Smile Politely

One minute to resin

The Champaign-Urbana music scene has a penchant for embracing new and interesting music. While stoner and doom metal influences are less common than punk, indie and alternative rock, heavy riffs are usually met with open arms, raised beers and banging heads. If you consolidate those influences into a four-piece bass, drum, and vocal outfit and you may emerge looking something like Resinater.

While still relatively newly formed, assembled just last summer, Resinater members Darwin Keüp (vocals/lead bass), Tedd Lerch (custom percussion), Sam Geneser (rhythm bass) and Curtis Wagner (drums) have been around the block once or twice. Having previously played in local bands including Hank., Rusalka, Woodie and Street Justice, it’s safe to say they know the musicians and fans in the scene reasonably well. Over the course of the last year, the “Resin Boys” as I’ve occasionally heard them called, have begun to make a mark…a dark, sticky, THC-infused mark.

Resinater is currently on tour supporting the release of their new cassette, CDXIX, out on Heirship Records. Though they almost didn’t make it due to a tour van breakdown, the local community pitched in to help them get on the road. I recently called them up between sets to discuss the band, their music, tour vans and…well, resin.

Smile Politely: Lets start with the basics. How did Resinater get started? Where does the idea to put together an all bass and drum metal band come from?

Darwin Keüp: Hank. was breaking up but Tedd and I wanted to keep doing music. We had a bass player and a drummer so we said, “Fuck guitars.” We drunkenly asked Sam to play. Later on Tedd was gonna leave but decided to stick around for the show with Earth. Now he just plays on that Slipknot monstrosity you’ve seen. We’ve thought about bringing in a guitar player but it seems to work out the way we’re doing it.

SP: Tell me a little bit about your writing process. What does everyone bring to the music?

Keüp: We either approach it with a riff and expand off of it, or there’s been a couple times where I’ve written songs that the guys will just build parts off that. A lot of the stuff we play live is on the fly as well. Sometimes I’ll take a solo a little bit longer or something and that’ll just be a new part of the song.

Curtis Wagner: Yeah, we do riff around quite a bit on stage.

SP: What has the response been from the Champaign music scene? Has it been hard to book shows at all?

Keüp: It seems like it’s pretty good. There’s been great response and people enjoy it. We actually have to turn down shows every once and a while.

Wagner: One of my favorite parts of the Champaign scene and the response we’ve gotten is that I’ve heard people say “you gotta go see Resinater” and I don’t even know who they are.

SP: You guys have been out on tour supporting CDXIX. Am I saying that right?

Keüp: Yep, just, “C-D-X-I-X”. Roman numerals for 419.

SP:  What can you tell me about the album? How did it come together? What should we expect?

Keüp: We recorded it in two days at South Town Studio in Springfield with Brandon Carnes. It came together pretty simply. Sam, Curtis and I did all of our parts live and then Tedd multitracked over it. It’s almost like a live Resinater set. I’ve kind of got this mentality that if you can’t do it live why do it?

Wagner: That’s the charm of Resinater and this album. It’s just us doing what we do.

SP: Why release on tapes?

Keüp: Cause it’s cheap and fuckin’ awesome. Tapes are a little nostalgic. I used to hate cassettes but it kind of has this cool analog feel to it. Also, it just looks cool. Isaac from Heirship was real generous in helping us get them made, so fuck it, why not?

SP: You almost didn’t make it on tour due to a van break down. Luckily, your friends and fans were there to help you out. How do you feel about the last minute crowdsourcing getting you back on track to make the tour happen?

Keüp: I feel amazing about it. I did not expect to raise that much money, or even the whole fund. I thought we might get like 2-300 bucks and figure it out. It’s so empowering to feel that. We got so much help and it’s so cool to see that.

Wagner: I felt so empowered seeing that. I’m incredibly grateful and overwhelmed.

Keüp: When we hit the 600 mark I was like fuck it, we’re going on tour. I’ll find 300 dollars to make it happen. It feels so awesome. I could not imagine that happening again.

SP: How has the response on tour been thus far? Any great venues or crowds stand out compared to other tours you’ve done?

Keüp: So far it’s been great, everyone’s been really into it. The crowds seem to really love it. We’re just a loud fuckin’ rock band and that’s pretty much what we bring the table. People seem to respond to it really well. Even if a show doesn’t have a great turnout people are into what we’re doin’. I’d rather have a small crowd get into it than a bunch of people just there to see a show.

Wagner: Oh yeah, in Oklahoma I think there was maybe 25 people there but they were jammin’, man.

SP: Any awesome venues so far?

Keüp: At SXSW we played in this music co-op, so we played in the dining room of a house. That was pretty rad. We’ve still got a ways to go. I mean we’ve actually seen a ton of bands. In Austin we watched, like, five shows in a day.

SP: Got any big plans for after tour, other than absolutely destroying Mike N Molly’s?

Darwin: [Laughs] I dunno. I mean right now my other band Our Lady is gonna write some new songs. We might slow down a bit on shows but we’re just gonna keep doin ‘what we’re doin’. Take some time and smoke some weed. You know.

SP: Any surprises in store for the show?

Keüp: [Laughs] Uh, fog machine. But that’s not really a surprise. We’re just gonna be stoked to play an awesome show. The Fights are a great band and the Maness Brothers are kind enough to come up and join us. I’m pretty stoked, man.

Wagner: We got some Starship Trooper tattoos. So I guess that’s a surprise as well.

SP: Yeah, I saw that. How did that happen?

Keüp: Curt strong-armed us. [laughs]

Wagner: Yeah I pretty much just made them do it.

Resinater will be back in town to finish up their tour at Mike N Molly’s on Saturday. The thunderous, dulcet tones kick off around 9pm and cover is $7 at the door.

CDXIX is available from Heirship Records as well as at local Chambana record stores Error Records and Exile on Main St. starting next week.

Photos courtesy of Tom Chandler

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