Interview with Brendan Garrone of Incendiary

Photo Courtesy & All Rights Reserved: Becca Lader

We are living in tiring times. Times that have demanded more from humanity’s instinctive goodness and less of society’s inherent baneful disregard of its people. The good citizens of our county have been torn, misled, and hurt due to a government that claims to have the best interest of our vast and endlessly diverse nation. Our government continues to focus its interests towards selfish gains that only limit the freedom of our country. All while further empowering the so called great leaders of this seemingly tired and blue nation.

Oppression is a word that gets thrown out quite a bit within the subjective headlines of various media outlets. Now, some may simply be allegations or hearsay or a platform to stir the pot. However, peer closely into the socioeconomic and political ideologies that make up this “once great nation” and you will see that the apparent freedoms of our people is marked by both injustice and hypocrisy.

From police brutality to corrupt political figures that decide the betterment of our communities, we must not be blind to the travesties that are committed. The marginalized, the poor, and the weak have been continually subdued through fear and power from the high classed elite. In the recent weeks under the new administration, we as a country have seen nothing but uncertainty and left with nothing but fear. It is during this tiring times that a voice of reasoning towards justice must be prevalent. A voice of conviction fueled by anger in hopes that hope itself is not yet forgotten is what is needed during such tiring times.

Incendiary is just that voice of concern and its sound is the alarm.

Incendiary is a household name at this point in regards to those who frequent the hardcore, punk, and even metal scene throughout the world. I mean, why the fuck not though? Seeing as this Brooklyn based hardcore outfit has produced some of the most passionate and threatening sounds against life’s injustice.

Now, after nearly three years, this band has finally debuted what is nothing more than a well waited track that houses but maturity and musicianship. Perfection is a tall order to request but with this taste of Thousand Mile Stare, it is safe to say Incendiary has outdone itself once again. Give the track The Product Is You a quick listen while you continue to read.

Thousand Mile Stare is the junior full length release from New York’s decade old act. This is not a quiet group of musicians. They tend to know the best way to voice a thought of concern through viciously embracing lyrics while matching it with an equally pissed off sound of aggression. Arguably, this is the highly anticipated hardcore record of the year and is slated to drop on May 5th through none other than Closed Casket Activities. This promising record was recorded by the ever talented Will Putney, head of Graphic Nature recording and master of all that is heavy. Click here for pre orders.

For those fortunate to live within City of New York or its surrounding areas, we highly recommend you cop tickets now to see their record release performance. This gig will feature Crime In Stereo, King Nine, & Trail of Lies over at Brooklyn Bazaar for just $12 in advance so hop the hell on that guys and gals. Tickets at the door, if any, shall be severely limited. Don’t be a leach and resell those admittances at higher price either.

Until then enjoy a brief yet informative interview between Michael “Mort” Howard (Wastelands) and Incendiary’s very own, Brendan Garrone. What better conversation than two hardcore frontmen innant with fervent beliefs of humanity. Enjoy y’all…

Interview with Brendan Garrone

Michael: It has been quite a few years since Incendiary put out Cost of Living. Why the wait? Was this a deliberate move or did the band have to take a backseat from life for a while?

Brendan: I think it was a combination of being focused on playing as many places as we could on a limited time schedule combined with the fact that it sort of takes us a long time in general to write.

We had been slowly working on material for the better part of a year before we went in to record. More broadly, we don’t really feel much pressure to adhere to any kind of schedule. I think we all collectively felt we were overdue for new music.

M: What was different this time around with the writing and recording process versus your previous releases? Was this an effortless process or were there roadblocks in making Thousand Mile Stare?

B: Writing was a little more fluid this time around only because 4/5ths of us are all living in Brooklyn so it made practicing easier.

Working with Will Putney was probably the best recording experience we’ve had. It was a really collaborative environment in the studio and made things more fun and less stressful.

M: It’s no secret that Incendiary is a band of purpose that carries both a message and opinion on various social and ethical subjects. How has the current state of political affairs in our country affect your writing for this record?

B: Well there is no shortage of content, that’s for sure, but the current political client is so depressing that it’s almost overwhelming. There are still socio-politically driven songs like Front Toward Enemy and No Purity but they focus more on specific topics and less of a broad, general perspective like on Cost of Living.

Ironically enough, this is the most personal record lyrically for me. There is a theme of perspective on the past and future of my life now that I’m older and out of my 20’s. It’s a lot more inward looking than outward, if that makes sense.

M: Thousand Mile Stare comes out May 5th 2017 on Closed Casket Activities. Besides the few dates that are booked right now, do you have any plans to tour on the record this year?

B: We’ll be doing some shows this summer on the East Coast to support the new record as well as a really exciting tour in a new place we’ve never been to. All which will be announced soon. Besides that just playing as often as schedules allow, we will never tour heavily.

M: It seems that most people end up getting into hardcore through either punk or metal first. Should this statement be true, which genre for you was the one that got you into hardcore?

B: It was punk for me, specifically skate punk stuff like Pennywise, Nofx, etc. I grew up playing the drums and was obsessed with Byron’s drumming on those early Pennywise records so it got me really into fast stuff like them. After that I got really into going to see local bands at a young age and that, combined with hearing Strife, led to me getting into hardcore.

M: What are some newer bands in hardcore that you guys have been digging?

B: That band Vein rules, it reminds me of more straightforward As The Sun Sets. I also love all of the metal influenced hardcore coming out of Long Island now with bands like Separated, Jukai, and Sanction. They aren’t as new but I also dig Breakaway and Lost Souls from Richmond.

M: Hardcore has no definitive line of definition yet is concise with sharing similar attitudes, philosophies, and notions of morality among different scenes . It’s almost impossible to define at times since everyone has their own definition. As cliche the question may be, what does hardcore mean to you? How did you end up getting involved in all of this?

