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A Conversation With Mike Van DerBeek of Soul 4 Sale
by Steven Dean
August 16, 2003

The Hudson Valley music scene is alive and thriving with independent music. A prodigal example of this local scene is Soul 4 Sale, an aggressive three-piece punk rock band with a sound and attitude reminiscent of the early Circle Jerks and Black Flag era of underground hardcore punk rock. Like most bands, Soul 4 Sale started from humble beginnings. Brothers Mike and Brian founded the group with their closest friend Casey whom they have both known since grade school. After practicing for two years in the back of a tattoo parlor, Soul 4 Sale decided to hit the streets in order to spread their sound across the upstate New York scene. Within six years Soul 4 Sale has built up a local following and created an independent record label known as Smell My Thumb Records (a.k.a. S.M.T.). The label has released several of their own recordings and just recently collaborated with Orange Peal Records from California to release a compilation of bands under the title Orange County NY vs. Orange County California. Featured bands include: Homegrown, MADCAP, Soul 4 Sale, makeoutmusic, You and What Army, as well as others. This interview took place with the bass player Mike Van DerBeek at a local tattoo parlor. The relaxed atmosphere created a feeling of calm on an otherwise rainy August afternoon.

Rockzone: So what started your interest in music?

Soul 4 Sale: My interest in music was first started when I was bored and started going to shows, because there just wasnít anything else to do. My first show was All Out War, I was 14 and I got kicked in the face twice. I think our main influences would have to be TSOL and Early Rancid.

RZ: How has it affected you?

S4S: Punk rock taught me a lot of things. It inspired me to be as obnoxious and annoying as possible, while still managing to be as drunk as possible. The two really go together well. And it inspired me to play.

RZ: How did this band start?

S4S: We started in 1997 when we started playing in an old house in Plattekill, NY. Brian and I had been playing together since 1994 to some degree, and we've both been friends with Casey since around 1989. Our first show was in 1999 at The Ale House in Monroe, which is now defunct. It was a good set, the bar was packed, and we got free Killarney's beer. And we made $15.

RZ:What are your plans for the future?

S4S: We want to develop as big of a local following as we can, while branching into other areas, and we want to make the best recordings we can. We're releasing a split with Rockland County's 3 Monkeys Named Bob this month, we're recording late October, and we're planning a northeast tour for late winter, early spring, and as we gain capitol from the label, we'll be putting out more releases.

RZ: What do you believe is the future of punk rock?

S4S: Well, the near future of punk rock is weathering out this storm of radio friendly emo and hoping we still have a scene afterwards.

RZ: Pepsi or Coke?

S4S: Canít snort Pepsi.

RZ: Does playing in a band make you feel more complete, is music your first priority or does it take a backseat to your own personal life?

S4S: There are times where it switches back and forth with work, but the only reason Iím working is to raise money for music equipment, or a van, or beer money at the show. The ultimate priority is music. I consider my music the main priority, but I unfortunately can't afford everything I need to do it professionally without working a day job, and unfortunately at times that can get to be a bit time consuming. But if work, and music were both hanging on a cliff, and I could only rescue one, I would rescue music.

RZ: How would you describe your local scene?

S4S: Theres a lot of diversity in the local scene, a lot of quality bands. The only problem I see with the local scene is that there are more bands than there are fans.

RZ:What about the newly released OC NY vs. OC California compilation? What can you tell me about it?

S4S: Well, Brian and I came up with the concept while high, we shopped the idea to Orange County Ca. labels until we found a quality one to help us with the Ca side of it, Orange Peal Records. Meanwhile, we had managed to get the bigger local bands, such as Autopilot Off and Shai Hulud to agree to be on it, and we found quality local bands with good songs at the same time, and it kind of snowballed from there. It was on sale out of Orange Peal Records tent for most of Warped Tour, and will be available for distribution Oct of '03.

RZ: I know that you are playing a show tonight with Murphyís Law, would you say that they are your favorite band to play with?

S4S: No, although they are a lot of fun to play a show with, we prefer to play with bands that we're friends with, such as makeoutmusic, The Buddha Heroes, and You And What Army.

RZ: What advice would you give to bands that are just starting out?

S4S:Practice, make sure you can stand being around your band mates for long periods of time, practice, network and promote. 1 flyer in the right hand is worth 100 in the wrong hands. And have fun. And write about what you know. Writing songs about jacking off doesnít hurt.

For more information about the Orange County NY vs. Orange County California compilation you can check out www.orangepealrecords.comor www.smtrecords.com.

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