As I said once, I like to search for new punk rock bands. This time I found these Californian guys “Corporate Citizen“. Formed in 2017, CC is heavily influenced by melodic hardcore reminiscent of bands from the 90’s. Their new record – “A Brief Moment of Sanity” is the first full length and is being distributed by El Topo Records.
This band made me so happy and nostalgic; listen to them is like going back to 90’s NYHC scene.
This was my first time listening to them and I contacted them as well and ask for a short interview.
Interviewed: DanAchin (Drums), Hal Hannon (Bass), Bob Meder (Vocals) and Steve O’Brien (Guitar)
Maybe the most boring question, Why Corporate Citizen?
Dan Achin: The five of us wanted to make the type of music that we grew up listening to and still listen to today. We all have full time jobs and the band is something we do because of our love for playing music. The early 90s hardcore scene was important to us. As the years passed, there seemed to be only street punk or pop punk. We felt the need to bring back a sound that we hadn’t heard in a long time.
Who are your biggest influences and which band will you like to play some day?
Bob Meder: For the band as a whole probably; Kid Dynamite, Minor Threat, Pennywise, Bad Religion, H20, Gorilla Biscuits.
Hal Hannon: Joe Jackson, The Vindictives, Naked Aggression, FEAR, the Freeze.
Dan Achin: Face to Face, Motley Crue, Megadeth, Killing Time, Misfits
Steve O’Brien: Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Dag Nasty, Quicksand, Seaweed and Fugazi.
About “A Brief Moment of Sanity” What was the recording process like for CC?
Bob Meder: We recorded at Exum Studios in Escondido, CA. It took us about a month to record and mix. Then we took it to a friend of ours named Steve Diaz who mastered it for us.
Steve O’Brien: The band was really proud of it by the time we finished. We knew we recorded an album that people who are into this type of music would like.
Hal Hannon: We laid it down pretty fast. The benefit is that you don’t get fussy, and you have to go with your gut. It forces out a more ephemeral moment.
How was the process of making the album?
Steve O’Brien: We are all responsible for the writing process. There will be times when Dan offers an opinion on an arrangement, or Louis comes up with the catchy vocal in “95 Sound”. We rehearse the songs over and over until we feel they are ready to record.
Hal Hannon: New strings, veggie burger, and get to it. Remember all the so-called mistakes that were made on your favorite albums, and how those mistakes became the textures that defined the albums’ uniquenesses. Record like it’s punk rock.
What is the main message you want to give to the people who listen to it?
Steve O’Brien: The music is heavily influenced from the hardcore/post-hardcore scene from the 90’s. What we are trying to do is take that sound and play it for the people who still love to hear it, also for new audiences to experience as well.
Bob Meder: I don’t know. Think for yourself. Don’t get caught up in the power of peer pressure and social media to be something you’re not.
Hal Hannon: People aren’t hearing what you think you sound like. They are writing the music in their own heads when they listen to your album, given previous schemas (influences, tastes, what they’ve heard). The message is never clear, and nobody controls it. So, play it as loud is it would sound in a basement and see what happens.
What’s the difference from “What would he do” EP and the new one?
Bob Meder: What would he do is probably a little harder and a little rawer than Sanity. But the songs on Sanity are more well written and you can see that we have gelled better as a band when it comes to songwriting. What would he do was written by Steve, Dan, and Bob. Sanity is a more collaborative effort by all 5 of us.
Steve O’Brien: At the time we recorded “What Would He Do?” we weren’t a full band. I played both the guitar and bass for the recording since we didn’t have a bassist or second guitarist. Hal who recorded the vocals for the EP loved the music and became our bassist and Louis joined shortly thereafter.
Hal Hannon: The addition of two new musicians (with different experiences and influences) will naturally change the sound. Different textures and tensions. This new album may exude more of a west coast, Bay area, 90s hardcore vibe.
Are there any vinyl or CD yet?
Bob Meder: 4 of the songs are on a 7 inch and cassette. We are currently working with our friends in All Things End from NY to do a split 7 inch with 2 more of the songs.
Steve O’Brien: We are working getting distribution for the vinyl. If anyone reading this wants a copy, they can contact us on Facebook (@corporatecitizen2017) or email us – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why did you get in contact with El Topo Records?
Steve O’Brien: We follow our friends the Midnight Block on Instagram and noticed a posting by them on signing with El Topo. I messaged Midnight Block to see if El Topo was looking for other bands and sent off the record. Carlos loved it and has been supportive ever since. He agreed to handle the digital distribution and merch as well.
Bob Meder: Carlos who owns it is a cool guy and he has been able to help us get our name out there and help us with some different things that come with being in a band
Add something if you want.
Bob Meder: Check out the San Diego Hardcore and Punk scene. There are a ton of great bands coming out of SD these days.
Steve O’Brien: Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to find out about new merch, band videos and upcoming shows. Thanks for taking the time to interview us. We really appreciate it.
Hal Hannon: A great part about the punk scene is that there is a lot of intergenerational mentorship, networking, and collective effort. If you’re in a punk band, you have the privilege of playing an instrument, but everybody in the scene who shows up, drinks with in the parking lot, sets up the PA, writes about the scene, is making this important community happen. Really, playing the instrument is a responsibility. It’s what I can do. The show isn’t on the stage. It’s in all the hidden labor of those dedicated to sustaining local scenes.
You think that
You can freeze time?
Hit the rewind?
Even if you could, what would you get?
Corporate Citizen member
Dan Achin (Drums)
Hal Hannon (Bass)
Bob Meder (Vocals)
Steve O’Brien (Guitar)
Louis Ramsey (Guitar)