Richmond’s Down To Nothing have been a staple in hardcore since their founding in 2000. Ten years later, they’re still kicking ass – even if they don’t get to tour as much as they used to. Hot on the heels of their latest 7″, All My Sons, they hit DC for a one-off show with a great crew of other bands. I had a chat with singer David Wood (pictured at left) after the show about writing the new album and their label situation, among other things; check it out here!
Big thanks to Nicole at Reaper Records and of course to D. Wood for making this happen. More pictures from the show are up here.
You’re in Down To Nothing, you’re in Terror – what else do we need to know about you?
David Wood (vocals): I’m straight edge. I try to keep that PMA – positive thinking leads to a positive lifestyle. As hard as it can be, you’ve gotta to look up. Other than that, I don’t really know – I’m a nice guy.
Y’all have been around for 10 years now – how do you stay excited about DTN?
DW: We all still love hardcore, and we don’t get to play together as much as we used to, so when we do, we try to make it count. We keep doing new material that we like, that keeps it fresh too. We’re all friends, and we’re all scattered around doing our own things so it’s like a vacation for us to play now.
How do you guys all know each other? You’re all from Richmond, right?
DW: Daniel [Spector, drums] and I have known each other since we were 5 years old. Alan [Long, guitar], we met him through his best friend, who went to our high school – he joined right at the beginning. Hunter, we’ve been friends with him forever, and he’s also in Bracewar. When Groater [David Groat, former guitarist] left, we got Hunter in. We met Jared [Carman, bass] in 2004 and we were about to do a tour in 2005 and Alan couldn’t go on it. At that time we were a four-piece and we’d played with Jared’s band in Daytona and I hit him up and said, “Yo, can you play for us?” – he was in the band by the end of that year.
Have you guys always been straight-edge as a band and as people?
DW: The band, yeah. But none of us were straight-edge before we got into hardcore. I started experimenting with drugs when I was about 12, right after fifth grade. We all used to smoke weed and drink and do all that shit. But it wasn’t for us – we got into hardcore and got into straight-edge and we were like, “This is what we want to do”. Hardcore and just bad experiences, that’s why.
What’s the process like when you guys are putting together new music?
DW: On All My Sons, Daniel wrote a bunch of stuff at home and with Groater on the 2008 European tour, and with technology these days, he just sent it to us, and we changed a few things. When he was home on Christmas break and we were all back from tour, we didn’t have that much time to record, so we just picked our favorite songs and stuck with those for the 7”.
I’ve written a bunch of songs in the past, Groater used to write a lot of songs. Daniel’s always done a bunch of writing. When we were a more active band, we’d practice all the time – we’d just jam, someone would bring a riff from home. On the split with 50 Lions, I wrote one song, Daniel wrote one song, and Groater wrote one song.
Your last album was called The Most – what’s changed the most between that and All My Sons?
DW: We’re all a lot more experienced with writing and recording, so all that stuff sounds better. We got a little heavier – like, it still sounds about the same, but a notch up. Just better.
What kind of feedback have you gotten on the 7”? It came out a few months ago.
DW: Really good feedback, better than I expected. I thought maybe we’d fall off – there’s so many hardcore bands that play for a few years and break up, I didn’t even know if people would even care. The response we’ve gotten from this last record has been amazing. Kids seem to be into it, so we’re psyched.
Are you guys on Reaper Records full-time or was that just for the 7”?
DW: I don’t know. I’d like to be, Reaper’s sweet, but we’re still technically under contract with Revelation Records. Since we don’t tour as much as we used to, I don’t think they really care. We talked about it, when I told them that I wanted to do something with Reaper. Patrick [Kitzel, owner of Reaper] is our good friend, and we figured, who knows if we’ll record again – we want to do something with our friends. Since we don’t tour much anymore and Revelation isn’t much of a label anymore, they left it to us to decide.
With all of the side projects, has Down To Nothing become less of a priority?
DW: Yeah – as bad and un-punk as it sounds, Terror is my job. We’re on the road almost 300 days a year. When Terror asked me to join, Groater was leaving the band and Daniel was going back to school. Terror made it clear that if I was going to join, it needed to be my #1 priority. So that’s the situation.
Where was the first Down To Nothing show?
DW: It was at this club called Twisters – 929 Grace Street. Then it became 929, then it was Nancy Raygun. Then it was Bagel Czar, and now it’s Strange Matter. Anyways, I don’t know if we were even Down To Nothing then, we might have still been Detonation. It was with Shut Down and From Earth to Ashes – they were another band from Richmond, they weren’t around that long.
What’s your favorite place to play in Richmond?
DW: Would’ve said 929, but that’s done. We had this other venue called Alley Katz that just closed, that was like our second home. Those were the spots. We have this other place called Canal Club – it’s chill, but the vibe’s just not as cool.
Where’s your favorite place to tour?
DW: Long Island and Atlanta. Of course southern California, we’re going out for Sound And Fury this year. Detroit and Grand Rapids always go off.
How do you feel about the show tonight?
DW: I feel good – we were rushed on time, but it worked out. We haven’t played since January, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m excited.
Do you guys have anything else planned coming up with Down To Nothing?
DW: We’ve got the record release show on July 4, and a couple of shows right after that. Sound and Fury this summer. We have a European tour coming up in the fall, that’s the last thing we’ve got planned.
What music have you been digging recently?
DW: I just bought the new Throwdown album, “Deathless”. Bought the album from The Sounds that came out last year [“Crossing The Rubicon”]. Bought the new Outbreak [self-titled].
You want to shout out anybody?
DW: Shout out Backtrack, Foundation, Naysayer. Donnybrook, new album coming out soon. Of course my boys Terror – new album, “Keepers of the Faith” out this fall.
Alright, that’s a wrap. Thanks.
DW: No problem.