Volcanoes is a two piece from St. Charles, MO, which sports heavy, precise drumbeats that wade through a pool of distorted bass guitar and synthesizer.
Influenced by the likes of Death from Above 1979 and So Many Dynamos, Volcanoes mixes their brand of indie-pop with distorted noise rock for a unique, but powerful sound. Despite being less than one year old, Volcanoes has played packed venues, self-recorded two albums and signed to well-known and respected indie rock label Afternoon Records.
We spoke with Jon Ryan about the band's sound and their experience with getting signed at such a young age.
Your sound is self-described as HUGE, but what was the original idea behind forming Volcanoes?
Volcanoes was originally a side project from another band that Eric and I were in, but it quickly became the center of our focus once the other band dissipated.
The original idea was to make music that was as huge as possible, for lack of better words.
From that idea you went on to record "Faults", which is available for free on your bandcamp page. What was the idea behind that recording?
Those recordings were our first attempts at forming a sound we then described as "dub core", a mixture of dubstep and rock. We quickly found that we wanted to go in a different direction, so it also contains some of the newer ideas that are more fully realized in the new album.
I understand that you recorded Faults entirely on your own. The same approach was taken with Heavy Hands. What was different this time around?
We upgraded from a dorm room to a more controlled environment in Eric's basement. We also had much better equipment, recording programs, and knowledge of recording in general. Throughout the whole process we were more intentional in our approach of achieving a more focused sound.
That's great. When you finished the recording, how did you decide to release it?
We basically followed the same approach as we did with the EP, but with the goal of a more professional product. We went through an online duplication company instead of hand making the packaging, and spent a long time finding a good place to hold a release show. We did a midnight online release a couple weeks before the show and made sure to hype it up as much as we could.
This time we created a list of blogs and online contacts to distribute the album to, which we did not do with the EP.
There is news for Volcanoes. Big news. Here's your soapbox. Spit it!
We just signed a contract with an awesome label based in Minneapolis called Afternoon Records! The people there are really focused on treating musicians as people and not just opportunities to make money, and we're both super pumped to work with them.
In the coming months they'll be releasing a remastered version of our album, as well as licensing and distributing it in places it would be impossible for us to do ourselves.
How did you come in contact with Afternoon Records? This is a dream-like scenario for many bands. What transpired?
It started with me sending a free download code of our album to this blog called MFR (Minneapolis Fucking Rocks), which I've been a follower of for quite some time, in hopes of them possibly doing a post on it or listening to it at the very least. Ian Anderson, who runs the blog and is also a co-owner of Afternoon Records, responded asking if he could post a track from it, to which I very excitedly agreed. A couple days later he sent us another email describing how much he liked the album and basically offered to release it on his label right then.
That is exciting news. I understand you guys have never toured before. What plans does Volcanoes have for branching out in the near future?
We're planning on touring after next semester, hopefully for around two weeks. We've talked about the east coast as a possibility, but also might start out with a stretch in the midwest. Right now we're gathering opinions, knowledge, gear and money in preparation. We're both really looking forward to it actually.
That's great. For the uninitiated, who are Afternoon Records? What makes that label the perfect fit for Volcanoes?
Afternoon Records is a label built from the ground up by Ian Anderson, who is himself in a band and knows the value of using the resources of a record label to promote music he really believes in. As a fairly young band, Volcanoes can benefit in huge ways by being a part of a label that not only has the ability to get us where we want to go, but also legitimately likes our music a lot.
Wonderful, when can we expect the Afternoon Records rerelease of your album?
Not exactly sure on that. Whenever it's done being remastered and the guys at the label have gotten all of their legal jibber-jabber out of the way I guess.
Probably within the next month or two.
How does this contract affect future plans? In what ways will Volcanoes be collaborating with Afternoon Records?
Now that we're a signed band, the commitments that both of us have made to the band are a lot more real than before. I had never planned on being a professional musician, but now the prospect of being a legitimate member of the music industry after I graduate college is a very possible thing. Eric and I still both plan on pursuing careers in our majors, but the time and energy we devote to this band will still have to be enough for us to write, play, record, and tour for at least another year or two. We really have no idea where it will take us, but we're both planning on sticking with it for some time.
Visit AFTERNOON RECORDS
Volcanoes is a member of St. Louis based music/sound-art collective HI FI OCTOPI RECORDINGS