American Standards: Hardcore with a Whole Lotta' Heart
After releasing their third record 'Anti-Melody' in the first quarter of 2017, American Standards returned a few weeks back with a brand new track 'Weep', and it's sheer fire- hardcore at its very best. The track has a very sensitive story behind it, emphasising the Arizona quartet's passion and commitment to DIY hardcore possibly more than ever before.
Previously a special guest on the HFTB podcast, we decided to catch up with vocalist Brandon Kellum to talk about the song, as well as what else the band have been doing over the last year, and what they have coming up over the next few months.
HFTB- 'Weep' was released a few weeks back, the first new material since 'Anti-Melody', what have you guys been up to inbetween these releases?
BK- "'Anti-Melody' gave us the opportunity to do some more touring but it also allowed us to do some fun new stuff with the press. I think we all enjoyed jumping on things like podcasts and radio on-airs where we could actually talk a little about what the songs meant to us and share the stories in the process."
HFTB- 'Weep' is everything we've come to expect from American Standards in terms of ferocity, raw punk energy and chaos, and there is a very poignant message in the lyrical content- tell us the thoughts behind this song?
BK- "I think by the time we starting writing 'Weep', we were all so torn down from the last couple years. Whether it was losing Cody (founding guitarist, who sadly passed away from suicide) and my father, with what Corey was going through in a break up, I remember at times feeling so detached from everything good actually happening around us. 'Anti-Melody' was doing great, the tours were good and we were playing with these bands that we all looked up to, but (for) some reason (it) felt wrong to celebrate (it) all.
'Weep' was really the first time that we had ever done any kind of pre-production for a song, as I wanted to go into it where Corey and I both wrote something independent of each other and then worked through it together. It was a complete coincidence that what we came up with lyrically had a lot of the same themes, and vibing off Corey's phrasing really gave the song something different that I don't think we've had in the past."
HFTB- You've teamed up with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, offering people the chance to donate any cash they can- what do you hope this can achieve, as clearly it's a cause very close to your heart?
BK- "Honestly, it's less about the cash donations (although every dollar counts) and more about breaking the stigma of mental illness. As with anything, it's easy to think that something will never happen to you, or that'll ever affect someone close to you.
For us though, it was someone we knew for years, someone that we shared a van for hours on end with and that had such a large circle of friends, that it was hard to believe they would feel that they didn't have someone that they could talk to.
I think the first step is realizing that it's alright to not always be alright and that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. It's such a big undertaking to get there but it all starts small.
We're not a big band by any means but if we can help influence even a few people to think about it differently, maybe that spark will catch fire."
HFTB- What has been the fan reaction to 'Weep'?
BK- "It's always hard to judge when you're in it but it seems to be going well. When it comes to production, we really found that sound that we've been chasing for years, something raw but also punchy with lots of dynamics.
From purely a numbers standpoint, it's also been interesting to see that less than a month in and it already seems to be out-performing tracks that we released over a year ago."
HFTB- It's also one of the longest songs American Standards has written to date- did you intentionally set out to make this more than just your typical two-minute rager, and do you think with its added layers it shows how far the band has come over the last couple of years?
BK- "That''s funny that you mention actually. The pre-pro for the song was just a few seconds over three minutes and I remember joking with the guys about moving into ballad territory. When we went to the studio, we jammed out that ending which added another minute to the song- effectively making it one of the longest songs yet. I hope it really adds to the atmosphere and mood of it though, kind of a reprieve from the noise allowing you to reflect a bit while the instruments (especially bass guitar) get to shine."
HFTB- Is there a new EP or album in the works that 'Weep' will also feature on, or is it just a standalone single?
BK- "'Weep' was a test run for a couple things. We wanted to try out some new studios and we also wanted to see how receptive people would be to the idea of a series of singles with videos, so expect a few more standalone releases which may or may not be bundled into something larger."
HFTB- Thinking back over the years, who have been some of the best bands you have shared a stage with?
BK- "We've definitely accomplished more than expected or even though possible. The beauty of doing it for so long is that now a lot of the bands that we looked up to when we were younger are now doing 10 and 15 year reunions which we've been lucky enough to play- bands like Every Time I Die, Zao, Atreyu, Norma Jean, Emery and Comeback Kid all fall on that list, among others."
HFTB- Are American Standards going to be seen in Europe, especially the UK any time soon?
BK- "I hope so. I say it every year but as soon as it becomes possible from a logistics standpoint, we're there. Until then, it's just too expensive as a DIY band to make the travel, gear and transportation work. If anyone has the right contacts to do it, don't hesitate to let us know."
HFTB- What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
BK- "(Our) goal is to release a video for a new song every 8-10 weeks, tour as much as possible and connect with as many people as we can along the way."
'Weep' is available to listen to on Spotify, iTunes and other various platforms, and visit www.americanstndrds.bandcamp.com to purchase the song.
Below is the official music video for 'Weep', and visit www.facebook.com/AmericanStandards to many any kind of donation towards the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Below are just a selection of Suicide Crisis numbers- if anyone thinks they need to talk to someone, then please do it. Do not suffer in silence.
Australia- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
France- Fil sante jeunes 0800 235 236
Germany- National Helpline 112
Netherlands- Suicide Prevention 113
New Zealand- Lifeline Aotearoa 09 5222 999
United Kingdom- Samaritans 116 123
United States- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention +1 212 363 3500