B: Two things that initially resonated with me in hardcore was the energy of the live shows and the focus on lyrical content and message. As I get older, the community and friendship that I’ve gained has become more and more important to myself. For people who have played and toured in bands or traveled to see shows, the fact that many of us have friends all over the world is really such a unique benefit and opportunity. I don’t know if people realize how lucky we are to have such a great network of people with a similar mindset and ethos, the vast majority of people don’t have anything like that.

M: Well, that just about wraps everything up. Is there anything you would like to say or plug before we wrap this up?

B: Thousand Mile Stare comes out May 5th on Closed Casket Activities. Pre order the record here.

This is the best record we’ve ever done and i’m so excited for people to hear it. Thanks to everyone who’s stuck with us and thanks Matt and Michael for the interview.

Interview with Cemeteries Frontman Nick Shedlock

Lately, the New Jersey music scene has been booming with fresh talent across the board. Especially so is with the ever looming and darkened culture of New Jersey’s hardcore and metal scene. It’s almost as if these scenes have had a renaissance of sorts within the last year due to all of the recent records being dropped from both aspiring and veteran acts. Better yet, these musicians and artists have been keeping in touch with the long standing history of our state’s ability to manufacture the heaviest, violently impacting, and most deafening noise that we have all come to be known for harboring.

Again, we are known for our darkened sensibility, our aggressive demeanor, and housing a scene based off of a tormenting environment that engulfs all of us in its wake. Cemeteries, is the latest example of this notion as this band is able to feel inspired from life’s woes and constant miseries in order to produce one of the most gut wrenching sounds we’ve heard in a minute.

A unique blend of hardcore laced with black metal attributes and an overall attitude of belligerence is what one would hear at first listen. The self titled release is raw, yet, that factor only contributes to the acceptance of this act as one should greatly appreciate when a band prohibits artificialness from their music. Cemeteries is capable of displacing a room into chaotic shambles through this wall of noise while leaving only a energy of dismal dismay in its path.

As of now, you can stream their debut Self Titled EP over at their Bandcamp. A mixture of black metal and hardcore is a phenomenal blend of music that very few bands can ever attempt to pull off. Cemeteries has proven that they understand the formula and but need to craft this harrowing sound into something whole on their full length. A sound that I feel will be executed quite well on Filth Ritual. The wait won’t be long for they are slated to drop their sophomore release on April 6th (digital only) via bandcamp with a record release show in the works.

Interview with Nick Shedlock

HEAD WALK: Cemeteries is a rather new act so quite simply, how’d this all get put together?

Nick Shedlock: Cemeteries was originally a small side project that was started by myself, Mike Lafalce (drummer), and John Sell (bassist and ex An Aborted Memory), back in 2012. It was intended to be more of a doom inspired band but nothing really came of it. Then in 2016, nearly four years later, as things were coming to an end with my old band (An Aborted Memory) I decided to reach out to current Departed guitarist Frederick Hare, and Mike Lafalce to begin working on the project again.

This time around, instead of focusing on being a doom worship band, we began gathering influence from Pig Destroyer, Trap Them, Weekend Nachos, and various other hardcore and grind bands, in order to create what is now Cemeteries. We later enlisted Fred’s friend Tim Krieger on bass so we could fill the roster and begin writing. The intention was to make a band that was an all out assault on its listeners. A mix between abrasive noise with added elements of hardcore and crossover to make our music moveable, you know?

HW: Cemeteries’ self titled debut was recorded nearly a year ago over at Landmine Studios and serves a fine hardcore demo influenced by elements of grind and black metal. With the approach of your latest release, Filth Ritual (unsigned), how would you say this EP differs from the previous self titled EP?

NS: This time around, we went to a different producer, which is a long time friend of mine and has recorded previous acts I’ve been in, whom is Bobby Torres at Frightbox Studios in Clifton, New Jersey..

With the original EP, we were still testing the waters of what we wanted to do musically, and with defining our sound. On Filth Ritual, I think we really nailed the direction we wanted to go in.

Mike, Tim, Fred, and myself have come a long way as far as writing, so it’s now becoming a lot easier to produce music now.

HW: Let’s talk about themes and topics within the lyricism of this project. You’re debut self titled EP focused on various subject matters including: self loathing fear (night Creep), corruption within the political sphere (New World Gluttony), and an overall image of violent and horrific proportions. What influences your lyricism and where can we expect to see your writing take us on Filth Ritual?

NS: Filth Ritual, to me, is the state of the world as of now. Everyone is up in arms. Everyone is doubting and unsure of the future. If you’re not scared? You’re naive. It tackles subjects of depression, mankind’s constant motive to choose profit over humanity, the digital age of conspirators and internet trolls, and etc.

We are living in dark times. The uncertainty of where the country and the world will be in the next year has caused unrest.

HW: From what I hear, you are quite the horror fan in terms of movies and literature. What was one of the earliest works of film or book in your life that sucked you into that wormhole of fear? Is it relevant within your music?

NS: To be honest, it was George A Romero’s film Dawn of the Dead, that sucked me into the horror genre. Romero has a message in every film, and in Dawn of the Dead, he showcased a group of survivors fighting another group of survivors over the shelter of a shopping mall, rather than inviting them in and helping them survive. I think horror films can paint a picture of how ugly mankind can be. Whether it’s the depiction of a serial killer, a war atrocity, or something like Dawn of the Dead, it’s effective than something on the lines of a 9th Saw film, or another found footage ghost movie.

HW: What are the intentions of Cemeteries this year and where do you plan to push Filth Ritual?

