Tag Archive: “Panic Records”

In the late summer of 2014, bandmates Brett Barrett and Ikaika Cox set out to make a record that they felt truly represented them. GEIST, released on Panic Records in November, formed from the embers of the previous incarnation of the band and marked this next evolution of Despite Despair.

GEIST is a raw and fearsome record, inspired by experiences that were violent, traumatic, and everlasting. It is contradictory—dredging up the negative and flooding it with light, uncompromising in its affirmation. There are many themes in GEIST: the recurring crux of existentialism, death’s inevitability, rejection of sedentary and reactionary nihilism in favor of wide-eyed exploration into freedom and responsibility; positing an ethic of morality into the absentee atheistic worldview, all while remaining capable of understanding the potential for change in art. Believing in yourself to create a body of work—instead of killing yourself—in the face of the silent, unsung battles that so often consume the creative process.

GEIST is about perseverance and hard work. It is about overcoming. It is about life in a world of death. Brett performed drums and main vocals for the first time since the band’s birth, played the majority of the guitars and wrote the lyrics. Ikaika Cox played bass, performed additional guitar, and provided content editing for lyrics and composition. Randy Cordner recorded and produced the record, and provided an impromptu guest guitar spot on the ominous and crushing closing track, “Dies Irae.” Other appearances were by members of Fever Dreams, The Troubles, Temples, and many of our other friends as well. After recruiting talented illustrator-guitarist Derek Ballard, Nic Kartchner on drums, and Maclaine Lewis on guitar, the band has resurrected itself and returned even stronger than before.

Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering the video for “Dance of the Maenads,” which you can enjoy below.

(Visit Despite Despair here:

https://despitedespair.bandcamp.com/.)

Hollow Earth
Hollow Earth

Panic Records, the label founded by Timm McInotsh of Seattle hardcore vets Trial, recently released Hollow Earth’s Silent Graves on November 11. From Dearborn, Michigan, Hollow Earth was formed in 2011 by vocalist Steve Muczynski and guitarist Mike Moynihan, both ex-members of metallic hardcore legends Shai Hulud. Additionally, Mike Moynihan is also a current member of recent Century Media signees Enabler. The debut full-length, recorded by Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recordings (Harm’s Way, Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, Nails), is a scorcher that is feral and grand. With an apocalyptic weight that recalls Nails, Buried Alive and Neurosis, the nightmarish accounts of impending doom, on personal and global levels, are simply jaw dropping.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Muczynski while the band was in the midst of a full U.S. tour to discuss their artistic vision, the end of humanity, and other heavy subject. This is what he told us.

What is it about dark, heavy music that made it the best platform for sharing your artistic vision?

In regards to Hollow Earth, it was something that just happened. I had this lyrical concept that I’d been hanging on to for well over a year and Mike had a handful of riffs in the bank… When we put em together it just seemed to work. I like to think that the lyrical concepts on We Are Not Humanity subconsciously had a hand in shaping the riffs for the new record but that’s one for Mike. The first song we wrote for Silent Graves (“The Reclamation”) seemed to pick up where WANH left off, except darker and heavier which just felt right. Furthermore, I’m strapped to find a better genre of music to serve as a platform for ideas as unsettling as the end of the world… Or at least one that we are talented enough to pull off!

It seems appropriate somehow that you guys are from Detroit and carry the Hollow Earth moniker given all that the city has been through in the recent decade.  Does that landscape inspire the band’s output?

I can’t say it directly inspires us, though maybe indirectly. However, I am currently reading a book on the state of the city as of the past decade or so. Learning more about the neighboring major city I’ve lived next to my entire life is something I’m long overdue on. I always thought what Modern Life is War did with Witness was really awesome and I saw them on multiple occasions where Jeff would urge people to do their homework and learn more about where they come from. That was what, seven or eight years ago and it’s still on my to-do list?! Damn.

What were you guys doing between the release of the EP in 2012 and this record?  Was this a long time between releases or just the natural cycle of how you write and record?

