Don’t be fooled by the pleasant publicity picture of the trio that accompanies this interview. Denver-based hardcore Muscle Beach dive in hard and head-first with their aggressive and energetic blend of noise, punk, and surf rock. Muscle Beach’s latest album Charms recently appeared via Sailor Records.
Guitarist and vocalist Justin Sanderson takes part in our ongoing The Protest Interview series, focusing on mental health issues and the continuing threat and eruption of gun violence.
Hello! Please introduce yourself/yourselves and give a description of your sound/musical vision.
My name is Justin Sanderson and play in Muscle Beach. We are a three-piece hardcore/punk band from Denver. Our goal is to create music that feels fun for the whole family.
What is/are the main personal, national, and/or international issue(s) concerning you the most these days?
Gun violence and mental health were some of the issues we dove into on our latest full length titled Charms. You can hear about this on the tracks “Ballistic Medicine” and “When Horns Grow Teeth.”
What song, video, or lyrics quote of yours best represents your current viewpoint on this/these important topic(s)?
Our video for “When Horns Grow Teeth” can best describe our view on mental health [issues]s. It represents chaos amongst our own minds and the madness that can ensue with your own thoughts.
What’s your favorite song, video, or lyrics quote by another act or artist that best exemplifies, or at least partly relates to, your current viewpoint?
This song doesn’t quite tackle the topics just discussed, but it does touch base on drug abuse and how it can totally affect a person’s existence… mentally and physically. We have a song on our latest album called “Lung Cutter” and it’s about all the poison and madness we can put into our body. Another example is by one of my favorite bands, Daughters. The song is called “Sweet Georgia Brown.” Here is a section of some of the lyrics:
She breathes fire
She sweats tar
She's a looker, but that's the surface
And that's what she wants you to know
She'll have you running up and down the street
You're asking advice from friends, neighbors and family
Water filled veins and stone cold heart
She's the Medusa of your deep blue sea
So don't go walking around, pretending that
You don't know what you know
She'll cut your throat before you could even
Wish, wish, wish, yourself home
What other forms of protest, besides through your music, are you involved with to get your message across?
To be honest, we aren’t a super-political band trying to spread some gospel. Outside of music we just try to be the best we can be. The goal is to just try and be some decent human beings to each other and stop all the hate and ignorant judgment.
And it is easy to judge and criticize others, especially in these unsettling times of overt intolerance, ignorance, and insults, but the fact remains that we need to work together. Objecting to and protesting against, but then working on a solution to the problem is critical in ensuring that positive change occurs. Name an action to take, or a campaign/charity that would be worthwhile to contribute to, for your cause.
Donating to suicide prevention and mental health awareness [charities] is a good start. American Foundation For Suicide Prevention is a great charity that works towards understanding suicidal thoughts and for those who are struggling with knowing somebody who has committed suicide. https://afsp.org/
What gives you hope for the future?
Hopefully an awareness of what really is going on around us. It’s important to understand our current situation. Whether it be gun control or mental health, or something as gnarly as climate change. We need to come together as one and push the boundaries of the current norm and fight for what we truly believe in. I think this starts off with love for one another and to stop all this nonsense hate and social media bullying bullshit. We are all in this together and if we stick together we all truly can make a difference.
Where can we purchase/stream your music and find out more about you?
You can pick up our album through our Bandcamp or through our label’s website. Our music is streaming on Spotify and SoundCloud.