NS: We would love to do more out of state shows. Trying to do a few weekend outings, fests (if possible), and just continue to play out and bring people our sound. Would love to get to the west coast eventually.

HW: Who is responsible for the artwork behind Cemeteries or is this a revolving door of artists contributing?

That would be me (laughs)!. So far, I’ve designed one t shirt and have done the artwork for Filth Ritual. If you want to view more of my art, you can go on Instagram and look up @NickShedlockArt. I recently just did art for the hardcore band All Out War.

HW: Any last words or shout outs before we wrap this bit up?

NS: On the behalf of Cemeteries, I would like to thank you for this opportunity chat. As for shout outs, I would like to commend all the promoters who have booked us thus far: Joe Stanley (Departed and owner at Nameless Prints), Hounds, Kevin Oakley, Skuz, Pink Mass, Gloves Off, Gabe Romero, Dissent, Joe Anastasio (owner of LoneWolf Audio), Len Carmichael (Landmine Studios), Bobby Torres (Frightbox Studios), Gutterchrist, Replicant, Head Walk for giving us this interview, and everyone who has either downloaded our songs off of Bandcamp, made it to a show, or have given us a general shout out. Thank you.

Photography courtesy of Last Light Photo & Video and Adam Leota of Prophecy 21 Photography.

Interview with Aguirre Frontman Patrick Flynn

This is hands down the best interview I’ve yet to do as a music journalist. I’ll keep the introduction short as this piece is quite lengthy and detailed in nature. Aguirre is a mixture of contemporary and modern punk rock infused with political and social ideologies against tyrannically corrupt governments and oppressive social contracts. Had the privilege to sit and email back and forth with the poetic mastermind that is Patrick Flynn about the regards and intentions of this project.

Right now you can stream or download Aguirre’s latest release, Overexposed, over at their Bandcamp. Seriously, this has been the best punk record I’ve heard out of New Jersey in a fucking minute. Definitely give this record a start to finish spin and feel what is The Wrath of God..

Interview with Aguirre Frontman, Patrick Flynn

Head Walk: Aguirre is certainly one of the most lyrically entertaining punk bands I’ve heard in quite some time. What influences your writing when it comes to lyricism?

Patrick Flynn: This is the main thing I’ve taken away from the release of Overexposed, which is more and more people are becoming aware of the lyrics, and they are responding to it in a very positive way. This didn’t happen with the first release, and I want to thank you, and any others who noticed, because the lyrics were really my primary motivation for joining the group. The other reason being was that I had wanted to play in a project with Paul again, who I consider a great and versatile talent, as well as a very good friend.

I knew from the onset that I wanted the lyrics to be a form of social commentary and social protest. I didn’t want the songs to be atypical, and thereby forgettable. I am a big fan of folk music, especially the work of Woody Guthrie – who is one of the best American writers. I have to mention Serling as well; he is another major influence – especially in regards to social commentary. Rod Serling is paramount in my mind. Guthrie had a famous quote I’ll paraphrase here: “Anybody can make something complicated – it takes a genius to make something simple.” I wanted to make simple, direct songs – songs that told a story and didn’t put any unnecessary affectation on anything. Cut straight to the heart of it, as it were.

Another major lyrical inspiration, believe it or not, is Randy Newman. I consider him the country’s greatest satirist. I find it a great pity and a tremendous shame that the man is reduced to the caricature people make him out to be (re: Family Guy, and that hilarious MadTV sketch). Take, just for example, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, arguably his most famous song behind “Short People” or “I Love L.A.” (these two songs are Master Classes in irony and the concept of unreliable narrators) – I forget who mentioned it, but once I was told me to look at the song as a metaphor about America’s foreign policy. My mind was blown. I mean that with all sincerity; it really affected me. Just the power that lyrics can have, and the layers you can excavate (should you choose to, and should the writer be talented enough) – it’s extraordinary.

HW: The political and social climate of our generation is a popular debate. From styles of ethics, questions on morality, and the overall state of tension within our nation, what stands out to be the most problematic in your personal opinion?

PF: I would say the climate is both a direct result and response to the media’s apparent refusal (or lack of spine) in regards to speaking truth to power. I imagine it is not in their parent companies’ best interest to educate the public. George Carlin used to say, “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.”

That is partly what the song “Theories” is about (an unreliable narrator – in this case, a conspiracy theorist who writes of society’s ‘evils’ in a manifesto before presumably taking “action”). This idea that all our choices are merely dictated to us, different shades of lipstick on the same pig, as it were. It’s not a new or even novel concept: the ever looming “Establishment”. It’s a boogeyman, and a catch-all, but there also may be a kernel of truth in it.

Look, Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite are dead; Woodward and Bernstein no longer seem the gold standard, and it’s as if they’ve been superseded by the all-consuming noise of ad revenue. It’s a shame. Even before Trump labeled them “fake news”, CNN was a joke. I think Jeff Zucker (the head of CNN) once said something like, “Trump is bad for the country, but he’s great for CNN.” – It’s that mindset that is destroying the American social psyche.

On the flipside, we’ve got this “fake news” accusation, and that term is particularly dangerous – even borderline fascistic. Stalin did that. Hitler did that. Not good company to be in. His cabinet terrifies me. The bill he’s introduced is designed to eliminate agencies wholesale, which came from Steve Bannon naturally, is absolutely bone-chilling. This is why he chose these cabinet members. The motive is clear: he aims to destroy the Executive Branch entirely.

With the age of Trump’s administration, ethics are irrelevant, morality is forgotten, and greed is good. The people who will suffer the most, ironically, are the people in the places that voted for Trump in record numbers, and if you look at polling, Bernie would have won those places. Why? I would argue that it was because he gave a shit, frankly. Clinton couldn’t be bothered to stop in any of those states even ONCE; it was her “firewall” she said. That worked out so well for her, didn’t it? It’s the ignorance of the populace – the collective dumbing down of the American people. It all leads back to the media, and the way news is presented – no context for anything, nothing beyond sound bites and surface level coverage, packaged into digestible clips you can watch over your smart phone.

