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Shipwreck A.D. interview

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 1:04 PM PT by Kirby Unrest / 12,784 views
Name/band duties/last good book you read?

My name is JD, I sing for Shipwreck AD, and the last book I read I just completed and it is called God's Middle Finger. It is about a journalist exploring the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico and all the insane things he sees and experiences up there. The dude is out of his mind for even trying to travel there, but he does and he survives, and the book is definitely worth reading considering most people don't even know what or where the Sierra Madre are, let alone the insane shit happening among them.

Where is Shipwreck from, whom else is in the band and what do you currently have out?

Asean and I live in the suburbs about 12 miles outside Boston. Our drummer Alex is from the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire. Dub, our bass player, lives on a farm in Rhode Island also in the middle of nowhere. Our other guitarist, Bombs, lives in the most annoying part of Boston which no matter what street you take, it's a pain in the ass to get to. At one point everyone lived in the city but with touring everyone moved home.

How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you before?

I don't really know, explaining hardcore to people is always like verbal diarrhea; it's worthless dribble. I would say at least once a day I get the "you in a band?" question and when they ask us how we sound I just say "heavy screamy stuff." That is usually enough for most people. But occasionally you get like the arrogant college kid working at Subway or the ex-indie rock dude at Guitar Center who will be like "no man, I know my shit, so what is it...like Disturbed? or like Sevendust?" at which point I usually shake my head. So, to diminish any of my anxiety, I would say Shipwreck AD's music is dark and heavy. And yes, it sounds like Disturbed.

Compare new/old SW material; favorite track you've done?

We wrote the demo when I was 17, and as I have said for a while I think it reflects me at the time. Our old music is a lot more straight forward and ignorantly heavy, which I still like. But at the same time, as you mature you kind of want to add some new sounds to the mix. This is not to say we are like completely different now because we aren't and to the un-hardcore listener ear we sound exactly the same probably. But with new SW music I think there is a significant amount of progression and maturity, leaving the heaviness to be an all around thing rather than strictly breakdown oriented. With our newer stuff, I think a greater sense of progression can be gained.

It seems like you really have kicked up the metal influence on this record, at least to me. I hear a lot more riffs that remind me of Crowbar, Entombed, and Obituary. Was that a conscious effort or something that occurred organically as this band has progressed?

Dude, one time I went to see Obituary and I drove 2 hours from Boston to Southbridge, MA and I got to the venue and there was a flyer on the door that said "Obituary October 12" and it was like the 11th or something. I was so fucking mad because I misread their MySpace on my phone. And then on the way home I got pulled over my State troopers and spent 3 hours handcuffed against my car while they accused me of stealing it because I didn't have registration or an ID on me. Then they scraped off my inspection sticker and dropped my keys somewhere along the side of the road so I had to crawl around looking for them when I left. It sucked. But, I think it was a kind of an unconscious change in regards to the metal influences, even though we listen to all those bands a lot, and was more a change in the direction of different sounding riffs, etc. With our newer songs I think there is a ton more metal influence than on Abyss, but the metal influence is coming from places like Devastation, Starkweather, and Suffocation.

What is the writing process like in SW?

Asean and I spend like at least an hour a day playing guitar, as does Bombs. And when we write, we up the game. Our riff library at this point is the size of the Library of Congress; it is just a matter of like turning them into songs. We haven't written yet with out new drummer so I am now sure how smooth writing will be this time around. The old process was like most bands though, we'd jam, get about half way through a song, half the band would leave to smoke weed, the other half to go get food, and then practice would be over. One problem we consistently have is we try to do things beyond what our talent allows. At the end of the day (not to sell ourselves too short) we are hardcore kids playing hardcore music, not like brilliant musicians. So in that sense, our abilities limit our possibilities. Time will change this though, hopefully.

You recently had to make a slight name change, officially becoming Shipwreck A.D., as a handful of other hardcore bands past and present have been forced to. Has this hindered your ability to get your latest album out and touring plans at all?

Not really. The other Shipwreck is in a different world of music so we aren't often confused. But, one thing that definitely sucks is the questions. I feel like I am on Boiling Points or something sometimes. We posted why the name was changed on about 1,000 MySpace bulletins, email updates, message boards, and announced it every day on tour last winter. Yet, every day someone will be like "So why'd you guys add the AD? Like to be funny?" and I will be like "Nah, copyright reasons" and they'll be like "How come dude? What happened? Why didn't you just fight them?" and everyone those questions are thrown at me pieces of my heart turn into Styrofoam and my blood turns to gasoline and my insides burn with the heat of DIY napalm.

