Let’s pretend we’re Marriage Material: Primo garage punk from three brothers behind RazorCake and Golden Beat

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In this modern age of Netflix and chilling, I’m proud to say that I know at least three humans who are committed to antiquated-yet-tangible entertainment such as the 7-inch EP (I took all the pics at the super-fun record release show at Cafe NELA last month) and ye olde art of being in a garage punk band. Andrew Material, Daryl Material, and Sean Material (bass, guitar, and drums, respectively, with all of them taking stabs of various sizes at vocals) are indeed Marriage Material, and their band is as raw as it is fun.

Side One of Making The Worry Worth It Pt. 1 sorta has the tag-team vocals of Dillinger Four and no-holds-barred energy of live Rocket From The Crypt, and perhaps resembles long-lost tapes of some of your other favorite bands before they were “good.” Don’t tell the guys that I think Side Two sounds a little like an early Rancid or Downfall demo. (A compliment!) I would look up the song titles but the sleeve is blank and you can’t read a record’s label when it is spinning.

In a tiny room steaming with pizza, comics, and cats, I met with the band of brothers that proudly carries on the musical tradition of the Everlys, Ramones, and Nomeansno but clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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Martin: On the heels of a triumphant first year—being invited to Awesome Fest, receiving an honorary degree from Vince Lombardi High School, putting out a killer 7” single, and playing a jam-packed party at Cafe NELA—what can possibly be planned for Marriage Material’s second year?
Daryl: I’m looking forward to buying more Instagram followers. I mean, at $20 for 2,500 it seems kinda foolish not to.

Sean: I’m looking forward to learning how to drum. But I might put that off until 2020.

Andrew: A couple practices. And we are recording a song that my 5-year-old nephew, Joey, wrote. It’s called “Yeah Yeah I’m A Weirdo”

Martin: As contributors to a magazine and recording studio, all of you cross paths with so many amazing bands. Is that inspiring or humbling? Depressing?
Daryl: There’s nothing better than the three of getting together and making fun of all the bands we don’t like. Hey, the bands that I love might not always be good, but at least they aren’t boring.

Sean: Yeah, we usually sit around making fun of Marriage Material.

Andrew: As a studio owner I find it inspiring to work with lots of great local bands and to play music with two of my heroes: Jenae Material and Daryl Material. Who’s this Sean guy that keeps answering questions?

Martin: Have you found it handy that each of you can pretty much give fellow members lessons on their instruments? Or too ridiculous to think about?
Daryl: Not ridiculous at all, I actually taught Sean how to play the drums and Andrew how to play the bass.

Sean: Yeah, Daryl was like, “Just hit things really fast and hard with drumsticks.” That was an invaluable lesson because I thought you drummed with your hands and elbows.

Andrew: I can’t teach anyone shit, unless it’s about the Marvel Cinematic Universe or cats.


Martin: Which character in the Marvel Universe does each of you relate to? Which ones do you relate to your bandmates?

Daryl: [stares blankly at Martin]

Andrew: I relate to Cap and Black Widow. I think Sean is Thanos, and Daryl is Baby Groot.

Sean: Andrew is right; I am the most like Thanos because I like to wear colorful rings.

Martin: Would you rather have a reserved seat in Hall H or have a cabana at Coachella?
Daryl: All I want is $20 to buy more Instagram followers.

Andrew: What is Hall H? I’ve never been to a Coachella or been in a cabana, so I’d choose to let Daryl spend his $20 on Internet followers.

Sean: Wait. Daryl spent $20 on Instagram followers?

Martin: Back to the band, are you ready for your first long tour? How will this challenge your somewhat established and copacetic relationship? What will you do with your pets?
Sean: All my pets will be on tour with me. Their names are Andrew and Daryl

Andrew: I have seven cats so I’m not ready to leave them, but Daryl said I could bring home three cats from tour so I’m ready for that. And Sean said he’d brush me at least once a day. And Daryl said he can deal with my snoring because he farts and snores simultaneously. Also, I’m gonna be using Sean’s phone all tour to text Jenae since my phone doesn’t work.

Daryl: Life hack: don’t get pets, just get roommates with pets so you can leave town and not have to think about what to do with them. As for our relationship on the road, as long as Sean doesn’t finish my Sudoku, and Andrew stops talking to me about the MCU, we’ll be fine.

Martin: Are you really marriage material?
Daryl: More than you’ll ever know, Martin. more than you’ll ever know.

Andrew: I’m barely “dating material.” But I do have a girlfriend I want to marry and I’m divorced, so… yes?

Sean: Doubt it. I’ve asked both Daryl and Andrew to marry me more than once and they turned me down.

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Check out Marriage Material on a West Coast Tour in May and look into their brand-new tour T-shirt pre-order action, too. I’ve owned a Redd Kross shirt featuring Linda Blair and Killing Joke shirt with a pope being sieg heiled by Nazis), but neither is as badass as a Howard Zinn getting busted design!

