New for this week, an interview with Straphangers, from New York (mostly). These guys have played St. Bernard's a few times, and seriously know how to party. They've got a six-song demo out, aggressive, old school hardcore, it's excellent, fucking great, and more songs on their myspace, the address of which is at the end of the interview.
The following is an interview with the band, conducted via e-mail. Be sure to check these guys out, their recordings are super-intense, and they have a great live show.
I seem to remember at one of your past shows you mentioned that the five of you are from different towns in NY and NJ. Is this right? I mishear things all the time, but if not, how does that work as far as practicing and whatnot?
Yes, three of the Straphangers live in queens, Emily lives in NJ, while Larry travels two hours each way from Staten Island. But traveling once a week to Queens to practice is doable and when we have to bring equipment for shows someone always manages to find a ride.
Any favorite places to play? How far west have you played?
We have had pretty good responses in PA. We were in Bethlehem and Pottsville twice and had some fun times there, and Pottsville was the farthest west that we have played. And once a month we will play somewhere in the city. Most of the punk/metal venues are now in Brooklyn and Queens so there’s usually a pretty good turn out for the shows in those boroughs. A lot of the places that we started out in are closed, like Bar 131 in Queens, the Continental, Knitting Factory (closed in Manhattan and re-opened in Brooklyn), Otto’s is always a favorite of ours located in downtown NYC, but they recently had a fire so we’re not sure when we can start playing shows there again. Most recently, the best response we had was at the Hill Tap Tavern and we’ve deemed it “the best response” because three people were bleeding profusely by the end of our set.
Your style pulls a lot of from hc, punk, and metal—what kinds of bands do you find yourselves playing with? I’d imagine you could get on all kinds of different shows.
We have played with so many different kinds of bands since we started. We are always happy to cross genres and play with new and different bands, but we have also been booked on some shows where we were completely out of our genre. In those instances we either cleared out the room because we were too heavy or the place went insane because people had been waiting for an aggressive band. When playing out close to home we usually play with a lot of the Adrenaline Head bands, one of those bands is YoScunt who just played some PA shows with us back in October.
I like the artwork on the demo. You all horror fans?
You guys have been together almost ten years. How has the lineup changed in that time?
Straphangers has gone through many changes over the years, and the music has progressed to what it is now. There have been several guitarist changes and Mike, the drummer, left for a couple years and sang in another band, but he is now back permanently. We are all very happy with the line-up now and hopefully things will continue to progress.
What bands have you seen that have had a strong effect on you—anyone in particular who’s had an influence on your style on stage?
The local New York scene has affected us greatly. Our peers are probably the most influential components in our lives as musicians. We all feed off of each other’s energy and creativity and it has been very interesting to see all the bands that we’ve been playing with for years change and grow.
Do you have upcoming plans for touring and/or recording?
We will begin working on a full-length album in January and February and hopefully by the spring time we’ll get back on the road and start promoting the CD. We all have full-time jobs and some of us are parents so it’s hard to do long tours, but we are going to try one or two 4-5 day tours in the summer.
Since this is a Bethlehem-based blog—do you think you’ll be out this way again in the near future? The last two shows you played at the Burner’s seemed to get a pretty good response.
We definitely want to hit Bethlehem again. Probably won't return there until the spring though, after we are done with the CD. True Blue Productions hooked us up with the past two shows at the Burners so I'm sure Billy Dukes and Walt will have us out there again when we are ready to do some more mini-tours in PA.
Thanks again to the Straphangers for the interview--check out their info below, and by all means, if they're playing nearby, go see em. -- Mark Rooster