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A Dirty Dozen with STEVEN MANDELL from AMERICAN STANDARDS – February 2023

| 3 February 2023 | Reply

In advance of American Standards’ upcoming EP DOPAMINE DEALER being released on 02/03/23, we get bassist Steven 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?

Our latest release is “The Vagrant.” It’s the third single off our new EP entitled DOPAMINE DEALER. Something someone might not catch the first few times listening to the song is that we always secretly put at least one triangle hit in every song. We’ve done this since I joined the band in 2014 and we recorded Hungry Hands.

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

Growing up, my brother played guitar and my cousin David was in a band called Pack of Wise. I kind of just had this gut feeling that one day I was going to be in a band. The two of them playing guitar made me believe that I could somehow just pick one up and be able to play, but I was very wrong and that’s why I play bass.

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

Around the age of 13, I started listening to more Metal and Punk/Hardcore. Hearing the song “Arcarsenal” by At The Drive-In at a friends house after he downloaded it off of Limewire when it first came out in the year 2000 blew my mind. I recall soon after catching them perform “One Armed Scissor” on the Conan O’Brien show and I remember them jumping all over the place and how wild they were when they were performing. That specific performance is what made me actually pursue learning an instrument.

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

I personally would want to work with Ross Robinson. He’s produced some of my favorite albums by some of my favorite bands like Slipknot, Glassjaw, Korn, The Blood Brothers, Deftones, and At The Drive-In.

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 always searching the internet and checking out new music. If I’m not on a specific bands Spotify radio, I’m on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook checking out bands.

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?

The blanket term I usually use for us is Metal. One step above that is I’ll tell people that we’re a bunch of dudes who grew up mainly listening to Nu-Metal that write Punk music. To broaden that even further, I personally lump us into the Hardcore/Thrash style. Whenever someone who doesn’t really know much of the “genre” we play, and they compare us to Metallica, I always laugh.

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?

I feel like we all equally get some drinks in while we hang out. Everyone likes to cook when they’re home, but I for sure order take out the most. The first to grab an acoustic usually is Brandon. He’s always throwing out riffs and ideas for us to build on.

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

I’ve been playing in bands since I was 13. I am now 35. After I went to my first warped tour in 2002 and had the chance to meet a lot of bands there, something clicked to me and I was like “Woah. They’re just normal people too” and I no longer had that “Celebrities are better/cooler than me” mentality. I will admit though, that time AmStan opened for Every Time I Die and they all shot the shit with us at the merch table after they played, and even getting a few drinks with some of them at the bar afterwards was really rad.

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?

The best part of being a musician to me is just being able to travel and meet new people and see new places. I personally love touring. Living in a smelly van with some of my best friends and getting all gross and sweaty every night then jumping back into that smelly van and having to travel anywhere from 6 to 12 hours to the next show just to do it all over again and again has always been a (strange) dream of mine. If I couldn’t be a musician anymore for whatever reason, for some reason I always wanted to grow up to be a butcher.

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?

Anything about the bass. It could be anything from “how do you get your tone?” to “what kind of strings do you use” or even “how was your day”. Bassists almost never get any love, and Brandon hates me. On the other end, I’m actually not tired of answering any specific question. I’m just glad someone is even asking us questions still!

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?

I don’t think it’s much of a misstep, but I wish I would have “come out of my shell” sooner than I have. For a long time I kind of still felt the butterflies as if I was still the new guy. Eventually I woke up one day and said to myself “stop focusing on messing up, and just have fun with it”. That being said, I admit that my playing has not improved. Brandon will agree with me.

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?

I’m going to cheat at split my answer into 2 responses. 1 – If I could be a fly on the wall and just observe a band recording, I’d pick Nevermind by Nirvana. Being someone who basically taught themselves guitar and learned that entire album by ear once I discovered what a bar chord was, I would love to see the recording process they went through at the legendary Sound City Studios. 2 – My second response would be to somehow be involved in the recording process of I Brought You My Bullets, Your Brought Me Your Love by My Chemical Romance. The debut album by MCR that was produced by one of my all time favorite lyricist/vocalists, Geoff Rickly of Thursday, was another album that really molded my musical taste as a kid.





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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