Guns Up! - Mike

Interview Date: April 21, 2006

Associated band: Guns Up


Interview with Mike of Guns Up in April of 2006.rnrn

Thanks for joining me this evening. Can you first introduce yourself and what you do in Guns Up?rn

Mike: My name's Mike, and I play guitar for Guns Up. I've been playing guitar for the band for about four years.

Here we are in Brockton, Massachusetts, and you guys are opening for Converge this evening. Any reactions on opening for a band like them in a place like this?rn

Mike: I'm actually really excited about it because a lot of people will tell you that there really hasn't been a Converge show in a long time with a line-up that was strictly hardcore. I'd say that I'm really into and down with mixed-genre shows, but to have Converge here with a hardcore line-up, it's going to be really fun and different. The venue's really small and intense.

You guys have been working on a new album called Outlive. Are you trying anything new and different compared to previous releases?rn

Mike: Yeah, I think we're just taking influence from a wider range of influences. In the past, we were taking a lot of influence from bands like Madball, Cro-Mags, Breakdown, and a lot of other New York hardcore bands. More recently, we've been taking influence from bands like Obituary and faster bands too like Leeway, you know, more metal bands too. It definitely reflects on this album. I think our influences are very apparent. Some people say that they wear their influences on their sleeves. Guns Up! gets their influences tattoo'd on their foreheads.

You guys have been on 1917 Records for a couple years now, right? How have they been with supporting the new album?rn

Mike: Yeah, it's been a little over two years now. Riley is like one of the most supportive label dudes ever. Basically anything we need, and he gives it to us; he really caters to us. The fact of the matter is that we did get a lot of really good offers from really great labels that we have huge respect for, but when it came down to the decision, we decided to keep with 1917 Records because he's our man. We have a very intimate one-to-one relationship with him. He's like a brother!

How big of a difference was it going from Rocket Punch Records to 1917 Records?rn

Mike: The main difference was that Rocket Punch was a bunch of our friends from New Hampshire that had the funding so they really wanted to put out a record. That's what we did, and after a press of 500, we just kind-of ran out. Every now and then they talk kicks about doing a re-press but I don't know if it will ever happen. If it does, God bless them, but I think they're really busy with their lives so we'll probably never see a re-press of it, which is probably for the better though. It sold out kind-of fast, and it really kind-of sucks.

Going back to before you were in Guns Up!, what brought you to playing music and wanting to be in a band?rn

Mike: What brought me to hardcore specifically was when I started really listening to Victory hardcore when I was like twelve years old. Around 1996 I started listening to them, like Earth Crisis, Snapcase, Strife, Blood For Blood... A lot of different kinds of bands too. More and more so I got into hardcore. A lot of different stuff too, like mid-90's alternative rock. At the same time I was listening to hardcore, I was really into that too. The natural thing to do with hardcore is start your own band. That's the natural thing that happens. You hear a band, get excited, and make a band to sound like them. I think that was the whole idea behind it, although Guns Up was more of in an incubation period for us for a few years. If you look back on a lot of bands that influenced me, one of the first bands I ever saw was Cave In. I know that one of the guys in that band got into hardcore and then immediately made a band. I think that was a thing for back then and less so now. I think it's less accepted now to start a band right off. You have to establish credibility, which you can say both positive and negative things about. Either way, it's point of view. *short side conversation* Thank God for Snapcase.

Where did you guys record the new album? Did you go back to Atomic Studios again?rn

Mike: We actually recorded the Outpost with Jim Siegel [in Stoughton, MA]. We knew we were all going to spend more time on the full length, and we had various commitments like work and school so recording with Dean would have definitely been a hassle. We recorded our 7\" in a weekend during the summer. We needed something close and really good, and Jim Siegel has a reputation of being a great person to go to. Our drummer, who was in Some Kind Of Hate, recorded with him and had nothing but good things to say about him. We went down, and he's one of the most favorite people I've ever met. He's got some crazy, quirky, eccentric things about him that are awesome. In the end, it was totally worth it, and the record came out amazing. If we ever make another record, we would probably go to him.

