A little earlier this year American Standards released “Anti Melody”, which as ever refused to conform to anything but the bands own expectations, whilst being incredibly personal and candid. In 2015 founder band member Cody Conrad sadly passed away, and Brandon also lost his own father to cancer. “Anti Melody” was to some extent almost cathartic for Brandon, and as a result is incredibly heartfelt album that has deeply resonated with their fans.
Brandon was very kind in answering our questions, and we certainly appreciate it.
Anti-Melody has been unleashed on your fans, and they’re loving it. What to you has made this album such a hit with fans and how do you think it shows how the band has evolved and grown?
It was important to us that we tell the story of Anti-Melody. In the past we left it up to interpretation forcing you to look behind the veil of metaphor. We tried to put it all out there for this album and I think people have respected that honesty.
Tracks like “Cancer Eater” are immensely personal, did you feel vulnerable writing about those experiences or do you feel that level of honesty actually galvanised your writing and enabled the passion and drive you have for music?
It was difficult to write this close to the heart but it felt necessary. It’s a different feeling when you’re opening yourself up for the critics and trolls to judge on such a personal level.
Have you had fans reach out to you and share their personal stories with you, and what effect has this had on you?
We have. After the album was released we went out on tour for a couple weeks and were immediately taken aback by people connecting to the message. Although you never want to hear that someone has dealt with cancer, depression, suicide or the loss of a parent, it’s truly humanizing to realize that we all share the same experiences. I think that kind of thing gives you a sense of comfort and perspective.
Brandon, you’ve tended to write songs as they come to you, as opposed to sitting down and thinking “shit, I’d better write a song!” Have there been times when inspiration has hit you at a really inconvenient time and had you desperately scrabbling for a voice recorder / phone / paper, and could you tell us about that?
Yeah, I’ve never been one to force creativity. I always have a running notepad on my phone for ideas. Surprisingly, the majority seem to come in the shower or at the brink of sleep.
Bands are often labelled, be it Metalcore, Punk etc, do you think that when that happens it can be limiting, or has social media and Youtube negated that?
Absolutely, especially for a band like American Standards that doesn’t neatly fit into any of those labels. If you call it “metalcore”, people may come into expecting these half time break downs or if “hardcore”, maybe more of that tough guy machismo. If you fit into those moulds and pander to those terms you can quickly build a following within those respective scenes but that’s not us. We’re looking to bridge the gap. It’s a harder path but anything else wouldn’t be true to us.
While we’re talking about the Internet and Social Media, generations ago you could start a band, and locally or regionally you’d get a great deal of recognition for that, resulting in support and perhaps a greater desire to succeed. Now though I wonder if young people are almost not “trying” due to competing on a global level because when they write a song and upload it, it’s instantly being in that arena. Wondered what your thoughts were on that?
I feel like the internet has created as many opportunities as it has challenges. Although recording and releasing music is easier than ever, you now have to navigate cutting through all the noise. That level playing ground may cause some to sacrifice their art and opt for the current trend.
In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn has really inspired young people to get involved in politics and vote in the face of Conservatism and austerity. I suspect that the same sort of thing may be happening in USA politics. Do you think music has an important role to play in motivating and informing young people in getting their voice heard?
It can. It’s tough balancing act though. If too overt or “preachy” it can easily have an adverse effect and turn someone off altogether. I think the best art is the kind that makes you ask questions rather than gives you the answers.
What have you got planned next for American Standards?
Plenty of shows and possibly a new EP in early 2018 if not sooner. Check out our socials and follow us on bandsintown for all that info.
We wish Brandon and American Standards every success.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AmericanStandards
Bandcamp – https://americanstndrds.bandcamp.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/americanstndrds
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanStandardsAZ