By Martin Beckmann
A couple of weeks ago at the Battle of the Hamms, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a spectacular new local punk band with one of the best names, Idiot Man Child. The band consists of Jake Asen on bass and vocals, Chris Holmes on drums, Tristan Barstad on guitar, and Jesse "Riff" Ostlund on guitar. This is a bar-clearing punk band you should know about, so I talked with Jake about the band's origin and supergroups.
High Plains Reader: So your band is called Idiot Man Child, huh? What's the story behind the band name?
Jake Asen: I was led to believe that this band Protomartyr from Seattle or Detroit – I believe their original name was supposed to be Idiot Man Child – and then they got signed and ended up changing the name. So I figured it's fair game now.
HPR: You and I have talked before about how lyrics are the most important part of a song for you. What lyrical themes are you getting into with IMC?
Jake: This is one of the first times I've been political with music because generally, I try to stay away from those themes. But with IMC, it felt like the right project. With IMC, a lot was written during the pandemic, so I got into a lot of the stuff happening in the world during that time – the riots and just the state of the world. Tackling a lot of big stuff that needed to be said. On top of that, we are very much against North Dakota politics and how oppressive they can be toward the LGBTQ+ community, and that hits home because 3/4 of the band is LGBT.
HPR: Is it true you cleared out Dempsey's with some of that sentiment?
Jake: Yes. We played the song "There They Go Again," and it's about the police. All I said was the song title and that it was police brutality. After the show, the sound guy told us that he turned around, and half the bar just left. So I guess you can now call us a bar-clearing punk band.
HPR: When you write music, are you influenced by former greats of music, or does all your motivation come from within?
Jake: It's all me. No, I'm just kidding! It's a lot of locals, as far as locals go – Arachnid. They are a big influence on IMC as far as stage energy and sound. It was almost exactly what I wanted to sound like - just a really aggressive sound.
HPR: A very underrated Fargo band.
Jake: Totally, Totally and obviously, bands like Baltic and Germ Circus also had a big influence on us. As far as bigger bands, it was a lot of Idles and a lot of Protomartyr and then just a lot of classic '80s punk rock.
HPR: This project started as just you and Kryos. Now it looks like you have a full band minus Kyros. How did the current lineup come together?
Jake: Well, it started during COVID as what I thought would be a one-and-done thing. I wrote a bunch of songs on my own, and the opportunity came up to record them. Thankfully, my friend Wyatt (Kyros) was around and willing to be a session drummer. He just wasn't able to play live or really be in the band because he is very busy with Pursuit and Thrallfrost. So I did everything else besides drumming on the demo.
HPR: Who is the band now?
Jake: Chris Holmes from Seriously Hot Shit, Germ Circus, Straight Line Arrival; Tristan from Pass the Flask; and Riff from Swing Low RIP. A super group of sorts.
HPR: Funny you say that because my next question was going to be the local scene is packed full of great loud talent. If you could build a supergroup made of you and any other local people, what kind of music would it be, and who would you bring in?
Jake: Good question. I would still have Riff for sure. So easy and fun to work with. It's a very hard question. It'd be like a Type-O rip-off band. I’d definitely get Wyatt (Kyros), I'd get Max Johnk. I'd definitely get him.
HPR: If you can get a Max Johnk, you definitely get a Max Johnk! Who does vocals? You?
Jake: Well, no, I would just fill in where I was needed. I could play bass or guitar, or harmonica or the clarinet.
HPR: Type-O ripoff band with a clarinet sounds legit!
Jake: Yeah, but I think I'd have to go with Sean Thompson for vocals, I'd just have to. He is such a nice and quiet guy, but on stage, he turns feral. He looks scary, like he's going to fight you!
HPR: Thanks for answering all these important questions. Anything you want to plug?
Jake: Check out https://idiotmanchild.bandcamp.com/album/idiot-man-child to buy the album!
IF YOU GO
Idiot Man Child, Mares of Thrace (Canadian), and Hanging Wound
The Aquarium, 226 Broadway upstairs, Downtown Fargo
June 12, 2023
August 24th 2023
June 20th 2023
May 27th 2023
May 21st 2023
May 18th 2023
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