Interview: An Artist That Tattoos Named Evan Lovett

Do you remember your first time?  Think about it for a moment.  Did it hurt?  I know mine did for a moment.  It was not excruciating or anything, but it was a new pain that I slowly found comfort in.  I have returned to that feeling many a time since.  I really do believe everyone should experience it at least once.

I am talking about tattoos of course.  Many of us have them and many more appreciate them.

Whether you have 1 or 100, tattoos these days are becoming a more common trend and seen on people of all ages.  I am not going to get into the ethics of tattoos or anything of that nature, I am just merely pointing out what tattoos have become.  Forget the eyebrow ring piercing…tattoos are one of the more popular forms of socially acceptable self-expression on the human body.

I’ve interviewed all sort of people over the years for this site and others including musicians, artists, authors and once even a roller derby team.  Having my own site has opened doors to so many interesting stories and events.  I feel honored to have talked to so many people from all over the states.

I, until now, had never for whatever reason interviewed a tattoo artist and I honestly do not know what took me so long.  I’ve chatted with Cleveland’s Derek Hess in the past and his art is on the flesh of thousands of fans, but not once did I ever sit down with a tattoo artist and just shoot the breeze and find out a little more about them than many may know.

If any of you have ever met me, you are probably aware that I have a huge appreciation for tattoos and have quite a few all over my body.  I certainly plan on getting many more with visions of a full torso piece getting started this year.  With such a love of permanent art, I realized that a few months ago that I should really try to incorporate something into this site about tattooing.

As luck would have it, one of my favorite people in Austin heard wind of my idea and shared with me a name of someone I should check out: Evan Lovett.

Thanks Morgan.

It was not hard to track Lovett down, thanks to the ever popular social networking, and after I saw his online portfolio, I realized that not only did I want to interview him, but I wanted him to tattoo me.  His drawings and tattoos were more detailed than I was expecting and I was immediately intrigued to learn more about this guy, let alone get something done by him on me.

With him in Austin and myself in Akron though, I was not sure if that was going to happen anytime soon…until I realized I was going to Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin.  I was sure he was going to be busy that weekend but I was mistaken and on day two of Fun Fun Fun Fest, Lovett texted me and told me to stop by the studio.

After hanging out for a little bit and checking out Lovett’s portfolio, he told me that he had some fun pieces he wanted to tattoo.  I took this as an invitation for him to use my skin as his canvas and was quick to pick out something that he had previously drawn up.  So, not only did I get to interview Lovett, but I also got tattooed by him.  The experience was amazing.  I enjoyed not only chatting with him, but also watching him work.  His shading technique was unlike anyone else’s I had seen before and he basically was painting on me.  Mixing inks and blending sections together.

The result was a great afternoon full of good conversation as well as an amazing tattoo.

How did you get into the tattoo business?  Was it something you wanted to do all along or were you kind of just introduced to it by chance?

Growing up the son of a biker, I was always around tattoos and tattoo art, but the way i got into it was kind of strange.  I was an artist from a young age always drawing and my dad basically handed me over to a tattoo artist that he knew to keep me out of trouble and I spent about everyday of my life in that shop from 15 to 18 years old.

Did you ever think you would ever be tattooing?

Before i stepped foot into that shop, no.  But after my second day there ,the boss made me pick up a machine and outline a skull on his leg just to see if i had the balls.  Well I did and after that I couldn’t think of doing anything else.

You are not as much of a tattoo artist as you are an artist that tattoos correct?

Yes, I agree with that.  Not disrespecting any tattoo artist out there, but I feel to call myself a tattoo artist would be disrespecting the tradition and culture of the tattoo arts.  I wasn’t introduced to tattooing in the traditional sense.  The first shop I worked at, and in fact every shop I’ve worked at, have all been custom shops.  Since I started so young, I was fortunate to attend art school while and after I started tattooing.  I try to look at everything from a fine art perspective. regardless if its skin or canvas, although I have to admit I wish sometimes i could just tattoo!

