We had completed this ##interview with ##deadhorse in 2010 just before Futuristika! English jumped into [another] hiatus. After all, we are still alive just as Deadhorse is and we have pulled out from the archive as ##brian morgante tells about fanzines, scene in Erie and features rich content regarding music and words. Words exist in their music, even if they do not seem...
Futuristika: First, it was your solo Project, then reformed to a band. What was the main reason for such a change?
#deadhorse/#brian morgante: The reason for the change really came out of thin air, but was always an idea floating around not far out of reach. Personally, I had wanted to do an instrumental project for years at that point. Nothing really ever worked out to where this could happen, and it was thrown to the backburner each time. I never really wanted to be a full-time front man, as I get sick easily and my voice tends to give out if I over do it. For the amount that I was desiring to do something full time, anything with vocals was going to create a big obstacle. We all sat down and talked about the idea of pushing forward as an instrumental band, and figured we’d give it a try. We all liked music like that for some time, but had never worked on those sort of songs with one another. It definitely became a great learning and growing experience for all of us, and as we’re still trying to find all the right members for the band, it keeps evolving and taking a better shape as each day passes!
I guess you are also participating in a collective fanzine Broken Teeth Zine, how is the situation of the non-mainstream musical/cultural scene in Erie?
Broken Teeth Zine was the idea of a group of us friends here in Erie that became something a lot better than we even envisioned. A few of us were reminiscing one day about going to shows in the late 90’s and being able to pick up information on a wide array of topics from all sorts of interesting and passionate people. As time has progressed, no matter where you are in the country, we’ve seen this sort of element almost completely disappear from the environment of shows or much anything countercultural. Infoshops and zine libraries are hidden treasures scattered all over the map, and it seems like younger kids aren’t trying to find a voice in a lot of important and relevant issues. We wanted to bring something like Broken Teeth to the forefront of our underground community and reintroduce those ideas to a new generation, and see where they stood, see what they had to say. We made it 100 percent collective right from the get go, letting everyone know that this wasn’t about us trying to write articles about how people should be or how much we hate the world, but rather a common outlet for all young and old no matter what walk of life to come together and share their thoughts, ideas, opinions, viewpoints and creativity with their own community. We spotlight musicians, artists, writers, poets. Every month you will see articles on a wide array of topics, some very serious, others light hearted and funny.
A team of more than 20 graphic designers help piece together individual articles, making the design of each issue completely different, and representative and a wide array of artistic outlet, keeping it fresh and appealing. We wanted to look at every aspect of this and have people see that we weren’t trying to push an agenda, but rather rekindle a flame for discussion, point/counterpoint, and simple creativity. We’ve had 7 issues within the year and have even had #featured articles from professional skateboarders like Henry Panza, awesome bands like Strike Anywhere, The Wonder Years, Comeback Kid, and Braveyoung, and even the legendary Henry Rollins. When it all boils down, we’re just some silly punk kids with a simple vision, and it has really brought a lot of people together in our community, and helped give people that are doing something, people with a message and creative types a place to showcase what they love the most, and what they are good at.
As far as the scene goes, it has its ups and downs just like any other area. Our area in particular though is heavily dominated with a hardcore background. We have seen Brothers Keeper, xDisciplex A.D., xRepresentx, War of Ages, Jesus Wept, Struckdown, Hank Jones, The Code, etc. all become touring bands, crossing the nation, and touring worldwide. When most people think Erie, they tend to immediately think hardcore, and they’re really not wrong to do so. There is a lot to be proud of, but in other ways it can be a bit over the top at times, and really come off as one-sided with a lack of diversity. A lot of people will branch out and listen to different types of music, but when it comes to shows, out of town bands passing through, or trying to implement new ideas or try some new things besides just your run-of-the-mill hardcore show, it seems to flicker out rather quickly. Most people know what they love, and are very stuck to their ways. We are definitely doing something very different for the area, and while we get a pretty good response from the people that we love, we still don’t see much support from our hometown. We haven’t even played since last March because of the heavy domination in things that we are an almost opposite contrast to. The funny thing, though, is that most of our morals, ideals, and ethics line up with what all these other bands are trying to promote, and yet a lot of times we just get tagged “the indie kids”.
Every scene has its good sides and bad sides. Erie supports the bands they love, and there are many bands that can’t wait to come back through the area after they play here. We’ve also heard the complete opposite, so it’s really anyone’s guess what is actually going on in this city, haha.
When I was super young I always wanted to be a drummer. In elementary school we used to get to go to the high school and watch assemblies of the jazz band throughout the year. They always had spotlights on drum solos at some point in the performances, and I would get so excited for them. I would be jealous of the talent and for some reason, I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world and something I thought I would love to try, haha. I started playing drums finally when I hit middle school and an older high school kid named Brian Kramer really inspired me and pushed me to really make it happen. As soon as I got the gears in motion, there was no stopping me. I knew it was my passion and what I absolutely wanted to do for the rest of my life. Starting in 6th grade I started making music with other people and knew that I had to create it or I would go insane. As time went on I started playing bass, then acoustic, then electric, and then started to dabble with other instruments like piano, glock, accordion, mandolin, banjo, etc.