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Spokenest on the new album and Save Music in Chinatown 9

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Check out Spokenest at spokenest.bandcamp.com and the Save Music in Chinatown 9 event page on Facebook and ticketing at Eventbrite!

Save Music in Chinatown 8 preview/interview with Jerico from Bombón

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After seeing Bombón perform at a RazorCake party, I knew they had to play one of our Save Music in Chinatown shows because they were just so. Much. Fun. As soon as their set began, the first two rows of the converted office called Pehrspace became a raging dance party. The San Pedro band’s infectious, totally indie, and mostly instrumental surf tunes touch on Link Wray, The Cramps, and Annette Funicello, and it was impossible not to be smitten by them. In the parking lot, I gushed to one of the members (it was dark and I don’t remember which one) and then hit up the band that very evening with a message inviting them to our next benefit as my guest (and was politely informed that they were busy).

But I persisted, we kept in touch, and it turns out they are not only able to play Sunday’s benefit but they are also friends with Bad Cop/Bad Cop and the other bands love them, too! To get us all extra-amped about the show, I sent over some questions and Jerico (drums) answered on behalf of Angela (guitar) and Paloma (bass).

You three seem to have the best time when you play and you mentioned that you like to play benefits. Where does this PMA come from? And how long have you all known each other and how did you meet?
We’ve been a band for almost six years. Paloma and I went to high school together, but really became friends because of punk shows and our love of music, which is also how we came to know Angela a few years later. We started the band just for fun and it has always been about having a good time. Angela said, “Hey, I wanna start a surf band. You in?” At the time, Paloma and I had little experience on our respective instruments, so we were like, “Sure, why not? We can learn…” And we did. We figured out enough to play a set, started playing shows, and just went from there! It’s been wild. I think we’re able to keep our PMA mostly because playing together is how we escape our otherwise busy, hectic lives. We get to go fun places and meet great people, write, and play rad music. It’s always something to look forward to.

Mike Watt, Saccharine Trust, Recess Records–Is San Pedro as punk as it seems to be?
San Pedro is definitely its own unique island. Pedro punk has a really strong DIY foundation, which is definitely embodied by people like Watt and Todd Congelliere (Recess Records). Our buddy Craig Ibarra wrote a really great book on the history on San Pedro punk (A Wailing of a Town) if you want to know more about it! We have a definite and strong sense of pride, but I also feel our punk community is also extremely welcoming. It’s got friendships and connections all over the globe; once you’ve got a friend in Pedro, you’ve got a friend for life.

I used to see surf bands all the time, from the Phantom Surfers, Bomboras, and Man or Astro-man? to the Pebbles and 5-6-7-8’s, but there don’t seem to be as many of them in the punk circuit these days. How did you get into the genre?
The idea came from Angela. She’s got a really awesome, range in her musical taste which she has shared with us. One of the standouts that I think inspired our sound would probably be Link Wray, but we definitely find inspiration in everything from rock ‘n’ roll to Latin rhythms!

I love your song titles: “El Cowboy,” “King Tut at the Beach,” “Swedish Fish”… Do you come up with riffs and then name them or think of fun ideas and then make them happen?
Thanks! We usually name our songs from the feeling or attitude coming off the riff. “El Cowboy” has sort of a lazy, bouncing along a dusty trail or Wild West showdown feel to it… Our song “Cosmic Surf” brought visions of barreling through deep space on a surfboard, haha! Stuff like that. Our pal Dickey from Tucson named “Swedish Fish.” I forget why. Maybe he was eating the candy. But we try to keep it lighthearted.

What exactly is your connection to Cali Mucho? When I click on your website, I am intrigued.
Cali Mucho is made up of our good pals Rawl (who happens to be engaged to Paloma ^_^) and Kevin. They started their DIY silk screen business in the basement of our old creaky house in Pedro about 10 years ago. They’ve done so much for us over the years–from printing every piece of Bombón flare to helping us get our first record made to traveling the South with us on our first tour. They do a lot of great work here in Pedro and now Kevin is printing it up at a second location in Portland.

At least one of you works with kids. Can you tell me a little bit about why you think it’s important/rad for them to have music education in school?
I’ve worked with children from preschool age to middle school for the better part of the last decade, and I can honestly say that music is so important to early education. Kids  love lto dance and sing, but it goes much deeper than that. Music is so beneficial to young children developing cognitive, social, language, and motor skills. Learning an instrument or being part of some other music outlet can teach children patience, focus, and responsibility and be really great for developing self-esteem. And I know from experience, finding music in my teen years really helped me grow into my own and form friendships and relationships with other music fans. Plus music is fun! And kids need to have some of that in their lives, for sure!

Any thoughts about playing in Chinatown, right by where the old Hong Kong Café and Madame Wong’s used to be?
We’re stoked! Chinatown is awesome. There are so many rad and historic places to play in L.A. and we definitely feel lucky to be part of such a vast scene with so much history.

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Get the latest info on Save Music in Chinatown 8 from the Facebook event page and save some dough by getting advance tickets via Eventbrite.