HW: Your last record, Poverty Row, was furnished by Kevin Carafa and recorded over at Bedside Manner. Overall, the record seemed to be an idea or experiment in what this band’s sound would definitively become on Overexposed. Since that 2015 debut, have there been any changes within the band, and would you say that’s credited to this reshaped sound?

PF: The first LP could be considered a demo – I feel comfortable with that. It was recorded with one Blue USB microphone plugged into Brandon’s Macbook inside Paul’s garage (or what once was a garage). I can’t say enough about Kevin Carafa, and his magic with that LP. Thanks, Kevin. Personally, I love that first CD. There are a lot of songs on there that make me proud, ones we didn’t do on Overexposed. For example, the opening stanza of “Juice Man” is something that a student loan creditor said to me, verbatim. I’ve never forgotten it: that matter-of-factness, the lack of compassion.

On a side note, going back to folk music, throughout the 1960’s, Pete Seeger put out LP’s with titles like American Folk Ballads or Songs of Struggle & Protest. So, my original conceit was to call the first album 21st Century Protest Songs, but I was voted down. Poverty Row has a lot of layers to it, both thematically and otherwise, so I’m happy with how it ended up. It came together for me especially when Paul had the idea to do a video for the entire album – that was really fun to compile. It took a month’s worth of work, I didn’t think it would go anywhere at first. Lots of people have seen music videos for a single, as it were, but an entire album? It ended up separating us from the pack and got the word out in a big way. I was happy about that.

In the very beginning, I know the guys were looking for a vocalist. Paul and I had a good experience when I played bass for time in Young American Artists, so he reached out to me. I think the first song I wrote for Aguirre was “Tin Shield and a Blue Coat”; it was a direct response to the riots in Ferguson, which were ongoing at the moment. I sent a draft over to my friend, Tohm Bakelas (who was also offered the vocalist position, among others). He gave me my original confidence that I should do it – and I really took to it, thereafter. I mean, I have to give the fellas a lot of credit – they really gave me free-reign over the content of the band. Even the name Aguirre itself came about through my love of Werner Herzog – since then, I’ve created this reasoning behind the name; but the original catalyst was my love of that film, and its director.

Our sound, that is to say, the palette we play around with is really all Brandon. The dude is a great guitarist. He came up with riffs almost instantaneously. He is really talented. I mean, who would believe this was his first band? I feel like he is very inspired by bands like Agent Orange, a band who I never even heard before this band, and now I can’t get enough of (I will note, that I got Brandon into Weedeater, so it’s even).

We started out on with Vince Basile on bass, a real cool guy, good friend, and great talent – I always loved Barcode Youth back in the day, the only heavily political band in the scene really, but beyond that they just ripped so hard, and played with such passion – so I was stoked when he agreed to join. From that point, we were really off to the races – all ten songs came together very quickly and effortlessly. We played a lot of live gigs, which some of us enjoyed, and others less so.

Around the summer of 2016 we kind of took a break – right after Bernie Sanders lost the nomination. That was a big blow for me, personally. I was crushed. It’s funny – we would always play the songs live in short bursts, so I would call them “Bernie Blocks” – I think, looking back, maybe it was too much, you know? Maybe I was making the band too much of a vessel for my feelings, without being aware of everyone else’s? That seems selfish of me, and that’s unfortunate. It was right around that time, some members left to pursue other projects and Aguirre laid dormant for a period.

It wasn’t until my brother Chris started badgering me about this guy named Tom Wyka that things started to move again. He’d tell me how Tom went to every Uncle Mark (around the house it’s called ‘Destroyer’) show – even if it was in a barn in upstate NY, on a Wednesday afternoon – he’d be there. I was like, “yeah, whatever.” But he kept at it, and eventually I reached out to him. One day, Tom came to practice and he already knew most of the material. Not only that, he began expanding on the bass lines soon thereafter. It knocked me flat. So, when you talk about “new dynamics” and “new sound” it really harkens back to getting Wyka involved. I feel like he made Paul and Brandon really start to listen to one another, almost like jazz musicians do. I was just along for the ride.

Tom wrote “Molt”, the opening track, at a practice just randomly. The guys started jamming on it, and I literally freestyled the entire song then and there. Talk about cohesion, focus, and clarity – it was all there. You can’t reproduce it. I feel like, honestly, the best time I was in Aguirre was the lead-up and recording of this new LP, Overexposed – personally it’s one of the most fulfilling creative acts I’ve ever been able to be a part of. I’m very fortunate to be involved. It was bittersweet, Tom moving to Austin – but I can’t be happier for him, and if our band ends with this one record as a testament to its existence, I couldn’t ask for anything better.

HW: This presidency has exposed an ever real and persistently harsh reality within our country. “100 Days” was lyrically displayed as a sarcastic point of view towards the conservative right. From the oil drilling, to back room trades, and the overall corrupt bearing of President Trump, what is it exactly that just pisses you off about him? What could we do as a community or scene to combat such a tyrannical administration?

PF: What pisses me off about the man is that he is ignorant. Worse still, is he boasts about it. He is a liar and a braggart and could potentially become synonymous with a man by the name of Benedict Arnold. Now, it is not yet treason to say such a thing about a sitting president, but give it four more years and it could be. Who knows? That is the threat, and it is a very real one.

