How did you get into punk/hardcore?
I got into major label punk bands like Green Day and Nirvana through seeing their videos on MTV when my family first got cable in the summer of '94. The speed and volume of the music hooked me pretty much instantaneously. I’m sure anyone reading this can relate to that feeling. From there, I went through the time-honored tradition of buying all the bands in their "Thank You" lists and anyone who sounded like they had a "punk" name, which led me to Bikini Kill, Fugazi, Rancid, Operation Ivy, Dead Kennedys, Germs, Black Flag, etc. However, what really got me into the underground music scene was seeing Fugazi play my desolate little hometown of Clinton, MA. I honestly could not believe that Fugazi (who I pictured, being that I was 12, to be these rock gods) would play my garbage-dump of a town and that the older kids who hung-out at the skate shop down the street from my apartment had a band that was opening for them.
What inspires you lyrically and musically?
You could say our lyrics are political in some sense, which to me really just means that I'm inspired by the myriad of disgusting systems that human beings have designed to hurt and exploit each other. I've never really been a fan of most political bands per se because I hate simplification and lack of personal connection in punk lyrics. I find it hard to relate to some kid from suburban New York screaming about such-and-such terrible event that happened in a South African township before he or she was ever born. So, keeping that in mind, I try to infuse the personal in the political, which is best done I find by writing about your own fears, hatreds, disappointments, opinions, in the context of the world at large.
I'm also a book nerd so aside from my life and my opinions, you could say my lyrics are inspired in some sense by the writings of Guy Debord, John Berryman, Georges Bataille, T.S. Eliot, Albert Camus, Bukowski, Artaud, Derrick Jensen and bunch of other people.
Musically, we take equal influence from the Massachusetts hardcore bands that we loved growing up (Panic, The Suicide File, Orchid, American Nightmare, etc.) and the raw attitude of the early punk bands such as The Stooges, Joy Division, The Germs, Black Flag, etc.
What do you think about the current state of hardcore? Any bands you think people should check out.
The current state of hardcore is better than it has been in a while in my opinion. There was a time about 4 years ago when I really lost interest in what most bands in hardcore (at least in Massachusetts) were doing, which was basically trying to ape either Guns Up, Have Heart, or Death Before Dishonor. In the past two years though, I've been really into Pissed Jeans, Ceremony, Cursed (RIP), Das Oath, Some Girls (RIP), Paint It Black, Tragedy, Fucked Up, Trash Talk, and Sex/Vid.
Also good bands and good friends: Bad Habit, I Rise, Seasick, Frogball, Brick, Debaser, Youthviolence and Pitfall.
How do you feel about the upcoming election?
That it is kind of like arguing about who's going to play captain on a sinking ship. Or at least that's how I feel in my darker moments. I live in Massachusetts so my vote matters even less than usual because Obama will win this state regardless. If I lived in a swing state, I would consider voting Democratic but I feel like the “lesser of two evils” philosophy is a real debasement of the concept of democracy. Which is not to say that I think Obama is some evil corporate stooge, I think the fact that he is even the nominee is progress in some sense. It’s just unfortunate that to have any political influence within the system, all politicians are forced to align themselves with the interests of the ruling class. However, if McCain does gets elected after eight years of Bush than the American people deserve the shitstorm in store for them.
Top 3 records? Hardcore/not Hardcore
I'm making this question my own way.
1. American Nightmare - Background Music
2. Converge - Jane Doe
3. Minor Threat - Discography
1. The Stooges - Funhouse
2. Germs - GI
3. Joy Division - Substance
1. Nirvana - In Utero
2. Radiohead - OK Computer
3. Neutral Milk Hotel - In An Aeroplane Over The Sea
If you could see any band with any line up who would it be?
GG Allen fronting Panic at the Disco.
You guys recently did a tour, any good stories? what was your favorite show?
Too many good stories. Highlights include Andrew shoplifting every meal for two and a half weeks, partying in the James River in downtown Richmond on a Tuesday afternoon, MIA "Paper Planes", waking up in the woods of East Long Island without knowing how I got there, hitching rides up the East Coast with no equipment to our remaining shows after our van broke down, and getting physically kicked out of our own show at Rocks, the worst bar in Richmond.
The best shows were at America! in New Brunswick, NJ w/ Seasick, the Corpse Fortress in Silver Spring, MD w/ Bad Habit, and at the Charm City Art Space w/ Ceremony.
Any last words?
Hardcore without punk isn't music, it's a genre of porn.
And punk isn't a genre of music, it’s a thought process.
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