Coke Bust
Contributed by IronMountain, Posted by Interviews

You'd be hard-pressed to find people with more stamps in their passports than the guys in Coke Bust. The D.C. hardcore band recently completed a month-long journey through more European countries than are represented at Epcot. That came on the heels of another month spent traversing North America, all in support of an album that hasn't even been released in the U.S. yet. Punknews staffer Adam Eisenberg caught up with Coke Bust lead singer Nick Tape to talk about the band's recent travels, discuss D.C.'s all-ages scene and find out which exotic locale Coke Bust is headed to next.

Your new LP, "Confined," is comes out this month. What can you tell us about the record? Confined is our second LP, it’s going to be on Grave Mistake. We’ve been writing this and working on it pretty hard for the past year and a half now. We just did a pretty extensive two-month tour all over the place in support of the record, even though it’s not technically out on Grave Mistake, our European label has already released it. This LP has nine songs. It’s a pretty quick one. It’s over pretty fast. The M.O. behind the LP was to do a short and fast record that had absolutely no filler. That was the big thing. On our 7-inches I think that’s what we’ve managed to accomplish pretty well in terms of getting the quality of the songs up there. We often cut songs. For every one that we record we’ve probably written two or three others, but they would just end up getting cut, and we did that with the LP as well. We shot down a lot of riffs, shot down a lot of songs. This is basically what we were left with when we were done with that. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for us as a band, we don’t experiment with any new songs. We have somewhat of a formula that we stick to – fast hardcore with a cross-range of influences. I think this definitely our best recorded work so far.

On your website, you provide a detailed background on each of your releases. What’s the reasoning behind that?

To be honest, I realize it’s not the nicest website, it’s very Geocities, 1999-looking. Unfortunately that’s the extent of my HTML skills, but with that said, I thought it was cool when I was first growing up and getting into hardcore and punk, when I was a 15-year-old back in 2001, that’s what all the websites looked like. Every band had a website that had a lot of information on how you could get in contact with the band, they had their lyrics up, they had information on every release, and I thought that was really cool.

In 2004 or 2005, when MySpace got popular, bands stopped making websites and they just started making MySpace profiles. Then MySpace inevitably died and now it’s just Facebook and it seems like all bands have is either a Facebook page and maybe an online store or some just have a Facebook page and that it, or even just a blog. I wanted to have something a little more interactive. I like the idea of engaging people a little more. I like the idea of being super accessible so somebody who has no idea what the band is about, they can just go online and check it out and feel like they have a feel for what the band is, who we are, how long we’ve been around for and they can get a feel for what each record is like. This band is a pretty big deal to me – it’s a pretty big deal to all of us – we prioritize it in a lot of different ways in our lives. I think it’s important to document it. I think it’s important to be as accessible and transparent as possible because I’m into what we do and I think other people might be into it as well, so I just try to share it.

You mentioned earlier that you just finished a pretty big tour. Where did that take you?

I’ll give you the full rundown. We started off June 13. We basically went clockwise around the United States. We went down to Miami, we went over to Tijuana, Mexico, we cut up the west coast, went up to Vancouver, then we cut back east and went up to the northeast and then came back down. Literally the day we got back from the US tour we started packing for our European leg, which was the next day. We flew from D.C. to Iceland and we played one show in Reykjavik, which was an awesome experience. I can’t stress that enough. It was pretty awesome. Then we flew to continental Europe, to Germany. From there we kind of zig-zagged around a little bit, working our schedule around the European fest circuit a little bit. Within Europe we went to the Czech Republic and played Fluff Fest, that was probably our biggest show. We played a fest in Finland called Puntala-rock Fest, we flew up there. Then we went down to Italy and played Milan, played Berlin, Copenhagen, Sweden, we had two shows in Finland, a bunch of German shows, Slovakia, Croatia, some eastern European shows, Polish shows.

So you really got around Europe?

We were definitely all over the place. Last year we actually did an even more extensive European tour that was six weeks just in Europe.

Those European festivals usually have pretty diverse lineups, don’t they?

Definitely. Maybe less so with the ones that are in western Europe but in eastern Europe they seem to have a much different feel. People are definitely more receptive to the mixed bills and people seem to enjoy the diversity a little bit more. Kids also travel a lot more in eastern Europe as well. It’s not unheard of to run into kids who are from Russia and Belarus and Ukraine, places that are pretty crazy and far out, long trips to make it over to the Czech Republic. It’s definitely inspiring and it’s really cool. If you’re starting to feel kind of jaded on punk or hardcore and then you go to one of those festivals and you meet these wild heathens from all over the place who just spent 36 hours traveling by hitchhiking along with truckers across the Russian mountains, it’ll definitely renew your faith in punk, that’s for sure.

You also had plans to go to South America, but that didn’t work out. What happened?

We tried a couple of times, but for one reason or another it kept falling through, but now we have plans to go to Brazil in January. We’re going to go there for two weeks. We have the money for plane tickets, so there should be no external variables that should come up at this point. We’re ready to go. It’s just in the early stages of getting booked right now, but we’re super excited. Originally we were going to do Brazil, Chile and Argentina, but Argentina has some problems right now with shows, and apparently it’s super-expensive to get visas just for Argentina, so we’re going to start off just doing Brazil, which is where the bulk of the shows would have been anyway, and we’re just going to do two weeks and see how it goes. It’s totally an unknown territory for us and we don’t know what to expect.

That’s the fun part, isn’t it?

Oh, 300 percent, yeah.

Coke Bust is from D.C. Do you think there are any specific reasons that your city has always been such a fertile breeding ground for hardcore?

I was just talking about this with somebody else recently. I think that D.C. always has a very healthy and sustainable hardcore punk scene, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have so many all-ages venues and such an all-ages mindset in this city. I think you absolutely have to credit Ian MacKaye and all of his work, the staunch stance that Fugazi took, refusing to play any shows that weren’t all ages or five bucks. We’ve always had a culture within the city of really respecting all-ages shows and really embracing the younger crowd.

At the record release show for this LP that we’re talking about, that was two weeks ago in D.C., that was an all-ages show and I would say that 80 percent of the gig was 21 and under. There are a million young kids in D.C., they’re all pretty engaged. There’s tons of young bands, there’s tons of young kids setting up shows, tons of young kids who are just stoked on things. We take that for granted over here, because we go to other cities and we talk to people and the entire scene is 25-plus, 30-plus. That’s difficult to maintain, that’s difficult to sustain. The enthusiasm really comes from the young kids. Even when people reach our age, we’re all 25, 26, 27, when you get to be our age people start slowing down, they get different priorities, it starts to get boring. The young kids definitely bring that good energy. I think that D.C. has always welcomed the youth, and that’s the key.

Do you have anything else you’d like to say?

I think it’s important to also state that I think our band has a slightly different approach than a lot that are around today. We’re enthusiastic about just trying to play everywhere. We want to go to Oklahoma. I really want to play in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana. I want to go to crazy spots in South America. I think a lot of bands today have the mindset of just wanting to play festivals, do a west coast tour, playing Toronto, Chicago and Boston. I really want to go everywhere and I want to see everything. Like I said earlier, I want it to be as accessible as possible, so I want to go to them, I don’t want them to have to come to us.