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Interviews

Keep Pushing Ahead – an interview with punk act SIC WAITING!

5 months after the release of their absolutely amazing record ‘Derailer’ (Felony Records), Jared from California punk rock band SIC WAITING sist down with IDIOTEQ to discuss the acclaimed effort, touring the East and West US, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Europe, the evolution of punk music, and the future of the band. Read the full interview below and share if you like what you read.

Hey there Jared! How are you? How’s this fine winter been treating you guys? Has your newest effort grown strong since its premiere last Fall? How do you feel about it now, looking back on it after your recent live shows and the feedback you have received from your listeners?

I’m good! We live in Southern California, so this winter is like most other winters, kinda like summer. I personally would love some seasons, though a lot of my friends in other areas like New York and the Midwest have been having it pretty rough this winter.

Our latest record ‘Derailer’ has been picking ups steam, yeah. It’s been getting some great attention since it came out last October, a lot of people have said a lot of really nice words about it. We toured parts of the US, Mexico and Puerto Rico last fall as it came out and people seemed to catch on pretty quick. We are about to get back into the second leg of the Derailer tour so hopefully people have it in their heads by now!

It’s all been very relieving, and validating to be honest. We really worked hard on this record and believe in it. It took a lot out of me personally, and it’s really great to see other people like it as much as I still do.

How were these past shows? Was it your first time in Mexico and Puerto Rico?

They were insane! It was our first time in Puerto Rico, but being from San Diego we play Tijuana, MX fairly often. And those were some of the best shows we’ve done. Not from anything that we do, but from the people that come out. There’s a love for this music in those areas that’s pretty vibrant that you don’t get as much in other places. That’s not to say there aren’t great, crazy lovers of punk in New York, or LA, or Chicago, or fucking Wyoming, or anywhere else, but it seems pretty concentrated in PR and Mexico.

You’ve recently wrapped up your massive trek with Yotam, MERCY MUSIC and a bunch of other musicians. Tell us more about the idea of this tour and how it turned out.

Well I was only on that tour for a week, playing solo and acoustic. Both Yotam and MERCY MUSIC are good friends. I’ve been a fan of Yotam’s band USELESS ID for years, and he actually filled in on bass for us last year for a West US tour we did. MERCY MUSIC is from Las Vegas and is probably the best band I’ve known. Just really sweet dudes making some really powerful music.

Ok, so touring wise, what’s next for SIC WAITING?

We have the next leg of the Derailer tour in the western US in April, and this Fall we are planning to repeat the tour we did last year in the western US, East US, Puerto Rico and Mexico. We have some plans being worked out for this summer as well, I’m just not quite sure what they are yet. Which is always nice.

SIC WAITING tour

Do you have any personal say in your touring agenda? How do you handle booking shows? Is it an entirely DIY procedure, or do you follow your agent’s instructions?

We don’t have an agent. I do all the booking using a network we’ve established over the years. It’s a log of bugging my friends to help me out in whatever city they’re in, and they’re consistently saviors about it. The festivals etc. that we do, that relies more purely on the bugging strategy, ha. We’re moving towards getting some help with that side of things though, it really takes a lot of time and constant attention and there are people that are a lot better than me at it.

The internet and the connection to bands all over the world makes it possible to tour anywhere with some organization and effort, and part of that deal is helping bands in your own home town when they hit you up so you can rely on them when you need it. That’s today’s scene.

Do you still have an enthusiastic outlook on being on the road in general? How do you experience your travels?

I love being on the road. I love seeing new places and people, hell I love seeing the same places and people. I just like to keep moving, to not be in one place for very long. It’s all the planning and stress that goes into putting a tour together, specifically for SIC WAITING, that I tend to dread.

Are there some exciting artists you’ve recently met on tour?

You always meet some amazing artists while out on tour, and you develop some rad friendships as a result. My good friends MERCY MUSIC out of Las Vegas I met this way. Also our friends in ALLOUT HELTER from Denver, or THE SHELL CORPORATION from LA or D CENT JERKS from Puerto Rico or JOHN MORELAND from Tulsa. There are so many, it’s one of the best parts of touring.

Locally, would you recommend some new impressive works and artists you know through the Oceanside scene?

In San Diego there are some great bands working hard and coming up fast, such as CASTOFF, CASKITT, WESTERN SETTINGS, SKIPJACK and THE BLACKJACKITS. All of these bands are working hard to be more than just local bands.

Where online should we be looking to find new music? What are your favorite spots that help you find new inspirations or simply more fun through music you’ve never heard before?

I find a lot of new music online through Dying Scene, For the Love of Punk, New Noise Magazine, etc. There are a ton of small punk rock blogs (or just music blogs, to be more broad) out there that are featuring music from all over the world that they like and a lot of it you might too, if you just pay a little attention and give em all a chance.