What can we do about it? Put very simply: resist. It may seem trite and banal after hearing it so many times, from so many different people, but it’s as good as a piece of advice as I have to give. I’m not suggesting you protest every hour of every day. I’m saying be aware of what’s happening around you. Take an interest in what’s happening at the local level, and for Frank Zappa’s sake get out there and VOTE! It’s one of those things that I believe in so fervently, it’s really the reason we go to war in the first place, if you really think about it. It’s that liberty we all take for granted, you know, while we’re concerned with our appearance, and entertainment, and gossip, and random scandal.

Like Bernie has said time and again, ‘nothing gets solved without a massive public outcry’, like the kind of protest we saw with the Women’s March on Washington, following Trump’s inauguration. As a wiser man than me once said, “Be the change you wish to see.” Or as my father is wont to say, “Wish in one hand and shit in another, then see which one fills up first.” It’s easy to be a keyboard warrior over the internet, or talk a good game in public. Actions speak louder than words. If you want something bad enough, then do something about it.

HW: What were your influences in being a front man for a hardcore band?

PF: Influences in terms of presentation, like stage presence? Probably Iggy Pop, although I never nearly took it as far as him, the man is a machine – even now. His new record might be my favorite, in fact. I’m too chicken. People compare me to Rollins often, which I find very nice. One time we played at the Meatlocker and this girl comes up to Paul and me, saying: “You guys are the best Steve Albini band I’ve ever heard!” I gave her a Poverty Row CD then and there. I mean Big Black is amazing – so is the stuff he produces, like Tomahawk.

I guess my major influence is Cat Stevens. Someone told me that I reminded him of Cat back when I played bass in this post rock band, Datura while I was going to school in NYC. I guess it was because I really get into the music. I think that’s apt in any case, even when I’m a spectator. If the music’s good, then I’m into it – for real and for keeps. I don’t really get into mimicking any one person or style. I’m just me, and I only want to be me – what other choice do I got, right?

HW: Would you say that you develop a character, or personality, for each of your projects, or is Aguirre just a satisfying emotion or feeling you need to address through music?

PF: Like I mentioned before, I’m not too into the whole ‘pageantry’ of creating personas; it seems silly in the wake of David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust. However, I can see why people would want one. I mean, The Legendary Marvin Pontiac for example, is a world away sonically, from any of John Lurie’s other material. So, doing an LP under a pseudonym makes total sense in a case like that (shout out to the Lounge Lizards and The Voice of Chunk for being absolutely amazing).

I would agree however, that I like to write lyrics from a point of view that is decidedly not my own. I find that it makes things challenging, and when it works, more rewarding. This project, in particular, has also been extremely gratifying in the emotional catharsis dept. – for me, at least.

HW: What’s on the plate for Aguirre this year? Any tours or plans for this project that you would like to address?

PF: I feel comfortable at this point confirming that Aguirre, as an ongoing project, is finished. In my eyes, our ‘last show’ was Wyka’s swan song at Boontunes shortly after finishing the Overexposed sessions. That felt like closure. Afterwards, it was became very delicate – we had previous commitments made, and luckily we were able to honor those. Our good friend Tyler Hahn stepped up and played those with us, and he’s been a very good trooper throughout; I want acknowledge his help. I’m grateful to him for stepping up like that. It may not seem it, but it means a lot.

It’s tough when people have different points of view, and they want different things. Sometimes it’s an untenable situation. It’s not about right or wrong, or anything like that. It’s just respecting people’s opinions. Listen, I am so proud of the work I did with these guys, I think it’s some of the most interesting and creatively stimulating work I’ve ever done – and I’m honored to have been a part of it.

What does the future hold? Well, Brandon’s started a really awesome group called Jippo with some of the members of Fuhgawee Hunting Club – their EP is up on Bandcamp, and it’s really great. Paul and I hope to continue the thread that we started with Aguirre, we’ll see in what form it takes, but it’s my hope that it’s just as rewarding as this experience, because this has really been a highlight, playing with these guys. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

HW: Any last words or shoutouts?

PF: Thanks to anybody who noticed. It really does mean something, believe it or not.

I am the Wrath of god.

Photography courtesy of Nikki Skinner.

Interview with Hounds as They Stream Music Video for Plague Caster

Click Here to See the New Hounds Video!

Hounds is a menacing force composed of sorrow, anger, and loss. A sound that projects nothing more than a vicious wall of torment and agony towards its listener in such a way that it is both poetic and intimidating. This group of young men embrace life’s miseries and meets our existences baneful woe head on through their music. This is a band that I have had the pleasure of going to see numerous times for several reasons:

– They perform as a black metal inspired outfit with modest hints of hardcore and appropriate elements of death metal within the major scope of their work.
– A true and well fashioned act in regards of their performances. Let me stress my last; this band is composed of talented musicians who strive to give their audience a near perfect representation of their recorded work.
– They’re the homies.

Now, all biased statements aside, I’d like to justify this reasoning on why Hounds should be credited for their merit and that any above statement made isn’t just an allegation. For this, let’s turn to their first piece of work, I. Yes, that would be called I, and I assure you it’s a much larger piece than it sounds.

Although the idea was inherent throughout their first demo, it would be fair to say that it was lacking certain areas that only prohibited its wholeness. Rough individual pieces drawing from various inspirations rather than working together to come as a cohesive unit. This isn’t to say that this is wrong or discrediting in their musical abilities or writing. However, when one compares the fluidity of I to II, the listener can but only notice a profound change in how they orchestrated their songs with care, ease, and natural intention.

II is a bit longer and nonetheless, a bit more driven, pissed off, and anguishing than its predecessor. More importantly, the doom laden riffs off of this record really strike a chord of personal appreciation. It overpowers at the right moments while allowing fragments of interludes to express the songs purpose in a definite manner. Lyrically, the record is decorated with detailed imagery and poetic fashion. Beautifully heartfelt as this piece handles themes of loss and death, acceptance of your true self, and several other topics of intimate discussion. Being able to confront your own demons and to have them known is quite a strong trait. Whenever a writer expresses their true self through any literary work, the reader or listener should always be keen to read or hear it for what it’s worth. Place yourself within the work of another and you will surely see the world through a different lense.

