From left to right: Jeromy, Maurice, Pat, and B. Dick
Tonight I sat down with Maurice Harold, Jeromy Ainsworth, Brandon Dickson (B. Dick), and Patrick Sutton from one of our favorite local bands, Drag Me Under. As very dedicated members of the DIY metal and hardcore scene, they have contributed to many venues and fellow musicians over the years. From their charismatic character, to their incredible abilities in creating music that generates very powerful energy among their listeners, Drag Me Under has definitely made a lasting impression on not only Reno native fans, but many of those from all around North America.
How and when did you become a band?
Pat: In 2009, Jeromy and I were in separate bands and when he needed a bass player for his band at the time, I volunteered. We just decided to make a fun band where we would play whatever we wanted. We had Jeromy on guitar, another guitar player named Joey, our friend Tia on drums, and a singer named Mike; we played two shows like that under the name “Strength to Suffer”. In January of 2010, Maurice joined, Joey and Mike left the band, and we became what we are now. B. Dick joined about eight months later, around 2011. And even then it still wasn’t done.
B. Dick: At that point, I was on bass and Jeromy was playing guitar with me, and we went through three different bass players before we decided to just give Jeromy the bass.
Mo: Everyone in Drag Me Under currently has played bass, except for me. I had never sung in a band before that either.
Jeromy: We all joined the band playing unnatural instruments; Pat was playing bass and now he’s the drummer, I was playing guitar and now I’m the bass player, and B. Dick started out on bass and now he’s the guitar player. Other than Maurice, we’ve all changed.
Pat: The situation with B. Dick was funny because they said “Brandon Dickson is going to join” and I was like “Cool, I don’t know who that is” and he came in and I said, “Oh, I know that kid!” After a while, he would be playing guitar before practice or something and we said “Why don’t you just play guitar?” and he said “mkay”.
Tell us about Panda Claw Records and how you guys got signed onto them?
Mo: Jeromy and I met Ryan who pretty much is Panda Claw Records, it’s just one guy and he’s a truck driver for a living. It was his way of being a part of the music scene because he himself wasn’t a musician. He lives in the Central Valley of California, in Modesto. Jeromy and I were in a band before this one and we went on tour down to Central America where Ryan was our merch guy. When we came out with our second record (as Drag Me Under), we showed it to him and he wanted to help us release it. Other bands like These Streets are on it too.
Jeromy: And there’s a bunch of bands from other countries like Victima from Mexico City and Alea Jacta Est from Toulouse, France.
Mo: We signed onto Panda Claw around 2012/2013.
Pat: Our first album was all ourselves, but he helped with Dead Dudes on Dead Horses in 2013.
(You can view Panda Claw Records website here: http://www.pandaclawrecords.com/site/)
What states/countries have you performed in? What is one of the most memorable venues you’ve played?
Pat: We’ve been to the US and Canada and we’ve played almost everywhere on the West Coast. After this tour is over, we will have done California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and we’re trying to hit New Mexico. We’ve also done every city in Western Canada.
Mo: We haven’t had the chance to head out to the Midwest, but we have friends out there.
Jeromy: We try to book our way out there all the time, it just never works out.
Pat: Every show we’ve ever played in Calgary has been cool. We were supposed to play a show at a church up in Calgary, but we didn’t make it. It was still super sick.
Jeromy: I feel like all the house shows and basement shows we’ve played have been bananas. One time in Spokane, Washington we played at a house that probably should have been condemned and before we even got there it was already destroyed and some dude just flew out of a window. They were circle-pitting and someone shoved him and he just flew out of the window and disappeared.
Pat: One of my favorite venues that we’ve played and I wish we could play again is a place in Winnipeg called The Handsome Daughter. It was about probably 2,500 square feet; the bar in the front was only about 600 or 700 square feet, and then there was this small, small, small kitchen and a little hallway that went around all of that stuff and in the back there was a 1,300 square foot venue with a small stage about the size of Holland’s. Everywhere we’ve been we’d go back to.
In what ways have you seen the Reno hardcore/metal scene change?
Jeromy: It will get big and then it will get divided, and then it will get small and everyone will come back together.
Pat: It’s natural in hardcore and punk for you to get in your late teens and have fifty people that really want to be involved with something and they’re really passionate about everything, and then you’re in your mid-twenties and everybody has jobs and girlfriends/boyfriends, so half of those fifty people you started with grow up and get out of it. Past your ages of twenty-five, you see even less people. Then there’s a group of five or six people who just won’t give it up until there’s a new crop of kids that come in and work stuff out.
Jeromy: It’s like each of us are the only ones left of our generation. When I was like fourteen years old and started going to shows in the early 90’s, Jim Williams (now the vocalist of the local band, The Scattering) was booking his bands at venues around town. There have also been a lot of venues that have closed down like HQ, The Hen Den, Fort Ryland, The Hard Hat Lounge, The Fillmore, etc. It was always the same people shutting down the shows there and there would always be a bunch of fights.
Pat: I’ve played a couple of shows at The New Oasis, Blue Angel Café, and Stoney’s as well. The church up on Robb Drive, Grace Church, used to have shows there too, you just couldn’t curse.
