With the announcement of a new Bone Dance record came an overwhelming sense of excitement for me. This year has brought some killer heavy records from acts like Cattle Decapitation, Gaza, Death of Self and now Bone Dance. Bone Dance are a hardcore band from Idaho whose collection of abrasive, filth-ridden riffs will shatter your worthless skull into oblivion. I recently caught up with bass player Bryce Kresge to discuss the new record, the band’s beginnings and Chick Fil-A.
Hello Bryce! How are you doing? How is the tour coming along?
Actually, we’re still at home, but leave for tour this Friday. So… so far, it’s just home life, and that shit’s un-fucking-bearable. Work and then death. You know how it goes.
When did you first become interested in heavier forms of music?
I dunno… I guess I was always drawn to things that were more aggressive. Things my dad would listen to – I hated when he blasted Pink Floyd (though I do like them now), but I liked hearing stuff like The Rolling Stones, Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse, Led Zeppelin etc. Across that, I think you could say there’s levels of aggression and a definite dark aspect to those bands. But the first CD my dumb-ass ever owned was ‘The Beavis and Butthead Experience’, so hearing ‘I Hate Myself and Want to Die’ by Nirvana, and ‘I Am Hell’ by White Zombie definitely got my 9 year old blood pumping. But there’s also a really shitty Aerosmith song on that record, which has fueled my hate for Aerosmith ever since. Fuck Aerosmith. Fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em. Forever. And then for an extra day on top of that.
How did Bone Dance get its start?
Morgan and Kasey and Phil all grew up together in a small town in southern Idaho called Pocatello. At some point, they all moved to Boise and became involved in the music scene here. Kasey and Morgan started jamming, with Morgan on drums, in the basement of house they were living, Phil picked up a guitar and joined in, and through one way or another, Morgan decided he wanted to try vocals. Eventually they met Patrick through some other bands he was in, had him give things a shot behind the kit, and had another friend of theirs, Chris, started playing bass. I was playing guitar in a grind band that was involved in different aspects of the music scene here, so we’d never really crossed any paths. They’d played a few shows and recorded a demo, and I had heard about the band though that, I but didn’t know any of the guys. Through just a sort of happenstance, I saw that Chris had decided he wanted to do other things and just on a whim, without owning a single piece of bass gear, asked if I could jam with ‘em. From there, we just holed ourselves up in a basement over the winter, wrote and pressed an album, bought a van, and went on the road.
Bone Dance recently announced the release of the self titled debut full length that will released in October. What went into writing and recording this record?
Hard work. We set a deadline for ourselves, booked studio time, and busted our asses to get the best thing we could possibly have written in that timeframe. It was 7 days a week, late nights at the old nuclear fallout shelter we practice in, tearing our hair out, rewrites, last minute changes, modifications, etc. We finished the last 2 songs we did the day before we had to leave to go to the studio. But we’re all immensely proud of what came out of it.
We drove to southern California and tracked the record on a budget of $1,400, while living on top of each other in a 10′x8′ shanty with a hole in the roof. It was an intense, claustrophobic time for us, and I think, sonically, the record reflects that. But the artwork we’ve put together for the record is kinda the antithesis of that. Completing the cycle of exorcism, I suppose.
How does the material on this record differ from the material on previous Bone Dance releases? What can fans expect? Will the album include pan flutes?
We paid a lot more attention to song continuity. Rather than trying to fit 1,000 ideas into one song like a lot of bands do, we tried to make things more stripped down. We experimented a lot with this record, but always with the idea of ‘serving the song’ in mind. Keeping things original and fresh is always important to us too. Evolving, each song being better than the last, avoiding taking lateral steps in our songwriting, concepts, musicianship, etc. Everyone defines heavy in little bit of a different way, and there’s a lot of different ways we tried to do that. It’s an aggressive record, first and foremost, but I feel like it does that without bludgeoning you over the head with the same idea for 40 minutes. But in retrospect, maybe it could have used some pan flute.
What was your gear set up for recording this record?
Our buddy Scott from Black Sheep Wall loaned us a 200w Orange Thunderverb for one of the guitar tracks, but other than that, our studio gear was the very same as our live set up. We didn’t waste a lot of time experimenting in the studio. We’d rather keep it stripped down and as representative of us as possible.
You guys just released the first cut from the album, “Comfort”. Can you tell us a little a bit about that track? Lyrics, writing, etc.
Some of the riffs in that song were brand new ideas, and some of the stuff in that song were parts that we’d had laying around but never used for anything. Half the ending had been floating around in the ‘riff bank’ for almost 2 years, and the other half we literally came up with on the spot. As soon as we put them together, we knew the song didn’t need anything else.
Conceptually speaking, Morgan had just had a friend of his die unexpectedly, and when you’re forced to confront something as concrete as death, and realize that it could just have easily been you as it could be anyone else, there’s nothing else you can do but try to find comfort in the one thing life can guarantee you; the one thing that equalizes us all.
What are typical influences on Bone Dance’s music and lyrics? Are the lyrics intended to send a message to the listener?
Musically, we just want to write music that we want to hear, or try to create things that we’d like to hear from aggressive bands. We all have a pretty wide range of influences, and we try to marry all of that to create something new, yet cohesive. Lyrical concepts are a lot of different things; reflections on different aspects of the human experience, situations and reactions to them, some are based on fucked up stories we’ve heard from creeps on the street, etc. It’s all fair game really.
If you want to draw something meaningful for yourself from the lyrics, then that’s totally fucking awesome. Finding other things to relate to, especially within this disconnected misfit subculture that we inhabit, that’s a beautiful thing. But the lyrics weren’t written for you. We’re not about browbeating the listener with opinions, or to tell people how to live life, or how to think. That’s not our concern. We’re guys in a band. We don’t have a high-horse to sit on, and we don’t have plates to carve into and deliver from the top of Mt. Sinai. What the fuck do I know about how to make your perspective better? We’re not moral authorities, and we’re not motivational speakers. That’s not my place, and I don’t think it’s any other musician’s place either.
