COMADRE – Malaysia + Singapore Tour + Interview
Our introduction to COMADRE was via PURE MINDS tape release back in 2007, now the band are gonna be on these shores soon!
“Comadre is a band from Redwood City, a suburb of San Francisco, California, composed of former members of Heartcrosslove, One’s Own Ruin, What Life Makes Us, and Light This City. Their sound is a shoot-off of hardcore and punk, played fast and chaotic with an abundance of energy, but with a large focus on melody and tunefulness as well. Their influences can perhaps best be shown by the covers the band has performed live, by groups such as Rites of Spring, Refused, Kid Dynamite, and Suicide File”. – wikipedia
Call the band’s music post-hardcore-punk or whatever your wish, COMADRE is an innovative bunch pushing boundaries and they do it with intense passion. Local label/distro PURE MINDS RECORDS has been actively promoting this band for years with Malaysian releases of the band’s albums, right from the 2007 and before discography Burn Your Bones / Songs About the Youth cassette (2007) to the recent A Wolf Ticket cassette (2009) which is the band’s third album.
Now, the collaboration is stepping into another gear with COMADRE’s first Southeast Asian visit which will be commencing mid-July after the band’s Japanese tour. There are tonnes of shows in the peninsular and also a visit to Singapore before further adventures in Australia. Please do check out the TOUR DATES is at the end of the article.
To celebrate the impending tour, PURE MINDS RECORDS has kindly gave us a special pre-tour interview with the band, done by Hatta of Dead Pigs zine last month. Read on…
an interview by Hatta in March 2011
Is the band excited about the prospect of touring Malaysia/South East Asia?
Yes, we are very excited. We have been considering coming out to SEA for a long time (ever since Pure Minds has started releasing cassette tapes for us).
I assume this is the first time the band members will set foot on this part of the world? Beside Japan, have the band played/toured other part of Asia before?
Nope. Japan is the only Asian country that any of us of ever travelled to, either for tour or just for a vacation.
Who did you hook up with for the upcoming tour and how long have you planned this upcoming tour? Did the guys in GRAF ORLOCK/GHOSTLIMB helps out?
We have been talking to Gulam from Pure Minds Records and Arwith from Utarid Booking. We have been discussing plans for this specific tour since the beginning of the year. The guys in Graf/Ghosti did not specifically help with the tour, but they have told us some very cool tour stories which have contributed to our interested in touring out to SEA.
COMADRE have been touring on a constant basis, is this something that the band set on achieving when starting out?
The first time that any of us went on a proper tour was when we formed Comadre. We did not start the band with this in mind. In fact, I never would have guessed that we would be where we are now when this band started. We had all played in many bands that had never left the Bay Area. For me, Comadre was just the next project back in 2004 after my previous band had ended.
After we recorded a full length and played a few shows outside of the Bay Area, we became motivated to leave the state and do a proper tour. Our first tour occurred in December of 2004 and lasted for only one week and spanned the Southern California and Arizona. In June 2005, we toured out to the East Coast and back for the first time ever. After that, opportunities kept arising that took us on tour in many parts of the U.S. as well as overseas to Europe and Japan.
Glow Worms from A Wolf’s Ticket album:
Are there any expectations from this upcoming tour?
Honestly, I do not know what to expect. We have never been to Malaysia or Australia. We are really excited to see these countries and experience the culture, food, landscape, and all the other things that come with being a tourist in a new country. We are also excited to finally meet all of the people that we have been e-mailing with for the past couple of years.
The band really knows how to have fun on the road as evidence on the Burn The Bridges DVD. That is pretty refreshing to know since life on the road can be very difficult. How did the band keep the excitement level high? Any tips to share with other bands?
Being on the road can definitely wear you down. Not only do you sacrifice your own privacy and personal space to share a van with several other people for weeks at a time, but you also have to put your personal life on hold. This is hard for a lot of people to deal with.
