Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Track-By-Track: Dads - American Radass (this is important)

In celebration of the release of their first full length album, Sanctuary Review has teamed up with Dads to bring you a track-by-track look at each song on American Radass (this is important).  Below you will find the New Jersey duo giving you insight to the ten tracks featured on American Radass (this is important).  After you read through their track-by-track, be sure to check out our review of American Radass (this is important.

1.  If Your Song Title Has The Word “Beach” In It, I’m Not Listening to It

Scott: This was the first song we wrote for the album and coincidentally ended up being the first song on the album. We always write all songs together and it's never been just telling John to learn "my songs" or vice versa. There may be a riff or two I come up with at home or a drum part he thought up he wanted to implement, but that's the most we do separately. Anyways, I think I wrote the main/intro part with the idea of a slower Colossal finger picked type of part. I am not great at finger picking and now use a pick and it works out a lot better.

John: Once we wrote the music for this song we sorta figured it was going to be the opening song for the album. I really wanted to start the record with a “We” so that it was about everyone, not just solely my lyrics or my stories, but something that everyone can be a part of. 

This is my take on a positive hardcore song in the sense that it’s looking of the society we are in and how shit needs to change for the better. A lot of us, myself included, spend more time dwelling on the past and things we can’t change. “We water the plants even after they die, waste all our time in the helpless notion” was my way of starting this discussion that we are so stuck on dead matter, forgetting that we need to work for the future, and when we do know something might be wrong, or something will go wrong, we ignore it, we don’t want to think about it, we’d rather push it to the back until it has passed and we can dwell on it after the fact. “We can pick out our faults enough to blame our parents, why can’t we blame ourselves?” is my answer to everyone saying “yeah, I know I do ________ and it’s fucked up, I get it from my mom” or “yeah I know I’m a shitty person when it comes to ___________, I get it from my dad.” If we can pick out are faults enough to make some excuse of “oh well I get it from this person” well then we should be able to isolate these faults enough to fix them. “You only you can change yourself” is straightforward. We’re being too dependent on helping hands, at the end of the day they will not change anything for you.

2. Get to the Beach!’

Scott: This ended up being the second song we wrote for this album and ended up flowing really well from the previous song. I wanted to write a catchy up beat riff to be a big contrast from the last song. Lyrically, it's about seeing/dating/living with someone over a course of a year and a half or so, only to personally make mistakes which led to a lot from the other person. Being cheated on, being broken up with, being led on for months on end while that person was sleeping with other/s, etc. It's a hard pill to swallow from somebody you (at the time) love. I changed the lyrics from "If you're not home with me, then this place isn't my home at all" to "Since you left this home we made, you've been out fucking someone else" the day before we recorded the lyrics in the studio. We all felt like it was a positive change. I try not to harbor bad feelings toward said person, but feelings are what they are and sometimes things are hard to get over. Life is a highway.

John: I love songs like these because it allows me to sit back and focus on drumming even more while Scott sings. 

3. Honestly, Chroma Q&A

Scott: This song title is a pretty obvious Cartel reference. John and I listen to a TON of music people who like us wouldn't think we like, whether it be Drake, Alan Jackson, R. Kelly, or especially lately, Aerosmith. The intro is my take on the intro riff to "Honestly", but done in a more Dads-like style. Some people have speculated that the lyrics are the second part to "Get To The Beach", which isn't true at all. I actually wrote these lyrics before I even met said person from that song. It's just a mix of constant depression, my shitty sleeping and drinking habits, and my problems with my Father. Pretty simple stuff.

John: I’m able to try out a lot of drum patterns with this track. I wanted to follow the rhythm as faithfully as possible but while still adding flares here and there.

4. Aww, C’mon Guyz

Scott: This is a pretty fun song to play, I'm a big fan of jumpy chord progressions with weird strumming patterns and upstrokes. I listened to Minus The Bear too much in high school, I think. Before John wrote the lyrics for this song, we talked about how we are very open about not encouraging negative/hate speech, especially in the "scene," and if even as a "joke," and how we wanted to write lyrics about it. The ending is super fun to play and makes me feel like I'm in a shit kicking rock n roll band.

