Regents: For Fans of ’90s Post-Hardcore (INTERVIEW, SONG STREAM)
With a collective resume that includes stints in bands like Frodus, Battery, Sleepytime Trio, Thursday, Maximillian Colby, Combat Wounded Veteran and Men’s Recovery Project, one would expect a lot from Regents. Listening to the quartet’s upcoming Antietam After Party full-length, it’s clear the group lives up to their pedigree.
Featuring disjointed rhythms, politically-minded lyrics and an overall chaotic attack, fans of ’90s post-hardcore will go absolutely cuckoo for this stuff. With Antietam After Party hitting stores on Nov. 20, Noisecreep caught up with Regents’ DC-based vocalist/guitarists David NeSmith and Drew Ringo and chatted about their ’90s inspired sound.
First off, the first time I listened to Antietam After Party, my mind automatically thought of the post-hardcore stuff that came out of the East Coast in the mid-’90s. But the more I listen to it I’m hearing something way more original. What are other folks saying about Regents’ sound?
Drew Ringo: I think we definitely wanted to channel some the energy of the past, but it was also about scratching the itch. I think we were all just excited to become reacquainted with each other again and get back to our roots. I had been away from the east coast and these friends for 10 years, and I was very excited to use Regents as a reason to get together. As far as the music, I have added new elements like effects and such. I think we’ve all become better musicians over the past 10 years. After Dave and I played a Sleepytime Trio reunion this year, we laughed about how much more technical and different the Regents’ songs are.
There’s something really rhythmically interesting happening in your music. For example, the drum patterns on “Cron Job” sound disjointed, but everything comes together somehow. You even manage to squeeze a catchy melody in that one. Do you jam the music out before you begin writing the vocal parts?
NeSmith: Definitely. My vocals always come last. For the majority of the songs it was us jamming them out and trying to organize as we went. The vocals at most during jamming would be us just trying some thoughts in our heads while we play or screaming to ourselves.
Ringo: I write my vocal parts while listening to the demos. During practice, I usually just scream to nail down the rhythm and cadence. Separately, I note any thoughts and issues as they hit me. Once we have a rough structure to the song, I will just look through my notes and find a subject that matches the mood of the song. I then rewrite the lyrics using the rough draft and demoed lyric structure.
Listen to ‘Nothing to Water’ from Regents
What was it like to have J. Robbins play on the record? Did you just let him play what he wanted to on the songs or did you write specific parts out for him?
NeSmith: Amazing! He for the most part figured out what he wanted to play. We gave some input here and there and at times he gave us a few options to choose from. But mostly he just nailed it.
Ringo: There were a few songs that we had demoed with Dan Evans (former bass player). For those, Jay just listened, and reinterpreted. Though reinterpret is an understatement. For the other songs, we would record and then Jay would write during his free-time in the studio. He would then send them to us over the interweb, and we would be blown away. J is very easy going and collaborative, it never ever felt like “take or leave it”. It all felt very equitable.
With how spread out everyone’s musical tastes are getting these days, I could see everyone from metalheads to indie rock kids getting into Regents. What kinds of crowds have you been playing to?
Ringo: Yea I can see that. The personal music tastes of the band are wide, and we all have played different genre’s of music. The varied influences and experiences help to inform the output of the band which I think is reflected in the album. To my ear, there are 4-5 flavors of rock music presented. This was not by design, but what happened through the organic writing process. I will say there was a conscious effort to shy away from clean guitar parts and singing, but those elements are still present in songs when appropriate. As far as crowds, its political punks kids and adult-core fans for the most part, and that’s cool with me… as its how I define myself. That said, we are we are equal opportunity face melters.
NeSmith: We are all over the board. Any type of music and just talking podcasts get played in the van. Comedy records are a hot item as well. The crowds have been pretty mixed as well but generally lovers of punk.
Now that Antietam After Party is hitting stores, what’s the plan for the band in the next few months?
NeSmith: We have tour planned with Retox for the South West USA in the first week of November. After that we have our record release party in DC on Nov. 17!
Ringo: We are really excited about the SW tour. After that, I think we will focus on writing music with Lukas, now permanent bass player, and supporting the album by taking advantage of playing shows in the megalopolis. We all want to play more shows, tour and support the album outside of the east coast. We hope to see you soon.
Antietam After Party hits stores on Nov. 20 via Lovitt Records and can pre-ordered at this link.