No one’s gonna give a shit in five, ten years if you have this record or that one or whether you listened to this band or that one.
I mean, really, who cares?
The only right answer should be “you.” You should care—about something. Because in the end you’re dying alone, either in a box or as dust.
An endless barrage of messages telling you what to care about are broadcast on TV, through tiny glowing screens in your palm or at your computer. Screens, screens, screens. Those messages radiate into your life, glow from your bed, seep into your past. They’re the size of atoms, in your toothpaste, squeezed out and rubbed into your teeth and gums. You become the reluctant monster. You’re the end product of these unstoppable broadcasts—a bundle of anxiety, self-doubt, depthless information, and endless distractions. Surface noise becomes static; static decays into pixel fatigue.
All is not lost. All is not fucked. There’s an antidote. Get in on the creation side of the equation. Make stuff. Actively participate. Don’t be satisfied with all of this consuming and being consumed. I’m not saying kill your TV. I’m saying don’t invite your TV to kill you.
For me, independent DIY punk music’s the visible tip of a deeper “life iceberg.” It’s something we rally around and celebrate. We get stupid and sweaty and momentarily forget the outside noise. It helps us not want to kill ourselves—music as mental health therapy.
With all that in mind, it’s all the more impressive that Low Culture has quickly developed into one of the best active punk bands in the world today since they’re from Las Cruces, New Mexico. Cruces is a mañana town. “Tomorrow, we’ll do it.” But tomorrow never comes for most of its inhabitants. It’s endless sand through an hourglass, time slipping away, re-runs to re-watch. (New Mexico was a state for fourteen years before it had an official flag. Its first flag stole Florida’s nickname.) Low Culture defies its geography. They create music that’s jumpy, itchy, catchy, anxious, well-worn, and beautiful. Their music shares a strong sonic equivalence to bands two of its members were previously in: Shang-A-Lang and Marked Men.
You know how pictures of sunsets and fireworks never look as good as the real thing happening in front of you? It’s the scale—the wide open sky in analog, the air pressure, the live audience, the taste of the atmosphere. All of that is missing on a flat, sterile plane, no matter how high the resolution.
Low Cultures music reminds me of these things. It’s real New Mexico sunsets that’s free of technology streaking across it. It’s fireworks bursting uncontained on a flat tablet; the smoke, sweat, and salt of their music lingering long after the music stops.
This interview can be found in issue #78, which is still available here.