Thrash Hits verdict: We first heard about American Standards thanks to a minor bit of Twitter buzz we caught wind of around the release of their Still Life EP earlier this year. It ticked a staggering number of our musical boxes, with us being able to hear shades of an impressive number of post-hardcore and screamo bands that characterised much of our listening habits throughout our pitiful, frustrated youth. We dropped an email to the band’s vocalist, Brandon Kellum, for the latest inductees to the (semi-) illustrious ranks of bands featured in our Future Hits column.
Describe your sound in three words.
Raw Dirty Chaos.
How did you meet?
We all knew of each other through other bands. When those started going south, it was the perfect storm timing-wise, and we just started jamming together. Except for Corey [Skowronski, bass], who we found off Craigslist. #CraigslistSuccessStory
What made you want to start a band?
I think we just got tired of all the recycled noise. The cookie cutter breakdowns and the empty messages. We wanted to do something fast and heavy, but different and make it mean something to someone. Drop the tough guy acts and elitists mentalities that have become common place in the scene and just have fun with it…. that was after the fact when we realized the money, fame and women just weren’t coming.
Watch the video to ‘Harvester’ by American Standards:
Where did the name come from?
I hope what you put in parenthesis was a joke on the name because ultimately the answer is a toilet. We really didn’t want a clichéd name. Or a name you’d hear and already know the sound before even listening to the band. American Standards just fit. It plays off the musical term “Standards” like Jazz Standards ect. So it gives that sarcastic vibe since we are definitely not a “standard” of today’s music by any means. We get the question a lot if it’s political since our songs contain a lot of sociopolitical themes. More than anything, we just wanted someone to look down at their toilet only to see the brand name “American Standard” and think of us in that very special moment.
Where did you grow up? How do you think it’s affected your music?
We’ve all grown up in Arizona but we’ve also been on the road playing music before American Standards. I really think that past touring experience allowed us to see what bands all across the country were doing sound-wise and the DIY ethics they used to get themselves out there. That has played heavily into our mindset. Being in touring bands for the past ten years, I find it inspirational to see bands that have been doing everything on their own for years and now finally starting to get some recognition for their hard work.
What are your non-musical influences?
Philosophy, Psychology, Literature, Corporate & Political Satire, Just life in general. If you asked Corey this question you’d probably hear Doctor Who. I myself am a huge old school Twilight Zone and Outer Limits fan.
With which band would your dream support slot be?
That would be a close tie between Refused, Rage Against the Machine and System Of A Down.
What bands do you consider as part of your scene or as your peers?
Locally probably bands like Run With The Hunted, Move Forward, Lariats, The Last March Of The Ents, Sleepwalker and Your Young. At a national level: Every Time I Die, Gallows, Cancer Bats, Dead Swans & The Chariot.
What marks you out as different to other bands around at the moment?
We’re hoping a lot of things. On shows we’ve always been the outcasts. We’re in that weird middle ground where we can connect to an indie, punk rock or metal audience. The crowd seems to know we don’t have the same sound as the bands we’re playing with, but it seems to some how work.
I also think the message is important. A lot of the bands of our style pull from some of the same influences and observations but then portray it in a very pessimistic, “this is the way things are and they are never going to change” sort of point of view. We’ve took that and spun it with a lot of plays on words, sarcasm and satire.. With it, there’s this call for change on an internal and external level.
What’s the best – and the funniest – shows you’ve played?
That’s hard. Most recently we did Within These Wallswhich was this huge 2 day festival with 30+ national bands. That was a lot of fun since we got to see a lot of the older bands we all dug like sick of it all, plus some of the newer bands. We’ve also done some shows with Touché Amoré and Joyce Manor that are always good times. Honestly, the best though are probably the house shows. The ones we’re we can get our buds’ bands, throw down on some BBQ and just rage. That’s how we started out, and I can imagine us continuing to do those type of shows whenever we can.
What have you got planned for the future?
We go back out on another tour starting this week actually. When we get back we are going in to the studio to do a split EP as a follow up to our Still Life EP. Then hopefully back to the road. We’ve had a lot of people ask about Canada, Mexico & UK dates. Maybe we can get some backing in the future to help us get those into effect.
What other band should everyone find out about?
Tell us a joke.
Why did the hipster get burned?
Because he touched the stove before it was cool.
American Standards latest EP, Still Life, is available now via their official Bandcamp page on a pay-what-you-like basis. You could download it for free, we guess, but do you really want to be “that guy”? The cheapskate guy who doesn’t pay his share? No, didn’t think so.