I feel I take my tattooing too seriously and envy those tattoo artists with a sense of humor.  In fact, I think the tattoo I did on you was the most light hearted tattooing I’ve done in a long time. (laughs)

I will admit, it was a lot of fun.  So, which do you prefer more then, tattooing or drawing?

Drawing for sure.  There is a lot less pressure in drawing.  When it comes to tattooing, I try very hard to not think about the result and focus on the process.  That is why I do my best to work out the drawing as much as possible before hand.  The fact that I draw most of my tattoos directly on the skin before i tattoo is a bit strange for people, until I’m done.  I have to make the drawing as detailed as possible so I end up drawing on people for hours sometimes. Luckily for me no one complains because when I’m done, I feel they have a better understanding of what the tattoo will look like and are a lot more comfortable with wearing it.  Plus it’s fun!

When did you start doing this process of drawing on the skin over doing a stencil?

A few years ago, but only after I had the process worked out on paper first.  A good friend and somewhat of a mentor of mine, Sean Zee, made me do a red pencil sketch for every tattoo i did.   After that, [he] started making me do full color sketches with pencils.   I did this for about a year with every tattoo I did.  After a while, the tonal study was all I needed and I could replace colors in my head.  That’s when the Sharpies came into play.  They allowed me to create a fully rendered monochromatic drawing with a strong enough contrast quickly.

If I feel I still need to better understand something, I will still do a color study.  You can never be too prepared.  The better the understanding, the better the final piece will be whether it be  a tattoo or painting of whatever.

Why a Sharpie though?

I like the shape of the fine point and the fact that they’re alcohol based.

So is there a process when drawing with Sharpies? Are there certain techniques you use when drawing with Sharpies over other drawing instruments? How many colors do you generally use?

The technique is harder to explain, but I basically blend out lighter colors with darker ones.  I do this in layers until i get the result I want.  i can use any colors, but I prefer to use primary ones: red, yellow and blue.

How long have you been drawing with Sharpies?

I’ve been drawing with them for a few years now, and it kind of just snowballed into kind of a style.  It really is my favorite thing to draw with.  The techniques I use originally were just experiments in order to open up some creative doors in my head, but after a while, I had so much fun and found them so versatile that i just stuck with it.  With every shop, convention or guest spot I do, I find others fascinated by how far I can take it which is cool because hopefully by the time I leave, they have took it upon themselves to experiment and open some doors themselves.

That is kind of awesome and makes me want to go out and buy a pack of Sharpies…  So have you reached out to Sharpie yet for a possible sponsorship? I think it is safe to say they are going to be impressed.

Working on it…

Tell me about growing up outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey.

I love that I grew up in that area, surrounded by everything from tree-filled suburbs to vast farm lands and the beach also being 15 minutes away from the city.  I feel it’s made me very adaptable and well-rounded.  Artistically, the east coast can be a little segregated at least in our industry.  No one really talks to other people in shops, it’s very territorial.  Regardless, I always tried to break that stereotype and befriended everyone.  I hope it worked. (laughs)  I was also introduced to some great graffiti artists. Some of New Jerseys finest in fact!   But that’s something I’m not about to get in to.

No doubt, talking graffiti with you would be awesome but let’s stick to the tattoos – at least for now.  What made you move from the east coast to Austin?

I’ve been visiting Texas to see family for as long as I can remember and it always seemed like the place i wanted to be.  I remember my first solo trip out here, I think i was about 13 and I definitely stood out (laughs), but everyone was so nice and friendly.   I was in a store with my aunt and people started asking me questions.   Being from the big dirty, I was suspicious, but when i looked at her she assured me that they were just nice.  [It] took me a while to learn to let my guard down a bit. (laughs)  When it came time for me to finally make that move, I was lucky enough to have a few friends who already lived or moved out here, so it made my decision a little easier.

I have to say, living in Austin is a bit of a comfort. This is the only city I’ve ever been in where people don’t just assume I tattoo. I’m mean everyone is covered out here, and sometimes it’s nice to not stand out.

You still travel to Philly though monthly right? Do you find a lot of appointments for work waiting for you when you visit?

