Sunday, September 7, 2008

Illegal Beagle, The Playdead Movement, Talking Bombs

Posted By on September 7, 2008, 11:19 PM

Back into the mix I was this past weekend, and I found a show right in the heart of downtown playing it up to a younger crowd.

I went a-steppin' into Artopia this past Friday to check out the punk/ska show down in the basement. --- The political punk sounds of Talking Bombs, the experimental ska of Illegal Beagle, and the ever hard pounding sounds of The Playdead Movement. All performing along with The Dead City Dregs out of St. Louis, and envoking the entrie crowd to dance. Talking Bombs originally agreed to do an interview, but have since declined (through second-party sources no less) and gave no reason why. So instead of three local interviews we have two, as well as some pictures of the show for you to check out here.

Illegal Beagle (Henry, Keenan, Diandra, Madison and Jimin)

http://www.myspace.com/illegalbeaglemmska

Gavin:
Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Di: Illegal Beagle. We're a five-piece high school ska/punk/whatever band from Salt Lake City. We like moonlight horseback-riding and long walks on the beach.

Gavin: How did you all get together and decide to form Illegal Beagle?

Di: Henry came up with the name three summers ago, and we half-jokingly talked about starting a ska band called Illegal Beagle for a while. Then, at the beginning of '07 we started actually practicing and it just kind of took off from there. Just kidding, that was a total lie. But this is what really happened... (This was a interesting, long and funny read that I didn't want to remove, but was too long to fit into interview format, but I didn't want to delete it either. So I posted it in my MySpace blog. You can find the complete written history of Illegal Beagle here. --Gavin)

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Di: Blink 182, for sure. My favorite band from when I was ten to fourteen. I was also really into Les Miserables and Chicago.

Madison: The band I owe the most to is The Offspring. They were my gateway into all of my favorite bands today, and I'll always love 'em for it.

Keenan: The Specials

Jimin: First ska show I ever went to was for the best band in the world, The Aquabats! They've set a precedent for ska ridiculousness for me and I've been permanently scarred every since.

Gavin: The Ska scene in Utah isn't what it once was. Do you feel like you're filling the void left behind in any way, or does it still feel like the ska scene is still very small?

Di: I really have only been into ska for a couple years, and before Illegal Beagle, I didn't know any local ska bands. It seems like these days so many people are into professing various genres of music and scenes are dead. Obviously it's not dead, since we're around. What I'm getting at is that I don't know what the scene used to be, but I'm pretty happy with it right now.

Jimin: I've been in Utah since 2005, so I have no idea what this mystical, wonderful time in Utah's ska history was like. I do however, enjoy listening to bands who were there, Insatiable, Viewers Like You, etc. There are always people who are clamoring for ska these days, and plenty of bands more than happy to provide.

Madison: I don't miss anything because I wasn't old enough to be in the scene until it had died down a lot. Of course, I wish it were bigger, but as long as there's all these kids willing to dance to anything, I'm happy. People don't have to be super ska scenesters to enjoy a good show and listen to good music. It's just a big community of friends supporting each other.

Gavin: Does it ever feel odd pairing up with Punk and Reggae bands, or do those crowds feed off you since you somewhat follow those genres?

Di: Not at all. We have some songs that are punker and some songs that are more reggae, and we try to make our setlists cater to whoever we're playing for that night. Plus, a show would get boring if all the bands we're the exact same genre.

Madison: No. Everyone in the band loves reggae and punk just as much as ska and any other kind of music so we're usually excited to play with bands other than ska bands. Most kids who go to our shows like a wide range of music as well so I think everyone's just having a good time.

Jimin: Genre-specificity is for n00bs. We're more than happy to play with other bands, no matter the style, and often do on many occasions. We will tailor our set a bit to fit to overall mood of the show, but who can ever not like ska? Music is all about collaboration with other musicians, ska or otherwise.

Gavin: Are you thinking of expanding at all and getting more people in for a bigger band sound, or are you happy with the five-piece setup you have now?

Jimin: We tried to add a tromboner to our line up once, but he ran away after one practice screaming something about frozen pants… Anyway, we wouldn't mind bulking up our horn section. But the five of us are all really good friends, and it seems to have been working so far.

Di: We've talked about the idea of expanding and possibly getting a tromboner, but I don't think it's going to happen. The fact that we have two guitars definitely makes up for the single horn player in our band. Also we have a great chemistry with the five of us, and I don't know how adding another member would affect that. If a really good opportunity came up, we'd be willing to add another member, but we're not looking to.

Madison: We've thought about more horns a lot... maybe.

Gavin: You're currently unsigned. Are you looking for a label to be on or are you thinking of staying independent and doing more DIY stuff?

Madison: DIY. No question.

Di: DIY, definitely. It's nice to be personally in control of what's going on.

Jimin: DIY is love! We prefer to do things according to our own collective decisions.

