Direct Effect: Testy, Febrile, Monumental Fuck-ups

Direct Effect are a fractious bunch of new-wave-of-noisecore youngbloods from the greater Eastern Seaboard of the US of A. They also happen to be signed to the impossibly boutique US post-hardcore label Tiny Engines (home of Dikembe, Signals Midwest and many more), and are a seven inch and a full-length release – Sunburn – to the good. So they must be doing something right.

With a shambolic, clattering and barely melodic sound – comparisons with Pissed Jeans, Fucked Up and all are easy, but ultimately unsatisfactory. Because these fellows have more spunk and vinegar in their feet than residing in the entire combined body mass of Pissed J and F-ed Up (albeit no disrespect intended, because these bands are still ace). An American Baby Godzilla would perhaps be a far more informative, and accurate epithet.

This Q&A was turned round in about six hours, so huge thanks and credit to David Yow-esque vocalist Jeff Fonseca (I, Jeff Fonseca) for doing this for us.

photo credit – Alan Carter Photography

Word up gents. What’s happening – and where are you in the world right now? (I’m writing this from the suburb of a city in the English Midlands. It’s all fucking happening.)

I, Jeff Fonseca am currently in Philadelphia, PA where I live.

For readers who may not be familiar with your line in free form jazz, can you please tell us a little bit about yourselves? Who are you, and how long have you been doing all this?

I, Jeff Fonseca have been an irresponsible human since graduating high school in 2007, Direct Effect has been enriching no one’s lives since 2012. We’re a punk band stuck somewhere in the realms of rock and hardcore.

Tiny Engines are a nice label. They do classy, interesting post-hardcore like Dikembe and enlightened new wave of emo stuff like Signals Midwest and State Lines. How the shit did you get them to sign the likes of you?

You answered your own question within your question. Our dudes in Dikembe heard the record way before it was what you know now and urged TE to put it out. To our equal surprise they dug it. Chuck and Will are super real dudes who acknowledge real dudes, and we instantly hit it off. Now whether that means that they made the right move by doing so is completely up to them, but we’re pretty happy with how everything has gone.

You actually seem quite testy. Febrile creative anger is a wonderful thing, but in short supply – some say particularly over here in the UK – so I salute you for it. Or is it all an act to look street?

I might disagree that the UK is lacking anger. With releases from bands like DiE, Good Throb and The Flex, I see plenty of anger being exhibited on your side of the pond. As for the anger I display, it all stems from my being a conflicted, and monumental fuck-up. If that is the criteria to looking “street” than maybe we’re not soo self-aware.

I see you’ve done some touring with those tinkers Rescuer – how was all that?

Yeah we did one tour, and it was something alright. Most of us had to double duty which was pretty interesting, but at the end of the day it was about all of us hanging out. JP is a total butthole though.

I commend your candour. You are originally from Florida – we know about Gainesville and the many ska, hardcore and post-hardcore bands that upwell from down there. How come somewhere with such a balmy and soporific a climate produces so much original and interesting music?

In FL nothing is close by, so you’re forced to do everything from home base. Before moving to Philadelphia, me and all the guys lived together and we got A LOT done. It was more about your everyday friends there, and not the community that was a little too far out of convenient reach. It makes for greater feelings of accomplishment when things do go right, but it’s hard to maintain. Being pissed off just feels better.

But more about you. You have a clattering and feral sound that has plenty of Pissed Jeans and Black Flag-esque hardcore shit going on. Who or what actually are your influences?

Influence is something very hard to exactly pinpoint for us…I am especially clueless when talking about my vocals. I certainly feel like give off the spirit of bands like The Jesus Lizard, and Nirvana while also combining some of that 80s hardcore stuff of bands like SSD, or Warzone.

And who do you listen to in the van/on the earphones in your head at the moment?

Last tour we listened to a lot of Speedy Ortiz, Ex-Breathers, Hank Wood and The Hammerheads, Grass Is Green and The National. Obviously a bunch of classics as well, but you know.

And finally, are there any less well-known US bands or labels known to you that you want to give a shout out to? This particularly includes any local to you…

I can only speak for myself on this one but I got a few. Bands: Razorheads, Bad Side, Chain Rank, Low Charge, The Stasi and Spirit Of The Beehive. Labels: Exploding In Sound and Twerp Records.

So there you go. Google and Facebook search that list for all its worth. Thanks again to I, Jeff Fonseca for talking to us. And for the record, David Yow-esque is a high compliment in my book.

– Ed Ling

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