Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fever Dreams, Eons, Gaza

Posted By on October 24, 2012, 10:00 AM

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So ... If you weren't at The Shred Shed opening this past Friday, two things: That was stupid of you, and you missed out! --- I know, there's a lot of people who will read that and think that's a pompous statement, but the simple fact is the statement is true. The all-ages venue rekindled the old flame from the Grainary District location and blew the damned doors off the former Artopia location on Exchange Place with one of the heaviest-hitting shows they could have produced.

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The show kicked into high gear with our old friends Cornered By Zombies, got right into the thick of it with visiting St. George hardcore band Fever Dreams, followed by a melodic hardcore singalong set from Eons, and with the legendary group Gaza -- who played so hard to the capacity-filled crowd (that's right, opening night was a sellout) that they blew out the sound system just two songs in -- capping off the night. Today, I chat with the last three bands on that bill, and for you unfortunate people who missed out on the kickass show, you can check out my over 400 pictures from the evening's events in this gallery here.



Fever Dreams (Ammon Ramos, Andrew Patterson, Jordon Strang & Dylan Huff)

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Fever Dreams on Facebook



(For this interview, Fever Dreams chose to answer as a group.)



Gavin: Hey, everyone. First thing, tell us a little about yourselves.



FD: We are a four-piece hardcore-punk band from St. George. Ammon does vocals, Dylan plays guitar, Andrew plays bass and Jordon plays drums and does vocals.



Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?



FD: Dylan and Jordon were raised in musical families and started earlier on, whereas Ammon and Andrew had always been really passionate about music and eventually started playing and writing their own. We all listened to punk and metal bands growing up and it evolved from there.

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Gavin: How did all of you come together to form Fever Dreams?



FD: Ammon and Jordon had been playing together since seventh grade. They joined a band that Dylan was in and started playing as Fever Dreams near the end of high school and we've continued writing and playing shows for the past two years. We had been without a full-time bassist and Andrew has always been a friend of ours, so he stepped in last winter.



Gavin: What influenced the hardcore-punk sound, and why did you make it grittier than most in the genre?



FD: Our sound takes influence from plenty of different sub-genres of heavy music. There are tons of grind, black metal, sludge, and other influences that led us to sound the way that we do. Whether people consider our sound grittier than others is for them to decide. We just ended up becoming noisier and noisier as the band continued.

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Gavin: Being a St. George band, how is it for you playing in your own scene, as its now starting to grow, and what kind of challenge is it for you to come up north to find a wider audience?



FD: Honestly, our scene has been depleting over the years but is now making a steady comeback. Our last local show was great and we love playing in St. George to our friends and peers. It's always a pleasure to play in Northern Utah. Our only real challenges are traveling, getting our gear up there -- seeing as we are currently shopping for a van -- and taking time off of work to play shows.



Gavin: Last month, you released your debut album, As Above, So Below. What was it like for all of you working on it, and what issues did you deal with along the way?



FD: The writing process came very naturally for us. At the time, Ammon was living six hours away from us, and we wrote the lyrical and vocal aspect of the album through videos and e-mails. From there, we teamed up with Mind Melt Enterprises for a physical release. Other than the distance between the four of us at the time and getting to LA to record, the whole process went over really well.

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Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction to it, both in your hometown and up north?



FD: So far, the album has received very positive reactions, both from locals and people outside of Utah.



Gavin: How is it for you to come play the first night at the new Shred Shed?



FD: Being from Utah, we have always heard about the Shred Shed, and are excited to see it come back. We're very grateful to be a part of its rebirth.

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Gavin: Being relatively new with a fresh album, have you given any thought to touring?



FD: We recently did a two-week West Coast run with our friends in Globe and Beast from San Diego. We have plans to hit the road again in early 2013.



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



FD: Utah is home to many talented bands and hardworking promoters. We have always had a positive experience both up north and at home. Like many other scenes, negativity and cliques come alongside the good aspects, which is a bummer. We just try to steer clear of any of that and have fun.

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



FD: Utah bands reaching outside of Utah and making themselves heard helps to make a name for their state and the scene they come from. From our experience, upping the DIY ethic and continuing to maintain a community within the scene helps bring others to Utah, as well.



Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?



FD: GAZA, Golden Sun, SpeakxOut, Despite Despair and Eagle Twin are all incredible.

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Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?



FD: We think it helps branch out to a community that might not take a look into hardcore music -- or local music at all -- any other way.



Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and a music lovers?



FD: We all download from file-sharing sites and music blogs, yet we still go out of our way to support these bands by buying a physical copy of the music or merch. We put our album up for free on our Bandcamp and Facebook, while still leaving a "name your price" option for payment if they choose to make a donation. Online downloading is a really positive option for bands looking to get their name out to a wider audience.

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Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of this year?



FD: For the most part, we are finishing the writing process for future releases and planning out tours for next year.



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



FD: Check out all of the previously mentioned bands, Mind Melt Enterprises, Southern Utah Hardcore, Globe and Beast, Seizures, Colombian Necktie, Old Wounds, Melotov Records, Reproacher, Bone Dance and Black Mask.





Eons (Scott Wardle, Tylor Blackburn, Chase Covington, Jordan Fairbanks and Matt Wiley)

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Eons on Facebook



(For this interview, Eons chose to answer as a group.)



Gavin: Hey, everyone. First thing, tell us a little about yourselves.



Eons: We're five dudes who have nothing better to do with their time than play music. That about sums it up.

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Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?



Eons: That’s a tough one. Most of us listened to a lot of punk growing up. Hot Water Music, Thrice, Brand New, Thursday, MXPX. Then there were -- and still are -- bands like The Locust, The Blood Brother, Violent Fems and Sigur Ros.



Gavin: How did the five of you come together to form Eons?



Eons: Well, Matt, Jordan, Scott, and Chase have all been friends for a long time. Tylor and Matt met while working together at a call center in Utah County. Tylor and Matt eventually ended up becoming roommates, and just after years of hanging out and jamming decided to start a project. Jordan had just moved back from Maryland at the time so basically we asked him if he wanted to just jam for the fun of it; he agreed. After a few jam sessions, we decided to find a bass player, and Matt called Scott. Tylor was originally playing guitar and then decided it would be best to just focus on vocals. At this point, the band was still just a fun project. Chase was sharing a jam space with us, and was actually coming in to move his stuff out when Matt and Scott were jamming and asked if he'd like to jam "just for fun". That's basically it. "Just for fun" became playing shows, writing an EP, and now touring. We still do it for fun -- if it ever looses that aspect we wouldn't do it anymore, but it's just crazy it became something we're actively pursuing.

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Gavin: What's it been like for you as a newly formed band to find your sound and grow with every performance?



Eons: Surprisingly smooth. We've only "officially" been a band for about six months, and everything we've decided to do, we've done it. We just put our minds to it, never settle for anything less than what we want, and never make a decision unless everyone is 100% on board. There's no voting in Eons, everything is a group decision. When everyone is happy with a decision, then everyone is happy with the band, so growing and playing just come natural.



Gavin: Being a new band, how has it been for you playing around the valley and gaining an audience?



Eons: Incredible. It's been awesome to see so many kids coming to our shows. Starting a new band is both exciting, and intimidating, but we’ve been having a great time doing it.

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Gavin: You've got a brand-new EP coming out next month. What was it like putting it together with Andy Patterson?



Eons: Some members of the band have worked with him in the past, so we knew there was no other option. He’s a great guy, and really good at what he does. It’s more like recording with a friend than a engineer. The EP is actually available on our Bandcamp right now, but we are working on getting it physically printed by January.



Gavin: Are you looking to make a full-length in the future or simply supporting the EP for now?



Eons: We're looking into a full-length, as well as doing a split. We've actually got a new song we've plugged into our set, and we're just going to keep supporting the EP while at the same time writing new songs. Eventually, once we have enough material for a full-length, we’ll record that and repeat the cycle.

