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January 18, 2006

Five Important Questions With Equal and Ultra

Long has the paradox of unforgiving sonic destruction and positivistic lyrical self-esteem defined hardcore music. It’s become a comforting, balanced medium, gaining most of its popularity in youth-oriented scenes, where burgeoning songwriters work out the odd mixture — unique to the teenage years and early 20s — of chaotic angst and blind passion that fuels every move they make, including ruminations. Through throat-throttling screams, heavy guitar riffs and foundation-rattling drums, such a potion becomes tangible, sucked down by those who commiserate in the search for understanding through music and community.

Enter Equal and Ultra — Duncan Cherry, Catherine Parman, Spencer Noland and Jacob Goessling — a collective that’s not so far removed from Louisville’s hardcore heyday. They sound like Guilt on Synethesia — the rabid clamor of a band feeling for a lightswitch in the dark. Of course, Guilt’s next record became its masterpiece, an album that the rest of the world wouldn’t catch up to for another five years.

Equal and Ultra wrapped work on a full-length in December; they play Friday with Ampere, Wasteland, and Camps.

LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Duncan Cherry: I would definitely open a nice all-ages venue. Bands and promoters lose a lot of money renting halls for out-of-town bands or barely make enough money to pay bands so they can get to their next tour stop. We need to get a musician- and youth-run venue in this city, similar to the old BRYCC House. You could go there any weekend and catch a ton of awesome bands.
Catherine Parman: I would pretty much do what the Brick House is doing. So I suppose I would give the Brick House the money it needs to do everything it wants to do, and also fund additional money to have more places like that open around the city.
Spencer Noland: Put more funding into something like the Brick House and less into something like Fourth Street Live, which is just stale to me. Nothing exciting is going to come from it but some washed up bands playing once a month for people to drink to. A place where kids can play shows (and book them) is much more exciting to me than sitting around waiting for the Violent Femmes to play that one song.
Jacob Goessling: Things like the Keep Louisville Weird campaign can have a great impact on raising awareness of a uniquely Louisville culture. With a mayor in charge willing to work alongside the independent drive, the culture of the city will naturally be promoted and strengthened.

LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
DC/Band: Nixon and Morning Belle come to mind. Both write catchy yet still interesting music with lots of sincerity. Another band is Desultory. They are an epic crust/grind band, (and) they put a lot of emotion into their songs and it definitely shows.

LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
DC: I would say we’re like Double Dragon sesame tofu. It always brightens your mood when you’re feeling down; it’s comforting and usually pretty fast. Sometimes it hangs heavy in your stomach, but it’s warm and delicious.
CP: A barbeque tofu sandwich from Ramsi’s.
SN: Oreos, because we may sound dark and mean and scary, but we have a nice cream filling!
JG: Broccoli, tofu and garlic sauce from Double Dragon on Goss; most of our practices and shows are fueled exclusively by this.

LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.
DC: I’m really into foreign films. My favorite one is “Oldboy.” It’s incredible.
CP: A novel that literally made my mouth drop open was “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I also loved “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass because it made you question your sanity.
SN: I love the dreamlike nature of David Lynch’s movies, and sometimes they inspire my songwriting.
JG: It’s hard to pick one work of art that is my favorite. I find a lot of inspiration in the stereotypical postmodern. I love Jean Luc Godard’s films and a lot of the art that came out of the Situationist movement in the late 1960s in Paris.

LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
DC: A lot of bands in this city will get exposure because of their “ex-members” list. If you were in a good band, that doesn’t necessarily make your new band just as good (although sometimes the new band is better), and you shouldn’t think you will be praised for your previous efforts in your new band. Also, people should check out more shows of bands they’ve never heard of — if you go out of your way to check out a lot of different bands, more people may want to check out your band.
CP: I think My Morning Jacket’s new album is terrible.
JG: People in this city need to stop complaining, stop being lazy and do something proactive to help the scene and the city.