by Ggregg Stull
Bands often take several years/albums to hone their sound, songwriting, and the interplay among the band members. In the case of Pudge, however, these things seemed to fall into place instantaneously. Pudge is a four-piece punk band from New Orleans that has been in existence for only around six months. Yet the band has already released a stellar first album (Bad Land) and, on June 1st, an equally exciting follow-up EP (Backstabber). Although most easily classified as a “punk” band, Pudge clearly draws from a diversity of influences. Different songs bring to mind the Minutemen, Black Flag, the Meat Puppets, Neil Young, etc. The versatility of Pudge is as impressive as their first two albums, and suggests a promising future for the band.
Pudge is about to embark on a summer tour of the US—their first—in support of these two albums. The band consists of Jake Silvas (vocals, guitar), Nick Corson (guitars, vocals), Conor Brodnick (bass), and Hunter Keene (drums). Although the band members currently reside in New Orleans, Jake and Nick are originally from California, while Conor and Hunter are originally from Maryland. Post-Trash recently touched base with Hunter through email for an interview about the band before their tour (dates below).
Tell me about the history of Pudge. How did you guys meet each other and how long have you been playing together?
Hunter: We all met in New Orleans through going to school down here and playing in bands together for a few years, and eventually got caught up in making punk music together. We all at one point or another went to Loyola, except Conor. He went to Tulane.
Bad Land is a pretty incredible first album. How long had you guys been playing when you started working on the material for Bad Land? How long did it take to write/record the album?
Hunter: I think we had only been playing those songs for a few weeks before going in and recording it, and we were writing new stuff up to the last couple days before we had to record everything. It was about 2.5–3 weeks of writing and 3 days of recording.
What’s the songwriting process like for the band?
Hunter: Jake and Nick kind of take control and bring some riffs to the table and we carve out the idea from there. Sometimes Jake sings, sometimes Nick sings.
Jake writes on the guitar but he just does the whole frontman thing live and for recordings. We all play a bunch of different instruments so we all chip in. There's a track on the new EP where we all switched instruments but it kind of sounds like nothing at all.
One thing that is particularly striking about Bad Land is how many different genres are stitched together on the album. How did this happen?
Hunter: We like a whole bunch of different things so I think that gets well represented on the recordings. If we want to try something or play a different style, we'll give it a shot and throw the shit on the wall and see what sticks. There is a lot of stupid stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor.
Who are some of the major influences of the band as a whole and/or of individual members?
Hunter: The Replacements, we are really into The Replacements. All the SST stuff is right up our alley too—the Meat Puppets and especially Husker Dü. The Internet will tell you that we really like the Minutemen. (Jake added: "Husker Dü good. Black Flag good")
Do you have any new material you’ll be playing on tour/releasing in the future? Is it similar to Bad Land?
Hunter: We just finished a new EP that we're going to put out hopefully pretty soon. It's called Backstabber. And we will be playing some of the new stuff on tour. It is similar to Bad Land only in the fact that the songs are written and performed by Pudge. We also got a new bass player, Conor. All of Bad Land was written and recorded with Kevin Lajoie on bass. But other than that I don't think it sounds the same at all.
What bands/musicians are you particularly excited to play with/see on this tour?
Hunter: Neat from Laffayette, Louisiana, are always on the list. Good folks, those Neat boys. In Chicago we are playing with Chew who are pretty unbelievable. Philly with The Chelsea Kills is on my list. Big Heet from Tallahassee are also up there—the demo they have out is great.
Have you guys played in other bands in the past/are you playing in other bands currently?
Hunter: We all have played in each other's bands for a while. At one point or another we have all played in different incarnations of Yuppie Teeth in the last couple years. And Nick and I played in a band called Frail but they broke up last night (5/27/15). Nick and Jake made a record under the name Beach Dogs too.
Tell me about the DIY scene in New Orleans. What kinds of things are happening there at the moment? Who are some of your favorite local bands?
Hunter: New Holland is great we went to go see Alex [Skalany] last night (5/27/15). There are so many bands and everybody plays in each other's bands so it gets confusing and kind of annoying. There's a whole scene of really good bands like Pope and Woozy and Mystic Inane and Gland, all doing cool stuff. Everyone down in NOLA is very supportive and helpful, or at least they're nice to us when we're at the bar.
If you could tour with any current musician/band, who would it be?
Hunter: We saw this band Watcher from Nashville the other night and we want to go on tour with them. They were fucking crazy. And US Weekly from Austin, Texas. It would be really cool to do a run of shows with them. I wonder if they'd be down (whaddaya say?).
Gumbo or Jambalaya?
Hunter: Boudin and Cracklin from Lafayette, Louisiana.
Favorite Replacements record?
Nick: Let it Be.
Hunter: New Day Rising.
June 15: New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa W/ White Reaper + Neat
June 16: Laffeyette, LA @ Feed N' Seed W/ Rozwell Kid, Woozy + Neat
June 18: Tallahassee, FL @ Shark Tank W/ Big Heet, Chew, False Punk + Gorgeous
June 19: Gainesville, FL @ The Nest W/ Thunderclap, Rayah + Velma and the Happy Campers
June 20: Birmingham, AL @ The Firehouse
June 21: Memphis, TN @ The Hi-Tone
June 22: Atlanta, GA
June 23: Nashville, TN @ Blackbird (Nameless Fest II)
June 24: North Carolina
June 25: Richmond, VA @ Church Of Abe
June 26: Washington, DC @ The Velvet Lounge W/ Atlas At Last + Southpaws
June 28: New Haven, CT @ Tickland Ballroom W/ Underwear + Tick Hive
June 29: Cambridge, MA @ Out Of The Blue Too
June 30: New Jersey
July 01: Philadelphia, PA @ House Show W/ The Chelsea Kills
July 02: Brooklyn, NY @ The Gateway W/ The Amputees
July 03: Brooklyn, NY
July 04: Pittsburgh, PA @ House Show W/ Trash Bag
July 05: Rutland, OH @ Skatopia (Yes, that Skatopia)
July 07: Bloomington, ID @ The Void
July 08: Chicago, IL @ Subterranean (Downstairs) w/ Supreme Nothing, Chew + Longface
July 09: St Louis, MI @ CBGB
July 10: Little Rock, AR @ House Show
July 11: Ft. Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill
July 12: Ausitn, TX @ Cheer Up Charlies w/ US Weekly