Concert Crap: You guys are releasing your full-length album, Anti-Melody, on April 28. How did this album come about?
Brandon Kellum: We figured it’s been more than five years and each EP we’ve released has progressively had less and less tracks – maybe it’s time we surprise everyone.
CC: This album is a very personal one to you. How did that affect the song-writing process?
BK: It didn’t at first. We started writing some of these songs in 2015 shortly after releasing Hungry Hands. During that time we were balancing writing with touring and seemed like every time we had a stretch of freedom back home, we would end up getting an offer that we just couldn’t turn down. Atreyu, Every Time I Die, Emery, Norma Jean, Comeback Kid…It was like every band we looked up to when we were first getting into this style of music were now having 10 year anniversary shows and we were lucky enough to be on them. Then life happened. We lost our founding guitarist to suicide and shortly after, my father to cancer. Some of the songs I was writing at the time just didn’t feel right and it felt like I had to re-write a lot of the lyrics to address the experiences. It was different for me to write with a much more personal narrative and challenging to understand how it would fit into the initial vision for the album. Not that we were trying to put out a concept album but I like to look at our releases as a cohesive piece of art. Something that says something about a moment of time while also being relatable and relevant as it ages. That’s when I realized that the theme had naturally evolved into the things that tear us apart – whether as a social commentary of our current political climate or through death itself.
CC: Your genre is described as “chaotic hardcore”. For people who may not know you or the genre, how would you describe both the genre and your sound to them?
BK: I think genres are subjective to the listener and seem to morph over time. It’s kind of like calling The Goo Goo Dolls a metal band in the 80’s (yes, they actually released an album under Metalblade Records). At its core, American Standards has the aggression of a metal band with perhaps the mindset and message found in punk music. I’d assume the term “chaotic” comes from the use of non-traditional guitar sounds such as feedback and songs written with more complex structures. If anxiety started a band with angst and frustration, American Standards would be it.
CC: What can people expect to hear in this album?
BK: Hopefully a progression from the last. We’ve really focused on pushing the dynamics of the band to keep it inventive and interesting. We know going into it that we’re at a bit of a disadvantage. We’re not out there competing to be the heaviest or the fastest. We’re not trying to hinge our art on our appearance – nor do we have the looks to do so. I think the end result is something true and honest to us. It’s not popular. It may not even be “cool” by today’s standards but we enjoy it.
CC: What do you hope listeners walk away with after listening to your music?
BK: To be honest, if they’re not into the music and if the message doesn’t interest them, the least I’d hope they’d walk away with is the thought that they could go out there and do it better. We’re no one special. I first got into playing in bands at the age of 15 and I’m now 30. If I could motivate one person to follow their passion like music did for me, then I think it’s all worth it.
CC: Do you have anything else to say to our readers?
BK: Go out and explore. Seek out people doing things that are new and exciting. Just enjoy life. Don’t spend all your time reading interviews with some dude from a noisy punk band you’ve never heard of.
All questions answered by Brandon Kellum.
Post and interview by Karen Shalev
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