Direct Hit! scores full-length debut
Although at the moment the band is guitarists/singer Nick Woods and Devon Kay, bassist Robbie Schroeder and drummer Danny Walkowiak, Woods quips, "we have more ex-members than I can remember, honestly. I'm pretty sure at this point, we've gone through three 'permanent' drummers, four 'permanent' bass players, a different guitarist, a keyboardist..."
The band also recorded five EPs on the way to "Domesplitter," and fans of those outings will recognize some of the guitar-driven aural attacks on the new 10-song record, which breathes fire.
We asked Woods about the record deal, "Domesplitter" and why the band feels a bit separated from the local scene.
OnMilwaukee.com: How did you guys hook up with Kind of Like?
Nick Woods: That's a pretty long-winded and boring story. The short version is that Lisa Garelick, who runs the label, heard our songs online in a few different places, liked the tunes, and offered to put out a split 7" for us and our friends from Cincinnati, Mixtapes. That release did pretty well, so they were one of the first labels we asked when we went looking for someone to help us with our LP.
OMC: The disc has songs off the band's five EPs, correct? Can you tell us a bit about how you decided on which to include?
NW: Yeah, it's 10 songs we already put out for free online, but we didn't really pick which ones went on the album. Last year we put together 100 of these cassette box sets that we sold to raise money for a recording budget, and each one included a card that asked what each person's favorite 10 songs of ours were. We just tallied the results from everyone who bothered to mail them back.
OMC: But they're re-recorded, right? Did you work to make them different or are they just naturally different from the other versions simply by nature of the fact that you've had all this time in between playing them live and getting to know them better?
NW: I think it's totally a natural thing. The band's lineup changed between every single on of those EPs, first of all. I'm the only member that's on every Direct Hit release. Danny didn't join the band until right before we recorded "DH#2," and then didn't play on "DH#3" because we didn't think we were going to be a band for much longer at the time.
Robbie didn't start playing with us until "DH#4." And both of them wrote brand new parts to all of the songs that they didn't record. So after they joined, the older songs started sounding a lot different, and we all kind of started hating the fact that our EPs didn't really represent what our band had become.
OMC: Will you do another record for the label or was this more a one-off deal with them?
NW: We don't have any kind of legal contract or anything like that with Kind Of Like, so we're not too sure. It depends on how things go over the next year or two. That's not to say we don't think things will go well or something. They've been really awesome, and really generous. We'd really like to do another release with them.
OMC: Tell us a bit about the underground scene in Milwaukee. I get the sense that it's much bigger and more alive than anyone who's not a part of it realizes.
NW: Well, to be honest we've never really been a part of the punk scene in Milwaukee. That's not really because we have anything against it – we just don't sound much like the bands around here, and don't really have the same philosophy or ethic. There are a ton of awesome groups that have roots here though. Holy Sh*t, Get Rad and Empire Builder are the three that come to mind right away. And if you go to milwaukeeshows.info, you can find a ton of stuff you've never heard before.
OMC: I saw on the band's Facebook page that you get inquiries about booking overseas. How far and wide has the band played? Do you expect it to keep growing?
NW: We've been getting more requests from overseas lately because we announced a few weeks ago that we're touring Europe in 2012. But we don't tour all that much in general because we're a young band, all of us have full-time jobs, and because I'm in school.
We haven't even been west of the Mississippi yet. But putting a lot of material up online for people to download for free has helped us out a lot, and so as long as our music gets better with every release, I think people will keep paying attention.
Who knows, though? We do this for fun above all else. And it's been a blast for the past year playing shows with our friends to 20 or 30 people in small venues. I'll be really excited if it grows beyond that, but we're not going to sweat it too hard if it doesn't.
OMC: Is it hard to keep the band traveling and working when you're working a full-time job and getting your MBA? You must have a pretty full plate.
NW: Yeah, it's rough sometimes. The issues we run into have more to do with our jobs than anything else. I'm lucky enough to work for a place that'll basically let me do what they need anywhere I have a laptop and a cell phone. The rest of the band doesn't have that luxury.
Danny has to skip half of the tour we're doing in August because the guy subbing for him got fired a couple weeks ago, and his boss basically told him to f*ck himself when he brought it up. Robbie works construction, so it's not like he can be away from work for a long time.
There's a lot of bullshit we have to work around. But planning really far in advance helps out a lot, and in the end it's such a blast playing shows and partying and making records that we're willing to put up with it.
just listened to this last night. fantastic record! they're a top notch live act as well. as fun as the state fair! with none of the stink removed!
Check out the "We are Alone" video at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ashleyaltadonna#p/u/13/r4l-ePeq8bI
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