California’s Disastroid recently released their latest album Screen which has a strong footing in both noise rock and sludge but highlights their love of energetic rock ‘n’ roll, grunge and catchy songwriting. They’re a hard band to pin down but as you’ll read below, they are more than ok with that. Since forming in 2007 each release introduces yet another side of the band and puts a brighter spotlight on each of these three members varied roots in music but across all their releases both heavy and appealing are the unifying factors. I recently had the chance to ask the band about Screen, how they comfortably blur genre lines and about their DIY approach. So head inside to see what they had to say and be sure to give them a listen.—
Screen is a no frills affair that doesn’t comfortably sit in one singular genre. The old Am Rep style of noise and sludge seem to be the foundation that everything else is built on. And really, going backwards through your catalog the same could be said, so are these styles your biggest influences? If not what are your biggest influences and what made the biggest impact on you music wise?
Enver Koneya (guitars, vocals): I think for what we are doing we are definitely influenced by those styles. I think we never really set out to be in an exact genre but have tried to focus on making it Heavy whatever it is. If you went on a tour with us you would have no idea what we are into since we listen to hours of the most horrible psychedelic prog rock, 80’s pop hits, yacht rock, and whatever else will make us laugh or puke. I have a pretty high tolerance but on our last tour I began feeling physically sick from too many power ballads.
Disastroid got its start back in 2007 but didn’t solidify the lineup until 2012. Not having anything pre – Money & Guilt to compare, how much did this help your vision of what the band needed to be and sound like?
EK: There were a couple albums before that, “Life or Death” and “Chasing Ghosts.” They are definitely different sounding but still have elements of what we are doing now. I don’t know if there was a particular vision, uh oh I better go figure that out! In some ways that has made it take a little longer to find our sound but now that Travis (Williams, bass), Braden (Mcgaw, drums) and I have been playing so long together we can kind of do this thing that sounds like Disastroid but isn’t stuck in some particular genre or I should say “specific” because it’s all rock at the end of the day.
Hard driving tracks like “New Day” and “Getting In the Way” let your punk roots shine through. And “Coyote,” among others, has a distinct grunge rock sound to it. Enver and Travis both came from a punk background while Braden comes from the Seattle rock scene. Collectively, how important is it to you to stay close to and showcase your roots?
EK: I think it just comes naturally in what we are playing. We don’t really set out to
showcase a particular style but our influences, relevant to what we are playing, definitely shine through.
How did you approach the writing process for Screen and did it differ any from your past releases?
EK: I think “Screen” like our other albums kind of build themselves. We are constantly writing songs and working on new material so it’s kind of a matter of time before we want to record again. We did set out to do more than a 7” so we had that goal while working on “Screen.” We liked the energy of “Love is What you Bring on Home” and wanted to capture that with some of the bigger sounding production of “Missiles.”
Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City) did the production for Screen. Kowloon has a very unique and thick sound which in a way mirrors your own. How was it working with Scott on this album and do you feel he brought the best out of the band?
EK: We chose working with Scott just for that reason. We really like the bands he has
worked with and the production he has done. He actually mixed “Missiles” so we had
worked with him before and were happy. Scott knows the music and was really easy to
work with. Most of the recording process for us is waiting till the end so you can screw
around for hours hooking a bunch of pedals together and get some weird noises and
laugh. He seemed to enjoy that.
All of your full length albums have a certain vibe to them even though none play by a strict set of rules. However, the two 7″ offerings seem to be where you come unglued and experiment outside the lines of what a typical full length sounds like. Are these releases generally reserved for when you feel the need to do something different or shake it up a little?
EK: I don’t know why that is exactly. I think doing the shorter 7” just creates its own vibe. We did “Love is What you Bring on Home” in very few takes and overdubs. Basically turned on the amps and went for it. Whenever we listen back to that we can’t believe how fast we were playing on it. 7”s are fun!
One thing I find very appealing about all of your work is that while it has this bottom heavy sludge approach and obviously the noise rock vibe it also has several moments when the listener feels like they’ve stepped into a high energy rock concert. It’s catchy, hook driven and just damn fun to listen to. Is this something you make a big effort to include in the songwriting or does it just naturally come out that way?
EK: I think we all appreciate music that is appealing as a listener or fan. We like to get into tricky bits that you can still move your head to. It’s like keeping it interesting for us but not making it musician music. We don’t necessarily edit our vibe but if we have
something really weird it justifies doing something more straight forward.
Disastroid is DIY at its finest. You self release all your music and I would assume you take care of everything band related that way as well. Do you prefer going this route and having complete control? Ever any thoughts of shopping labels?
EK: We are going to play music and record albums no matter what so I guess that’s what makes us DIY. We have hit up labels in the past and plan to do so but like everything it’s who you know that helps. I think in some ways our diverse sound doesn’t sit in an exact genre which can limit your avenues or maybe we don’t have the right clothing and face hair.
You’ve toured with many bands in the past, big name and small alike, any particular tour stand out? If so why?
EK: We played Dave Catching’s (Eagles of Death Metal) birthday party at Pappy and
Harriets. Fatso Jetson helped get us on the bill and it was pretty amazing to have
shared the stage with Eagles of Death Metal and be welcomed into the scene out there.
Speaking of touring, have you had the chance to play the songs on Screen live yet? If so how has the reaction been?
EK: We have been playing the songs off of the album. We mix them with some older songs and now we have some unrecorded material we are playing. I think so far the response has been really good. This album probably has the most songs in our set. In the past our set would be all over the place as far as albums.
Screen hasn’t been out very long so it’s probably way early for this but what’s next for Disastroid?
EK: Whats next beyond drinking some beers and writing another album? We have been discussing doing a European tour. Currently working on doing a video for “Screen.” Primarily playing loud music and enjoying it.
Many thanks to Disastroid for their time!