As of right now, we are currently streaming their new music video for Plague Caster as our featured video. A black and white spectacular that presents a terrifying level of anger through one of the best doom inspired measures you’ll hear in some time. Should you like what you hear, than we recommend you shoot over to their page and get a copy of their latest EP, II.

Once again thank you to the gentlemen over in Hounds for taking the time out of their day to answer a few questions and for letting us debut their video for Plague Caster. One of the better acts bursting through the doors of metal and hardcore so give these gents the time of day. Their music deserves to be listened to.

Interview with Hounds

HW: On Hounds I, each song seemed to be an idea or notion of what this project could be as you have shown elements of punk, hardcore, and black metal within your music. Why is it that II sounds completely tighter and more fulfilled while still being capable of holding various forms of elements?

It’s as if this band found its sound in under a year of dropping their debut work. Fuck, even the older songs sound mint live now that you guys are pushing new music.

H: First off, thank you very much for the compliment. We really appreciate that, especially since we’re consistently working on ways to make our songs sound as tight as possible considering we’re only a three piece. When we started Hounds and we made I we had a lot of different ideas regarding the direction we wanted to go in.

I think the reason II sounds the way it does is because we took the time to find ourselves musically and found ways to apply newer techniques to these songs in terms of structure and songwriting. We’re continuing to try to perfect our music even after we put it out.

HW: Let’s talk some shop on the gear Hounds is using. What are you running down the line? Has anything significant changed with your gear in the last year or has it been more consistent in crafting the tone?

H: A lot has changed with the gear. Aaron started using an HM2 pedal as an overdrive as opposed to an actual distortion pedal and a Fuzz from Black Arts Tone Works. The gear that has remained the same is a Mesa Triple Rec, a delay, a Screaming Bird Treble Booster, a Thinline Tele, and a Gibson Explorer.

Brendan is a nut with his bass tone and he’s always trying to improve it. On his board he uses a Darkglass B3K,and a B7K for overdrive along with a duality fuzz and compressor. In his rack he uses a Peavey 700 Tour head and a BBE Sonic Maximizer. For his bass he uses an Fender Deluxe P-Bass

Mikey is a monster behind the kit and he even has an Instagram page for just drum related stuff that you should check out: @pollaros.drum.posts.

His gear consists of the following:
DW9000 hardware all around.
PDP by DW m5 maple shells.
Meinl byzance:
14″ traditional hi hats
20″extra dry thin crash
22″ dark stadium ride
20″ extra thin hammered crash
18″ dark china cymbal

HW: Noticed one of the the things that didn’t change is in regards of II was with the responsibility of manufacturing this wicked behemoth. Why the stay with Joseph Dell’ Aquila (Exeter Recordings) & Brad Boatright (Audiosiege) in producing II? Is this the second piece of a whole project or rather, the best move is to just stick with what you have?

H: It’s actually a second piece in the whole project. We were really happy with how Joe and Brad both handled their respective jobs and we were very happy with the way I turned out so it was only natural to go back and work with the same guys. Not to mention both of their resumes are incredible. Joe was a no-brainer in terms of local studios considering his previous works with artists from around here and, well, Brad has worked with some of THE most extreme bands in the scene including Converge, Nails, and Code Orange.

Our goal was to do III and have them signify stages of grief in the reverse order, resulting in a final tone of despair. II is supposed to represent anger.

HW: How has the theme and writing style changed when speaking of II’s lyricism? With that, which of these songs delivers the most intimate or emotional glimpse into the writer’s own world? I guess what I’m asking is, which of these songs holds the greatest significance or meaning to you?

H: As stated in the previous question, II is supposed to represent anger, and I think a lot of II is based on feelings towards people and asking why? I think we all have different favorites.

For Brendan its Altar of Fear. I (Brendan) wrote the lyrics to Dark World and Plague Caster as well and I felt a lot of the lyrics in those songs were me being angry with other people. When I wrote Altar of Fear it was a lot more of an acceptance thing that I was the one to blame for the way I felt. It made me realize a lot about myself while I was writing the song.

For Mikey it’s Nine Swords. It’s actually the first song we wrote as a band and we’ve been perfecting it forever. The drums on the song are a lot of fun for him because of how it’s not just in your face the whole time and how it builds up until about halfway through

For Aaron, the most meaningful song is Widow. It’s actually a song about my (Aaron) mother and her trying to move on with her life after my father passing away. It was a very difficult song to write but was a very necessary outlet for me. It’s about how difficult it is pretending like you’re always okay and how you feel like you have to go through the rest of your life as a “strong” person when your entire life just got ripped into pieces.

HW: So Aaron, on the side of your musical endeavors you also run a business on the side, Last Light Photo and Video. From what I’ve seen this job has landed you on some pretty wild tours and gigs throughout the country. How have your opportunities been and where do you see them going in the future?

H: The opportunities that I’ve been given have been amazing. I’ve gotten to shoot A list artists and get paid for it, which quite frankly is still such an unbelievable thing to me since I’ve been shooting shows for less than a year now.

Unfortunately, things have slowed down tremendously. I’ve been trying to get myself out there on more tours but considering the state of the economy, artists are trying to save money where they can so the first thing to go is usually a media person. I’m not quite sure where my future is headed since this is all new to me, but I would love for this to be a part of it.

HW: What is on the plate for Hounds this year?

