|THE LIMIT CLUB @ Big Beat
Howdy! To kick this thing off, let’s dig into the deep mud and roots of The Limit Club.
According to your website, the foundation was laid in 2004 when you started crafting
your own songs and the band came together in 2005. Is The Limit Club your first
serious, professional band?
Nick Feratu – Yes. Before the Limit Club, it was all jam sessions and house shows. That stuff was
fun, but with this band I definitely was trying to start something with a more serious drive.
Juan Carlos – Me and my brother had a cover band at one point and really, that was it. The Limit
Club is definitely my first professional band.
NickDave – I have been in a few local bands around Arizona, including The Numptys and Sun City
Riot. Along with The Limit Club I am in a local band named Stash's Creeper.
Also, your website mentions the previous band Non-Dairy Creamers (love the name, btw!)
as being more Garage Rock; is The Limit Club your first foray into the wicked world of
Nick Feratu – It is for me. We initially wanted to try doing something in the vein of the Coffinshakers
and Dave Vanian’s side project "the Phantom Chords". Something with its roots in Rockabilly, but
with a darker, Gothic twist. Once we started playing in front of live audi ences and putting songs
together, the live shows started speeding up and getting more and more intricate in an effort to rile
audiences up and compete with other bands.
Juan Carlos – I like to think that we all have good taste in music, and rockabilly/ psychobilly just
happens to be a genre we like along with many others. Our music is a big clusterfuck of musical
influences and styles, ranging from 60’s rock and roll to 80’s punk and Latin. I would say that we do
have some sort of "billy" in our sound, but there are many other styles in there too.
NickDave – Around 2006 I saw the band Tiger Army play alongside Social Distortion, and as much
as I love Social D I was so impressed by Nick 13's song writing, how deep and dark it got, and was
fixated on the slapping bass Roffredo was laying down. That's when I knew that's what I wanted to do
What about the name? Is there some reason and rhyme behind it, some interesting story or
Nick Feratu – I stressed over finding a band name for months before I settled on The Limit Club. The
direction of the band was quite clear, but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t cliché or cheesy. I
brainstormed a large list of things of things like "The Black Desert", "The Phantom Cats" and "Nick
Feratu and the Nightmares" before settling down. I noticed other bands like the Sisters of Mercy had
gotten their name from songs (in their case, a Leonard Cohen song), so I decided to do the same.
The Limit Club is the name of my favourite song by The Damned. It’s on a 7 inch EP called "The
Friday The 13th EP". It’s somewhat rare and hard to find, but definitely worth the search.
So, imagine this situation: a guy comes up to you and says I hear youse in a band.
Whatchoo sound like?... I’m sure no one’s ever asked you that... how would you describe
the sound and style of The Limit Club to somebody who’s never heard your music?
Nick Feratu – Hahaha! This happens almost daily, and it never gets any easier. I’ve worked out a
system for dealing with this situation: If it’s an average person that is an outsider to the underground
music scene (most people fall into this category unfortunately), then I dumb it down to the lowest
common denominator and I just say we are a Punk Rock band with dark tendencies and dance
rhythms. If I get the impression that the person asking knows a bit about music, I tell them that we are
a Psychobilly band that is heavily influenced by 80s New Wave and Goth Rock. Most of the time it’s
easier just to give people a CD and have them make up their own mind, rather than trying to create an
image in their head.
Juan Carlos – I would just usually say that we are a "Stray Cats" rockabilly band to a person that has
never heard, or will never hear, us before. But if a musically knowledgeable person asked me that
question (in the portrayed accent above) I would say that we are a mixture of Psychobilly rock and roll
with dark wave.
NickDave – I usually just say we're kinda like Elvis on crack, then I throw in the 80s influence for
everyone. You'd be surprised how many older adults get interested once you mention our 80s
Apart from the usual influences of Punk, Psychobilly, Rockabilly, Country, etc., Goth
Rock/Death Rock is both very clearly audible in your sound and listed as an influence.
Whilst not being all that far apart from each other in some aspects, I’d still say there is a
distinct and even fundamental difference between ‘billy-based music, which I perceive as
very "organic", and the often more industrialized Goth Rock/Death Rock/Post Punk/etc.-
based music... I think of Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Sisters Of Mercy with their "Doktor
Avalanche" on drums, the rather monotonous percussions of early Alien Sex Fiend (not to
mention the later Electrogoth-stuff), etc... first of all, would you at all agree on this admittedly
very rough and generalizing separation? And how do you go about combining these
different genres and approaches together in your music?
