Paint It Black. Do they really need a lengthy introduction? I hope not because I wanna sleep real bad right around now. Suffice to say that they've once again released a kickass, brutal hardcore album that will have people raving about it for years to come. It's called "New Lexicon" and it's all the reason I needed to harass vocalist Dan for a couple of minutes.
PRT: Who are you and what would you like to tell our readers about yourself?
Dan: My name is Dan and I “sing” for Paint It Black.
PRT: For people who for some reason still haven’t heard Paint It Black yet… if the band was the lovechild of two other bands, which acts would’ve had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Dan: Picture this scenario: we are filming an erotic movie. Minor Threat is sodomizing Bad Brains (bent over the kitchen sink). Naked Raygun and Swans are the “Fluffers” (the people responsible with keeping the actors erect during the filming). Black Flag (Dez era) is filming the proceedings while Adolescents manage the lighting. To add to the confusion, while all of this is going on, Scratch Acid is trying to wash pots and pans in the same sink that Minor Threat and Bad Brains are fucking on top of. After the filming is completed, Kurt Vonnegut and Born Against will be collaborating on the editing process. Every few hours they get exhausted poring over hours of footage, so they take a break to relax, watching Dr. Stranglove with Thurston Moore.
PRT: Suppose you had enough free time, enough paint and unlimited access… what is the one thing you’d love to paint black?
Dan: Maybe Texas…
PRT: The new album is called “New Lexicon” but there was a rumor floating around the net that you were gonna call it “Gravity Wins”. That made me want to know what are some of the other rumors you’ve already found on the internet about yourself or the band?
Dan: I get into arguments with total strangers online who have “heard from a really reliable source” that there’s going to be a Kid Dynamite reunion next month. That’s pretty hilarious, because they insist with such conviction that they know something that I don’t about it. But my favourite is every year around the time of the Fest in Gainesville, there’s talk about me having wrestled an alligator. And I’m officially disavowing any knowledge of me and Paddy from D4 training to compete in the Wing Bowl next year. Until they start making vegan chicken wings it’s just not gonna happen. Unless we take over the stripping competition. That one we could win no problem.
PRT: Does the album title reflect the band’ sound in which you combine the sound of hardcore punk from the 80s with that of a hip hop producer? Or am I completely missing the point here?
Dan: The title reflects the need to expand our vocabulary in numerous ways, musically, lyrically, and politically. Doing something different with production is certainly part of that, but only a small part. There’s a crisis in underground music right now. When the enemy breaks your code, you have no choice but to devise a new code.
PRT: How did that collaboration with Oktopus come about? The end result is great but did you ever have any doubts about it at some point?
Dan: I have doubts about almost everything we do at some point. Sometimes I think I might have cornered the market on self-doubt. But that usually just pushes us to be perfectionists, and things work out in the end because of that. I’ve been talking to Oktopus for a couple of years about collaborating with us. It made total sense in terms of the moods that he creates on the Dalek records, and our shared history (we’ve known each other for 16 years). It took a little while to come to an agreement within the band as to how to structure the production, recording and mixing process. From there, convincing J. and Oktopus to collaborate was easy.
PRT: And how did you manage to hook up with Jeff Pezzati?
Dan: There’s a little known corollary to the rules of punk songwriting: Apparently, if you write a really, really awesome anthem, he materializes in the studio and sings it for you. You just have to be really, really awesome...
PRT: After having been around for as long as you have in different bands, is the excitement still the same when you release an album or does it become part of a cycle because well, it’s what you do?
Dan: Actually I get more and more excited about it as I get older, because I realize how lucky we are to have the privilege of making music and having people actually take an interest in what we create and what we do. I really think that, despite all the struggles and the strife, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect life…
PRT: Are you still able to learn new things when you hit the studio and are working with people like J Robbins?
Dan: We only work with people that we can learn from. If you surround yourself with wise people, and you’re humble enough to realize that there’s always more to learn, the results will always be interesting and your life will continue to change in interesting ways. If you think that you already know it all, and you surround yourself with people that just tell you what you want to hear, well then you’re screwed…
PRT: So what’s up next for you guys? Lots of touring? Any plans to come to Europe again?
Dan: If you know anything about Paint It Black, you know that we never really do lots of touring. We can’t really do full-time touring like lots of our friends’ bands, because of work commitment and other bands.
PRT: One can always hope. In the book/movie High Fidelity these guys that work in a record store are constantly making top 5 lists of songs for a specific occasion. If you would have to compile such a list, which occasion would it be for and which songs would make your top 5?
Dan: Top 5 Records to lock yourself in the basement and go insane to:
Joy Division- “Closer”
Live Skull- “Bringing Home the Bait”
Jean Claude Vannier- “L’Enfant Assassin Des Mouches”
Scratch Acid- self titled EP
PRT: Any last words for our readers?
Dan: Thanks for taking the time to check us out. We play fast, fierce, brutal, political, emotional hardcore punk. If that sounds like a good time to you, come see us on tour with Trash Talk in September 2008. Thank you for the support!