STAND (ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA)
Orange County, CA’s STAND got their start in February of 2017 and are made up by the following people: Joel Bull- vocals. Chris Lohman- guitar. Pete Sosa- drums and Mike West- bass. At the time of this interview they have only played 8 shows and in December of 2017 released a 5 song EP titled “Broken Promises” which was recorded and mixed by Paul Miner. Their drummer Pete Sosa also currently plays in Street Dogs and with CJ Ramone, their bassist Mike West also plays in Rats In The Wall. In Effect caught up with Joel and Chris from Stand in this February 2018 interview. Photos by: Jason Cook, Forest Locke & Albert Licano.
IE: Hey guys, a nugget of info that I thought was interesting was that this band basically came together because the 4 of you all worked together. Can you get a little bit more into that fact? Where do you all work, how did the conversation about starting a band get started and who was most instrumental about getting everyone into a rehearsal room together?
Joel: I think it was mainly Chris. We have a screen-printing shop and we all work together and it just so happened that all of us basically play a different instrument so we started talking. Chris had a handful of songs so we set a date and went into Rats In The Wall’s rehearsal space and it just kind of worked out.
IE: Can you tell us a little bit more about the company?
Joel: Chris has been screen-printing for over ten years and I’ve been screen printing and working with merch companies and band merchandise for a long time. We created our company (www.247merch.com) almost five years ago and we’re doing pretty well. We had to hire Pete who works for us almost full time when he’s not out on tour with CJ or Street Dogs. Mike was working there before Pete on and off and still does work at the shop when we need the extra help. When I was on tour with Linkin Park for a few years in their early career I helped them create Bandmerch.com. A few years later I worked for Reverend Horton Heat for five straight years and created a lot of relationships that crossed over into 247 Merch. We print for Hurley, X, and a bunch of other companies and bands. It’s nice because it allows us to play music and rehearse whenever we want.
IE: You guys are based in Orange County, CA but I hear NYHC stamped pretty much all over your sound. Cro-Mags, and Agnostic Front immediately come to mind. What are some of the bands you would say directly influenced the sound you guys are doing?
Chris: New York bands like the Cro-Mags, Sick Of It All, and Agnostic Front changed the sound of hardcore. That newer sound influenced a lot of people; it motivated artists to try new things. I feel that those bands and that sound are the cornerstone of my playing style. It’s the sound of the hardcore evolution, and I love being a part of it.
Joel: We’re definitely fans of NYHC! It’s almost hard not to be. Even though we sound nothing like Black Flag, they are a huge influence lyrically and musically for me. Also, DOA, Suicidal Tendencies, Uniform Choice, Minor Threat, Refused, 59 Times The Pain and Bad Brains. Straight Faced had a huge influence on me musically and especially lyrically. Johnny Miller and I have been very close for a long time. He’s a great songwriter and lyricists. I was never straight edge, but I hung out with a lot of straight edge guys who were in straight edge bands growing up in Orange County and I always admired the beliefs and values within the straight edge scene. Those dudes and the music they made inspired me in a lot of ways. Plus, I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs. I’ve also been influenced by Farside, Sensefield, Jimmy Eat World, Nina Simone, Junior Parker, and music that has nothing to do with hardcore because I feel like listening to Miles Davis can be just as enlightening and inspiring as listening to Madball.
PHOTO BY: ALBERT LICANO
IE: Your “Broken Promises” EP is a pretty sharp/precision like recording. Almost like you guys have been together for a lot longer than you actually have been. Were you guys practicing like crazy to get everything as tight as you possibly could leading up to going into the studio? What's the regular practice schedule like for Stand? Where do you rehearse?
Joel: We actually don’t rehearse that much. If we have a show coming up we run through our set a few times a couple days before the show and then go play. Everyone is so busy with work and life that we don’t really have that much time to practice. Chris writes all of the music, I write all of the lyrics. But we all collaborate in the studio and build on the ideas and riffs Chris brings to the table. Mike and Pete are amazing to work with and they remember things extremely well, and they’re really good players. I rely on Chris for some of the vocal structures because he’s been playing this kind of music his entire life and he has really good ideas. We actually recorded a demo before we went in and recorded with Paul Miner so we had a few months to sit on the demo and make changes, and there weren’t that many. We rehearse at our shop or go to Gothard Sound Studios right down the street. Paul Miner is an amazing engineer and producer. He has great ideas, he’s superfast, and the sound you get from his studio is exactly what we wanted.
IE: Where did you guys find the photo to the cover of “Broken Promises”?
Joel: I actually found it online. I think its riot footage from Istanbul Turkey, I can’t remember. I just thought it was appropriate for the times and it also fits the lyrics to “Broken Promises”.
