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Photo Credit: Sarah Coulter
Exclusive interview for Big Takeover with Daniel Kelley of Moral Panic:
1) Moral Panic has been compared to Dead Boys and the new album, Validation, has a ripping cover of a Consumers song on it. Is it Moral Panic’s mission to bring ‘70s punk to the masses?
We certainly would not say it’s something we are trying to do on purpose. It may come off that way but it just so happens that those kind of bands like Dead Boys, Consumers, etc has always left a big impact on us all. We are just playing our version of punk rock n roll, mixing aggression with our love for noisy rock n roll is really what we are doing.
2) We’re seeing a lot of film references. The album is full of Evil Dead 2 samples. The cover art looks like Videodrome. There’s a shirt that’s a Bad Lieutenant rip. What’s it all about?
Well, all three of us definitely do not agree on everything, but one thing we do agree on is our love of films. Most band practices include a fifteen-minute conversation about whatever films we’ve watched lately. Each member of this band seems to fill in the missing information of a particular film that the others don’t know in different categories of said film. It must be nightmarish to be the fly on the wall. Mike had the idea of adding movie samples between all the songs, and the idea was rejected mostly because it’s not necessarily a new idea, but he refused to lay down the bass lines if the Evil Dead 2 sample wasn’t included. So, there you have it, we were forced by bass point. The Videodrome looking cover was designed by the weirdo artist EYELIKE, that we all love. It represents the subject matter of Validation, which deals with how a couple of generations of people have fell into the trap of living inside their phones or computers, seeking validation about their flimsy political stances, what food they ate for lunch, and how great they look in a photo taken from an unrealistic angle with filters to hid any imperfections. The image just illustrates the point of the song so well that we used it. It sums up the current stench in the air.
3) Daniel, as a California kid who moved to NYC, how does NYC shape Moral Panic’s sound and vision?
I don’t know how much it actually does shape Moral Panic’s sound. There are many bands from New York that I love and worship, but I’m a Los Angeles kid… I’m a beach kid. Those Southern California bands from the late 70’s/early 80’s are the ones that have been hugely influential to the DNA of this band.
4) You guys have worked with Jeff Burke of The Marked Men on a few records now. How did this alliance come about?
I’m a big fan of Jeff Burke and all of the bands that he plays in. When we did our second record with Alien Snatch Record, they suggested we get in touch with him to mix. I didn’t know this at the time but Jeff was living in New York (not sure if he still is at the moment), so for record number 2 I went to his apartment and sat with him for a day mixing the record. We worked well together so I wanted to work with him again for this record. Covid had some other ideas and created a lot of delays, but we did a few sessions with Jeff and he made it sound great.
5) And how did you team up with Reptilian Records?
Eric Robel has known Chris X since he was chasing hippies out of his very punk rock store back in Baltimore in the early 90s. Reptilian Records released a Heroine Sheiks record that Eric played on, a Born Loose single collaboration and other miscellaneous related items. Chris is the best!
6) Best bands in NYC in 2022?
We like Radar, Cronies, Substitute and Dion Lunadon!
7) Best place to get a beer in NYC in 2022?
This is an extremely subjective and controversial question, but I’m gonna say International Bar in the East Village, The Brew Inn in Greenpoint and the ultra-rare Rimshot Lounge on 2nd Street. Oh, TV Eye is a fun newish spot, and they have some slammin’ jalapeno poppers!
8) What’s next for Moral Panic?
Hey, hey, hey! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! But in the meantime, we’re going to play some shows and get over to Europe to show them how it’s al dente!
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