Drew Beringer (Reviewer For Absolutepunk.net) - Interview

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I recently had the chance to interview Drew Beringer. Drew reviews albums for absolutepunk.net. Click above to read the interview and make sure to check out his fantastic reviews over at absolutepunk.net

You review albums for absolutepunk.net. I’m familiar with your work but for those who aren’t how’d you get started at ap.net and what all do you do for the site?

It's funny how I got started writing reviews in general. I've always loved music, so my freshman year I made a Xanga blog (remember those?) and started writing really crappy reviews, haha. Like these reviews were just awful, bad writing with some horrible cliches. Hopefully no one ever discovers it haha. Anyways, later on that freshman year, an user from AP.net was starting up his own little webzine and was looking for reviewers. I volunteered and began writing there. It was beneficial for me because I was able to hone in on my skills and improve my writing. I wrote at Leakmob for about 6 months. Then in October of 2005, Jason Tate made a news post asking for new reviewers (this was way before we had user submitted reviews like we do now). The way to apply was to just submit in that thread a copy of a review you have written. I submitted a review I wrote for Emery's "The Question." Jason then selected Darren McLeod and me as the two new reviewers out of hundreds of applicants.

Anyways, what I currently do for the site is what I have always done: review. Out of the reviewers currently on staff, I've been there the longest, so I organize reviews and (try to) make sure that they get done as well.

You review albums on a high profile site which means that your review carries a lot of weight, meaning reviews are linked on Wikipedia, in press releases, etc… Do you ever find it hard to speak the truth about an album because of how it will be picked apart by fans of the artists and the artists themselves?

Never have found it hard to speak the truth. I am not shy about sharing my opinions about music. For example, currently I'm writing a review for the new From First To Last album, a band many users on AP.net hate. But I dig the album a lot and am going to give it a generally positive review. I try to give everything a chance and give it my honest opinion, regardless of outside influence.

A lot of people aren’t too familiar with the lifestyle of someone who works for one of these sites. A lot of people think that they’re getting paid a lot of money, hanging out with artists, and get an all exclusive pass to everything music. Which is not always the case…I know I’ve worked for magazines and websites. What do you think some of the biggest misconceptions about your job are?

The biggest misconception is that we get paid to post specific news or give a band a specific review. We have never been paid by any band/label/publicity group for positive press, nor would I ever take money to do such a thing.

Also writing at AP.net is purely volunteer writing. We don't get paid in money, which is fine. I get advances and CDs, etc., and that's cool. The best part about writing for AP.net is that it's such a big spectrum to get my writing out and have thousands of people view it. It's really cool.

I’ve been a reader of ap.net for quite a few years now, over the last couple of years your reviews really stand out on the site and I tend to check the review to see if you did it. Who have been some of your favorite reviewers (past & present) at ap.net and what rock journalist are you a big fan of?

First off, every reviewer at AP.net does a great job writing, they have my utmost respect. Steve Henderson, Julia Conny, Blake Solomon, Greg Robson, Jeremy Aaron, Chris Fallon, Adam Pfleider, and Alex DiVincenzo are awesome, and I read every single review of theirs. I feel incredibly blessed to be on that writing team.

My favorite AP.net reviewers are definitely Jason, Scott Weber, Gabe Gross, and Darren McLeod. Great writers, it’s a shame they don’t write anymore. Scott’s review of the first Scary Kids Scaring Kids album was awesome, as was Garett Press’ review of Coheed’s Good Apollo.

I don’t really pay attention to rock journalists’ names, I do like James Montgomery. Really, I enjoy all the writers at Paste Magazine and Pitchfork Media.

You have a few things in your interviews that kind of make them unique from other reviews and the writing is never stale. How do you keep your writing interesting (and avoid burnout) when you’re doing so many reviews?

I just be me, haha. I love music so much that I don’t ever get burnt out. I try to add in some humor and pop culture references into my reviews without taking away from the overall focus. I also try to bring a different perspective on an album. The thing with my reviews is that while I might have hated so and so’s first album, if they kill it on their second one, they’ll hear praise from me. I try to give every band a chance (key word: try). I don’t hold grudges.

Has there ever been an album you looked forward to then received and it was the biggest letdown and then you had to tear apart a band you once enjoyed in a review?

With letdowns, I don’t necessarily tear them apart. I usually express my deep disappointment. I usually save my “teardowns” for gimmicky bands cashing in on trends (I’m looking at you Cobra Starship).

What are some of your most anticipated releases of this year?

Out of the one’s that I’ve heard, definitely the new Deftones record, as well as the new Minus The Bear. I am really anticipating the new Hold Steady, Hawthorne Heights, Gaslight Anthem, and Circa Survive albums.

Being a music reviewer you probably come in contact with a bunch of artists that you might like but don’t fit the format of the site or you just don’t have time to do reviews. What are some bands people should be on the lookout for and what are some of your favorite artists?

Currently some bands that I’ve been digging that no one really seems to pay attention to are The Forecast and Standing On The Shoulders of Giants. The Forecast just released their new record on Eyeball, and it’s fantastic. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants is a local band out of Chicago that really bring it, some of their stuff has a Gatsby’s American Dream vibe to it.

My all time favorite artists/bands are Tegan & Sara, Every Time I Die, Kanye West, Saves The Day, Deftones, and Thursday.

If you had to think of one album that gets a score of 100% what album would that be and why?

Easily White Pony by Deftones. I bought this album when I was in eighth grade and it totally changed my entire perspective on music. During that age period of 12-14, I was really into the pop punk thing with blink and Saves The Day, and I really enjoyed Weezer and Rage. But that record really opened up my eyes. It is flawless.

You are part of the journalistic side of music. Have you ever been in any bands or have any musical projects?

Haha, I do not have any musical talent. In high school, I was in the elite choir group that got to tour the state and do one “national” tour, but that’s the extent of it. So if I ever started a band, I would definitely be a vocalist.

I guess that about wraps it up man, thanks for taking time to answer the questions. Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Follow me on twitter @drewberinger and follow me on Facebook as well. Thanks a lot!

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