Behind Punk is a D.I.Y. punk blog/fanzine/record label based out of Moscow

We need to focus on positive change in the world, and it starts with our scene and the people within it. More hugs, less shrugs!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Interview with Mickey of Nervosas

 Hey guys, long time no see. I’m so happy to finally be posting this interview (first for the year!). I won't do my usual thing where I rave for way too long about bands that I already love.  I already love Nervosas. 
  I probably listened to them latest record at least 8 times on the ride home and I must say it is amazing. Listen to it, download it, buy it. 
Thanks to Mickey who was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions. 

Hey Mickey, how are you doing?

Hey I’m well! Currently in the van on the way to New York City with Nervosas. Somewhere in New Jersey right now. Nick is navigating and fishing through tapes while Jeff is driving and making sure we don’t get lost. I get to sit in the back, eat munchos and do this! 

First off, introduce yourself and members of the band:

Nervosas is: 
Jeff Kleinman: bass guitar & vocals
Nick Schuld: drums
Mickey Marie (that’s me!): guitar and vocals

So, tell me how Nervosas originally came together?

Nervosas became a band in 2011 when Jeff and I were fresh in love and our previous projects had ended. I went to a guitar show and found this old rocktek chorus pedal that sounded fucking nuts. I started playing around with it in Jeff’s room and he picked up his bass and then we just started writing songs. I was suffering from severe anxiety, depression and a string of other medical problems during this time including vocal nodules from singing in my old band New Creases. I had damaged my voice so badly I could not talk well for months. I could barely work and was unraveling in every way until I got on medication and started playing music with Jeff. He helped me channel my despair in Nervosas.  All of his baselines made my weird guitar noodlings make sense and his voice just gave me the chills. I couldn’t sing but it didn’t matter because he has the voice I had always wanted anyway. 

When we discussed drummers, he mentioned a guy I did not know named Nick who is known as one of the best drummers in Columbus. Jeff was uneasy about it because he didn’t know Nick too well and heard all kinds of crazy stories. Nick is 10+ years older than both of us and has played in Gaunt, Beano, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and other well known Columbus bands since the early 90s. During our first practice I was blown away at his skill and style and loved his personality. He knows so much about music, he is the MVP of Nervosas in so many ways, especially when it comes to the band’s vision. When I want to know about a band, I don’t look on the internet, I ask Nick. 

What’s your experience been like with Let’s Pretend and Meth Mouth records? How do you adapt to downloading music illegally? Do you support downloading music? How do you think small bands make a profit? 

Our experience with Let’s Pretend and Meth Mouth records has been very positive. The owners are friends of ours and we haven’t had any problems selling records despite illegal downloading. I do not have a problem with people illegally downloading music. That’s how I got into punk, unfortunately. I grew up in a small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio and didn’t live near record stores. I went on message boards and used napster to find out about bands. When I was able to drive, I started to go to shows and really wanted to buy music from the bands to support them. All of the bands I liked were putting out records, so I started to buy records and stopped downloading. I think that downloading music and bootlegging tapes is cool and necessary because punk music should be accessible and shared. But if you have the means, and you really want to support your scene and punk rock in general, buy the records. Small bands often pay for everything themselves and work shit jobs just like everyone else. The only way we can sustain ourselves is by selling our records and playing out of town shows. And creating those records and getting to those shows costs money! Nervosas is lucky because we break even and have a little left over to pour into the next record, shirt printing, tour, etc. We still pay for the upkeep of all our instruments, amps, and van ourselves.

Can you name a band that inspired you to play music? 

There were so many bands in Cleveland that inspired me to play music but I would say Delay inspired me the most. They helped build a significant era of the DIY scene in Cleveland and then Columbus when I first moved here at age 17. They were a huge influence on me. 