H: Hopefully, going back into the studio to record some new music within the next couple of months. We’ve been working on some new music and we’re really excited for everyone to hear the direction we’re headed. We’re going to be playing the Tri-State area as much as we can, and working our way down the coast.

HW: Last words before we end this conversation?

H: Yeah we’d like to thank ryan from Blasphemour Records for being so incredible to us and Bean from Panic State Records for making II a reality. We’d also like to shout out some of our friends in Wastelands, Old Wounds, The Banner, Cemeteries, War Story, and Mom Fight, along with Wsou for pushing us on the air.

Of course we’d like to thank you guys here at The Head Walk for taking the time to talk to us and premier this video for us. In terms of this video, a huge thank you to everyone who came to see us at the show in Red Bank, all of the bands who played, and our cameramen Zak Ferentz and Tom Kunzman.

We couldn’t have done this without any of you.

Photography courtesy and all rights reserved to: Adam Leota & Jess Rechsteiner.

Phantom Pain Drop Debut Demo

There is often an underlying yet, detectable feeling of prematurity within the music of newly formed bands. Typically this due in part with musicians falling short of finding their sound when working as a collective. Certain songs shine through the body of work more than others, but over time, the majority of the early music, besides the one or two crowd favorites, is rarely ever revisited.

With a membership filled of seasoned musicians responsible for creating “must listen to” works of art in their past projects, Phantom Pain’s newly released demo leaps over the previously discussed pitfall. The body of this work is filled with refreshingly heavy and wholesome head banger riffs that are perfectly complemented by lyrics of primal rage and sacrilegious sentiment.

The stand out track on the demo is “Seasons of Evil”, a personal favorite. Similar to the opening song, it begins with a simple, yet tantalizing and vile riff. Paul’s work on the drums switches the tempo with the hi-hat and accented bell hits, into a flawless syncopated build up that soon unveils the heaviest song on the project.

Start to finish, every member of this unit plays a vital role in delivering a sound that is Phantom Pain. a sound that leaves the listener in anticipation for the inevitable full-length release.

– Brandon Vetere

Interview with Guitarist Dayn

HEADWALK: Phantom Pain is a rather new dive in what is already a large pool of music coming out these days. What is the aim of this band in terms of music writing?

Dayn: I would say the aim of this band is to write music that is a heavy and unique blend of our collective metal and hardcore influences. We just want to write sludgy, riff-oriented tunes without the constraints of a specific genre or sub-genre.

HW: From what I hear, this band is filled with members of several well known and diverse acts throughout metal and hardcore. Could you go through your members, what projects they previously were in, and how Phantom Pain is compared to previous endeavors?

D: We have all been involved in a variety of different bands. Paul was in The Banner for a few years, I also played with them for a brief period of time. Paul and I most recently played together in Suburban Scum, and Paul is currently a member of Manipulate. Our other guitarist Tom currently plays in The Acacia Strain and has filled in for Fit For an Autopsy and Structures. Chris, our singer played in the bands Huldra, Inside The Beehive and a variety of other studio projects. Our current bassist Eric played with me in a band called Anguish for a few years and is most recently involved in the post-rock/post-metal band Au Revoir and hardcore/punk/screamo band What Of Us.

Phantom Pain is unique in that it just pulls from a different realm of heavy music. There are some similarities and also some very stark contrasts between the different bands we have been or are currently involved in. I feel like the music we write for this project fits that niche in between anything else we have done, it is much more straight-forward in its metal influence and the songwriting is very much governed by what feels right to us in the moment, not by what necessarily fits a certain mold.

HW: In terms of this band’s inception, how’d this band come to be and why the name Phantom Pain?

D: The band started with just me and Paul hashing out some sludgy song ideas I had on the backburner. Once the rest of the guys got on board it took more of an interesting turn because we had more creative minds to pull ideas from. Everyone has been 100% on the same page as far as songwriting and overall approach to the band, which is super refreshing and makes the creative process that much easier.

The name I felt just captured the vibe of what we were going for, sonically. The actual sensation of phantom pain, usually something experienced by amputees who mentally experience pain in an area where an extremity used to be, just seems like a truly crushing experience. We felt it was a natural fit.

HW: What can we expect from the band in the coming months?

D: In the coming months we’ll be writing for a future release, and playing shows whenever our hectic schedules allow it.

HW: Anyone you’d like to thank or say before we go?

D: Thanks to everyone who checked us out so far, the reception has been extremely positive and we are very appreciative of that. Looking forward to cranking out some more riffs in the near future.

Idle Minds Release “In Growth & Loss”

It seems as if everyone and their fucking mother has the urge to start a metal-core band these days. Always reminiscent of consummate talent like Misery Signals or Shai Hulud but never truly are they sport on. A copycat, or sense of being catfished, is what most listeners are left with. Fuck, even the word “metal-core” these days is considered a sin to say for reasons known and unknown. Why not though? When so many musicians are trying to emulate a genre that has held some of the most emotionally and passionately driven records of all time, it often leaves us with a hollowed sound of artificiality. Fortunately, this isn’t necessarily the case for every band.

Idle Minds formed out of New Jersey a few years back with an attitude that was yearning for giving something of substance back to their music scene. To say this was going to be a process of falling down and getting back up is an understatement. Still, like any passionate group of musicians, the boys in Idle Minds stuck their heads up and faced each wall with ramming speed.

In Growth & Loss isn’t a record intended to reshape the genre. Rather, it is but an honest and heartfelt contribution of work inspired by their own emotions. Emotions resulted from existing in this ever harsh reality. A reality that we as living beings all share. Aggression, sorrow, and longing hope are themed extensively throughout this short yet impacting EP.

