For the Love of Punk Exclusive by Ross Hostage
No More Excuses is a band a decade in the making. In the ten years since I moved to Colorado, I’ve known the members of NME as good friends, fellow musicians within the local scene and played in two bands with guitarist Cody Bennett. As such, it thrills me to see this incarnation of four, seasoned and talented musicians releasing music that exemplifies the dedication and craftsmanship necessary to create thrilling, new music. With the release of their first six, song EP, Burn You, it’s immediately clear that all of their work in the garage and on stages throughout Colorado is paying off. Recorded and mixed by Felipe Patino at Green Door Recordings, their debut output pushes the boundaries of what could be considered punk rock; often delving much farther toward intangible, post-whatever territory. Complex rhythms and riffs, soaring vocals and biting, honest lyrics combine to form what will surely become a stand-out release amongst Colorado’s pantheon. No More Excuses is finally ready to share the fruits of their labor; marked by a CD release show on November 10th at Moe’s BBQ with local shredders Allout Helter, The Outisders (New Zealand) & Freddy Fudd Pucker (AU), so I sat down with the guys to discuss the making of Burn You and get their thoughts on the Colorado music scene.
First off, introduce yourself and tell everyone what you do in the band.
Cody, I play guitar and sing backup vocals
I’m Justin, guitarist and singer extraordinaire.
You guys have played in so many bands throughout the years: A Void, Scum City Avengers, Action Shot, Black Ops…the list goes on, that all had unique styles. How did you develop your “sound” and how does NME differ from your previous projects?
Justin: Playing all those years really adds a lot of experience. Knowing what works, what doesn’t, and how to drink to excess. Pulling from all of the influence of being in those bands allowed us some direction of what we wanted. For instance, the screaming is used sparingly in NME, much more singing but with complex song structure. No more 3 chords songs for us! We just took our time and kinda reached our sound organically, jammed out for a while and here we are. That being said, I believe our evolution is not yet complete, as humans and as a band. Deep, huh? hahaha
Cody:I’d say that our sound comes from all the different styles we have played and listened too over the years. We try to let the things we’ve learned from those experiences influence and guide us as we try to create music that is fun for us, as well as the listener, and challenges us to grow as musicians.
You guys spent a lot of time songwriting and rehearsing before you began to play live shows and you’ve been an active band for almost two years now. I know you took awhile in the studio getting everything recorded for this EP. Do you feel that your patience is paying off?
Justin: Being patient really helped with the recording and the artwork. I feel very good with what we accomplished, but I always feel like I want more time in the studio. Cash plays a big factor. Our songs are more complete and the concept of the album really feels like it comes through well but the down side is we haven’t played a ton of shows, so not as many new faces as we would like. With “Burn You” finally being released, though, it feels like it has definitely paid off. Lots of shows and promoting on the horizon.
Cody: Patience is definitely not my strong suit but taking our time has helped us learn how we all work together musically for when we got up in front of a crowd. It’s also kind of nice to work out the kinks in new songs before we present them on stage or take them into a studio to record. Overall I’d say it has been paying off, it just, you know…takes time.
Tell me a little bit about the recording process. Did you do a lot of production/songwriting work in the studio or were the tracks pretty well assembled before you started tracking? How did working with Felipe Patino affect the songs?
Cody: We had a lot pre-assembled (5 out of the 6) when we went in and, in fact, recorded 6 songs a year prior to going into Green Door to see what worked well, once recorded. Out of the 6 we recorded in the garage, we chose not to use half of them on the album and wrote 3 more to fill out the rest of our idea for this first record. We do owe Felipe some production credits because we really went into the studio with 5 1/2 songs ready to record. The last song on the album, Blindsight, we had most parts, the lyrics and basic structure, but didn’t have it all put together very well. Felipe helped us hammer out the weak spots and build a strong foundation. Once that happened, the whole song just kind of fell into place. He really helped put all the little finishing touches on things from backup vocals and little bass licks to drum fills and guitar timings. His involvement really helped the whole process turn out a strong sounding record and one of the easiest studio sessions any of us have ever had.
Justin: Most of the songs were pretty much finished by the time we started to record. It’s a concept album so we knew we had to have it worked out. A couple of parts needed some re-hashing, but because of the time we spent beforehand, it was a very smooth recording process. Blindsight is the one track that really got “finished” in the studio. And Felipe is the man! So much really good input and ideas, he totally strengthened our songs. Felipe is a definite hard-ass but a pleasure to work with. This was the best recording I have been a part of in my “career” as a musician. Words don’t do him justice.
Having played music in Colorado for a long time, what are your thoughts on the current scene? What are the highlights and where do you think improvements could be made?
Cody: I love the Colorado music scene: It is diverse, supportive and, even when things seem slow, it still manages to progress. There have been a lot of “battle of the bands”, recently, but I blame the current financial situation for a good part of that. Promoters don’t have money and theses “battles” are usually an effort to generate revenue. The good thing is that most local bands usually don’t let this competitive environment determine their opinions of the other bands involved. We seem to understand that whatever harsh feelings that may come are associated with the environment we are involved with and that they couldn’t even do that if it wasn’t for the community of musicians that make this town great.
Justin: The Colorado scene is awesome, there are a lot of really killer bands around and that are getting signed. Colorado is a really good place to play music. There is a big enough population so bands can get noticed cross-country but not so big like LA or NY where you just get swallowed up in the scene. There’s no real animosity between bands, either. I know that I have pissed off some folks over the years, but no grudges. If you’re reading this and are still mad at me, I’m so sorry. I was young, wild and easy!
So, I’m gonna pose a hypothetical: NME releases Burn You, causing worldwide carnage due to everyone freaking out over how awesome it is. The planet is in chaos and the government rushes you to a bunker for your own personal safety. Name two records, one personal item and a bottle of alcohol that you’d take with you.
Cody: Well I have an idea as to what Justin may bring so I am going to say Arch Enemy’s Wages of Sin, Rodrigo y Gabriela, a guitar and a bottle of Milagro tequila.
Justin: Hmmm… The Mars Volta-Deloused in the Comatorium, The Beatles-Let It Be, a flashlight, and Crown Royal. Why? because, fuck you that’s why! hahaha
Thanks for staying sober enough to speak with me. Is there anything else you’d like say to the FTLP readers who are possibly getting their first taste of No More Excuses?
Justin: To everyone out there, Keep on Rockin in the Free World!
Cody: Don’t allow hatred and anger to rule you. Question everything.[line]
Check out the exclusive stream of Burn You and also check out related show below to catch their EP release show[mp3player width=600 height=340 config=nmeburn.xml playlist=nmeburn.xml]