Do you guys have the cover art and everything with packaging all finished?rn

Mike: The CD is actually all done. We just received a box with about three-hundred copies of Outlive. Riley from 1917 was seriously pissed off that they sent them to us early because he was afraid we couldn't resist the temptation to sell them early at shows. As far as we go, we wanted to do something really minimalist, and we had the idea that we wanted to keep away things that are hardcore taboo as far as the cover is concerned. We didn't want any live pictures or promo pictures so we went with a theme of a barren mountain landscape, sorta arctic. It's weird because you wouldn't expect a hardcore album to look like that. They are two separate things, but we think they go together really well. With the artwork, we worked with a guy named Adam, who works with Riley from 1917 among other people. It really easy to go to him with a concept; he'll just nail it. If you tell him exactly what you want, and he will give you what you want. He's done that with the 7\" and with Outlive. Kids will either hate it or be really into it. So far, it sounds like they really like it. I'm really excited. I think it's really fun where kids have never seen you before and aren't really sure what to expect with the blended New York hardcore sound. We weigh combined about five-hundred pounds so we're nothing really intimidating.

For those who haven't necessarily heard you guys before, how can you sum up what Guns Up! is all about?rn

Mike: This is going to sound really corny because this is on paper, and you can't really hear the tone of my voice on paper. Guns Up is really ultimately about fun, and you can tell when you see us that we take ourselves seriously but not that seriously. We have fun too and have a good time. We consider ourselves a hard band for the not-so-hard dude, the smaller dude. You don't necessarily need to mosh and dance as hard as you can, but we certainly do welcome it. We're all about fun. We like to hang out and play shows.

Now for some fun non-traditional questions. Scenario number one: You guys are stranded on an island with no food. Who gets eaten first?rn

Mike: Who do we eat first? Alright, ready for this? The cop-out choice is to say Dan because he has the most meat and would probably last a long time. I'm going have to say, despite that, all this pepped up aggression towards my guitar player would make me not really mind eating Greg and mocking him while I ate little pieces of him. \"Mike, why don't you have a guitar?\" \"Mike, why don't you have an amplifier?\" \"Mike, why are you drunk? Are you drunk at this show?\" I'd be like, \"Hey, Greg, try making heavy breathing noises at me while I'm driving to show me how annoyed you are at me you righteous prick, but I'm eating you now.\"

*laugh* Wow. What kind of fruit do you imagine yourself being?rn

Mike: What I would be or what Guns Up would be? Guns Up would be a banana because we all like to think that girls want to fuck us. Cucumbers are good too. If I was a fruit, I would probably be... well, just a fruit in general. I grew up with my father saying I was the daughter he never had, but in reality, I had two sisters so I don't know what you can take away from that. I'm lost on the fruit thing.

Do you have anything you want to tell the fans that are reading or perhaps new guys who haven't heard you before?rn

Mike: As far as Guns Up goes, check us out. If you don't like the recording, check us out live because I think that would change your mind. If it doesn't, fuck it, because there is better music out there anyway. As far as things I would want people to know, I think you should start a band. Kids should start bands. There's a lot more to life than graduating from high school and spending $100,000 on an overpriced education. You could learn the same shit at the public library for $10 in late fees. I'm obviously making fun of myself right now with all of this. Life doesn't start until after high school. That's a good one! Alright, young dudes that listen to Guns Up need to know that life doesn't start until after high school. A lot of kids look up to hardcore as an outlet of teen angst. The fact of the matter is that you are going to turn eighteen, move out of the house, get laid a lot, and you won't be angry like that anymore. I want you to remember Guns Up at that very moment and remember all the times we were there for you. Maybe you can hang out and come to a show and be happy adults together. I want to take this time to apologize to Cannibal Ox for knocking their lyrics and not giving them credit on the album. It wasn't my idea. I just wanted you know I'm sorry we didn't give props. Thanks to everyone again, and check out Outlive and come to a show.