COUGH: a photo essay

Traven Rice

Photos by Alex M. Smith.

When I caught up with COUGH’s lead vocalist and bass man, Parker Chandler, he had his hands full printing t-shirts and preparing merch for their upcoming tour, which includes a stop at the Bell House in Brooklyn this Wednesday night.

Coming up after their Brooklyn show, COUGH will head to Baltimore MD, for Death Fest, after which they will meet up with their friends from England, Dragged Into Sunlight, for a festival in Texas.

So will you be touring all summer?

After (Texas) I don’t think we’re gonna do much, unless a really good offer comes in. We’re gonna try not to leave town. We need to write some new stuff and record a record or something.

Is there a new record in the works?

We’re writing stuff right now. Nothing we want to play out yet, but we’re working on it whenever we’re home, which isn’t much these days.

How do you decide when you’re ready to play something out?

Well, I think we’ll wait until all the songs are done. Because we wrote a song, you know, and we started playing it out live and then it gets on YouTube, and because it’s shorter than all of our other songs, it turned in to this thing where, whenever someone films (us), or whatever, that’s always the song they put on there and we haven’t even released it yet. Then when you hear it on a record it’s not really a surprise.

So you have to start keeping it all under wraps until you’re ready?

Yeah, for the most part.

How do you know when it’s ready? When it’s really done?

I’d say when we get tired of working on it, or it hits the twenty-minute mark.

You don’t go past twenty minutes with a song?

We might. But when you’re trying to put out a new full-length album, you know, if you end up with four twenty-minute songs, it’s kinda hard to get people to actually listen to it…it doesn’t seem like a lot of people have the attention span for something like that. Although, at this point I’m not sure that we can write anything less than that, so we’ll see. I’ll have to look at our contract and see what that says. (Cough signed with Relapse Records in 2010.)

The album might be 80 minutes long, but anything less than five songs isn’t an EP, or doesn’t count as “full length” on our contract. They might hold that against us.

Yeah you have to be careful how you define “song” right?

Yeah, (joking) I need to talk to my lawyer.

COUGH has played NYC quit a few times, at venues like Europa, Union Pool, The Knitting Factory, Ace of Clubs and Cake Shop. What’s your favorite venue in NY?

Cake Shop is cool because it’s real small. Doesn’t take a lot of people to fill it up. Cake Shop is probably the coolest. It’s comfortable – no awkward stage height, stuff like that.

Does touring tire you out?

The last tour we did was really good. We managed not to fight too much, were able to handle our business every night. No walk-offs. You know, we did two months in Europe and that about killed us.

You guys have been together for quite a while now, do you still all get along?

Yes. We do. It’s been me, David and Joey for six years and Brandon joined two years ago. Which made it exciting again. You know, more amps, louder, hopefully not dumber –

What do you mean, not dumber?

Well, you know, you have to make sure you’re not turning it up louder for no reason.

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