Santa Barbara’s Downpresser have recently released a hell of a record via 6131 Records, which is currently Album of the Month. Plenty of reason to ask vocalist Dan Weinraub some questions about the writing and producing process for Don’t Need A Reason, the absence of a new release for three years and plans to tour Europe. Check it!
Introduce your band by choice of color and include your reasoning why.
“I suppose I would describe Downpresser as a dark blue. I think that’s a good color.”
It took two EP’s and three years of writing and recording to present debut full length album “Don’t Need a Reason”. Can you elaborate on this process?
“In the time after “Age of Ignorance” was released we had nowhere to practice. Our rehearsal space until that point was our bassist’s mom’s garage and when she moved across town we had to find a new spot. We were all pretty much living paycheck to paycheck at that point and practice spaces in Santa Barbara are extremely expensive. We would jam wherever we could whenever possible but without a designated place of our own it was a pretty frustrating situation. Our original drummer quit on us two weeks before a full U.S. tour in 2011, we parted ways with our second drummer a little over a year ago, and are now able to practice in our current drummer’s garage but it was still tough to get everyone together to write/rehearse with some members living as far as six hours from each other. All of that combined with the fact that we didn’t want to put out anything that we weren’t 100% happy with led to the long span between records.”
After this extensive process, how are your feelings towards releasing the final product now?
“We’re extremely pleased with and proud of the album. It wasn’t our intention to keep people waiting around for this record but that’s just the way things worked out.”
Do you feel Downpresser is in its full form right now?
“I think the songs on the new album are the perfect evolution of our previous material and we all feel really good about where we are today as a band and the music we’re playing. As far as whether or not we’re in “full form” at this point, only time will tell.
Downpresser took quite a different direction regarding the artwork for this release.”
Can you explain how the artwork for “Don’tNeed a Reason” came to being? What’s the story behind it?
“I wish we could take the credit for the cover art but it all belongs to our friend Jonathan Buske. When I saw it for the first time it hit me really hard and I knew that it was exactly what we were going for aesthetically. It’s dark and fits a lot of the lyrical themes of the record (isolation, struggle, pain, etc.) perfectly.”
How have the reactions to the new album been so far?
“The reactions have been overwhelming. From old fans to new I think the general consensus is that it was worth the wait.”
Downpresser has been around for a while now. Could you elaborate on the current state of the Hardcore scene? How does your local scene fit into that picture?
“Hardcore in southern California is in a real boom right now. Santa Barbara only has a couple venues for punk shows but there are always great shows down south (Rock City in Camarillo, Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park, Aladdin Jr.’s in Pomona). There are great new bands popping up every day. We’re trying to get more shows up in our area too but I think a big part of the scene up here feels like they’re too punk for our brand of hardcore and they don’t exactly jump at the chance to throw us on a bill or let us book a show at their venues. Hopefully that will change soon.”
What news items or recent events speak to you, and why?
“A big hot-button issue in the U.S. right now is mass shootings and gun control. I’m a gun owner and while I’m far from being a “gun nut” I do think these tragedies are a symptom of a much larger problem. We should be focusing on identifying and exploring what are obviously severe mental disconnects in the brains of the people behind these shootings; instead we’re mostly getting knee-jerk reactions from the media and the populace crying out for stricter gun regulations. If guns were not available, people would find other ways to wreak havoc and take lives as long as whatever sickness driving them to do so goes untreated.”
Which bands would you recommend to our readers?
“Fell To Low, Out of Time, Survival (AUS), Bent Life, Outsiders Code, Halftime.”
When can we expect Downpresser to tour Europe?
“As soon as someone can put us in touch with a quality promoter!”