Being New Yorkers, Massachussetts generally reminds us of sports teams we’d like to see die in horrific plane crashes, tea parties in loin cloths and an unrepentant mutilation of the letter R. New Bedford, Massachusetts own A Wilhelm Scream is one of the bright marks in an otherwise spotty relationship we have with our countrymen to the east. I had a chance to speak with vocalist Nuno Pereira about their upcoming album, marijuana cigarettes and the difficulty of being in a punk rock band in 2012.
Brian: Your last release was an EP that came out in 2009 on Paper and Plastick Records. Since then, there has been much anticipation for new material from you guys. I recently saw you at Bogies in Albany, NY and you played a few new songs that fucking shred. What’s the outlook on a new release at this point?
Nuno: Well, let me just start by saying that I, maybe more than anyone, can’t fucking wait to release this record. The actual music/vocals are all done. From my understanding we’re just waiting to get the record mixed and mastered at the Blasting Room, and then we’ll be at the mercy of artwork/record label business. So, short answer..it’s done when it’s done.
Brian: As your albums have progressed, especially from Career Suicide forward, the music has evolved into a faster, angrier sound. Do the new songs continue that tradition?
Nuno: I think as a group we write songs that relate to our situations. If the times are tough, songs get angry, if its personal stuff then the songs are a bit more cathartic. Musically speaking my dudes are always getting better, that will be heard on the new record. So get ready for some riffage and maybe bring a new pair of undies. ha.
Brian: I was listening to the Benefits of Thinking Out Loud the other day and I consider the change in sound between the Champagne Of Bands, to a smaller degree Benefits and then ultimately Mute Print to be one of the most dramatic changes a band I know of has gone through. What do you attribute it to?
Nuno: Again, the band is always trying to push the envelope of our musical limits and that lends itself to progress. When we were young we wrote songs that spoke to what we were going through then. As we grew older and learned new ways to do our thing we would apply those lessons from record to record. Also, recording at the Blasting Room really lit a fire under our asses.
Brian: You’ve been together for well over a decade, write challenging, complex music and tour often. What’s the secret to keeping the band fresh and not wanting to stab each other?
Nuno: Marijuana cigarettes.
Brian: When I saw you guys in Albany, you did a Smackin Isaiah song. What are the odds of hearing more S.I. in live sets? And have you ever considered rerecording some of the S.I. songs?
Nuno: Sometimes it’s fun to dig up the old tunes and jam. Honestly though i just want to play new shit. To answer your second question, we have batted around the idea of “re-mastering” the old shit. Time will tell.
Brian: You guys are playing the Belvedere reunion in May! As soon as I heard those guys were reuniting the first thing I thought was A.W.S. would be perfect for that shit. Do you consider Belvedere an influence on your sound?
Nuno: Those dudes were good friends of ours, still are. We love their sound and although i don’t think they influenced our sound per se, I would say that as far as musical peers go they’re top notch and we can’t fucking wait to get together with those dudes again.
Brian: Who would you consider to be the biggest influences on your sound?
Nuno: Everyone in the band has their own influences. For me personally I would say Propagandi, Bad Religion, and lately Buju Banton and Thin Lizzy.
Brian: If you could resurrect one defunct band to do a tour with, who would it be?
Nuno: Great question! I would have to say Operation Ivy or Thin Lizzy..do all the members have to be alive? If so, I take back Thin Lizzy and replace them with ummm…..Fugazi?
Brian: Speaking of Op Ivy, Lookout Records announced recently they were shutting down after many years as a staple label in the punk scene and despite releasing several classic albums. Although in this one case it’s hardly a surprise, it’s not at all an isolated occurance. How do you feel the collapse and closure of so many punk rock and underground labels has effected the way albums are made and released today?
Nuno: It sure is tough these days to do this punk rock band shit. everyone that has put years of blood, sweat, tears, and cash into it knows that. It’s my firm belief that making music can never be about the short term gains that some bands are looking for. The idea that a group or a label can “blow up” over night by signing the right band or playing a certain “mainstream” sound is fucking retarded. It’s this kind of capitalist mentality that crushes the smaller bands/labels. Having said that, I love that bands are now releasing their own albums and are having success doing so. I also believe that in time the labels that care about our scene will continue to grow and discover new bands to get hyped about.
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