Interview: Skyler, Damian & Justice of Sacramento teen punk band “Knockout” [“Runaway” album release Dec 21st!]

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“Knockout” is Skyler DiMora-Franklin (guitar, vocals), Damian Whittaker (drums, vocals), and Justice Azcarate (bass, vocals). Photos courtesy of “Knockout.”

I’m super excited to post this interview and share “New Generation”– a song off of Knockout’s upcoming album release, “Runaway.” !!! OUT DEC 21st !!!
Per the band, “the album has 15 tracks and is a banger.” 🤘

Check out their just released music video for “New Generation” and read on!

Video created by Michael Szeman.

Lead singer, Skyler, and I had a lovely FaceTime chat the other week; in true almost-fourty-year-old-form, I screwed up and didn’t catch the audio – doh!

I’m super bummed because Skyler had some great stories and insight into what life is like for teens today. I embedded the interview video at the bottom of this post in case there are any lip readers out there. Feel free to transcribe and send to me. 😜

Thankfully, Damian and Justice took time to respond to my questions via text – thanks guys – all of you!

“Knockout” are teen band winners of the SAMMIES Sacramento Music Award 2018. [L-R: Justice, Damian, Skyler] Photo courtesy of “Knockout.”]

Describe your music using three words and two emojis:

Knockout emoji1Knockout emoji 2

(I didn’t listen to punk as a teen so I don’t know much about the genre but if these guys were kicking it back in the day, I totally would have rocked out to their stuff! I hear elements of “The Beach Boys,” “The Pixies,” “Green Day,” and “Dashboard Confessional” in their music. I’m struck by their super tight performance and their harmonic layered vocals – solid.)

How does music fit into your lives? How does music –listening to and/or creating– relate to your sense of self? How does music relate to your mind wellness?

Music IS my life. Practically everything I do is somehow related to music. I’m always practicing, writing, and listening to music.

It helps put me at ease. It’s not easy for me to open up to a lot of people, and music helps me express the feelings and emotions I have built up in a healthy way. I think I’d go crazy if I didn’t have music as an outlet.

It’s all about expressing yourself. One of the best feelings in the world for me is someone telling me a song I wrote helped them in some way. That makes me happier than almost anything else. (Damian)

Music is a great get away from all the problems the world has to offer. Although it’s not the only outlet for me, it is one of the most common outlets I use to clear my head of serious family issues and/or common day to day issues. Music seems to be most effective when you are most sad. (Justice)

What do you think are the most difficult things teens are dealing with in your generation?

I feel like every generation of teenagers deal with this, but I feel like our opinions and feelings are brushed off and not taken seriously because we’re young. (Damian)

The most difficult thing teens deal with is the pressure of social media and all the negative things that circle within our generation these days. (Justice)

What do you think adults misunderstand most about teenagers?

Many adults group all teenagers together. If one kid or one group of kids get caught doing hardcore drugs, suddenly every kid in your school is a drug addict. Stuff like that.

And again, our opinions and feelings are swept under the rug because we’re young, but I think someone’s opinions and feelings matter equally, regardless of what age they are. (Damian)

Parents mostly don’t understand it’s a new era. Parents need to attempt to adapt to the “new generation” of technology that they never had when they were young adults. (Justice)

New song: “New Generation”

What’s the background of your song, “New Generation”? What inspired it? Who are you referring to as the “new generation”?

The “new generation” we’re referring to is our own. Obviously not everyone is a moron, but some people that I encounter just make me ashamed to be associated with, as far as being grouped with them in the same generation. (Damian)

What are some of the “shitty trends” you refer to in the lyrics?

I’m just not a fan of trends to begin with just because I don’t like hopping on bandwagons, and most trends are that exactly. (Damian)

If you were to write a follow-up song about what you think needs to happen to counter the new generation’s “stupidity,” what would some of your lyrics be?

I would just focus on how people should open their eyes. Often times people act without thinking, and if they took more time to think rationally, they’d be a lot smarter. I’m guilty of it too. Everyone in the band is. Everyone in the world is.

We’re human, we make mistakes and do stupid things, but if we can emphasize the importance of thinking rationally, we wouldn’t have to write as many songs about the stupidity of our generation. (Damian)

“New Generation” Lyrics

I can’t seem to see past your point of view.

All these shitty trends are like gum stuck to my shoe.

