7 w/ Nick Danes

Friday, June 14, 2024

This is an ongoing series called “7” which asks seven questions to the artists I love. These questions were answered by Nick Danes.

1. As of late you’ve been consistently documenting your weight lifting journey and was curious as to how it’s affected your creativity? Has it helped with endurance or perhaps spark new ideas for random things?

You know I've never really thought about how it affects my creativity. At the start of the pandemic, I sort of faded in and out of posting little drum videos as a means to socialize with folks in the world and I think that habit sort of stuck with me once I got interested in my health and fitness.

I've pretty much vlogged almost every at-home workout since about September 2023 and it's pretty much just become part of my routine in my life. I think the biggest thing is that It's allowed me to know fear expressing myself on camera and also not really caring who watches. When it comes to my musical process, I think it's come out with recording some of my live sets and also sharing those things on social media.

As for the endurance part, it's definitely made a massive difference. When I used to play hardcore shows with Faim, I would get pretty winded but our last Europe tour that never really ended up being a problem. I'm also far more useful in general with load in/load out and that also feels good.

2. Coming from Fresno, CA what did you bring from our hometown that has helped you succeed as a musician today? And can you remember the bands that helped inspire you to play music growing up in the local scene?
I think the big thing I took from the local Fresno scene is just to be friendly and charitable to folks. I went into the Denver hardcore/punk scene as a "veteran" from another scene so that took some major adjustment.

Some of my favorite Fresno bands that inspired me the most would have to be Dead Elizabeth, Prove It, Elmo Marconi (haha, I know your band but it's true!). Dead Elizabeth was the first time where I was like, metalcore/death metal can be melodic yet heavy and technical. Prove It was a band that gave me entry to meeting most of the Fresno hardcore scene through their bass player Chris Dichosa. I have a vague memory of my first local hardcore show going to Daniel Dominguez's grandma's house to watch way too many bands play in was basically a shed, including Prove It and I think Aiden? Finally, I have to mention Elmo Marconi because this band really opened me up musically beyond hardcore/punk and really told me that even hardcore can be expressed musically in so many different ways. Elmo definitely had some major influence on the last few songs of Bridges before we ended, and carried over to all my future drumming projects.
3. To follow up with the second question as an Asian American growing up what records started your journey into punk/hardcore and who were you around at the time that helped you identify with that sound?
My entry into Punk was unexpected one. For some context, my mom is from Taiwan and my dad is a white American from the South. They got divorced around the same time where I first started discovering music. I ended up living with my white dad during those years, which is a whole story in itself which I won't get into. In short, I sort of grew up as a "white" kid from that point and honestly my identity as an half-Asian was hindered after the divorce.

I have vague memories as a small child listening to Chuck Berry. I found out later that my dad had The Clash and Sex Pistols on vinyl. However, most importantly, I remember at a very young age, probably 4th-5th grade, getting on the family computer and churning up the dial-up internet modem where I ended up finding a bunch of Dragonball Z Anime Music Videos (AMVs). These AMVs inadvertently had me hear some of the first rock and punk bands I'd ever hear. On that list of course, was Blink 182. Within those years, I also played the Tony Hawk games and of course the soundtracks for those games speak for themselves.

I wouldn't say I considered myself a "punk" kid probably until about the 7th/8th grade, where I really discovered all sorts of more underground punk bands and eventually become straight edge due to listening to Minor Threat. I had some other friends in middle school that were also into the standard popular 70s/80s punk bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat, The Ramones, The Misfits, etc as well other friends who were into bands like Rancid, NOFX, etc.

My jump to get into hardcore wasn't into the second half of my freshman year of high school. I had a friend named Chad who recently transferred there who was also straight-edge and fan of a bunch hardcore music. Through him, I ended up meeting Chris Dichosa who was looking for a straight-edge guitar player for a band Pinky Swear. I ended up meeting Chris, joining his band and getting exposed to a lot of Hardcore music, from Youth Crew to beatdown and to melodic hardcore. Some of the first bands I remember him showing me were Comeback Kid, Gorilla Biscuits, Casey Jones, and Set It Straight, among others. Over the high school years, I would listen to lots of different hardcore, emo and pop-punk bands that I'll try to summarize below.

If I had to boil down to 10 records that shaped my early music years, I would say:

1. Blink 182 - The Mark, Tom and Travis Show (first record I bought on CD)
2. Alkaline Trio - Good Mourning
3. AFI - Sing The Sorrow
4. Comeback Kid - Turn it Around
5. Gorilla Biscuits - Start Today
6. Carry On - A Life Less Plagued
7. The Get Up Kids - Something to Write Home About
8. Lifetime - Hello Bastards
9. The Ataris - End is Forever
10. Crime in Stereo - Explosives and the Will to Use Them

4. I was inspired by your veganism along with our good friend vxDEDxv who used to cook for me when I visited him to write records. What’s something you’ve been cooking up lately that’s vegan friendly?
My cooking habits ebb and flow when I'm creative versus doing the bare minimum. I'm kind of in the bare minimum phase right now, but the payoff is still good. Today I grilled a bunch of beyond burgers and impossible bratwurst on a charcoal grill. Low effort, high taste. One of my favorite breakfasts to make is a simple oatmeal cooked in soymilk with some cinnamon, sliced banana, and peanut butter.

5. Straight edge was also something I gained being around you and the crew that’s changed my life indefinitely. Were there any particular events that occurred that inspired you to go that path of sobriety?
My path was pretty short. I was in the 7th grade and I went over to a friends house and had the opportunity to drink for the first time. It didn't go well, so I haven't drank since. Despite this, of course I grew up around lots of friends who dabbled with drugs and alcohol and I was always just terrified about what could go wrong, so I never tried.

6. Coming from the Central Valley to now Colorado how has the different climates change your perspective? I know that for me the snowy winters can either elevate or kill my moods lol.
When I first moved to Colorado, the winters were extremely rough. The snow makes you not want to go anywhere, especially when you're initially scared to drive. Thankfully, Colorado is still a relatively sunny place and the snow melts quickly.

Usually these days when it snows, I just accept it and don't worry about getting things done.
7. What was the best advice you received from someone that sticks with you to this day?
It's hard to say, but something that sticks to me is a bit cheesy. My strength and conditioning online coach has become a close friend of mine and he often loves to spam things like "I WILL WIN" and it's honestly just a reminder to avoid negative self-talk in anything you're doing, outside of fitness/training. I've historically always been a big negative self-talker and this is something I've tried to improve on by reminding myself with this silly mantra.

Thank you Nick for responding to this questionnaire. It's awesome to see him really taking his fitness and music journey up high. I'll be supporting this dude all the way out.

- Arthur