IE: You guys put out a video for the song “Silence” which has an anti-domestic abuse message whether it is boyfriend/girlfriend or spousal abuse or abuse towards children. What brought you to write a song on this topic? Was it something that hit close to home personally?
Joel: I grew up in a super dysfunctional family where beatings and verbal abuse were rampant and demoralizing; that stuff still haunts me to this day and that’s what the song is mainly about. But I have plenty of friends who have suffered far worse than myself. When we play live I usually dedicate this song to Chester Bennington from Linkin Park who I was pretty close with when I toured with them in their early days. The end result of the abuse he suffered was his suicide. It’s very tragic. People online can be fucking brutal. I try to stay out of the comments on Facebook and Instagram because it can be a warzone. You have a human life that ended and a lot of people just start talking shit about it failing to realize that Chester, and plenty of other people are suffering from mental, emotional, and physical abuse and most of the time they don’t have the tools to deal constructively with their issues and problems and the end result is either suicide or an overdose. It’s not a laughing matter. I literally was un-friending people that I’ve known for a long time because they were making fun of Chester’s death. Not fucking cool.
Watch "Silence" HERE.
IE: To expand on that last question... recently there have been some cases of sexual abuse cast upon members of various hardcore bands from online anonymous people. There have been at least 2 social media pages that I have come across and it can become a pretty heated discussion. Have you seen or heard about any of these pages and what is your take on possible abuse by band members and also the anonymous sources that make these accusations?
Joel: I recently heard a few things about a guy in the hardcorer scene. I was at a Foreign Pain show at Programme in Fullerton a few nights ago and Doyle who is the singer said some pretty heavy stuff about this person on the mic to the crowd. I have a daughter and so does Chris. What if that was her, or your sister or your best friend? I don’t have to know any of these people to have compassion and sympathy for their pain and what has happened to them. If people are raping girls in the hardcore scene, or any scene for that matter, they need to be exposed and dealt with accordingly. There’s just no room for that kind of shit here, or anywhere. When you continue to hurt people on purpose, you’re going to pay a heavy price. Karma always wins out even when you think no one knows what you’re doing; you will always pay the price for your actions no matter what. The video just happened to come out right now, and for good reason. Jeff Gordon, the director, came up with the concept and made the video based off his interpretation of the lyrics. I am super stoked about how powerful the video is and if it can help people who are struggling with abuse in any form, that’s all that matters to us.
IE: Looking over the “Broken Promises” EP lyrics, and the video for “Silence” it is apparent that there is more of a message behind this band than most. Can you talk about the overall message you are trying to get across? What kinds of topics are you covering in your lyrics?
Joel: The five song EP is like a story. The first song, “Broken Promises”, is about the political atmosphere in America and how it’s crushed friendships, families, and lives. The second song is “Silence”, which are the actual results of the first song. It deals with introversion, struggling, anger, people acting out as a result of what’s going on, domestic violence, abuse, the past, etc. The third song is “Return”, which is our protest song and where we are returning as a people and how there are more of us than you (the government) and how we need to fight for the rights of our best fucking friends, which is standing up against racism and sexism and the bullshit that’s happening right now. The fourth song is “Love & Hate”, which is the result of the media, relationships, having to stomach and try to live and go to sleep with the bullshit that’s going on. The last song is called “Survived” because we are survivors and we won’t let the shit that’s going on stop us from helping people and standing up for humanity. The speech in “Survived” is Robert F. Kennedy and it still makes sense to this day. “What do you Stand for” is the real question? I personally think that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for almost anything.
IE: Who came up with the name Stand? What other names were you kicking around (if any). My guess is the name has something to do with your response to my last question but if there is a different meaning behind it please let us know what it is.
Joel: Stand was partially derived from our protest against the pipelines in North and South Dakota and Standing Rock (NoDAPL). Chris’ and my wife are Native American. The slogan for the protest was “Stand with Standing Rock”. We had no idea as for a name. I thought we might want to look at some song titles by this band we used to listen to called Don’t No. One of their songs was called Stand so we pretty much looked at the AIM Flag (American Indian Movement) hanging in our shop and it just made so much sense for us. Chris pointed at the flag and we looked at each other and knew it was the name we needed to use.
IE: How many other songs do you guys have besides the ones on “Broken Promises”? If you had to guess when the next Stand release will be what would it be?
Joel: We have three more songs we play live. We play an Infuse cover called “Times Like This”, a Collateral Damage cover called “Holding My Breath” which is on the Indecision Records Compilation “Guilty by Association”, and a brand new song we recently wrote called “Diminishing”. We should be back in the studio by summertime for another EP. We will also be releasing the “Broken Promises” EP on Unity Worldwide Records as a split 12” vinyl LP with a band from Germany called Once I Cried. That will be out later this year.