What goes into writing a typical Bone Dance track?
Short answer: Throw a bunch of ideas into a pot, sort ‘em out. Argue for awhile. Build, develop, refine. Get aggravated as fuck. Put that energy into the song.
Religion and politics can play a huge role in forming the fiery rage of the lyrics of a hardcore act. What is your stance on religion and what are your political views, if any?
Fuckin’… who cares. Like I said earlier, we’re guys in a band who can’t pay our bills. Our opinion on political decisions and religious views carries no weight. If you base your choices on what a guy who lives in his parents basement says, you deserve the consequences of every shitty decision you didn’t really make for yourself.
Will Chick Fil-A’s actions stop you from ordering a chicken sandwich?
You’re probably fucking up if the Westboro Baptist Church is standing in solidarity with you. But really, I just think it’s hilarious that American political discourse has devolved so much that it now revolves around a goddamned fast food chain. Idiocracy is really here. Can’t wait ’til I can go get a blowjob at a Starbucks. And we all know that Taco Bell will be the only survivor of the fast food wars anyways. If Demolition Man taught us anything, it was that. Oh yeah, and that sex will be pretty lame – gay OR straight.
What can an individual expect from a Bone Dance show? Should they bring a mouth guard and an athletic cup?
Seems like when a show gets rowdy, we end up bearing the brunt of most of the injuries. Broken noses, teeth through the cheek, black eyes, etc. But feel free to wear an athletic cup anyways.
Why doesn’t Bone Dance play material from ‘I Have Lived like an Animal, But I Will Die like an Angel’?
It’s just old hat to us. We wanna play stuff that is more representative of where we’re at nowadays. Staying relevant to ourselves and all that. Not to say that it’s not something we’re proud of, at all. Just, the past is the past. Move forward.
How do you personally alleviate boredom on the road?
When I discovered I could watch porn on my phone, I forever stopped complaining about having to drive through Kansas. Nah, just kidding… that’s still an awful drive.
You guys seem to be buds with Gaza. When did this unholy friendship begin?
Those guys have been good personal friends of mine for years. I guess it started back when I used to do shows at a house I was living in around 6-7 years ago. Eventually we played a few shows together, and they’ve been incredibly supportive of us ever since, which we’re very grateful for. And it’s actually not that unholy of a friendship, just a lot of dick jokes, stupid Home Alone references, and general immature horseshit.
Have you guys ever talked about doing a split with each other?
You know, it’s never come up. Maybe? Who knows. I’d just be happy with doing a tour together!
Since you are in a small independent band, what are your views on file sharing and the like?
Can’t stop it. And It definitely helps with getting your music out there for people to hear and enjoy. We don’t have free downloads set up on our bandcamp page, and there’s a more clear explanation as to why that is over there, but if you’re using the internet, you probably know how to find these things elsewhere, and we’re not going to try at all to put a roadblock in front of anyone who wants to hear our music. But, it’s important to remember…every penny helps further something that hopefully you derive enjoyment from. I find that in underground music, people are sympathetic to that, to an extent. Of course, there’s the issue with people still thinking $5 is asking too much for a punk rock show, yet they’ll fork over $10 to a multinational conglomerate for some shitty movie that they’ve never seen before and are going to leave the theater complaining about.
2012 is on its final stretch. Are there any records you have enjoyed so far this year? Any records you are anticipating?
I’m trying to look for new stuff that I got in the last 8 months. A lot of what I’ve been getting into lately are older records… uuuummm, some of the easy ones are the new Baroness, which is a really ambitious, fantastic album. That Torche album is excellent, as is to be expected. Just got a copy of the new Gaza record and that thing is a motherfuckin’ beast. On the lighter side of things, I found the new Maps and Atlases record to be awesome too. Weird off-kilter poppy stuff, which I always have a soft-spot AND a hard-on for. I thought ‘Kill For Love’ by Chromatics is great. Cloud Nothings’ “Attack On Memory” was the best surprise of the year so far, for me. That Meshuggah record with the stupid name and dorky artwork was still heavy as a big pile of really dense heavy shit.
I’m personally really looking forward to the release of ‘Infinite Teeth’ by Tigon. We’re hitting the road with those guys, and will be lucky enough to play the release show for that record. I acquired a few demo tracks earlier this year, and just those demos were just….devastatingly mind-bending. Is that an adequate description? Probably not…. They broke my fuckin’ brain. Really excited to be able to watch those guys shred every night; I completely expect to be full-retard by the end of the tour. Other than that, off the top of my head, I really have no idea what’s going to be coming out the rest of the year. I’m looking forward to the rest of this season of Breaking Bad though…
My brain cannot defecate anymore useless questions so, any last words of wisdom?
Thanks for defecating! Hopefully this comes across as more of a poop-back-forth situation. ))<>((
Thanks for taking the time to do this Bryce. Take care and stay safe on the road.
Here are tour dates for Bone Dance upcoming tour with Tigon:
8/10 – Reno, NV (no Tigon)
8/11 – San Francisco, CA @ Sub Mission Art Space (Tigon record release show)
8/12 – Eureka, CA @ The Ink Annex
8/13 – Chico, CA @ Origami Lounge
8/14 – Portland Oregon @ The Tonic Lounge
8/15 – Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown
8/16 – Seattle, WA @ The Kraken (21+)
8/17 – Seattle, WA @ The Black Lodge (all-ages)
8/18 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
8/18 – Sacramento, CA @ Boiz House (no Bone Dance)