Interview with the Band Nerds in Denial

By Mick Michaels

The Cosmick View: Hello, and welcome to The Cosmick View/MBM Ten Pounder! Thanks for taking some time to chat with us! 

CV: Describe your definition of the band’s sound and style and how does that definition uniquely describe the music?
Ben: Our band's sound is literally a combination of all our atmospheres and walks through life being funneled out of our brains and bodies into our instruments. As for how that uniquely describes the music, I mean, in short - we strive for excellence and nothing less as a band. Through hard work, perseverance, and a pinch of luck over the past decade we've managed to hone in on our craft and really make some magic together.

Dashuan: “Dysfunctional Cohesion.”

Devin: Kind of the genre we came up with to describe ourselves is Craft Rock, or sometimes we call it Craft Rock Fusion. At our core fundamentally, we're set up as a rock band, but we fuse together ideas from all sorts of other genres to blend it all into something unique and refreshing.

Richie: We all have a huge range of musical influence and specific energy that each member brings to the table. When writing music, we take our favorite genre elements to create something unique yet familiar. When we jam, we create a hybrid of styles that transcends genre and has led to some of my favorite songs.

Tim: We have a sort of melting pot of styles, all relatively within the purview of rock. I'd say our sound is "busy" in the best way - we've all got crazy ideas and do our best to mesh them together, and it always turns into something we could never make alone.

CV: Today, everyone talks about artist and audience connection. Is such a level of connection actually achievable for an artist and if so, how have you made the connection to your fans?
Ben: There are so many different levels of audience connection especially when you start off small. Everyone in your audience likely has a connection to someone. Having fun at shows moving back and forth from the merch table, pit, smoker's porch/sidewalk, even pool table and intermingling is where it's at. You can release things online all you want but the real deal is hanging out with your fans and staying humble. “Fans” is an outdated term anyways, I'm a firm believer of calling such supporters.

Dashuan: See, it get real hot under them stage lights. Fans are required to be in attendance. I try and use 3 of ‘em, for a cross breeze. The cords they use get pretty sick too, but they’re fans. You go on. You go off. 1 is not enough. 3 are too much…unless it’s “The Canyon Incident” again, which in that case? You’ll need 3+1.

Yeah, we try and make sure our fans know they’re important.

Devin: It's definitely achievable attaining a connection with fans. I mean, you wouldn't really have fans in the first place if you're not connecting with anyone. It's all about just being positive and giving support wherever and whenever people are generous enough to be supporting what you do.

Richie: We love our fans! Some of our fans have become good friends and we wouldn’t have anyone to play to without them.

Tim: I'm honestly a pretty antisocial dude normally, but I find that music brings all sorts of people together and gives folks a common ground for connection. It's great to have local fans to play for and party with.


CV: Is fan interaction an important part of the band’s inner culture?
Ben: Important? Maybe not…. We've got a lot on our plate at the moment. We'll still release music, people understand that. When we do, anyone who's seen us knows that we'll bring the house down with them.

Dashuan: I mean…I never met a Lasko that didn’t save my life.

Devin: I would actually argue that our inner culture and the things that we decide to do as a band are not directly informed from fan interaction. I think what people like about us in the first place is the fact that we'll do whatever we want, make any kind of music we want, regardless of how much other people might like it. It's so much more about artistry than just trying to appeal to people.

Richie: I think the culture comes from our drive to create cool, weird, intricate music that tells all sorts of stories. I like to think that our fans are drawn to that and I would be honored to meet any and all of you!

Tim: I just love making music, and the fact that I can share that love with others is incredibly rewarding.

CV: Can a band truly interact with its fans and still maintain a level of personal privacy without crossing the line and giving up their “personal space” in your opinion?
Ben: Share what you can, not everything is meant to be out there. Could be due to timing, production, anything really - but never give up your privacy. All I know is I'm happy we're the type of band that can still operate fine without giving up our "personal space".

Dashuan: Some fans get way too close, and in Rock and Roll…that’s ALWAYS a bad thing. It’s one thing when Rock makes me want to pull my own hair out. It’s another thing for Rock to get a fan close enough to me to pull my hair out. These are some dangerous stages we play.

However though, when fans are cool, fans are cool.