Do you remember the first moment you wanted to be a musician? What has triggered and inspired you as a musician?
I really wish I could pinpoint and tell you exactly what it is, but I can honestly say that I can’t tell you what really does it for me. Whenever you’re creating melodies and dynamics that run out of the ideas in your head and your heart and become something you can hear, something you can almost reach out and touch, it’s hard to put that into a description. Music is extremely powerful and there is something mystical about it that just entrances, effects, and moves people. To actually be able to have that sort of connection with people that would listen, understand, and relate with the music you’re creating, its like the ultimate connection with those around you, and there’s something beautiful about that.
Most of the song titles come from the Ray Bradbury book “The Illustrated Man”
You have been writing interesting blog posts about your concerts, it seems that you are using social media and blogs in a very positive way, some say internet is killing the profits. What do you think of the new era? How does it affect musicians?
The internet is the best and the worst thing that has happened to the music industry, and I think most any serious musician would agree with this statement. As far as the good goes, it has given an absolutely nobody like myself the chance to rocket my creations out into the entire world for an audience I would not be able to reach without the help of the internet. It used to be about overly insane amounts of talent, or all about who you know, and now you can really do something a lot more DIY, a lot more personable, and actually do okay at it, haha. You can connect with fans more intimately, and completely steer away from any sort of “rock star” or “mysterious” attitude by letting people share in your experiences through blogs, video updates, silly pod casts, and news updates both good and bad. As you’re experiencing it, the people that are behind you and following you are experiencing it hand in hand, and usually putting their two cents in by commenting on what you’re posting no matter what site it is. The interaction and connection is great, as is the way that you can so easily distribute your music across the world without spending a dime. Like you said, we wouldn’t even be doing this interview right now if you would not have come across some free download of our album that is floating around out there, haha. We have much to be thankful toward the internet for this day in age. If used correctly, it’s a band’s biggest asset in regards to communication, distribution, touring, press, and promotion.
As far as the bad goes, you can almost look at everything I said about the good, and talk about the bad attributes with all of those things, haha. As I said I’m a nobody getting my music out there….so is every other nobody in the world. Anyone with garage band and a mic from Best Buy is recording music and spreading it all over the internet. Before things like Myspace and Facebook the world already had more music than it knew what to do with. To all of a sudden give every garage and basement band the ability to record cheap, introduce it to the world, and promote themselves, you only make that pool of bands deeper and wider, making you an even smaller splash in the pond, haha. The competition is outrageous, and its over everyone’s nickels and dimes. In my lifetime I’ve watched it be a big deal to sell 10 million records and still have to compete with the other superstar next to you selling 10 million as well, and then have it flip flop to where stars are lucky to break 1 million. No one is buying music, and there is no “money” to be had in this world. You can transition all of that right back into good things, though, because if you’re not focused on making a quick buck from trends, then you will quickly see the bands that are fall off the map and venture into something different with their lives. In the time where the is no rock star, you start to see people doing something a bit more legitimate and true to their own hearts, and not something in the name of the almighty dollar.
So much good, so much bad, but the internet and spread of technology is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon, so we all better learn how to adapt, and find a happy medium with introducing it more and more into the way we conduct the band life.
Your first album, “We can create our own world” great work musically and great song names ie The Long Rain, No Particular Night or Morning, Questions For Which There Are No Answers. Sounds like popped up from a songwriter days – Bob Dylan etc… How did you decide the song names?
I really wish I had a super awesome answer for this question, but to be completely honest with you, I don’t! I know that sounds disappointing, I’m sorry. We were finishing up the album and actually on the way to a show in Binghamton, NY. We still hadn’t named any of our songs, and knew that we needed to think fast to really get something that was fitting. We brainstormed a bit, and when it came down to it, most of the song titles come from the Ray Bradbury book “The Illustrated Man”. The book is a bunch of short stories that tell a greater story, while all creating beautiful points in their own unique chapters. We felt there was a connect with that sort of idea from the book as was with our songs. These songs help to tell a bigger story of the idea of creating our own world, and yet each song has its own individual mood and mindset and point of its own. It ended up working out, so we went with it!
It flatters me that you mention Bob Dylan as I greatly admire a lot of his work, especially his early folk days. I have been quite entranced with following his history as of the last year, so I definitely thank you for saying that, more people really need to get behind and understand how awesome his early stuff really is!
Loved the artwork of the album, created by ###erica sperrazzo, how did you find her? Also, is this the same person who designed your t-shirts, which are also great?
