I Object is aggressive, angry, political and severely sincere. They are a band that embraces the DIY movement, and actually lives it in the way they book their tours, release their records and treat other bands in the hardcore scene. I connected with their vocalist, Barb, a few days before they headed out for a European tour, to talk about what it means to be DIY, and what it means to be a women fronting a hardcore band.
RC: How did I Object start?
Barb: I Object was started in January 2003. The idea behind us wanting to do a band was so much more than just playing fast music.
RC: The brand of hardcore you play definitely has an old school sound. Who do you consider to be influences of the band?
Barb: When writing music we never try to fall into a certain genre by thinking "OK here's where the breakdown should go." We throw in fast punk with hardcore breakdowns, with circle pit parts, etc. We are definitely influenced by '80s D.C. hardcore.
Also one influencing factor are bands that we see who have incredibly moving things to say in their lyrics about life experiences.
RC: Which came first? The music or the message? Did you start a band to spread a message, or did you start a band and then realize you could get a message out?
Barb: With previous bands, I was a part of the message as my driving force. Before I Object, as a female new to singing in a band, I was timid, reserved, and never talked while we played. Over time I realized that I had to set up to the challenge and get over my fear of public speaking. When we began I Object we did so to release our aggression toward everyday life through fast music but also through our message.
When we play I always wonder if our words are really reaching people. And if there is one kid who comes up to me after a show, or sends me an e-mail about something I said, it makes it all worth it.
RC: Your latest album covers a lot of topics in two-minute bursts. There are songs about abortion, prison reform, eating disorders, you name it. With something to say about a lot of issues, what would you say is the underlying, main message of I Object?
Barb: Our main message is about embracing DIY culture, respecting people, and speaking your mind. We have short songs which makes it hard to fully address topics. We find great importance in lyric sheets in albums and we write song descriptions also to make sure the message is clear.
RC: I Object is probably one of the most seriously DIY bands around right now. You release your own records and book your own tours. Why did you decide to go that route?
Barb: All of I Object has been involved with DIY for a lot of years. We have all played in other active bands. Through doing so we got a feel for the DIY network, met great kids in small towns, played with amazing local bands all over the USA, and the only route we would want to take with our band is the route we were on five years ago.
Through trial and error we learned how to release records and distribute them all over and build a network of tour contacts. We have had total disasters through the years, but we are always working towards perfecting it. This is about fun and meeting new people, and if we didn't do these things ourselves then it would be impersonal.
RC: What does DIY mean to you?
Barb: a DIY lifestyle means finding your own way to accomplish great things through playing in bands, booking tours, meeting new kids, sleeping on someone's floor, preparing vegan meals for a travelling band coming through your town, writing a zine about your community or anything you experience that you want to share with others, paying to get into shows, supporting bands, attending all-ages shows, speaking out against inappropriate comments or actions and caring about the kids in your scene.
RC: Do you only play all-ages venues?
Barb: When booking tours we specify address that we do not cater to non all-ages venues. We play only all-ages shows. We were all under 21 when we started getting into punk. Punk is not an exclusive club for "adults"
RC: How do you get into booking a tour yourself? Especially a European tour?
Barb: The Internet is a great place to start. Also talking to bands that travel through your town about their local scene and getting their contact info is a great way to establish contacts in other states or cities.
For our European tour, as well as the Mexico tour we just went on, we asked around to U.S. bands that toured there before for a booking contact. We asked a guy from Paris if he would help us book the European tour we are about to take. He helped us out a ton! This scene is about helping each other out. So to book a tour one great way is to trade shows with other bands. They can play your town and you can play theirs.