Attica Attica (Indie/Punk)

Written by Jonny Havoc

Attica Attica
Posted Oct 24, 2007.

My name is Aaron. I sing, play guitar and piano, and write all the music fror Attica! Attica! You could call it a solo project, but I like to think of it as an umbrella name for whenever my friends and I get together to play some songs I've written. I play out both solo and with a full band, and my recordings have been collaborations with other musicians I know. Although I am the foundation of the band, the participating members come and go with a fluidity that keeps the music exciting.
This is not my website, but it's more important than anything I put online:
Close Guantanamo Bay

Do you have any upcoming shows?
Unfortunately, I injured both my wrists working at my last job, so I'm on the DL for a couple months. I'm hoping to get healthy so I can start playing locally again. Once I'm confident that I can play a full set, I'll be working on some more tours. I'd like to tour the west coast soon, and I'll be heading out to the east coast again some time after the new year.

What inspires most of your lyrics?
I travel frequently, for my work, for my music, and for personal pleasure. I also move a lot (I've moved my home 23 times in the past 10 years), so matters of movement are on my mind often. As a result, my lyrics gravitate to questions of what I'm looking for, what I'm moving towards, and what I'm leaving behind. Addtionally, I am easily infuriated by political matters, so my lyrics often address abuses of power and the self-destruction of the human race.

Tell us about your latest album.
The album is called "Dead Skin/Dried Blood", and it was just released this September. I recorded it with a good friend of mine, Chris Antal, at his studio (Foghorn) in Ithaca, NY. I was living in Ithaca at the time and working two jobs, so I would just go to Chris' studio whenever I got the chance and we would put in a few hours at a time. It took almost a year to go from demo to final mix, but we were really pleased with the result. Because we took our time, we were able to create a diversity of styles that range from more classical piano/cello songs to full-band punk songs.

What is the best thing about playing music?
I don't think I like playing music as much as I like sharing music. Performing is fun, but there's nothing like the feeling when everyone in the room knows a song and they share that moment with the band. At times like that, it doesn't really matter whether I'm the person playing the music or not.

Any funny stories about a fan?
My friends were at a house show back east, and they saw a small house fan that had a Tragedy sticker affixed to the center of the motor, and it fit so neatly on that spot that my friend said, "Holy BARNICLE, Tragedy makes fans?" And for a second, he really thought that one of the most DIY hardcore/punk bands out there sells small appliances as part of their merch. That's kind of funny.

What do you think of vegetarians?
I haven't eaten meat in over 10 years because I'm not interested in eating animals. That said, I don't think poorly of meat-eaters, nor do I think particularly well of vegetarians or vegans. But I do have a problem with people who are unwilling to inform themselves about the consequences of their diet. If you are going to eat meat, do it with an awareness of the practices of the industries you are supporting, and do it with an awareness that some meat-producing factory farms are extremely damaging to the environment. If you are going to be vegetarian/vegan, do it with an awareness that most of the major health food and meat alternative companies are owned by major corporate conglomerates that have their hands in many different kinds of food production. It's also important to be aware that catching a fish for dinner is probably less damaging to the environment than buying plastic-wrapped tofu that had to be shipped 1,000 miles. I think the ethics of diet are changing, and an environmentally responsible diet depends more on how your food was made and how far it was shipped than on whether it's an animal or not.

What do you do for work right now, other than playing music?
I'm not working right now, but I find odd jobs to keep me going here and there. I worked at a summer camp in NYC this summer, then I spent the past few months selling decorative posters to kids on college campuses down the east coast. Before all that, I worked for a vending machine company in the Northwest.

What were some of your favorite bands growing up and what bands have influenced your band the most?
I don't think anything has been as influential as the lyrical intelligence and melodic elegance of Bad Religion. I love pop sensibilities but I can't stand the vacuous lyrics in pop music…so I loved bands that sounded poppy but don't have trite lyrics. Midnight Oil is a good example of that, and The Housemartins. More recently, I've been listening to a broader spectrum of music, from Stevie Wonder to the Dresden Dolls, and I think my expanding taste has led to a willingness to explore more instrumental options on my songs.

Do any of the members of the band play in any other bands?
Nope, this is my only band. Though I think anyone who likes Attica! Attica! should check out my old band, Marathon.

Anything you would like to say to anyone reading this interview?
Music is one of the most important things in my life, and I know that's true for most people reading this. But I think it is crucial to keep aware of what is happening in the world around us. Music is a great lens for criticizing and satirizing political matters, but it will take much more than some political songs to prevent the human race from exterminating itself. Keep your eyes open, and don't wait until the oceans are lapping at your front door to do something about it.

Do you have any promoting secrets that you would like to share with our readers?
The only secret about promoting that I can offer is that self-promotion is a job. I spent three years working very hard trying to promote the music my band was making, and I hated it, because it was a job, rather than the alternative to a job that music once was for me. I'm very satisfied with playing music these days because I've stopped obsessively trying promoting it. I make the music I want to make, I play when I want to play, and I couldn't be happier. If people come across my music, that's great! If they don't, that's fine, too. After 12 years of playing in bands, that's the best piece of wisdom I can share. Sure, some people want to build their fanbase and make more money, and self-promotion is a key to that. But for me, the worth in making music is that it is an escape from all the obligatory work of a job. So I've really tried not to worry too much about promotion, and as a result, making music is much more rewarding.



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