the new songs are amazing. The bass work on these songs stands out and the reliance on tremendous thunderous drums push these tracks to a new level. I won’t lie and say it’s unanimous, but the strong majority of every skinhead and punk loves this band. It is great that U.S. Oi! is getting back to what we had in the late nineties. And Noi!se is at the top of the lot.
Listening to your new songs, they have the same formula but beefed up. Do you think the stuff is the same, or are you guys more synced from playing together (the bass in “Bottom Rungs” is incredible)?
Thanks so much, Hutch! I definitely think the band is starting to get tighter and evolve a little bit, though we’ve never made a conscious effort to adjust our sound one way or the other. The songs just come out how they come out.
How do you describe your sound to someone who isn’t into punk?
I think most people who are into punk have a way they try to get friends who aren’t to listen to bands they wouldn’t normally listen to. I’ve had to do that for years just so I don’t have to listen to Disturbed and Linkin Park when I’m hanging out with my coworkers. Noi!se is no different, though I don’t really talk about my band that much at work unless someone asks. The guys in my Detachment are really supportive of the band, but none are “into” punk rock. I think Noi!se is a band that resonates with different people in different ways… and not at all with others. It just depends on your perspective, but to answer your question (in the longest possible manner) I generally tell people we sound like Winger.
I think that you are elevated among other bands, one is the pure passion and ferocity – but also that melodic hook, you guys write taut emotional songs like Cock Sparrer, The GC5, Whiskey Rebels, (also Bad Religion circa Against The Grain), etc. with personal, stirring lyrics (“Living for Today,” “Brothers In Arms,” “This is Who We Are,” “Idle Action,” etc.).
Those are some pretty incredible bands to be compared to, first of all. We have always tried to write songs about the world around us. What we refuse to do is to preach or talk down to people because we aren’t arrogant enough to believe that we have all the answers. Hell, I don’t think anyone ever will. We are trying to make sense of things just as much as the people who listen to our music. What we try to do is to present an objective viewpoint of what we see happening and encourage people to think. Not to think a certain way, but to think a little bit about what is really happening versus what they are being fed on a daily basis. We don’t look at the people who listen to our music as “fans.” We look at them as our friends and family and it is in that capacity that we try to communicate with them.
Looking forward to MidWest Fest in May? Looking for to highlights? *(Midwest Live & Loud!, Chicago; May 23,24,25; Templars, Victory, Bad Assets, The Shame, Forced Reality, Bishops Green, Pist ‘n’ Broke Brass Knuckle Boys, Brass Tacks, Fatskins, Those Unknown, and more – details here)
Absolutely!! All of the bands on the bill are amazing and it is beyond an honor to have been asked to play! We’re definitely happy to get to play with our friends in the Templars again. I’m just excited to visit Chicago again. It’s one of my favorite places and I haven’t been there in a very long time.
So you have a new album out, plus a Street Dogs split. Can you talk about how that came about?
I have been a fan of the Street Dogs for a decade. I found out about a year ago that they had gotten into Noi!se and honestly couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t after that time that I was fortunate enough to become friends with Johnny Rioux and one night (on a whim and half joking) asked him if the Street Dogs would be interested in doing a split with us. It took about 10 minutes for him to send Mike’s response and it was a go. I told the guys about it and their response was very much the same as mine: “Holy shit! That’s awesome! Hopefully we don’t blow it.” The new record is a 12 (brand new) song LP on GMM with our friend, Diana from Randale handling the European side of things. We are very, very excited.
Any new approach in these recordings? Same/new producer?
Jesse (our guitar player) has produced every Noi!se release since “This is Who We Are” and this one was no exception, however this was his first time producing AND being a member of the band which made things a bit different. Another change was us being able to take our time with the recording process (all of our other records have been recorded in one to two days). We really wanted this release to represent the best we had to offer as a band, and I think we’ve done it with The Scars We Hide. We were also fortunate enough to have our friends, Lars Frederiksen and Mike Erickson mix the record once we had finished recording. Like I said, we’re excited.
How was Rising Tide received? Two re-dos there, what led to that decision?
Rising Tide was received better than we could have possibly expected. There were a few reasons why we chose to rerecord “Brothers in Arms” and “Blame.” As the band started to play more, the songs started to evolve a little bit. Our original intent was for Rising Tide to be a full length, but with me having just returned from Afghanistan and us finding out our guitar player at the time would be deploying in a month, we had 3 weeks to learn and record Rising Tide. We decided to re-record the two songs we felt had evolved the most and do an acoustic version of “On the Outside” so that there would be more material on the record for people to listen to. There were complaints about the fact that there wasn’t more new material, but I kind of expected that. Having two guys in the band that have to deploy sometimes makes things a little less than ideal for the listener (and the band for that matter) but we have to make do with the circumstances we’re dealt. It is what it is.
With families and jobs and being in the service – how much focus can you put on the band?
It’s hard to balance everything and Noi!se has definitely become close to a full time job. I think the hardest part is balancing everything without doing anything half ass. My wife and son come first, without exception. None of this shit means anything if they aren’t happy and taken care of. The Army (obviously) comes second and every minute left is devoted to the band. People ask why we don’t tour. Here is the answer: My son is three years old. I have spent a year and a half away from him because of my job. Justifying spending more time away from my family while I go and play rock star isn’t something I am able or willing to do. The Army just takes me away from my family too often to spend more than a few days out on the road with the band. If Noi!se paid the bills it would be a different story, but that isn’t the case and probably never will be. Time management and being able to have your priorities in order are imperative to attempting multiple endeavors. I’m far from perfect at it, but I try my best to do all three of mine moderately well.
How frequently do you play shows?
We don’t play shows as often as a lot of bands do. The main reason is the same reason we do almost everything else differently than most bands: the Army. Since we never know when I may have to go somewhere, the priority becomes recording the material we have written so that while I am gone, the band has something to release. I recently found out that I will be moving to Korea for a year beginning in August. And I will be gone for a month before that, training. That doesn’t leave us a whole lot of time. So, it goes back to prioritization. What is best for the band and the people that like our music? Our answer is recording. We will be playing shows in different places around the country before I leave; and, of course, will be playing in Seattle, but the focus will be recording as much new stuff as we can before we have to take a break for a bit.
What does it mean to serve for the U.S. in 2014 and the last decade?
That’s kind of a complicated question, but I will do my best to provide an answer that makes a little bit of sense. I have been in the Army for 14 years. I joined because I wanted to get my shit together and it did just that; as well as save my life. I stayed in because I love my job and the life it has enabled me to provide for my family. Serving means having to do things and make sacrifices a lot of people don’t necessarily have to. It doesn’t make me any better or worse than anyone, it just means that my life is a little different than the average person.
You also work with great labels that do great looking vinyl and picture discs and gatefolds… how important is the physical end product to you guys?
We have been incredibly fortunate in so many ways and one of them is definitely the fact that the presentation of our releases has been really great thanks to the artists and labels involved. That being said, our concern is more the music on the release than the art and format that it comes in. Having a cool cover and layout is really just icing on the cake for us.
I met you guys at TNT 2012 and you guys were the nicest, down to earth dudes. Not only does your music just hit me in the heart like any on the classics, you are honest sincere men. Cheers!
Thank you so much for that, man. We take this for what it is: a really awesome experience that we are very lucky to have. It is still weird to me that there are people that like the music that we make and every person that does is very much appreciated and always will be. I said it before, but Noi!se doesn’t have fans. We have friends and family and we treat the people that listen to our music and support us as such. Thanks so much for the interview and thanks to everyone out there that has supported us over the years. Cheers!