Contributor’s Note: Folk Punk occupies a certain place in my heart. I was a huge fan of bands like Ghost Mice and Defiance, Ohio growing up and Andrew Jackson Jihad is one of my favorite of all time. It isn’t easy to seamless blend the instrumentation of folk music with the crazy energy of punk music, yet Danielle Kolker seems to do just that. Out of System Transfer is a crucial band for the 21st century. Fans can find Out Of System Transfer at the following locations:
You guys play this frenetic, super exciting folk punk music in a sea of dudes wearing leather jackets trying to be The Strokes. How is your music typically received? Do you have to be more discerning about what shows you take?
We try to be upfront in the booking process about who we are and what we do, so hopefully most people who aren’t sympatico to our politics won’t even respond. We seek out bookers who are women, queer, and/or who we know like to work with bands like us so that we feel safe and comfortable playing our songs. Typically people are very positive and responsive to our message. We do try to tailor our set and our banter to the audience, but we won’t compromise on our overall political agenda. We have had to turn a couple shows down because they wanted us to not be political – the worst is when they argue with us and convince us to play when we wouldn’t feel welcome, anyway!
Folk and punk music are two of the most politically outspoken genres of music. How do you incorporate politics into your shows? Do you feel a need to be more political than other bands because of the type of music you’re playing?
Our songs have political messages and we try to explain them in our banter between songs. We try to tie current issues in and shout out to any ongoing movements or actions. Lately we’ve invited local grassroots activist organizations to table at our NYC shows. We also picked up a bunch of zines at our show in Hillsborough, NC thanks to our friend Hailey, who put the show together, and we’ve had them on our merch table for people to check out while we’re on tour.
As far as being pressured to be political, I feel like it’s almost the other way around. We kind of fell into the folkpunk thing because we write politically charged music and it was a more natural fit. There’s plenty to be angry about and plenty to sing about. I have so many amazing activist friends who do incredible work, and they inspire me to be a better activist myself and walk the walk.
You started off this year with an enormous DIY tour, how did you put it together? What are some of the highlights? Points?
We made a tentative route with dates and then started off booking the places where we already had contacts. This is our third national tour so it was fairly easy to book most places we’ve played before. The hardest part was probably booking in Florida, which was all new territory, but we filled almost a whole week down there and mostly had great shows. I (Danielle) do basically all of our booking. I email or facebook message local bookers, bands, and venues. Usually if someone can’t help me they can point me to someone who can. I’ve found it’s very important to follow up with people, since bookers and venues usually receive like a million emails or messages a day. Sometimes diy bands feel weird about following up, like they don’t want to bother bookers, but if you’re polite and confident then most people are happy to be reminded! Spreadsheets for keeping track of show status, contacts, etc, are really useful, too.
We really enjoyed playing in Ft Myers, Florida at Beach Records. They have a wonderful, supportive community and it was a total surprise hit of a show. We aren’t even halfway through this tour yet, so we’ll see about other highlights! But we’re excited to link up with friends Ludlow on the West Coast and do a few shows in California with them, especially at the historic 924 Gilman in Berkeley.
How is DIY touring different from what people imagine?
Lots of spreadsheets! Also lots of highs and lows. Sometimes you go from playing for a bunch of friends to playing for no one. You can feel like a total rock star one day and a total nothing the next. Something that continues to blow me away is how amazingly generous people can be. It makes my heart feel so full to think about the friends we’ve made who open up their homes to us, pay (sometimes more than we ask!) for our merch, share our music, cook for us…we have a truly wonderful worldwide community and I deeply appreciate their support.
How will your next album be different from what you’ve put out before?
We’re hoping to release it on vinyl! We have a lot more weird and creepy songs – something about our current political climate has spurred us to write a lot of songs of horror and dread.
And there you have it! Out Of System Transfer has some gig dates coming up. Check out the dates below:
Tue. 2/19- House Show in San Diego, California
Thu. 2/21- Trunk Space in Phoenix, Arizona
Fri. 2/22- Roach Ranch in Tucson, Arizona
Sat. 2/23- Eyeconic Records and Apparel in Las Cruces, New Mexico
Sun. 2/24- The Zephyr in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wed. 2/27-Seventh Circle in Denver, Colorado
Thu. 2/28- Kirby’s Beer Store in Wichita, Kansas
Sat. 3/2- Music at Ft. Smith in Fort Smith, Arkansas
Sun. 3/3- The Lamplighter in Memphis, Tennessee
Mon. 3/4- Crossroads at Trenzilore in Murfeesboro, Tennessee
Tue. 3/5- OPEN Community Arts Center in Louisville, Kentucky
Wed. 3/6- The Queer Agenda in Charleston, West Virginia
Thu. 3/7- the Keep in Washington D.C.
Fri. 3/8- Do It Now T-Shirts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For tickets and further information on any of the shows listed above, click here.