While this part of being on tour is inevitable, it is important to remember that being on tour only lasts for a short time. Tour is usually the only time that we get to see the friends that we have in other parts of the country and other parts of the world, and it is important to make the most of that time. The way that things work being in a DIY band, there are almost no projections for future tours. I honestly don‚Äôt know when Comadre will be back to the East Coast, or when we will travel back to Europe, which is why I want to really experience each country, state, city, venue, apartment that we travel to in the moment that I am there. ‚ÄúI may never be here again,‚Äù I often remind myself.
Even the worst parts of tour (for example, the car crash in Mexico that is featured on our DVD or losing my passport on our first trip to Japan) are almost always funny afterwards. Perhaps, it is important to maintain a positive perspective when tour gets rough. Just enjoy the adventure!
Correct me if I am wrong, but the last record the band put out is the split with GLASSES right? Will there be any new records this year? Any chances of bands from this part of the world sharing a split record with COMADRE?
We don‚Äôt plan to release any split records in the near future. Currently, our plan is to write and record a full-length record that we will release early in 2012. So far we have written two songs for the record and we are already recording them so that we can test out some new ideas for the sonic elements of the next record.
COMADRE had also released 4 mixtapes before and it is only available digitally. Any plans to get it done on a physical format? What was the idea behind those mixtapes?
We had talked about releasing the Mixtape 4 on vinyl, but ultimately decided against it; however, it does look like we are going to release it on a cassette tape with Pure Minds as the B-Side to our songs from the Glasses Split. We plan to have this cassette tape ready in time for our tour in July.
Kenny came up with the idea of doing the mixtapes and I believe that he was inspired by hip-hop artists who release mixtapes as a means of releasing and distributing their own material as well as songs by friends. Our idea for the mixtapes was to release Comadre songs that had previously been unreleased, to try out some new stuff that we otherwise would not put on an official release, and to get friends‚Äô bands involved. Being that Jack owns his own recording studio, we have access to a studio whenever we want it so we can do silly stuff like record covers of all of our favorite bands or invite friends over to jam with us and record it.
You’re also offering your releases as a free download on the band’s website. What’s the reason behind this? Do you have any issues with the labels that releases your music about the decision to allowed people to download it for free? I know that some more established DIY label are not really down with the idea of people downloading their record for free especially if it is new and still readily available.
We are totally down with people downloading our music for free. We decided to make the mixtapes free because we thought it would be cool.
We decided to make our official releases free to download for several reasons: If our goal is for people to hear our music, then providing free online downloads of our music seemed like the best way to do that. In addition, we are aware that many people rip music on their own, but vinyl transfers and MP3 conversions are not always done with the best quality. Since we record our own music (thanks, Jack), we are kind of particular about the sound quality of our records, so we would prefer to offer our music for free at high quality than for others to rip it themselves and have to listen to laser symbols.
Another reason that we decided to make downloads free is because most of us are collectors of physical media (vinyl, mostly). Our theory is that if people thoroughly enjoy our music, then they will download the digital format and buy the physical (vinyl) format. This is also a reason that we try to make the packaging for our physical releases as cool as possible. If people are going to spend money on our records, they should get something worth owning; something that stands out from most of the other records in their collections.
Part of being a DIY band is that we choose the labels that we work with based on personal relationships with the people who run labels or at least with similar philosophical outlooks about what punk and hardcore should be. In theory, we would not choose to work with a label that wanted to do something that we were uncomfortable with.
DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE #4 featuring collaborations with: Atlas, Broadway Calls, Dead To Me, Ghostlimb, Glasses, P.O.S, and Trainwreck – mediafire.com/?7yjlu6cdl2cs36c
Musically how would you describe COMADRE’s music? Would hardcore be to restricting? As evidence on the mix tapes COMADRE have a pretty diverse musical influences.
