Joe Cardamone (Icarus Line) – The Collapse Board Interview
How’s living in L.A. influence your music?
Being here you are surrounded by so many options so it’s kind of overwhelming as far as music and art and everything. It’s some sort of entertainment mecca. It’s actually a really disgusting place to be if you’re trying to create art because it’s the number one commodity that makes this city … that makes the lights turn on in Los Angeles. Music, film, art — that’s what gets people in their cars in the morning. Living in an environment like that for someone like me who doesn’t really fit into that industry in a traditional way I guess I’ve always felt like an outsider in the music industry here even though I have been involved in it for a large portion of my life — it makes me sick. I can’t help but hate the way artists are treated and portrayed in this city.
I find whenever I visit L.A. everyone knows everyone.
Status is such an important thing here for a lot of people. Everyone, even if they don’t know someone they say they do. It’s such a competitive city, even in the microcosm of the underground music scene it’s so competitive and people … especially these days when the music business has been all but eradicated there’s such a small piece of cheese for everyone to fight over that even if people won’t say it, there’s immense pressures to try to survive on music. It’s basically an expensive hobby for most people at this point.
I read a quote from you once where you said you felt fairly optimistic, and said that in the line of work you’re in that you have to be.
Yeah that is the thing, you can’t really give up. You have to be optimistic if you don’t then what’s the point of doing it. You have to look forward to the future because otherwise there’s no point in doing anything. You have to have an opened mind, you have to have in your head that things could change at any point for the better or for the worse so you have to live in the moment in some respect and really make it count.
Anything you can tell me about the latest album you’re working on now?
A little bit. It will be the first record we ever record with Troy [Petrey], he’s played drums in the band quite a bit. He actually came to Australia with us. He never played on any of the records, it was always Jeff on the records. It’s exciting because we haven’t been able to share that experience before. Other than that it’s probably going to be a heavier record than Wildlife, a louder guitar record.
Anything else you’ve been working on recently?
After I finished Wildlife I did the new Giant Drag record, I produced and engineered that. It’s really good. I’ve been producing records because I own a studio. Now it’s my day-in day-out nine-to-five thing. I’m helping bands with records. I’ve helped a lot of great local acts: Queen Kwong and all kinds of weird shit, all misfits from the Los Angeles area. I do a lot of people’s first records. When I’m not working on the Icarus Line I like to help other people make better records. We have a lot of nice vintage equipment. I like to offer it to people at a price that they could afford. People can come in with a little bit of money and hopefully make something that has a really classic sound.
Did you guys ever find the vintage bass that went missing?
No, it’s gone forever — stolen!
That’s terrible! Especially because of the sentimental value it held.
Yeah it sucks! It was worth a lot of money too. It’s like a $4,000 bass. It’s gone forever. I fear that it’s probably never going to surface again which sucks! I don’t really get attached to instruments that much but that was one of the few really nice instruments that we had. It was one of the only super expensive vintage pieces and was a hallmark of the sound on our records. That was a bummer but, whatever! You move on. We can make records with pots and pans if we have too [laughs].
Are you really happy where things are at now?
No, not really because there’s always other things that should be getting done. I never feel like I get everything done. I’m not content. I’m happy but definitely not content. I would like to tour more this year if we can afford to. I see a hole in the music scene where we left the scene a couple of years ago and retreated into different corners — I was producing records and everyone else was doing their own thing — but I haven’t really seen a band that has filled that spot. I’m anxious to get out and play more and re-explore the world with new music and to see if it turns people on.
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I believe in thoughtful in-depth interviews! My blog Conversations with Bianca is my love letter to the universe. I am the 2011 Australian Zine Maker of the Year. My Conversations With Punx Project won an award for Best Zine Produced in Australia (as a series). Marky Ramone once told me “Your heart is in the right place.”