Ohio County, Kentucky may be famous for its rich roots in Bluegrass music, but an aspiring musician of Dundee is playing much more than old folk songs. Dustin Davis, 21, resident of Dundee, has been playing music for 10 years. Having been in approximately 30 different areas bands and also teaching adult education classes on guitar theory at the age of 16, Davis has recently began to find some success in the underground punk scene with his virtuoso one-man project, RELATIONSHIP ISSUES.
We caught this one man band and discussed his lo-fi progressive punk music, as well as his other free jazz, death metal, folk, experimental eletro-pop projects, his inspirations, a bit of private life and other cool stuff that can be found below.
Also, we are the first to show off this new track coming from his new full-length plus an exclusive mini gallery of his art! :) Start by playing “Anencephaly” in the player below:
After completing a completely self-produced EP in late July, 2012, Davis was quickly discovered by mid-size punk label, Pinhead Records of Tampa, Florida. The label released RELATIONSHIP ISSUES in August. Since the release and signing, Davis has put out three new releases, appeared on two volumes of ‘International Punk Rock Super Stars’ and even given a rotation of songs on the ‘Raise Your Flag’ show on JOY 94.9 of Melbourne, Australia.
Davis plans to complete and release his first full-length, twenty track album entitled, ‘Cumbersome Truthes’ on December 11th, 2012 through Pinhead Records. The album will be RI’s first release that will require pay, which Davis has set the price at a meager $2.00, while all of Davis’ other releases are available for free at both:”
She has 4 releases and has been featured on Pinhead Records’ ‘International Punk Rock Superstars’ Vol. 5 & 6, available at this location.
Hey! What’s up, Dustin? What’s up in the old good Kentucky? [smiles]
Hey, howdy hey. Glad to be doing some work with you guys. I love the site. Not much going on in old ‘Kan-tuck’. It’s colder than Jack Frost’s balls though. And trust me, I’d know. The driver side window doesn’t roll up in my car. [laughs?]
I know what you mean. Warsaw is getting colder and colder at this time of the year, too. But I guess now you’ll be traveling to Florida more because of the Pinhead Records, who just signed you? [smiles]
Well, I wish I were. I have made quite a few friends down towards Florida, thanks to the signing. I have been getting to know a few guys from some of the Pinhead bands via Facebook [laughs]. But, Pinhead Records is a start-up company. I think it will be Pinhead’s 1-year birthday here soon. Needless to say, the money isn’t quite there yet. The fella who runs Pinhead is just a young guy who loves punk-rock and tries to help out bands he sees some potential in. He’s the guy from PLUG, on Pinhead, whom I did a split EP with a few weeks ago. But! I certainly wish I were flying south to Florida for the winter.
Have you been looking for another label before you had teamed up with Pinhead?
RELATIONSHIP ISSUES was put together in a strange way, ya see. I had just returned home from college and I had no one to play music with. So I started just doing all of it myself; I needed an outlet. If I go to long without creating something, I’m like a shaken-up bottle of Coke. Gotta let off some pressure.
It took about a year of writing and recording songs to finally pick a few to release for my first EP. I must’ve had a song in every genre by that time. Everything from death metal to free jazz, and calypso. The songs I chose were my more ‘accessible’ pop-punk songs.
I released the EP myself, just putting a link on 2shared.com and posting on Facebook and a few forums dedicated to punk-rock discussions. I honestly can’t say that I was seeking a label, I didn’t have the slightest feeling that anyone would be interested. But here I am, getting played on the radio in Australia.
Does this mean your next outing may be a death metal one? [smiles]
[laughs] I don’t think I could do an entire album in that style [laughs]. But my latest release on Pinhead, the ‘Daydreamer single’ with bonus tracks has a couple of heavier punk/thrash metal songs. My upcoming LP ‘Cumbersome Truthes’ has at least 5 balls-to-the-walls thrash/grindcore songs. Shit, I even have two or three songs on the album with synthesizer-pop sounds. [laughs] I guess I’m just a tad bit ADD. I can’t stick with one sound for too long. Inhibits creativity, ya know?
That’s probably the best thing I discovered about you thus far [smiles]. I haven’t start a band because of the very same love to many completely different genres and styles. I’m scared of being labeled and can’t afford starting and running 10 different bands [laughs]. That’s really tragic [laughs].
How come you haven’t found anyone to accompany you?
Between having three jobs and a girlfriend to cater to, I just don’t have the time to do any practicing or rehearsing at the moment.
