Thursday, August 17, 2017

Interview: Brandon Kellum of American Standards

American Standards
One of the kinds of music that leaves me wanting is Hardcore.

It's not something I blame on the bands, but squarely on myself.

When it comes to music that's off the beaten path, like Punk Rock and all of it's many offshoots, it requires a spirit guide to help you hear it and know what it is.

I've never had that spirit guide, so I use my time and my webspace to learn more about it from the practitioners themselves.

Brandon Kellum of American Standards stopped by the Glacially Musical Railway Loan Office, Platform 9-3/4's to answer non-standard questions...

Glacially Musical (GM): Thank you for taking some time for us today.

 American Standards (AS): I just finished binge watching Master Of None, so I had a little time to kill until the next season.

Thanks for having me.

GM: Let's start at the beginning; Name, Rank, Serial Number, and Prior convictions. Meaning, what's the basic stuff we need to know.

AS: I can't afford to have that kind of dirt show up in a google search so I'll keep it simple.

I'm Brandon Kellum and I make noises into a microphone for American Standards. We're a band of 4 dudes out of Phoenix, AZ that stand a few steps outside of multiple heavy music genres- some of which end with the suffix "core".

GM: As American Standards is a hardcore band, you should have some serious political leanings. Tell me the top three things wrong with the United States today that aren't Donald Trump.

AS: Is this where I get to go off on my old man rants?

Well back in my day... kidding. If I had to go off the cuff it would be our desire as a culture to further divide and categorize everything.

Not only at the macro levels of politics, nationality, race and religion but even at a micro level within our personal interests. Everyone wants to be a part of a "tribe" and paint those outside of their own belief system with a broad stoke.

In actuality everything is far more nuanced. We need to disregard the arbitrary titles that we've used to define people and come together as humans with commonality, compassion and shared goals. The next is the media culture that exacerbates it all.

In a society where bad news sells, we've created a model that incentivizes outlets to constantly push out divisive content. Whether fact checked or not, it's often presented with a click bait title for people to consume the headline, feed into the negativity and then share it with little critical thinking.

Finally, entitlement. We've grown complacent and all to often take the path of least resistance. If you're unhappy with something in your community or something in your life, change it.

Stop making excuses for tomorrow and start today.

GM: On your bandcamp page, it mentions that Cody pass away from suicide. How do you remember Cody as a human being?

AS: Cody was an intense guy. He did everything with a passion and never settled for anything less than what he had set his eyes on.

He's the person that brought me back into music and reminded me of all the things that I love about it. He truly believed in building a community and using art as a means to make positive change in the world.

GM: Moving on to nicer pastures, is it Taco Heresy to deep fry your soft taco in bacon grease?

AS: Damn. Hitting me with the hard stuff. I'm never against being a little adventurous with food and fried tacos in particular actually remind me of something my dad use to make.

There's a time and place for everything though. In my eyes nothing beats a good street taco... preferably from the sketchiest of street vendors.

GM: If I were to comment on your music, I'd say there's some metal there. Tell me the difference between American Standards and metal.

AS: I'm sure it falls somewhere under the "metal" umbrella. What maybe sets us apart is more in our mindset though.

We don't go into a song trying the write the heaviest or most complex stuff. We're also not trying to feed any tough guy machismo. At the end of the day we just want to create something that comes from a place of honesty.

The result is usually more emotionally dynamic and I think that's what people connect with.

GM: What kind of car do you drive and why?

AS: Currently, a Mazda CX-7. It's actually my 3rd vehicle of the year. The first being an old Mustang GT that I bought because it reminded me of a car that my dad had when I was growing up.

What I didn't remember was that my dad was constantly working on that car every damn weekend. So I sold it and got a Mazda 3. About a month in, I'm driving home from band practice and someone hits me head on in a stolen car as they're being chased by several police.

So, this Mazda CX-7 was the result of me getting tired of car shopping and just settling for what I could get quick. Fun fact: not long after I got it, I went outside and found that someone had T-boned it in the middle of the night while it was parked, destroying both driver side doors.

I've since fixed it and realized that I have the worst luck with vehicles.

GM: How are you preparing for the impending Zombie Apocalypse?

AS: With arms wide open (under the sunlight).

GM: When you bought your last video game console, what factors did you consider?

AS: About 2 years ago I got a Reto Trio which plays NES, SNES and Sega Genesis. I've since spent way too much money repurchasing the games from my childhood like Contra, Kirby's Adventure and Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

Where's blockbuster when you need it?

GM: Hot dogs...gourmet or cheapies?

AS: A good friend of mine, Augie Arvizu (Your Young/The Fair & Debonair) and I are actually self proclaimed hot dog connoisseurs.

We did a tour back in 2012/2013 where we attempted to eat a hot dog in every city (#TalkingDogs). I think the gourmet hot dogs feed into my desire to try new things but more often then not they also become a conduit for complaining about how overpriced or over hyped they are.

What's not overhyped though is Primo hot dogs in Flagstaff, AZ. Great for a 3AM bite to eat.

GM: #TrumpRussia or #MustardGate which was more damaging to our nation?

AS: I may be biased because I hate spicy mustard with passion but #MustardGate may be the most embarrassing of the two... and not for the choice of condiment itself.

The fact that any time or effort was expended into such a non-event just validates how our media culture is completely backwards.

GM: How do you determine the difference between a song and a doodle?

AS: Whichever lasts for at least a minute and a half is a song.

GM: Tell me...what revolution is going to happen first in the United States.

 AS: A movement to bring Lava Sauce back to Taco Bell.

American Standards has several shows coming up in Arizona. See the dates below:

August 24th- Rogue Bar [Tempe, AZ] 
August 28th- Wasted Grain [Scottsdale, AZ] 
September 1st- The Rock [Tucson, AZ] 
September 9th- Rebel Lounge [Phoenix, AZ] 
September 16th- The Shop [Prescott, AZ]

Don't forget to pick up their album, Anti-Melody HERE.

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