I didn’t know much about It’s Casual until just a couple of weeks ago when I caught the duo on a killer bill with Negative Approach and DYS at Alex’s Bar. I knew what to expect from the hardcore legends from Detroit and Boston, but holy shit. The local skate rockers not only held their own but totally ruled with their full-on aggro (yet smart) blasts of metalic (yet fun) brand of SST-informed hardcore. I confirmed my suspicions a week later when they played a furious in-store at Vacation Vinyl to promote a rad limited-edition split 7″ single with Early Man.
Meanwhile, Eddie and I chitchatted after each show and he began responding to some of the photos and reviews that I was posting online. One thing led to another, and here’s a (yup) casual Q&A with one of my new favorite bands and dudes. If you make it to the end, there’s an exclusive MP4 waiting for you.
MW: It was rad that you played after DYS and before NA the other week at Alex’s Bar. You can tell me: Were you really stuck in traffic? Eating Cambodian food down the street while the ex-straight edgers were getting tanked?
ES: I really was stuck on the 710. That’s the truth. I just got a new van so I can get myself out of state for touring situations and, boy oh boy, did I ever get a cosmic beatdown from the universe. Oh, the irony!
I had not driven myself to a gig in so long until that show on 6.22.12, and since the inception of this year 2012, I have been receiving tons of press and recognition for the track, “The Red Line,” and its video directed by Rick Kosick. There is a line in the song that says, “The freeways are not so nice.” Well, that evening I left the Southern Lord office in Hollywood after work, went to my rehearsal space in North Hollywood to load my gear, and took the 101 south to the 5 south to the 710 south. Once I entered onto the 710, the freeway closed. I was stuck on it for 2 hours and 45 minutes because of a chemical spill.
I have had 7 months of consistent press for me, which stems from a great video and catchy line about the freeways being horrible. The score is as it stands is It’s Casual – 90, The Freeways – 1. Let ‘em have one point.
MW: It’s crazy, but The New Los Angeles is already 5 years old. How has your experience in L.A. changed since then? Any topics that you’d revise or even change your stance on?
ES: Well, yes. The New Los Angeles 1: Through The Eyes of a Bus Rider is based on the things I see via my everyday commute via public transportation in Los Angeles. Very soon there will be The New Los Angeles 2: Less Violence More Violens. The title is the lead track of the record, and what it basically says is because schools lack funds to facilitate the music after-school programs there will be a percentage of kids that will resort to violence as an outlet.
MW: “Too Many Kids” is my favorite song on the first New Los Angeles LP because it doesn’t simply gripe about brats or overpopulation. It tells deadbeat parents to take care of their children, and I don’t think most metal or punk bands go that deep.
ES: Thank you. Yes, it is indeed that. I wrote it because one day I was on the bus. Sitting all the way in the back, I saw what appeared to be a young couple of the El Lay gang culture–basically a cholo and a chola–get on with four kids. The mother was paying bus fair and the father was sitting down playing a handheld video game system, and not paying attention to where his kids were. Once the bus took off, all the kids went flying down the isle and ate shit. Seemed like there was a lack of child care going on there. Not to mention all the kids had dirty faces and were holding McDonald’s Happy Meals.
The lyrics go:
Kids too many kids you got kids
Take care of your kids
You gotta feed your kids
Where are your kids
Clean your kids
MW: Working at SST and Southern Lord makes total sense when I look at your resume/wikipedia. But Priority was kind of a shock because they’re known for releasing NWA, Eazy E, and Ice Cube. Then I recalled that they released some King Diamond and Armored Saint. What was that office like? The idea of heshers and rappers getting along is really cool, but it’s probably just an office like any other….
ES: The staff did not reflect the big label’s eclectic roster of releases. It was business as usual, but fresh dominated the hesh!
MW: Is it ever a struggle having your day gig in music while keeping It’s Casual going? Does that part of your brain or your ears ever need a rest or quiet?
ES: Never. I am so passionate about music. My day job allows me to manufacture it, sell it, get paid on it, and promote it. I listen to it, read about it, and always write tunes. It is in me and a constant work in progress.
MW: And now you’ve got another band, Matador, which just released a new LP. Can you tell me how that fits into your super busy life? Where does that leave It’s Casual at the moment?
ES:Yes, Matador is great. I am a co-founder of the band and play bass. I took on this vision of the band as a challenge. It is a hard rock rock band en español. I mean, why would I do two It’s Casuals? The debut self-released record is only out digitally right now, but Apple’s iTunes felt it was worthy of being featured on the rock page alongside KISS, Linkin Park, and Rush.
The record was tracked by Bobby Brooks (Michael Jackson, Def Leppard, P.O.D.). Rob Halford’s guitarist Roy Z mixed it, and he has worked with everyone from Sepultura to Malmsteen. And mastering duties was none other than Maor Appelbaum. He masters a lot of Roy Z’s mixes and has worked with Sepultera and Malmsteen as well, so we went with him.
My life is music and this is what I signed up for. That being said, there will be time for both. Thank god for coffee!
You can check out It’s Casual and Matador online here and here. And don’t forget the unreleased track from the It’s Casual sessions with Billy Anderson (Melvins, Neurosis, High on Fire, Jawbreaker) that were recorded in December 2011 and isn’t slated to be released until August 2012 as a 7″ single: Forgive Me mix4M. See you in the pit or on the Red Line!