Yeah, I work at Art Machine Production in Philly one week every month.  It started out as just a guest spot, a chance for me to finish up some work on my clients that I left behind.   I guess with almost 8 years of clients there though, I was still in demand.  So I talked to my buddy Tim Pangburn and we made it a regular permanent thing. I’m usually booked solid there which is a good change of pace to my more casual Austin work habits.

Let’s talk about your art.  You had an exhibit going on in Austin that lasted 2 weekends last Fall.   Care to talk about that for a moment?

Yes.  Me and my studio-mate Nick Baxter participated in what they call E.A.S.T. or east Austin studio tour.  It’s a two-week-long open house free to the public that allows anyone to come into our private studio and see our work, checkout what we have to offer, see some cool art and meet us.  There are over 300 individual artists and studios involved, so it was good to feel a part of a creative community.  But I think the coolest part of it was just seeing our work cover the walls of our studio. They were pretty bare until E.A.S.T. gave us a reason to change that. (laughs)

How was the overall response?

Really good. [We] had a lot of positive feedback. had a lot of tattoo folk come threw artists from shops and studios around the city come check us out, it was cool. [It’s] good for people to know; just because we’re a private studio, we’re not some big secret.  We just like to work in a smaller more comfortable atmosphere and make cool art work.

This is the first time you sold prints of your work correct? How did that work out for you?

Not bad, it was a bit weird for me, but had a good response and [I] was encouraged to make more.  My drawings seem to reproduce beautifully.

I’ll say.  Do you think you will make some of these prints available to others maybe via the net?

Never thought about it before, but I don’t see why not.  If someone likes my art enough to want it, the least I could do is get it to them.

Here is the piece that Evan did on me. Hands down one of my favorite pieces.

[I] still don’t feel like I have a style that’s mine yet, but standing back and looking at everything I’ve done at the same time, I guess you can see something there. But either way, I don’t think I’ll ever perfect anything.  [I] can only hope I die trying.

Your shading and detail is beyond amazing. How tough is it to take a piece you drew on paper and put it permanent on skin?

[It’s] way easier than taking something not perfected and putting it on skin. (laughs) But on a more serious note, there are limitations to both skin and paper and sometimes certain things can be pushed farther on one over the other.  I always try to push further when someone is going to be wearing it.  It’s only fair to them.

You’ve opted out the idea of owning a tattoo parlor and instead operate in a studio. When did you decided that you wanted to be more exclusive?

It’s something I’ve always wanted, once i started working on more of a serious clientele, but never pursued it till about a year ago.  When asking the advice of my friend Nick on whether or not he thought I could do it, he told me he did and would be interested in collaborating on it with me.  So, that sold me and here we are a year later.

The studio I work at in Philly is more open to the public, but has a private studio feel.  We all work there by appointment only and do as we please working each in our own style on the things that interest us the most, so i have a good balance.   Even if i did miss the atmosphere of a more street shop,  I can and do often visit my friends at work all around the city, and it’s a honor to be welcomed in.

I am sure your work travels by word of mouth right?  (In fact, when I was on South Congress the day before I flew home, a girl stopped me and asked me who did my piece.)

Well, since I’m am absolute shit at self-promotion, due to my shyness and anti-social behavior and anxieties, yea word of mouth has been the venue of chance for my carrier to spread.   So, thank you to all of you out there who proudly wear my work and show it off.

Really, thank you!  I am trying to have a working website this year!  About time, I know…

Wrapping things up, what’s one important thing you learned in the past that you use daily when drawing or tattooing?

To slow my role! Make sure i know where I’m going with a piece before I start and that in a business that relies completely on the will of another person, that it never hurts to be nice.

What is your favorite thing to draw? How about favorite thing to draw on?

Well I don’t know why, but I really like drawing birds and nature in general with sharpies on skin.  I like to paint with oil on board, and bic pen on diner place mats. (laughs)

You need to show me this place mat art one day.  So, what’s next for Evan Lovett?

