Total commitment comes naturally to Obuchowski, who's joined in the trio by bassist Matthew Frey and drummer Kenny Appell. While a New Jersey high school student, he was part of the Sick Terrific Nosebleeds, a punk band with a perfectly adolescent moniker that the New Bomb Turks' Eric Davidson took under his wing after hearing rehearsal tapes that Obuchowski sent to him. However, a deal with the independent Sympathy for the Record Industry imprint fell through, in part because the other Nosebleeds weren't as willing as Obuchowski to forestall their academic future for rock glory. Obuchowski subsequently played in what he calls "joke bands" with Frey when both attended the University of Illinois. But upon graduation, he decided to set music aside in favor of writing ad copy -- first in Austin, and later in Chicago. What a mistake. "I couldn't escape it," he concedes. "As long as I was working, I was absolutely miserable, and it poisoned every other part of my life."
Finally, he decided to chuck the nine-to-five life and move to Brooklyn, where Frey was living, in order to give music one last try. They initially supplemented their sound with a virtual drumming device they dubbed "the beating machine," and named the songs that were generated after the numbers they used to label each programmed rhythm track. That worked until "Goes Cube Song 23," when they reached the limits of that technology. "It was like, 'Fuck, this song just sounds weak,'" Obuchowski recalls. Fortunately, he soon reconnected with Appell, who'd manned the sticks alongside him in Section 8, a combo that preceded the Nosebleeds (and also featured a prominent numeral). "It was literally like someone taking the leash off our necks," Obuchowski enthuses about Appell's contributions. "We just ran toward the horizon at full speed. We were like, 'Yes! This is what we're supposed to do!'"
Beckon the Dagger God, the resulting disc, features a heavy, assaultive style that's rare among acts from their area. "We don't sound like a lot of New York bands," Obuchowski acknowledges, and if the NYC fans they've won over "seem to be really into it," plenty of others "don't really know how to take it." That's one reason he's psyched to be hitting the road. "Everyone in the industry we know is like, 'You've got to go on tour, because the kids are going to love it,'" he says.
And not in an ironic way.