|Photo by: bandcamp.com|
Evan Kennedy on drums and Morgan Garrett on bass. This is SIGN-OFF, a noise-rock band that bi-locates between Portsmouth and Athens with various degrees of success. They play loud, they play live and they play hard. If you’ve seen them before, you know what we mean by that. But beyond their punk live presence and obscure jokery (reply: Yomzane), they’re also two polite, down-to-earth guys just looking for a little respect. They’ll be playing the final day of Lobsterfest on South Beach.
ACRN: How long have you guys been playing music together?
SIGN-OFF: As a band, playing as SIGN-OFF, I would say for a little over a year, but we’ve jammed on and off for a few years now.
ACRN: You guys play around Athens all the time--would you say that you are an Athens act or a Portsmouth act?
SO: Morgan lives in Athens and goes to OU, but I still live in Portsmouth--he lives in Portsmouth too, technically, but he spends half the year at OU in Athens. We play in Athens more because Portsmouth sucks. There’s never any good shows in Portsmouth.
ACRN: How did you come up with the bass and drums concept?
SO: It’s easiest that way. We like some weird music and we didn’t want to sound like everybody else. A lot of our friends in Portsmouth already either played in bands or didn’t want to play this kind of music so it was kind of like, “Let’s just try this and see how it works out.”
ACRN: When you say this kind of music, what do you mean by that?
SO: I guess it would mean “noisy” music, I suppose--a not so straight-forward genre. A lot of us around here like heavy music, but it’s more straight-forward, media-friendly stuff. People in Portsmouth don’t even know we exist and as soon as you tell them it’s just bass and drums they don’t really understand that that’s real and that it’s possible. So they just shut you out with, “Oh, yeah sure you’re in a band.”
ACRN: How do you deal with kind of being written off like that?
SO: We don’t care. It doesn’t matter. We still have great shows. I don’t know that we’ve ever really played a bad show but the lowest attendance is in our hometown because no one really listens to drum-and-bass, noisy punk music. We have, like, five friends who love us from Portsmouth and that’s about it. In Athens though, we [are] accepted pretty well and everyone seems to dig it, but in Portsmouth that’s not the case at all.
ACRN: I’ve seen you guys live a few times and you are always very much in the zone when you play. How do you prepare for a live show or get into the music like that?
SO: The first show we played we didn’t really move around at all, but after that we decided that we had to put on a good show and really enjoy what we’re playing instead of just standing there emotionless. We’re loud but there’s not much sound, it’s just us making things work, so we try to put on a good performance.
ACRN: In terms of Lobsterfest, have you guys ever played a show outside before?
SO: Yeah, we played one before and we’re going to play outside again on Saturday, but that’s really it.
ACRN: Is that a different dynamic for you? Would you prefer it over a bar show?
SO: Any show that we can get as close to the people as we can is best. The last show was really weird, seeing people sitting in lawn chairs, but in the right setting it can be really cool.
ACRN: Final question--you’re probably not going to want to answer it--what does Yomzane mean?
SO: Everything that is seven. Yomzane is everything seven. And seven is everything.
ACRN: Anything else that you guys want to add?
SO: Just seven.
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