Fresh off the release of their new EP on Equal Vision Records, Tim Singer of noise rock tinged post hardcore band BITTER BRANCHES (also of Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye, No Escape) joins us for an interview to discuss the band’s craft, lyrical content behind their music, plans for the coming months, the recent Deadguy reunion but also share his perspective on the impact of COVID for the band’s operations, and share some other bands recommendations.
Composed of Tim Singer (Deadguy, Kiss It Goodbye, No Escape), guitarists Matt Ryan (Calvary) and Kevin Sommerville (Lighten Up!), bassist Brian Kantorek (Go! For The Throat, The Curse) and drummer Jeff Tirabassi (Walleye), BITTER BRANCHES eschews genre expectations to give the listener something special – an exploration of the musical pedigree the groups legendary lineup has honed throughout years of touring and recording. On Along Came A Bastard, the band worked with producer Mike Bardzik (The Casualties, Kill Your Idols), with mixing by Kurt Ballou and Zach Weeks at God City Studios, and mastering done by Brad Boatright (From Ashes Rise).
Their latest EP is a high octane mixture of post-hardcore and gritty alternative punk that propels forward at breakneck speeds with an emotive energy that rivals any summer blockbuster. The band’s previous EP “This May Hurt A Bit” EP was re-released earlier this year through Ugly and Proud Records and Shove Records. Originally, it was released on Bandcamp in early 2020 and quickly picked up by Atomic Action Records! for US vinyl release, Ugly and Proud for EU cassette release, and Swedish label H.806.DIY for a CD release.
Hey guys! Thanks a lot for joining us here on IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s Philly on the verge of autumn?
All good here. Days are getting too short.
Ha! That’s correct.
Ok, so you’re fresh off your recent show with Boysetsfire and All Else Failed in NJ, as well as a trio of previous gigs earlier this month and in August. How was it? Give us your thoughts on the energy and the overall shape of post-COVID shows in your area? Is it safe to say we’re back to normal?
I wouldn’t say we’re back to normal, but it feels good to play. Crowds and people seem genuinely appreciative to be able to experience live music again, regardless of restrictions like proof of vaccination.
How have you adapted to lockdown and how challenging has it really been for you personally and the band?
Lockdown gave us an opportunity to focus on writing and recording. We put extra focus on that since we didn’t have the luxury of worrying about scheduling shows. It helped us lock in as a band and really develop our sound. So we made the most of it, it’s fair to say. But it definitely was feeling like we were overdue to play some shows.
Judging on both the creative and lyrical side of your new offerings, your inner fire is still burning! Tell us about what fuels your creative spirit after all these years of music related activity?
Same as always. Everyday life and trying to keep yours eyes open and not be complacent. Sharing ideas, frustrations, points of view, emotion… none of that stuff goes away. I think the biggest difference is drawing on decades more experience that gives you a different perspective than 25 years ago.
Lyrics wise, I really liked your recent comment where you stated that ”If you join a shitty organization with shitty practices, you are now part of the problem no matter how nice of a guy you might be.”
That’s so true! Yet, on the other hand, it’s super hard to balance your basic needs with the ethics you hold, right? I mean, just to look at many people’s corporate job reality – despite how shitty it can be and how ugly mechanisms it uses, you can easily find yourself caught in the middle. Modern slavery for corporate workers addicted from their mind bending and heart wrenching jobs is something that became normal for hundreds of thousands of us worldwide, many of which are literally blocked by the work-kids-responsibility-mortgage-city-stress cycle. Can you give us your perspective on that and perhaps some pro tips on how to balance everyday pressure?
I think you just have to be honest with yourself and continually check yourself. It’s easy to rationalize your position in life and get lazy about things that don’t directly affect you or your family. When you compromise, are you really doing things out of real need or are you trying not to rock the boat? Or keep up with the Joneses? Or are you being greedy or entitled? I ask myself questions like that all the time. The older you get, the more your peers seem to veer off and settle into things I find uninteresting and mundane –like the size of your house or your bank account or whatever.
Deadguy reunited for the band’s first live set in 25 years (!) for the Killing Music Documentary. What made you guys want to return?
We — the lineup that wrote and recorded Fixation on a Coworker — reunited for the documentary, and we just clicked pretty much like no time had passed. And any ill feelings we may have had have long since faded. I never stopped liking the music, so it just felt like the right time.
What can we expect from the reunited legend in 2022?
A few more shows, lots of t-shirts, plenty of sarcasm and attitude. And maybe even a song or two. Who knows? We’re not putting any pressure on it. If something feels right to all of us, then it’s a go.
Circling back to BITTER BRANCHES, are there any plans on heading out on a larger tour now that are planning a full release?
We are discussing “swings” more than tours. We plan to attack different parts of the country in 2022.