John: When we were coming up in the different scenes in the northeast we were meeting a ton of new people and everyone was into what we were doing, which we were extremely grateful for, but we started to notice some of the people we became friends with were saying pretty hurtful and discriminatory things as jokes. Saying “gay” or “fag” as a demeaning name to call people, calling each other the N word and making horrible racist stereotypical jokes towards one another. There was a promotional group that was doing samplers and such that Dads was a part of until we noticed the dudes running it were doing this. We tried quietly and politely leaving it without there being any public drama, but that went south very quickly and it looked bad for everyone involved at the end of the day. Lies and rumors were spread about us that we still hear about to this day, and we felt like we needed to make this song with these lyrics now. We cannot force anyone to censor themself at all, but we do not find any of it funny and a sick joke isn’t worth alienating anyone in this scene.

And after it all they would plaster their love for all of these old punk legends all over, and I felt like the only way to rationalize and end this, I guess plea or persuasive argument of a song, was to bring that into perspective. How would Henry Rollins or Ian MacKaye treat you if you met them and talked to them like your friends, saying racial slurs and hateful words? 

5. Shit Twins

Scott: This fucking song. When writing this, we had to write down all the parts on a piece of paper with the amount of times we play each, repeats, etc. There is so much going on, even if it's our most relaxed song on the album. We've only played it twice live and it's weird as shit. We wanted a longer song on the album to kind of break up the shorter faster songs and to make sure we weren't putting out a 20 minute full length. This came out a lot better than we hoped and turns out to be a lot of peoples' favorites. The super amazing artist and okay friend, Daniel Danger, named this song when he was talking about us and said it as a joking song title, which we ended up later using for this song.

John: The first part of this song is a poem I wrote a while back that we’ve been trying to fit into a song since the re-release of our first EP ever. It never fit, and looking back on it now, I’m glad it didn’t. As time went on I turned that poem into a five part piece, and three of the pieces are now the lyrics for Shit Twins. Sidenote: All five pieces may surface at some point soon, not entirely sure yet. I don’t want to give away all of the secrets for this whole piece cause I want people to be able to interpret it however they feel fits to their life, BUT, because I get asked this a lot, “Miranda” is more than just a person. Miranda at first is a reference to the Miranda Rights, “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” which then is put with “Tell me, tell me Miranda” because the entire song references communication, or lack there of. Miranda is also the pen-name I used in place of the real name of the person the poems were about.

The last part of the song is a notion to how break ups usually lazily center around “this isn’t for good, it’s just for now” and how you make these pacts to keep sane for the time being about a possible future where you two will get back together. Coupled along with that is the question of, if you were to get back together, at least for a night (which a lot of people actually do, it IS a common thing) will it be just like the old days when you were together, will it be better because you have had more practice with caring for people, or will it be worse cause in the back of your mind you will be thinking of the people that have come since.

6. Grunt Work (The ’69 Sound)

Scott: Since we are both 12 years old, we wanted a song that was 69 seconds long. Just a lot of quick riffs and a hard ROCK part at the end. Not much else to say about it. I forget where "grunt work" came from, I think from just lifting gear around and doin' real GRUNT WORK. The '69 sound came from since we are from New Jersey and it's a play off of world famous rock and roll outfit, The Gaslight Anthem.

John: This is the antithesis piece to “If Your Song Title…” in the sense that it is a quick fuck you get out of the way type track, all about completely forgetting about trying to do anything with your life because you’re too busy getting stuck in bullshit ruts. It also starts off Side B of the record, which allows it you to compare and contrast it even more with “If Your Song Title…”

7. Groin Twerk

Scott: This song is super fun to play because it's a really quick one where I'm doing lots of fun jumpy chord Minus The Bear/Colossal inspired parts again. Sometimes you have to do some grunt work and sometimes you have to twerk that groin.

John: When you’re young, in love, and cruising by still trying to figure your shit out, pregnancy can be a nasty three-headed monster of a life ruiner. When you’re older and ready for it, pregnancy is something couples work hard for.  When your relationship is recently officially over, but there is a chance your now ex girlfriend might still be pregnant because you guys had that “we’re broken up but you still feel comfortable and right” love making, it is pure hell. But in the back of your mind, 10% of you thinks “well if she is pregnant, maybe we could work it out?”

