Friday, January 17, 2014

Interview with Nicktape from Coke Bust

I first heard Coke Bust while eating some pizza at Swerp Mansion (while it existed) a while ago. One of the dudes who lived there just put it on and it was awesome. When I was a beer salesman, I used to drive around and listen to Coke Bust's record Lines in the Sand because I always seemed to be angry at bar owners, who are often the scum of the earth and hearing some more anger was really therapeutic for me.

I finally got to see the band last year at the Coach House when they played with Culo, which was a great show. Coke Bust knows how to play a lot of different styles of hardcore, which makes for an exciting pit and also for exciting records. At the show, I got to pick up a tour-only copy of Confined, which was supposed to come out a little bit afterwards and it blew me away. It's a seamless record. But saying that is almost a cheapening of the flow so I'm going to expand upon it a little bit. When I listened to it, I definitely thought that the whole record was recorded in one take. Parts come and go effortlessly, which is something of a rarity in a hardcore record.

I don't know how many times I listened to "Sent in Circles," though. That song blew my fucking mind. And hearing the lyrics saying "we need a fucking change" before ending with "we're sent in fucking circles" made a lot of sense to me. It's a bit of world weary exegesis on pretty much anything. I could apply it to so much that was going on in my life.

In addition, I've become straight edge since the new year, so it had real-life application to me. It's a reminder of what needed to change in my life, so on a personal note, thanks Coke Bust (who are a straight edge band.)

You can check them out on FACEBOOK or see their WEBSITE or listen to them on spotify. But seriously, buy a damn record.

Jordan: Who all is in Coke Bust? When did you guys start? How did you guys know each other? What made you decide to start a band?

Nick: Coke Bust is Me (Nicktape), Jubert (Bass), James (Guitar) and Chris (Drums). Chris and I started the band in 2006, after being friends since about 2002. Our old high school bands used to play together and we grew up in the same suburb of DC. We wanted to start a fast straight edge hardcore band. Two of the members ended up leaving, but they got replaced by James (someone else we grew up playing music with in high school) and Jubert (a younger dude who we saw at lots of shows).

J: Has the lineup changed at all?

N: Yes, we replaced Jeremy and Parsons when they both quit.

J: When you think of Coke Bust, what adjectives would you use to describe the band? Are there any central ideas that end up making it on each song or release?

N: From a musical standpoint, "fast, energetic, independent." Lyrical, "therapeutic." There isn't really a set of rules or central ideas. We just do what feels right, as vague as that sounds.

J: How does a Coke Bust song get made? Is there a central songwriter? Does each person make their own part?

N: Typically, James or Jubert will come to practice with a set of riffs. We'll jam them out and then we will go around the room and say "I like X and Y but maybe we can add Z." Sometimes we trash the songs. Sometimes we end up re-working the songs so much that they sound nothing like they did when they were just a set of riffs. Each person makes their own part, but we are all pretty open to different ideas. For example, Chris (our drummer) wrote a riff. I sometimes suggest ideas for crazy drum shit. Jubert (bass) has written guitar parts, and everyone at some point has given me cool ideas for vocal arrangements. 

J: Similarly, how do you know when a Coke Bust song is done?

N: Once we jam it out and it's done we all kinda just know. There have been some times when we've gone back weeks later and said, "ya know... that one song... I think it could use something." So maybe it's not done until it's recorded? Haha.

J: How has the songwriting process changed throughout Coke Bust's existence? Or rather, has it changed at all?

N: I think it's changed for the better in the past couple of years with James in the band as our guitar player. The song writing process is much more democratic, free and there is kind of an unspoken "don't get your feelings hurt" rule that we sort of have. It works out well. Maybe it's just the fact that we've been doing this for so long?

J: What topics do you like to cover lyrically? Are there any consistent themes in terms of lyrics? (if you think you covered this in the above question, you can skip - i'm just a lyrics dude since I was an english major haha)

N: I just tend to write lyrics about things that are stressing me out or things that I feel like I need to get off my chest. That's really the only inspiration for the lyrics. There might be some constant themes, but ultimately it all just come from my anxiety!

J: You guys have been with Grave Mistake Records for a bit now - how has that been? Have you worked with other labels?

N: We have worked with other labels and I wouldn't say that we've ever really had a bad experience (aside form a tape that came out in Southeast Asia) working with labels. For the most part every label we've ever worked with has been great. Grave Mistake and Refuse Records have both put out multiple releases for us though, and we're very happy with them. I like the fact that when we do a record it's a conversation with a friend who we trust. It doesn't feel "business-y" at all and I like that. 

J: How do you all record your music? I saw that you used a studio in a video about recording the 12" "Confined" - is that typical? What studio is it?

N: We usually demo stuff either ourselves or at a friend's house. Whenever we do a record we go to a studio, though. Degradation, the Vaccine split and Confined were all recorded with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Studios in Baltimore, MD. 

J: What was making "Confined" like? Was it any different than other times?

N: I wouldn't say it was much different. We tried pretty hard to make sure that the record flowed in a way that made sense. We wanted to make sure that the record was 100% all killer. We cut a bunch of songs and tried to record the songs like we would play them live. 

J: How was Hopscotch? I know it's kind of a different scene for you guys. Did you all get to see any other bands? How did you like Raleigh in general?

N: Hopscotch was weird, man. I liked playing the DIY pre-show at the record store way more! I enjoyed seeing Broken Prayer. They were cool. Raleigh has always been a great city for us, and I love playing there.

J: I got to see you guys in Chicago with Culo, which was really an amazing show. I thought it was kind of funny, though, that it was Culo since you're a straight edge band and they are like the antithesis of that. How was that?

N: Culo is an awesome band and everyone in Coke Bust is a fan. We like to play with all kinds of different bands. If we only played shows with bands that sounded like Coke Bust and had the same set of ideals I think what we do would get boring really fast. Everyone in our band loves all kinds of music outside of fast, straight edge hardcore. Pentagram, Sabbath, Hendrix, the list goes on. We just like good music. Culo is great. 

J: What all do you guys have lined up for the future?

N: We just got back from a Brazlian tour, but we're headed back to Europe soon to do a Western European tour: England, Scotland, Belgium, Spain, France and Portugal! After that we're going to play Damaged City Fest in DC. Then we will play Rain Fest in Seattle and tour our way down to Central America. We're working on a new record too. I'm stoked. 

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