INTERVIEW: Direct Hit! [August 2015]

By Mark Gadong

We had a chat with Direct Hit! about their new re-issues release, touring Europe and ask them the ultimate important question, who would win in a fight – The Pizza Underground or Mac Sabbath?

So what brought about this new album – why did you decide to re-release/re-record old songs?

It’s always been weird for me to play old material because our lineup has shifted so many times. People who used to be in our band would either write parts that would make a song better, so I wouldn’t feel right performing without them, or we’d play songs that then-members just couldn’t do for one reason or another. It also felt weird that we had so many records we’d been selling that didn’t represent the current, and most steady and recognizable lineup we’ve had yet. Re-recording old material always makes me feel a lot better about both selling and playing that stuff live.

How did your set at Groezrock go? We loved filming you – how did the crowd react?

Wildest time we’ve had in Europe I think. You’ve got the tape, you can see for yourself!

I recently tried to describe the band to a friend and described you as ‘angry, catchy pop punk singing about hell and satan’, and they loved it on first listen. For anyone who hasn’t heard of you, how would you describe your sound?

If I’m talking to my parents or co-workers, I tell them we sound like Nirvana and that usually does the trick, even though it’s not true. Most people say we sound like Blink 182. When I’m being pretentious I say we sound like pop punk Andrew WK. That’s probably not accurate either.

What’s the state of pop punk right now? Do you guys feel like you’re carrying the flag for all those other bands that haven’t done anything in ages? (like Dear Landlord/Houseboat/Dopamines etc)

I’d feel like a moron trying to compare our band to groups like the three you mentioned. I feel very lucky that Zack filled in on bass for us the first time we played Fest – we would’ve had to cancel without his help – and that he bothered to care about us in the first place. Anyone who plays in a decent pop-influenced punk band in the Midwest at least knows who the Dopamines are. I look up to those groups, so I’d never compare us to them.

Is there any bands worth checking out that are in the same scene but haven’t got the attention they deserve yet?

Rachel Feldmann from Lipstick Homicide has a new band called 83 Wolfpack with Logan Stang from Liarbirds and The Slow Death, and Kelly Englund. They just put out their first demo. It’s fucking GREAT.

Who writes the songs and how do you get inspiration to write them?

Historically I’ve usually written our songs on acoustic guitar, and then I bring them to the band for us to build out together. Our newest batch of songs was more of a collaborative thing though. I wrote probably half of them. The rest at least started with riffs that Steve or Devon thought up though.

You’d have to ask them where they get their inspiration from. For me, I’m usually more inspired by movies and soundtracks these days than anything. I get a picture in my head, and from that picture I usually get a single lyric or something that lends itself to melody. It’s usually pretty easy after that point.

Will you ever bring out a happy record? Or are you all too angry about the world?

I think our new record has some of the happiest, most joyous material we’ve written. It also has some of the saddest and angriest too. And it’s mostly written about drugs and medicine. So maybe you’re all just doomed to listen to me complain for eternity whether even I like it or not.

When’s the next (new) record out?

I don’t know yet. We spent three weeks fucking around at Bobby Peru Recording in Milwaukee and in my basement this summer. Now we get to find out if it all actually amounted to anything during mixing and mastering. So if it sucks then we’ll throw it in the trash and start over.

Are you playing the UK/Europe again any time soon?

We usually make it over to Europe on tour every year-and-a-half or so. Hoping we can keep it up!

If you weren’t in Direct Hit! what job would you be doing?

Writing. Dreaming up dumb things and getting people to pay for me to realize them. I have a degree in Journalism, and another in Communication Arts. So I’m doomed to some ultimately fleeting and pointless creative pursuit, regardless of my specific career choice.

What’s your favourite Macaulay Culkin film, and has he lost the plot?

If you’re asking if Macaulay Culkin remembers any movie he’s ever been in, then my answer is that I hope so, because The Good Son is one of the most ludicrous career twists I’ve seen. Boy does it seem like he’s taken a lot of molly though.

Who would win in a fight – The Pizza Underground or Mac Sabbath?

Mac Sabbath would kick the shit out of the Pizza Underground, everyone knows that.

If you started a pop punk super-band, which other bands would get involved, and who would like to work with?

The band would just be an iPod with a looped recording of Brian Pretus’s laughter, and a man dressed like Mr. Tumnus tap-dancing on stage

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]