Erica is a friend of ours from right here in our city! She is a student at Edinboro University, and actually has helped work with us on Broken Teeth Zine. We always really liked her work, and when it came time to start piecing together the album, we decided we would ask her and see if she wanted to help. When it came down to it, all we did was give her a copy of the cd, and tell her to create whatever she saw fit with the music. We aren’t here to dictate the artists that we work alongside with, just as we wouldn’t want to be dictated by others when we are creating. We work with people that we trust and people we know will put heart into their creations, not just working by the hour to create an image for some band they listened to for two seconds. We don’t want “big name” artists or anything like that, but friends of ours that we know have talent to rival these so called “big names.” What Erica created for the cover of the album was absolutely beautiful, and we’re proud to be getting it out and about, and spreading her name alongside ours across the world with this album! People forget how many different people go into making an album with a band. It’s not just about the musicians that create the music, but the artists, the recording engineers, the booking agents, the promoters, the internet helpers, etc. It’s all so important and all such a valuable piece of the puzzle. We always try to include friends and people we love and trust into every aspect of everything we do, rather than grasping for strangers that are far away or have some sort of name that we should be chasing. Too many bands get caught up in that garbage, when they are missing the true essence of community they could be creating all around them with every outlet they are looking for in the process of piecing together any aspect of band life.
I actually threw the shirts together, but Erica will be working on some shirt designs for us in the future! We always do small runs of each design with not many re-prints. We like to keep things fresh, so definitely expect to see more of her awesome artwork in our camp in the near future! She does a lot of her own stuff too, so be sure to look her up online and support what she is doing!
You are offering an anarchist cookbook in your band store, more cultural anarchism, much more beautiful world in my view (smiles) You say “we must reconstruct ourselves” in your Facebook page, do you think music can create a new world or does the music have same power as it had in 60’s or 70’s? Is there hope?
In all honesty, I don’t think music overall has very much to do with creating a new world, or reconstructing ourselves. Music is just one of many creative outlets that can be used to promote an idea, and bring people together under that idea. The creative outlet can only go so far, and after that, it is on the people’s shoulders to really dig in and communicate with and through one another to provoke serious change. Anyone can go to a show, listen to a band share ideas on the world, pick up literature on a wide array of topics and still not be doing anything to make any sort of difference. I think that almost goes alongside with the church idea of being a “pew sitter”, hahaha. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink, so on and so forth. The challenges put before us are no different than the 60’s and 70’s, no different than the 1800’s, they just look a little different on the outside. If people started to take things past the music, we could start to see some ground-breaking change. It has to start on a small, local scale. People have to start listening to and respecting one another. People have to start opening up and ask the tough questions about the world around them and their role in it. If we can begin to be honest with ourselves and with the people we love, the sooner we might be able to push forward into creating a different world. If we are able to do this, there is definitely hope for a brighter tomorrow!
Any chance to see you outside of the US, in Europe, in Istanbul maybe?
Absolutely! We would love to be able to get overseas as soon as possible, and if we keep the momentum up, we’ll hopefully be able to get over to Europe sometime later on next year. Thanks to people like yourselves, it will help us get the word out quicker about what we’re trying to do, which in turn will make is possible for us to cross the ocean a lot sooner! Everyone we talk to that has toured overseas says that Europe really understands whats going on, and feels so much better than touring the US. We are more than ready to experience this, and really hope that we will be able to be a part of your communities in the very near future!
Traditional Futuristika! question, what is your bedside albums/songs/films/books or magazines these days.
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the new Braveyoung and The Ascent of Everest albums. Both very solid releases, and very highly recommended! I was really excited for the new Dead Confederate and Colour Revolt albums, but have definitely been let down and disappointed by both of those. A picked up a variety of new and old zines on this last tour we did, the new issue of Fire to the Prisons has been the best read so far. I believe it is supposed to be their last issue as well, so that will be sad to see such a great publication go. We’re always watching a ton of different movies, but nothing too serious or substantial, haha. If we ever are watching movies we usually like to watch silly light-hearted ones, or classic 80’s/90’s films. One of my favorite reads this year has been Landmarks in the Desert by Kent Winslow from The Match! Anarchist publication in Arizona. Great read and you should pick one up if you can find a copy! I think that’s all that’s really coming to mind at the moment.
Thank you once again for the interview. Your zine is great, and you guys are definitely doing an amazing and important thing for your community. To all of those reading, we thank you for giving us a shot, and we hope to hear from you all soon. Check out www.deadhorse.bandcamp.com and you can listen to our entire new full length album in high quality, and then also pick up a digital download of the cd for only $7. The more of those we are able to sell, the sooner we can come and play in Turkey! Thank you once again, and until our paths cross, we hope you all stay well, get involved, make a change, and get passionate about something!