Formed in Massachusetts as a side project for Converge's Newton with no real expectations of success, these old friends find themselves four years in and two full-lengths later with budding notoriety outside of their other musical ties. The group was spawned from its members' love of early hardcore, classic rock, proto-metal and skateboarding and was promptly dubbed “death n'roll” by their fans. The memorable rock and roll sound is further branded by the band's graphic design at the hand of their own bassist and illustrator Jebb Riley — a full package that vocalist/guitarist Newton calls “really in your face. You pick up the record and right away you can decide whether you love it or hate it.” eMusic's Jen Guyre found that Doomriders know exactly who they are and what they want to be.
On the synergy between skateboarding and punk rock:
Aw man, [I've been skating] most of my life, since I was 5. Every kid that owned a skateboard wanted to be a pro skater, but I knew pretty early on that that wasn't going to happen (laughs). I've broken a lot of bones, nothing crazy or gnarly though. But I write songs about skateboarding still; I think growing up in or around skateboard culture, it's just something that inherently influences you. And I've always thought that punk rock and skateboarding went hand in hand. That's how I found out about punk rock: through skateboarding. In a lot of ways they're the same thing and it's very hard for me to separate.
On the 'death n' roll' sound:
I think it originated from Entombed's later records and I love Entombed so if we're going to get that comparison, I'm happy with it. I don't know though, I just tell people we're a rock & roll band. I guess that's pretty broad, pretty vague, but I mean we're punk, skate, rock, metal — people can call us whatever they want to call us.
On keeping it all in the Converge family:
As far as this little community we've created within our group of friends, I think that spins from coming up in the early '90s hardcore scene where everything was very grass-roots and that's something that stuck with us. It's really easy. Kurt [Ballou, Converge guitarist, producer] and I have a language all our own. We communicate really well, he gets what we're about and he's really open to experimentation in the studio. He's friends with all the guys in the band, so it's a really mellow situation. If Doomriders is in the studio and there's something that he thinks doesn't make sense, he can voice that to us; it's very helpful. It's [also] easier than any other label I ever dealt with. Its like, “Hey Jake [Bannon, Converge frontman, Deathwish CEO], um we're gonna do this.” “Ok.” There you go, done! It's pretty simple. It's right down the street, everyone there is a friend, so I can't ask for anything more than that. I mean its true — if you want something done right, do it yourself! So that's what we did [Laughs].
On the band's intricate imagery:
The visuals of the band are very important, I really believe they should accent the music and compliment each other. I like the idea of presenting the whole package; all of my favorite bands like The Misfits, Black Flag — they all had very concise visual imagery, and immediately you think of that when you hear their music. Or vice versa, you think of their music when you see that imagery. That's something that I've always wanted to incorporate. Jebb's really talented. He's a great illustrator, great painter and sometimes he'll just show us something he's been working on and its like, hell yeah! That's awesome! Other times I'll say hey I was thinking this and he'll draw it and its like, yeah that's what I was thinking! [Laughs]
On being influenced by what they don't want to be.
I have a lot of musical influences I listen to and draw ideas from but then I have a lot of influences that work in the opposite way, like I don't ever want to do that, I don't ever want to be viewed like that, I don't want to think like that in the band. One of the trends in modern music that's been irking me is everyone wants to make these epic artistic records that are boring. I understand the textural aspects of writing these really huge-sounding records that are almost all instrumental, and I even like a lot of those bands that play that stuff, but I really feel like songwriting — especially in heavy music — is a craft that's dying. I'm not interested in heavy riff after heavy riff, I'm interested in writing a song that you're going remember, that you're going to be singing along with in your car, that you're going to turn off and it's going to be in your head all day. All of my favorite records were like that growing up and that's what I'm aiming for with Doomriders. Everything that we write is because its something we want to listen to. When a band really enjoys what they're doing, people respond to it, and I think it's pretty obvious that we enjoy what we're doing.