In 2019 former DAG NASTY bandmates Doug Carrion and Peter Cortner formed FIELD DAY, a melodic punk rock band from southern California. One year later the band the released the “2.0” single and the “Opposite Land” EP on Revelation and Unity Worldwide. Right now the band is in the studio recording new material. This interview was done with Doug Carrion (vocals and bass) in May, 2021 via e-mail.
FIELD DAY was formed two years ago, in 2019. Who is in the band, how did you guys meet and how would you describe your music? Doug: FIELD DAY members are Peter Cortner on vocals, Doug Carrion on vocals and Bass, Shay Merhdad on guitar and Kevin Avery on drums. Peter and I met on tour when I was in the DESCENDENTS and he was in DAG NASTY. Eventually, I joined DAG NASTY and we recorded “Wig Out At Denko’s” for Dischord Records and “Field Day” for Giant Records. I was introduced to Kevin Avery through mutual friends connected to THE LOCUST and Ipecac Records. Shay Merhdad and I met through a friend in Chicago. FIELD DAY sounds like a fast melodic punk band or West Coast meets East Coast hardcore or skate punk… I’m not sure what to call it, but it’s sonically in that direction.
You are in the studio at the moment recording a new album. How far are you into the recording process and can you share any information about the record? Doug: FIELD DAY is 100% a live band and 100% a studio band. Since Covid hit, we’ve stayed extremely active writing and recording the entire time. Our goal is to put out new music every 6 months. We have a tendency to write and record in groups of 3 to 5 songs at a time. I’m not sure people have the time to sit down and listen to the entire record these days, so we primarily focus on singles and EP’s. As I’m writing this, we are done with all the music for the next three songs and done with one vocal. The process of writing and recording is a long answer, but I will try and sum it for you and your readers.
Last year you released the “Opposite Land” EP and the “2.0” single on Unity Worldwide Records. How did you end up on the label and will you stay with them for the next release? Doug: I knew Joe Foster (IGNITE) from way back in the day. Right at the beginning, when we started Field Day Joe asked me if I’d like to talk with his partner Sven from Unity Worldwide in Germany about releasing music. When Covid hit, we decided to focus our energy on writing and recording. Once we had music recorded, I shared some music with him and Sven and we just went from there. We have a great relationship with UWW and would like to continue with them as our European partner for as long as possible.
What is the meaning of the “Opposite Land” title and how does it connect to your time touring with the DESCENDENTS and DAG NASTY in the 80s? Doug: The term Opposite Land comes from an idea I had about comparing the music scene in the 80’s to today. It’s 100% the opposite, so it was like living in Opposite Land. Back then there literally was no structure and you had to figure things out on your own. There were no cell phones, punk festivals, warped tour, it was DIY.
Could you ever imagine going back to Opposite Land? Was there an event or a moment from that time period that brings a smile to your face when you think about it? Doug: Hmm.. In a way FIELD DAY still is in Opposite Land. We are fiercely independent, drive our own ship and make vertical and lateral moves hourly. We live in the gray area of being a new project with a legacy attached to us and have never lost sight of hustling in order to make stuff happen. As for going back… I don’t think it’s possible. The punk music scene, how records are made, how bands promote, the way bands tour, all that has changed. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. I can tell you this, I thank god for GPS :) now we never get lost on our way to the venue.
Both you and Peter are the vocalists in the band, who is writing the lyrics to the songs? Do recent and current events influence you in your songwriting? Doug: We both write the lyrics. Sometimes a song might be more Peter heavy or more Doug heavy but we’ve come to a place where we rely on each other to make a song better. We don’t have much ego about it, we just start talking and sharing lyrics and modifying along the way. For me I’m influenced by everything past, present and future. I’m constantly questioning where I am, how I’m affecting other people, if I am growing intellectually on and on.
FIELD DAY was gaining a lot of momentum and you had a lot of plans when the pandemic hit. How did it affect the band and you personally when everything came to a halt? Doug: It was a big adjustment but we went about it in a rational sort of way. We couldn’t control what was going to happen or when so we just put our energy into what we could do to stay productive and not lose too much momentum. We focused all our energy on recording and releasing music. Yes we had to cancel shows and that sucked, but we just kept the PMA and remained focused on new music and the future. Like grabbing the fruit closest to the ground. We are in the process of rebooking shows and feel like we will be right back to it pretty soon.
You were born in Queens, NY but moved to California at a young age. What was it like growing up in Hermosa Beach and being part of that early 80s punk rock culture? Doug: Kind of over the top, very dangerous, lots of fun, great bands, zillions of shows it was rocking but hard to find good coffee.
Which bands turned you on to punk rock music and at what age did you first start playing in a band? Doug: BLACK FLAG, CIRCLE JERKS, MINOR THREAT, MISFITS, DEAD KENNEDYS, X, RAMONES, all that was huge. I’d say it was a progression that started at 13 and kept building. I first picked up a guitar around 14/15 and just kept playing.
The DESCENDENTS is one of the most influential bands in the punk rock scene. Do you have any regrets about leaving the band and what is your relationship with the band today? Doug: Not at all. Even to this day we remain great friends. In fact we are both playing Punk Rock Bowling 2021 and planning to hang out over the weekend.
There is obviously a strong connection between DAG NASTY and FIELD DAY. How much did your time in DAG NASTY influence you as a musician and how much of that has carried over into FIELD DAY? Doug: Every time you’re in a band you learn something (or at least I do). In the case of Dag Nasty, when I was in the band I was booking all the shows and handling most of the band business, so I learned a ton of useful information that still applies to what I’m doing with FIELD DAY today.
Besides playing guitar, bass and singing in punk rock bands you also composed and edited music for movies and television. How did that come about? Doug: One of the zillion things I’ve done in music is write songs for film and television. When I wasn’t in a band I spent all my time in the studio writing. I’m also involved in the publishing world which is a whole other story.
How difficult is it for you to reconcile family life and band obligations? What do your kids think about the band? Are they fans of your music? Doug: They know I travel and play music so we work together as a unit to balance everything. We do lots of FaceTime calls when I’m on the road and that makes life easier compared to back in the day. Neither of my kids are MUSIC fanatics so for them it’s just something I do and it’s not a big deal. The only time it’s slightly awkward for them is when I’m with my family and someone wants to take a picture. “Dad… did you know that guy? Why’d he want to take a picture with you?” I think their friends are more fans then they are… ha!!
With everything (hopefully) returning back to normal, what are your plans for the rest of the year? Any chance for a European tour in the future? Doug: We were slated to come over to Europe in Oct/Nov 2021 but that got canceled due to Covid but I think we have our sights on coming over twice in 2022. We’re playing Punk Rock Bowling Sept 25 and plan on doing shows in States Oct and Nov. We have a new single coming out May 28th that can be found digitally on BandCamp, iTunes and at the usual places and is also released on vinyl as part of the “Strength Thru Unity” compilation with COMEBACK KID, SICK OF IT ALL, YOUTH OF TODAY, DEATH BY STEREO etc. The vinyl is coming out via Unity Worldwide, distributed by Cortex in Europe and RevHQ in the states. I think we might put out another EP in Nov or Spring 2022… that’s kinda up in the air at the moment, but new music is always coming out.