When we first heard Culture Abuse's 7" "Spray Paint The Dog", we became instant fans. Genre-defying, garage punk weirdos, abrasive and catchy... all of these apply to the San Francisco band that is getting ready to release its full-length debut. While you will have to wait until April 8th to hear "Peach", you can already read our interview with vocalist David Kelling right now.
PRT: Your sound is pretty hard to categorize… how would you describe it to someone who thinks music starts and ends with Justin Bieber?
David: I usually just call it rock and roll. I mean it is hard to describe, because we are really just doing whatever we want. I'd rather just give the kid a record
PRT: With so many different influences incorporated in your music, what does your writing process look like usually?
David: Usually starts with a melody in my head, and a child size nylon string acoustic guitar. If you can get a riff to sound good on that, it will definitely be cool loud as fuck and distorted.
We practice in a small room in Hunters Point San Francisco. We just jam the riff a ton, hang out and bullshit and then keep jamming on it and feel it out. If something happens and sounds good, we just go with it. Expecting nothing.
PRT: “Spray Paint The Dog” was no slouch, but “Peach is a step forward. Do you feel like with the new album you have realized the sound you wanted to achieve?
David: Well, there's no real "sound" we were going for. But we were very strict on ourselves, nailing every little detail. I feel like we are getting an amazing opportunity to do the one thing I love most in this world, create music. So we busted our asses.
PRT: “Peach” also sounds catchier and less hostile than your previous work. Was it a conscious decision to shy away from a more aggressive sound?
David: Not necessarily a conscious decision, just doing whatever the songs called for. Although, we did want to make a record you could listen to from front to back, anytime, and in any mood. And I actually think the “Spray Paint the Dog" songs are just as catchy and could be less hostile. We just tracked them live and played them with the ferocity of our live performance.
PRT: What was the biggest difference/challenge for you between recording an EP and a full-length?
David: We actually had a time crunch on this full length. We had a couple tours coming up and the label really wanted us to have a full length to take out with us. To get something pressed and released in time, we only had two months, to write, record, mix & master the record... We didn't even have a drummer.
We found Ross (our drummer now!) and it was a miracle. Jammed with him like 5 times before we went into the studio with our long-time friend Scott Goodrich. We have recorded everything we've ever done with him, so it's always very comfortable and he knows how we operate. He's also very professional and kept us on schedule. No way we would have gotten it done if we went to record with anyone else!
Recording a full length is crazy. There are so many things to keep track of, and with the time crunch it was pretty intense. Recording two songs compared to recording 10 songs is so daunting. We were going into the studio every day, and not just tracking ten individual songs but trying to write a cohesive album with a good steady flow about it.
For me it was so fun. I love recording, I would love to just produce records and live in the studio forever. But now it's time to tour and show the world what we created.
PRT: It’s hard to find an article about Culture Abuse that doesn’t mention drugs at some point. What’s up with that?
David: When we first started we just wanted to have fun and party, put ourselves out there completely. Just a gang of brats doing exactly what we want. I guess you could call it an exaggeration of our reality. But at the time, we all had our own side hustles going on and that was our life. Plus if we put it out there that we like to party, maybe people will be generous when we are on tour and they come to one of our shows.
Now I feel like we all are focusing a lot more on the music and trying to make the most out of all of this. We have nothing to hide.
PRT: What’s next for you once the album comes out? Lots of tours in the works?
David: I'm actually writing this in the van at 12:30am driving through Texas to get to SXSW. After that we meet up with Self Defense Family and Strange Wilds. When this tour ends we have three days off before starting a North American tour with The Story So Far and Comeback Kid, then we have May off before going out June and July with Nothing and Wrong, and that ties into some more tours that haven't been announced yet...Shhh.
Yes lots of tours, but I am so happy and excited and feel so free!