Disaster Committee - Interview with Pat Higgins
Pat Higgins - Bass/Vocals
Lee Tarczynski - Guitar/Vocals
BJ Clements - Guitar
Chris Fanny - Drums
H: Well good morning, my dude! Thank you for sharing a little bit about the sick sounds of Disaster Committee. I'm listening to your tracks as we speak and I'm stoked to learn more.
Tell me about how you guys came to be Disaster Committee, and what you bring to it that's all your own.
Pat Higgins: Lee Tarczynski (guitar/vocals), BJ Clements (guitar) and myself (bass/vocals) all knew each other from way back. BJ and I used to be in a band and we used to play with Lee's band all the time. We had all quit playing music for a while but got the itch to start again after my wife, April started a new band (Butterscotch Grim) and we were going to her shows. In 2011, the three of us got together and began writing some songs, sans drummer shortly after that. One night at a Butterscotch Grim show, our friend Todd introduced us to Chris Fanny, who plays drums. We all got together, clicked and recorded an EP shortly after that. Lee and I are both also in other bands - Victory Boy and Feral Ponies respectively.
What we bring that's all our own are four very different personalities, life experiences and musical influences. The reason that it works are the similarities, common musical language and being able to hang out as friends.
H: What would you say are some of the biggest musical influences to your collective sound?
PH: Collectively, I wouldn't say it's any particular band. The common thread for all of us is generally 80s and 90s punk and hardcore. That usually lays the starting framework for whatever we're working on, then somehow the individual influences and ideas make their way in as the song progresses.
H: I can definitely hear the base of punk and hardcore, but I must say that no two songs sound too alike - consistent, but unique. What can you tell me about the "common musical language" you mentioned, and your writing process?
PH: The "common musical language" would be things that we all picked up along the way from enjoying punk and hardcore music. Song structure, tempo, chord progressions, etc. For me, what makes a song interesting (and the reason that no two songs sound alike) are the little differences in influences that come through.
If you listen to the end of "Plugged In" on our record, Seeing Red, there are two back-to-back guitar solos. The first is Lee doing this surfy kind of "Trashmen meets Chuck Berry" thing then BJ comes in and does his "Carlos Santana meets Eddie Van Halen" thing. Then underneath it all, Chris and I have a Clash inspired rhythm thing holding it down. But it's always a different little detail from each person in each song.
For the most part, the writing is a very equal process where everyone gets a voice. It could be one person that's got a single riff, we work out the song right there at practice and everyone writes their own part. It could be a single person coming to practice with a finished demo song and says, "Here's the song. This is what I'm thinking it should sound like, but if you have a different or better idea for your part, let's try it." Once we have the instrumental parts of a song done Lee and I will get together to write the lyrics. Then we try it at practice and adjust when necessary. Rinse and repeat.
H: Rad - very well put! It sounds like you guys work really well together. What would you say inspires you to write? Are there any common themes or messages in your music?
PH: Thanks! Yeah, I'd like to think we work well together. It definitely helps that we're all friends who trust and respect each other's strengths, weaknesses and opinions.
Common messages in our music are usually socio-political. Sometimes it's heavy stuff like income inequality (The Missing Middle), government corruption (Puppet Show) or whistle blowers (Dead Man). Other times it's about stupid people (Idiocracy) or video game violence (Game Over).
H: Nice - those ideas definitely come through each song, poignant and relevant as ever. Personally, I really enjoyed Shipwrecked and its progression from the first recording to the second. Do you guys as a band have any favorite songs to perform, or any favorite shows of memory?
PH: Thanks, that one has always been one of our favorites! By the time we were making the next record the song had grown and changed a bit, so we decided to re-record it.
Favorite songs to play live...That's a tough one. BJ says any song that we don't fuck up is his favorite - haha! I think there's something to that, but you can also flub a small part and make up for it in terms of energy and playing it like you mean it. Right now we're all pretty excited about the new batch of songs that will be on the next record. There's one called "Murdertown" that has a really fun bass solo that I get to play, so I'm a little biased towards that one.
As far as favorite shows, our first one (Aug. 2012) stands out because it had been a while since any of us played live. Every show we've played over the past five years has some sort of story attached to it. The Troc, Mojo Main, Desmond's, The Wagon Wheel, Raidfest...It's always an adventure.
H: HAHA I love it - you're right, being genuine and creating that hype energy gives any flubs character - or maybe the flubs give the energy character. What are the future plans for Disaster Committee? When do you estimate the new record to be recorded and/or available?
PH: Future plans are to keep playing shows, keep writing new songs and keep having fun. We have a ton of new music that we're working on right now and I'm hoping we can get it all recorded this fall. It's still a little early for a release date at this point. I did design a new shirt that we'll have at our shows starting this Friday night though.
H: Awesome! I'm glad to hear it, and I love the existing designs so I can only imagine the new shirt will be just as rad.
FINAL QUESTION! And definitely the most relevant and important...
Toilet paper, over or under?
PH: Haha! Wrapped around my hand like a mummy.
H: HAHAHAHAHA, that's the best! Well, I hope to get a chance to hit up one of your live shows soon. It's been great talking to you, my friend. Cheers!
PH: Thanks, hopefully we'll see ya soon! Good talking to you too!