8. Big Bag of Sandwiches

Scott: This is our Wavelets callback song. Wavelets is a great band from Florida who we met about 2 years ago when they played my old house. Steven ended up writing lyrics in about us/New Jersey and named the song ("We're Really Jazzed About The Gig") after something we kept saying the first time we toured to Florida. This is a purposeful rip off song, also with a lots of pauses a la Cartel. The song title came from the time we toured with Dikembe and You Blew It and while in Rhode Island, someone at the show who worked at a sandwich shop gave us a ton of sandwiches. The next night was our last on tour together and during our set, the Dik/YBI dudes threw sandwiches around during our set. It was amazing. There's also probably some influence from the Sick Animation video, "C'mon Scoob."

John: The dudes from Wavelets/Dikembe are some of our best friends. Wavelets played the first ever Dads show in Scott’s old house in New Brunswick. We became best friends with them immediately. In their song they say “Spent most of Jersey underground, drowning in new friends and safer sounds, singing” so I wrote of our Florida trip down there with “Spent most of Florida hanging around, drowning in old friends and beautiful sounds, singing” and then wrote hopefully a not corny song about being in a traveling band and the hardships of making extremely close and personal friends that you only see once or twice a year whenever you tour to their city or they to yours. “It turns out you’re right” is also a reference to the Wavelets song, and “(and I’m not sorry)” is another reference to their other song “Let Off Some Steam” which is my personal favorite of theirs.

9. Bakefast at Piffany’s

Scott: This song title was also made up from Ryan from Wavelets/Dikembe. We're both in bands that reference/use weed jokes a lot, especially for bands that don't actually smoke pot. My lyrics are going back to the same situation from "Get To The Beach" and kind of getting over it more, learning to cope with everything, and realizing what I needed to do for myself for a change. The huge weed smoke part is definitely one of my favorite parts to play live because I just slap on a bunch of pedals, crank the reverb on my amp, stand in front of my amp and let it feedback like crazy, and then bend that note to hell and back.

John: I grew up listening to a handful of folk singers that were able to talk about love and actually talk about sex without it being something overly raunchy, and I’ve always tried my hand at it. This song is also a mood swing of a piece because it starts out super poppy, cute, and happy, but then everything goes downhill quickly. I write very visually and I think this song is another prime example of that. Also, it’s cool to be able to fit in “brush your teeth” and reference your own release. And then it ends with a question of why do we keep letting ourselves get fucked over by people just because we hold them on some higher tier?

10. Heavy to the Touch (think about tonight, forget about tomorrow)

Scott: This is just a big build up of a song with another jangle doodle heavily influenced by Minus The Bear's upstroke riffs. The song title is a mix of a lot of drunken things we've heard or said. We played with this band once who was promoted as sounding like Torche, but they weren't that heavy at all, although still very good. A drunk Dan Bassini wrote "heavy to the touch" on the wall, but I think he meant to write "heavy as Torche" or something. Then once when John and I were very drunk, I convinced myself that if I took some aspirin, I could keep drinking and I wouldn't feel awful the next time and and John declared, "Think about tonight, forget about tomorrow!" I don't remember that night, so I think I did good.

John: There was a period of six months right after I graduated college where I was constantly on the road, would come back for a week at the most, and then be out on the road traveling again. When I’d come back home I’d try my best to reconnect with what I missed while I was away, but I would usually become overwhelmed and spend my time sleeping away the days and hating shit. This song is portrayal of all of that and how I realized that being on the road is what feels right, at least for this point in my life, so it is something I will continue to do, until, like the song says, everything I’m running from won’t even recognize me.

We'd like to thank John and Scott for taking the time to write up this lengthy explanation behind American Radass (this is important).  Be sure to stream American Radass (this is important) via Dads' Bandcamp page, and if you like what you hear, you can order it on vinyl or cassette, through Flannel Gurl and Broken World Media, respectively.

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