Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tom Kuntz from Pressure Release - Part II

This is the second part of a two-part interview with Pressure Release axeman Tom Kuntz. Click here to see the first part:

Much, much more Pressure Release material to come soon!


What would your favorite PR song be if you had to pick one?

Hmmmm...I like the second side of the 7 inch. "Obstacles" into "Not All In The Mind." They feel introspective and I like the melodies. Oh hell...I like the first song too. The second half of that song, the long instrumental part, I still find very's like the outro that keeps giving.

How did you get linked up with New Age all the way across the country? Why did you go with them? What did you think when the record finally came out? What do you hear when you listen today? Are you satisfied with it 20 years later?

I can't remember how we got hooked up with them. I just became friends with the owner (can't remember his name). He said he wanted to put the record out and we were like "OK."

What do I hear today? Well.'s sort of interesting to think of being immersed in this particular scene so much. I've made so many different types of music since then, that it's interesting to hear this particular moment so documented.

[Pressure Release Photo: Joe Snow]

What was the story with Ben's vocals getting erased? Was this a major bum out? Were you really unhappy with Doug's vocals as they appeared on the record?

No no, like I said above I think he deserved to be the one singing on the record. Maybe at the time we weren't crazy about Doug's vocals. I cant really remember, but if I listen to them back to back now, I much prefer Doug's vocals. I think we just re-recorded them because Ben was the current singer and it seemed like the right thing to do. I'm very glad Doug's vocals made it on.

What caused the band to break up?

I seriously can't remember. I think it was just sort of "time." I think we were all a bit tired of the straight up hardcore thing and the scene, etc. I was getting into a lot of different music, that lead me away from the straight forward hardcore sound. I think once Doug left, we probably didn't feel it was the same band anyway, and that lead to a feeling that it was over.

Where did everyone go from there?

Alex quickly went into other bands like BURN, etc... I started a band with our long time friend, Jeff Leach, which was a more experimental rock sound, based on bands like KINGFACE from DC.

What about you personally...were you "done" with hardcore at that point?

I think I sort of was. Not in an animosity sort of way...just in a way that wanted some breathing room from it. It was quite an incestuous scene.

What are you doing today and how have you gotten there?

I'm a film maker now. After making the fanzine GIVE THANKS in high school, I realized I loved doing design, so I went to college for that. When I graduated college, I found myself more drawn to the moving image. Now I direct mostly TV commercials and music videos. I have done videos for bands like LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, THE AVALANCHES and ELECTRIC SIX, and I direct all the crazy SKITTLES ads you see on TV! I am working on getting a film project off the ground as we speak. I realized in college that I didn't want to make music my career because I didn't want it to be anything but a pleasurable thing in my life. I didn't want to have to depend on music. To this day I'm still an insane music fan with a very, very large record collection, though sadly, I sold lots of my hardcore records when I was broke in college. I still have a handful of goodies though...

[Pressure Release Photo: Joe Snow]

Did you stay in touch with the other guys over the years? Alex specifically seems to elude everyone, are you in touch with him at all?

Alex went MIA. I've heard various rumors of exactly why. I ran into him one day in NYC about 8 years ago and he was OUT OF IT. I have no idea where he is right now. He was always a very eccentric guy.

What type of connection do you have with hardcore today? Any records still hold up over time that you listen to?

I still love the EMBRACE record. Makes me cry. Such a personal, awesome record.

What were your thoughts on Doug's untimely death? (Ed. Note: Doug died in 1999 from an asthma attack. Rest In Peace).

Very sad man. Just random and sad. He and I were still good friends when he died. We were actually in a new band together at the time with a bunch of our childhood friends. I was playing drums and he was playing records in the band. The band was called Mediteranea. We would get on stage without any prewritten songs and just start playing and see what happened. It was pretty ballsy. When he died it was just fucking jarring and sad. I still dream about him.

How would you feel about a PR discography?

Why not!? But I want to design the artwork!!!

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