Vocalist Dean Miller of the New York City hardcore band No Redeeming Social Value spoke with me recently about the band’s new live disc, High In Holland. The album was recorded in one night at the Dynamo in Eindhoven and contains all of the classic, Old School Hardcore NRSV tunes. I have been a fan of the New York Hardcore scene for many years now and NRSV tunes have been in my play list for almost as long. I have never had the opportunity to see them live, but after listening through this disc I imagine it is one hell of a good time. Here is what Miller had to say about the band and their new disc, High In Holland.
Now that your new live disc, High In Holland has been released how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Dean: Yeah. I really like it and I am very proud of it. We have never really had an opportunity to do a live CD or anything. We never really thought about it until we got a call. The club contacted us and said, “hey we have a tape, you know an audio version of you guys playing your set, can we mail it to you?” So they mailed it to us and it sounded real good so we decided we would do something with it in the future. Then we had the opportunity to put it out on CD through Dead City Records and we took the opportunity to do so. It is definitely a good representation of what we do live and where we are now as a band. It’s got the more updated, current versions of the old classics and how we play them now. So it is good for the new audience to be able to hear those also.
Was this recorded in one show? Or was it a couple of nights?
Dean: No it is one show, straight through. There are no breaks, no editing, nothing at all just a live show. That is exactly what it is.
That is kind of cool I think.
Dean: Yeah it is cool, word for word. Everything that was done at that show is right there you know?
What has been the reaction to the disc so far? Has it been getting good reviews?
Dean: Yeah, so far so good. It is getting a real good reception. It has been up as a live stream on the web site and is getting a lot of play. We have also been selling a lot of them on the Internet. We have a new video that came out as well and that has been getting a lot of hits on YouTube and going pretty well also. So yeah, pretty good. We did a radio show last week to sort of introduce it on the release day and so far so good.
I saw you just got back from Japan, but what other touring plans do you guys have planned for this year?
Dean: Yes we did Japan. We did a bunch of dates over there. We recorded 3 songs for a Japanese single and then that same promoter brought us over there to play those songs and do some shows in Japan. We have some things coming up locally, we are going to be playing a gig in upstate New York with DRI, they are coming through town on a tour, so we are going to do that. We are doing a Halloween show at a local club here in Brooklyn called Lamour which is like a pretty famous rock club.
No way, that is not still open is it?
Dean: Yeah, in some version it is still open. It still has the same owners and promoters.
I grew up there.
Dean: Yeah they are doing it again somewhere over in Brooklyn in relatively the same area. So we are playing a gig over there for Halloween. We also have some dates with Vinny Stigma’s band. Vinny Stigma from Agnostic Front has a solo band and we are doing some dates with them in December. That is pretty much what we have going on right now. No heavy duty tour plans yet, but probably something early next year. We are always playing and doing something you know?
What was Japan like? Had you been there before?
Dean: Yes we have been there once before… this was our second time. Yeah it was great. We were very well received over there and they treated us really well. Our tour promoter is a great guy you know he takes very good care of us, the hotels are good, of course the food is awesome and the crowds are excellent. We played with some good Japanese hardcore bands and some good punk bands as well. It was great and we really had a great time over there.
You guys have been around for a while and have toured quite extensively. That being said is there any place you can think of that you would still like to get to?
Dean: Yeah we would like to get to Mexico. Mexico City in particular. I know years ago Ray from Warzone brought Warzone out there and they played some gigs. I know The Casualties have played some gigs there recently and the reaction was very good. Mexico is not a place that very many American punk bands get to play so we would like to get over there. South America would be kind of cool. I have never been there with the band so that would be kind of cool to check that out. We have done Japan, Europe, The U.S. and Canada we have played all of those places and we continue to some degree. Central or South America would be pretty cool though.
Any plans for a new studio album any time soon?
Dean: Well, the thing about our band is we never really make plans to make any plans. We sort of just do things like, “hey what are you guy doing for the next couple of months? You wanna make a record? Alright cool let’s do that.” We always do stuff on a fun basis and there is never any pressure. It is always like we have a bunch of stuff and we want to record it or we want to make a video or something like that. Mainly what we are concentrating on right now is making videos. We have a bunch of video ideas and whatever recording we do from now on we are going to try and release them directly to the internet from our website so people can just hear the music right away.
Why keep it in the can for 6 months to a year before people get to hear the new stuff you are doing. Our drummer is a studio engineer so we have access to a studio all of the time and we can record whatever we want and put it out immediately. Moving forward that is what we are going to try and do rather than pushing CDs in a conventional way. Bands and record labels used to try and do stuff like that. Now people go directly to your website if they want to hear it so that is where we are going to give it to them. That will become the point of contact as far as that goes.
So than you can sort of bypass the record labels totally?
Dean: Yeah. Exactly people have always approached us about doing stuff and they probably will continue to do so as far as the trends go. We would like to have a more direct approach. We have a bunch of songs, we want to record them and we want to give them to people next week on our website. So we are going to be doing that soon. We are recording and we are probably going to get some songs and a new video up ASAP.
So you are just putting them up as they are completed? You are not waiting to get a whole albums worth?
Dean: Yeah, exactly, you know, 2 or 3 songs at a time or something like that. Maybe a new video in the mix here and there. Every couple of months we would like to have some fresh audio or content up on our site. It keeps people interested and when they come to see us they will be familiar with the new material we are playing. I think everybody sort of agrees at this point that in the world of music CD sales are way down. If I want to hear Agnostic Front’s new song I will just go to the website and listen to it. Waiting for the CD to come out is kind of counter productive to bands.
I mentioned it before but you guys have been at this for so long. Did you ever imagine you would still be playing music?
Dean: No certainly not. That is the thing about our band. We never set out with any goals or had any lofty dreams of fame and fortune. Our main goal was to get together, have a few beers, play a few gigs and call it a day. We have always maintained a strong friendship in the band even with the ex-members and they are still, to a large degree, a big part of what we do. So when we get together and play a gig it is just like a bunch of friends hanging out. Music is sort of like the side car to that. We never really intended on being around this long or putting out any records but that is the thing with us, we never have any plans and we never make any plans to do anything. We just sort of do it and things just kind of happen naturally for us. So yeah, we have made a good run of it, 20 or so years and that is why we are doing it, because it is fun for us.
In a hundred years from now what will the music history books say about No Redeeming Social Value?
Dean: That is a good question. What are they saying about us now? I don’t know? Again we never really set out with a goal other than to drink as much free beer as we possibly could. They will probably say “these guys were way to drunk to know when to quit.”
Alright Dean, any closing words at all?
Dean: Closing words… I hope that people will check out the High In Holland CD and the new video we have out called “Super Fun Time Party Girl.” They can check that out at our website they can check out our new CD on the website as well. The website is going to be constantly filled and updated with new content to keep doing it in the DIY way with the help of current technology. We are not going to be making demo tapes any more we are definitely going to be putting it right out.
That is the true punk spirit anyway right?
Dean: Yeah that is the thing. Back when we were starting out as a band you had to make a 7″ or you had to make a demo tape. Now we if we record a song tomorrow night at rehearsal and we like it, we will go to the drummers house and demo it and we will put it right up on the website and people can start hearing it then. I think now this is the best way to do things, especially for punk and hardcore bands. The stuff that we do is ready to be heard today so why not do that for people.
Well cool Dean. Thank you for taking the time.
Dean: Thank you very much for the interview. I appreciate it. [ END ]