Jeromy: One of the first DIY shows I ever went to was at a church above Hug High School and AFI played. They had probably first started touring when they were there. It was the first time I had ever seen straight edge, hardcore kids and they all had black, slicked back hair and black shirts with cut-off cargo shorts and New Balance running shoes on. You know, just your typical hardcore kid.
Jeromy, tell us about the origin of The Sound Saloon. What bands have you personally recorded there and what plans do you have for the future?
Jeromy: Before we first starting jamming, I just wanted to write solos and stuff like that but I needed to play it over another riff, so I got this little recorder and I would record guitar parts and then try to write other melodies and stuff. That kind of just spawned and kept growing. Anytime we would record any of the bands we were in, we would travel out of town to go to another city, stay in a hotel, and it would just cost a bunch of money. Whenever we did that too, we felt like we never had enough time to fix the things that we wanted to fix, so we never did. Every time we would leave saying, “Well this sounds good, but it could’ve been better”. I’ve done that in every band I was in since I was a teenager and I always wished that there was someone local who could record the kind of music we do.
Pat: There were a couple of people that I recorded with in my musical career here in town, but they were all shitty assholes. They would record it in their garage and it would sound like a demo, which is fine for the bands I was in at the time, but this is much more than a demo.
Jeromy: So then I started expanding and recording all my friend’s bands and recording our band. Our first album was the first album that I recorded front-to-back. Right now it’s me, Collin, and Billy. Collin does indie rock and a lot of show-gazey stuff and Billy is more of a punk rock dude. His main grind is that he does the music that gets played in the background for MTV shows and stuff like that, but he does bands and stuff too, mostly punk and kind of heavy bands. The initial process started in my room here at my house, but eventually it grew to the point where it got too big to keep it in a small room anymore. A couple of years ago, we switched over to the location on Valley Road. I personally have recorded a lot of hardcore bands like Code Red, Wolf City, and our band as well as some metal bands like Weight of the Tide and some of The Scattering’s old stuff. I’ve done some indie bands like City Wolves and Skinwalkers too. We’re getting more and more professional and everything is starting to support itself and I’ve been investing a ton of money into new equipment. We just expanded to where we took over the top half of the building too, so now it’s two stories. We want to start another studio up there too.
You guys have three albums out at the moment and one split with the band Rat Path, how would you describe your sound as of now?
B. Dick: For the first record, it was mostly stuff that Jeromy and Pat wrote when they were jamming a lot.
Pat: Yeah, half of the music on the first record was written by Jeromy and the drummer at the time (Tia) and when I joined, we rewrote a lot of the songs and then wrote some new ones and put it out. Then pretty soon after we recorded, B. Dick joined so we rerecorded everything in that unit with me on drums.
Jeromy: Then it totally changed. Before we weren’t heavy, but it did get heavy with Pat on drums and B. Dick on guitar.
Pat: After that came out, Tia moved away and quit the band and Mo was going through a job change at the time so Jeromy and I just like hibernated; we would get together about 4 times a week and just write music. We wrote twelve or thirteen songs and only ended up using about four of them, then rewrote them when B. Dick started playing guitar. So half of the second album is me and Jeromy, rewritten with B. Dick, and the other half is all four of us. That’s where it sounds like us now. Moon Ripper is predominantly this unit, all of the instruments we’re on now.
Jeromy: You can hear the transition now too. Dead Dudes on Dead Horses is kind of like “Yeah this could be by the same guys who wrote Moon Ripper” and then the most transitional thing came from the last two songs we had written for the Rat Path split and that’s where it was finally like “This is what we should sound like”.
How do you balance your music with other obligations in your lives?
B. Dick: We just have set days that we practice and we schedule everything else around that, as far as work goes. This is what we schedule our lives around.
Jeromy: Yeah, we’ve literally built our lives around this. I’ve stayed at the job I have now just because they give me the time I need to go on tour.
Pat: I opened my own shop (Maxwell’s Barbershop) just so I didn’t have a boss telling me I couldn’t go on tour.
Jeromy: There have been a bunch of times where Maurice will put off job promotions because he wanted to be able to have time to take off.
Pat: It’s always been so organic because we’ve all been in bands before, so playing hardcore and metal is such a huge part of our lives that we’ve built the rest of our lives around it. This band is so easy to be in because we’re all best friends and we’d all probably be hanging out anyways so we might as well be rockin’ and rollin’.
Jeromy: And that kind of comes back around to the first question of how we developed and became a band, because we had all been playing in bands for so long to where we knew each other from playing shows together. One of my old bands toured with Pat’s band so we were already used to touring together because we were sharing a van. I also recorded bands that B. Dick was in and Maurice and I have been in bands together so it got to the point that we were the serious people of all the bands we were in.
Pat: Yeah, we all chose the chilliest homies.
You can catch Drag Me Under on their Southwest tour at any of the following dates:
3/17 SLC UT – The Underground
3/18 Denver CO – Summit Music Hall
3/19 NM – TBA
3/20 Phoenix AZ – The Nile
3/21 SoCal – TBA
3/22 SoCal – TBA
3/23 Pomona CA – PBW Pomona
3/24 Santa Cruz CA – SubRosa Community Space
3/25 Chico CA – Monstros Pizza
3/26 Reno NV – Holland Project