Friday, February 17, 2012

In the Spotlight--Ice Cream Socialist Party

Ice Cream Socialist Party joins our Punk/Ska Night March 13th!

Naming your band is a daunting task.  It's your chance to, without playing a note, give an indication of what you're like.  Ice Cream Socialist Party was not always called that, and realized their first stab at a name was a potential issue for them.  "We originally were called Beer Rotation, but we decided we kind of hated the name, and also didn't want people to think of us as a 'drinking band.'  We like beer as much as the next guy, but we didn't want that to define us a band," says Doug, the vocalist, guitar player, and primary songwriter of the group.  Joining him in this punk trio are Jared on bass, and drummer Ratt.  "I think that I ended up coming up with Ice Cream Socialist Party, although Jared might have helped out.  Jared and I thought it was an awesome name, Ratt not so much, although I think he has come around to like it a little more.  We think the name is more clever than it actually is, and some people don't understand it.  The way I describe it to people is this:  If you have a lot of ice cream, and your friend doesn't have any, I want to take some of your ice cream and share it with him. Redistribute the wealth of ice cream!"  Hopefully my conservative readers aren't flipping out right now.

The group formed simply with the idea of playing out, and having some fun, with no aspirations of hitting the proverbial big time.  Doug says that, "I played in bands in high school, but never really did much with it outside of playing a few basement shows.  I continued to write songs throughout college and after I graduated, was recording them myself and sharing them with my friends.  I felt somewhat limited in what I could do, so I decided to see if I could start a band. I put up an ad on Craig's List and met Jared.  We hit it off, and seemed to be at a similar place in that we both have full time jobs and wanted to get back into playing in a band for fun."  After auditioning multiple drummers, the two met "Ratt, who we got along with and seemed to have the same taste in music, and that's how we became a band."

As has been the case with many of the bands we've talked with, these guys are relative newcomers to the scene, having just formed in July 2011.  "We've only actually played 2 shows, one in Cincy, and one in Lima, OH, which was actually our first show.  Ratt is originally from Lima and hooked us up with a show with Flamingo Nosebleed, and the Bricktops.  It was a blast, and people seemed to really like us.  I think it helped that we played with bands that were sonically similar to us." In addition to their show here on March 13th, they have an upcoming show in Lexington KY in May, and are "always looking for more shows in the Cincy area."

Being that new to the area scene, the band is fighting to make the right connections.  Part of the mission of the Galaxy is to help bands with that networking.  Doug said, " I even had someone tell me at one of our shows that there aren't a lot bands like us around anymore.  Maybe its just because we are new and not familiar with the scene.  That said, there are some great local pop punk bands in Cincinnati.  If those bands read this, contact us because we want to play with you!"  

The other issue the band has already seen is one we're all too familiar with, a general lack of awareness of what is actually available to be heard in the area.  "One thing I wish was more prevalent in Cincinnati is to have more people be willing to support local bands that play original music.  A lot of people will go see live bands, but they only want to see cover bands.  I will admit that I am somewhat guilty of this as well, but it sucks when none of your friends want to go see a band, and you have to go by yourself.  I think there are a lot of great local bands of all genres playing original music, and I think people would really like a lot of them if they gave them a chance.  If you don't support original music, you can't complain about the garbage on the radio."

But while the local scene seems to be indifferent, once again the internet has allowed a band to extend its reach nationwide.  "I think its easier than ever to be in a band. I mean, our band was formed by meeting these guys online.   I think Facebook has been our most effective way to connect with people.  I just sent one of our demo CDs to a guy in Arizona who found out about us on Facebook somehow. That's crazy to me."   It also helps them find places to play.  "I heard about you guys from Facebook.  I honestly can't remember who it was, but someone shared a post you had and I went to check it out and learned all about you.  I haven't really heard much about you guys, but I think its awesome that there is an all ages venue.  I know when I was younger, I would get upset when bands played shows that were 21+, so I think its great that there is an option for kids who want to go see shows who are not of age."  

As for the band's songs, they range from the deeply personal, to nerdcore at it's finest.  "Our song '57 Chevrolet' is about my dad passing away when I was 5 years old, and not really dealing with it until about 20 years later.  As I was writing the song, I had to deal with all these emotions that I just kind of suppressed for so long.  It was a very therapeutic process, and as a result, I think it is one of our best songs.  We also have a song about Admiral Ackbar called 'It's A Trap!' and a song about Lord of the Rings called 'Just Tea, Thank You', so sometimes we just write about nerd stuff.  Write what you know, I guess."  

Like many songwriters, Doug has "notebooks filled with terrible songs I wrote throughout high school and college, and I could probably go through them and pinpoint exactly what was going on in my life at that time.  Most of the time for me, the goal of a song is to deal with a situation or to express my emotions.  Songwriting is how I deal with life.  I'ts a way to vent frustrations, to express happiness or sadness, or even just to tell a story.  If I wasn't in a band, I would still be writing these songs and recording them in my bedroom."

You can catch Ice Cream Socialist Party along with Misunderstood, Atomic Potato, and Survay Says! on March 13th at 7pm.  The show is as always all ages, and a punk rock like five bucks.  Thanks to Doug for taking the time to answer our questions, and we'll see you at the show!

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