Could you please talk about your involvement in the DIY punk community, how you got involved and how it affects your lives? (putting out your music, going on tours and playing shows, etc)

I was first introduced to the DIY scene when I was 17 years old. I went to see Alkaline Trio at the Agora in Cleveland and afterward my friend convinced me to come with him to see this band 9 Shocks Terror at this show spaced called the Tower. I walked into this old storefront type building and up the stairs to a room full of punk kids drinking and yelling at each other. There was a woman running the show and I immediately thought she was the coolest person I had ever met. When 9 Shocks Terror started, kids went fucking crazy and it was the most violent, insane shit I had ever witnessed up until that point in being a punk. A plunger was thrown at my face and I didn’t care at all. I couldn’t believe that something so cool and liberating could be happening outside of a shitty bar / big music club and run by punks themselves. There were no macho door guys, security guards, or rules of any kind. I fell in love immediately and finally felt like I belonged somewhere. 

I moved to Columbus that year and after a year in college dormitories, I moved into my first punk house the Legion of Doom. That house has been hosting all-ages punk shows since the mid-80s. I made friends with older punks who started the monthly DIY calendar that listed all the shows happening outside of bars and venues, it was called CSBYS (Columbus Sucks Because You Suck). It sounds negative, but really it was just a saying that meant “Get off your ass and do something cool for your scene because if you suck then Columbus does too.” After a few months, I decided to start my own house, which had actually been a punk house previously. My friends and I resurrected it and kept the old name 15th House. For three years I booked all kinds of shows there - punk, hardcore, metal, pop punk, grind, noise, folk pop, anything. It was an exhilarating, nerve wracking and thankless job. But my housemates and all of the friends I made in the process were so worth it. 

Being apart of the DIY scene helped me network with touring bands who liked my band and wanted to book us in their cities. All of my bands’ tours are booked by me and my band mates because that’s what makes sense. Nervosas does not limit ourselves to the DIY scene in Columbus but we are a DIY band in many ways. Nick records all of our music, Jeff creates all of our artwork, we screen print all of our t shirts, tape covers, record sleeves. On the 2XLP we screen printed the 4th side of every record. We book our own out of town shows and consistently book DIY bands in Columbus, giving them at least $100, food and a place to stay. 

Do you think it’s necessary for independent musicians and bands to have a form of ethics? 

Of course I think all punk and independent bands should subscribe to a code of ethics involving the interactions we have with each other, our audiences, our communities and the “music business.” I could write pages about all of the ethics I believe in but I’ll save you from that. I think local punk and independent bands need to support touring acts whenever possible. Take money only when there is plenty to go around. Make sure your scene is accessible to all kinds of people and challenge all forms of discrimination you encounter at shows. Make your music cheap and accessible and leave your pretentiousness at home. 

How is the Ohio scene? Any acts we’ve been unfortunately overlooking?

The Columbus, Ohio music scene is doing well. There are a lot of good touring acts being booked and great locals supporting those bills. Local bands are putting out excellent releases, touring and even getting signed. We have great venues and longstanding DIY house show spots. My only gripe with the Columbus, Ohio scene is that it’s fractured. There is a lack of unity and everything has become so cliquey. We’re too much of a small city for that. 
Currently active Columbus bands you should check out: Goners, Pink Reason, Messrs, Connections, Tight Bros, Pretty Pretty, Nukkehammer, All Dogs, WVWHITE, Anna Ranger, Sex Tide, Artillery Breath, Delay, The Sidekicks, and so many more!
Columbus Bands from the past you should check out: Gaunt, New Bomb Turks, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Times New Viking, Great Plains, Vile Gash, Necropolis

What are some of your biggest influences outside of music?

Love, regret, personal and political frustration influence most of my songwriting. Though sometimes I wonder if I’m writing the music or if the music is writing me. The thought of playing guitar when I can’t just gnaws at me. I don’t know where that feeling comes from, I’ve had it since I can remember. Sometimes writing lyrics is like throwing up where the words are forced out of me and I have to release them in order to feel better. I have many outside influences but really I play to stay sane. 

Thanks for the interview; I hope it wasn’t too painful! Any last words/wishes?