We toured pretty damn hard our first year as a band. Between February 2012 and January 2013 we played 120 shows. We juggled our line-up nearly every tour, which made matters that much more exhausting. In early 2013 we were in the midst of booking a 50 date summer tour while simultaneously realizing we no longer really had a line-up that we could call our own on top of Mike realizing he needed to take a break as he’d been steadily touring for the last three or four years. At the time I was super bummed as I was ready to keep pushing, but Mike’s spot is not one that I would ever get a fill-in for. I temporarily rejoined Shai Hulud on bass for a few tours and at some point that fall Mike realized he was ready to do Hollow Earth again. We found a new guitarist (freaky little Sean Reed) and went to work on bringing the Silent Graves demos to life in a practice room. We recorded the album without a bass player, leaving Mike to handle those duties. Our bass player situation however, is still a complication unfortunately. To answer the latter part of your question; this is not the desired writing and recording cycle we hope to keep. In fact we already have two new songs ready to go (musically, not lyrically because I slack hard) and we were actually hoping to record them at Witch Ape with TAD when we pass through Seattle on this tour… He is unfortunately booked up though. One way or another there won’t be as large of a gap between Silent Graves and some new bangers.

Apocalyptic visions seem to be a running theme throughout the record.  Do you believe this is where the earth is headed?

Honestly, it seems inevitable. History has certainly proven time and again that every empire will eventually fall. Granted, I am nowhere near educated enough to give any sort of substantial hypothesis or timeline. The question I struggle with more is whether or not I’m rooting for the end. It’s a depressing thought, one that permeates the lyrical content on .

What would you choose if given the choice between surviving through it or disappearing with the rest of humanity?

Though it may sound odd as I literally just said I was torn on whether or not I’m in favor of the end, I know would certainly opt for survival. Not to say I’m a doomsday prepper or anything, because I’m NOT. I’ve never even shot a gun before! I am however extremely competitive and have seen one too many episodes of The Walking Dead, so yeah sign me up! I have some sort of sick little idea in my head that it would be fun, when in reality it would probably be absolutely fucking terrifying. It would certainly bring a whole new meaning to being alive, that’s for sure. And we’d be forced to resort to a tribal way of life which I find entirely intriguing.

How did you decide that Andy Nelson was the right guy to produce this record?  Did he lend anything to the process that changed the way you saw the songs that you brought him?

So up until very recently I used to play guitar for another MI based band called Great Reversals. When HE was discussing where we were gonna record WANH I suggested Getaway Group in Massachusetts because 6 months prior Great Reversals recorded an EP with Jay Maas and it was an awesome experience. So we did that. Fast forward a few years and when Mike heard the Great Reversals stuff that Andy had just done, coupled with other records he had done (Dead in the Dirt, Weekend Nachos, Harm’s Way) he suggested we go to Andy as well. So we did that too. I no longer play in Great Reversals but they’re writing a full length… Will the pattern continue? We shall see.

To answer the second part of your question… The album was essentially written and completed during a time when we weren’t really an active/functioning band. Mike demoed out all the songs on his computer and would e-mail them to us. Once we found Sean and started playing those songs as a band we began making little tweaks here and there, figuring out what worked and what didn’t. So by the time we were ready to take the songs to Andy the album was pretty much solidified. But Andy certainly did an excellent job in capturing the sounds we were looking for. In fact he more than exceeded our expectations. Both he and his partner Pete Grossman are definitely doing something right… Shortly after we recorded at Bricktop, our friends in Exalt and Discourse both went and recorded badass LPs there as well!

You are currently in the midst of undertaking a massive tour in support of Silent Graves.  Have you found that people are receptive to the material you wrote for the record?

This is the longest tour HE has taken on thus far and we are pretty pumped about it. In fact, we wanted it to be eight weeks, but had to settle for six (yes, we are idiots). We’ve definitely found that people are more receptive to the new material now that it’s available for them to listen to. We’ve toured twice this past year playing set lists comprised mostly of Silent Graves songs and it seems as though people haven’t really taken to them until now. Likely because there wasn’t basis for comparison. It’s such a good feeling to tour in support of a record (or in this case, CD) that is done and sitting on the merch table as opposed to one that is completely done, but “coming soon.”

