Feb 7, 2023
A Nonconformist Sound
All musicians and bands draw inspiration from others, and often you will find hints of those influences scattered throughout their music. For Subliminal Landmines, though, their new sound hints at nonconformity and is one that is uniquely their own. If you like good, loud, punk rock, this band is for you.
Taking a cue from Green Day, who are just one of their influences, these guys have solidified a solid line-up and continue to evolve as musicians and friends. Initially possessing a sound reminiscent of the Riddlin Kids, complete with catchy hooks and choruses, the sound of their new material takes on a harder edge with more of a skate/punk vibe. I was lucky enough to hear some of the new material, and I cannot wait until everyone else can check it out, too, because it is killer.
Fronted by Grant Duhon on guitar with Chris Hayes on bass and Casey Bateman on drums, the men of Subliminal Landmines prove they are more than just another punk band. Each member brings an interesting dynamic and personality to the mix for a truly well-rounded listening experience best heard with the volume turned all the way up.
The release of 2020’s “Gibberish” saw Subliminal Landmines forging their way into an over-saturated market during the height of COVID-19 but, truth be told, this album is distinct and unlike anything else out there.
If I had to pick one vocalist to compare Grant’s sound with, I just can’t. Truly. In fact, the writer in me wants to bring you these snazzy descriptive words for him, but they escape me. His voice is smooth and edgy and just what you’d expect to hear in a punk band, but yet, does not sound like anyone else. He possesses a style all his own.
Chris has more of the classic punk vibe going for him, complete with a bad-ass wardrobe and an even more idiosyncratic personality. He exemplifies what it means to be punk rock and, in his other life, owns Leviathan Studios, a tattoo shop in Baton Rouge, La., where he has inked more people than I have purses and shoes. With a flair for art and individuality, Chris possesses a strong stage presence and an even larger-than-life persona.
Casey rounds out the band on drums, and this dude hits those drums so hard, you feel their vibrations through your clothes clean into your soul. He’s really good and oozes talent, not to mention he is a Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Props, my dude.
I had the pleasure of hanging with these guys recently to talk about everything from music, influences, and sound to why Chris owns “Twilight” on DVD but refuses to watch it, and everywhere in between.
A bad-ass, eccentric mix of classic punk rock is how I would describe Subliminal Landmines. Be sure to find their music and jam out as soon as you finish reading this article. You’ll thank me later.
MaM: So, you guys formed in 2017, but you (looks at Chris) were NOT a part of that.
CH: Yes, formed in 2017, but the band has been around for a long time … We’re trying to push what we are doing now, and there have been several changes, but this is the core group now.
MaM: Chris, I know you personally from working with you back in the day but give me a brief background on you for our readers. What’s your age?
CH: Do I have to give my real one?
MaM: It would be nice, ideally. (laughs)
CH: I mean, I identify as, like 26, but …
MaM: Well, you’re a couple years younger than me, and I’m 41, so …
CH: I’m, uh, 37. I’m a baby, remember? I’m a tattoo artist professionally, and I play bass in the band. Grant and I both sing. Hell, Casey sings now, too. It’s really a three-way entourage going on.
MaM: Chris, who do you cite as your influence with your playing? Please don’t say Sid Vicious. (laughs)
CH: No, uh, singing-wise, yeah, we’re in the same range vocally. (laughs) It’s kind of a funny thing. A lot of the way I play, if you talk about it, like how I play bass … I started out getting into a lot of basslines from, like, Tool and then some more funky basslines like Gap Band and stuff like that, but that’s not how I play in this band. I bring more technical melodies to this band but more in that punk vein. I’d say as far as that vein of influences, it’d be more Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, and I don’t really know.
MaM: Ok, let’s talk gear. What’s your favorite bass to play and what type of gear do you use?
CH: I’m a big fan of neck-through basses. That’s always been a thing for me. I always end up going back to an old 90s Peavey Unity neck-through body. I’ve had that since, like, the 6th grade, so over 20+ years. I’ve stripped it down, rebuilt it, and made it all my own. Most gear I try to customize it and make it my own.
MaM: Ok, so now, Grant, tell the readers a little about yourself.
GD: So, I’m Grant. I’m 27, and I’m unemployed. (laughs) Got fired on the 2nd day of this year, so I got to start my new year without a job. (laughs)
MaM: Well, what were you doing before you got fired?
GD: I was managing a smoothie place in Carencro, La., and I had been working for them since college, but I did that for about four or five years, did the band, got married, and had two kids. I have a son who is two, and a daughter who is about to be one.
MaM: So, you’re only 27?