Ok Jared, back to your new album, is there a certain message you want to pass on with this new offering? How important are thought provoking concepts in your work?

I don’t think the record was written with a specific message in mind necessarily. Each song is kind of its own world. I guess there are some underlying themes though, of dealing with disappointment and being disappointing, difficult relationships, and frustration at the current social and political climate we live in. There was a conscious effort to write a more positive song for once though, and that came through on ‘The Best Mistakes You Make.’ Most of the catalogue is either self-deprecating or outright negative, but that’s not really the way I am or we are. So it was nice to get away from that, albeit temporarily.

SIC WAITING by Jason Morales

Photo by Jason Morales.

How about the sonic creativity and innovation in punk rock music? Is it even still possible to innovate in this area of rock music?

I relate your use of the term ‘sonic creativity’ to the battle in the recording studio between technology and old-school methods. That’s a long, complicated topic. Is there room for innovation? Always. That’s what digital recording is proving. Any kid can learn the thought process of recording on their own for a fraction of what it used to cost. That’s a great thing. What you don’t learn, and what digital methods make it so you don’t have to learn, is the discipline it used to take to record, and the ear you develop doing so. Now, you record by sight. Looking at waveforms and using a mouse and computer to perfectly edit a track. In the past, you recorded using your ears and making decisions by what you heard. It allowed for small inconsistencies and happy accidents that gave records character and life. The idea that ‘that’s good enough, we’ll fix it in the box’ just didn’t exist. So while it’s good to embrace the new innovations and methods, it’s important to learn what parts are actually counterproductive and will make you a worse musician, even if your record doesn’t show it.

What do you think of the state of punk rock music nowadays? Have the advances in technology around creative process changed how rock and punk rock bands work?

The state of punk these days is about what it always is. There are a number of different factions, there are a lot of people that will be gone some day and there are some that are here for good. Punk can be a lot of things to people. An outlet, a vice, a lifestyle, a fashion, a statement, a bible. For me it’s been what has defined my life for 20 years, and all the touring we’ve done has shown us that we are never alone. There’s always great bands coming up, great records coming out, punks that are pissed and active, you just have to be looking.

In the last 5 years the landscape for independent artists has changed dramatically, so I think in 20 it will be nothing like it is today. Artists have control, means of creating and distributing it to the world that we never had before. On the other side of the coin, the scene is saturated and money is hard to come by. It’s as important as ever that an artist be creative, sincere, and work hard and smart in order to stand out from the crowd. An artist can be entirely independent today, and be self-sustaining. But it takes a lot of work and organization. Way more than a 9 to 5 requires, but we’re here to avoid that aren’t we?

“All the touring we’ve done has shown us that we are never alone.”

How do you think the idea of independent artists and the way they work will evolve in the next 20 years?

In the last 5 years the landscape for independent artists has changed dramatically, so I think in 20 it will be nothing like it is today. Artists have control, means of creating and distributing it to the world that we never had before. On the other side of the coin, the scene is saturated and money is hard to come by. It’s as important as ever that an artist be creative, sincere, and work hard and smart in order to stand out from the crowd. An artist can be entirely independent today, and be self-sustaining. But it takes a lot of work and organization. Way more than a 9 to 5 requires, but we’re here to avoid that aren’t we?

Sure thing!

Ok, and here’s a philosophical one. What does music in general and running this band mean to you?

That’s a big question! Music has always been pretty much everything to me. My main focus, since I was a kid. Like a lot of other musicians I think, I can say and feel things through music that I just can’t through anything else in life. As far as running Sic Waiting, that too runs the gamut of emotions. I try not to get too high or too low these days, but suffice it to say I’m very proud of my band and everyone else that’s in it. We don’t operate like any other bands, but we operate and keep pushing ahead in our own fucked up way, and I’m really proud of that.

What are the long term goals for SIC WAITING? What are you hoping to achieve with the band?

Sic Waiting has been a band in name for 15 years, so “long-term goals” and what we hope to “achieve” with the band has kinda fallen by the wayside, ha. Really I think we are just hoping to keep making and putting out music we’re proud of and that people enjoy and relate to. I think we’re doing that better than ever now, so I hope it continues. Personally, I’d like to see the band become a bit more stable, both business-wise and operations-wise. But chaos is kinda our thing at this point unfortunately. Might as well have a drink and embrace it.

Ok Jared, thanks a lot for your time! Feel free to add your final words and take care!

Lastly I guess I’d just thank you Karol for the spotlight and the thoughtful questions! It’s been a pleasure. And thanks to everyone out here who’s bought a record or a shirt, or shared a link, or even just listens to what we do. Even after so long, it still means the world.

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