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Interview with Ryan Primack and Derek Miller of Poison The Well

Floridian melodic hardcore, ‘soft but loud’ apparently, is definitely a genre magnetising media attention, and Poison The Well are fully adroit under the hype that’s going down. Just before their packed London date in the Mean Fiddler, I had a good chance to talk ‘Swing Jazz’ and ‘Budapest’ with guitarists Ryan Primack and Derek Miller before the show.

Poison The Well are:

Jeffery Moreira – Vocals

Chris A Hornbrook – Drums

Mike Gordilla – Bass

Derek Miller – Guitar

Ryan Primack – Guitar

defyUnlearn is our initiative to defy labels and unlearn trends in media and music that we have been taught, what does that brand name mean to you?

Yeh! Anything to change the state of modern music…(Derek)

What’s wrong with modern music?

Greed. People are willing to exploit the honest and pure, it’s prostitution in music! (Derek)

How would you describe your music to the deaf?

That’s a really fucking good question! Well, erm, soft and loud put together, on a melodic note.

Name some influences…

Bad Brains, back in the day, and now (Ryan), a massive influence, they’re a punk rock band. Then there’s the obvious; Zeppelin, Floyd. Early swing jazz too, it’s the original version of punk rock. It was banned in Europe and a threat to play in certain areas of the US, artists risked their lives for what they loved. Musicians like Benny Goodman, playing illegal shows and risking everything (Ryan). Everything about it was punk, doing it for pure love in the music they wrote and played, no pay cheque, just a total gratification of your ego.

Was there any particular gig that’s the highlight of your live career so far?

Indianapolis, IN, probably around 1998 or 1999 (Ryan). It was the first show we ever saw the fans sing along to the words we had wrote. Then, for a reason we didn’t expect, a show in Budapest, Hungary. Not because we had a real good sound that night, or for the usual reasons, just something we have never experienced. We met the most culturally and ethnically diverse group of people, amazing people. This one girl, told us a story, that I have only explained once since, and I can’t help but cry when I think about it. Yet this powerful story is good too, it’s a slap in the face. It reminds me (Derek), of how I just want to be away from fucking everyone, just for two weeks. Up until recently, these people could not leave their country, or have gigs like the one we played happen, the appreciation and gratitude was unbelievable, we are so proud. We’re glad for this guy Zoltan to have put on the show, it was total utopia.

War in Iraq?

To kill innocents for any reason or gain is tragic and unacceptable. There is always a way around a war. It’s just Tony Blair and George Bush stomping about over everyone and everywhere, ignoring the United Nations. We don’t care about the US being vilified; there are people dying. Wasn’t 3D from Massive Attack and Damon Alban from Blur at the recent ‘Go Home Bush’ march last week (Ryan)? That’s good to see. We can’t understand why so many Americans are bad mouthing, they’re so deluded, like the rest of the world (Derek). Media tainted bias, the US is the worse for it, when we’re back home in Florida we get all our news from the BBC. It isn’t totally separate from tainted coverage, but it is far better than the joke of the US news. Just picturing people setting up angles, the media manipulation, it’s fucking scary.

Due to the unexpected fact that a ‘percussionist’ had used my Dictaphone for beat boxing and recording lyrical lines of promiscuity a day or two before, the interview session cut short on tape. Nevertheless, in the stupidly small backstage that the Meanfiddler has, we did carry on putting the world to rights for a good time, and I have to show my respect and awe for two amazingly clever, passionate blokes. Apologies again…



Interview by: Chico

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