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Gavin: Have you given any thoughts to touring or are you mainly sticking to Utah for now?



Eons: We actually just got back from a Northwest tour with Despite Despair. We had an amazing time, and are currently booking a Southwest tour for early 2013.



Gavin: What are your thoughts on coming in to play the first show at the new Shred Shed?



Eons: It's a huge honor and a privilege to be playing such a stacked show, at such a rad place. Salt Lake City desperately needs the Shred Shed, and we're really excited to see it finally get going. Gaza has been a huge inspiration for us. We’re very pleased to be playing their vinyl-release show and the opening of an awesome new venue.

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Gavin: Moving onto statewide stuff, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?



Eons: Utah is very fortunate to have the music it has. The bad is that kids don't realize it. There seems to be a shell around one type of music, and kids are only going to check out their friends' bands -- Eeither because they're not interested in new music or they're just not aware of it.



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



Eons: Mix genre shows. We played a festival in Provo this summer called Fusion Fest. The goal was to get all different styles of music playing together, and it worked. It was a huge success that we're excited to see grow more and more each year.

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Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?



Eons: HAHAHA! Does anyone actually say themselves? Locally, GAZA, Loom, Settle Down, Despite Despair, Yaktooth. We've also had the privilege of playing with some of the best bands out of state such as Cascabel from Seattle, Arkham of Chicago and Single Mothers from London, Ontario.



Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?



Eons: It’s great. Most of us have found out about some of our favorite bands through KRCL. It gives kids an opportunity to hear a band they may have never had the chance to listen to before. The only issue is a lot of people don’t listen to the radio anymore now that we have the Internet and iPods.

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Gavin: What do you think of file sharing these days, both as musicians and a music lovers?



Eons: Well, it's definitely something we're guilty of. Honestly, it's just exciting that our music can be put into a stranger's hands so easily. Bands should learn to embrace file sharing for what it is. We put our music up online where people can name their own price. They can get it for free anyways, so why not offer it to them? There’s so much good music out there it’s hard to buy all of it, and it can get kids to show up to your live shows. It should never be about the money, anyways, but there's always money to be made in merch and physical copies of the CD. Musicians seem to forget that if kids like your band, they will buy your shit.



Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of this year?



Eons: For now, we're working on getting our EP physically printed, and getting ready to tour as much as possible. Next year will be a very busy year for us, and we're both anxious and excited. It's going to be awesome.

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



Eons: Our EP, which will be physically printed soon. Crucial Fest, and Fusion Fest. KRCL. Basically, support your local scene, because there is one out there, and it’s awesome.





GAZA (Mike Mason, Jon Parkin, Anthony Lucero & Casey Hansen)

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GAZAMusic.net



Gavin: Hey, Jon. First off, how have you all been since we last chatted?



Jon: Things are good, man. New record's doing well. We’re doing this band thing better than we ever have. Feels like we’re transferred into veteran status doing this.



Gavin: The last time I chatted with most of you for the blog, you were off doing other projects and weren't really working on Gaza material at the time. What influenced the 2009 return?



Jon: We’ve never stopped working on Gaza. There may be small lulls after a record comes out or something, but we work pretty hard all of the time. We have other projects, but none as stable or pressing as this.

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Gavin: How was it for you coming back and working on the songs that would become He Is Never Coming Back?



Jon: Again, no real comeback scenario. We worked these songs for about a year before we recorded them. And it was a much more focused effort with the four of us. We are all of like mind with what we want to write and portray and that makes writing fun and low stress.



Gavin: At the time, Exigent was almost nonexistent. What made you decide to go with Black Market Activities for a label?



Jon: Black Market had a national presence. And the ability to distribute across the country. We never officially signed anything with Exigent for our first EP. It was a handshake deal. And one that helped us take a big step forward at the time. The last three full-lengths have all been BMA. Not sure where we’re going to go next. We may just put it out ourselves.

