Interview – Weekend Nachos

Chicago’s Weekend Nachos take everything you love about hardcore punk, powerviolence and sludge metal, inject it with a healthy dose of adrenaline and then hurl it all right back at you. Frontman John Hoffman had plenty to say about the digital age and its potential pitfalls….

First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
John – I’m John, I do vocals in Weekend Nachos and I just recently got laid off so I no longer work. In my free time I like to watch The Terminator, play Nintendo and eat food with my girlfriend.  I am not straight edge nor am I a vegetarian. I think tattoos are lame. I plan on giving Obama another 4 years.  I hate cats but I love dogs.  I think The Police, Boston and The Cars are all better than any punk or hardcore band to ever exist.  I think human beings who ride their bicycle in the street should be relentlessly fined and given less basic rights.

What inspired you to form Weekend Nachos? What is your own musical background?
Weekend Nachos formed out of a combination of boredom and hate.  I thought singing in a band would be fun so I got a few friends together and we just started pissing people off. It was and still is very fun!  As far as my own musical background, I was raised on rock and roll music by my father, who is also a rocker. I got into punk/hardcore through some of my skateboarding friends when I was 14 years old and it has been a wild ride ever since.

Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
This all depends on what kind of deal you’ve got with your label. We are a hardcore band so we (mostly) play to punk/hardcore/metal kids.  They all still buy records for the most part, and we either release our records ourselves or though friends of ours.  So because of that, we definitely see a reasonable amount of money from record sales.  If you’re on a major, most likely those labels are the ones making the money from that, not the band.  I’m not really sure how that works, though…because I’ve never been signed.  I hope that answers your question.

Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
I don’t think it has KILLED it, but I do believe it has weakened it, for sure. The Digital Age allows every little asshole on Earth to listen to record after record without even leaving their parents’ basement.  Do I think that’s a necessary part of progression? Well, I don’t know about necessary, but at this point it makes sense. Technology cannot be slowed when it comes to human beings and their desire to become as lazy as possible.  Given that point of view, I’d say it is definitely a tragic decline in human quality, but not necessarily an entire loss. I still have a lot of fun listening to music in it’s natural format and being able to purchase it from a small business. I still do it just as much as I did 20 years ago when I was old enough to save my own money.

What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
I prefer vinyl, because the artwork is bigger.  CD’s and tapes were what I originally had growing up but music became a lot more fun for me when I started purchasing the larger format.  I also think vinyl sounds better than anything as long as you have decent equipment, which I do.

Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
Absolutely.  In the younger generation, most of them do not even know what a record is.  They might know what a CD is (was?), but sooner than later even a CD will be considered a laughable, geeky thing that “my parents had to use when they were kids”.  It’ll just go more in that direction over time as long as technology continues to advance.  That’s life, though.

I’ve been digging your other band Cyborg lately. Why did you decide to make your demo available for free download?
Eh, we just don’t care. Get the music out there for people to hear because it’s going to end up on the internet anyways. As much as I slander the digital age, sometimes you just have to keep up.  Plus, Cyborg and Weekend Nachos would both rather have our music available in a high quality digital format as opposed to the terrible homemade rips that most people put on their blogs or Youtube. If you’re gonna listen to our music for free, at least hear it the way we intended it to be heard!

What benefits and/or disadvantages have arisen from this distribution method?
The benefits are, like I said, the fast and more effective distribution of the jams, as well as the guarantee of high sound quality.  The disadvantage is that it will inevitably make less people actually buy the record or demo from us…and we need that money to tour and release more records and merchandise.  It’s a loss we’re willing to take in the long run.

What is your take on the current SOPA/ACTA controversy?
The whole thing is silly but it doesn’t offend me either. I’m neutral because I don’t care about either side. From what I’ve observed, on one side you’ve got shitty corporations that are fearful that they are losing money…I could care less about those greedy fucking scumbags.  They’ve made their livings ripping people off anyways, fuck ’em.  On the other hand, you’ve got a bunch of spoiled little babies complaining about their right to stream videos and music on Youtube and download things for free, while there are children starving in third world countries.  If they get a little kick in the ass, I’m fine with that too.  I can go back to the way things were before the Digital Age took over…I’ve already been there.  We, as privileged humans, are constantly being spoiled more and more every day.  We should all remember that just being able to eat and smile is enough sometimes.

What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming musician/band in today’s cultural climate?
That’s a good question.  Being a musician or a band is challenging as it is.  It’s not easy to write successful music or go on tour or even play an instrument at all. It takes talent and drive, for sure. I guess that’s all it is.  It’s important to ignore the business aspect of it all because if you focus on that first, the good music will never be written.  It will just be as transparent and watered down as any money-making scam out there.  The passion has to come first before anything.  The human brain is the real challenge.

Cyborg’s demo is now available for free download through their Bandcamp page. For more information on Weekend Nachos, you can check out their Bandcamp page, follow them on Facebook, or catch them live on their European tour this Summer –

30/06/2012 – The Grosvenor, London (UK) as part of Chimpyfest, w/ The Art Of Burning Water, The Afternoon Gentlemen and more

01/07/2012 – The Croft, Bristol (UK)

05/07/2012 – 13th Note, Glasgow (UK) w/ The Afternoon Gentlemen and more

12/07/2012 – Na Bojišti, Trutnow (CZ) as part of Obscene Extreme festival, w/ Discharge, Nasum, Poison Idea and more

14/07/2012 – Juzl, Göttingen (DE)

20/07/2012 – Rokycany Airfield, Rokycany (CZ) as part of Fluff Fest, w/ Circle Takes The Square, Shai Hulud and more

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About M3 Event

The music industry is rapidly changing. The internet has enabled widespread piracy, as well as a variety of new business and distribution models. We want to offer an engaged audience in and around the Euregion an opportunity to develop a coherent and detailed picture of the future of music distribution. On the 31st of May 2012 a music conference in Maastricht, consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking. We hope to utilise the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon.

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