I think I’m gonna up my convention game in 2012 and try and hit as many as i can.  Other than that, keep on making art as often as I can.  I’d like also to simplify my life, although that’s what i say everyday, [it] never seems to happen.

Check out the following links for more information on Evan Lovett:

Classic Touch Tattoos (Austin, TX)

Art Machine Productions (Philadelphia, PA)

letlive.

Not a lot of new albums have been catching my ears as of late, but L.A.’s letlive. has grabbed my attention with their latest post-hardcore release.  Following the lines of Glassjaw and Refused, this is the music that needs to stick around.  Hell I can even hear a little Blood Brothers and At The Drive In in their music and I really find that awesome.

letlive. has been around since 2002, but recently signed with Epitaph and their album Fake History is dropping April 12th for your listening pleasure.  Rumor has it that their live shows are absolutely insane.  Here’s hoping for a Cleveland show to see if that is true.

Check out their video for “Renegade 86”:

Here’s a video for “The Sick, Sick 8.6 Billion” their dropped on their MySpace page:

letlive. – “The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion”

letlive | Myspace Music Videos

Cincinnati’s Mixtapes Sign To No Sleep Records!

It always makes me happy to see a hard working band get signed to a label, especially one that I dig a lot.  Cincinnati’s Mixtapes recently announced that they were picked up by No Sleep Records and were currently recording their first full-length album that will drop this Spring.

Ryan Rockwell (singer / guitarist) had this to say about getting signed and releasing new material:

“We are really excited to be signing to No Sleep Records and making our first full length, we are currently in the studio and making magic. We are excited to be spreading the lyrics of Cam’ron, good fashion techniques, and also the opportunity to make friends of many races, nationalities, and even different musical taste (maybe). We are recording just over 20 songs and can’t wait to see what makes the album. As for the sound it sounds pretty much what we sound like, although less acoustic.”

I’ve seen this band numerous times at small venues and cramped basements and talk them up a lot with good reason.  They are a great act to listen to as well as see live, and I look forward to hearing their full-length this Spring.  If you like your punk a little poppy with humor and realistic themes throughout songs, then check this band out.

Best Of 2011 According To BHP

Well it would appear that 2011 is coming to an end.  With that said, it’s time for a “Best Of…” Broken Headphones 2011 edition.

There were a ton of amazing releases throughout the year as well as live shows that I was able to attend.  Below is just a various list of bands that caught my attention, be it a recording or live show, over the past 12 months.

I should add that some of my favorite releases were from local Akron/Cleveland acts.  I am not just dropping their names because we are pals or anything, they all worked hard and put out some excellent releases.  If you have not heard of any of them, you really should check them out.

I may have missed a band here or there, but the following were the ones that stood out over the rest.

Albums of the Year:

SeahavenWinter Forever

*Hands down this is one of my favorite albums to drop this year.  They just have this indie punk rock sound that is ever so likable – trust me on this.  The first time I listened to it, I was hooked.  I see big things happening with this band in the near future.

NothingtonBorrowed Time

*This is another album I favored over the rest this year.  Catchy lyrics layered over wholesome punk rock is what this album is all about.  To make matters even better, they kick ass live.  They are coming back to Cleveland next month and I can not wait to see them again.  Listening to this band brings me band to the punk rock 90s I grew up on.

All DinosaursParanoid Indigenous

*So maybe the music was released in 2010, but the LP dropped this past Spring so I consider it a 2011 release.  This Cleveland act is beyond fun to listen to plus they put on one of the best live shows ever.  They are funny, quote 80s movies and are in it for the fun.  It helps they are also all super cool dudes.  If you are a Cleveland native, you should already know how amazing this band is.

Dave HauseResolutions

*I was a little late checking this album out as it was released in early 2011, but am glad I did not pass it up.  Hause (The Loved Ones) is an amazing musician and proves it in this killer solo release.  With help from his friends, he put together one hell of a release.  Do me a favor, if you like music, listen to this.

Living With LionsHoly Shit

*Words can not really describe how impressed I was when I heard these guys.  All I know is I will have this album playing regularly for a long long time.

