an interview with Weekend Nachos, and “Dust” stream (ft. Dylan of Full of Hell)
by Kelly Kettering
Relentless Chicago grindcore act Weekend Nachos has in fact finally relented, as their fifth and final album Apology will be released on May 20 via Relapse Records (pre-order). However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going out without a dogged fight of power violence fury. Apology was recorded by the band’s own Andy Nelson at Bricktop Studios (Lord Mantis, Like Rats, Harms Way) and today we’re debuting “Dust,” the second track on the album that features guest vocals by Dylan Walker of Full of Hell. I also chatted with vocalist John Hoffman, and here’s what he tells us about Dylan’s contribution:
For some reason, I envisioned some real Anal Cunt/Discordance Axis style vocals over this midtempo punk riff I had. Aside from Dylan being a really close friend of ours, I also simply didn’t have the voice for the sound I was going for in this particular verse, haha. So I got him to do it and I told him what I wanted. Truth be told, he really didn’t do his vocal part the way that I asked him to, but it still came out fucking awesome and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I wanted to have him on the record anyways so it worked on magnificently.
Give the track a spin as you check out the rest of my chat with John about the band’s final album, tour and what’s coming next.
Why title the record Apology? What are you apologizing for?
John Hoffman: Absolutely nothing, man. The album title is sarcastic and violently apathetic. I’ll always sleep better at night knowing that we did everything 100% our way while the weakest and bitchiest fakes in the world cried about it.
Now that you can look at the discography of your band from beginning to end, what stands out to you the most about your sound and/or lyrics over time?
Weekend Nachos has always been a really extreme band. Which is fitting, since all of these subgenres we talk about are really under the blanket of “extreme music” right? But seriously, the lyrics have always just been about nothing but hatred and ignorance. And the music matches it too, because we always just inspired chaos and violence at our shows. There was never anything “deep” about the band, and never anything fancy about our live shows. Get up there, spew your hate out to a group of people, and watch them get hurt. We never really stepped away from that and the five albums we released definitely reflect that.
How has it changed from the early days to now?
Not much has changed. It’s crazy to think about how 12 years doesn’t change a whole lot when you were honest from the start. We still don’t even have a booking agent. I guess maybe we’re better live than we were in 2004, so that has changed. But we still find ourselves playing in basements and small venues to 60-100 people and I sell our merch in the back for the same prices as the openers. More people listen to Weekend Nachos than they did in 2004 but you’d never know it if you talked to us. I never wanted for a whole lot to change from the early days, I like playing music to just a few people that “get it” and then packing up our shit and going home.
You’ve said in previous interviews you guys don’t take yourselves too seriously, which I agree is important in a music scene that always touts being aggressive and “hard.” Any advice for new bands coming up on how not to take themselves too seriously also?
It’s hard to give advice about something that comes naturally… I guess I would just tell new bands to forget about the dream of earning respect and fame in this scene. It’s not important and if those things do come along, they’ll be gone before you know it anyways. So, don’t write your music or sculpt an image FOR anyone but you. You think these people care but the truth is they don’t. They’ll either like you for who you are, OR they’ll pretend to care about you for who you aren’t and move on to another poser the next day.
How do you feel about the juxtaposition of not taking yourself too seriously but writing/singing about genocide, violent overthrow of government and overall regret – themes that are throughout this record?
I don’t take myself too seriously in life, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have real shit going on in my brain that I like to write about. To me, music and art is a forum to release whatever you don’t want trapped inside you. Real life is different, and to me society, people, work, family, school, etc. is too fucking stupid and false to take seriously. You owe it to yourself to coast through this life as a big joke because otherwise you’re gonna get burned real badly when you realize no one else gives a shit either.
What about being in this band will you miss? Anything you’re happy to move on from?
I’m really going to miss touring and sharing our music with people from other parts of the world. It’s really going to hurt knowing that we won’t get to take this band any further, but it was one hell of a ride while it lasted. I’ll never minimize what it was like to take Weekend Nachos so far. As for what I’m happy to move on from, I’m really excited not to be in the spotlight anymore. And I say that not too literally… but the truth is, a lot of attention was always on me as the front man of a mildly successful DIY punk band. Once WN breaks up, it’ll be nice to be left alone for a minute.