Nick Feratu – I definitely agree and I think that separation doesn’t need to exist. There are
connections between all Rock subgenres when they are examined. Look at bands like the Gun Club,
The Cramps and X for good examples. These bands have an undeniable appreciation for Chuck
Berry, Howlin’ Wolf and Sun Records, but they weren’t just rehashing the same old "E, A, B7" chord
progressions. They were doing something new with it!
I guess the drive to combine all these different elements, came from listening to early rock and roll
bands and realizing that they weren’t afraid to drift into darker musical territory. Songs like "Domino"
by Roy Orbison and Ricky Nelson’s version of "Gloomy Sunday" were the roots of what I’d call
"Gothabilly". And when discussing this whole imaginary scene, one can’t pass up people like
Screaming Jay Hawkins and Lord Sutch. The crazy bastards would dress up like voodoo priests and
pop out of coffins onstage long before that thing was socially acceptable! These guys were ahead of
their time and it brings a tear to the eye. Hahaha.
But honestly, I think that some of the best music comes from bands that combine elements of different
scenes to create something new. That really is the basis for Rockabilly and Rock and Roll isn’t it? The
Sun Records cats combined the energy of Rhythm and Blues with the chord progressions and
musicianship of Country and Western Swing to come up with a brand new sound. I thi nk in a sense
we are doing the same thing. Experimentation is basis for everything that is new and exciting. Taking
something old and making it new again is the name of the game.
Juan Carlos – I feel that it is not really an emphasis for us to "try to mix the sounds" while we are
writing new music. For the most part, I think that the mix comes naturally. Me and Nick love a lot of the
same stuff, but we also listen to a lot of different stuff as well. Some of my main influences are not
even close to being what his are. I listen to a lot of percussive, Latin type music (Salsa, Mambo,
Mariachi, etc) that allows me to experiment with the percussive textures of our new songs, sometimes
going out of that "mechanical 80s, drum machine" style and also stepping out of the "western swing
pattern", making our music sound different.
In what amounts would you say you are Punk, Psychobilly, Goth… sorta like a recipe, y’
know, "take two spoonfuls of goth, an ounce of ‘billy" etc.? In other words, would you say
one genre is more prevalent in your music than the other? Would you say you consciously
strive to be "A Psychobilly band with Goth-influence" or a "Goth Punk band with slap bass"
etc., or is it all just a glorious mishmash ya can’t make heads or tails out of?
Nick Feratu – I think of us more as a Gothic Punk band with an upright bass. I love Psychobilly and
we try to inject some of that sound into our music, but my heart will always lay in the 80s Deathrock
Juan Carlos – Hmmm, that is a hard question since some influences show more in some songs than
others. In songs like "Black Hole," there seems to be more of a Punk style with a bit of Psychobilly. In
songs like "Let’s Get Religious" and "I’m a Nightmare" the Goth comes out quite a bit more, but there
is still a hint of Psychobilly in there keeping it different, keeping it as "our" sound.
I’m not done with the whole Goth Rock-thing yet. At least over here in dark and cold Finland,
I’ve sensed a certain distaste towards Goths among many Psychobillies. How’s it over
there, do Goths and Psychobillies mingle a lot? And have you met any prejudices or
negative preconceived opinions towards yourselves because of the overt Goth-influence in
The Limit Club?
Nick Feratu – The scenes are definitely separated here in the US as well. I really see no reason that
the scenes should be as divided as they are. I think a lot of people have a very negative image of
what the gothic subculture is all about. A lot of people tend to see bands like Marilyn Manson and
Slipknot as Goth bands, which is a shame. Those bands have nothing to do with Goth. Simply
because there is an abundance of attention-whore, mall-dwelling teenagers that we ar all black and
paint their fingernails, it ruins it for the rest of us. In reality there are a lot of really sexy, pale, open-
minded chicks who like to dance and have a good time at Goth clubs.
