Local Frequency: As A People
If variety is your thing then As A People may be what you're looking for. Songs on the band's 2008 release Carpet Bomb Ballet vary drastically from post-rock, to metal, and punk. While so many genres in one place would usually come across as scatterbrained, the album is held together by singer Adam Yas' vocals, which range from operatic wails to bloodcurdling screams.
As A People is Adam Yas: Vox/Guitar , Nathan Link: Guitar/Vox , Nigel Sussman: Bass/Vox , Tim Way: Drums. Together for a little over four years, the band has been playing around the Bay Area in support of their last release and is currently working on new material.
Local Frequency sat down with As A People at the Chieftain to chat about middle school, malt liquor, and breakfast.
If you could describe your sound as a neighborhood in the city, what would it be and why?
Adam Yas: I would say South of Market, there seems to be a beauty in the hookers and crack.
Tim Way: Our practice studio is like a block from here, we soak up the fumes.
Adam: There's a little crack smoke in our music, there's sunshine on a nice Saturday, there's piles of shit, there's pigeons. There's also some really good lovemaking, our music is music to make love to if you have no home. It's dirty, but it's also quite nice.
Your music styles are all so different which is evident on the album's songs how do you mesh them all?
Adam: There are four different parts. Nigel I think of the Clash, reggae, walking bass lines. Tim's influences are Janes Addiction meets hip-hop, like jazz drums with a definite rock coating. With Nate you have more of the bright side of things. He plays banjo and mandolin. Me, I love metal, but I didn't want to be in a metal band. Working with Nate allowed me to bring the stank without stanking up the whole sound. It somehow just kind of works.
What are you reading now?
Tim: Entertainment Weekly! I don't read much, I watch my wife read though.
Adam: John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman, it's the big bible-y looking one.
Nathan Link: Ghost Wars by Steve Coll, it's about the history of the CIA, and the day-to-day world of what went on. So incredibly dense, and more confusing than trying to understand all of Tolkien's world.
Nigel Sussman: I don't read very much, when most people are reading I usually draw. I listen to book on tapes while I draw.
You guys aren't signed to a label, but you've decided to make your own?
Adam: [Laughs] No, it's actually a fake record label that we put on our Myspace page.
Nigel: We are own record label.
Adam: We're currently looking for local bands, no, actually jugglers, fire-eaters, strippers. Nigel: Fire-strippers.
Adam: Nate can actually swallow fire and juggle, so we've got that covered.
Nathan: And I could strip too!
The bathrooms here at The Chieftain smell like Fruity Pebbles; what are your breakfast cereals of choice?
Adam: When I was ten, it was Quaker Natural, and [many years later] it was Quaker Natural. I haven't changed much.
Nathan: I haven't had a true breakfast in a long time, I have a liter of coffee in the morning with the news.
Adam: You mean while cursing at the news! Nate and I used to live together.
Nathan: That's only on vacation, I like to watch Fox News sometimes I watch it 'cause I like to feel the hate. NPR is great, but that's too hopeful, too informative.
Adam: I think Nigel was raised by scrambled eggs when he was younger; he has a fascination with food in his artwork, which I love. It's a fascination that takes food to places you don't necessarily want to go. Someone gets stabbed in the heart by bacon....
Tim: It's always birds, food and robots. Why is that?
Nigel: I have no idea. I draw what I'm thinking and I usually think about food.
Adam: Nigel, is there something about food that sooths your soul?
Nathan: You eat your food, really quick, and I'm always asking "Dude, why do you eat your food so fast."
Nigel: I went to a boarding school, and we were trained to eat very, very quickly. We had 20 minutes of eating time, and if you didn't eat fast, they wouldn't give you seconds. It kind of stuck.
It's happy hour, where are you all drinking?
Tim: In our practice space, which is like, the end of the world, near market and 5th. There was this time for a while where I was drinking these huge $1 malt liquor cans. Steel Reserve Adam: Every time Tim would come into practice with one my heart would just drop, cause I'd knew he'd be unresponsive.
Nathan: My house. My roommates and I brew beer.
Adam: Nate's secret ingredient is sweat socks.
Tim: The first beer I remember Tim brewed, he poured it in a 40 bottle.
Nathan: A Budwesier 40oz bottle, I didn't have anything to bring it in.
Nigel: I remember one of the best Sunday practices on record was when we practiced for 2 hours and Nate says "Hey guys, I just brewed a keg of beer, anyone want to come back to my house?". Best Sunday ever.
You all have very interesting day jobs that are rather un-metal can you describe them a bit?
Adam: Three of us are all instructors as a job, except for Nigel. I teach at an at-risk high school on Treasure Island. I teach music appreciation, and entrepreneurship. First Lesson: Listen! Second Lesson: Guns N' Roses. It's part childcare sometimes.
Nathan: I teach guitar.
Nigel: I'm a graphic designer.
Tim: I'm a middle school teacher. It's intense sometimes. I see a lot of shit. I remember I was such an asshole at that age, It's interesting being on the other side now. Adam and I went to school together, he had a video documenting our middle school years when I had a mullet. I didn't wash my hair because I thought it was so cool. And I only wore black t-shirts. I was so weird looking then.
Favorite Venues in the City?
Tim: The Boom Boom Room!
Nathan: Great American Music Hall
Adam: It sounds clichéd, but Bottom of the Hill, best sound. We love Red Devil Lounge also.
What are some local artists you're listening to?
Nathan: Not to be old-manish or anything there's a great Django Reinhard cover band called Gaucho. They play at Elbo Room every Wednesday.
Adam: Tornado Rider, Trophy Fire, Hottub, Leather Feather
Nigel: The Lovemakers
Where can we see you next? Jan 22nd at Red Devil Lounge with Dubious Ranger
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