Sydney's CULTURE OF IGNORANCE recently released their debut selftitled 7 inch through ViperDeathLock Records. We caught up with frontman Daniel Frasca for a chat and a bit of an introduction.
Photos by Nicole Goodwin and Lee Stern.
At what point did Culture Of Ignorance form and how did it all come together?
Culture of Ignorance formed after a large group of old friends went for a skate in early 2014. A few of us had been in and out of hardcore bands over the years, and we got talking about getting together for a jam. Dane and Mick had played bass and guitar in a couple of Central Coast bands, Brook had played drums in a couple of Sydney bands and I’d done vocals in a few bands that fizzled out at demo stages. We thought at the very least – it’d be heaps of fun and a great excuse to get together more often. So much to the dismay of his neighbors, we started jamming in the living room of Dane’s place. As we were all skateboarders, watching skateboarding videos was just as part of the whole routine as playing the instruments, and as such we’d taken up the moniker “Ratbones”. The sound was very raw hardcore punk, kind of similar to bands like SSD and early Slapshot. After a couple of months of this, life changed for a couple of us and as a result the lineup changed. Mick was a hockey player and received an offer he’d be crazy to turn down, and Dane decided to pack up and move North, so we were in limbo until we could find replacements. Both myself and Brook felt as though we had something pretty cool happening, and it would be silly to give up. Dane put us in touch with his mate Brent who’d just finished up playing guitar in a band, who in turn put us in touch with his mate Rohan. Those guys came from a more d-beat/crust kind of background, which added a very metallic edge to our sound. We’ve been doing our thing since.
Would readers recognize the members from any other bands?
Perhaps. Every member besides myself has done time in a ton of bands collectively, but notably Brook played drums in 10 Paces, Brent played guitar in Unknown to God and our bass player Rohan is currently the vocalist of a Sydney grind band called Inebrious Bastard.
In your own words how would you describe the sound of Culture Of Ignorance?
That’s a very difficult one to answer, one of the aspects of this band I most enjoy is just how difficult the sound is to pigeonhole. We all come from such diverse musical backgrounds, and I believe it really shines through in the music we write. On this recording, we hadn’t quite found our groove with each other so to speak - but there’s elements of punk, hardcore, d-beat and hint of crust in the mix. We wrote some of those songs almost two years ago, however we are at a point now where we are really defining our sound, and we are all very excited about it. The new material we have written is even more difficult to describe, but it’s much faster, dirtier and heavier.
What’s behind the name Culture Of Ignorance and who came up with it?
As every new band can relate – when you’re attempting to come up with a name it’s a very frustrating and often time consuming experience. Each time you’re convinced that you’ve thought of something perfect, the name has either been used, or the other members think it’s garbage. Considering our personal tendencies to berate each other for any given reason, the latter was definitely the worse of the two! This tiresome process went on for months and months, until I found myself attempting to fit lyrics I’d written into a song we were mucking around with. I’d written them one afternoon after I’d walked through the city and noticed that every single person within sight was staring down at their phones. It really got me thinking about what we have become as a civilization. As technology continues to advance at a very rapid rate, so too does our increasing reliance on technology in our day to day lives. Many of us have grown to depend so heavily on social media as a primary source of information and social interaction, and as a result the human race is slowly losing the ability to interact and express themselves in a healthy manner. Admittedly, I too have been very guilty of this type of behavior in the past, however it’s something that genuinely concerns me. I didn’t end up using the lyrics in the song, but they were an expression of my own personal feelings surrounding the negative aspects of living in modern society, and it’s affects on the human condition. “Culture of Ignorance” was a line in that song and was the only name we all could agree on. I think that we all have our own take on the meaning behind the name, but that’s the story behind it.
What bands are influencing the sound of Culture Of Ignorance?
We all listen to completely different stuff. I listen to a lot of 90’s hardcore and alternative, and catch hell for doing so from the other guys. I’d say that as a collective though we listen to a lot of later era Entombed, Integrity and Wolfbrigade. Rohan and Brent love Bolt Thrower, so there’s probably a bit of that in there somewhere.
What would be a dream line up of bands to play with?
Any band really. We have had a lot of fun playing mixed bills so far, and I couldn’t really pinpoint a dream lineup! I did attempt to get a proper answer from everybody and throw together a short list that way, but most of the responses I got were so ridiculous that I won’t bother mentioning them all. I’d love to play with Left for Dead, Brent said “Mastadon, Disfear, Dropdead, Slayer and Bon Jovi”, Brook said nothing so I’ll assume it’s a “Bon Jovi” or “Metallica” response and Rohan would inevitably say “Bolt Thrower” if he was capable of replying to a text message!
Culture Of Ignorance released a debut 5 song debut 7inch through ViperDeathLock Records. How did the recording and releasecome together?
Brent has been good friends with Nathan (VDL) for years, they pretty much grew up in Nowra together. He came along to check out one of our first shows and asked Brent if we had any plans for a release. At this point, we didn’t even have a demo recorded, but we definitely had enough material written to warrant a session in the studio. We spoke with Nathan for a few weeks and he offered to put out a record for us, it was surprisingly that simple. Brent set up a session for us at the Brain Studios to record the 7”, which actually turned out to be a nightmare for most concerned. We naively expected to get all five tracks knocked over in one recording session, but once we got into the studio the process was unfortunately very slow due to gear issues and illness. I’d come down with a very nasty flu a few days leading up to the session, and as a result my voice was shocking and I absolutely struggled through three tracks. The rough tracks from that session became our 2014 demo. We did however manage to get drums and bass for the whole record tracked, and we returned a couple of months later to re-record guitars and vocals. Once it was off being mastered, we handled most of the artwork and layout of the 7” ourselves. Of course then followed the usual delays and obstacles that come with the territory of pressing and releasing a record, but in the end it all came together really well. Nathan has done a phenomenal job, and we have ended up with a release that we are genuinely stoked with!
Lyrically what sort of issues are covered by Culture Of Ignorance?
I wrote some of these songs about highly original issues that everybody could relate to such as rotting away in a soul destroying 9-5, the odd choice to often abide relationships and friendships with toxic people and the irksome feeling of being forced to suffer interactions with any type of self righteous individual. However a couple of these songs are highly personal. Especially in this instance, retrospect can be a very irritating thing - I look back on some of these lyrics and cringe as I’d written them years ago when I was in a very dark and confusing place. There was a lot going on in my personal and family life and for me writing has always proven to be a wonderfully therapeutic tool, so I used this platform to exorcise my frustrations and move on. We have all grown so much as people since these songs were written though, our next release will see a vast change in lyrical direction.
What else is in store in the foreseeable future for Culture Of Ignorance?
We are currently writing for a new release. Until we have that together, we’ll just be playing as many shows as humanly possible, or as life will allow. We have played one interstate show in Melbourne thus far, and will be returning on the 16th and 17th of October with Toe to Toe to play some very insane shows, including one with our good friends Impact Zone. We plan to do Adelaide, Byron and Brisbane very soon!
How can people get in touch or keep up with what’s happening in the band?
Via our facebook page, Viperdeathlock’s facebook page & website, our Bandcamp page and/or directly via email. It’s very rare for us to turn down a show, so get in touch if you’re after a Sydney band to play! Cheers!