If you’re even remotely active within the western United States’ hardcore scene, you’ve either heard about or seen Bone Dance. Originating in the adjacent state of Idaho, Bone Dance has been turning heads nationally. SLUG got to sit down with Patrick Santana, drummer of Bone Dance, to talk about the re-release of their first LP Snakecharmer, their upcoming tour, their new music video and violence at shows.
SLUG: How did Bone Dance become a band?
Santana: I guess it started with our singer Morgan and our guitar player Casey. They’re from Pocatello—they grew up there and they decided to move to Boise and didn’t have the rest of the band together. They didn’t have a drummer or a bass player. They came to Boise, we met at a show, and Bryce heard about us online. He came down and we started to jam. Nothing really crazy.
SLUG: You guys are re-releasing your first album. Any particular reason other than having a wider distribution?
Santana: We sold out of the first run, so it’s out of necessity, but also, when we redid them that, they [came] with cool artwork, something different. We feel that people buy stuff from us because we make it interesting. Bryce is good at that stuff.
SLUG: Listening to your albums, Snakecharmer and the self-titled, how do you feel your band’s sound has changed?
Santana: Everything has changed. Between that album, we had a full-length before Snakecharmer—not many people know that. Those two albums are substantially different between how the band writes and how the band works in general. Snakecharmer, we were a lot more immature as far as song structure and how we were doing things. We write a lot of music, sift through it and take what we want out of it. In the beginning, our songs sounded a lot more disjointed because the riffs were sporadic and weren’t thought about as a whole in comparison with the full-length. When we released the most recent full-length, we viewed it as being our real first album, not a lot of people know that. It was our “OK, we know what we’re doing” album.
SLUG: I’ve heard a lot of stories of your bandmate having his tooth go through his cheek and getting black eyes while playing on the road—the band seems to get the brunt of the beatings. Why do you continue playing with that kind of a risk?
Santana: I think that’s what keeps it addicting: the fact that it’s not a consistent job. You show up and you don’t know what is going to happen at a show and that what makes the good moments even better—going into a situation and you don’t know what is going to happen, but you hope for the best. I don’t think anyone in our band is fearful of getting hurt. I mean, our singer is an animal. He’ll bury himself for the band.
SLUG: You guys play SLC pretty often. What do you like about it here—excluding the fact that you guys are a state away?
Santana: What I like about Salt Lake is that it’s a bigger city, so more is going on and people seem to be more interested, even though there is a cloud over the scene and in other cities around here and the Northwest. It can get a bad rap—some bands are more popular than others in SLC. Every time we’ve gone there, people are really supportive. I’ve heard it’s hard to break into the scene if you don’t have an in. Because we’re close by, it filters down that we exist.
SLUG: You guys recently filmed a music video for “Writhing in Ecstasy.” What was that like? Did anyone get hurt filming it?
Santana: No. It got dangerous a couple times—people were slamming into the camera. The guy who filmed it had a small camera so he was able to maneuver around and keep the camera out of trouble, but Morgan popped a bottle of champagne in the video, and that is the closest to anyone getting hurt or damaging the camera. It was an interesting video shoot.
SLUG: Is there a reason you wanted to do a music video?
Santana: It a necessity, being a band trying to break into a bigger market and take yourself seriously. [It’s] standard protocol, to have a music video. We’re in the works of recording in the beginning of January and talking about having at least one video for the release. It’s something you to work up to, budget it out and make it happen.
SLUG: You’re planning on going into the studio in January. Do you have an idea of how it’s going to sound?
Santana: We’ve have five songs done with some vocal stuff going on. We’ve bought recording gear since the last recording came out, but we’re doing something different in our writing. We’re going to record our songs pre-production, and when we listen back to them, we’ll fine-tune them. Eventually, we’ll then send it to Andy Patterson. We’ve already got dates booked with him, but we’re going to send him pre-production tracks and go from there. The way it’s sounding so far … I don’t think people know what to expect from us. I know our music has been sporadic. We’ve been a band for five years and have only released 23 songs, which isn’t a lot. It’s going to have much more melodic aspects to it, you know—branch out a bit. Don’t get me wrong: It will be heavy. We just don’t want to play the same style. There still is stuff that fans of our old stuff will like, but we want to bring in new fans.
SLUG: What bands are you listening to and excited about, locally and nationally?
Santana: Boise’s unique in that bands break up every four months. They play then break up and form under another name. There is a consistent band in Boise called Black Cloud, but that’s it, and I know I’m forgetting somebody. Nationally, that’s tough. I really like Fight Ants from Philly and Old Wounds from New Jersey. We’ve toured with them and they’re good … another group called Enablers. I’m really excited for Cult Leader, too. We’re trying to get them to tour, but they’ve got jobs and getting their recording done, but maybe we’ll be seeing a Bone Dance/Cult Leader tour soon.
Be on the lookout for the upcoming LP next year. In the meantime, pick up Snakecharmer and their most recent, self-titled LP. Also, be sure to see Bone Dance at the Shred Shed on Oct. 25. Here’s their video for "Writhing In Ecstasy":