Plus, most of the musicians where I live play one of two things:
1.) Christian Gospel or
…and they don’t seem to wanna stray too far from whichever they happen to be [laughs].
I plan on putting together a band by this summer though. After I put out ‘Cumbersome Truthes’ on December 11th, I plan on taking a few months’ hiatus to deal with more personal business. I’ve done 8 releases in 3 months. I’m exhausted [laughs]. Around April or May, I plan on seriously seeking band members to tour the United States’ east coast, though.
Oh, please tell us more about the new outing.
‘Cumbersome Truthes’ is my first full-length release, it’s hitting Pinhead Records on December 11th. I’ve been working on parts of this album for the better part for a year. Some old songs, some new. All unreleased though. The songs will be a bit technical, with changing tempos and keys. I like to experiment with different sounds as well. On this album you will hear pop-punk kinda like the OFFSPRING meets NOFX. You will hear shit like KILLING JOKE. You’ll hear guitars like Greg Ginn. You’ll hear SLAYER meets MASTER. A lot of fun stuff going on with this release. I’m very excited.
What would you say your biggest influences are at the moment?
For the past year, I’ve listened to a lot of Ornette Coleman. Maybe a little too much. [laughs] ‘Soapsuds’ with Charlie Haden is my all-time favorite jazz record. But I don’t get to really carry that influence over to my records, considering I don’t wanna alienate whatever fans I have. [laughs] Greg Ginn of BLACK FLAG always inspires me. Stephen, Bill and Karl from ALL/DESCENDENTS are all terribly underrated musicians. My dream is to perfectly replicate Egerton’s guitar rig. Some Hank Williams Sr. every now and then. Um, alot of RUSH. ‘Farewell to Kings’, ‘Hemispheres’ and ‘Moving Pictures’ are among my personal favorites. Always have loved bands like DROPDEAD, AMEBIX, VENOMOUS CONCEPT, DEATH, BATHORY, DISRUPT, BRUTAL TRUTH, DEEP WOUND, SIEGE, TERRORIZER and MDC. NOFX and the BLINK-182 sound were what got me into punk when I was about 10, so that pop-punk sound is always there. AT THE DRIVE-IN, PROPAGANDHI has become a great band in the last ten years. I love the technical-punk-thrash-crossover stuff they have been doing. I don’t know. I’m honestly all-over the place. Mostly more aggressive things lately.
Cool. Let’s go back to these 8 releases you mentioned (!). Tell us more about what exactly are they?
In order from first to latest:
1- “Relationship Issue” EP [6 songs]
the first release, the vanilla version on Pinhead Records
2- “Live! At the Talent Showcase (+ 1 song)” [3 songs]
a live single with two live songs and an unreleased demo
3- “Relationship Issues” EP (special edition) [8 songs]
the first release with bonus tracks
4- “Human” EP [5 songs]
an entirely instrumental prog-punk experiment. One song is ten minutes long!
5- “Daydreamer” Single [3 songs]
a single with one instrumental, the title song and an old demo
6- “Plug / Relationship Issues” split EP [6 songs]
two new songs from each band and a cover of each other’s song
7 – “Daydreamer” (Alternate version) [5 songs]
A different version of my self -released single on Pinhead Records, includes a Descendents cover and a new song from “Cumbersome Truthes”
8- “Ohio River Valley” EP [4 songs]
This one will be released two days before Cumbersome Truthes. 4 brand-new songs, two of which are from the upcoming full-length. The other two will never see the light of day again.
Damn, you must be really bored on vacation [laughs].
[Laughs] Yeah, this is like a full-time job for me. Always has been. Release a few songs every few weeks. It gets tiring, but seeing that download counter rack up the numbers is so very rewarding. It’s the best feeling in the world, especially for the one guy doing all the writing, practicing, recording, editing, playing, singing, mixing and mastering, album art and viral marketing. Even when I’m on vacation, I’m thinking, “What if I take this approach to mixing? Will it yield better results? What will my new album art look like? What would this key change sound like?”. Some call it a blessing, others call it a curse [laughs]. I’m just always thinking about the next release.
This time with your fellow musicians, right?
Yeah, when that time comes. Like I said, I will be taking a break for a few months after ‘Cumbersome Truthes’ is released. In that time, I plan on upgrading all my gear and I will hopefully find members to share ideas with and make even greater music. Who knows what could become of RELATIONSHIP ISSUES by this time two years from now? I’m excited to find out.