Have any of your shows so far been exceedingly good or bad, and why?  Which of the shows coming up are you most eager about?

We mostly play small rooms with a slim attendance, and we know that going into it. And even though we’ve toured a healthy amount in our time as a band, our audiences are mostly comprised of people seeing us for the first time, with a solid handful of people we know on a first name basis. It’s not always easy to play rooms with under 10 paid and half the crowd is watching you out of pity while they stand there and spend most of the set texting on their phones… But that’s the reality of what we’re doing. We are still a relatively new band cutting our teeth, working hard hoping for a chance to get support spots on bigger tours with increased odds of exposure. By no means do I want to sound ungrateful. The fact that Hollow Earth can get in a van and tour the country repeatedly and not completely lose our asses is something we are very lucky and privileged to experience. The fact that promoters put themselves out there and are willing to do a Hollow Earth show knowing fully well that they might have to dip into their own pockets to pay us is incredible, something we couldn’t be more grateful for. And the friends we’ve met along the way that continue to support us make it that much more gratifying! All the while playing and hangin out with awesome bands like Exalt, Axis and Old Wounds… It’s badass! And now we finally get to hit the road with Run with the Hunted?! Super pumped on that! The bottom line is this: we have a blast on the road regardless of how the shows go, we make sure of that. I think this time around we are very excited to play Seattle (the combo of HE, RWTH, Trial and Panic Family and so many other friends and vegan donuts), Reno (where we’ll cross paths with The Greenery again), Denver (where we’ve only been once back in 2012 and it was awesome), and anywhere that is warm enough for us to swim! We just played Phoenix yesterday and it was so much fun… every time we go there. And this time we don’t have to be sad when we leave because RUNTED is coming with us!

Were you guys fans of Timm McInotsh’s band Trial?  What has it been like working with him?

Mike and I are definitely huge Trial fans, as well as past HE members and fill-ins. When we first talked about putting a record out on Panic he threw out the possibility of touring with Trial and we were completely floored at the prospect. Then when it actually happened it was unreal, such a an awesome tour… Which then opened the door to us supporting Greg Bennick on a spoken word tour a couple months later. Couldn’t be more thankful for the friendships that have come from Timm taking a chance on our band. Working with him is interesting, he’s as sarcastic and silly as they come… But he’s also entirely committed to putting out records that he truly believes in, usually knowing fully well that it’ll likely be a financial pitfall. Timm’s full time job is managing a car service company that he and his partner Jo started from the ground up. He’s a busy dude and isn’t always as available as we wish he was but it’s entirely understandable. And then when he does find time to focus on label stuff it’s usually our dumb-asses that haven’t sent him artwork or mastered tracks or something that holds up the process of getting our record out. So really there’s a lot of give and take on both ends. Getting that first shipment of Silent Graves CDs was such a good feeling and we have Timm to thank for that. At the end of the day we fully realize just how lucky we are to have him behind us, running a label seems to have a longer list of cons than it does pros, yet he continues to do it. Although he says after the HE record he’s hanging it up… We’ll see about that though… We shall see.

How are the artistic goals you’ve set out to achieve with Hollow Earth different than what you were doing in Shai Hulud or what Mike does in Enabler?

Well I was never more than a fill-in for Shai Hulud, so I never really had any artistic goals in that sense. Mike essentially was full-time member and was actively writing music with them but ultimately felt a bit restricted. When Hollow Earth came together it gave him the ability to fully explore his song writing abilities and proved to be a bit more rewarding. Enabler is actually a brand new endeavor for him, he’ll be playing his first show with them a week or so after we get home from this tour. As for Hollow Earth as a whole, our initial goal was simply to write songs that we believed in and get our asses on the road. Now that we’ve made that a reality we’ve been focusing in a bit more on what we’d like to accomplish musically. I know for me personally, I would absolutely love to see Hollow Earth take a couple weeks off and spend some time in a remote, desolate location (maybe somewhere in northern Michigan) and just spend time writing as a band. I’ve always wanted to do that and I think it’s entirely in the cards for us.