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It’s well known that WN is tight with Full of Hell and have toured before, etc. What do you think it is that makes you guys gel so well together?
They’re so fucking rad, dude. They work so hard and are totally on the level. In a scene filled with people just waiting to step on someone else to get “big”, here you’ve got a group of dudes who are willing to just scrape their knees over and over again to get where they want to go the hard way. And they’re not shy about it either… they clearly do want to take the band further and do more cool shit. But they just realize that it’s hard work that accomplishes that, not signing to some big label or hiring some bigshot agent. So, we gel with them because they function similarly to how we do. DIY doesn’t have to mean playing to only 10 people for your entire time as a band… it means working hard to go places on your own terms. Full of Hell and Weekend Nachos both embody that spirit.
What else can you tell me about the writing/recording of “Dust,” which we’re premiering today?
It’s a song Andy and I wrote together. I had a riff for the main verse and it was really midtempo/punk sounding. I had a chorus to match it but it really kinda sucked, so Andy and I came up with something different at practice and we used this other slowed down riff I had at the end, kind of a pummeling Crossed Out style mosh part. The lyrics are about violent “might makes right” type assholes at shows… most hardcore kids would be able to relate I’m sure, especially since that shit has been resurfacing for a few years now and it’s detrimental to what we’ve tried to build.
Have there been any “bucket list” style things you did on this record that you hadn’t done before and wanted to make sure you did now, knowing it would be your last?
Hmm, not really, we’ve always just progressed our sound to be heavier, more powerful and more diverse, which we definitely accomplished again on this last album. On the last track, “Apology”, there is a guest appearance by a musician we are friends with, and I’ve been wanting to get him on a recording of ours for years now, so that’s sort of something I can cross off my list now. I guess now I can tell you to “BUY THE ALBUM” so you can find out who the mystery guest musician is, haha.
What about touring-wise? Anywhere/anything you really wanted to play, see, do this last time together on the road?
We’ve done pretty much everything I ever hoped to do and more, since I never expected this band to go ANYWHERE, haha. But I guess I would have liked to tour South America at some point, which at this point I don’t know if I’ll ever get to do. But it’s cool, I’m not complaining.
What other projects to you/other members of the band have coming up?
Drew and Andy both play in Like Rats together, and that band has been gaining some momentum with a new album that just came out on Southern Lord. I’m pretty excited to see what happens with that. I play drums in Spine, a fast hardcore band, and I’ve also recorded a 2-song demo for a new doom project called Ledge. It sounds like Eyehategod kinda, or at least I hope it does. Brian will continue to explore his sexuality and thankfully I won’t have to be exposed to it much longer.
Weekend Nachos also have more tour dates coming up before they call it quits, including NYC on album release day (5/20) at Saint Vitus with The Afternoon Gentlemen, Mother Brain and Gets Worse. That show is sold out. Updated dates are listed below.
Weekend Nachos — 2016 Tour Dates
5/19 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop*
5/20 New York, NY @ St. Vitus*
5/21 Boston, MA @ Middle East*
5/22 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church*
5/23 Braddock (Pittsburgh area), PA @ Dock 5*
5/26 Tacoma, WA @ Real Art w/ Black Breath
5/27-29 Rain Fest Seattle, WA
6/2-6/5 Bristol, England @ temples fest
7/1 Chicago, IL @ township (Apology release show)
10/6 Hamburg, DE @ hafenklang^
10/7 Copenhagen, DK @ pumpehuset^
10/8 Berlin, DE @ Cassiopeia^
10/9 Prague, CZ @ modra vopice^
10/10 Budapest, HU @ durer kert^
10/11 Ljubljana, SL @ orto bar^
10/12 Munich, DE @ feierwork^
10/13 Kassel, DE @ goldgrube^
10/14 Eindhoven, NL @ bloodshed fest^
10/15 London, UK @Nambucca^
* – w/ The Afternoon Gentlemen
^ – w/ Wormrot and The Afternoon Gentlemen