CH: Oh yeah, I got a kid, too.
MaM: I know you have a kid. (laughs)
CH: Well, I feel like an asshole if I don’t mention it since he mentioned his. (laughs)
GD: Yeah, so the world is kind of just open with opportunity right now, and I’m just trying to decide what I want to do. I kind of want to be more in the kitchen if I do something, like maybe be a chef or manage a kitchen or something like that.
MaM: Go to school for that.
GD: Yeah, exactly. Culinary school. I just want to find something short term, though, to bridge the gap, but I’ve been playing guitar since I was eight years old. Self-taught, no lessons or anything. One of our main influences for me—and you can hear it in our music—is Green Day. Writing style, performance … [I] kind of just took some of that from them. ‘American Idiot’ is one of the first albums I heard by them when I was eight.
MaM: Oh my gosh, that makes me feel old.
GD: I ended up, though, going back to listen to some of their older stuff, like ‘Dookie’ and ‘Nimrod’, but out of all of those that influenced me, it would be ‘Dookie,’ ‘Nimrod,’ and ‘Insomniac.’ Each of those albums has a distinct sound for the era they were in. I did listen to a lot of Hoobastank growing up, too, and my mom listened to a lot of Creed.
MaM: Chris just made a funny face.
CH: I’m making all the freakin’ faces at Grant talking. Like, stop talking.
GD: Just kind of saying what was around me as a child (looks at Chris), but as I’ve gotten older, my choices have changed.
MaM: Hey, we all went through a Creed phase. No judgement. (laughs) Don’t knock ‘em!
GD: I started writing my own songs at nine and even played in front of my 5th grade class with one of my friends, who played the drums.
MaM: Wait, what did you guys play?
GD: So, we played some original songs I had written. Did that. As I turned 17, I was focused on college and didn’t play for a couple of years, but when I dropped out of college, I picked the guitar back up and then got the band started, which, 2017 is when the band really got started with me and my friend, Zack, who is now in the Marines, and I told him, ‘Dude, I really want to get a band going,’ and we walked around Lafayette and put up signs looking for a drummer and bassist and eventually, we found some people [and] time passed. [P]eople come and people go, and now we have the line-up we have currently.
MaM: What type of guitar do you prefer playing?
GD: I have a guitar that was a Christmas present—my first guitar when I was eight. It’s a knock-off Fender guitar that you buy from Guitar Center for $199. It has the white pick guard with the tan to black(ish) fade like a lot of the original Fenders have, and it has stickers plastered all over it.
CH: Cherry sunburst?
GD: Yeah, whatever color you’re looking for. That’s the one I used to play with, and it still works to this day, but what I’m playing with right now is an Ibanez that I took apart and kind of pieced together and made my own. It’s dark blue … new knobs, new bridge, got some locking tuners put on it. I would say it’s a Frankenstein guitar, but it’s new besides the body, so it’s not a bunch of used parts. That’s what I play with. Amp-wise I have a 4 x 12 Orange Cab I play with, and I have the Orange Crush Pro head for it. I don’t really use any pedals; I use a distortion Senders pedal and a tuning pedal. Keep it simple.
MaM: So, (looks at Casey), tell me a little more about you.
CB: So, I am Casey Bateman. I’m 32. Grew up in St. Amant. Started playing music around the house because of my dad. I got my own drum kit when I was 12, which is the one I’m playing on today. I started percussion in middle school [and] played in the marching band, but when I got out of high school, [I] went into the Marine Corps and played in the Marine Corps band—played in that for four years. That’s where I learned drum set, percussion, and random things.
CB: Yeah, scalping, too. (laughs) Sure.
MaM: Much respect for your service, thank you.
CB: After that, I was in a bunch of random bands—cover bands. I guess the biggest one I was in was in Denver. It was a reggae band, which is really cool, because it was the only band I was able to play shows with in other states.
MaM: What would you say your musical influences are, as far as genre?
CB: Genre? Growing up I was into metal and rap. Eventually, I got my drum set and discovered Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance. I still love those bands, too. I was super into Travis Barker back in the day.
MaM: (Us, too, Casey.) Too bad he had to marry a Kardashian, right?!
CH: They’ll be divorced soon. Only a matter of time.
CB: Like him, though, I try to be choppy, and I was inspired by that. I’m really into metal. Like the Acacia Strain and Hatebreed. I think I bring a Hatebreed-type of aggressiveness to my playing.
CH: I feel you bring a bit of the Creed and Hoobastank vibe into the band.