People are just getting worse.
Stupidity must be a curse.
Things are just getting worse.

I want a way from this new generation.

Seeing my reflection through a broken mirror in a bathroom stall.
Another fire alarm is set off in the sophomore hall.

This room is getting hotter and hotter like pins against my skin.
Now I’m asking myself, “How much more of this can I stand?”

In another century this will fall.
And no one there will remember us at all.

Things are just getting worse.
I want a way from this new generation.

I want away! I want away!

I want away from this new generation!

Follow “Knockout” on Instagram or Facebook @Knockout1Official

Check out their music on Spotify, Soundcloud.

Can you read lips?!

Wisdom comes in all shapes, sizes & ages: How Seattle teen rock band Splitting Silence single “Chain Reaction” speaks to me

Splitting Silence
Splitting Silence rocking out. Photo courtesy of @splittingsilence | Photographer: @trevorfoyston

Today, I realized I’ve been so caught up in the branding and marketing of TMRW that I haven’t been listening to the music these awesome teen bands have created. Gah!

I’ve been messaging with Seattle teen rock band Splitting Silence –more specifically, Ethan Bovey (guitar & vocals)– to find a time to chat and hang out with the band. We briefly talked about the possibility of me crashing one of their band practices. Maybe they’ll invite me to jam a bit??? Stay tuned! 😉

I put on their single “Chain Reaction” and was drawn in by the lyrics. Words that spoke to me were pouring into my ears and straight through to my heart.

When change comes
don’t let it haunt you,
when change comes
don’t be afraid,
take it head on with determination
to survive and keep on living
life to the fullest
and the best as possible
so adapt and move on

When we think of wisdom, we tend to think that it can only be delivered by those who are older than us but wisdom isn’t defined by age. (I Googled it – look!)

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 5.29.15 PM
Google search result for “widsom definition.” (screenshot)

Wisdom is limitless and everywhere, if you allow it.

Wisdom comes in all shapes, sizes and ages.

I invite you to consider that as you go about your day.

In the meantime, the guys of Splitting Silence have #TeenWisdom to impart. If you know what’s good for ya, you’ll hit ‘play’ and read the lyrics from their single:

“Chain Reaction”

Dominos falling
chain reaction
each one falls causing refraction,
strange things slowly start to happen
all because that chain reaction,
world spins faster,
sun shines brighter,
nights are longer,
oh my god
things get weird

When change comes
don’t let it haunt you,
when change comes
don’t be afraid,
take it head on with determination
to survive and keep on living
life to the fullest
and the best as possible
so adapt and move on

As time goes by
things just get weirder
the meaning of life
starts seeming clearer,
blame it on
that chain reaction
cause of it this madness happened,
temperatures rising,
people are fighting,
one in every 10 houses
has been struck by lightning

When change comes
don’t let it haunt you,
when change comes
don’t be afraid,
take it head on with determination
to survive and keep on living
life to the fullest
and the best as possible
so adapt and move on

Splitting Silence is: Ethan Bovey (Guitar,Vocals), Mason Stroud (Guitar), Nick Zappone (Drums), Alex Roca (Bass) | Emma Jassy (General Manager)

BTW – You can catch Splitting Silence live at The Old Fire House @oldfirehouse in Redmond, WA, June 29th @ 7pm!

**I will mos def be there so come say hi!**

The band is in the midst of a 3x3x3 Teen Rock Band Tour with fellow Seattle teen rock bands Butter Boy (@ButterBoyOriginal) & LocoMotive (@LocoMotive98065.)

3x3x3 Seattle. Spring 2018. 3 bands, 3 songs, 3 shows. CD in March.

Listen to their @3x3x3seattle interview (part of the article, Three teen bands from Seattle are turning heads in the local scene) with KISW 99.9 FM host Taryn Daly.

Learn more about the bands, their music, and their advice for young artists who want to pursue their dreams.

I want to acknowledge the tremendous amount of energy and heart these teens dedicate to their craft.

They book shows, create logos and artwork, manage social media, play shows – so many shows. It’s amazing.

And then they have all that other teen life stuff. !!! How can you not be inspired to follow your bliss?!

adolescentdepression_tied to st sign
#TeenLife (I don’t recall where I got this image – apologies to whom ever you are that I’m not recognizing!)

[Edit: I added the bit about their June 29th show –how could I leave that out?!–and and little edits here or there. #hastyfingers]