Abstract Punk

The average age of five-piece punk band Acrylics is 22. Seems young, yet their stunning, sophisticated sound belies their youth. Armed with technically challenging and unpredictable music, the Santa Rosa outfit is changing the game of hardcore in the North Bay.

On Oct. 26, Acrylics help host a concert and art showcase at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa with fellow Sonoma County experimental rockers OVVN, touring bands Iron Lung (Seattle) and Gas Chamber (Buffalo) and over 20 local artists.

Lead singer Mark Nystrom and drummer Ian Jones started Acrylics in Jones’ garage a few summers back. “We stayed in this garage, day in and day out,” Jones says. “We started out just experimenting, not knowing what we were doing. We dug deeper into ’80s and ’90s punk and psychedelic music. So all that twisted into one form.”

That form, described as “freak punk,” is also inspired by generations of North Bay acts, going back to Victims Family.

A recent addition to Acrylics, guitarist Ben Wright, first saw the band play at a local tap house two years back and knew he had to get in on the action. “I thought, this band is so bizarre,” Wright says. “I would love to be in this band.” Wright pursued the players and his persistence was rewarded.

In fact, persistence has been a big theme for Acrylics. They are gradually building a fan base through extensive U.S. tours, and they say they badgered Iron Lung Records (run by the aforementioned band) until the label agreed to release a 7-inch record, due out later this year.

The band’s tenacity and dedication also manifest in the studio, where they spend months tinkering with their songs until all the pieces fit. “We’re really meticulous about things,” says Wright, who adds that the band’s writing style is flipped from the normal process. “It can be scatterbrained,” he says. “A lot of bands start stripped-down and build up, we start with things being hectic and chaotic and strip away parts. It’s not ideal, but it’s the only way we know how to do it.”

Either way, the process is working.

“We’re definitely a newer generation,” Nystrom says. “But we’re a hard-working band, and we’re serious about what we do.”

Acrylics also want to expand the local art and music scene as one. “We want to bring in new and young people to do this with,” Wright says. “Please, come and join us.”