Deer TickDivine Providence

*The boys in Deer Tick changed it up a bit and put forth a bitching rock album that I really dug.

DawesNothing Is Wrong

*Oh Dawes…you’ve done it again.  What a solid release.  You guys are on your way to being huge.  Keep it up.

Those DarlinsScrews Get Loose

*The girls and Lynwood dropped a impressive follow-up to their debut this year and I adore it.  Still kicking around the country-punk attitude, the foursome toyed with a more indie / garage rock sound and did a fine job doing so.

Old Man MarkleyGuts n’ Teeth

*This self-proclaimed “New Grass” band was one of the more fun releases I had have the pleasure of checking out this year.  I can not wait to see what happens next with these guys and gals.

Banner PilotHeart Beats Pacific

*Impressive release by a great punk rock band.  They need to play Cleveland soon.

White WivesHappeners

*This was the surprise release of the year for me.  Featuring members of Anti-Flag, this album is far from a pop-punk rock album.  On the lines of indie rock, White Wives needs to be heard.

A.A. BondyBelievers

*This guy really outdid himself.  You really have to check it out for yourself to realize why I appreciate it so much.  It’s a really beautiful release to listen to.

Bon IverBon Iver

*Not normally something I would listen to, but holy shit – it rules.

The Black KeysEl Camino

*Yeah yeah yeah… The former Akron, OH boys once again put out a release I admit I love.  I do not love the fact that the next time they hit Cleveland, they will be playing an arena.  It is safe to say they made it big time.  Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.

Signals MidwestLatitudes & Longitudes

*And yet another local act.  These guys are a big deal though…to me at least.  The dropped a really good record.  For serious.

EPs of the year:

LutherSiblings & Sevens

*Folk / Punk / Rock awesomeness.  I was caught off guard by this band.  They rule.  Sadly they had to cancel their Cleveland show after the band was involved in an accident in Chicago.  Luckily no one was seriously injured.  I can not wait for their full-length to drop.

Harvey PekarThirty Ghosts

*Dear Harvey Pekar (the band), thank you for existing.

Worship This! – Demo

*I normally do not mention bands that I am really good friends with the members, but I adore this band.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Two Hand FoolsBelieveland

*These guys better get signed in 2012 or else I am going to fight someone.  Another Cleveland act with plenty of talent.

Cherry Cola Champions – EP

*I remember the first time I saw these guys live.  I was not into them during their first song, and once their second song started, I was blown away.  Looking forward to seeing what this duo has up their sleeves next year.

The Awesome:

-Going to SXSW and seeing bands such as The Dead Milkmen, Flatliners, Dead To Me, Eyehategod, and tons others at various venues in Austin, TX earlier this Spring.  It was one hell of an experience to see so many bands cramped into such an amazing city.  Sadly when you have that many bands, you tend to miss out on some great sets by amazing bands.  Regardless, it was just awesome.  Plus…I saw Dale Watson play at Ginny’s.  That right there made my trip.

-Hanging out with Ninja Gun for a few days.  These guys are some of the best dudes I know.  They wanted to play shows on the East coast and I was able to lure them to Kent to play a show in September.  We all enjoyed hanging out so much that they kicked it for a couple more days where I took them up to Melt for some cheesy deliciousness.

-Getting Dave Hause to play a house show in Akron.  After seeing that Dave Hause was not playing a show in the Cleveland area just 2 weeks ago, I threw him the idea of a house show and he and tour mate Cory Branan were totally down with the idea.  The result was a show to remember with Hause and Branan trading off songs all night long.

-Hanging out with friends, new and old, at the Inner Sanctum Pier show on the E. 9th pier.  More people could have showed up, but regardless, I had a killer time that sunny day and got to watch Pat The Producer turn into a human tomato.

-Hanging out with Rise Against and doing some charity work them at the Malachi House in Cleveland.  The guys were super cool to hang with and really did not have that “rock star” attitude built from success.  Props to 92.3 for making that happen.

