The Fredericton Punk Scene
by Kieran S.
Beneath the dim lights there is a mosh pit full of trusting friends and avid punk listeners. They push each other as they dance and scream in a fit of excitement. Though the music sounds angry, each person feels a rush of happiness as their lips stretch into a smile. These are the moments they live for. At the front of the room is the band who is smashing out the harsh sounds and screams that echo throughout the room. They pound the ears of their fans with the blaring songs that they’ve practiced over and over.
You will often find Seger Dow at the back of these bands smashing his cymbals and drums, though if his banging drums aren’t to be heard he will surely be found in the mosh pit of any given punk or metal show in Fredericton. Dow is in several steady bands at the moment including Choke Chain, a noisy d-beat hardcore band, DMIA, a joke thrash/hardcore band, and 1947, which is a two piece powerviolence band. Dow mainly plays drums, but he plays bass in 1947.
Dow draws influence from bands such as Thou, Minor Threat, Void, Spazz, Crossed Out, Iron Lung, Vile Intent, Ash Borer, and Lake of Blood. Though he loves punk and metal music, Dow is also heavily influenced by hip-hop collectives such as Sean Price, MF Doom, Nas, Mos Def, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, and Kendrick Lamar.
“Punk has changed my life forever and it has introduced me to everything that is now part of my life,” said Dow, “but hip-hop is definitely one of my favorite genres.”
Dow also enjoys many local bands and can often be seen at shows of all different types around Fredericton.
“I absolutely love Hex Gurlz, The Lee Harvey Oswalds, Margo Margo, and Josh Bravener,” said Dow, “but one of my all time favorite bands, who just happen to be from Fredericton, are The Floogs. The way they blend so many different genres of music together is incredible. There is no other band like them.”
The Fredericton music scene is certainly a very enriched one, but there isn’t a perfect amount of certain genres. Dow thinks that the Fredericton scene is great, but it depends on what type of music you want to hear.
“If you’re into punk there is definitely some really good bands,” said Dow, “but the scene really only consists of about five bands. Metal isn’t that good here. If you’re looking for folk/ indie stuff we have a surplus of bands and solo artists who rule. There’s really only one rapper from here that is any good and his name is Monark, and he’s really good and is worth checking out for sure.”
The Fredericton Music scene is exceptional when compared to other Atlantic cities, but Dow thinks that the punk scene is largely neglected and frowned upon by venues and other musicians.
“I like the punk scene here because all of the bands are great, but I don’t like it because there are only about four of them. Another major problem is the lack of venues and places to hold shows. nobody has any crazy amount of money to put into renting places, so a constant quest for venues is there.”
Forrest MacKnight is an enthusiastic fan of music who enjoys the same types of music as Seger Dow and is the vocalist in a band Dow is in called DMIA. MacKnight had a similar opinion about the Fredericton punk scene to Dow.
“The punk scene here is definitely small and that sort of sucks, but it’s cool because we all know each other and we’re all friends.” said MacKnight. “It’s like a big family.”
The current state of the punk scene in Fredericton, or lack thereof, could be due to society’s generalizing stereotype surrounding people who are interested in punk music.
“I think society’s perception of ‘punks’ has gotten a lot better,” said Dow, “but I still feel there is this stigma that surrounds punk that the musicians aren’t talented or that we’re all dirtbags, which in part is true, but at the same time part of the magic of punk is the ability for anyone to pick up an instrument and be able to start a band. This way punk is easily accessible for anyone who is interested. People don’t understand that punk music isn’t always about hating everybody and burning buildings down and stuff. You can like it purely for its drive and energy.”
MacKnight had similar sentiments to Dow, saying that people make too many assumptions about people who are into punk. Even though punk music is looked down upon by so many people, Dow plans to carry on with his love for the genre for his whole life.
“I’ve been listening to punk for almost six years and my love for it only grows stronger.” said Dow. “It never gets boring because new bands are always popping up and the genre has almost no limitations. You could play jazz with a ton of distortion and call it punk.”
Dow is optimistic about the situation surrounding the negative perception of punk music.
“In a way it’s almost better that not many people are into punk music because even if we’re weird we can all be weird together and nobody will be there to ruin it for us.” said Dow. “I’ll always have people around me that share interests with me and I have to thank punk music for that.”
Though many people think that the punk scene is very exclusive and hard to get into, Dow says that it is in fact very easy to get into the punk scene.
“There really isn’t much you have to do to get into the punk scene. All you have to do it come to the shows, talk to people who seem like they know a thing or two, and ask for some bands to listen to. Everyone at the shows is really approachable for the most part so there’s no harm in just going up and saying hi.” said Dow.
Since everyone is friends within this scene, MacKnight knows plenty about Dow’s music and has heard most of it.
“I’m really happy to know Seger and be able to play music with him.” said MacKnight. “We’ve been friends for a long time now and we’ve grown as musicians together.”
Most of all, MacKnight is amazed by his friend’s musical abilities.
“Some wouldn’t like Seger’s drum playing, but I love it.” said MacKnight. “He’s able to play on time and extremely fast while maintaining the harsh sound necessary to have in a punk song. It’s really cool to have a friend that can have such an effect on the songs he plays.
Dow is certainly a prevalent figure in the Fredericton punk scene and has been for a while. Though he isn’t quite sure where he is headed, he knows that punk music will always be a part of his life.
“I definitely hope that as long as I’m alive I’ll have the opportunity to play music.” said Dow. “I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing for the rest of my life, or even after high school for that matter, but I plan on it involving lots and lots of music. Even when I’m an old man and I can barely walk, I want to be playing the drums.”
Seger Dow in the Bathroom Mirror at FHS
taken by Kieran S.