Gavin: A little local, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Di: Overall, I think it's good. I've met a lot of really cool people just through being in a band, both people who we play with and people who come to this shows. In the punk/ska scene we're pretty tight, and we play with a lot of bands that we really like as people as well as musicians. One bad side is that there are a lot of genre-elitists. This is actually a problem that's much bigger than the local scene; I feel like I'm meeting more and more people who base what they listen to on strictly on the genre. Music should be judged based on quality, with genre as a guideline, not the other way.

Maddie: I like SLC's local music. There are always new bands popping up that I've never heard of. There's also a great community about it. Everyone's just happy to be there and to enjoy music with one another.

Jimin: Being a new addition to the Salt Lake music scene, I've found it to be very inviting and full of awesome people. There are numerous all-ages venues who are more than happy to help young bands to start playing shows. Artopia has been especially good to us.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Di: Of course. One thing that would be great would be more Artopia-like venues. And if we could get more people to check out shows.

Keenan: The Specials.

Jimin: Less elitism if anything. A lot of people will only listen to their specific genre of music. Music should be less about classification and more about having an awesome time.

Gavin: If you had to make a top five list, who would you say are the best acts in our scene now?

Di: 1. The Willkills: I'm not a huge fan of punk, but I absolutely adore The Willkills. 2. Skaficinadoes: I just went to a random local show about a year ago where I'd never heard of anyone and these guys blew me away. Since then I've gotten to know most of them and play a few shows with them. Love 'em. 3. Dynamite Rocket: This is my brother's band. Maybe not the highest quality band in the scene, but my favorite, definitely. There's pretty classic three piece rock, with a few ska songs, but two of their members are in college out of state, so they only play over the summer and in winter break and stuff, which sucks. 4. Viewers Like You: Ska band from Logan that I'd never heard of up until a month ago. They have a really cool swingish sound, and put on a great show. 5. Spontaneous Kennie: The most adorable band in the world. You WILL have a stupid grin on your face for at least half an hour after watching a SK show.

Jimin: 1: Fews & Two. These guys are ska machines. If they can't make you get up and dance, than you have no soul. They will make you skank even if you've had a piece of your hip removed and put into your wrist (true story). They're also all really great people and a lot of fun to play with. 2: Dynamite Rocket. This goofy trio has always been friends of ours. 66% of the band is in school out of state, but come summer, DR is loads of fun. 3: Viewers Like You. I only learned about this band a few weeks ago when we played a show with them. They are so talented and skatastic that you can't not love them. 4: Super Hero: These guys are pretty big in the local scene, playing with big touring acts such as the Aquabats, Big D and the Kids Table. And can they play… Oh yeah! 5: The Playdead Movement: A punk band out of Provo that we've played with a few times. They put out so much energy, that you can't stay still, or keep your eardrums intanct. Great fun.

Maddie: 1. Fews & Two. They play reggae/dub right. Dancing to Fews & Two is unlike dancing to any other band! A blast. 2. Bombs & Beating Hearts. Folk punk ahoy! 3. Talking Bombs. Gotta love that crack rock steady beat from dem SLC streetz! Our bands are best friends. 4. In Key Dropouts. East Bay skaesque. They broke up but I believe they are getting back together. Hopefully. This band is great. 5. Viewers Like You. Jazz ska band. I’ve only heard them once but it was magical.

Keenan: 1. The Specials. 2. The Specials. 3. The Specials. 4. The Specials. 5. The Specials.

Rob (The Sex Appeal): 1. Carl. 2. Carl Goes Solo.3. Carl (Back in Crack). 4. Carl (Danzig is a Wookie!?!?!?!) 5 Carl ILLEGAL MO FUCKIN BEAGLE!

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Di: With an industry the size of the music industry, it's ALWAYS going to be corrupt. There's no getting around it. I try to just enjoy the music and not think too much about the industry itself.

Maddie: What Di said. Also, bands shouldn’t be scrutinized for wanting to get out there by signing to a label. I’m really sick of hearing that. Signing to a major label and giving up your musical integrity are quite different things. Mitch Clem can express my views better than I.

Jimin: The major music industry is self-destructing. Its become all about profit and intellectual property. I respect every musician who is making music because that's what they love to do, but major labels and companies have twisted music for money.

Gavin:
What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Jimin: I don't really listen to the radio, but it seems like everything you hear is more or less the same.

Di: Catchiness is the focus with rock music today. Don't get me wrong, being able to write a catchy song is a really impressive thing, but catchiness and quality are not mutually exclusive.

Maddie: Eh. I don't like most bands on the radio, but knowing that most of my favorite bands don't get played on the radio and aren't super famous makes their shows so much more personal and meaningful.

Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Di: In regards to me personally, I'd be fine with someone downloading my music since I would just be happy someone wanted to listen to us. Focusing on the big picture, I still think file sharing isn't a bad thing, since the music industry is getting most of the money from CDs. Radiohead's idea with there last album was genius, I think. They made their latest album downloadable on their site for whatever price people wanted to pay.

