Culture Shock's Geoff Diederich on straight-edge and why Denver can be boring
Hardcore bands are often the sum of their members' influences. Not so with Culture Shock: The band's music, lyrics and imagery come almost exclusively from the mind of frontman and founder Geoff Diederich. "The whole point of this band was to try and sound like SSD [Society System Decontrol] if they had made a record between Kids Will Have Their Say and Get It Away," says Diederich. "When you listen to those songs, they're angry and desperate and weird, and oftentimes they don't even make sense."
Culture Shock's demo cover.
Using the early SSD catalogue and 1980s American hardcore as his touchstones, Diederich has set out to re-create the sounds of the violent, ignorant and indignant youth of a generation past. "I always felt like the bands of the '80s had it down," he says. "Their records sounded confused, as if they had the feelings but no idea how to process them. It felt like when you were a kid. I think it's rare nowadays to get that feeling from a band, that confusion, so that's what we went for."
A native of Ohio -- a place separated from Colorado not just by distance, but also by attitude -- Diederich spent much of last year working on his doctoral thesis at the University of Denver while channeling his frustrations with his new home into the Culture Shock demo. "I come from Cleveland, which is not a huge city for straight-edge hardcore, but substance use there was different. People got violent when they drank at shows, and you got worried about people getting into drugs. In Denver, it all just seems sterile. People smoke weed and act like mountain hippies and talk about microbrews. To me, it's infuriatingly boring. I think that's what really pushed me into this over-the-top mode -- how normal and blasé it all was."