Please introduce your band. When was the band formed?
Paul: Let see, I play guitar. I also used to play in a band called Clenched Fist. Josh plays bass, and he had a couple of stints in Clenched Fist with me. Rob’s on drums, he used to play in a couple of bands called Dead City and That Was Then. And Brandon on vocals is doing just a magnificent job in his first band ever. I couldn’t be more proud of the little guy. We formed like Voltron in 2013.
What does the name Reserving Dirtnaps represent?
Paul: It’s a phrase from a Crime Boss song called Imagination. He’s a rapper from Houston, TX. In the song he’s talking about killing people. “Twistin caps, reserving dirtnaps.” I think it represents genius.
Can you tell us about your main influences?
Paul: My first favorite album was Michael Jackson’s Thriller and boy does it hold up. Last listened to it on the way home from a recording session for Part II actually and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jimi Hendrix is the greatest guitar player to ever live and your little “I’m gonna be so cool and disagree with you” horseshit holds no fucking weight. Also Madball, Cold as Life, Agnostic Front, Ringworm, Life of Agony, Prince, Napalm Death and Memphis rap in general.
Brandon: I heard Pantera cover “The Badge” by Poison Idea when I was a kid on The Crow soundtrack. It was on a tape a friend made for me. I had no idea what I was listening to at the time. From then on I wanted to find the heaviest music in existence. Eventually I made it to hardcore shows and saw Paul play with Clenched Fist. My main influences for Reserving Dirtnaps would be Memphis bands like Clenched Fist, Dead City, and Bury the Living. All three of those bands are different styles of hardcore and had great frontmen and lyrics. Beyond Memphis hardcore, I would say that Sepultura, Dystopia, Corrupted, Neurosis, Buzzov•en, Merauder, Burnt by the Sun, Master, and like Paul, Memphis rap has a big influence on what I do in the band.
How is music produced in Reserving Dirtnaps?
Paul: I’ll write a riff or sometimes an entire song and bring it to practice and we flesh it out. Then whenever we decide we’re done, Brandon records the music on his cell phone and somehow writes lyrics to it.
Brandon: Once Paul and the other dudes get everything hammered out at practice I take the recording home and usually dwell on some terrible thing that has happened to me or the world. It doesn’t take a lot of critical thinking to figure out that life and civilization is a pretty bleak situation at times. I think about people I have lost to homicide or suicide. Couple those thoughts with the reality of life in Memphis and I can start to piece lyrics together. Memphis is not unique in its problems, but for example we have had more murders in Memphis this year than any previous year on record with 214 homicides. There is a lot of violence here and I think we definitely feed off of that as a band. Eventually the lyrics just write themselves in a way.
Your new ep ‘’Part II’’ sounds even heavier. How did the recording sessions go and how has the reception been so far?
Paul: Recording this EP was a magnificent time. Our guy Alan Burcham is the best in the business. I will say that until either one of us dies, then I will continue to say it in his memory. Brad Boatright mastered it and that guy is the fucking man. Everyone reading this probably has heard 50 records he’s mastered and it’s because he’s awesome. Reception has been really positive, a lot of really strong compliments. My friend actually just texted me and said “man you guys are getting such good reviews.” And I was like I know, it’s great! I couldn’t be more thankful of how people are responding to the record.
Brandon: Yeah, recording with Alan is incredibly laid back and he does an amazing job. Once he recorded and mixed it and we got it back from Brad, it sounded unbelievable. We are extremely proud of how our first EP turned out but “Part II” definitely is a new level for us. The response has been great so far.
What inspires you the most?
Paul: Well, there was an election in the United States, maybe you heard a little something about it. I can say for me, personally, knowing that the president of the United States, who’s often referred to as “the leader of the free world,” can run on a campaign that appeals to the most basic levels of hate and intolerance and win is a little frightening. There’s enough people who buy into that shit that he gets elected fucking president. Lotta bad people already doing and saying bad shit and invoking his name too and it’s fucking disgusting to me. So aside from just wanting to make music, that gives me that little extra oomph that there’s still plenty of reasons to be pissed off and it’s still worth it to do this kinda shit and allow people to have a release. People don’t go to a show and mosh because everything’s awesome. It’s a fucking release, and here, here’s a riff…it’s the least I can do. Now let it out.
Brandon: What inspires me the most is just doing something that I always dreamed of doing. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to make music. I never learned to play an instrument well enough to play in a band like this, but doing vocals is an opportunistic thing for me. I’m proud to be in this band and part of the bloodline of Memphis hardcore. Also, to be a part of something that we control and own. And like Paul was saying with the release. I have a lot of thoughts and ideas that aren’t very healthy or constructive and being in a band like this is a great place for that energy. Being in a band isn’t all fun but this is something that we have to do. It’s just in us.
Many hardcore bands have worked with hip hop artists. Would you be up for a collaboration like that?
Paul: Yes, and we’re actually trying to get something like that worked out right now. Don’t want to talk too much about it now but yeah, I’ve always wanted to collaborate with a rapper, especially a Memphis rapper. Memphis has quite a rap tradition with folks like Three Six Mafia, Playa Fly, GangstaBlac, Tommy Wright III, Tom Skeemask, AlKapone and on and on and on. So yeah, you might hear Reserving Dirtnaps in a rap collaboration one day. Good question by the way. What are the odds.
Brandon: The energy of the Memphis rap and Reserving Dirtnaps is coming from the same place. When DJ Paul says “get buck as you can fool but try to control the anger” on the Funkytown track that is the same as someone moshing hard as fuck at a show. Take it to the absolute edge but hold back just enough that you don’t kill yourself or somebody else. The energy of gangstawalkin and moshing all comes from the same energy you hear in the hardcore Memphis underground whether it is rock or rap.
Hardcore came from the United States. Nevertheless are there any european bands you like?
Paul: Backfire, they have a solid catalogue, but that first Backfire record is one of my favorites. And I mentioned Napalm Death earlier, if you haven’t checked in on them lately, since pretty much 2000, from Enemy of the Music Business on…every record they put out has me contemplating retirement. Like why even try anymore.
Brandon: As far as European bands go, the first that come to my mind are: Discharge, Napalm Death, Amebix, Bolt Thrower, Doom, Venom, Grave, Carnage, Celtic Frost, Nirvana 2002, Demigod, and Internment.
You’ve shared the stage with heavy weights like Hatebreed. Are there any live shows planned for the rest of this year?
Paul: I think we’re done for the year but the other night we played a pretty insane show with rappers Tommy Wright III and Tom Skeemask, a Helmet influenced band called Broke and a garage rock band called Chickasaw Mound. All from Memphis. That’s easily the weirdest show any of us have ever been a part of and we had no idea what to expect, and it could not have gone better. Probably the best show we’ve ever played. I hate that everyone reading this had to miss it.
What does the future hold for Reserving Dirtnaps?
Paul: Hopefully a third EP, which may or may not be called Part III. I haven’t decided yet.
Brandon: Another EP, shows, and getting out of town whenever possible.