Punknews staffer David Wilkins met up with DaysNDaze at House of J in Houston, Texas. He discussed the band's past decade, signing to their first label (one of the biggest in punk), and more.
Ok, thank you guys for doing this with me. Whitney, thanks for putting everything together.
Meagan Michelle: Oh, hey! How are you?
I’m doing great, how are you?
Meagan: Great! ?
I guess let’s just jump right in. This decade has been crazy for you guys. Why don’t you tell me a bit about the high points, the low points, and everything in between.
Whitney Flynn: Oh, Decade! I thought you meant today.
Yeah, decade. It’s been a crazy decade for you guys!
Whitney: This has been the decade where we became what we are. We started in 2008 and started taking it as something that was going to be an actual thing about 6 years ago.
Jesse Sendejas: Yeah, that sounds about right.
Whitney: When Meagan, I mean our final formation. Being independent has been rowdy, but it taught us a lot. Like don’t be taken advantage of. Which is easy. I mean being a band for so long, and this being our first label, you learn the ins and outs, and what you’re looking for from the future instead of we’re just gonna do this thing to get huge..
Geoff Bell: And then, I mean, like fuck it, and then you lose everything.
Whitney: Yeah, I mean, you’ll lose everything if you don’t take it seriously, before it even starts. So we’ve built a solid fan base, and people know what they’re getting into when they work with us.
Yeah, I mean you guys have now established yourself, and its no shock that Fat Mike would recognize that and ask you guys to join the label. How has that been?
Whitney: It’s cool to not need a label but want one. Establishing a friendship and respect before agreeing to anything was a big deal for us. They’ve been nothing more than the kindest and most understanding.
Jesse: Even though we’ve been doing this for over a decade, its still so much different to go into a full studio.
Whitney: It’s so intimidating.
Jesse: Yeah, it really is.
Geoof: Different than a broom closet.
Whitney and Jesse: Haha, yeah the closet.
Jesse: But to go into Fat Studio, is so much different than before where you can have as many takes as you want and spend two days on one drum part…
Whitney: And no one’s listening to it.
Jesse: Yeah, no one can hear you and then you’re in Fat Studios and there staring at us, Fat Mike is just staring at you. “are you gonna play the song, play the song” and I’m like “I don’t know, are you gonna stop staring?” After we got comfortable it was totally fun. I mean, it was fun the whole time, but after we got over the initial intimidation.
Whitney: that anxiety of being good enough. That confidence within our song writing, and seeing that be appreciated on a more professional level was…
Whitney: It was a game changer.
Jesse: It was so nice working with them, and them being patient with us, understanding where we came from doing this by ourselves for so long.
Whitney: And they just relentlessly built us up. And they taught us not to second guess. Just if you have an idea or input ,don’t be shy.
Geoff: Constructive criticism.
Whitney: That artistic encouragement was something we had never experienced.
Geoff: Yeah, the constructive criticism for a first.
Jesse: We’ve always had the constructive criticism between Whit and I, but we’ve have been writing together for so long, that it kind of becomes an echo chamber. So having them come in and telling us, maybe add some dynamic stuff to the instruments, or hey, this instrument does not have to go the whole song. I mean, I’m kind of stuck in my ways, and to have someone with those tidbits of experience, and it was a new experience for me.
Have ya’ll always been DIY with all of your recordings? Was this the first time you’ve ever had a producer or someone taking charge of the recording?
Jesse: Yeah, no.
Whitney: We’ve done it all ourselves. Well, we had someone on the Decathect record.
Jesse: Josh recorded this one song.
Geoff: And we did something for a college thing. A split.
Whitney: Yeah, but that was just more of a session. Sitting there in the studio with Johnny, our sound engineer, he would be like “Why don’t you try this with the trumpet” Badadada dadada – That sounded like the McDonald’s theme.
Jesse: It was the McDonald’s theme.
Whitney: I play by ear. So it was really cool to…
Jesse: Bounce ideas off of someone.
Whitney: Yeah, You know that whole fake it til you make it thing?
Yeah, I’m doing it right now!
Whitney: Yeah, you never really understand your skill, until it’s put to the test. And being able to just play my trumpet, and with someone saying “How bout this?” and then just getting it. It was just…
Jesse: I saw it was a huge boost in confidence in you. You know, I thought it was cool, they’re gonna put our album out on Fat, but the thing I was most excited for was having people to bounce ideas off of, people who know a whole lot more about music than I do. And learning from them.
Whitney: And growing as musicians.
Do you think there is another label out there you would have considered, or is this your home?
Jesse: I don’t think I ever thought about it.
Whitney: Honestly, I mean, we were just doing our thing, and it came along. We were just gonna do this forever. Our band has a foundation of working with people we trust. Our friends. Fuck money, fuck this industry. Work with people you trust.
Jesse: And respect.
Whitney: Oh, I just had a thought, and it was good.
Jesse: Did you?
Whitney: Yeah, it was good. Fuck you Jesse.
Having seen you guys several times over the years, I’ve seen you cover NOFX, so it seemed very fluid that this is where you would go.