-Making the trip back to Austin, TX early November and attending Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I got to see some of my favorite bands all in one weekend including Murder City Devils, Hot Snakes, Hum, Slayer, Eyehategod, The Damned, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and Russian Circles.  This was one of my favorite festivals of all time.  It was a festival I had wanted to attend for a a few years now and I decided to go for it.  I am so glad I did.

-It’s A Kling Thing House & Girley House.  Both houses put on some amazing shows in 2011 with local acts as well as touring bands.  Seeing Jeff Rowe over the summer as well as Mixtapes just a month or so ago in a basement is as good as live shows get for this guy.

-Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour.  What a great evening of music that was.  The show was in a freaking barn.  Yes, I do not remember much as the beers were going down like water, but I know I had a blast with some pretty special people.

The Suck:

-Ben Weasel’s SXSW blowout.  Sadly I was on the other side of town watching Cleveland’s very own Ringworm in a ghetto ass bar.  Don’t ask me why I skipped out on seeing Screeching Weasel live, I was under the influence of many ice cold Lone Star beers.  Honestly, I am kind of glad I missed Weasel acting like a little girl on stage.

-Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun hissy fit.  One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Fun Fun Fun Fest was because the Danzig Legacy was playing it.  I was stoked to finally see Danzig sing some Misfits songs with Doyle on stage.  Instead I witnessed a diva take the stage late and get their set cut as they played past curfew.  I only heard two Misfits songs and left with a bad taste in my mouth.  People can think what they want about Danzig and that night.  I was in the crowd watching heater being pulled on stage as well as the side of the stage tarped up so that little Glen would not get cold.  It was over an hour until the stage met his needs and the dude was fully aware of the curfew.  I will say that the two Mistfits songs had me feeling like a kid all over again.  Shame I could not witness the entire set that he had planned.  Lucky for me Ted Leo did a TV Casualty set the next day and made up for the Danzig drama.

-Seeing NOFX over Those Darlins.  I regret that decision a lot.  Two of my favorite bands played the same night and I had to choose one over the other.  The good news was that I got to see and meet Old Man Markley.  Sorry Darlins, I will not miss you next time you all hit up Cleveland.  Please forgive me.

-Atari Teenage Riot’s Cleveland show getting cancelled.  I was stoked to see these guys and was prepared to lose my hearing that night.  Hours before the show, their promoter cancelled the show.  Needless to say, I was pissed.

-92.3 and 107.3 changing formats.  Cleveland is a lost cause with radio now that both those stations were yanked.

Wrapping it up…

2011 ended with a bang for this music lover.  Thanks to all my friends from all over who made this year extra special for me.  You all know who you are.  From letting me crashing on couches to allowing bands to play in their basements you helped make this year what it was.  Also to everyone who attended shows with me and shared the same passion I have for music, thanks.

Happy holidays everyone and thanks for taking a part out of your day to visit this site.

Ok 2012, let’s see what you have in store.


Interview: Chicken of Dead To Me

San Francisco punk rockers Dead To Me recently dropped a new album titled Moscow Penny Ante on Fat Wreck Chords.  The band, having been around since 2003, has had their fair share of changes with musicians coming and going, but never really lost their sound.  Their ability to mix up a bunch of genres like reggae and ska into their punk rock groove always stood out to me.  Having caught them twice this year, you could say I dig them a little.

Having toured the US in 2011, the band will be heading to Europe for a tour in 2012.  I seriously do not think these guys, between touring and recording, ever take a break.

Photo by Katie Hovland

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with bassist / vocalist Chicken.  He was more than kind in doing an interview with me.  Check it out:

BHP: So, how’d 2011 treat you guys?

Chicken:  This year has been great for us! We have toured pretty much non stop and we recorded a new album and released it. So needless to say we have been very, very busy. It’s a good thing.

I’ve been lucky enough to see DTM twice this year, once in SXSW.  Any comments about that magical evening in March?