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Gavin: Around the time the album came out, Luke Sorenson decided to leave the band. What brought about his departure and what made you decide to carry on as a four-piece?



Jon: We told Luke to take a walk around the release of He Is Never Coming Back. He didn’t prioritize well. We went on as a four-piece because it simplified things and, like I said before, it streamlined the process, and when you’re all of one mind it makes being in a band much much easier.



Gavin: You put out the album and did a couple of tours, and then slowly went back to being out-of-sight for nearly two years. After a great run on a second album, why did you decide to go back to being kind of quiet?



Jon: We toured pretty hard and constant from the release of HINCB -- two Europe tours, three full U.S. tours, and a bunch of stuff between.

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Gavin: What was it like for all of you writing and putting together the third album over that time?



Jon: The writing and recording process for the new record happened a lot faster than it had in the past, a lot of that due to the streamlining I mentioned above. It was easy to focus and to work hard. The four of us have always had a good work ethic. Anthony was also able to step up and provide more of the writing as a four-piece and he had a lot of really good ideas to go along with Mike and Casey's. And we got together three times a week to pound it out.



Gavin: How did the opportunity come about to work with Kurt Ballou of Converge, and what was it like having him around to produce it?



Jon: We had talked with him about doing HINCB but we didn’t have the budget at the time. We were able to with No Absolutes In Human Suffering because of an increased budget and some contribution from ourselves. We became good friends with him because we had done a full US and European tour with Converge in 2010 and that helped us understand him and his style. He is a savant. He is an obsessive producer and there wasn’t a thing that got by him. It worked very well with our detailed approach.

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Gavin: When No Absolutes In Human Suffering came out, there was a ton of press that followed it -- even Pitchfork took notice. What did you think of the reactions that came from that album from a national view?



Jon: We all had a feeling we'd hit a home run with this record. We felt it when we started to mix it. All of our records have been reviewed really well, actually. Not by Pitchfork per se, but Decibel, Lambgoat, etc. have all had really good things to say in the past. Getting exposure from NPR and Pitchfork is definitely a new level for us. We’ve been doing this for a long time so it feels validating.



Gavin: The Shred Shed show marks the vinyl release of the album. What made you decide to do a vinyl copy?



Jon: Vinyl is all the rage nowadays. In fact, we’re about four to five years late on it. And it makes sense: It's more a direct support to the band, a collectors' item, more of an art piece and you can get the digital version anywhere, as well.

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Gavin: After this release, are you looking to take another tour, play locally or work on other projects?



Jon: We’ll be touring a lot on this release. We’re headlining a U.S. tour with Code Orange Kids and Full Of Hell in November, and we’re heading back to Europe in February/March. And there will be more U.S. touring in the spring and summer.



Gavin: Let's talk current local: What are your thoughts on the local music scene today?



Jon: We are very excited about the new Shred Shed. SLC has been starved for an all-ages venue downtown like that. It's going to do wonders for the scene.

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



Jon: Well, the Shred Shed is a huge step. SLUG is always supportive of locals and a great place to go to find out what's happening. As far as more prominent ... that takes creativity and originality. Far too many bands spend their efforts trying to sound like something else. If we have a scene of followers, it's boring and no one will have any reason to care.



Gavin: Who are some of your current favorite acts in the scene right now?



Jon: Fever Dreams from St. George is killing it. Eons is good. Cornered By Zombies is a blast. DTA is great. Eagle Twin is killing it. There’s a lot of stuff going on.

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Gavin: What's your opinion on how local music is being treated and played on Utah radio these days?



Jon: I haven’t listened to music on the radio for a decade. I have to plead ignorance there.



Gavin: What can we expect from all of you over the rest of this year?



Jon: Lots of touring on No Absolutes. There’s also a new Bird Eater record coming out soon. Otherwise, in our downtime we’ll be writing the next record.

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



Jon: Our homecoming show will be at Kilby Court on Dec. 15 with Code Orange Kids and Full Of Hell.





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