SICK FEELING’s Suburban Myth is a deafening shot of both new and traditional hardcore. It’s full of raging fits, frantic guitars, and confidence you can’t really scrape off, but it also bleeds originality from the minute it starts spinning. Hell, the album’s opening 30 seconds fills an uncovered blender with nails and throws it at you. Not out of spite, but just to see how you would react. That attitude is what makes New York’s Sick Feeling compelling, especially for a band that puts other creative outlets and theatrical projects aside to release a debut that adds to Collect Records‘ growing legacy. With the group currently on tour with L.A.’s Obliterations, we caught up with vocalist Jesse Miller-Gordon to shed light on their start, their ties to Trash Talk, Ceremony, and Creative Adult, and why they’re just here to have fun.
Is the ability to be creative something you learn or does everyone have a desire to create?
I’m not sure. I can’t really answer that for anybody but me. I have always wanted to make things.
You and Don were introduced via a mutual friend and decided to start a band despite the fact you’ve never been in a band. What was it like growing up in Bay Area hardcore scene?
We were actually introduced by the singer of Obliterations. But as for the Bay Area scene, it took a couple of years for me to realize that everywhere wasn’t always like the Bay. About a year after I started going to shows in 2000, I started to see a lot more kids that were my age. It was a great time. Some of my friends ended up getting into music and doing Trash Talk, Ceremony, Creative Adult. It was great.
Why did you choose music as your outlet, as opposed to something else?
I do some writing for a living and I help produce and direct music videos, so music was just another way to make something. Also, singing for a hardcore band is just fun.
How did you discover your voice and where you wanted to go with it?
I just yelled as loud as possible and it sounded okay. Seriously. I don’t know… it’s not worth thinking about. I just want to have fun.
You eventually auditioned people for bass and drums, ultimately choosing Alan Yuch and Danny Wood. Did you know them before? Or did they just naturally fall into the band?
Audition isn’t really the right word. I suppose it could have been an audition, but I didn’t really think of it that way. It was like we needed a drummer, so I suggested my buddy Alan. Then we needed a bass player and one guy didn’t have enough time, but the next guy did, so that worked. I guess it was sort of like an audition. A lot of this stuff is just a form of function.
Was it something that came together out of convenience?
Not in a cheap way. But it’s like the question “What was it like growing up in the Bay Area scene?”, I don’t know. I didn’t grow up anywhere else, but I liked growing up there and doing that (laughs). We found everybody and it took the length of time it did, but now we’ve finally got a record out.
Many musicians are reluctant to label their music as one specific genre, yet you’ve made it clear Sick Feeling is a hardcore band. Why is it important for people to see you as such?
I think every member of the band would answer that a little bit differently. In my mind, the semiotics of what your music is called is just a long discussion that’s not worth having, so just label it and then play whatever show you want. It’s easy. I grew up a hardcore kid going to those shows and that’s the DNA of the band in terms of our understanding of music. Our bass player is from Tyler, Texas, our drummer is from Central Jersey, Don is from Philadelphia, and I’m from Northern California. Don and Danny are 37 and 38. Alan and I are 25 and 27. A lot of what we have in common is just this thing we’re all a part of – from different parts of the country in different periods of time. Don asked if I wanted to sing for a hardcore band, and I said yeah, as long as we ride it well.
Similarly, does labeling yourselves as “hardcore”, restrict or define your creative process?
We just do whatever we want. It’s not restrictive. I never wanted to write a band bio, so I always just wrote “Sick Feeling is a hardcore band in New York City”, or I would just write everybody’s full names. People would ask “what’s your bio?” and I’d be like, “just Google it” (laughs).
Do you think waiting and developing chemistry as a band contributed to a better debut?
We just wouldn’t have done it until now. This was just when we were able to make it happen – we all do other things as well – and it just took that long to have enough good songs. We also wanted to do a full-length and not a 7-inch at first.
Is Sick Feeling something we will be seeing more of in the future or would you say it’s just a short experiment at this stage?
It’s interesting because when this band stops being a band, Don is going to go on and keep writing music, Alan will always be a drummer, and Danny is a lifer or a bass player, but this could be the one time I put out records. I may never occupy this weird little role again, so as long as it’s fun it’ll be great, but it’s not permanent. You never know what life has in store, but I do know I’ll be in Toronto in a week and on Wednesday, I’m going to Boston. That’s what I know. Six months ago I would have genuinely not known that, but we’re going to keep writing music and play it out for a while. It’s fun now so we will keep doing it. Why does anybody do anything? That’s the point right? Fun?