CB: (laughs) Yeah, I also play jazz drums. I play that around town and I’m actually in a jazz band called Florida Street Blowhards. They’re a bunch of old jazz heads and we just play some music every now and then, and I don’t exactly use those chops here with this band, but it’s fun. When I was in Denver, I actually played in the Denver Nuggets drumline for a while, and it was really fun. I did that for about three years and that inspired me to get back into music, [so] I started my music education degree, and I’m at LSU now, about to finish. I graduate this fall and will be finished by the end of the year.
CH: Wait, so Denver has a team called the Nuggets?
CB: Yeah, it used to be the Golden Nuggets. Not what you’re meaning.
CH: I mean, Colorado is, like, the #1 state for legalizing weed, so how appropriate they would name their team the Nuggets.
CB: Their mascot was this, like, miner.
CH: Now it’s like a hippie? Looks like Jerry Garcia?
CB: It’s quite convenient how that worked out.
MaM: So, do you feel your fans have been receptive to your sound so far and with what you are trying to accomplish?
GD: I definitely feel that this past year they have been. The energy that Casey brings to the band is new, and then Chris and I are really finding our niche playing together. All three of us [are] synching up. The way crowds have reacted to us this past year has been way different than previous years. We’re more involved with them, but they’re more receptive with wanting to hear us play, and it’s a good feeling.
CH: You know what I just realized? Every single show we’ve had for the past year, like the past five or six shows, we’ve had the entire crowd go, ‘Uhhhh!’ (makes moaning noise).
MaM: Uh huh, and how did you manage that?
CH: We literally paused the song and hit the crowd with a, ‘Can I get a uhhhh?!’.
GD: They usually all do it back.
MaM: How would you describe your sound? I made a note about your music and that it sounds like Blink 182 with an edge. Would you agree with that?
CH: The last album we put out, I could agree with that, but with the new stuff we are doing, we’re moving away from that sound.
MaM: So, what would you say you’re evolving towards with your current sound?
CH: I really couldn’t give you something to compare it to, off hand, but it’s just progressed more into an aggressive style. It’s got a heavier edge than before. We’re pushing faster, heavier, and more technical.
MaM: So, you don’t want to be as poppy as before?
GD: We’re moving away from the pop punk.
CH: Yeah, we’re pushing away from the older music and moving towards the newer stuff we’re doing.
MaM: If you could give me one band that your new stuff compares to, who would it be?
CH: It’s more in the vein of the skate/punk vibe or more traditional punk, like Pennywise.
MaM: So, do you guys have any aspirations for the future? Do you want to do this full time, or do you want to keep it as more of a hobby?
CH: I’ve always looked at it as if you’re gonna play in a band, you need to approach it professionally, but we’re not making money at this. Any money earned is put back into the band. You know you can throw us some more risky questions, just saying.
MaM: Ok, so, what was this you said earlier about you being a movie buff who owns “Twilight” on DVD, yet you will NOT watch it? Why even spend the money? (laughs)
CH: ‘Cause it’s a movie and I collect movies, but people don’t buy DVDs anymore. Very few. They’re actually losing money on that. I’m buying it for the studios so they’ll keep making movies, but they just can’t keep making THAT movie.
MaM: Ok, well that leads me to … name one guilty pleasure band or artist that is in your music collection.
CH: Oingo Boingo.
MaM: That’s not a terrible band. That’s actually a really good band.
CH: Oh, you mean that I don’t listen to?
MaM: No, that you don’t want people to know you listen to. Like, if they saw it, you would be like, “That’s not mine. Someone put that there.”
CH: Honestly, I wouldn’t be ashamed of any of the music I listen to. I listen to weird shit. (laughs) I do have a lot of stuff that people would be surprised of, but nothing to be embarrassed of. I have shit like Patsy Cline and stuff.
GD: I kind of feel the same way, but I can’t pinpoint it to an exact artist.
CH: It’s easier for you because you own the newer Green Day albums. (laughs)
GD: I guess the later Green Day I can’t really get behind. (laughs) I do listen to it, though, but I don’t exactly enjoy it. (laughs) I guess, though, if I had to pinpoint an artist, then it would probably be NBA Youngboy.
MaM: Can’t say I have any of that in my music collection.
GD: Like, I enjoy some of the stuff he has put out, but I can’t say that I listen to rap these days.
MaM: Well, any closing words?
CH: You know how there is pull-apart monkey bread with the cinnamon on it?
MaM: Yeah …
CH: Why don’t we just call it Simian rolls?
To check out all that is Subliminal Landmines, head on over to their various pages and listen NOW! New material coming soon, as they guys are currently mixing the new stuff.
Questions or comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.