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Interview With: American Nightmare.
By: Jamie Traumaboy
Date Posted:09/12/2001

AMERICAN NIGHTMARE are an absolutely savage hardcore band from Boston, who first came to my attention through some tracks I heard off their debut 7" from a couple months back. Their unique combination of furious youth crew gone evil thrash and intensely personal lyrics appealed to me even more when I got my hands on their incredible "The Sun's Not Getting Any Brighter" 7" which followed their debut, and they've fast become a staple on my turntable. The band have just released their debut full length entitled "Background music" on Equal Vision, and they are going to explode, big time. This interview was done with Tim from the band in May, just before the LP was released. Check this band out NOW!

Hey Tim, how are you today? I am doing just fine.

Right, so AMERICAN NIGHTMARE has been around for a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things but you seem to be a band who are really busy..2 7”s, an album and some splits on the way, and a whole lot of shows under your collective belt. Do you find sometimes that the band takes up a little too much of your time? Especially from what I can tell you do spend a lot of time on the road, does that just wreak havoc with your personal lives?
Well the band does put a strain on doing everyday normal things, but I wouldn't trade it in for anything. I go to college, work a part time job and at Big Wheel Rec. so keeping time for everything is just a matter of getting my priorities together and juggling them. We all do a lot of things other than the band but I guess it's just become natural for us to do so much and have the band fall somewhere in between.

One of the things that's really impressed me about you guys is that you really come across as a band that are striving to do something different in the hardcore scene. The lyrics and the artwork especially stand out so much from a lot of HC out there now (and the music too!), and I'm guessing you must put a lot of time and thought into them. Does it come easily to you or is it something you guys really work hard at? And when you started first did you have a definite idea of what you wanted to do (music/lyrics/aesthetic) or is it just something that's come with time?
Well, we started out with the goal of becoming a full time touring band as fast as we possibly could. The idea was definitely to do something different than other bands, because I can't take much pride in knowing that I copy someone. Lyrically we are a little different, and that's due to Wes's vision I guess. I put a lot of thought into what I want a song to do, and how it should go, but as far as having a definite idea of the band…. I guess it was just to branch out and do as much as we could get away with, but at the same time trying to do it without being too cheesy.

“The Sun isn't getting any brighter” is one of my favourite 7”s right now. Are you guys still happy with it now that you've got the album recorded too? I believe a couple of the songs on it are going to be on the full length, yeah?
Thanks, I'm glad you like the 7”. I'm real happy with how the LP came out, cause we took our time with it, and really put everything we had into doing this record. We tried a lot of different things that kids wouldn't except and I'm just psyched we got to do that. There will be two songs from “the sun…” appearing on the LP along with “Farewell” which was the bonus song from the s/t cdep.

Speaking of the full length, I read it's coming out in May (so by the time this sees print it'll be out there)..Probably an obvious question, but what can we expect from it? Is it all new songs or are there more of the old ones on there too (aside from the tunes off “The sun..”)? And do you mind me asking how the change from Bridge Nine to Equal Vision came about? What's the difference between the two labels from the band's point of view?
Well, I think people should just expect a record that has a standard hardcore theme, but tries to take the listener in a different direction. Oh god that sounds lame. As a band we have came a long ways in one year and I think it shows in our records. The change from Bridge Nine to EVR was a move that just made the most sense. Chris Wrenn from Bridge Nine has been one of my best friends for a couple years and asides from living together we have also been through a lot of life changing experiences together. I think its safe to say that when we started out that BR9 was not a very big label. We have both helped each other out in so many ways, it's just been amazing. He was psyched to finally get a band that wanted to tour and promote his releases, and we got a dude that pushed us more than I think anyone would have done at that point. BR9 will be the label to be on in the next few years I guarantee. He has so many good records coming up its just amazing. So why did we go to EVR? As good a friend that Chris is, we felt that it would be a better move to go with a more known label and see what they could offer. After looking at a few different labels, we decided that EVR was the best. I have known Steve Reddy since I was in TYF, so it was just natural. The difference in the labels is this: EVR is the best of the medium size US hardcore labels in my mind and BR9 is the best of the upcoming small US labels. We have just been fortunate enough to work with both.

