Recently I had the chance to conduct an interview with one of the coolest dudes in music, Adam Witner of No Service Project, an awesome band that can’t be classified. Check it out to learn more about No Service Project’s start, their music, and their future!
Hi, guys! Please introduce yourself and your project, and tell us a bit about it!
My name is Adam Witner, I direct my expressive energies through stringed instruments (mostly guitars) and by writing and singing lyrics for the project. I started the band in October of 2001 when I was sixteen years old in northeastern Pennsylvania, after being arrested with our original bass player Joe Conrad. (which inspired one of our first songs, Small Town Cops) Our earliest sounds were a composite of hardcore, punk-rock and ska bands with a lot of raspy vocals and socio-political messages in our lyrics.
How would you classify No Service Project? Which artists do you cite as your main influences?
No Service Project is a living organism that grows, matures and evolves through its lifespan. Though our sound was once more strictly in the vain of ska-punk, and crust-punk bands like Operation Ivy, Choking Victim and even Rancid, it has since become an outlet for a plethora of our ever changing musical tastes. We’ve incorporated varied styles and influences in as seamless a way as possible. As we get older (myself being nearly twenty-eight now) we find ourselves experimenting a lot more with folk, industrial, bluegrass, Latin, metal, electronic and of course reggae, which has always been at the root of our music. Even in our most rocking punk songs, hints of reggae can be found hidden in the layers of our rhythm guitars or organ pieces.
I’m currently in the middle of a 600+ page biography on Tom Waits, who is turning out to be one of the most important artists in my life. He inspires me to remove the filter once in a while. Sometimes the most valuable gems can slip through the sifter unconsciously, and it’s always a good idea to triple-check your work, just to make sure you got it all.
Describe your music in one sentence!
How about one word? Groove.
You are playing a free show at the Park in Nazareth with Mad Conductor on August 3rd! How did that come about, and how did you end up on the card? What makes you want to play shows for free?
We’re all very excited about the show in Nazareth on August 3rd. We’ve been great friends with MC Devlin (Chris Tray) since he was in No-Cash a decade ago. We used to play shows with them constantly, and once he started the Mad Conductor, we were the first band to load up the van and tour the country with them. We happily did several tours together as we were huge fans of his music. On some of the longer tours, I was even in the Mad Conductor as the guitarist.
We played the very first free show Chris did at the Nazareth Park back in 2006 in between tours. That was on my twenty-first birthday. I’m looking forward to this one even more than that! We don’t mind playing a free show every once in a while, as long as we know it’s going to be an amazing show, like this one. We have a reciprocal relationship with our fans because we cherish them dearly. We like to give them free presents when we can as a thank you for a decade plus of support and loyalty. That’s the same reason we do our podcast called No Service ProjCast, and make it available for free on our website (noseeviceproject.com) and on iTunes, despite its significant cost to ourselves. We love you guys!
What, in your opinion, is the most vital aspect of a performance when playing a live show?
For me personally, the energy that bounces back and forth between the band and the crowd is like a volley-ball match from hell. Everything we can load up, crank up, and fire off at the crowd gets spiked right back into our faces. We love interacting with our friends in the crowd and we end up becoming big fans of the fans themselves. The crowd at any particular show in any particular town can literally make or break the show for us. Even when we’ve had to play to only three people, we’ve had the time of our lives because they kicked us in the teeth with energy.
Where are you based out of?
Currently: Philadelphia Originally: The Poconos
Does No Service Project ever tour?
Yes, whenever we can afford to. Getting older means exponential personal responsibility expansion, however we are always trying to travel as much as possible. It’s difficult at this moment because we are without a van.
Are there any upcoming tours or shows that you can let us in on?
August 24th we’re playing in Buffalo, NY. There are always lots of shows in development and they can be found listed on our website (noserviceproject.com) or any social media site. We’re on them all.
Where do you plan on taking No Service Project in the future? Tell us a little about your goals for the group!
We would all be bashful to admit that our dream has always been to make a living off of our music. In today’s world though, those waters make for incredibly challenging navigation. I’m just happy that we are still creating and performing music for this long. I’m really proud of our twelve years together so far. As long as the music is always evolving and growing with us, I’m happy.