Getting to Know: Arizona Hardcore act, American Standards

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In today’s Getting to Know, we meet Arizona hardcore band, American Standards, a band that’s not afraid about incorporating a banjo and wine glasses into their music. If you are in an up and coming band that would like to partake in a Getting to Know feature, contact [email protected] to receive the questionnaire and instructions. Thanks!

american-standards-1-smallBand Name: American Standards
Band Members: Brandon Kellum (makes noise on the mic), Corey Skowronski (guitars), Steven Mandell (bass), and Mike Cook (drums).
Years Active: 3
City of Origin: Phoenix, AZ.

Who are you and what do you do?
“We’re American Standards. We dabble in making landscapes of noise and melodies that serve as the foundation for our thoughts and ideas.”

In 100 words or less, tell us how your band has gotten to this point.
“Through a potent mix of hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck.”

What is your latest release and how would you best describe it to someone who hasn’t heard your band?
“We just finished tracking out of state for our fourth release which will be an EP entitled Hungry Hands. It has three songs that will be distributed on three formats: CD, vinyl, and cassette. It also has a series of three connected music videos to accompany it, which all tell one centralized story. Musically, it’s a dynamic mix of raw, chaos driven punk, subtle melody and drunken experimentation.”

When making an album, which aspect of the process do you put the most time into and why?
“Song writing above all. It has always been a goal to create something heavy, abstract and experimental without sacrificing a memorable structure and a depth of layers.”

What is the best part about your band and why?
“The disregard for current trends and social acceptability.”

What makes your band unique from the rest?
“Sonically, a prominent driving bass line, creative drums, dynamic guitars and philosophical lyrics centered around socio political themes. This coupled with the layers of experimentation creates a sound that transcends genre labels. I mean, what other ‘hardcore’ band uses piano, banjo, tambourine, mandolin, wine glasses and beer bottle percussion all in one song?”

How does your band survive the challenges of touring/gigging?
“With a delicate balance of time management, and through a support base of band members, friends, family and fans.”

Would you rather be critically-acclaimed; rich and famous; or an under-the-radar band with a dedicated fan base?
“We rather have no expectation of either and be pleasantly surprised if they come. In the meantime, the ability to play music to anyone who will listen is more than enough to satisfy our needs.”

If you’d have to compare your band to another one out there, living or dead, who would it be and why?
“That’s a hard one. A band is like a kid, and you want to think it is special and unique. That being said, I’d like to think that kid was the result of a Refused, Snapcase, Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, Gallows and The Chariot orgy.”

Which band/musician would you like to share many drinks with? What would you talk about?
“Tom Waits. Lyrically and musically the guy has always been 20-30 years ahead of his time, if not more.”

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