1983 is an American punk band that started in Southern California and now reside in Boynton Beach, South Florida. Their music is straightforward, old school punk but updated to reflect what is going on in their world today and in no way nostalgic. Songs such as “Red Line,” which is a crescendo of loud, angry, guitar-driven punk that makes you want to run into the pit and throw your fist up in the air and “It’s Complicated: A Song About Dan Brown,” which has a great melodic guitar and bass line along some good old chant along lyrics. Having been around since the inception of Orange County punk (The Adolescents, T.S.O.L., D.I., Crash Kills Four,) they are influenced by the Orange Curtain punk scene while maintaining a style of their own. I was able to get in touch and ask the guys a few questions about the band to get their music out there. Here’s what went down!
Erin: Where did your band name come from?
1983: It was the year our first band was formed in Orange County, California. It was called Conflicting Interests. We had a release on Mystic Records. 1983 also represents the type of punk that most influences our sound. It is also the year before 1984 which is somewhat ominous. Just look at these albums that came out in 1983:
- Bad Religion – Into the Unknown
- Circle Jerks – Golden Shower of Hits
- The Cramps – Smell of Female
- Crass – Yes Sir, I Will
- D.I. –D.I.
- The Dickies – Stukas Over Disneyland
- Die Toten Hosen – Opel-Gang
- Discharge – Warning: Her Majesty’s Government Can Seriously Damage Your Health (EP)
- Minor Threat – Out of Step
- Minutemen – What Makes a Man Start Fires?
- Minutemen – Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat
- The Misfits – Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood
- The Ramones – Subterranean Jungle
- Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster
- Sonic Youth – Confusion Is Sex
- Subhumans – Time Flies… But Aeroplanes Crash
- Suicidal Tendencies – Suicidal Tendencies
- Toy Dolls – Dig That Groove Baby
- Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
- X – More Fun in the New World
Erin: Tell me a bit about each one of the band members; where you are from, what made you want to play music, what instruments do you play?
1983: Shane Hunt plays the guitar. He’s from Orange County, California. He was in Conflicting Interests, Hoodlum Circus, Ruth, Arraya and did a stint in D.I. (Fred Taccone era). Kirk Jamgotchian is vocals/guitar 2. Also from Orange County. Was in Conflicting Interests, Hoodlum Circus. Pete Davies plays drums. Matt Test plays bass and is from South Florida. He has death metal roots. The DIY scene was huge in Orange County when we were kids. It was hard not to start a band when The Adolescents, D.I. and Social Distortion all came from our high schools.
Erin: Who are your major influences? What or who inspires you today?
1983: 1983 sounds like a cross between Discharge and Minor Threat with some Rikk Agnew/Adolescents style octave-type leads sprinkled in. A couple of years ago we started getting a bit excited about seeing our peers’ bands starting to play again. We didn’t want to rehash the old days so we started a (new) old school punk band.
Erin: How did you end up in South Florida? Do you miss SoCal?
1983: No interesting answer there. We didn’t move here as a group. Coincidence led Shane and Kirk back together. We played in a band called SADA for a few years here. Kirk played the drums and Shane on bass. We started itching to play heavier again. SADA released a spectacular sounding album but it always felt a bit too safe. Do you miss SoCal? We miss SoCal definitely, mainly because there’s an A-list gig every weekend.
Erin: Do you currently have a record label you are signed with?
1983: We are unsigned as of now. Our full album was tracked while we were on tour. Diste Svetlana from the Svetlanas is mixing and mastering as we speak. We’ll be shopping it soon.
Erin: What would you consider the bands’ biggest success?
1983: Not changing our sound. You’ll get a maximum of 4 chords. It will always stay fast and loud.
Erin: What is the band currently working on right now? Tours? Albums? Videos?
1983: Our new album is recorded and Diste Svetlana is working on the mixing and mastering. Still focusing on building a local following. Basically, starting from scratch. It’s a bit frustrating knowing that if we were back in Los Angeles people would come out of the woodwork to see what we’re doing now. That’s not the case here in Florida. We are up for a tour if the right opportunity arises. Right now, providing regional support to a bigger, touring band seems ideal. We’re hoping the new recording is well received and helps create a larger buzz.
Erin: Personally, which form of music does each member prefer? Vinyl, CD, cassette or digital music? Why?
1983: Shane and Kirk say it’s hard not to stream but they both wish the vinyl market was how it used to be. There’s nothing like holding a record and reading along with the lyrics.
Erin: Do you think the internet enhances or destroys the creativity of the mind?
1983: We trust the kids. Meaning the overall intelligence and forward thinking displayed by the younger generation has been fuelled in part, by the incredible access to information the internet provides. It also exposes the ignorant but that’s ok. From what we’ve seen so far, it must be helping. A couple of us remember being forced to use our imaginations because we only had a fucking stick to play with. I could only imagine what would be different if that stick was an iPhone. Maybe we wouldn’t have gotten into playing music? It’s hard to say. Maybe it would be easier.
Erin: What guitars/amps/pedals do you use?
1983: Shane and I both play straight through DIVIDED BY 13 heads into Marshall cabinets with Greenback Celestion speakers. Shane will sometimes use an electro harmonix analog delay.