Somewhere deep behind “The Orange Curtain” (a term we use here in southern California to describe Orange County) live the members of electro-punk band Intro5pect. These political punkers have been stirring up trouble since 1997 and are celebrating the release of their new EP, Record Profits, due out August 25th on A-F and GC Records.
“Originally, Record Profits was supposed to be released as a full-length a few months back, but a lot of negative stuff happened — both in people’s personal lives and with the band,” states front man Dave Small. “At some point, we realized that we weren’t going to be able to get the songs done in the way we wanted them to sound by the deadline we had set.”
What seemed to be the main factor in preventing Record Profits from becoming a full-length effort was the departure of bassist Gregg Arman. Arman left the band shortly after returning from tour in the United Kingdom, citing creative differences. Filling in Arman’s shoes on bass was LandonHell.
“This past year has been quite difficult for the band,” says keyboardist Sara Zaidi, “with the absence of Gregg and the growing pains that come with finding a new member.”
Intro5pect completed their second UK tour in 2008, even fitting in a performance on BBC Radio One with Mike Davies, a feat certainly worthy of praise, especially for an independent punk band from California. Experiencing the British punk lifestyle in comparison to those in the United States proved to be a moving and eye-opening experience for the band.
“I think it’s fantastic seeing these old 50- and 60-year-old punk rockers around England,” states Zaidi. “I think it lends to some validity to their points of view and encourages kids to really research and pay attention to the world around them.”
As Dave also points out, the youth are also much more in-the-know when it comes to political and social issues in the UK than they are here in the United States.
“It does seem like most of the fans are more politically aware and active than they are in the States, but also because punk or alternative lifestyles are taken much more seriously over there. Whereas in the US, it seems like punk is viewed by most people as a teen phase that everyone is expected to grow out of. In Europe, it feels like it’s viewed as being a permanent lifestyle and is taken much more seriously.”
Considering Intro5pect’s home base is considered to be among the most conservative areas in all of California, it’s clear their environment has influenced their music lyrically. Nearly half of Orange County’s registered voters are Republicans — not necessarily a hot bed for socially conscious punk rockers who happen to sing songs like “Fuck Your Flag.”
“While it is heavily Republican, I also feel it is quite apathetic down here as well. I suppose that many of these people live in the Orange County ‘bubble’ and are somewhat insulated from the socio-economic turmoil that the rest of the country feels,” comments Zaidi.
As bright as the California sun, the future plans of Intro5pect are also blazing brightly. In addition to the release of Record Profits, they are looking to release a full-length album by this spring and hope to make a third trek out to see their fans in the UK in the coming winter. Don’t fret, all of you U.S. fans — they also will be touring nationwide at some point next summer.