By Jason Budjinski
For the members of West Palm Beach's New Coke, 2012 was their first full year as a band, and it was every bit as dynamic as the band itself. From hooking up with Netherlands-based Slovenly Records to finding a receptive crowd and like minds at Miami's 305 Fest, New Coke gave 2012 a good throttling and looks to do the same in the new year.
The three-piece includes Danny Morales (guitar and vocals), Steve McKean (drums and vocals), and Gabe Schnirman (guitar) and is focused on creating moments as much as making music. Its songs alternate from melodic to atonal and are always filled with a frenetic sense of energy that manages to capture the ever-elusive "live" feeling most bands struggle to replicate in the studio. The band's sound is rooted in R&B and garage, but with a darker, more frenzied tone, drawing to mind bands like the Gun Club and the Wipers. New Coke's debut seven-inch, "He Got Stabbed in the Throat"/"All I Want Is Your Sunshine," is available for purchase at Slovenly's section at Bandcamp.com
. We took a look back at 2012, forward into the new year, and deep into New Coke's sound with Morales.
New Times: Let's set the stage for those who don't know you, starting at the beginning.
Danny Morales: The band came together from Steve and I wanting to create music with a feeling of panic. We didn't want to rip obvious trademarks from other bands. We didn't want to be a cover band. I guess we were trying to hit a vibe and go with it. In doing so, it changes the direction of the band from song to song.
Does New Coke have any new releases planned?
We love to record but never get around to doing it all the time, which is a bummer. We are finishing up what is seeming to be another seven-inch, and we are excited about that. We are recording it in Miami with Jonathan Nuñez from Torche, and that has been one of the best experiences we've had as a group. I personally learned a lot. Getting that record done is top priority in 2013.
Do you have any big shows coming up or plans for playing out of town?
We have a couple of "big shows" coming up, and big doesn't mean playing for 500 empty shirts. We like to play with bands that we actually enjoy listening to, and that could be in someone's living room. Our first show of the year is at Gramps in Miami with Cop City Chill Pillars with special guest Lars Finberg of the Intelligence. [It's] always fun seeing that band operate on their own, so this should be wild.
We also have been offered the opportunity to play on the Slovenly Records stage at SXSW 2013 in March, among other showcases via Get Bent throughout Texas. Slovenly has been very supportive and put our first release under their wing. It's weird to me to think of playing out of Florida, and we are anxious to give that a shot.
Are there any national bands you'd like to open for?
As far as bands I would like to play with, I'd rather get loaded and watch the show instead of play it! It would be cool to open up for Kid Congo Powers, but then I would have to bring all my equipment and be nervous about playing. I'd rather be a spectator most of the time. If someone I idolize tells me they listen to my band when they're at home making dinner, I think that's a better feeling.
How was 2012? Favorite shows you played? Favorite bands you've seen, played with?
2012 was an amazing year for us, and if someone would have told me half the stuff that happened, I wouldn't have believed them. I am extremely humbled by the way things turned out.
It's been nice to have played shows in more than one genre of music. We played 305 Fest in Miami, which was a mixture of lots of different genres, and just being able to have our stuff translate well was a huge achievement for us. I remember this random guy came up to me after our afternoon set and told me how intense we were and that he felt fortunate to have come early -- just super sincere the way he said it -- and that literally floored me.
Brian from Dropdead, which is a band I grew up listening to since high school, made it a point to catch our set that day as well. I don't think my feet touched the ground for the rest of the night after he said that. On a different note, we also drove a lot of people out of rooms in 2012, and that has made my empty heart full of life knowing punk rock still works.
Any good anecdotes from 2012?
If I could think of a funny anecdote, it would be when we were playing St. Augustine on a small Florida tour with Paint Fumes and Bazooka (from Greece). Steve didn't sleep well the night before, so I gave him some Adderall to wake him up. Let me tell you, that set was like lighting that night! We got back to the hotel, and Gabe and I just passed out face-down on the bed while [Steve] was wired to the ceiling. I think he could have swam to Cuba if he wanted to.
New Coke performs with the Cop City Chill Pillars and Lars Finberg at 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 5 at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami. The 21-and-up show costs $5. Call 786-752-6693.