EMQ’s with LIFES
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Milwaukee, WI Punk / Hardcore / ’Powerviolence’ duo LIFES. Huge thanks to them for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
D: I’m Dave. I play bass & sing in LIFES.
Z: I’m Zak. I play drums and also sing in LIFES.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name LIFES represents all the different roles we attempt to fulfil every day. We are both husbands and fathers, so we have our family life, work life, music life… it can be exhausting keeping them all going, but each area is important to us, so we do what we can. Plus, LIFES isn’t a real word, so we assumed no one else had used it 😜
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
D: We’re from Milwaukee, WI USA about an hour north of Chicago. For a mid-sized city, the scene here is pretty awesome with lots of bands & venues. It tends to be an older scene with less young kids involved than there used to be, but that’s partially a product of many shows taking place at 21+ venues.
Z: I’d just add that a lot of the all age shows here have been basements and house shows for decades. There certainly is a younger scene of great bands and people but we tend to not get out as much as we’d like to keep up with everything that’s going on in Milwaukee. Thankfully being a smaller city helps because everyone pretty much knows each other here or are connected in some way through mutual friends.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
Our debut LP “Treading Water” will be released at the end of June on vinyl and digital formats. The band is co-releasing it with some friends that all happen to run record labels, Here and Now Records (Italy), Knochentapes (Germany), Middle Man Records (Indiana, USA) & Triple Eye Industries (Milwaukee, USA).
Who have been your greatest influences?
D: For this band, my family and the fucked up situations around the globe are the greatest influence on our music and lyrics.
Z: I second what Dave said. I tend to read a lot and try to stay up on current events. That’s really where my lyrical influence has always stemmed from. My family is everything and I try to be the best partner and papa I can be.
What first got you into music?
D: I listened to radio pop music when I was a kid and was really into Prince & Michael Jackson, but got into Poison when I was around 10 and that was where I started to form my musical identity that led to my desire to write and play my own music. It also played a role in my preference of pointy guitars.
Z: I grew up listening to mainly what my parents listened to which was 70’s Rock and Heavy Metal and then New Wave. It turned me off from heavy music actually which is why I got into Goth like Depeche Mode and the Cure. Then my friend brought over a couple of his older brother’s cassettes in the summer of 1989 and I learned about punk and hardcore. It opened a door that has never closed. And now I of course appreciate my parents’ amazing record collection of 1000+ LPs after all these years. My family have always supported my musical endeavours and I couldn’t have asked for better influences than them.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
D: Collaborations just sound like complications to me. Our band works because there are just two of us to deal with and with our schedules, that’s all we can handle. But, if I had to choose someone, we would be more than happy to serve as the rhythm section for Melt Banana or HIRS.
Z: Certainly more people can complicate matters. But I’ve always loved bands and records that have tons of friends contribute to their records. Maybe someday for LIFES!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
D: I think we’d go back in time and play one of the Fiesta Grandes at Gilman St. The line-ups were amazing and then we could claim to be a “power violence” band without the fear of being called out by the purists. That being said, we love playing new places, so if you are throwing a block party, motorcycle race, baby shower or metal fest, we would love to play. We recently did our first fly in for a few gigs, so now we’ve got the itch to do more.
Z: There seem to be so many fests now. It’s hard to keep up. I’m always happy to play anywhere we can. Write us. It doesn’t hurt to ask us.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thanks for listening and giving us a chance.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
D: I really don’t care about rock stars. If I could bring people back, it would be family and friends because that’s what’s important.
If it’s gotta be a star, then I’d bring back Michael Jackson so he could finally be punished for the crimes he committed and the lives he ruined.
Z: I miss all my friends and family too who are no longer here. Prince was a pretty great artist. But I’ll just quote Kevin Seconds: “An empty pedestal and all those heroes where’d they go? When I find myself a hero I’ll be sure to let you know!”
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
D: I wish I had the popularity or financial means to self-release everything we record. I am forever grateful to every friend and label that has put their own money on the line to help me get my music out there. I know some of them haven’t always made their money back and I feel horrible about that.
Z: I enjoy meeting new people, seeing new places, and having a connection with complete strangers just because we listen to similar music. I hate how the punk and hardcore and metal scenes can mirror all the gross, awful, complicated bullshit of the world that should have no place in our scenes but nevertheless show up.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Z: Part of me misses the pre-internet age when physical music and connections were what mattered. But I also love how much easier it is to connect with people all over the world because of the internet. I also miss when areas of the U.S. and areas of the world had very specific “sounds.” Now anyone can listen to something from anywhere in the world and just copy that sound (me included). There’s a certain uniqueness to regional music that’s lacking sometimes. Lastly, I suck at capitalism so music as an industry makes no sense to me.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
D: Poison – “Look What the Cat Dragged In” and Mötley Crüe – “Shout at the Devil” are the reason I play music and still get stoked to hear them.
Z: I have way too many favourites for so many different reasons. Subhumans – “Worlds Apart”, Miles Davis – “Workin’”, Pegboy – “Strong Reaction”, Kinks – “Muswell Hillbillies”, etc. etc. etc. I’m leaving out so many favourites…
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
D: I’ll always love vinyl, but I understand and accept the convenience of digital & streaming.
Z: Vinyl always for sound. Digital for convenience and the environment.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
D: We just did a weekend in the Northwest US and our show in Portland was probably the best crowd reaction we’ve ever had. We’re not a very danceable band, but that didn’t stop them.
Z: There have been a lot of good gigs for all sorts of different reasons. Some on crowd response; Some on how we sounded; Some on good conversations had; Some on good friends being there.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
D: Music is in the blood. Even if I wasn’t actively playing in a band, it would still consume my thoughts.
Z: I can’t imagine life without music.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
D: With two kids, I treasure any meal with conversation in the place of screaming and whining. Give me a good vegan meal with my wife and some friends and I’m all good.
Z: Family and friends. That’s all that matters.
What’s next for the band?
The LP will be out in June and we’ve got some shows on the horizon. Hopefully we will make it out of the Midwest and see some of our East Coast friends before the year is over.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
D: I am ignorant on this topic, but it clearly has cake in the name.
Z: I had to Google search this. Seems to be like a digestive? Looks like a cookie to me.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thanks for taking the time to send us these questions.
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