I’m actually writing this from Dayton, Ohio, a place I’m sure Mike is familiar with. Does Hollow Earth ever have plans to visit our city?

If there’s a demand for HE in Dayton then consider us there! Even if that demand consists of you, and only you. We are actually in the process of compiling a list of places we’ve either never been and/or haven’t been to in a while and I will gladly add Dayton to that list! Maybe Mantra can play? Or let’s get The Pledge back together? Unfortunately that’s the extent of my knowledge on the Dayton scene… But if you’d be kind enough to have us I’ll gladly talk old and/or current diamonds in the rough from Dayton.

(Hollow Earth are currently finishing up a U.S. tour with Exalt, including select dates with KDC.

Nov 26 – Minneapolis, MN @ Pizza Palace * 

Nov 28 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Borg Ward * 

Nov 29 – Peoria, IL @ Black Sheep *  #

Nov 30 – Detroit, MI @ Yonka House #

Dec 1 – Syracuse, NY @ Gorham Brothers Music #

Dec 2 – Oneonta, NY @ Beer Barrel Inn #

Dec 4 – Haverhill, MA @ Anchors Up #

Dec 5 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie #

Dec 6 – Clifton, NJ @ Clash Bar #

Dec 7 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron #

Dec 8 – Wilmington, DE @ Reggie’s #

Dec 9 – Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone #

Dec 10 – Orlando, FL @ Uncle Lou’s #

Dec 11 – Miami, FL @ Churchill’s #

Dec 12 – Tampa, FL @ Epic Problem #

Dec 13 – Birmingham, AL @ The Forge #

Dec 15 – Decatur, AL @ Blurry Vision Records #

Dec 16 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Hound Dog’s #

Dec 17 – Houston, TX @ Mango’s #

Dec 18 – San Antonio, TX @ The Ten Eleven #

Dec 19 – Fort Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill #

Dec 20 – Nashville, TN @ Cafe Coco #

Dec 21 – Louisville, KY @ Buster’s #

* – w/ Exalt # – w/ KDC

Visit the band here: facbook.com/hollowerthinc)

Hollow Earth set out on a massive coast-to-coast U.S. tour joined on certain dates by Exalt, Run with the Hunted, and KDC.

The Detroit area band’s debut full-length, Silent Graves, comes out Tuesday, November 11, on Panic Records, the label owned by Timm McIntosh of Trial. The album was produced by Andy Nelson (Harm’s Way, Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Integrity, Nails). “The Reclamation,” the lead track off Silent Graves, is now streaming via Decibel Magazine, here.

Nov 10 – Kansas City, MO @ Art Closet *

Nov 11 – Tulsa, OK @ White Flag *

Nov 12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Gasworks * $

Nov 13 – Phoenix, AZ @ Fiftyonewest * $

Nov 14 – San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe * $

Nov 15 – La Puente, CA @ Bridgetown DIY * $

Nov 16 – Oakland, CA @ 1-2-3-4 Go! Records * $

Nov 17  – Reno, NV @ Holland Project * $

Nov 18 – Eugene, OR @ The Boreal * $

Nov 19 – Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge * $

Nov 20 – Spokane, WA @ The Big Dipper * $

Nov 21 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder * $

Nov 22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kafeneio Coffeehouse * $