Whitney: He didn’t even know that we did that! He housed me up a couple of months ago, and I showed him some videos of us doing it, and he seemed very stoked!
I started listening to NOFX in 1992, so I’ve been looking up to that guy for a long time, and that to me, would be amazing. So, you’ve talked about the recording process. The big question: When can we hear the new album?
Whitney: Dum dum dum… Brrr!
Jesse: Do we know?
Whitney: No! It’s gonna be spring.
Jesse: That was so anticlimactic.
You had me on the edge of my seat.
Jesse: Drum roll for nothing.
So you’re playing Punk in Drublic, is there anything else coming with the Fat Family?
Jesse: I think we’re just focusing on the Punk in Drublic dates right now. And everything else is being planned around it.
Whitney: Yeah, kind of being shaped around it.
Geoff: Can we talk about…
Jesse: No, not right now.
Whitney: Are you releasing anything new Jesse?
Whitney: I’ve been working on my solo album, Traumabond, and hopefully I will have that recorded… I’m shooting for next year.
Couple more questions, I won’t keep ya’ll too long. I’ve seen videos as you two as kids, really.
Whitney: Yeah, I mean, people have watched us grow up. And people hold us accountable for things we did ten years ago, and I’m like “We were kids”…
Geoff: We’ve changed our ways!
Jesse: I mean, our first album was “We never said this was good.”
Whitney: Yeah, from We Never Said this was Good to Show Me the Blueprints. That’s the new album name. Can I say that?
Jesse: I’m sure you can.
Whitney: It’s like “What the fuck have ya’ll done?”, we started off saying we weren’t any good, and now where saying, here’s the blueprints. Here’s what we did.
Jesse: Yeah, its almost like a documentary of our lives. We’ve been documenting it through albums.
That’s a great way of looking at it. My question was going to be, what experience has this process given you that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Whitney: I have a quote, “People call you stupid until they call you courageous.”
I’m not sure how that answers my question, but…
Whitney: Why not!
I mean, I was…
Whitney: Wait what are you doing? You’re the interviewer, if I don’t understand the question, that’s your fault.
Jesse: You have to understand how to speak Whitney.
Geoff: I saw you trying to break it down.
Whitney: I was trying to say that people are watching you, and through this they are calling you stupid, until they realize that all along you were the one being courageous. Just going for it. If you believe in yourself, and what you’re doing, then they will look at you and realize that you actually weren’t stupid, and that you believe in what you are doing.
Ok, I guess that kind of answers my question. Jesse, what about you?
Jesse: Just what we’ve taken from the experience?
Like what experiences did you get from devoting yourself to music as opposed to some other life?
Whitney: That’s what you meant? That’s a better question!
You cut me off before I could explain.
Whitney: That’s my whole M.O. Cutting people off and being like, no, I understand.
Jesse: I owe everything to this.
Jesse:To these people, to this music, to this scene. If I hadn’t started playing music…
Whitney: We’d be dead.
Geoff: Working at Kroger or some shit.
Jesse: Yeah, I’d be some fuckoff pushing carts at HEB.
Whitney: We also all made it out of the 27 club. Who would have fucking thought?
Meagan: I’ll be 30 in 25 days.
Whitney: I’ll be 30 in 8 months.
Ya’ll are making me feel old, let’s not talk about age anymore.
Jesse: Did I answer the question.
Yeah, I think you did.
Geoff: I was going to say something similar to Jesse, but the people that I’ve met. Not just you guys, but people on the road. Everywhere we’ve been and the people. Everything you take in is more than dumbfounding. Mostly the people. I’d be at a Carl’s Jr. if it weren’t for this.
Whitney: So my answer is confidence.
Geoff: Perseverance., Friendship.
Jesse: “Confidence! Experience! Friendship!” Sounds like we should all have rings and we say that.
Geoff: With these powers combined, Captain Planet!
Meagan: I got sober because I wanted to play music, so if I had kept doing what I was doing. It was pretty painful already. So if I didn’t follow this I’d be…
Geoff: On a freight train somewhere…
Meagan: Yeah, or dead.
Whitney: What was that protest thing?
Geoff: Wall Street?
Jesse: Wall Street Sucks. Occupy Wall Street.
Geoff, Meagan, Jesse, Whitney: Occupy!
Alright, last two questions. What do you want the readers to know that I didn’t ask about.
Whitney: We aren’t going anywhere. Sorry, NOT Sorry.
Jesse: We’ve been talking about the decade. I mean, the one thing that I’ve learned is that you’re not alone. We’re here, there are professionals, and if you need help, don’t wallow in that sense of dread and loneliness. Its’ not forever.
Whitney: The community sustains the music.
Thank you, that hit home. Last question, could each of you throw out a few bands or artists that you’re listening to?
Whitney: Amy Oh.
Jesse: I listen to a lot of Watski.
Geoff: Brock Hampton and honestly, can’t really think of another one.
Geoff: And Ski Mask!
Well thank you guys, I appreciate you taking the time to do this with me.