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After twelve years of sonic brutalism, Weekend Nachos are calling it a day and going out on a high with the end note of ‘Apology’. James Batty spoke to frontman John Hoffman about the reasoning behind it, respect and why the good citizens of Chicago might want to watch their backs... Congratulations on ‘Apology’. You must be very proud? It really is an outstanding piece of work - was it everything you hoped it would be? “Thank you so much, I’m glad you dig it. I’m actually very proud of this last album of ours - it’s a lot better than I could have ever hoped! We really outdid ourselves, I think. It might be the best Weekend Nachos record in my opinion.”

You are one of the few bands that manage to capture the raw power and brutality of the live experience on record. Any tips on how to do this? What is the process of recording and has this changed over the years? “It’s hard for me to give advice on this, because I’m not a sound engineer. Our guitarist, Andy, however, is the one who has always engineered our recordings from day one, so he knows a lot about this. I think the fact that we don’t use triggers or any special effects to make our instruments sound polished is what really makes our records capture a live setting. We basically try to keep things as authentic as possible without doctoring up the instrument tracks too much, if at all. What you hear is very close to what we sound like live, and of course we always play hard, brutal riffs and the drums are loud already, so it translates on the recordings.”

So do you still feel like breaking up now you’ve had time to live with the prospect for a while? Do you think it might not hit you until right at the end? “It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling, but we are still very confident about our decision to call it a day. The band meant a lot to us, but it is just time to move on. We don’t feel like we should be doing this specific band anymore - it has lasted for twelve years and naturally it is just over. If we keep going after our time is up, the band will probably become something it shouldn’t, and no one wants that. We are sorry to anybody who is bummed about the breakup, but we hope they will continue to check out our future endeavours.”

I love the Full of Hell shirt with your picture on it. How important has the camaraderie between yourself and other bands over the years? “Well, it depends on which band it is, but

generally I think we get along with most people. It’s important for us to be respectful towards whoever we cross paths with. If that respect is returned, there is a good chance we will form some kind of friendship with said band. If the respect isn’t returned, and of course there has been a few instances of that, then we will either ignore them or maybe indulge them in their disrespect and start a controversy. But at that point, it is what it is!”

A while back I think I saw you were playing a gig with Owls in Chicago or did I dream that? “We do like surprising our audience from time to time. In this case, we decided to just play a show with some friends of ours, in the band Owls. We knew people would be surprised by the line-up, but sometimes that happens. Mike Kinsella and the others are good dudes who have been a part of the Chicago scene for a long time, just like all of us in Weekend Nachos have. There’s no reason not to mix it up from time to time!”

What will you miss the most? “I guess I will miss all of the chaos and the fun times at our shows. People always liked to get really wild when we played, and I’ll miss that kind of intensity and passion from the audience. Hopefully we can re-create some of that in our future bands, but honestly I think there was something special about Weekend Nachos. Those shows are never going to be duplicated in my eyes. It was a unique era for me.”

Do you like doing interviews? “I used to. Now, I can honestly say I do not like doing interviews anymore. I’ve said so much over the years, and now it feels a little redundant. This is another reason why I’ll be glad to see Weekend Nachos break up. I don’t really want to talk as much anymore (laughs). People should listen to what someone else has to say now.”

You guys hold the DIY ethos in high regard. How do you think that has changed over the years with regards to the advent of technological changes? “I think technology should be used more as a tool than an actual way of life. To me, it’s fine

if you use technology to your advantage, but don’t forget that hard work, blood and sweat is what produces the best results. If you can’t put your own passion and personality into what you’re doing, then it’s not worth doing. Some people just get lazy and allow technology to represent their art one hundred percent, and I think that’s a slap in the face to your audience. You need to put yourself into what you do if you want anyone to care. I still consider everyone in Weekend Nachos very DIY in this regard.”

The mag is called Down For Life - do you think you guys as individuals will be somehow involved in the scene in years to come in some capacity or have any of you had enough and want out? “I love hardcore, punk and metal and to me this scene has always been a part of me. I don’t intend to leave it at all, I will stay active and continue to play music and try to stay involved. I think the other guys feel the same way, but we’ll see. As we get older and start families and careers we don’t have as much time to go to every show or tour with the bands that we’re in.”

Do you guys have day jobs? It can’t be easy holding one down with your touring schedule? “We all work, a ton. This band doesn’t offer much in terms of financial support. We make some money doing it, but it is very scarce. We work jobs so we can support our lives and hopefully make time to do the band on the side. It’s always been that way, and it’s the main reason why Weekend Nachos was never a fulltime touring band or signed to a label.”

Should the good people of Chicago be worried now that you guys no longer have this cathartic release for your rage? “(Laughs) Yeah man. The band was what kept me from killing motherfuckers during my twenties. Now I’m older, wiser, way more fed up and way more crafty. I’d say random citizens are much more likely to get murdered once we break up. They should watch their backs.” ‘Apology’ is out now on Relapse Weekend Nachos play the UK in October

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