Nov 23 – Denver, CO @ Mutiny Info Cafe *

Nov 25 – Fargo, ND @ The New Direction *

Nov 26 – Minneapolis, MN @ Pizza Palace *

Nov 28 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Borg Ward *

Nov 29 – Peoria, IL @ Black Sheep *  #

Nov 30 – Detroit, MI @ Yonka House #

Dec 1 – Syracuse, NY @ Gorham Brothers Music #

Dec 2 – Oneonta, NY @ Beer Barrel Inn #

Dec 4 – Haverhill, MA @ Anchors Up #

Dec 5 – Rockville Center, NY @ The Vibe Lounge #

Dec 6 – Clifton, NJ @ Clash Bar #

Dec 7 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron #

Dec 8 – Wilmington, DE @ Reggie’s #

Dec 9 – Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone #

Dec 10 – Orlando, FL @ Uncle Lou’s #

Dec 11 – Miami, FL @ Churchill’s #

Dec 12 – Tampa, FL @ Epic Problem #

Dec 13 – Birmingham, AL @ The Forge #

Dec 15 – Decatur, AL @ Blurry Vision Records #

Dec 16 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Hound Dog’s # Dec 17 – Houston, TX @ Mango’s #

Dec 18 – San Antonio, TX @ The Ten Eleven #

Dec 19 – Fort Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill #

Dec 20 – Nashville, TN @ Cafe Coco #

Dec 21 – Louisville, KY @ Buster’s #

* – w/ Exalt $ – w/ Run with the Hunted # – w/ KDC

Hollow Earth has teamed with Metal Injection to unveil “Swallowing Knives,” another new track off the Michigan band’s upcoming debut full-length, Silent Graves.

Panic Records, the label owned by Timm McIntosh of Seattle hardcore vets Trial, will release Hollow Earth’s Silent Graves on November 11. The album was recorded by Andy Nelson (Harm’s Way, Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Integrity, Nails). Hollow Earth hits the road next week for a big US tour that includes dates with Exalt, Run with the Hunted, and KDC.

Catch the band on tour here:

Nov 8 – Fort Wayne, IN @ The Den *

Nov 9 – St Louis, MO @ Fubar *

Nov 10 – Kansas City, MO @ Art Closet *

Nov 11 – Tulsa, OK @ White Flag *

Nov 12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Gasworks * $

Nov 13 – Phoenix, AZ @ Fiftyonewest * $

Nov 14 – San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe * $

Nov 15 – La Puente, CA @ Bridgetown DIY * $

Nov 16 – Oakland, CA @ 1-2-3-4 Go! Records * $

Nov 17  – Reno, NV @ Holland Project * $

Nov 18 – Eugene, OR @ The Boreal * $

Nov 19 – Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge * $

Nov 20 – Spokane, WA @ The Big Dipper * $

Nov 21 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder * $

Nov 22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kafeneio Coffeehouse * $

Nov 23 – Denver, CO @ Mutiny Info Cafe *

Nov 25 – Fargo, ND @ The New Direction *

Nov 26 – Minneapolis, MN @ Pizza Palace *

Nov 28 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Borg Ward *

Nov 29 – Peoria, IL @ Black Sheep *  #

Nov 30 – Detroit, MI @ Yonka House #

Dec 1 – Syracuse, NY @ Gorham Brothers Music #

Dec 2 – Oneonta, NY @ Beer Barrel Inn #

Dec 4 – Haverhill, MA @ Anchors Up #

Dec 5 – Rockville Center, NY @ The Vibe Lounge #

Dec 6 – Clifton, NJ @ Clash Bar #

Dec 7 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Acheron #

Dec 8 – Wilmington, DE @ Reggie’s #

Dec 9 – Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone #

Dec 10 – Orlando, FL @ Uncle Lou’s #

Dec 11 – Miami, FL @ Churchill’s #

Dec 12 – Tampa, FL @ Epic Problem #

Dec 13 – Birmingham, AL @ The Forge #

Dec 15 – Decatur, AL @ Blurry Vision Records #

Dec 16 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Hound Dog’s #

Dec 17 – Houston, TX @ Mango’s #

Dec 18 – San Antonio, TX @ The Ten Eleven #

Dec 19 – Fort Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill #

Dec 20 – Nashville, TN @ Cafe Coco #

Dec 21 – Louisville, KY @ Buster’s #

* – w/ Exalt $ – w/ Run with the Hunted # – w/ KDC

Detroit’s Hollow Earth, a band that features ex-members of Shai Hulud and a current member of Enabler, release Silent Graves via Panic Records on November 11. Silent Graves was recorded by Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recordings (Harm’s Way, Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, Nails). The band are streaming a track from the record, “World to Come” , exclusively via MetalSucks.