Devin: I mean, maybe this will be an issue someday, but I don't think this becomes a serious problem until you're in a group that's on the cover of major magazines and playing on Saturday Night Live and shit.

Richie: Luckily we have a small army of hefty, ethnically diverse, privately contracted security guards to “rough up,” or “take that guy out with extreme prejudice” anyone that we decide has “crossed the line.” So uhhh…watch it.

Tim: Yeah, what Richie said… but in all seriousness, there's certainly a para-social aspect to any audience-based medium of performance. Maintaining boundaries on that stuff is kinda on the performer, because Lord knows folks on the internet will dig deep on anything famous enough.

CV: Is music, and its value, viewed differently around the world in your opinion?  If so, what do you see as the biggest difference in such multiple views among various cultures?
Ben: I'm lucky to say I've gotten to go a few places, mostly in the States and music is ever constant. There are radio stations everywhere you go. As for various cultures I can't really speak for someone I've never met but I bet there's a certain song in everyone's head that just speaks to them; whether it's birds chirping in the morning in the middle of fucking nowhere, or "Staying Alive" by the Bee Jeez. Honestly to properly answer this question one would have to travel and experience a lifetime of culture and music to state the biggest differences, when in fact I wouldn't be surprised if we had more in common than one would think.

Dashuan: Some people think music is here to serve their soul. Some people think music is here to fix the mind. Some people give their all to music, expecting nothing in return. Some people use music as a tether to Earth, because life has almost taken all of the joy out of living. Every piece of music there is, has one common trait…an Experience.

What makes the biggest difference is that our experiences can bring together the most unlikely pairs, while also setting apart who we may have been born around, raised by, taught by, or who we’ve learned from thereafter. How we express our differences show through celebrations, tempo, cadence, and rhythm.

Devin: It's even bigger than that, really. Music is viewed and used differently town to town, household to household, person to person, much less just on the macro level. However, what I think is interesting is that, from what I have seen, music is valued extremely highly almost everywhere you go, by almost everyone. It's such a primal means of human expression and there isn't a single world culture that would be the same today without music.

Richie: I’m lucky to be relatively well traveled, and on my trip to Cuba I noticed how important their music is to them. Their songs document their history and they are proud of it. It felt to me that when they sang and danced, it was less about entertainment, and more along the lines of celebrating where they are, where they’ve been, and the experience that will bring them into the future.

Tim: Of course it is, music spans all of humanity and it has taken on many forms and purposes for different peoples. People gotta keep in mind that most modern music theory is confined to 18th century Western/European ideas of music, and there's so much more out there to explore in terms of how to structure songs and what they represent for the people playing them.

CV: Do you feel that a band that has an international appeal, will tend to connect more so to American audiences? Would they be more enticed or intrigued to see the band over indigenous acts because of the foreign flavor?
Ben: Half of America won't even listen to international music cuz it wouldn't strike them to do so. Time has proven over and over how much America connects to itself repeatedly, I'm in favor of the indigenous acts - at least in our case.

Dashuan: I guess we gone have to leave America, and go find out.

Devin: Honestly no. I think the more broad, general or vague the audience that you write towards is, the less anybody is going to connect with what it is you're saying - and I don't think most Americans are mindless enough to follow an act simply because they're not from here. I don't remember where I heard this, but I think it's very true - if you try to write things for everybody, you end up writing for nobody.

Richie: Flavor is our specialty. I love to use non-traditional sounds and instruments anywhere it makes sense. In addition, we are lucky to have a growing fanbase in the UK, Germany, Russia, and Taiwan! My hope is that we continue to grow exponentially worldwide.


Tim: I mean, I feel like any world-renowned act would connect a lot to the US just due to its sheer size and population. Plus the number of big cities with big stadiums to play at. I think the current popularity of k-pop acts and the like show that the US certainly enjoys foreign artists.

CV: Has modern-day digital technology made everyone an artist on some level in your opinion? Have the actual lines of what really is an artist been blurred?
Ben: I wanna know who said who can or can't be an artist, regardless of modern-day technology. Thinking actual lines of artistry have been blurred is elitist and wrong when we're all just trying to be fed, plain and simple.

Dashuan: As a musician who can still be a musician after the power goes out? I don’t think my opinion really gone matter about this situation.

