The Specifics Interview

Vug (V) and Blake (B) represent The Specifics in this interview, conducted by JMcQ  How were The Specifics formed? Were any of the members of the band in other bands prior to the formation of The Specifics?

V: Blake, Diana, and I were all looking to be in bands. It all worked out pretty well. We started playing together about a year ago.

B: Well Vug was in a band called Ill Recovery and there drummer had to leave so he asked me to play for them. Then he decided that he wasn’t into that band anymore so he asked if I wanted to start a new band with him. Of course I agreed and he had already been teaching Diana stuff on the bass so it was perfect.

Is it harder for the band to gain respect being both relatively young players in the scene as well as having a female in a male-dominated, sexist society?

V: We haven’t had any problems with either.

B: Tough question, hmm well so far we haven’t had any problems with having a girl in the band. People think its pretty cool and they are always shocked that were so young. But no, we don’t have too much trouble with that stuff.

What influences does each member of The Specifics bring to the band? What bands influence the band wholly?

V: We all love bands like The Clash and The Ramones, but we all bring some different styles to the table. We try to incorporate all styles of punk in our band.

B: Well I would say the main band we all love and sort of write our music like is The Clash. Vug likes a lot of the American Hardcore stuff, I like a lot of British stuff and Diana likes those as well as some other poppier stuff. But we all like all those types. We just try to incorporate all types of punk/rock n roll into our songs.

How many originals have you cooked up for your set? With your set rapidly increasing each time I see you, will there be some old favorites disappearing for new fodder?

V: We have about 10 original songs right now.

B: Yeah, I think that at the moment we have about 10 originals and a handful of covers we play at shows. We are thinking about cutting “Made of Stone” from the set but were constantly writing new stuff so its always changing.

Has the band’s general sound changed since its creation? Skoicore was your self-dubbed moniker at the onset of the act, but is that really applicable to the direction The Specifics have taken?

V: We have dropped the “skoicore” thing because we started to take playing a lot more serious and we were coming off to people as a joke.

B: Well skoicore meant some ska some British and some hardcore and I say we have some of all that in our songs but we don’t use the term “Skoicore” much anymore just because it’s a little cheesy.

What was your most memorable concert experience, either playing or attending? What makes a concert something to remember – is it the community, the bands’ performance, the atmosphere, or a combination of all these things?

V: My first punk show was The Misfits with Dez Cadena and Marky Ramone. This was a big deal because some of my favorites are The Ramones, Black Flag, and the misfits. I believe that all of those elements you mentioned apply to a great show.

B: My favorite show that we have played was our last show, which was at a local place called the Elonor Jed. We started the first pit at the venue and people knew our lyrics so it was a great time to watch the fans go nuts. My favorite show that I attended was the Complete Control/Clit 45/Virus show over the summer. I love all three bands and it was just an intense amazing show. I think performance has a lot to do with a good show. Not necessarily if they played good but if they put a lot of passion, anger and energy into there set.

Would you rather be well-known in the local (read: Columbus) scene, pulling in 100 individuals per show or able to play longer, national tours maybe pulling in 20 people per night?

V: Playing locally works for now, but we want to tour… so badly.

B: Well in the future I definitely want to go on tour and get a small fan base around the US. That’s a part of being in a band, playing shows and building a fan base. Plus I think it would be awesome to be in a different city each night meeting new people.

What bands do you get along with best? Are there any problems with the local scene (Columbus, Pickerington, or Lancaster – take your pick) that you feel need to be fixed before the entire area can bring itself to a Pittsburgh-like prominence in the annals of punk rock history?

V: we get along pretty well with some of the Columbus bands, but none really in Pickerington. In my opinion most of these scenes are pretty shitty.

B: Well there a number of bands we like to play shows with (Mental Pain, Refills, etc.) but in Pickerington we are the only punk band so it has no chance of a good scene. Lancaster shows are fun to play there’s normally a good turnout of kids who like our music and like punk music in general. For a town to have a good scene there needs to be a few rather big bands, a good venue to have shows regularly, and a strong fan base of kids who like similar bands.

What is the band’s position on selling out? If a label like Ferret or Atlantic would want to sign you, what would you do? At what point does it stop being selling out and instead actually getting help producing the music you want?

V: I wouldn’t sign to any label that has too much control over the music.

B: I would not want to sign to a label like Atlantic because they have too much control over the recording/writing process and we want to be able to do whatever we want with our music. I do not think, though, that if a band signs to one of those labels that they are selling out just as long as they don’t change their sound to get the publics approval.

What are the plans for the band in the next few months? Are there going to be any albums, compilations, or the like you are going to be on? Any tours or shows you will be playing?

V: Just writing, recording, and playing shows. Nothing is planned for release. We’ve got a couple shows coming up.

B: Well we already have 3 shows planned for January with some pretty big bands (Chaotic Alliance and The Static) and we are planning on recording 6 new songs for another EP in mid January. We definitely want to tour next summer when we can all drive and eventually we are going to save money and record an LP in a studio. Things are looking good for The Specifics in 05, be on the look out.

Finally, how can people get in contact with you? Any final thoughts that you would like to express to our readership?

V: people can get a hold of us through http://www.thespecifics.cjb.net and my final thought would be just that your actions eventually come back to you so be nice to your fellow man.

B: If someone wants to book The Specifics or look at pics, listen to an MP3 or buy a demo/patch/button they can go to www.thespecifics.cjb.net. Just remember to always live fast and don’t worry about the mistakes you made in the past, it’s definitely not worth it.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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