INTERVIEW: Brandon Kellum of American Standards
“Making heavy music that’s stripped of all the tough guy mentalities”.
Photo credit for cover image Jacob Reynolds. Right to use permitted by courtesy of American Standards.
SICK AND SOUND presents an interview we had with AMERICAN STANDARDS 4-piece hardcore outfit hailing from Phoenix, Arizona. Spanning from hardcore to noise punk, mathcore and metalcore, American Standards bring to the table raw emotions and high energy. With four official albums under their belts, they hit the road with reckless live shows playing over 300 gigs to date and sharing the stage with icons such as Stick To Your Guns, Norma Jean, Stray from The Path, Knocked Loose and many more. We are now catching up with the band of Brandon Kellum, Corey Skowronski, Steven Mandell and Mitch Hosier after their latest blistering single PHANTOM LIMB was released on February 1st, 2019.
In this interview our editor-in-chief Alex had with BRANDON KELLUM, vocalist for American Standards, we discussed how they created waves in the water of hardcore since they hit the scene with their fury in 2011, explored their background, lyrical themes, winter tour 2019 and plans for the future.
- Hello Brandon and welcome at SICK AND SOUND. I would love to know more about your influences and how American Standards have been brought together back in the days.
I think we all come from a different place when it comes to influences which is what really makes our sound, especially our early stuff, so unique. It was always a battle for chaos and structure. Sounding raw but cohesive. Whether it be on one end of the heavy spectrum with bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge and Botch or the other with Refused and MewithoutYou.
- Let’s talk about your personal journey as a lyricist and philanthropist and discuss a few of the lyrical themes in ANTI-MELODY album and new singles WEEP and PHANTOM LIMB.
Anti-Melody is all about the things that tear us apart. The things that on the surface make us different whether it be inherent or ideology and also the unavoidable such as dealing with loss. Writing Anti-Melody was really my reaction to seeing that divide and noticing it grow over time.
WEEP and Phantom Limb on the other hand were an experiment in collaboration. WEEP was the first time Corey had really took the lead in writing lyrics for a song and I think that one in particular is deeply personal to him. With Phantom Limb I worked with a couple close friends in the Arizona music scene and asked them to push me out of my comfort zone. After 8+ years of being in a band, I wanted to take a different approach in my writing and I think having them challenge my method will definitely help us grow for future releases.
- How deeply have you changed as a musician and individual being since you joined American Standards?
American Standards came at a time when I thought I was leaving the life of being in a band behind. The guys were just getting together and starting to jam and it was by happenstance that they stumbled across me and asked me to come by a practice. I didn’t know them prior and now because of that fluke, I owe the majority of people in my life and several of my fondest experiences to it. The band has been a way for me to travel and try new things while connecting with people in a way that would be hard to do otherwise.
- Your sound is rooted into raw emotions and a technical hellscape. While managing to maintain your own personality and never sounding redundant, you take from hardcore, noise punk, mathcore and metalcore. Let’s talk about your signature sound and features.
American Standards is built on making heavy music that’s stripped of all the tough guy mentalities and of the notion that technical playing equals better song writing. We really just want to show people that anyone can do what we’re doing and do it on their own terms if they just have to drive to make it happen. You don’t have to fit into any defined box.
- PHANTOM LIMB. I would love you to share your experience in working with The Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Kevin Antreassian on this track.
Working with Kevin was really a coincidence. We were recording preproduction for both WEEP and Phantom Limb when a buddy reached out and asked my perspective on a few studios. He mentioned he was looking into Kevin’s studio (Backroom Studios) and I was honestly unfamiliar with it. I started digging through some of his credits and could tell immediately that he really knew the sound. I’m just glad he was as stoked to work with us as we were with him.
- You’ve just kicked off your winter tour 2019. What expectations are you carrying along on tour and what gets you amped up?
This one is a fun one for us. It’s short, so low stress and it’s hitting a bunch of places that we’ve played multiple times over the years. Hoping to make some new fans but also see a lot of familiar faces.
- American Standards have a strong DIY attitude and focus, which have contributed to your extensive live experience. Let’s share a couple of best moments on stage.
Topping the list would have to be playing a festival in the middle of a roller skating rink in Seattle. That was unreal not only because the setting but also the bands we shared it with. In terms of bands that we’ve played with, Every Time I Die, Zao, Converge and Norma Jean are all up there.
- How do you see American Standards in 5 years’ time? Any goals and dreams you wish to achieve.
I think we just keep on doing what we’re doing. We’re not trying to be the next big thing, just do something that’s fun and interesting to us. Doing it on our own terms takes the frustration out of the equation.
- What do you have in store in 2019? Any projects or revelations on upcoming materials or album.
We’ll be releasing another music video here pretty soon and hopefully announcing another tour or two shortly after. I can also see us jumping into a more traditional release schedule for a full length or EP before the end of the year.
Thank you for your time and having a chat with us. All the best with your amazing music. We will keep an eye on American Standards and looking for more music to be dropped in 2019.
For all articles available on SICK AND SOUND for AMERICAN STANDARDS please check out:
For all interviews available on SICK AND SOUND, please check out:
For all reviews and articles available on SICK AND SOUND for new albums, please check out:
For all concerts reviews available on SICK AND SOUND please check out: