Interview: The Strand

What is The Strand?
The Strand are a bunch of friends who get together and occasionally rock out on stage. On a rare occasion we have been known to release an album or three. If you want the specifics of our band, our bio reads… “The Strand is a six piece band based out of Chandler, Arizona whose music ranges from industrial dance, to EBM, and industrial rock.” If you want to know each of the band members, I will also direct you to the bio at www.strandland.com, but my name is Dave and I do the screaming and a lot of the songwriting.

How did you get into making music?
The original intent was to record cassette tapes of industrial beats to listen to in the car when driving around. But that was a long time ago. My friend Arman Bastani and I made music on our Amiga computers, trying to emulate the crazy music that was coming out at that time from Wax Trax Records. This was in the early 90s, and we lived in the suburbs of Chicago.

What bands influence your sound the most?

When I started writing music I was into Front 242, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, NIN, Frontline Assembly, and Leather Strip… But I also liked bands like Duran Duran, The Doors, Primus, and Weird Al.. So I suppose they all acted as inspirations in one way or another. Then when The Strand officially came about in 1999 it was a lot of the aforementioned mixed with VNV Nation, Covenant, And One, Project Pitchfork and stuff like that, though I also liked 80s metal and trip hop.
In the end, it’s tough to say where a song comes from. Sometimes I have a scene for a movie in my head, and I want to write a soundtrack for it. Or I feel a very intense emotion that I want to translate into music. Sometimes I hear a song and say, that song kicks ass, I want a song just like that! But in the end it’s tough to stray from your own inner rhythm. At any rate, a lot of these bands do what they do so well, it’s almost pointless to try and recreate their exact sound. For me it’s best to only emulate the instruments I heard in a song and use that as a starting point for my own thing.

What was your first album/tape/CD?
Our first official release was In The Trench, released in 2000. Though, there still are a few copies of our MP3.com demo called Digging the Trench from 1999. Back then I had it in my head that our album titles would tell some kind of war story. Digging the Trench, then In the Trench, maybe the next album would have been called Running Into the Battle, or something like that. Who knows why, but we decided that idea was lame, and instead picked strange and confusing titles for our next two albums. (Diatom and Destroyers of that which is destroyed and rulers of that which is not destroyed.)

When was your first live performance?
August 2nd of 2000 at The Power Plant, previously known as the strip club called The Navel Base.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

Hm. Any time I hear someone say that they connect with one of my songs, or if I happen to hear a song of ours in a club and people are dancing, that’s a huge accomplishment for me. It’s not any one big thing, it’s the little things like appreciation and support from our fans that make me think that I’ve done some good work here. Also, when the shit hits the fan and I am able to keep my emotions in check and react in the best possible way, I think that’s a big accomplishment.
I’m not really a person who feels like my biggest accomplishment is one piece of art, reaching a goal, or a ten million dollar business deal. I mean that stuff would be great, we should strive for things like that, but to me, it’s a bigger accomplishment when I run across a person who is noble or good on a consistent basis, cause we can all be nasty on the inside. Consistently keeping your values in check, and evaluating how to be a better person can be hard work. Anyone who can do that has really accomplished something great.

If you could share the stage with any other musician or band you wanted, dead or alive, who would it be?
We’ve been lucky enough to open for a lot of my favorites. It’s always a great experience, meeting someone who made a song that makes you run to the dance floor… A lot of those bands were very nice in person, which was a pleasant surprise. Which bands would we like to open for dead or alive? I don’t really have an answer for that… But I would love to go back to 1969 and see The Doors live, or go back to the 80s and see Skinny Puppy play, or hit up ancient times and experience Mozart or Beethoven. It’s great when you see a band and know that this is their time, and that what they are doing in this moment will live on for a very long time. It only happens on a rare occasion, but when it does it’s amazing.