I guess you all remember Kid Dynamite, right? Well, after they broke up their former singer Jason is back with another cool band called None More Black. As I like their debut record a lot, here's an interview with Jason himself...
First off, congratulations to "File under black". I really like the album a lot, so how has been the response so far concerning the media as well as the fans?
The response has been positive overall. I'm sure there were a lot disappointed kids who thought they were gonna hear Kid Dynamite all over again...and didn't get it.
Probably the first thing that comes to people's minds when they have a look at the line up of None More Black is your name as you played in one of the most popular HC bands before, Kid Dynamite. Does that bother you in any way or do you think it's just normal that people still talk about Kid Dynamite?
Look at the history of punk music. People move on and form other projects all the time. History repeats itself...it doesn't bother me at all...I am who I am...I'm proud of my past, and I'm just as proud of my present. It will die down eventually. I shocked to hear how much KD meant to people. Really shocked.
After you left Kid Dynamite you just took a short break from music. I heard that you wanted to concentrate more on your film making work and education at film school. Is that correct? Now as it took Milo from the Descendents almost ten years to do another full length album you returned to the music scene after only a few months it seems. What was the reason for that?
Actually I just recently returned. It took a few years to realize the potential of this band. When I left KD I had no balance between my two passions...music and film. I took a lot of time off... doing music part time and film all the time. Working on a ton of projects. Now that I have developed relationships in all aspects of my life, I'm finally ready to strike a balance...Yes. It's overwhelming at times...but I'm a workaholic when it comes to this stuff I can't stop.
As you returned to the scene pretty quick, did you ever think about teaming up with your old Kid Dynamite buddies again? As far as I know you left the band on good terms, right?
We just did team up again. We did three benefit shows this past April to benefit the Syrentha J. Savio Endowment (syrentha.org). Dan and Dave are doing Paint It Black and it's wonderful...we are working pretty closeley on the next KD record and DVD, which will be out in the fall on Jade Tree. NOTE: Not a new studio album. B sides, demos, and covers that we've compiled. So in a way we team up all the time.
Let's talk about your new band, None More Black. How did you guys find together? I heard that you started the band with a guy called Dan who played bass and supposedly was your roommate? Is that correct? Who else was in the band at that time and did you play any shows with this line up?
The band has had about 6 lineup changes over the past 3 years. My former roommate Dan was in the band, but left in the summer of 2002, on good terms. It's always been a matter of finding the right musicians who you can appreciate on all levels, finding people who you click with. That's been the one thing holding this band back...we're almost there.
I also heard that the current line up of NMB features the fifth drummer and third bass player! Why have there been so many line up changes? Do you get along good with all the previous members? At least Nick Rotundo seems to be a friend of yours as he produced the record?
We are happy to say that every former member with exception of one is still a friend. We didn't have a good relationship with our former drummer and at this point do not care to.
In Kid Dynamite you only did the vocals, but now you play guitar as well. Did you know how to play guitar during those Kid Dynamite days as well and if so, why didn't you play guitar back then, too?
I've played guitar since I was 16. I'll 27 in late July. I've never had a reason to play guitar in a band, nor did I ever feel that I was good enough to. After KD, I just played a lot of guitar, originally I was just gonna play guitar for NMB. We were gonna look into getting a singer, but I'm a freak when it comes to song writing and I decided to take the job myself.
Is it different for you now to play live as you are more bound to the mic while playing guitar? Does that have any effect on your live performance at all?
It's a totally different experience... and a challenging one at that. I love it. I feel way more powerful. Something about making all that noise is just so appealing.
If I'm right the music in Kid Dynamite was written mostly by other people, so was it difficult for you to be the (main) songwriter in NMB?
No. It's something that thankfully has come pretty natural. The shitty thing is that, in KD all I had to worry about was the lyrics and the melodies. Now I worry about everything. I'm extremely anal and at the same time insecure, which makes me second guess everything.
When I listened to the album for the first time I thought to myself: "Still one of the best voices in Hardcore." But the music is way more slow than Kid Dynamite, so do you feel more comfortable now with the more rocking and mid tempo stuff?
I wouldn't say it's really a comfort thing. It's just what I like to play. It's what I feel.
How did you get the deal with Fat Wreck and are you satisfied with their work so far? As you sound completely different than any other band on Fat Wreck, did you make the experience that the promotion for NMB differs compared to their other acts?
Jason from Fat had e-mailed me in the fall of 2002 asking if we had signed yet. We were very close to striking a deal with another label, when I sent him the demos we had done. 2 weeks later Fat had snatched us up. We are very very happy.
Your brother Jeff plays guitar in NMB as well. How is it to have a family member in the band? Did he play in other bands before and how did you convince him to play with NMB?
It's nice to play with him... he's been playing guitar for as long as I can remember, but never really got a shot at playing seriously. It's great that I can share so many wonderful experiences with him.
In 2001 you released a 7" EP on Sub Division Records. What do you think about that EP nowadays and did any of the songs from that EP (three I guess) end up on "File under black"? Why didn't you do a full length for Sub Division as well?
Sub Division is a label owned by our friends at Spaceboy Music in Philadelphia, PA. They formed the label just to put out our record. for fun. The 7" is cool, but hardly represents our sound now. No songs ended up on the full length. We are the only record Sub Division has ever put out, so putting out a full length was never really an option.
Who did the cool artwork and layout for "File under black"? Did you pick out the artwork or did the label come up with it?
Paul Romano did the artwork. (workhardened.com) He's amazing... we talked a lot about the ideas behind the album and the lyrics. He hit a homerun with the design on the first pitch. He's amazing.
The record is dedicated to Rodney Manklang and Mike Aronson. Hopefully this doesn't sound too stupid, but why did you dedicate the record to these guys?
They are two friends of ours that had taken their own lives. Much too early. Surely they would have been two of our biggest fans.
What are your future plans with NMB concerning records, tours etc.?
To keep making and playing music till we can't anymore.
What did you do at film school and are you still into this education? Where did you go to school and do you see your future in the field of film making or in the music scene?
I went to film school at the university of the arts in Philadelphia. Film and music are my future.
Ok, I think that's it. Did you like the interview? Thanks for taking the time answering my questions!
Thanks so much for the exposure.