Here at NationalUnderground.org, we are excited. Specifically about a month called October and a day we call Halloween that kicks off The Fest. We figure you’re probably as excited as we are, so we talked to as many Fest bands as possible to ask them questions about the Fest, and also to see what is going on in punk rock right now. We’ll be releasing these interviews weekly starting now and continuing until the Fest. We’re kicking off with a New Mexican Disaster Squad interview, and because this is our first week of interviews, we’ve decided to release a new one every day. Keep checking back to see more interviews from bands like Sakes Alive!!!, Benard, O Pioneers, Ninja Guns, North Lincoln, and many others. Without further ado, here’s our interview with Alex of NMDS.
When did you first hear about the Fest and what bands got you excited about going to it/playing it?
We’ve actually played the Fest every year. We totally lucked out because we’ve known Tony forever, and we live in Florida so it’s always easy for us to make the two hour drive. As for who got me excited that year, it was a lonnnng time ago. I can’t even remember who played!
Are there any bands that you’re excited to see this year, either on tour or at The Fest?
Well the lineup isn’t officially announced yet, but I’ve heard rumors that I’ll be seeing some of the bands we have toured with in the past there. Seeing bros you haven’t seen in a while is always great.
What’s your favorite show you’ve played, either on tour or at the Fest?
The last two Fest shows we’ve played are kind of a toss up. Both were at the Atlantic, and both were riddled with stoked kids. It was awesome to be playing in front of a bunch of our friends from all over. As for outside of the Fest, our first show in France was on a boat on some river and it is one of my favorite memories ever.
And your favorite show you’ve seen?
There’s no way I can answer this. Too many shows and too much fun to pick a favorite.
What do you think about the albums that have come out this year?
New Lexicon by Paint it Black is fucking awesome.
Are you excited about any albums that are still to come this year?
I’ve heard Dead to Me recorded some new songs recently. I really want to see that come out this year.
How much has the cost of gasoline had an effect on touring for you this year?
For NMDS it hasn’t effected us that much. We didn’t plan on doing much touring this year. However, it’s frightening to think that when we do go on tour again it’s going to be that much more expensive to fill up a shitty gas guzzling van. It’s hard to justify raising show and merch costs to a bunch of broke kids, but there will be a breaking point where a 5 dollar show becomes impossible for bands to do.
With that in mind, what changes do you see coming to the way people will tour in the future?
I’ve known bands who are already sharing vans with their tour mates instead of both taking their own vehicles. It takes away from their comfort, but it offsets the raise in gas prices somewhat when both bands are chipping in for expenses on the same ride.
Is your band planning on playing house shows while in Gainesville?
We’ll play anywhere someone will have us at the Fest. That is as long as we can find Sam and lift him out of whichever gutter he happens to be passed out in.
How do you get prepared to come to The Fest?
Lots of Kegel exercises.
How are you preparing for the aftermath of the Fest this year?
The Fest ends the day before my birthday, so I will be partying even harder after it’s over.
Any advice for the kids coming to see your set?
Start a circle pit. It is good exercise and it makes you look awesome.
What changes would you like to see more of in the way venues operate?
I wish every person could see every band they want to see. It sucks when people show up a little late and the show is at capacity. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way around that happening. The venues have to enforce the rules so they don’t get shut down by the fire marshall and so no one gets smothered to death. I have much respect for any venue that puts up with the insanity of the Fest.
On a similar topic, what changes would you like to see in the way albums are recorded and distributed?
I think Paper and Plastick is sort of setting the standard for what the future of music distribution will be. I like the idea of buying the vinyl and having it come with a digital download card to put the songs on an ipod or burn a cd. I like holding records and looking at the artwork in a bigger format, so I’m happy with the resurgence in vinyl collecting.
Do you feel like digital releases, an increasing trend in the last few years, will eventually supplant physical mediums like CDs and vinyl?
Nothing can replace vinyl, there will always be vinyl collectors. CDs? I could definitely see that.
If you attended/played the Fest last year, what was the highlight of the weekend for you?
Municipal Waste and their awesome set and even more awesome outfits.
When you’re on the road what’s your favorite city to play in?
Cave 9 in Birmingham Alabama. It’s not really a club, it’s more DIY than that. Great people work there, and we have a lot of great friends in that city. Every time we play there I get stoked.
How many stage dives would you like to see at your set this year?
I want people to be stage diving before we even start the set. I want to see someone stage dive off of my face.
What is your favorite thing about attending/playing at the Fest?
Seeing friends from all over congregate in our lovely state. Walking around feels like a family reunion.
What would you do differently if you ran the Fest?
I think Tony is doing an AWESOME job. There is nothing I would change. It’s my favorite weekend of the year for the past 6 years, and I hope there will be at least 6 more. I want to be playing NMDS sets at the Fest when I’m 70 years old.
Thanks a lot!
Check back tomorrow for awesome new interviews,