Madison: I figure if someone downloaded our songs then they must like us. So cool. They're willing to do something Illegal to get the Beagle. Word.

Jimin: Everyone who wants our music should be able to get it. Download away! Spreading music and having a good time should come first. Supporting us financially is certainly welcome, but don't make it an obligation. Just hearing us play and enjoying it is good enough for me.

Gavin: Are you working on an album yet or just playing gigs for now?

Di: Just recorded. We'll probably have our first five-track demo available in about a month. Gigs will be our main focus, as always, but it'll be nice to have something to send people home with too.

Maddie: Finally, finally recorded.

Jimin: Jeez, we've been playing gigs for a long time… but we're recording an EP as we speak. Hope to have it done by the end of the month.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Di: Our demo. Also just the local scene in general. If you have some free time, go to a random local show; you might be impressed.

Madison: Go to the shows who's fliers are posted all up and down fourth south. You won't be disappointed.

Jimin: Us! And our EP! And Cookies!


The Playdead Movement (Cruz, Regan, Howa and Shane)

http://www.myspace.com/theplaydeadmovement

Gavin:
Hey guys, first off, tell us who you are and a little about yourselves.

Regan: Well, I'm Regan Ashton. I play rhythm and sing lead in the band. Shane is straight up lead guitar and also vocals. Howa plays the drums and also is the video man for Rancid. and Cruz is our bass player. I can go into more detail, but that's pretty much the jist of it.

Gavin: How did you all get together and decide to form The Playdead Movement?

Regan: Shane came up with it. Technically, he is the only original member. I started a couple of months after it was made and replaced a kid named Austin who now is on bass duty for Sounds of Emergency. Howa and Cruz came in 3 years later.

Gavin: Who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Regan: Definitely Rancid, the Clash, and Stiff Little Fingers. Great punk bands to get into at a young age and kinda build your sound around.

Gavin: The general agreement is that you guys are a pure punk band. Do you view yourselves as a punk band, or do you find it insulting to be lumped into that category?

Regan: Of course! In punk rock, there is no fine line. Ha, we fit in somewhere.

Gavin: You released the Sinners & Saints EP last year. What was that experience like recording it, and what was the reaction to it when you released it?

Regan: It was great! Writing and recording those songs was a big step from what we've done previously in our career. That EP tells the story of two years playing in PDM.

Gavin: Are you on board with Old Shoe Records?

Regan: Actually, we respectfully declined. We love the guys who run Old Shoe and the bands who front it. But it just wasn't for us.

Gavin: What did you think of the experience of playing at The Big Ass Show?

Regan: Man, I still remember every detail of that day. Playing in front of that many people can really get your heart pounding, in a good way though. One of the best days of my life.

Gavin: A little local, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Regan: Not to sound negative or anything but I'm really not impressed by it right now. So many bands are competing, it takes the fun out of it. The bands themselves are great. Bands like Talking Bombs, Negative Charge, and Dubbed are dope shit! I love it. But the scene? Too much hate my friend.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Regan: If people would just have fun with it man. Nobody can be happy for anybody's success here. If anyone's band scored it big in Utah, I'd definitely be backing them 100%.

Gavin: If you had to make a list, who would you say are the best acts in our scene now?

Regan: Like I said, Talking Bombs, Negative Charge, and Dubbed. But two others would be The Willkills and Vanzetti Crime. My step brother Mike is in Vanzetti Crime and I love those boys to death.

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Regan: Fuck man, I'm no business man. I have no idea how to even run a band. We're just getting lucky. But the music industry? I hear some bad things and good things. I can only hope that if we get any bigger, the industry takes a liking to us boys in Southern Utah County. Ha ha.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Regan: Everything is the same man. I hate turning that dial and hearing the same shit but a different band. I try my hardest to sound different and still be legit, it's a difficult road but it's something that can either make ya' or break ya'..

Gavin: What's your opinion on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Regan: As long as my music is out there I'm not against it. I'd rather have 1 million fans than 1 million record sales.

Gavin: You're going to be playing with Rancid in a couple weeks. Tell us the details on that, and how did that come about?

Regan: Aw man, it's going to be the shit! We became friends with Branden and Rancid over the last year and along with they're booking agent and the coolest lady on the planet Stormy Shepard, they were able to throw us on as local support. We couldn't have done a lot of the things we've done without the support of Branden. He's a mentor to me.

Gavin: Are you working on an album yet or just playing gigs for now? And if so, what are the details on the progress?

Regan: Right now we're just writing as much as possible and playing shows. No album has been really talked about in detail and no plans are made for a date or anything. We're just enjoying the ride and taking as much in as possible.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

Regan: Hell Yeah!! All my friends bands: Sounds of Emergency, Boneyard Daddies, The Withdrawals, my crew 801 PUNX, and a big thanks to anyone who has helped us in any way. Thank you for your support. Much respect.

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