We have always referred to ourselves as a punk band, but people have certainly used terms like punk, hardcore, emo, screamo, etc. to describe our band. I think the fact that people take it upon themselves to put our band into a specific genre, but not everyone can agree on which genre, is evident to what we try to do with our music.
The members of Comadre are lovers of music. We like music that is honest. Music that is creative but not pretentious. Catchy, not cheesy. I think that we would agree that it really doesn‚Äôt matter to us if music of that caliber comes in the form of punk rock, folk, hip hop, metal, blues, or whatever. We don‚Äôt necessarily aim to make this range of influence obvious in our own music, but to some degree I hope that it is. The mixtapes enhance that level of our musical interest and creativity.
To touch on your previous question again, we worry less about what comes out on those mixtapes because they are free to download, and we are not worried about what people will think of them. Of course, we hope that people like them, but when it really comes down to it, our attitude is: Like them or don‚Äôt. Download them or don‚Äôt. Aside from the Elliot Smith cover, we don‚Äôt play any of those songs live. The mixtapes are just fun; they don‚Äôt necessarily define the direction or intentions of the band. The mixtapes are certainly creative outlets that allow us to push (or completely ignore) the boundaries of punk, hardcore, emo, screamo, indie, etc.
How much being from Redwood influences the band’s music?
Our local community was very influential to our music for the first several years of the band. There was a really strong scene and sense of community on the Peninsula (that is, several cities south of San Francisco including, but not limited to, Redwood City). In our first few releases there were songs in which Juan wrote about the strength of that community and how it validated our efforts. Unfortunately, that community has waned somewhat. People move on. They find new creative outlets or become part of different communities or subcultures. Through touring, we have met a lot of great bands and great people and we have been proud to bring them through our town and show them what we were a part of. Now, it feels like were just hanging on to a few small venues in San Francisco and the East Bay. Houses that do shows pop up here and there, but are not very consistent. It is still fun; there are still amazing bands and amazing people from here that are doing great things. Some friends‚Äô bands that I highly recommend that people look for are Punch, Loma Prieta, Big Kids, Dead To Me, Heartsounds, Sabertooth Zombie, All Teeth, Pills, Drowning With Out Anchors. There are more. I am drawing a blank. Anyway, that is a good start.
Now that corporate America have shown some interest towards the extreme and underground end of music, how much do you think this will affect the hardcore DIY scene? Have McDonalds offered to release COMADRE flexi that comes free with a Happy Meal? Where do you draw the line especially now that the modus operandi is different from the past?
The line is certainly getting more and more fuzzy, but I don‚Äôt see it ever getting as fuzzy as allowing a band such as ours going the way of your McDonald‚Äôs example. To be honest, I don‚Äôt think that we would ever intentionally use our band as a vehicle to promote a product, and certainly not a product that any one of us does not believe in. Yeah, we eat fast food on occasion when we are on tour because it is cheap and convenient, but do I want to be a part of a Taco Bell sponsored tour? Fuck no! (Honestly, there is a part of me that is a bit ashamed every time we take the van through the drive-thru and order, ‚Äú20 tacos, no meat, add beans, 10 with cheese, ten without, and a shit shit load of hot sauce.‚Äù)
Anyway, I got away from my point. Again the line is fuzzy. These things are not black and white. If someone wants to finically support our band, that is cool, but not if it means that we are going to be a whore for that person, or that company, or that record label. We use the same principles to make this distinction as we do with choosing what record label(s) we want to work with. We want to form relationships and partnerships in which all parties stand to benefit equally; we don‚Äôt want to make the rich richer. And I think that is all that would come from a corporate sponsorship. I that that I can safely say that there is no way that corporate America could get its hand into the DIY hardcore scene.
Anything else you want to add?
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about our band, where we come from, and what our motivations are. Thank you also for supporting our band on the other side of the world. We cannot wait to come to South East Asia and see how you guys do things. It is so exciting to be a band for seven years and still be able to experience things that are new and exciting. See you soon!