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A Dirty Dozen with BRANDON KELLUM from AMERICAN STANDARDS – December 2022

| 25 December 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “American Standards just released a new single titled “The Dealer” from their upcoming EP Dopamine Dealer which is being released 02/03/23. The song, which was premiered by Lambgoat, plays off Doris Day’s 1950s song “Que Sera, Sera” while incorporating themes of perseverance through self doubt. High energy, raw and full of emotion, our goal is to connect with an audience that is looking for something with depth in heavy music. Sometimes strong emotions can make you lose focus. That’s not the case for Arizona based metallic hardcore band, American Standards. After losing their guitarist to suicide and shortly after the vocalists father to cancer, the band founded in 2011 released their most emotional and socially poignant album to date. Now more focused than ever, American Standards has hit the road playing shows with bands such as Knocked Loose, Stray From The Path, Comeback Kid, ‪Every Time I Die‬, Zao, and Norma Jean. Their mantra; “Don’t wait for things to happen. Make them happen.” Heralded by Metal Injection as “one of strongest bands in the realm of hardcore and metalcore this year” and with features on Alternative Press, Decibel, Lambgoat and Revolver, people are beginning to take notice.” We get singer Brandon to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I think the first and more obvious thing is that the single is a spin on Doris Day’s song “Que Sera, Sera” first released in the 1950s. I love the songs message of not worrying about what you can’t change but wanted to challenge the notion of leaving it up to “fate”. In our version “The Dealer,” it pushes the listener to own their path, preserving through both external adversities and internal self doubt. The music video is also full of Easter eggs. It starts with the main character saying to their therapist, “the shadow is behind me at the edge of every light”, which is a line from our song “Cancer Eater” (2017). There is a lot of subtly that slowly builds throughout, but you may not notice if you don’t know what to look for. For example, the shawdowy figure is not only in the background but sometimes just barely visible at the edge of several scenes. Some of the items from the main characters “world” also slowly start to appear in the performance shots of the band. I wanted this to be something that makes you want to go back and really dig into it.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Music has always been there but to start, it was more of what my older brother listened to. It wasn’t till the early 2000’s that I started getting into stuff like Rage Against The Machine, System Of A Down and Refused. I think it was both the message and the energy that they delivered it with that made me want to do it myself.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

There were a lot of stepping stones along the way. Starting off on guitar, I think I learned the first two System Of A Down albums in their entirety. I then basically thought that was enough to start writing on my own. I remember when I first heard Alexisonfire’s self titled album and that really shaped my way of writing. I also always admired  the creative lyrics from vocals like Aaron Weiss (MewithoutYou) and Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die).

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Eric Nally from Foxy Shazam would be awesome. Dudes got a voice, personality and stage presence that’s unmatched. Would also love to collaborate with Skuff Mickson. Great indie/spoken word artist doing really high energy, genuinely heart felt music.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I’m a big foodie so traveling and trying new things is my passion. Also love playing retro video games and hanging with my pup.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

For the casual music fan, we’re usually just a “heavy” version of whatever mainstream metal band they’ve heard of. Heavy Nirvana or Metallica are things I’ve literally had to say out loud.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Damn, I feel like I might be all three.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I once met the gecko from the Geico commercials.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Best part is honestly just hanging out with old friends and meeting new people. It’s wild to play somewhere and see people that have been coming to our shows for the better part of the last decade. Dream job would be something like Anthony Bourdain was doing. Just traveling, eating and learning about other cultures.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Can’t think of much that we haven’t been asked but if I never got asked how we got the band name again, it’d be too soon.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

We’ve made countless mistakes. They all led us to here though, so I can’t complain.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

First that comes to mind is Hot Damn by Every Time I Die. Would love to be a fly on the wall for those writing sessions. Dudes were young as hell and writing some of the most technical and lyrically thought provoking music.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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