Staff Writer: Rena Danho
Do you like local bands but have no idea how to find them?
Are you new to the Dartmouth area but still want to get to know the local musicians?
Do you like going to concerts but hate driving an hour out to Boston and an hour back?
Then I know the perfect band for you that meets you in the middle.
Counter Culture is a local band made up of four members: Zack Moore as lead singer, Dan Chabot playing the guitar, Matthew Viveiros on the drums, and lastly Mathieu DeBronzo playing bass.
You may have heard of this band from their performance during an open mic night at the UMass Dartmouth Campus Center, but if you missed out on that, don’t worry – they have upcoming shows.
I had the privilege of interviewing this band, so here is everything you need to know about Counter Culture before you see them live.
How did the band start?
Moore: “It started when we heard about a call for live music at a Halloween event. So I decided that I wanted to get a band together to do a show. I had wanted to start a band for a while, and I knew that DeBronzo had played bass because we went to school together, and this kid, Alex hooked me up with Chabot as a drummer. We had another kid with us to play bass, but he ended up not working out.
So Halloween comes, and I’m on vocals. DeBronzo is on lead guitar, Chabot is drumming, and then the other kid is on bass. He broke a string before we even started, and it got to the point where we’re just like, ‘you know what dude, just unplug and have fun.’ We played with two guitars, a drummer, and a super-inexperienced vocalist. After performing in front of people like that for the first time, we got hooked.
Then after the show, we recruited Viveiros. I’ve known him for a long time, and I knew that he plays the drums, but I had no idea what level he was on until we went over to practice with him for the first time. I was completely fucking blown away.”
You mentioned your experience performing live. Can you go into that?
Moore: “It’s not bittersweet, but there’s this sense that no matter how confident I am, I’m always nervous. But then, as soon as we rip into that first song, we’re rolling. We’re all just in our element.
At first, we didn’t know how Viveiros was going to be because he had never performed in front of anyone at all. Chabot and I would always say to each other, ‘I bet you he just needs five minutes of live performance and he’s gonna be hooked.’
And DeBronzo, you did School of Rock, so you had done a couple of shows before. Chabot’s been playing since-”
Chabot: “I’ve done a couple of church shows.”
Moore: “And I was in an eighth-grade talent show.”
How many live shows have you guys played?
Viveiros: “Two up to this point.”
Chabot: “Yeah, it was an open mic at the school and that Halloween party.”
How was performing on campus for the open mic?
Chabot: “It was so much fun. It was all our friends, kids Viveiros knows from Roger Williams University, and pretty much everyone I know on campus.”
How long did you play for?
Chabot: “It was 30 minutes for the real set. And then someone shouted encore. So we have an extra 15 minutes of noodling bullshit. We didn’t have any encores planned at all.”
Would you guys perform on campus again?
Viveiros: “Yeah, I thought it was awesome.”
Chabot: “I would love to put together a bigger open mic night. They’re super fun, and doing a bigger performance would be amazing.”
“Do you guys have any more shows planned?”
Chabot: “Yes. We have one on April 7th at Bad Fit in Providence, one on April 23rd at Alchemy in Providence, and then May 1st at Dusk in Providence. A little Providence tour.”
I know you guys only have one song on Spotify out right now. But do you think that “Dirty Bong” is a good gateway into the rest of your music? Should it represent you guys as a band?
DeBronzo: “Our style changes a lot in a cohesive way, but it’s definitely a good entry-level song. I think it’s more accessible.”
Chabot: “It’s a starting point. I love playing that song, especially live.”
Moore: “We had two songs, and we were debating which one we should drop. We had ‘Break Your Neck’ or ‘Dirty Bong.’
‘Break your Neck’ is thrashy, punky, and a lot faster. We wanted something that was a little more outside of the box.”
Chabot: “Drop the catchy alt-rock song and then come out with a punk song.”
Viveiros: “The name turns heads.”
What is the process for writing?
Viveiros: “It’s magical. Someone will play something, and then it starts a whole new riff or idea. We don’t even talk. We just hear it and just play it out. Once we wrap it up, we’re just like, alright, let’s just continue practicing. But let me just record that real quick. You know, we just kind of sit on it to revisit.”
Chabot: “I think my favorite part of writing is that we never shut down ideas. Every time someone’s like, ‘let’s try this,’ we always try it, even if we can’t see it at the moment.”
Moore: “I think that’s what makes our songs so catchy. We try everything. And all of our songs aren’t just one person’s song. Everyone has a say. I’ll say something, and then Viveiros will add his part, DeBronzo will add his part, and Chabot will add his part.
I’m not afraid to say, ‘Dan, I know you can play something better.’ And I know that he knows that it’s not a personal jab and that I trust him, and he knows that I wouldn’t say that unless I meant it.”
Do you all contribute to the lyrics?
Chabot: “Oh, we all have.”
Moore: “With most of the songs, I’ll write a chorus or something short and then everyone else adds in.”
Chabot: “He’s definitely like the main writer, but we all build on it.”
Are you guys releasing more music soon?
Chabot: “Absolutely. We have ‘Break Your Neck’ all ready to go. And then we have four other songs ready for an EP that we’re going to hopefully produce and put out as early as possible this summer. We have a bunch of other stuff that we’re writing, too.”
Moore: “We’ve started a plethora of ideas.”
Viveiros: “No shortage of ideas.”
Are there any artists that inspire you?
Viveiros: “We all come from different musical tastes. We all have a lot of bands that we like in common, but I can hear the Foo Fighters when I hear Chabot play, and Moore loves Nirvana.”
I know Chabot, you go to UMass Dartmouth, and Moore was committed here at one point.
Moore: “I was going to go here, yeah. That head administrator of the music department said that I didn’t have the talent. I told her that I’ve only been playing for a year, and she said that they wanted someone who has dedicated more of their life to playing, someone who’s taken lessons, this and that. She said that I shouldn’t apply as a music major and should focus on other studies with music as a side gig.”
Is it hard to find a balance between going to school and making music?
Chabot: “We live pretty far apart. Zack lives in Bristol and then both Viveiros and DeBronzo are in Attleboro, but Viveiros goes to Roger Williams University, so most of the time we will meet up at Rogers when he gets out of class.”
Viveiros: “It helps being at Rogers because they have a band room.”
Chabot: “We definitely have struggles with finding time because of the distance.”
Where do you want to be a year from now?
Chabot: “As big as we can be.”
Viveiros: “I’d love to play more gigs.”
Chabot: “Go as far as we can.”
Moore: “Run the local scene.”
DeBronzo: “It would be cool to be like, very well known in New England. See how far we can take it.”
Chabot: “Next Boston Calling, on Orange Stage if not Green stage.”