Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Cloak/Dagger Interview

Interview with the Jade Tree punk band Cloak/Dagger for Vice Magazine.

Cloak/Dagger Look Backwards To Move Forward

The problem with punk is that it’s almost a self-limiting form of music. It’s very difficult to innovate within the limited boundaries of a three chords without either totally divorcing yourself from the sound you set out to make (see Cave In’s “Jupiter”, an incredible record but dude, that sounds like Rush not Crass) or just becoming a steaming, festering pile of self-obsessed nothingness (most of the rest of the Hydra Head catalogue). Of course some bands can manage it by sheer will and songwriting talent. Fucked Up’s “Hidden World” concept LP and “Year Of The Pig” 18 minute 12” somehow managed to do exciting things within the traditional form but landmark records don’t grow on trees. There is however, another option left to those who want to make a truly great punk record 30 years after “Hey, Ho, Let’s Go”. That’s to just say fuck it, take the template and play it harder, faster and better than everyone else. I’m not sure what their name means but Cloak/Dagger are a four piece from Richmond Virginia who play early 80’s LA inspired hardcore better than anyone I’ve heard since forever. Think Battalion Of Saints, Adolescents and of course Black Flag with guitar parts that sometimes go so fast they border on Swami-style riff-rock and it all goes it bit Hot Snakes. The frills are never excessive though and it’s rare for the band to see the far side of two minutes with Flag remaining the constant anchor. They even have a song that is basically their version of “Clocked In” called “Set The Alarm” but who cares if you can hear where something comes from if it’s so good it makes you not even want to bother returning to the original?

VICE: Would it be fair to say that you are all into bands that came out of Southern California in the late 70’s early 80’s?
Adam Juresko (bass): No. I would say more Polka and interpretive dance.
Jason Mazzola (vocals): And online dating.
Colin Kimble (drums): Yep, that was how we formed. It was basically like a big online lonely hearts coincidence.
Adam: That and a shared total disregard for personal hygeine. I am currently the most highly regarded in that sphere though as I lost my bag for the duration for almost all of our mainland Europe shows. I left it in Germany on like the first date. We did this big loop around the whole place and I got back and some kid still had it. Hungary was a fun place to be smelly. They threw beer at us and there was a guy breathing fire and I couldn’t care less.
Colin Kimble: Not as weird as Poland though. There they all just sat down on chairs and watched us like we were a folk act. Real weird.
Adam: None of these things suck as bad as having to pay six pounds or whatever for a packet of cigarettes like we do here though.

So no musical influences then? Just smelling and cigarette prices?
Adam: Right. Dancing, online dating and smelling.
Colin Barth (guitars): I also played in Journey. That helped.
Jason: And Adam likes Bold.
Colin Kimble: Sometimes we disagree about how much we like the Germs. We’ve never been able to agree so they may be an influence but maybe not.

Would you say that as a band you are indecisive?
Adam: Yes.
Colin Barth: No.
Jason: Maybe.

Cloak/Dagger’s debut LP “We Are” is available now on Jade Tree


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