Need To Know: Bass Drum of Death
By Courtney Nichols
Where did you meet your band mate Colin?
We went to school together. He's from Oxford. We played in a couple bands early on in college. We both dropped out after two years of college and we started getting touring opportunities. I traveled as a one-man band for about a year and then I was like, 'Fuck this!' I was tired of touring by myself. He has never even played drums before. He started practicing and I asked him if he wanted to learn guitar. It worked out very well.
You guys have a distinct garage rock look. Who inspired you while growing up?
It's the same as musical influences. I always thought the Ramones and Nirvana and Black Sabbath looked really cool. They all look and sound cool. I don't really have anybody in mind that I tried to rip off or copy. I am who I am. The way we dress is the same as the music -- it's really basic. I am trying to do something cool without using a whole lot.
You guys like to rock out. Do you find that your DIY sound is rare right now in the music scene?
It kind of goes both ways. With people being able to record and do stuff for really cheap, some people just use Garage Band. Here it comes on Apple Computers and it super easy to use. It lends itself to a dirtier sound because that is best you can get from that. Some bands nowadays -- I don't want to say take advantage -- but they record stuff that sounds good as opposed to writing a song. We played with a lot of bands where their recordings sound cool but they are weak live. But on the other side, it's refreshing to see an act like Devilla 666 who has nasty recordings and great songs and when they play live it's a revelation. You are blown away because it is so loud and in your face. That is the kind of band I like to play with. I like to play with bands that have good songs and then blow the fuck out of you live.
I haven't seen you guys live yet but I can imagine that your audience loves to dance. Do you find that the crowd you attract is super-hyperactive?
Not as much as I would like it to be. In certain places yes. We've been together for a year and a half now and people are still finding out about us. A lot of people are curious but haven't bought it yet. I see a lot of people nodding their heads and moving around some. I think we are still a new thing. We will play certain places, like the house party at SXSW, and we have been playing shows for them for a year or two now. People aren't going to go ape-shit the first time they see you. They want to inspect you a little bit and figure out whether or not they like you. People don't go as crazy as I would like them to.
Being from rural America, do you find that smaller town audiences are more loyal?
Totally. A lot of times we will play in smaller towns and the one place to play at are house parties. In my experience, every house party we play is well-organized by people who care about the music and don't give a shit about selling tickets and money. They just want to make sure the band has fun and has gas money. I find that people like that do a better job hyping it up to their friends and getting their friends to listen to the band. When we get there, people already know the songs even if we haven't ever played there. To some extent that's right. Again, it can go both ways. The other side of that is that in a small town people might not give a shit and literally no one will be there. It's a breath of fresh air to play a smaller town with kids who are into it.