The New York music scene has been hugely influential to the punk and hardcore ethics we see in today’s music, and Brooklyn based The So So Glos have are taking that DIY attitude and creating their own storm in the city. The ‘Kamikaze’ band have just dropped their brand new single ‘Dancing Industry’ in the UK and we managed to catch up with drummer Zach Staggers about how they made the video, the history of the NYC punk scene and how the band are helping evolve it in 2016.
DP!: Your brand new record ‘Kamikaze’ is out in September – how would you describe your sound to someone who missed you first time round?
Zach: On Kamikaze we’ve turned up the contrast. The darks are darker and the brights are near blinding. It’s a record that reflects the extreme polarization of the times.
DP!: How important is the punk mentality in New York DIY music scene? Does the history of bands like The Ramones and New York Dolls pave the way for The So So Glos to create something in the city?
Zach: The musical landscape has changed a lot since the days of The Ramones – but the spirit of creating something out of nothing is still alive. When we started the band NYC was suffocated by a post-9/11 attitude. After planes come out of the sky it was hard for anyone to care much about anything at all. The blasé scene seeped deep into music culture and things got very boring. But it was when we started taking things into our own hands that the passion came back. DIY is punk in that sense – but nowadays you don’t have to wear leather jackets and jeans to be punk. We just happen to.
DP!: You’ve opened your own all-ages performance spaces in Brooklyn, how important is it to get kids into listening to music and playing music when they’re younger? How young were you when you first started appreciating records?
Zach: We were lucky because we started young, At 4 years old Alex was free styling lyrics while Ryan and I were making noise in the background. Music is always important for the development of any culture and the moment kids stop caring about rock n’ roll – that’s when it dies.
DP!: Who are the best new bands in New York we should be listening to?
Zach: BIG UPS are one of the best. They are hardcore in the most unique way. Discordant and big and so good live. Honduras is another great band. They have a really New York sound that owes a lot to the Velvet Underground with its downtown meets psychedelic swagger. Another cool band is BUENO – our boys from Staten Island, the last refuge of real New Yorkers. They are as gritty and funky as the borough they come from.
DP!: Your brand new video for ‘Dancing Industry’ features a dance crew on a subway train – how did that come about?
Zach: The first time I saw these subway dancers I was totally hooked. They took a public space and made it there own venue. The talent these kids have is next level – I became friends with BJ who ran with the WAFFLE crew and we talked about collaborating on a video. A few years past and the idea fizzled but one day recently we linked up with Charlie Ahearn (director of the legendary film Wild Style) – Charlie happened to know the same crew and he wanted to make a video for the new single so the whole thing finally came to fruition. It happened on the Q train a couple of months ago. It was without a doubt the most fun shoot we’ve ever been a part of and I think that comes through.
Interview by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)