Hello! How are you doing?
Good right now, thanks.
Actually I just found out about Cloak/Dagger the other day, but then again you guys haven’t been around as a band for that long, right?
We haven’t been around too long. It’s coming up on almost two years now but we’ve been more active in the last year.
How come the four of you started playing music as Cloak/Dagger?
It started as a side project really from a more indie rockish band some of the members were in just as a fun thing to do before or after they practiced. Things just kind of took off when they broke up.
Tell me about the name of the band?
It’s just a name our drummer came up with. He said we’re doing a punk band called cloak/dagger and you’re going to sing.
It’s obvious that you guys get a lot of influences from the 80′s hardcore scene. How would you describe your music and what bands do you like the most from back then?
We are definitely influenced by 80′s punk and hardcore but I don’t know how I would describe our band. I’ve heard everything from Minor Threat, Black Flag, Avail, Swiz Hot Snakes and Murder City Devils. I don’t think we sound the same as any of those bands, maybe Black Flag crossed with insert your favorite band here.
So, is this kind of music something you’ve been doing for a long time? Any earlier bands you guys have been in that are worth mentioning?
Some of our favorites from that time period as a band are Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, Wipers.
Me and Colin were in a straight edge band Count Me Out that toured a lot and we had a good time doing, that started in 1998 and ended in 2003. The other Collin was in Trial By Fire who was on Jade Tree and Aaron was in Striking Distance. All bands very different from this.
Are you still straight edge? Would you call Cloak/Dagger a straight edge band?
This is definitely not a straight edge band. With this band we are trying to avoid all labels and just have the music speak for itself. Me, drummer Colin and Aaron don’t drink but as we get older it’s not something we look down on anyone for or look up too anyone for or that I even think about.
How’s the music scene in Richmond , VA? I know Strike Anywhere is from your city, any other good stuff going on over there? Is it a good city for playing punk rock?
Richmond is one of the best cities on the East Coast for punk and hardcore bands to come through in my opinion. There are awesome bands here and it’s small enough of a city that everyone knows each other so it’s easy to find out about shows. There’s a lot of house shows here. Check out Government Warning, Wasted Time, Municipal Waste, Direct Control all from here if you haven’t yet.
I went to a Direct Control show over here in Sweden last year and it was great. Have you guys been playing any shows with them?
We have played with them in the last year but they don’t play as much as they used to. Brandon who sings for them plays drums in Government Warning and we’ve played with them a lot. Both of those are great bands.
Grave Mistake Records put out a 7" for you last year called "Pinata". How has that record been going, any good response?
We got a lot of good reviews for that record and it went over way better then we expected. We didn’t have high expectations when we started playing so the good reviews and reactions from people at shows when that 7" came out was cool to see.
Grave Mistake seems like a really cool but pretty small label. How did you get in touch with Jade Tree?
We played some shows with Paint It Black and at the time their drummer the legendary Dave Wagenschutz was working at Jade Tree and liked us. He and Dan Yemin are a big reason we got things going with Jade Tree so thanks to them for that.
Are you guys taking a step up, putting more time and energy into the band with this label-change?I know they’re putting out a new record with some of your old demos, when is that due? Can you tell me a little bit more about the songs?
Definitely. After the lp comes out this is going to be a full time thing as far as touring goes. We’ve played a lot of shows off of the 7" but I think we’re going to be able to do the full US and Europe with the lp release. The digital release of our demo and the Grave Mistake 7" was to get people familiar with our band who have not heard us yet before the lp comes out. The demo was very fun to record and was a very spur of the moment thing and you can tell. We’ve had a lot more time to write music as a band at this point.
So, how do you write your songs? Who does what?
Guitarist Collin writes most of the music and I write the lyrics. We don’t really spend too much time on the songs we try to keep things raw and not over think the songs. I make tapes of the songs and write lyrics to them in the car. That’s my secret.
What do you guys write your lyrics about?
They are mainly about getting older. Dealing with work, money, living life and how I see the world from a small city perspective.
Are there more releases in works that is being released by Jade Tree? Maybe an album?
They are going to release our 13 song lp "we are" in September. We’ll be ready to quit life by then and tour as much as we can.
So, you would like to do this thing full-time?
Definitely, with any luck we will be over your way soon after the lp release.
Have you guys been out touring anything yet?
We did a 10 day tour with New Mexican Disaster Squad down to the fest in Florida which was a good time and done a lot of weekends and played some shows with some great bands. Fucked up, Lifetime, Career Suicide, Government Warning have been some of my favorites.
What are you guys doing when you’re not playing music as Cloak/Dagger?
We are all working jobs to do this band. I am a substitute teacher so I can get time off, Collin is a bike messenger and Colin is a valet and Aaron licks stamps. All jobs where you can take time off with no problems but it is worth it. Just not financially.
Do you have a dream line-up for a tour? Some bands you really would like to share the stage with?
We’ve played with every band that I like except for Regulations. We’ve played with Fucked Up, The Vicious, Government Warning and Pissed Jeans. Those are my current favorites. I guess if we could do a Regulations, Fucked Up, Hot Snakes, Government Warning, Hatebreed tour it would be awesome everywhere and every night.
Any fun stories from the road that you’d like to share?
Every show is a good story. We played a festival without bathrooms, saw a 12 year old try to fight a crowd of people, broken down, lost keys, slept on disgusting floors, gone to skate parks and much much more. I love this band.
Well I think that’s it! Thanks Jason, keep in touch!
Thanks again for the interview. Hope to make it over there soon. Check out gravemistakerecords.com for good bands. They have a lot coming out this summer that is good.