I guess there might be some distaste for us due to the fact that we openly embrace the Goth thing, but
I haven’t heard much of that directly. When most people see us live, they see that we aren’t brooding
little prats singing about how our "heart hurts" and other such nonsensical bullshit. First and foremost -
we are out to put on a good show and make good music.
Juan Carlos – There are some small connections within the genres, like the fact that Dave Vanian is
into rockabilly, the fact that the Damned have played with Mad Sin, or the fact that Goth Bands would
play at the Klubfoot and Psychobilly bands would play at the Batcave in the 80’s… but for some
reason, the two genres aren’t as close as I would like to see them. There have been certain "die hard,
American Psychobilly" fans that have not liked us too much because they will only accept bands like
"the Meteors" or "the Barnyard Ballers" (which is completely fine, I do not dislike those bands), but for
the most part, we are accepted within the Psychobilly crowd just fine. Although, there was this club in
Austin called "the Elysium" which had a great mix of Psychobilly and Goth chicks, and sometimes
even better… Gothabilly chicks! That was an awesome place.
Speaking of influences; on Phantom Cats, you do covers of both The Damned and The
Sisters Of Mercy; was there any specific reason for choosing just those songs to cover?
Nick Feratu – The Shadow of Love is one of my favourite Damned songs, and I thought it would mix
well with our original songs. Alice sort of came together accidentally. I saw the Sisters live and
learned the guitar riff by watching Ben Christo’s fingers. So I went home and figured it out and it made
it into our live set. We eventually recorded both songs because they became such a staple of our
repertoire, and to help us bridge the gap into the Goth scene.
Juan Carlos – At the time, those songs were so much fun to play and it was only logical that they
would go great in the album. Now, I would have probably covered other songs. I still like those songs
on the album, I guess I just feel like it is time for something new.
And on a personal note, which subculture if any do you feel most at home with?
Nick Feratu – I feel comfortable in most scenes. As a band, we’re thrust into the Psychobilly world
most often, which is okay by me. I love the upright bass and seeing it played live. At the same time, I
still go to Punk and Goth clubs all the time to hear good music and scope out the scene. I’m lucky
enough to have a very sociable attitude and music is my main passion in life, so I get along with most
people and can usually find something relevant to talk about.
Juan Carlos – I think the Psychobilly scene has been the nicest to us since Psychobilly is such a
small genre. Psychobilly is one of the only genres where a fan can talk to almost all of his idols,
whether it is after a gig or online. Nobody in the genre is "too big" to talk to you! The fans are the
scene after all.
NickDave – I'd say Psychobilly as well, though it's great playing with more punk bands too because,
ultimately, that's where we all came from.
Your first full-length CD, God Damn The Limit Club, was released in 2007 and your second
album, Phantom Cats, was released about one year after that. How would you say that The
Limit Club as a band has changed and progressed from that?
Nick Feratu – I think the first album was recorded too quickly. It was an attempt to just lay down an
album as quickly and cheaply as possible to get our name out there. We recorded it for under $500 at
a studio. I do think there are some good songs on that album, I just wish we would have taken our time
and recorded them better.
The second album, I am actually quite proud of and I think it’s very faithful to what the band is .. We hit
a more progressive, experimental vibe with Phantom Cats, and I think it shows in the recordings. On
top of that, Joel and I were much better at our instruments and since Juan Carlos joined it gave us a
Juan Carlos – Though "Phantom Cats" is a much better album than God Damn the Limit Club (in my
opinion), I still think that if we recorded a new album today, it would sound even better. We progress
so much every singe time we play music with each other.
NickDave – It's interesting because, before I had joined the band, I had seen The Limit Club play live
even before "God Damn", and I was a bit confused yet intrigued with the music I was hearing. As they
progressed and added Juan to the lineup their set got bigger and better. Listening to both the albums
back to back shows this progression perfectly.
Where can we expect The Limit Club to go in the future, music-wise I mean? Would you say
you’ve found your style by now, or would you rather say you’re still experimenting,
exploring and boldly going where no man has gone before?
Nick Feratu – For me, I love experimenting with new sounds and rhythms. I definitely think that our
band has a distinct tone, and to abandon that in favour of anything else would be a shame, but there
are always new riffs and textures that I think would be cool to work into our new son gs. We haven’t
written a funky song in a while, so I’m trying out guitar parts for a new song that incorporates that.
