You Wanna Tell Erika Daking She's A Sellout? We Didn't Think So.
BY ALEX DISTEFANO
If you morphed the sounds of Crass, Doom, Minor Threat and Neurosis all into one sonically anti-melodic assault, what would it sound like? Well, imagine no further, for these are the core ingredients that make up the sound of Orange County's own antiheroes, F-Minus.
With a new record on Hellcat, Wake Up Screaming, in stores on March 25, the fearsome foursome's singer and guitar player Erika Daking took time to chat about their unique sound, their musical influences, the bands they look up to and their new record and subsequent tour.
One of the record's highlights is its w sound, courtesy of legendary "engineer" Steve Albini (Nirvana, PJ Harvey). "Working with him was just great," exclaims Daking, who's calling from the band's hometown of Huntington Beach. "He was like the anti-producer. He gave us some really great input in the making of this record," she adds.
Since F-Minus' inception in 1997, the band has been cast astray in a scene in Orange county known in the '80s for classic hardcore punk, but in the '90s for pop-happy ska and radio-friendly punk. The band wasn't lumped into any particular category (and rightfully so) and played shows with anyone and everyone, from ska-punk bands to metal acts. "It still holds true today," comments Daking. "We're still very much creating our own category and niche to fit in. We're more aggressive, and anti-melodic. We're also called sellouts nowadays, too," she says in regard to the band's affiliation with Hellcat.
F-Minus disregards anyone who labels them sellouts, making the music that they want to make, and reminding listeners and press alike that they're not out for the money or the radio airplay. "Hellcat has been awesome to us," exclaims Daking. "They are very supportive, and they love this new record. It definitely [represents] a progression, and they understand that."
F-Minus's music has always been marked by raw energy, aggression and personal lyrics.
"We're not necessarily politically-charged------we're [more] personal. We try to be sincere and people either get it or they don't. Our songs and lyrics are based on moods, and feelings we have as we write," Daking explains.
"We all write songs in this band. It's totally collaborative and democratic," she adds. But songwriting and recording are only part of the equation with F-Minus; a large part of their time and energy goes into performing live, which they clearly love. "We'll play shows anywhere to anyone, We love all sorts of music," says Daking. "We've played with AFI in front of thousands of people, and [we've played] clubs in Orange County for fifteen people."
So are there any bands with similar work ethics that F-Minus admires. "We all love bands like Nausea and Neurosis, but we're into all kinds of music and we look up to a lot of bands, even though there are a lot of crappy bands out there," notes Daking. "We respect Kill Your Idols, Hot Water Music, The Nerve Agents, Agnostic Front and A Global Threat. We've been very lucky to have toured with such nice bands in our career."
F-Minus plans to embark shortly on a headlining tour to support Wake Up Screaming. Says Daking, "We're planning to start our tour in April across the West Coast, and other parts of the country to follow later." For tour dates and other details, check out www.f-minus.com or www.epitaph.com.