Yeah, but you’re not changing your name, are you?
It all just depends I guess. I made the name as a joke when I started doing this. Didn’t really think I’d do anything with it. Whoops [laughs] I have a leather jacket with the RI logo painted onto it. Sometimes when I wear it out in public, I hear a few chuckles behind my back. I guess its a really silly name? I don’t know [laughs]. The name really has nothing to do with the synopsis/ideology of the band, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it changes one day. But, if the name becomes extremely familiar, it’s gonna stay the same forever [laughs].
Please mind that Google bots really get used to names [smiles]. You would have to start your SEO actions from scratch.
[laughs] I love Google and all, they are one of the better companies of our generation, but if that happens I’ll just change the band name to ‘John Travolta’s Bidet’. Then I am sure I won’t disappear under the rubbish.
Good point! [laughs] I mean really, what’s with these names that some bands are using these days anyways? Your name either has to be an entire sentence, an alliteration or something to do with a celebrity. Maybe I’m just not ‘hip’ enough to understand [laughs]. I guess my next band will be called, ‘This Is a Grammatically Correct Sentence and Band Name’, so I can go on tour with ‘I Love You, But I’ve Chosen Darkness’, ‘This Bike Is A Pipebomb’ and ‘Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’.
Some of it is actually cool. Oh, and not be misunderstood, there’s a huge difference between decent post hardcore / scream bands and “post hardcore” / electronic metalcore bullshit wannabe stars bands that use… quite similar names.. Unfortunately.
OK, Dustin. Is your mom ok with you putting so much music stuff instead of getting a “normal” education and/or job? [smiles]
I absolutely agree. I actually love This Bike Is a Pipebomb. But the pretentious ‘long-band-name’ crap has to stop somewhere [laughs].
My mother has always been my biggest fan, whether or not she understands the music I make. My mother is a widely known soft-sculpture artist and has had work in many foreign embassies and even has a piece adorn the White House Christmas Tree back in the late 90’s, so we are kinda on the same level with certain things.
I actually have a two-year degree in Computer Science. I work three different jobs outside of the music. I sort of manage a small-town pizza restaurant, I (along with my buddy) install security camera systems for small businesses in my area and I fix people’s computers. Computers and computer technology is my second love, really. I am a huge fan of the Linux kernel, obsessed with achieving the highest level of efficiency I can get in my UI. I love figuring out what a problem is, and finally having that ‘aha!’ moment when I solve it.
I plan to continue my education though. My areas of knowledge have much more to offer, and the Info Tech field is always changing. I hope to one day have at least a Master’s in Computer Science.
But long answer short, my mom and I never really subscribed to what is ‘normal’. She wants me to do what I love, and I do.
Now, if you were to ask me the same question about my girlfriend, the answer may be a liiiiiiittle different. [laughs].
Why? Doesn’t she want you to be multi-dimensional?
I think she just wants my full attention. It’s hard when you have two true loves [laughs].
Ok, speaking of women, tell us about your other non-music hobbies? [smiles]
Well, first off, like I said, I am a big Linux nerd. I also have always been a gamer, ever since my mom found a Nintendo Entertainment System at a yard sale when i was about three years old. I still play alot of the more open-world sandbox type games. I collect old books as well. My favorite in my collection is an 1875 print of ‘The Wisdom of Confucius’. I enjoy hiking and camping, but I really don’t get to indulge in those activities lately. I do some digital art too.
Great! Can we check it out somewhere? Would you like to reveal some of it in a small gallery for us?
I’ll try to encourage you with this cool video perfect for a fan of Nintendo [smiles].
Here’s just a few from throughout the years, nothing special [laughs].
Click image to enlarge:
Thanks a lot! Ok, is there anything else we should keep our eyes peeled on coming up?
Well, since we started this interview, ‘Cumbersome Truthes’ got pushed back to January 1st, so that happened. In the meantime, I will be releasing an EP. So keep your eyes peeled for that! It’s gonna be called ‘Ohio River Valley’ and feature three songs. Let’s say, December 24th is the release date. Other than that, not much else to say Karol.
Any wishes for Christmas? Have you been good this year? [smiles]
I’m wanting a Fender Custom Shop 1960’s Stratocaster. But, I will probably just be getting socks [laughs]. I’ve been relatively good this year…
[smiles] Nice. I feel we have covered most of it, matey, haven’t we? Feel free to add anything you want and many thanks for your time! It was a pleasure.
I appreciate it, man. You’re good at what ya do [smiles].