Mainly though, we will always try to keep the beat dance-friendly to keep girls coming to the shows.
The guys love to wreck and mix things up in the mosh pit, but the girls are usually there to dance and
have a good time. The goal is to be able to please both of them.
Juan Carlos – I want to start playing European festivals. The European Psychobilly scene is way
different than the American one, and I have a feeling that the Europeans would dig our sound much
more. I really wish there was a Dark Wave revival festival in the States… I would love to play that!
NickDave – I just hope that, by my joining the band, I will be able to help contribute to the progression
our band continues see.
You’ve not yet been over to Europe to perform, am I right? Any plans for doing that in 2009?
Nick Feratu – That is the goal for 2009 / 2010 actually. We’re just waiting for the right offer to come
Juan Carlos – I really hope that they offer us to go. I would love that more than anything.
NickDave – If given the opportunity I know that our band would deliver a show that would be intense
And in general, what sort of feedback have you received on your music from Europe?
Nick Feratu – We’ve traditionally received more attention in Europe (especially Germany for some
reason) than here in the states! I’m not sure why, as I’ve never seen the music scene in Europe
firsthand, but it’s definitely been a positive response from that part of the world.
Juan Carlos – I didn’t really know how many people knew about the Limit Club in Europe until I went
to England. While I was on tour with the Quakes, the show promoter in Cambridge asked me, "You
are the drummer for the Limit Club aye?" and I said," Yeah, how did you run into us?" and he said, "a
friend of mine from the Northern Islands turned me in to you guys, I love your sound!"
I was stoked to know that our band was being heard all over the United Kingdom! Oh, and Nick tells
me that he sends CD’s to Germany all the time.
NickDave – I'm stoked that we have fans in Europe, all the more reason to go, right?!
This is a question I seem to be asking every band from the US... it seems like right now
Psychobilly is in a definite upswing over there with quite a few newer bands popping out
from the woodwork. What do you personally think of the current scene over there?
Nick Feratu – I agree with your analysis one hundred percent! Every day I hear of new bands that are
going on tour and releasing new albums. I think that the internet is mostly to blame for that. It is easier
now than ever before to book tours, create merchandise, and release albums. For a "do-it-yourself"
operation such as ourselves, it is a dream come true. All one needs is a bit of motivation and you can
make it happen.
Juan Carlos – I think it is great that there are a lot of fans motivated to start new bands in this tiny
genre, but I am going to be honest when I say that I think a lot of them are taking the wrong approach. I
love European Psychobilly much more than American Psychobilly, mostly for the reason that a lot of
these newer bands are incorporating all of the "standard Rockabilly/ Psychobilly" clichés in their styles
of music, making themselves just the same as the "last band." So when I see an American
Psychobilly band that is really good, or that is doing something new, I LOVE IT!
NickDave – I think it's great! Anything to get more people, especially young kids, to play music. It
really doesn't matter if it's good or not, that'll come in time, but as long as they're having fun doing it
then that's all that really matters.
You just recently did a tour with The Quakes (whom you also share a drummer with)... how
Nick Feratu – It was fantastic! I never thought I’d ever get to meet Paul Roman, let alone become
friends with him. We travelled all over the Western US and into the Midwest. We saw many parts of
the country that we’ve never seen before and made many new connections in the music scene that
has already helped us out tremendously with booking our new Limit Club tour. I can hardly wait until
the East Coast tour this Summer.
Juan Carlos – I would have died on that tour without Nick. I had a blast.
What plans have you in store for 2009; are there any releases planned or anything such?
Nick Feratu – We are currently writing and rehearsing new material, which we hope to begin airing
live on our West Coast tour that is coming together in July 2009. And then we plan to record a new
album in the latter part of the year.
Juan Carlos – For now, the tour planning is in progress. We are still pretty rusty from being away and
not practicing, but I am excited for writing new material.
Well, I guess that’s enough of annoying questions for you! Thanks a million for the
interview, and if there’s anything more you want to say, now’s your chance...
Nick Feratu – These questions were great! I’d just like to say thanks to all who’ve read this far, and
thanks to you Jesse for doing this interview
Juan Carlos – The questions were quite entertaining actually. I hope to get a copy of this!
NickDave – Thanks to all that support what we do and for the support of the scene itself, and thanks
for these fantastic questions.