CASTOFF (SAN DIEGO, CA)
Castoff are a 4 piece out of San Diego, California who started off in late 2012/early 2013. They fit into our Fresh Blood “criteria” more so because they had some lineup changes which in turn set them on a slightly different path than what they started with. The band consists of: Bill H – guitar, lead vocals, Ron S – guitar, vocals, Brandon L – bass, vocals, and Josh K – drums. They have played 35 total shows to date and had 2 DIY releases “The Dividing Line” (2013) and “Acquisition” (2014) before they released their current release… “Lines And Passages” on Morning Wood and Bird Attack Records earlier in 2015. Member of Castoff have previously been in Dogmatic, Guys On The Hill, Critical Me, and Shut Up And Drive. If you are into that old Fat Wreck Chords/Epitaph sound these guys will be exactly what you are looking for. The following is a short chat with frontman Bill H who answered these questions in early September 2015.
IE: What's up Bill? You did get started back in 2013 but had some lineup changes. You mentioned that the lineup changes affected the bands overall sound. What were you like before the changes and how would you describe your sound now?
Bill: We were still playing fast skatepunk, but just not as diverse rhythmically as far as changes within the songs, and not quite as melodic vocally. I'd say we haven't changed a whole lot stylistically, but having more dynamic musicians in the group has allowed us to progress as far as songwriting goes and making things a bit more interesting.
IE: "Lines And Passages" is your 3rd overall release but in some ways you look at this as only your first due to the direction the band has gone in since the lineup changes. What made you hold on to Castoff and not just scrap it and start over?
Bill: Good question. I guess we had already been playing shows and recorded a few things and had made a lot of connections locally and beyond under the Castoff name. It was more functional that feeling a tight bond with the actual name of the band or anything. But yeah, it definitely is like a new band because it's just a completely different feel in writing, rehearsing, and performing live. The new lineup changed a lot about the band for sure.
CLICK BELOW TO STREAM CASTOFF'S "LINES AND PASSAGES" EP
IE: What's the story behind the cover to “Lines And Passages” and its meaning? Did someone in the band take the photo or did you find it somewhere online? Where was it taken?
Bill: It was taken by our good friend Andy Harrison, who is a graphic designer and also has played guitar for Vegas outfits Surrounded By Thieves and New Cold War. He has done much of our artwork the last few years including the last two albums. When I approached him about doing the layout, I just liked the idea of a photo of a desert road. It seems to encompass a weird mix of loneliness and desperation as well as maybe a feeling of wiping the slate clean and a chance for positive change… in my mind anyway. It just felt like a good fit for this EP. It was taken somewhere outside Vegas.
IE: What kind of topics are you taking on in your lyrics?
Bill: A mix of political/societal issues (war, economics, media, etc.) and some songs just about personal struggle, resilience, failure, and success.
IE: Castoff has at least 2 logos that display an upside down American flag. What's the reason behind it and have any fans or other bands come to you asking why? Catch any flack?
Bill: The generally understood meaning of the upside down American flag is a sign of distress. It really mirrors my own opinions about the state of the country because I do feel many of our policies are serving an extremely small proportion of our population and that we are being manipulated constantly to believe that this is normal and somehow equitable. I do, however, look at it as something positive, like we can use the recognition of our own distress to make things better. I've had people ask if I hate the country or whatever, but I tell them no, quite the contrary, I really think the U.S. has many great attributes and I love living here, but also some serious flaws, and why shouldn't we work to change those things?
IE: What does everyone in the band do for work and what kind of stuff do each one of you get into either hobby wise or whatever outside of the band stuff?
Bill: Well, I'm a teacher, Ron is an engineer, Brandon works for the city roads department, and Josh has a company that maintains windows. I dig surfing, Brandon likes going to the desert, Josh plays baseball, Ron's really into different types of guitars and amps.
IE: What are three things that are great and 3 things that suck about living in San Diego?
Bill: Haha, not much, but let's see...
1. Cost of Living
2. Ocean pollution
3. Cost of living again, haha.
Three things that we like are:
3. Burritos (they're that good!)
IE: Tell us about this new full length you are working on and what the rest of 2015 has in store for you guys?
Bill: Most of the rest of this year, we'll be working on and recording the full length for sure. It'll be 10-12 songs and we really think this will definitely be the best stuff we've ever written. We're always looking to progress musically while still keeping it fast and aggressive. We're definitely spending more time fine tuning the songs, so we hope it'll be pretty dynamic and that people will dig it. Of course, we'll have a few local shows as well. Then, we're planning on finally doing a little touring in 2016! Thanks again Chris. We really appreciate it!