Best show you've played so far?

Damn, I don't really know. Boston '06 at MassArt college was insane. Colin of Arabia picked up the stage and dropped it, knocking us and everyone over while the room tore each other apart. Other honorable mentions include last summer in Montreal at Club Linco. We played with Have Heart and Turmoil and our set was insane. Perfect mix of kids singing along and bucking out. The last Guns Up show was easily the biggest show we have ever played, but due to the 'event' atmosphere it lost the intimacy of a small crazy show. Every time we play Boston, Philly, LA, Atlanta, Denver, and Houston it is always a guaranteed crazy time. They are our favorite places to play.

What happened with Rumble and how is life with Deathwish?

Rumble was whatever. They put out the first 7" and we haven't talked since. Deathwish is the best label in the world, hands down. They are the best people, workers, and friends we could ask for. They are DIY and real, true to the roots and not feeding into the bullshit that clogs music right now. I don't want to ever be on a different label. Even if some label someday when we all have long hair and flip flops on playing like math rock songs offers us a billion dollars to be on their label (highly unlikely) I'd do it and then give all the money to Deathwish so they can do all the crazy shit they want to do with it (like put a ballpit in the office). Not to mention, look at Deathwish's current roster. Like 3/4 of the current bands are on tour like 6-7 months a year and work their asses off. It is a label made by road dogs for road dogs.

Vegan/vegetarian? Straight edge?

Two of us are vegetarian; two of us are straight edge. I happen to be both straight edge and vegetarian, so I will get to heaven faster than everyone else in the band.

Thoughts on the Merrimack Valley scene then and now?

MVHC is pretty strong right now. Welfare Records was keeping the life pumping up there, but it just got shut down so that sucks. But losing venues in Massachusetts is like losing friends in 'Nam. We are all kind of used to it by now, saying like "it was a good place; at least we have the memories..." I think in regards to THEN versus NOW, THEN definitely wins. But at the time of like TYF, Cave In, Converge, Piebald, etc. the scene in Boston and Worcester/Clinton was just as insane. So like hardcore at that time in MA was just out of control and huge, so every sub-scene thrived as a result. Right now BHC is still on top but MVHC is alive and well.

Feelings on the current state of hardcore; what do you like/dislike the most about the scene now and what do you feel needs to change or in some instances, remain the same?

It doesn't even matter. People forget that hardcore is made up of human beings, and that human nature doesn't get dropped at the door when you walk in a show. The same problems I have with people everywhere I have with people in hardcore. I really wish more kids would just 'not give a fuck.' Allow me to explain. The latest trend seems to be how musically refined you are. For example, "I like this band because they sound like this, this, and this. This band sucks because they sound like this, this, and this. I like this band because they made this shirt. I hate this band because they made this shirt. I don't like this band's new song because it sounds like this, this, and this." I just want to tell everyone to shut the fuck up and stop being such babies about everything. I like how any kid who gets into hardcore, 10 months after and a few thousand Google searches later is talking to me like he's fucking Norm Brannon. You aren't fooling anyone, just be your fucking self and like what you like for your own reasons. No one gives a shit about the essay you can write on a message board explaining why Open Mouth Kiss isn't as good as Desperate Measures because we all know there's a Sublime sticker under that Disembodied one on your guitar case. Just be real and have fun, and if you are that critical about shit go write reviews for Rolling Stone or something equally stupid.

What ways/methods do you utilize to kill time in the van?

Aside from sleeping, we all read a lot. I think we also collectively send more text messages then the entire population of 9th grade girls in America. We recently picked up the habit of talking in accents, which has provided us with hours of slapstick laughing due to the immense boredom of long drives. Another gem is these little sticky hands you get out of vending machines at supermarkets and arcades. They are like little gummy hands with long gummy strings and they stick to stuff when you throw it at stuff. Anyway, the amount of accidents almost caused by the eyeball and mouth shots with the sticky hands is kind of scary. And anytime there is alcohol, hatchets, and fireworks we usually end up being entertained (Attention- if you live in Houston or Dallas I lost my favorite hatchet after someone threw it at a Ryder truck. If you for some reason have it, please bring it back to me. It should smell like fish and have a cross engraved on the base. Thanks).

COD4 or GTA4?

