The marriage of members from Sacramento punk bands The Yah Mos, Black Liquorice, and Pope Smashers resulted in the birth of !!! in 1996, one of few bands responsible for pioneering the dance punk movement. With his sick dance moves, vocalist Nic Offer has always been the energetic figure at the centre of the band’s exceptional live shows and their eclectic, psychedelic brand of punk. Drawing inspiration from the subtitles of the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, in which the mouth-clicking sounds of the bushmen were represented as “!”, the six-piece band’s quirky name has found itself the preferred onomatopoeic pronunciation of Chk Chk Chk (if that doesn’t suit your fancy, try repeating any other monosyllabic percussive sound three times). We managed to have a chat with Nic Offer on the band’s new record, partying too hard, Drake, the band’s philosophy, and much more.
!!! is performing at Good Vibes this month! What took you guys so long to come to Malaysia?
We tend to go anywhere we’ve been invited. We just haven’t been invited [to Malaysia] until now as far as I know. Yeah, it’s really difficult to get down there, you know. You have to find somebody to get the whole band down there, stuff like that. But we did really make an attempt to get down there this year and it looks like it’s going to work out.
So, we understand the band has been touring a lot recently. Are there any funny stories from the road?
It’s crazy. We just did Primavera Sound in Barcelona in the spring. It was great. I partied so hard that I didn’t know what I did. I partied harder than I did all year. And I woke the next morning, everything was intact but I wasn’t able to move my arm for about week. I didn’t know how it got to that. I don’t know what I could have been doing. And I think that I don’t wanna know.
(Laughs) We’ll leave it at that. So, have you guys been working on any new material since the last record?
Yeah, we’re hard at work. We’re trying to finish it by the end of the year. Hopefully, I think we’ll be playing some of our new songs at Good Vibes [this] month.
What can we expect?
We’re trying to make a club record. We always end up at the end of it, and we’re like, “Wait, this isn’t a club record at all!” So, as far as I know at this point, it’s a club record, so we’ll see what it is until we’re done it. But it’s pretty exciting, our new songs. We’ve been playing some in December.
We heard the last record was written in a number of countries. Did that play into the creative process at all? Will we be seeing that in the next record?
So far, it looks like this one was mostly recorded in America. But yeah, it’s difficult to say. At this point, we’re so used to being out of the country that it’s not a big deal, you know. We’re used to playing 200 clubs in whatever country, so it’s all kind of like a living and when you’re on the road all the time, then it’s kind of like the road is your town and it’s all changing. You’re used to the changes happening all the time. So yeah, it is always a part of that and in some way it can never be true but you feel that you become more part of this international band.
Speaking of changes, the band’s moved from Sacramento to Brooklyn, did that have any effect on the band’s musical direction in any way?
Oh yeah, definitely. I feel that it did. In Sacramento it was good because it was a small town and you could really do your own thing and we formed ourselves into a band that could be an original band in Brooklyn. When we got to Brooklyn, we just learnt so much about dancing than we could have ever learnt in Sacramento. It was a really exciting time. We wouldn’t be the same people if we had stayed in Sacramento.
As a band, !!! has been around for quite some time now, 17 years to be more exact. With some of you — we’re assuming — jugging family commitments alongside touring and all. How’s that been?
It’s always a struggle, but it’s kinda just been in place forever since day one. We’ve always just dealt with it.
Cool. What are some acts you’re into at the moment?
Right now, I’ve just been listening to a lot of DJ Mustard. He’s big on hip hop and r’n’b radio right now. I listen to the radio all day, you know. I like Drake and stuff like that.
Drake, you mentioned? Well, what do you think about the new material he’s been dropping recently?
I don’t like ‘Trophies’, but I really like ‘0-100’, you know that I mean? ‘Trophies’, you’re like, “Aw, okay. It’s chill,” but ‘0-100’ I think it’s great.
Finally, in an interview, you guys have mentioned that, as a band, your life philosophy is to always go towards what you’re afraid of because somehow it always turns out be the funniest. Do you have an example of a situation where that came into being?
You’re constantly facing that. I know it sounds silly but when we made our first record, I got into a huge fight with Justin, our bass player/producer because he didn’t want to make [a record] on a computer; he didn’t think that he knew how so he didn’t wanna do the job. We got into a big fight about it. And now, it’s like — I mean he’s not in the band anymore — he’s on the computer all day making music. And it’s the same with me. When we’re working on this new record, we were working on Logic. But I’d purposely switch to Ableton to have a new challenge. It’s just little things like that. It’s that thing where if you think that you can’t do something, then that’s exactly what you need to try to do.
!!! is set to perform at Sepang International Go Kart Circuit for Good Vibes Festival on Saturday 23 August ’14.