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Interview: Sainthood Reps

With the recent announcement of Sainthood Reps signing to Tooth and Nail Records, we couldn't think of a better time to speak with guitarist, Derrick Sherman to talk shop about the band's forthcoming debut album, 'Monoculture', future releases and more.

Alter The Press: Last time we spoke, Sainthood Reps were going to be releasing a double EP. What happened?
Derrick Sherman (guitar): In the midst of recording the double EP, we started to receive some record deal offers, which sort of put our plans on the self release of this EP on hold. We wound up taking four songs from the double EP and putting them out on our upcoming full length LP.

ATP: You’ve recently signed to Tooth and Nail. How did the deal come together?
Derrick: I was just about to set out on a two-week white water rafting river trip to the Grand Canyon, when T&N emailed us. They had picked up our 7" with O'Brother and liked what they heard. When I came back from my trip, we started to send them the twenty or so songs we had. They weren't a big fan of the instrumental tracks. Well that's not entirely accurate. They liked them, but weren't sure if they wanted to sign a band who were mostly instrumental with some vocal tracks. We had agreed that we would put out an LP for them with a certain amount of songs with vocals, and they would let us put a certain amount of instrumental tracks on the record.

The record deal took about seven months to be finalized, and in that time we abandoned all the instrumental tracks in favor of making a more cohesive record. Initially I was really bummed about how long the signing process was taking, but we were better off for it. We sort of "found our sound" in the long process that was signing that deal.

ATP: How would you describe ‘Monoculture’ in your own words?
Derrick: Monoculture was inspired by the farming technique known as mono-cropping. This is where a farm only yields one type of crop versus a rotation of crops, allowing the farm to be more diverse.

The problem with mono-cropping is that a single crop is more prone to being wiped out very quickly by a different species. To combat this, the more fragile mono crop depends on pesticides and fertilizers.

I applied this to every day life in the good ole US of A. Driving around America, you notice that every town is becoming the same. There is a Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Game Stop and a Sally Beauty Supply in just about every town.

This also applied to our very depleted, virtually dead music scene on Long Island, NY. Particularly the LI "hardcore" music scene. Growing up, going to shows, hardcore gave our band a sense of community. It was the first time we were learning about all different types of ways to live. Straight Edge, Vegan, Krishna, etc. You name it, we learned about it at a show. We were taught to welcome all sorts of music and personalities into our music scene. We would have a Gutter punk band play with a ska band and they were opening for a hardcore band. There were no rules, or guidelines.

Nowadays, the music scene is VERY exclusive. There are a few bands out there that will ONLY play with each other and under no circumstance should a new band or people who dress differently from them be allowed to play or attend these shows. The double irony is that even our band, who is hyper-aware of what's going on around us, we eat late night Taco Bell and own American Apparel sweatshirts.

We are just biding our time until a species wipes us all out!

ATP: Sainthood Reps definitely has a strong 90’s alternative rock sound. Would you agree with that?
Derrick: I would agree indeed.

ATP: Who would you say are the bands strongest influences?
Derrick: Fugazi, Nirvana, Mogwai. Robert Moses. Cohen Brothers. Jesus Lizard. Built To Spill.

ATP: Will the record see a vinyl release?
Derrick: Most definitely. We are sorting out who is going to release it. Hopefully it will come out near the record.

ATP: You released a 7” with O’Brother in 2010. Do you have any other splits or any further releases in the pipeline?
Derrick: We are going to do a 7" single for the song 'Dingus' sometime this summer. I would like to release an EP of some songs that didn't make the record, initially intended for that "double EP" at some point.

ATP: The record is set for an August 9th release. Do you have any touring plans in support of ‘Monoculture’?
Derrick: We would like to tour as much as possible. Right now we are booking our own shows still. We don't have an agent. So if you want us to play, hit us up!

ATP: What is planned next for Sainthood Reps?
Derrick: We will be honing our Bocce ball skills this summer. This is an open challenge to any band out there. 2 vs 2.

‘Monoculture’ is out August 9th on Tooth and Nail Records.

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