That night was crazy. I learned how to play guitar listening to Screeching Weasel, so I was pretty bummed out about what happened. I just wish the whole thing never happened. It was a bummer too because the other bands that played (Dead To Me, Banner Pilot, The Flatliners) all worked really hard to get to Austin for SXSW and we all played great sets. Unfortunately, no one remembers because of the whole Ben Weasel fiasco.

DTM played CMJ in NYC recently.  How did it go for you guys?

CMJ in New York was so much fun. Fat Wreck did a great job of putting together an amazing evening of awesome bands. We had a blast! We played two shows in one day in NYC, and that is super hard to do. Just getting around NYC with all our gear is a nightmare, but we pulled it off. We played a free show in SoHo at the Chrome Bag store with kegs of beer and lots of drunk New York hipsters. Good times.

Your band’s style mixes up a plethora of punk rock goodness that spans from almost a street punk to a reggae-vibe.  Was this style how DTM always was since its inception or has the band experimented throughout the years?

We have always just wanted to write songs that we want to hear. If it has a little Reggae vibe to it, then so be it. We love bands from all different genres like Hip Hop, Reggae, Hardcore, World Music, etc… so we just want to be able incorporate all of our influences into the songwriting process.

Fat Wreck Chords has been there for you since your debut.  How does it feel to be on their roster?  You actually worked for them for a few years correct?  Being employed by Fat Mike on two different levels…nice.

Yeah, it is awesome being on FAT. I used to work in the mail room there and it was so much fun. It was like a family vibe for sure. We did tons of stuff together, not just work. We would play in bands together, go to shows together, go out to eat all the time and all that. Now being in a band on the label, I consider it an honor. When I call the label and have questions about this or that, I am talking to people that have known me personally for over ten years now, so I trust them completely. It’s a great feeling for sure.

DTM’s new album Moscow Penny Ante dropped a couple months back.  It is a great release by the way.  What can you tell me about this new release?

We are all really excited about our new record, Moscow Penny Ante. I love the job Matt Allison did producing it and am so excited to be playing new songs live, it rules. We have been touring so much over the last two years that this batch of songs is a very good reflection of the live spirit of DTM. It is much more cohesive than African Elephants and has a little more straight forward delivery I think.

Does the title have any reference to your country of origin?

No, I grew up in California. The title is taken from a term Malcolm X used to define his crew of small time thugs in Harlem, NY. I feel like a small timer in a sea of boys in bands that want to be big time and I could care less. I am happy with everything we have been able to do and I’m riding this thing until the wheels fall off. I never though in a million years that because of songs I wrote in my bedroom, it would take me to places as far away as Moscow.

What was done differently on this album that stands out over previous releases?

I feel like there as an overall confidence in song writing on this new record that wasn’t as apparent on previous releases. We got experimental on African Elephants and I love that record for that, but on Moscow Penny Ante I felt way more confident with what my melodies would end up sounding like and how I wanted the guitars to sound.

Will the band be taking a break anytime soon.  Seems like you boys have been touring all over the world this year?

What is a break? I’ve never heard of that before.

Aside from DTM, your drummer Ian does some amazing artwork on used vinyl.  I am kicking myself in the ass for not buying one when you played in Cleveland.  How long typically does it take him to turn a beat up vinyl into a work of art?

I am sure he will be bringing some with him on our European tour in Jan/Feb 2012 so come to a show and try to grab one before they sell out. His pieces can take anywhere from an hour to twenty minutes to three hours sometimes. It depends on what materials he has laying around and how much time he has available to work on something.

Would you agree that punk is not dead?

It never has been and never will be!!

Did you ever think that you would be where you are now 20 years ago?

I definitely used to dream about playing in a touring punk band all the time 20 years ago. I knew with all my heart that it was what I wanted to do. I feel so insanely fortunate that I am able to do it now. I have literally traveled much of the globe and met amazing people world wide. I feel very lucky to be on FAT and lucky to have been able to play with some of my all time favorite bands over the years. It’s like living in a dream, it rules.

Awesome.  Well that’s all I got…anything you care to add?

Thank you for the interview, we appreciate it! To anyone reading this, come hang out when we come t Europe in early 2012, it’s gonna be a blast!