Devin: This newer technology hasn't made everybody an artist by default, no. However, it has certainly made it a lot easier for regular people to try their hand at different mediums of art - which I think is a great thing. If high quality, consumer-grade technology weren't available like it is now, it would have been impossible for us to record and release music the way we have been this year.

Richie: The ability to create music is now in the hands of anyone and everyone, though everyone who makes art is not necessarily an artist. Before digital technology, only the luckiest few were even given an opportunity to record their music, though many of them were what I would consider performers vs. artists. I think the lines are blurry, but they have been since the first cave paintings were etched.

Tim: Define "artist". I think anyone who creates things is an artist. Modern social media has turned everyone into content creators to an extent, so, I suppose we're all artists. I don't think the word has to be up on a pedestal.

CV: How would you describe the difference between an artist who follows trends and one who sets them?
Ben: I'm with Tim.

Dashuan: I wouldn’t. If you think what somebody is doing is dope, and you agreed with yourself that that’s some new shit you want to follow? Shit, America! Do you.

On the very next side over, if you don’t like what somebody is doing, and you agree to yourself that that is something that you stand against? Shit, that’s okay too.

Now, if you don’t like what someone is doing, but against your will you still follow what that person is doing, go to your local trusted clinician, and ask them for Mezzothelionus…should be covered under FeliCare. Support your Federalist!

Devin: Look, everybody has derived influence from somewhere or sometime in your life. And if you truly are making something that doesn't sound anything at all of anything that's come before it, chances are, people aren't going to like or understand it at all. Of course it's a bad thing to copy people or steal ideas and pass them off as your own, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking inspiration from another and putting your own twist on it. It's what all of us do, to some extent or another. It's how genres are formed, how scenes are crafted, how new styles are produced. We're all just building off of one another.

Richie: I think any art requires a level of familiarity and has to derive itself from established sources. Without that, it’s totally foreign and difficult to enjoy. We like to actively go against a lot of musical norms, but we are careful to put twists on specific musical elements without totally reinventing the wheel.

Tim: I think we all do a bit of both ¯\_()_/¯

CV: Has music overall been splintered into too many sub-genres in an effort to appease fan tastes in your opinion? And has such fan appeasements, in actuality, weakened music’s impact as a whole by dividing audiences?
Ben: Not at all, specializing is key.

Dashuan: You ever hear something, and look it up, and go “Damn, I didn’t even know this had a genre.” Yeah. I rest my case. (That was barely made, but the point is still there)

I want there to be so many genres that people argue about the same genre without knowing it’s the same.

Devin: Hell no. You can be as specific or un-specific in your tastes as you want to be, that doesn't affect us as artists. I think it can be kind of silly for an artist to try and pin themselves in too narrow of a corner, in terms of who they are as an artist - but what harm is it for consumers and fans to organize their tastes in this way?

Richie: When I was a kid I wasn’t very educated on sub-genres, but I knew I liked Rock. For me that included Van Halen, the Beatles, The Barenaked Ladies, Queen, the B-52s, etc. While all of those artists definitely fall under the larger “Rock” umbrella, and use the same instrumentation, they are clearly not the same. As an adult I have a respect for sub-genres because they give me a better understanding of what I might be getting myself into when seeking new music.

Tim: I dunno man, let people have their sub-genre labels if they want them I guess. I personally listen to a lot of different things without getting too worked up on what genre it specifically fits into. Categorization is super useful on a high level, and I don't think it really splits people apart that much. You just gotta be open minded!

CV: What can fans expect to see coming next from you?
Ben: Nothing but the best we can bring.

Dashuan: The unexpected, I suppose.

Devin: I'm not even sure what to expect out of us anymore…we have so many crazy ideas, you kind of have to just go with the flow and with whatever feels right at the time. I guess people can expect to continue to be surprised, the same way we surprise ourselves.

Richie: If 3 EPs totaling 15 brand new tracks weren’t enough to release this year, then you’re in luck! Our 4th this year, “Out of the Country/Into The Castle” comes out November 20th, 2021!

Tim: We're working on another EP set to come out late November, and there's a lot in store after that!

CV: Thanks again for taking some time and talking. It is greatly appreciated.



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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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