Since forming in 2017, Standards have proven to be a vibrant math-rock duo. Their self-titled EP was released just last spring and they’ve already prepared a basket of delectable, juicy songs for us to enjoy. This new music is bursting with sweet flavors and tantalizing textures just like the fruits they use for their imagery. The single entitled, “July”, from their upcoming EP, “Friends”, is ripe fruit for the picking. Marcos Mena’s energetic finger-tapping combined with Forrest Rice’s unique rhythmic interpretations results in something akin to Cleft, Floral, or Rooftops. If this EP was a fruit basket, “July” would be a watermelon because of its luscious tones (especially with the lo-fi outro), making it a palatable introduction to the complex sonic flavors experienced throughout Friends.
We are proudly premiering Standard’s new single ‘July’ ahead of their Friends release on March 8th. We also took the time to hit Marcos Mena with the questions that everyone has been dying to know…
Marcos Mena, do you find it ironic that you are in an instrumental band yet if you rearrange the letters of your name it is ‘scream moan’?
That is interesting. I also think it’s funny that I accidentally checked the “explicit lyrics” button for the first track of our debut EP Kale and Strawberries. It’s like there’s a powerful force somewhere wanting us to add vocals.
As a connoisseur of fruit, please settle this for me: is tomato a fruit?
I never claimed to be a connoisseur, just an admirer. But I think tomatoes are cute and therefore fruit ok?
Be honest: is standards just a front for pushing a healthy, nutritious fruit-based diet on malnourished young people?
It has been tiresome trying to pretend that we aren’t a music group created by Michelle Obama to try and promote healthy eating. She actually has a real fondness for math rock from her college days and saw potential in us to do good for a DIY scene that runs on vending machine candy bars and Taco Bell.
What sort of fruit best describes the music of standards, metaphorically speaking?
I’m going to go with pineapple. An intense flavor that is tangy, sweet and explosive. Somewhat hard to get but once you cut the shell of it you will have a fun time.
What makes a better weapon: fruit or sharks?
Sharks are amazing animals that have been around for millions of years before humans, essentially an apex predator. However, sharks can also be hit in the gills and basically have to retreat. I’m not advocating violence against sharks by the way, but if you have to fight one that’s a good way to go about it apparently. However, the world is mostly water and I think if I was riding on top of a hammerhead shark at full speed towards you I would probably win against your mango slice. I’m going to pick sharks because they’re dope.
Really looking forward to nabbing one of them standards temporary tattoos that come with the Friends EP. What is the most questionable temporary tattoo you’ve ever put on yourself?
I considered buying some temporary face tattoos to be like one of those Soundcloud rappers but I couldn’t go through with it. I’m a good boy.
Congrats on recording and producing the new EP all by your bloody self. Why should people listen to Friends?
Friends was one of the most intense, crazy, amazing, overwhelmingly difficult experiences of my life. I had let my drummer go a month before going into the studio due to an incident that was completely unexpected and inexcusable in my eyes. With the clock ticking I had to sit down with myself and just say “Is this thing salvageable? Can I still do this solo?”. I called up the only person who I knew could complete the record with me, that was Forrest Rice. Forrest is an absolute maniac drummer with the chops of a wild boar. We met and played and instantly had a connection. We spent the time we had left rehearsing at his space in Vista California near the ocean and many delicious Mexican food spots. We recorded a few fun videos of us playing and pushed each other constantly. I had the pleasure of recording with Forrest at Palmquist Studios with Eric Palmquist, who did the last two Chon records, the last Mars Volta record and doing the mix on Polyphia’s New Levels New Devils. Working with him was a real treat because he is a real pro who helped us get the performances to where they needed to go when we were running out of stamina. He was extremely attentive and got amazing sounds in the room exactly how I wanted them. One of my favorite moments from recording was when I was punching in a polyphonic guitar part in the live room and having him say into the talkback mic “can you turn around?”. I turned around and he said “Ok play that part again, I just want to see what that looks like”. I played him the part, in which i’m tapping with one hand and strumming with the other. All he said when I stopped playing was “Ok that’s really nuts”.
I mixed the record at my house which got a little frustrating. However, I eventually got it to where I wanted it and sent it to mastering. I think as artists we always hear other things in our heads and try to get them out. That is art really, the process of making our visions come to life. I can say I didn’t quite get it this time, but I think it’s great nevertheless. I’ve accepted that I’ll never fully get the image out the way I want it. Accepting the change when transferring your ideas from the ether to reality seems healthy to me. However, I can’t help but think of Elliott Smith, who said that we’re all just figure skaters creating figure 8’s, never going anywhere in particular but just going around and around trying to make the current figure 8 we’re skating metaphorically as beautiful as we can.
But why should people listen to Friends? I don’t know. I guess I hope people find something in it for themselves that they couldn’t find before. I want to create things that end someone’s search for happiness and beauty.
Standards’ new EP ‘Friends’ is out on March 8th. But hey, no need to keep yer wallets at bay. You can go and pre-order the album right now over the Standards Bandcamp page.