Exclusive | Interview with My Dad & Live Studio Session
Today we’re featuring an all exclusive live session from Chicago based experimental punk outfit My Dad. A band whose name is the joking point of many reviews and interviews, and if we were to bring that up we’d just become one of many.
Genre: Noise Rock/Math
Location: Chicago, IL
Z: Hey Dave, first of all… What IS My Dad?
D: Hey Zarif! My Dad is a 4 piece weird mathy post hardcore band based in Chicago made up of myself on Guitar/vocals, Aaron Sheehan on bass, Brendan Smyth on drum kit 1, and Brennan Zwieg on drum kit 2.
Z: How did you – the core members of the band – meet/decide to collaborate?
D: I’ve known Aaron since we were 13 or so back in Philadelphia/New Jersey where we grew up. We moved to Chicago back in late 2010 and I met Smyth and Brennan while going to shows in Chicago
Z: Did any of you guys collaborate prior to My Dad – or was this the first project?
D: Aaron and I had played in various bands in high school, one of them called Blasferatu had a couple songs that recycled into My Dad songs. My Dad is the first time I’ve been in a band with Smyth and Brennan.
Z: As I understand it, My Dad has had no less than two drummers in the band at a time, with a whole host of guest collaborators involved at live shows. Does the writing process differ from a standard 3/4 piece band? How do you accommodate for the extra guitarists/bass players?
D: The project started out as a solo project, with me performing all the instruments on the recordings. The first couple live versions had a 2nd guitarst, bass, 2 drummers… Then various forms as a 3 piece with guitar/bass/drums… When Nnamdi was in the band, Smyth joined just to play one off show, and it sounded wonderful that we kept going. since the songs were already written, people could come and enter adding new parts easily. Now were back to a 4 piece writing a new LP and it starts with me bringing song skeletons to the band and the members writing their own parts and tinkering with arrangements and so on.
Z: Most people would consider My Dad as a math rock/emo band… what’s your opinion of the math rock scene(s) in the american midwest of the 2014? and in the world of music today?
D: I don’t think it really exists much haha. There’s bands sporadically located throughout the Midwest and US and are math rock/sound mathy but as a whole I don’t think there’s a “scene”. Some of my favorite bands in that we play with in Chicago or on tour sound nothing like us, but that’s totally fine with me. It’s definitely awesome to see mathy bands in Chicago and on tour, but we’ve played with hardcore, pop, noise acts and had a blast at those shows.
Like when you saw us on tour in NYC and we played with our friends in Porches., who sound nothing like us. I still absolutely love their music!
Z: True! I think it’s a cool approach when bands from varying genres are on the same bill at shows. It helps break down the barriers and allows people to explore music a bit more! So, here’s a question sort of linked to that, but on a bit more of a global scale: What’s your opinion of the ‘Emo Revival’ tag that’s popped up as of late? Would you class My Dad as being part of that wave?
There was a vice article or something staying “there is no emo revival, you just stopped paying attention” haha which is true and not true at the same time. It’s not like one form of music will ever completely die out. I’ve seen nu metal bands playing stupid bar shows in a no name town and country folk at public markets in southern illinois, people will always carry on all genres of music, even if we don’t know about it on a mass media scale. With that said, algernon and snowing dudes have been in bands that had emo punk sounds since early 2000s w/ halfway to holland, audio recording club, and more. And that’s just a small fraction of the bands that kept going with the “true emo” sound while the hot topic bands were blowing up. Bands like the world is and into it over it are now more popular than ever and congrats to them, but I don’t think a “revival” tag is necessary.
Also I don’t really think we’re emo. I was definitely highly influenced by cap’n jazz in vocal style but I never write with the intention of “oh man THIS sounds like braid.” I also don’t think my lyrics are emo enough, they’re kinda cryptic and nonsensical. Sometimes there’s a theme but never a direct personal one, more indirect than anything else.
In my mind I think we sound like early Don Cab and Fugazi, which are not emo bands, but everyone hears something different.
Let me also add that we do play with bands that are being classified as part of the “emo revival” so maybe by association one could call us that, but once again it’s my opinion against the world’s on that topic.
Z: You’ve released records on Naked Ally Records (US), Blake Lake records here in the UK and now recently you’ve announced that Little League Record (IRE) will be reissuing your first album ‘Stunts’ on cassette… would you be considering a UK tour any time in the near future?
D: We’re not signed now but have done/will do one off releases with those labels and more. I would absolutely love to, but financially is not feasible at the moment, maybe in 2015!
I’m also extremely thankful to Black Lake and Little League for releasing our music, especially when we have no set plans for touring the UK haha
Z: Speaking of what is financially feasible and what is not… My Dad seems to be touring on and off for quite a lot of the time – what’s the hardest part about being in a band with such a rigorous schedule in your opinion?
D: Money for the most part. I have no problem going on tour and losing money/breaking even, or barely making any money, but we all have to make sure we have the money to go take the risk first. Dealing with work and tour is just a tedious struggle that all smaller bands deal with.
Z: What does the near and far future hold for My Dad?
D: We’re currently writing our next LP which we hope will be ready and released sometime in 2015. Touring most of October, covering Canada and most of the eastern seaboard down to Fest in Florida. Currently working out the logistics of a West Coast tour next year and maybe the South or we’ll come overseas to you!
Z: We’d love to throw a show for you guys! Finally, Who have you been digging lately? Any shout-outs to other bands doing good things out there?
D: Everyone should listen to Yautja. They put out the greatest hardcore/metal record of the past 5 years. If you like bone crushing riffs played along with the greatest drummer alive, you’ll dig it. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Iron Lung, Double Dagger, Prince, Mount Eerie, and random stuff I find.
Also shout out to the homies in lord snow, animal faces, all of the Exploding in Sound family and Sam “Ranchman” Rudich for always keeping it real…
Z: Rad stuff! Thanks for the words Dave!
D: Thank you Zarif!
Find MY DAD’s discography on their bandcamp