The lyrics, as I said, I was really impressed with. They seem a whole lot more personal and I guess genuine than a lot of bands right now. Is it just Wes who writes them or is it a band effort? They seem really pissed off in places but what I get from them in certain places (especially “There's a black hole in the Shadow of the Pru”) is that to a degree there seems to be an element of regret to them as well. Do you get many comments from kids on them? And incidentally, pardon my ignorance but what the fuck is a “Pru” anyway?!
Yea we get a lot of comments on them…that's Wes's department…oh and the “Pru” is a skyscraper here in Boston. Its real name is the “Prudential Building”…pretty simple, but we get even that question all the time as well….you are not ignorant don't worry!!!

Backing up a little again, touring/playing out seems to be a big thing for you guys saw you're doing some Equal Vision showcase type things across the States soon, are you looking forward to that? Is AN a band who kind of relies on audience reaction to make a show worthwhile if you know what I mean? Like, I remember seeing an interview years ago with..umm..I think it was SLAYER where they said that playing live really does depend on if the audience are going off, and I reckon that's especially true of hardcore, so..How many shows have you guys done actually?
Yea that has been my goal to tour this summer. I've sorta planned it out that the summer I got out of school that we would start to take it very serious and try to do a large amount of touring. And yea if kids don't go off, we get really bummed, cause where we are from kids just always go crazy. We understand that in new cities we shouldn't expect kids to know the words, but sometimes they do, so that's always a plus.

How did you get into Punk/Hardcore in the first place? And being from Boston, with the history it has (SSD, SIEGE, FU's etc..), was there a big scene there when you were first got involved?
I actually grew up in Maine, which is two hours from Boston, so the scene I grew up in wasn't the best. But playing in Boston and now calling it our home carries a lot of pride I guess…?.

Outside the band/HC what kind of stuff are you interested in? And if you didn't have the band do you think you'd still be doing something creative?
I do a couple different bands actually that are just small projects right now. But Jarrod who played drums on our record, and who used to be in Death By Stereo is doing a rock band with me. I also am recording an acoustic record, and that's what I really put most of my time into. AN is sorta all our common goal, but we all have other things going on as well.

Okay, on the new 7” there's a cover of a song by THE TROUBLE.I have no idea who they were I'm afraid, so can you fill me in on them? I'm guessing they were a local band, so on a similar topic, are there any other local bands right now you'd recommend to people? And is it my imagination or is the unlisted song on the 7” a cover too? I could swear it's either a CRO MAGS or AGNOSTIC FRONT tune but I'm probably wrong..
The Trouble was a great punk rock band from here in Boston. They broke up and Sam the guitar player has gone on to do The Explosion and Gibby the singer is starting a new hardcore band called Panic. I would say you should check out The Dedication, A Late Night Revenge, Panic, who are all really good up and coming Boston bands. Oh and yea that was the Cro Mags.

Does the band plan on coming to Europe at all now that the full length is done? Cos I know for a fact that (especially in England/the UK) there's a big buzz around you guys over here. And what comes to mind when you think of Ireland (if anything!)?
We have a buzz?!? We are trying to get over there this fall so look out for us. We are also licensing the first two 7”s on one LP over there with a Euro label so keep your eyes open for that. Ireland? Red hair, which I have, and soccer which I play.

Bands in the USA seem to have these really short life spans. Do you think there's a time limit on how long AN can go on for or in 5/10 years from now are you still gonna be dishin' out the rock!?
I think if things keep going at the rate they have for us that we will continue to do this band for a few years. I think punk rock is a youthful thing, so I think we will continue to see where it takes us or at least a couple more years. As long as we can take breaks and get away from each other, we will continue to have fun…everyone just needs time away from each other some times ya know?!? And as long as we can do whats important to us outside f the band, then yes we will continue.

Ask me a question!
When was the last time you watched a band that gave you chills?

(JAMIE: err, I think it may well have been 4 at once: Ds13, Epileptic Terror Attack, The Devils and Ebola in Bradford one soggy night in July. The Devils had two absolutely insane singers who blew me away, DS13 and ETA were so tight and energetic that they ripped my head off, and Ebola were just downright intense. Awesome gig.)

Okay Tim, thanks a million for your time, and for doing the interview. Any last messages or anything you want to say? And if people want to contact you how can they do so?
Thanks again for the great interview….our record comes out on June 12th on EVR, so check it out…you can check out the band at Ok we hope to see you this fall…take care-Tim & AN