Kicking Spit Interview

(group photo courtesy of Isabella D'Onofrio)

who: Kicking Spit
when: today
location: new brunswick, nj

Please list band members, instrument and home town.

Mark – Guitar, vocals, somewhere in central jersey but currently
new brunswick.
Matt Thompson- I play drums and I currently live 10 blocks away
from the ocean….with my parents.

weck: What is the origin of the name Kicking Spit? Have you changed the name before or was it always Kicking Spit?

Mark: When coming up with the band name, we were trying to think of
something that would fit on the SST catalogue order forms that used to
come with all the SST releases. We couldn’t come up with anything
ourselves but our friend Billy had this habit of spitting into the air
and kicking it on the way down, thus re launching the loogie. Its
pretty gross and inane and it felt right so when he suggested it, we
accepted our fate.

Matt: It should also be noted that before the (seemingly) year long
search to find Kicking Spit,  we were happily content with calling the
band “Rock Band.” Until that video game came out….

weck: I recently heard your new album and it kicks ass! I had never heard you guys before and was blown away by it.  How was the recording and creating of the album?

Mark: Thanks! The record was written over the course of a year or so
in practice spaces, in my bedroom, or in the back of the ANS tour van.
I was really into the whole scope of SST records; Bl’ast, Descendents,
Husker Du, St Vitus, Dinosaur, Meat Puppets, Bad Brains, Flag etc and
I wanted to take the strange pop elements of all of those bands and
put them in a blender and thats how we came up with
We recorded the drums at Matty T’s parents house and everything else
at various basements around New Brunswick before we had played any
shows, expecting to maybe release a few of the tracks as a demo. So
its pretty wild that people have even heard this thing at all much
less enjoy it.

Matt: We recorded a demo before hand but decided to scrap all of the
songs. Psychrockbullshit was recorded in two three song sessions
months apart from eachother I think? They were intended to be demos
themselves but we decided to collectively say “FUCK IT.” What a kismet
it turned out to be for everyone.

weck: How has your music evolved since you started playing music together?

Mark: We started playing together as a four piece casually jamming on
some songs in our car hold/ garage/ show space/ spider infested dank
pit with our friend Marissa on 2nd guitar. She got really busy doing
her own thing so our dreams of dueling shred solos were forever
shattered. We began to develop newer cooler songs as a trio and that
became “Psychrock.” Then we started to play shows and tour a lot
because thats what we are used to. Playing live really helped us
define who we wanted to be as a band, and touring is good because you
get to see the world and get a perspective and become influenced by
other interesting people. I feel like the LP we are working on right
now is a reflection of all this time we have spent together and
therefore it will be pretty awesome.

weck: Did you guys have any influences when you started playing as a band?

Mark: All of the bands on SST I listed before are huge influences as
well as Thin Lizzy, Ramones, Neil Young, Amebix, Discharge, Beach
Boys, Motorhead, SSD, Sabbath, Prince and Motown records stuff.

Matt: I think at the time I was still in this shoegaze/krautrock
band that I was in for three years. I would listen to Neu!, Ride,
Warlocks, Spacemen 3, Suicide, as I was insanely fascinated and would
take from them whatever I wanted as inspiration. Starting Kicking Spit
brought me out of the haze that I was in. Mark had to tell me to do
crazy rolls alot more often, to snap me out of being a drone.

weck: What bands are you guys listening to now?

Mark: Disclose, Blue Oyster Cult, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Boys, The
Damned, Anthrax, Rolling Stones… not really much new stuff.

Matt: I usually listen to everything, from progressive house/techno
to technical death metal, and everything in between. I try to keep at
least one Death(the metal band) record in constant rotation, and I’ve
also gotten really into Boards of Canada recently. My brain is like a
sampler set to play whatever it’s recorded, on random. I’m also
obsessed with Dag Nasty, Chuck Schuldiner(duh), Nirvana(DUH), Nas, and
Biggie. Fuck yeah.

weck: Are you guys currently touring? How is it going? Turnouts at the shows?

Mark: Right now we are in a “writing” phase but we are playing out
quite a bit and going out of state a lot. Turn outs at shows are good
for us but we are punk rock idiots with low low standards.

Matt: Very low.

weck: How has the scene changed since you started doing shows? Has it been for better or for worse?

Mark: We have only been playing for about a year but its pretty clear
to see some changes. When we first started playing there really werent
any bands we could fit on a show with. We played with a lot of
straight up hardcore or grind bands and on the other side of the coin
wimpy pop bands. I guess now its more acceptable for people to like
Nirvana again or whatever so there are more bands who sort of “walk
the line” like we do but good bands like that are rare. Id still
rather play with a blackmetal influenced hardcore band like
Fleshtemple than any flavor of the week pop outfit.

Matt: It’s cyclical, like mostly everything, it ebbs and flows.
Kids get jaded, kids get their eyes opened. Our first tour, mostly
every show was with hardcore bands. It’s definitely changing now, at
this second even.
I agree with Mark, the “scene” where we are from and really musical
culture in general is regressing back to the 80’s and 90’s. And I
really see nothing wrong with it, anything to take me away from
realizing how culturally devoid everything is and the intellectual
bankruptcy (at least commercial) music is heading towards.

weck: What do you think of file sharing/illegally downloaded music? Does it hurt you guys as artists?

Mark: I think its great and I love it. I do it all the time, if you
could see my I Pod you would see the killing I have done to Lars
Ulrich personally. This month he may only be able to purchase one
valuable painting because of Kicking Spit. Thats why you can download
our stuff for free online and I encourage anyone who wants it to go
ahead and upload and download.

Matt: I do this because I love it, to me anyone’s interest and
even support of what I chose to do with my life is so much more of an
affirmation than symbols on pieces of paper. I’m humbled by any and
all kind words or gestures. I can’t even take compliments, how could I
take money? I would never want to say no to anyone trying to listen to
us because they couldn’t afford it. FUCK that.
I encourage it wholeheartedly, if I had my way all books, all forms of
information and knowledge would be free. How can you possibly quantify
information, thoughts, and expressions with menial bullshit? Leave
that to corporate pigs if you ask me.

weck: What format do you prefer? Vinyl or CD?

Mark: Vinyl

Matt: I guess because we kind of grew up with those new inventions
called CD’s that my heart waxes nostalgic for them. But I’d say that’s
where it stops. There’s something about the warmth of the way vinyl
sounds, the large artwork, the record itself, that creates more of a
connection than that cold, smaller,
I-feel-like-an-asshole-for-paying-19.98-for-eight-songs-feeling that
cd’s bring. That being said, Psychrock drops on CD April 12th. Buy it,
or fucking die. If I can’t pull a Scrooge McDuck when I get home every
day, and dive through my millions, I’ll shit my pants.

weck: Any words of wisdom for people out there thinking of starting
their own band?

Mark: Do what feels good.

Matt: You’re never too young, or too old, or too inept, to start.
If you want it bad enough, you’re going to do whatever it takes. And
don’t ever stop. There will be pressures from every part of your life
to get you to stop chasing what’s true to you, especially with
music…don’t listen.  Take hold of what is true to your hunger, a
hunger that will never go away.

weck: Any parting words of wisdom or shout-outs to anyone?

Mark: Keep throwing bricks.

Matt: I luv, I luv, I Jah


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