The band are planning a U.S. tour with Exalt next month.

Nov 8 – Fort Wayne, IN @ The Den *

Nov 9 – St Louis, MO @ Fubar *

Nov 10 – Kansas City, MO @ Art Closet *

Nov 11 – Tulsa, OK @ White Flag *

Nov 12 – Albuquerque, NM @ Gasworks * $

Nov 13 – Phoenix, AZ @ Fiftyonewest * $

Nov 14 – San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe * $

Nov 15 – La Puente, CA @ Bridgetown DIY * $

Nov 16 – Oakland, CA @ 1-2-3-4 Go! Records * $

Nov 17  – Reno, NV @ Holland Project * $

Nov 18 – Eugene, OR @ The Boreal * $

Nov 19 – Seattle, WA @ Black Lodge * $

Nov 20 – Spokane, WA @ The Big Dipper * $

Nov 21 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder * $

Nov 22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kafeneio Coffeehouse * $

Nov 23 – Denver, CO @ Mutiny Info Cafe *

Nov 25 – Fargo, ND @ The New Direction *

Nov 26 – Minneapolis, MN @ Pizza Palace *

Nov 28 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Borg Ward *

Nov 29 – Peoria, IL @ Black Sheep *  #

Nov 30 – Detroit, MI @ Yonka House #

* – w/ Exalt

$ – w/ Run with the Hunted

# – w/ KDC

Arizona punk/hardcore unit, Run With The Hunted, released the first official taste of their upcoming full-length via the pit perpetrators at Lambgoat.

Titled “Silent Spring,” the noise-strewn number opens The Sieve And The Sand, the band’s fourth long player. Engineered and mixed by Alex Estrada (Touche Amore, Nails, Joyce Manor),and mastered by New Alliance East (Converge, Dropdead, Doomriders), The Sieve And The Sand finds the band at the true apex of their creative ambitions both sonically and lyrically.

Point your ear holes toward Lambgoat, and check out “Silent Spring” at THIS LOCATION.

The Sieve And The Sand will be released via Panic Records on June 3.

Arizona’s Run With The Hunted have announced the release of their long-awaited new full-length. Titled The Sieve And The Sand, their fourth long player was engineered and mixed by Alex Estrada (Touche Amore, Nails, Joyce Manor), mastered by New Alliance East (Converge, Dropdead, Doomriders) and finds the band at the apex of their creative ambitions.

The Sieve And The Sand will be released via Panic Records on June 3. Further info, including preorder links, will be announced in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out the ripping new teaser video at THIS LOCATION.

The band will kick off a short run of live takeovers this week. Here they are:

w/ Seizures:

3/06/2014 FiftyOneWest – Tempe, AZ

3/07/2014 Oxford House – Los Angeles, CA

3/08/2014 Che Cafe – San Diego, CA

3/09/2014 Alladin Jr. – Pomona, CA

3/15/2014 Wallstreet – Phoenix, AZ w/ Hollow Earth, Old Wounds

Life On A Houseboat
Life On A Houseboat

Buffalo, NY’s I Can See Mountains are just one band from the current crop of pop punkers who are turning the genre on its ear.  Their debut album, Life on a Houseboat, is currently in the can and debuts via Panic Records on July 2.  Taking cues from contemporaries like Transit, Tigers Jaw and The Wonder Years, these energetic youth also pay homage to staples like Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids.

Ghettoblaster caught up with ICSM’s Matt Cox to discuss the album.  This is what he said about it…

When did you begin writing the material for your most recent LP?  

