SINCE BY MAN has been tearing it up since 1999, moving from the
basement to the stage, while making faithful trips back to said
basement to blast people in the face with its brand of punk and
hardcore. DIY ethics and three years of self-supported touring
have established the band as one of the premier heavy music acts
to catch. They have shared the stage with DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN,
ISIS, THE LOCUST and a ton of others. SINCE BY MAN'S latest
release, Pictures From the
Hotel Apocalypse, has been out for a few weeks now.
If you are not aware, then maybe you should just go ahead and
slap yourself silly. We caught up with guitarist Brad Clifford
and below he answers a few questions.
When I think about SINCE BY MAN, I can only think of monkeys and
orangutans. What does it mean? Who and how you guys came up with
Monkeys are cool, but I think of
seahorses and penguins, my man. SINCE BY MAN is what comes up
when you have a show booked and don't have a name yet, and your
friend says "SINCE BY MAN CAME DEATH’ from HANDEL'S 'MESSIAH'
would be a cool name for a band," but you think SINE BY MAN CAME
DEATH sounds too long and metal, so you cut it and go with SINCE
BY MAN. Thus the baby that is us was born.
Your new album is titled Pictures From the
and the booklet is filled with pictures showing the disturbing
hotel inhabitants. What is SINCE BY MAN trying to convey?
depiction of scenes that would play out mid- or post-apocalypse
among people who are left. Ideas of death, rebirth, and
love—both fake and real—unity, etc., etc. [are themes] that are
all pretty involved when you look into them. We're all pretty
happy with the photos. It was a huge feat of planning to make
the shoots all go down how they did, and our man Mark [markphoto.net]
did a sweet job of capturing it how we wanted.
This release is definitely more
adventurous—I don't want to say experimental because I am sick
of that word—than your previous releases. What brought this
change? Or should I say evolution? Or should I say development?
Or should I say growth? Or should I say progress? Really, what
should I say?
Let's go with “evolution” just to piss off
baby Jesus. Yeah, we try to do things a little bit different
from release to release just to keep things going. We don't want
to be a stagnant swamp of a band that has nothing new to offer,
and people listen to their new CD and think “Yeah, sounds just
like the last one.” There are enough people out there doing the
same thing over and over again, both what others have done
before, and what they themselves have already done before. We're
attempting to sidestep that, and hopefully we've succeeded to a
Producer Dave Gardner may have seemed like
an odd option—why him? What did you hope to achieve by working
with someone who was not so “hot on hardcore”?
We had Matt
Bayles set to do the record, but then he had to go on tour and
Dave Gardner came up as a suggestion from one of our friends. We
listened to stuff he'd done, hung out with him, and we all
decided he was the one. I think the record turned out pretty
great. It's a fairly organic sounding record, not super
computer-y and digital, which we like. I think a lot of the
sounds on the record are interesting. It's not like “Oh yeah,
this is what hardcore guitars should sound like.” They sound
like their own thing and it doesn't come out sounding like every
other band out there. Dave was more lenient than Kurt (Ballou)
in some ways. Kurt was a little more strict and pushed us to get
parts right, and Dave kind of worked with us to shape what we
wanted instead of telling us. There are definitely high and low
points to both of those, but they're equally great men.
How do you think the musical climate, and
specifically your scene, has changed since SINCE BY MAN first
See that's kind
of hard to say. Shitty things exist now, and different shitty
things existed then. It's just a lot of shit altogether. One
thing I definitely think has changed, though, is the money
aspect. Hard core is actually kind of marketable now. Hard-core
bands can actually be big now. It's kind of strange. Some of the
bands that have gotten huge are pretty good, and some of them
are absolutely the most atrocious bands I've ever heard. I think
a lot of young bands are getting into it for different reasons
now. Instead of kids going to basement shows and getting swept
up in the passion and energy of it all, I see a lot of bands
getting swept up in record labels and magazine covers and free
clothes and guitars. That's kind of lame. I mean yeah free shit
is cool, but it's not cooler than being stoked on your band and
totally satisfied with what you're doing regardless of whether
or not you make the cover of AP.
From the band's perspective, what sucks
the most about touring and shows?
Fights. I hate
fights, and they absolutely ruin shows for me. As far as moshing
is concerned, moshing is cool and we love moshing, but not when
it's assholes doing it. But yeah, I don't know, other than that
it sucks when things break on stage all the time—we're really
good at breaking things—and when the vibe in the room feels like
a cold, lifeless body. Other than that, tour is pretty much
great and I love it.
About the lyrical content, you've said:
"The issues and ideas range from artistic integrity, misguided
sexual experiences, the destruction of mankind, cannibalism,
love, murder, photography, violence. Shit ... I don't know, a
lot of stuff." My question: Is there ever a "sunny" day in the
life of SINCE BY MAN? If so, what's your favorite cereal?
Hey, come on,
“love” is sunny! And there are plenty of sunny days in the life
of SINCE BY MAN. We even have a very close and radical friend
named Sunny that we get to hang out with and stay with when
we're in LA and she's a lovely woman, so there, we have some
Sunny. And my favorite cereal is Honey Bunches of Oats, with
almonds. But no, really, we're happy, fun-loving dudes.
After listening to
Pictures From the
Hotel Apocalypse, I
instantly thought, THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES, whose latest album is
really nifty. Are they peers or influence? Whose music do you
consider to have affected you?
They're dudes. They're good friends and
we've done a couple small tours with them and yes, their latest
album is really nifty. Also, their singer Steve can drink a
whole jar of jalapeno sauce, but then he pukes hard right after.
It's hard to say if their music has affected us for sure, but
I'm sure it has whether we're conscious of it or not. Every band
we listen to seeps in between the musical cracks, and if they're
part of that, then I'm actually glad because they're pretty
How has the European experience been so far?
Europe is great. England is more like the U.S. in terms of
hospitality and everything than mainland Europe. I'd venture to
say some of the best, most fun shows we've ever had were in
Germany, so we love that place with a passion. We also met a
large handful of dudes—our roadie and drivers namely—who are
some of my favorite people in the world. As far as differences,
hospitality in mainland Europe (and a lot of places in the U.K.)
is far above and beyond what we expected, and it's very strange
to go to places that you've never been before, much less really
ever heard of, and have a bunch of people there who know you and
are down to have the most fun they can possibly have with you.
We're going back in April, I can't wait.
Tell us all, why is SINCE BY MAN a good
band? What's unique about you? What's good about you?
We're not a
good band, it's just that the rest of the world hasn't listened
to enough BLACK SABBATH, Old METALLICA and LED ZEPPELIN to know
that. But yeah, we do what we can, I suppose. One thing I really
like about us is that we have the passion for what we do. We
want to be different from everyone else, and we want to be
different from what we were doing on the record before, and we
want to have something to offer, and we want to do everything we
can do to make someone feel alive if just for one second of
are your hopes for the future of the band? What's in store?
The honeybee is
that we're going to be on tour for a long time. A month and a
half with THE BLED starting late February, then a month in
Europe with BEAR VS SHARK directly after that. It should be epic
as hell and we're all excited, and I've already promised that
our new schtick is going to be to stick our fingers in people's
mouths while we play, and we're going to tickle their throats
until they vomit. Sounds sketchy.
interview originally appeared on TheMusicEdge.com back in 2005.