I’ve been trying to remember how I met Daryl. I’m pretty sure it was at the Redwood Bar (possibly a Street Eaters show) and I must have given him a Save Music in Chinatown flyer. Somehow we got to talking about KCHUNG and RazorCake and eventually the band that he plays in with his wife Adrian, which has become one of my favorites. Their ripping brand of garage punk is primal, raw, and fun but smart as hell. Oh, yeah, and he has become one of my favorite people.
It’s pretty awesome that the duo has a new LP called Gone, Gone, Gone and that they are also playing our next all-ages benefit to raise money for the music program at Castelar Elementary. Sounds like a great excuse to interview a guy who usually does the interviewing! And his badass partner, rad drummer, and my future friend, too.
Martin: Daryl, does writing about and reviewing music every day make it hard for you to just make music? Like is it possible to not think too much about context or comparisons?
Daryl: Seeing every single piece of review material that has come through Razorcake in the last ten years has created a heightened sense of punk’s many tropes. When I think of how I challenge myself as a musician, I’m challenging myself to avoid clichés. Which is scary, because most likely people have no idea that what they’re making is a cliché. For all I know, I’m the most generic musician to ever to pick up a guitar. So, to answer your question: Yes. I’m constantly having an existential crisis on the matter. Thanks for asking.
Martin: You two have spent three years making the record. Are the songs old news to you and do they remind you of old stuff?
Adrian: Some of them we have definitely been playing for a while. But somehow the recordings still feel fresh to me. When we play old songs live I try to give them new feelings. That usually means singing the parts a little differently than usual. That keeps it interesting for me. I don’t think the lyrics we/I write are specific enough to only remind me of old stuff–I think they are usually more general about big feelings and things that still affect me everyday.
Daryl: One of the reasons I love songwriting is because I think of the songs I write as reminders to myself. Ideas and beliefs I don’t want to forget. Ways I want to live my life. Plus, some of these songs were inspired by people who are no longer with us, I don’t want to forget them either.
Martin: I like your Dils cover a lot. Are there other songs by other bands you’ve played and what’s your criteria for a good cover?
Daryl: I think the criteria for a good cover is something everyone knows and loves. I’m pretty sure you and your family were the only ones who recognized that cover. Adrian knows a million songs off the top of her head.
Adrian: Thanks Martin, I like that song too. My criteria for a good cover is something that is enjoyable to play for me, something that has lyrics that feel good to sing and have a good message, and something that’s not ridiculously difficult to play! And not too long!
Martin: Is Spokenest a noun (like someplace where cyclists hang out) or an adjective (did the most talking)? Something totally different?
Adrian: Daryl made up this word…and he is building a spokenest out of his old, broken guitar strings.
Daryl: This is true! But the spokenest I’m building came after Spokenest, the band. It can be what ever you want it to be, and pronounced however you want to pronounce it. Spo-ken-est or Spoke-nest, it honestly doesn’t matter to me. But if I had to pick between a noun or adjective, I would pick noun. Though an adjective band name does sound pretty unique.
Martin: Where was the cover photo taken? Can you give me details about the show?
Daryl: The photo was taken at a house show in San Luis Obispo last year. Shot on film by our friend Joshua Redman. It was a weekend festival and we were one of the first bands to play on Saturday afternoon. That room was also the first outta town show Spokenest ever played in January of 2013. I strongly believe that our sound changed for the better at that show due to just being nervous. We played a much more aggressive set than we had been previously.
Adrian: Playing San Luis Obispo is always intense. Daryl’s brother used to live there several years ago and would set up all the shows we played there, so the friends we made those years feel like family almost. Nux Fest is additionally intense because all those friends who are so close to our hearts are organizing this and it’s stressful for them (so many bands, so many people, and SLO has a lot of noise complainers and cops showing up to house shows). It feels good, but it feels intense.
Martin: I’m super grateful that you’re playing our Chinatown benefit. Why did you say yes to playing our show and are there any bands you’re particularly stoked about playing with.
Daryl: Has anyone ever said no to playing SMIC? Every single one is a dream show with so much heart put into it. As far as favorites, that’s just too much to ask. But one of these people wrote “Cut,” so…
Adrian: I am super grateful to be playing a fundraiser to help music education! Having access to music when you’re a kid is super important. If I didn’t have music, I would be a very sad person. It’s hard to even imagine that because it seems very depressing. I am grateful to have been raised in a household where music was valued so much (we had a rule growing up that you could play music as late at night as you wanted as long as you were playing the instrument yourself!). I am also really grateful to you Martin, and very impressed with all the work you have put into this great cause, so thank you!
Check out Spokenest at spokenest.bandcamp.com and the Save Music in Chinatown 9 event page on Facebook and ticketing at Eventbrite!