You mean Aladdin or Lion King on Super Nintendo? I could never make it past the first level on Lion King. I would always get hit by one of the gigantic beetles while I was hopping rock to rock. I feel like the levels beyond it were so sweet but unfortunately I never made it that far. On the other hand, I ruled at Aladdin. The level with the magic carpet and the wave of lava, holy shit was that stressful, but I made it. Donkey Kong was equally as stunning, some of the places are quite enchanting. There was one that was like an Asian forest and another where you were underwater and you got to ride a fish. The music in that game is so relaxing. I remember I would leave the game on pause when I went to bed so I could pretend I was in DK land. Yeah so, that was the last time I played video games.

Worst truck/rest/pit stop you've made on the road with this band?

We have been to so many bad ones. I think the worst one was somewhere in France. We got out after this long ass drive to get something to eat/drink and there was easily the dumbest shit ever on the shelves. There was like two different types of pretzels and like a hot dog packaged as if it was a candy bar. Then there was all these jars of jelly and stupid souvenirs like golf balls with French words on them and freshly cut flowers from some nearby farm. And there was like no frig of drinks, just warm water and tea bags. The reason it was so bizarre was because it was like a gas station food mart, so you'd expect it to have scratches, Doritos, Coke, and condoms. But instead it had potpourri, tonic water, and bubble gum cigars that said "bonne annivesaire" which I think means happy birthday which makes no fucking sense. Usually any truck stop in the desert is depressing and makes me want to drown myself in the toilet. A stale smell of piss and coffee in a bathroom mixed with a colony of flies, accompanied by a store that sells tire thumpers, porn, and some form of deal where you get 10 tacos and a 45 gallon Pepsi for 99 cents, is enough to make me wish I was blind and deaf and noseless.

Comic book character/series that should be made into a movie next is/why:

I don't know any thing about comic books so I won't even pretend to know what the hell I am talking about. But ahh... they should make The Road by Cormac McCarthy into a movie?

What's the road look like for Shipwreck the rest of '08?

We have around 2 weeks left on the road right now in the US. We have some time off after that, then we tour across Canada, down the West Coast, through Mexico, back to Boston, in Europe for 3 weeks with Verse and Have Heart, then South Africa for a week with Italy's The Vendetta, then Japan for 2 weeks with Have Heart, then Australia for a month with Carpathian, then home to record our next LP 'Placid." So we don't have much planned.

Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he dressed up and played girl bunny?

I was once fooled by a transsexual, and learned the truth the hard way. So in my shame I double take, and I know underneath that blonde hair and pink shirt lies a scared and confused Bugs, just waiting to spread his fear and confusion into the ignorant public in looney land.




Comments (15) post new comment
virus_dot_exe_ 7/23/2008 1:15:35 PM

first post, plus i'm seeing them tonight!


anonymous 7/23/2008 1:30:06 PM

bubble gum cigars that said "bonne annivesaire" which I think means happy birthday which makes no f*cking sense. Haha this dude is too funny.


Mike_ 7/23/2008 1:30:49 PM

Who proofread this?


youaresceneasfuck_ 7/23/2008 5:26:24 PM

Kirby Unrest?! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


Eddo_ 7/24/2008 1:08:27 AM

interview? this is basically a compilation of questions from some myspace personality quiz.


mrpervert_ 7/24/2008 1:11:55 AM

I didn't read this interview because I have no idea who this shitty band is.


thehays_ 7/24/2008 12:53:43 PM

great interview, great band. his opinion of the current state of hardcore could not be more right. mad props jd!


tragic_visions_ 7/24/2008 1:34:41 PM

"kirby unrest". lol, f*cking gayshit


promotedmartyr_ 7/24/2008 3:57:43 PM

probably the gayest interview ive read on the goat. normally even if its someone i dont give a shit about it, it is at least 1/2 way interesting. Way to go. Go back to the highschool newspaper


ohiokillsyou_ 7/25/2008 12:28:37 AM

Nice Wayne's World reference.


NewsOnlyPoster_ 7/25/2008 10:52:17 PM

Epic Band. f*ck the haters


Kevl_ 7/26/2008 12:28:08 PM

The Road is being made into a movie, comes out in November. Also I could school this guy at the lion king for snes. Enjoyable band, though.


killerpoop_ 7/26/2008 5:50:48 PM

kirby unrest mmm didn't that douche use to write for amp mag


moshcam_ 10/22/2008 11:02:40 PM

Shipwreck A.D. live in Sydney, full streaming concert: http://www.moshcam.com/?#?page=player&type=gig&id=246


petenasty_ 11/28/2008 10:52:41 AM

this ranks up with etid and greg from dep answering lambgoat's questions as "funniest interview ever"