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Counter Attack
19/03/2004 (interview with Matt & Adam)

Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

Matt: You can check out the general info on our website (www.counterattackdc.com), but I'll let you in on what's not up there. We started this band coming from musical backgrounds almost as opposite as possible, but with a common love for the skinhead creed and tenet. What we've set out to do is bring something new to the table. We aim to inspire love or hate in listeners, but never boredom. You'll find no rhyming of "boots on our feet" with "walking down the street" in any Counterattack song. While many contemporary groups contain to be "New Breed" they're simply rehashing bygone days, what's new about that? We've set our sights on the stagnancy we find plaguing our scene.

We have gone through a lot of lineup changes in the past several years. We've been a five piece, a four piece and finally a three piece. I won't bore you with the specifics, but the lineup changes have been sometimes ugly and other times amiable. Not for nothing, but those in the band now were there in the beginning. Currently we have Adam on the drums, Jon playing the hell out of his guitar, and me, that is Matt, on the bass and vocals.

Adam: Just to put a time frame on what Matt is talking about we began in 2000


Fight Back EP
S/T Ep
State of Affairs CD
Step Aside CD
additionally, appearances on:
Gang Up: Tomorrow's Anthems Volume I
Oi! What a Wonderful World II

In the works are a split with France's Haircut, and another with Wodnes Thegnas.

If you were writing a review about Counter Attack how would you describe the band?

Matt: Who the fuck are these guys?! They don't respect anything or anyone. They point out all the gaping chasms in my ideals and logic. They hurt my feelings. Why've they gotta call it like it is? These songs sound nothing like my Cockney Rejects, Sham 69 or Cock Sparrer CDs. I mean is this even skinhead music? I don't think they say Oi! once on the entire album. It's almost like...like they're trying to do something new. Have these guys any sense of tradition? No mention of Guinness, braces, or even *gasp* byrds. I mean who doesn't love byrds? They know how to play their instruments way too well. What is this, a rock opera? Everyone knows skinhead music has got to stay simple, three chords, repetitive lyrics. There's so much music here, it actually hurts my head. I give this a zero out of 8 possible stars.
That's how I see the review going, or something like that anyway.

Which release have you had most fun making and why? And which release best sums up the band?

Matt: Hands down, Step Aside has been our best recording experience yet. We recorded this album entirely ourselves in our own Anchorhold Studio. Aside from the luxury of being able to record all hours of the night, and take Taco Bell breaks whenever we want we really love the recording itself. There's really no place you'd find us happier than on stage or in the studio. Not to say that there haven't been tense moments, we've had more than our fair share of spats, frustrations, power outages, equipment failures, floods, hernias, (yeah fucking hernias). But there's really nothing more satisfying than pouring all of your effort into something that you love and creating something you are proud of. We recorded this album over a year, the extreme length a result of location changes, lineup changes, and all around sloth. But towards the end, we were in there every day of every weekend and we have all three of us come to work together very well. This is the record that proves that nothing, but nothing, will stop us. The last year or so since our last release has been a tough one, but despite all the ugliness, we're all the more determined. This is not a polished recording like State of Affairs, or a rough recording like Fight Back, this is it. This is us. Doing it ourselves, not the easy way, against all odds.

Adam: Step Aside is without a doubt the most fulfilling and representative release we’ve ever produced. We built the studio ourselves, with out own money. Aside from a guest guitar track courtesy of Chet from A.P.A. we recorded it entirely ourselves to. It is exactly as we would have wanted it, there was no interference from nosey producers or engineers butting in with unwanted opinions, so all the ideas are purely ours. That’s a very good feeling. Also, the methods we used to engineer the record are indicative of our position on music as well. For example, there was almost no compression on anything before we had it mastered, and very little applied during postproduction. It doesn’t sound super slick with everything sounding inorganic or like it could have come out of a synthesizer, which is definitely how we wanted it. Step Aside doesn’t sound like a demo or anything but you can definitely hear the amps pushing air, or the drum shells reverberating, and we think that makes the music on the album sound even more distinctive.

Where do you get your inspiration for the songs, and which do enjoy playing live the most?

Matt: A good deal of the songs on Step Aside are about the problems we've faced, particularly since the last release. The factors that could have, perhaps should have dragged us down, or ended us. In this aspect it's a bleak album. But it's also a resilient album. We're still standing and we're not giving any ground. In this aspect, it's anything but bleak.

Most Hated, the opening track off Step Aside is a great one live. It's become our new anthem of late, there's a lot in it, and I think it shows. It's a calculating and angry song. Brick & Stone is another great one, also off of Step Aside, it's just an intensively powerful, hard hitting song. That one really seems to get people moving. I also love playing some of the older ones, Sledgehammer in particular always gets plentiful requests and great response. Broken Man and Counterattack additionally, two songs that never fail to light a fire under everybody's collective ass.

Adam: My favorite songs to play live are still Cloak and Dagger, and Sledgehammer, although Brick and Stone and Cracks in the Armor are two good new ones as well.


Has any band member played in other bands, if so what?

Matt: Uh, yeah...though I'm not going to embarrass anyone, myself included.

Adam: Ugh. No comment.

If you could see any band play live, either of the past or present who would it be?

Matt: Oh, that's easy, it'd have to be a Rose Tattoo, Motorhead, Social D, Thin Lizzy, Sledgehammer, Skinkorps supergroup.

Adam: From the past I really would’ve enjoyed seeing The Dead Boys, Snix, Little Bob Story, or Sheer Terror. In the present I really want to catch Crashed Out, as I’ve heard nothing but good things about their live show. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing Coldplay or The Darkness.

What is the Punk/Oi scene like in your area?

Matt: In our area, inconsequential. Go figure, in the nation's capital, ain't nothing worth nothing. What there used to be of a scene is now just a handful of borderline-down-syndromes stabbing each other in the back trying to get to the top of a short pile of dirt.

Adam: Sadly it’s all bullshit gossiping. Like a bunch of high school girls deciding arbitrarily who’s “in” and who’s “out”. I am, of course, generalizing. We have plenty of good friends and loyal supporters in the area but by and large it’s a pretty sad state out here.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2004.

Matt: We've got a split EP with France's Haircut and another split EP with Wodnes Thegnas in the works. Currently I we're not all in the same country, but there are already summer dates in New York with Haircut and the Templars, and in Boston with Haircut for late May. Plenty of East Coast shows as well. Book us, we'll come.

Adam: We’re always writing new material, and we have several new Eps planned for this year. Also, when our schedules allow we like to tour as much as possible.

Any final comments?

Matt: Check out the new album. Check out the new website at www.counterattackdc.com. Thanks to Reality Clash Records. Keep up the good work on the website. Thanks for listening. Keep the faith.

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Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.