We began writing the record in the dead of winter of late 2011. The room we wrote the record in was surprisingly more comfortable than the building itself considering it looked more like an abandoned post office rather than a place for people to release they’re creative energy.

What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing?  Why was it so troublesome?

I’d have to say that “One Big Table” was the most difficult to take from a live standpoint to the recording standpoint. Originally, it was a very raw and loud song but after shedding its skin maybe three to four times, we are very happy with the finished product.

Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?

“Sea Legs” has to be the song that strayed away most from its original concept. The song was actually a very old, dark idea that Kevin and myself wrote after suffering through a very extended winter. Musically, and especially lyrically you can see the changes. Well, I guess that’d be obvious.

Who produced the record?  What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

The record was recorded, produced, mixed, mastered, and supported by Jay Zubricky at GCR Audio right here in Buffalo. Not only is Jay the best recording engineer on this side of the Mississippi, but he has also been one of our closest friends. The best part about Jay is his brutal honesty, and we as a band value that immensely. He also introduced me to Chuck’s (sub shop, and also the shoes I guess).

Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?

Going into writing record there never was a point in time where we sat down and said “Let’s send a message with this album.”  But, I can say that we we’re all in frustrating points in life during its construction. After not listening to the songs for over a month while it was mixed and mastered, and then listening to them again almost as an outside listener, I realized in the passenger seat of my girlfriend’s car that the album was cry for help.

Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?

Yes, we’ve actually been playing these songs live throughout the entire writing process. Ideally, I feel that would not be a step that a band would take, but I feel it was beneficial to see reaction to these songs in person, almost as a test of approval. It’s been a very short time that people have been able to listen to our songs, so there hasn’t really been much of a reaction at all.

Stay What You Are
Stay What You Are

Buffalo, NY’s I Can See Mountains are just one band from the current crop of pop punkers who are turning the genre on its ear.  Their debut album, Life on a Houseboat, is currently in the can and debuts via Panic Records on July 2.  Taking cues from contemporaries like Transit, Tigers Jaw and The Wonder Years, these energetic youth also pay homage to staples like Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids.

It was no surprise that when Ghettoblaster recently caught up with I Can See Mountains’ Kevin Hoffman to discuss one of his favorite records, Saves The Day’s Stay What You Are. Floated to the top of his “must talk about” list.  This is what he said about it…

What is your favorite album?  

Saves the Day’s Stay What You Are.

 Do you remember when you received or purchased the album?

Sophomore year of high school, sometime between homecoming and the time Drew Bledsoe joined the Bills.

What is your favorite song on the album?

“This is Not an Exit.”

What is it about the song that resonates with you?  
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The chorus has been stuck in my head for 10 years. I listened to a lot of fast punk music and the fact that they could get their point across in a more melodic fashion really stuck out to me. 

What is it about the album that makes it stand out against the band’s other output?

The darkness at certain points and the optimism at others, it felt like a real window into how they were feeling. Early albums were angsty, then they tried to do a Beatles thing. It seemed like everything really just came together for them at the right time, I’m not sure they could ever recreate the way this album feels, In fact, I’m not sure anyone could really.

Have you ever given a copy of this record to anyone? What were the circumstances?  

I gave a copy to the girl I was dating at the time, but I’m not really sure she cared all that much. She had blonde hair but she did buy their shirt and wear it proudly for like three weeks. She wasn’t like those other girls, man.

Which of the records that you’ve performed on is your favorite?  T

The record we’re about to release, Life on a Houseboat

 What is your favorite song on the album and why?

The last song, titled “The Tigers Have Found Me and I Do Not Care,” because this song capped off months of hard work and trying times. I know that probably sounds cliche but me and Matt didn’t always see eye to eye during the creative process.  But in some ways I think that was actually a benefit, it forced us to explore every path and look at ideas from different angles. We were also able to incorporate spoken word into the first verse, which is something we used to do a lot of when we were recording in our bedrooms but got away from when we started playing full band. It reminds me of that time period. I learned about what it really meant to have a strong neck.