The extended player here is quite the proper example of how to stand out in what is an overpopulated genre. Neither too heavy or typical in how they construct their bridges nor is there an overbearing hold of artificialness on the tracks. As I said before, the emotional output of honesty from In Growth & Loss is more than enough for one to respect the work they are making. Because of their sincerness this record naturally follows suit in what is a combination of harmonic rawness and aggressive undertones within the musical aspect of writing. Michael Yager did quite well with the recording process for what it’s worth (seriously, prospect stuff mate so keep at it) but I would personally like to see what these guys could do a few months down the road at a well equipped studio.

There is plenty of room for this band to expand on in the coming years. Overall, Idle Minds knows who they are and where they intend on being. Only time, experience, and passion will lead them to where they ought to be. Now, this statement being made might sound like a downplay, but I assure you it is not. Idle Minds is on an excellent platform based off of their talent with writing, performing, and general dedication to the game. This is a promising act that need only to maintain the drive and desire of being musicians. Definitely worth keeping eyes and ears fixed on these kids in the coming year.

Anyway, catch Idle Minds this month at the PLP Log Cabin on the 18th of this month for their In Growth & Loss EP release show release show. Smith Dojo Productions is footing this bill and features quite the lineup. Check that and our interview with Nick Abela below..


HEAD WALK: Idle Minds is one of several bands out of New Jersey hitting the circuit rather well. With a scene filled with diversity, musical styles, and half assedness, why the decision towards this route of music? I.E the melodic hardcore genre.

Nick Abela: Starting a melodic hardcore band was actually a joke at first. Original Idle Minds circa 2014 contained different members and we were like a djent/metalcore band. A few of us were at practice one day and started talking about Counterparts, Hundredth and bands like that in which we jammed some riffs and started piecing tracks together. There were some discrepancies in the direction the band was headed at the time and unfortunately we had some departures. Nonetheless, playing melodic hardcore in New Jersey definitely makes us stick out. The amount of talent out there in the music scene is unbelievable.

HW: Lyrically, there seems to be themes of sadness and somber tones of emotion within In Growth & Loss. Where do you see the lyricism from this record compared to your previous releases? Furthermore, how did the writing (musically) differ from the older drops?

NA: Lyrically, this record isn’t all that different to previous releases (Dead Shelter Demos). Louie, Dom, and myself all enjoy feeling a connection with those who support, listen, see us, etc. Everybody in this band goes through struggles. Depression, anxiety, or whatever it may be, everyone is just like every other human being on this earth. If we’re able to help connect our lyrics that are written about a controversial time in our lives and it helps that person? Then we’re as successful as any signed band touring the world. We’re not in it for the money in any way shape or form. Do we all wish to make music a career? Absolutely.

Our main goal as a band at this current point in time is to create a piece of art that other individuals can use to help them cope with whatever they are going through.

Writing this record musically was extremely different for us as a band. Our old guitarist Willie wrote probably 95% of our material. I would throw my input here and there to spruce up some parts but the writing was predominantly Willie. After his departure I realized that I had to step up to the plate and make sure that our debut EP is something that is entertaining and helpful to those who listen to us.

HW: What is the intention or goal of Idle Minds?

NA: Our main goal at this point in time is to spread ourselves across the country while sharing a message of hope and resilience when things seem bleak in everybody’s lives. If we can get to the point where we can constantly tour the nation as a full time career, we absolutely would.

HW: You guys are slated to go on tour with Refinement and Homestead this month. How did that all get put together and what should fans expect?

NA: The Death Won’t Hold You Tour was a thought that Dom and I had back in November. We thought about expanding our market and touring up and down the east coast. Wanted our tour package to include our close friends in Homestead and Refinement. You can absolutely expect every band to bring an obscene amount of energy, passion, and emotion into their set every night.

HW: Anyone you’d like to shout out or thanks before we close this one up?

NA: We want to give a shoutout to our boys in Homestead and Refinement for helping us create memories and giving us a great time every night. Our boy at Arnold Parmesan Studios, Mike Yager for helping us create our debut record and doing an absolute killer job, and the rest of the Tri-State music scene for killing it and making our music scene the strongest in the nation.

Well, that’s a wrap on this one. Be sure to catch them on tour this year and to snag a copy of the new record, In Growth & Loss, over at their bandcamp or live at a show.

Can’t Swim release “Fail You Again”

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One of the freshest acts out of New Jersey making serious waves this year has undoubtedly been the fine men and women of Can’t Swim.

Formed by Chris LoPorto (vocals/guitar) out of Keansburg during the spring of 2015, Can’t Swim was originally comprised of Mike Sanchez (guitar), Danny Rico (guitar), and Greg McDevitt (bass) before the recent addition of Andrea Morgan (drums). A move that placed Danny Rico from behind the kit to third guitar and backing vocals.

Their last album (Death Deserves a Name) was a record that had promise of defining a musical style that would only become crafted in a beautiful, yet passionate, manner on Fail You Again. Growth and maturity can be found within their newest release as it entails an intimate reflection of Chris’s personal life through a sound that represents both sadness and hope.

The simplicities of starting a project of this nature entices many to just copy and paste from other popular acts until one has developed a record of their “own.” People tend to worry what others find enticing and thus, adhere to the popularities of society rather than their own desires.

Can’t Swim is separate from those notions as this outfit is centered around life long friends making music based by their personal desire to showcase their passions. They are not worried about how they should be viewed nor do they try and fabricate some falsified image in order to please the masses.

This sophomore release presents a raw and overdriven sound of regretful melancholy underlined by tones of resonating reverb and haunting delays sprinkled in. The drums play like an unabating force that comes in an out of intensity that highlights the emotional output of Fail You Again. An evocative collection of songs that strive to depict heartache and love. Through and through this is a simple yet enticing record to engage any listener.

Fail You Again is out today off of Pure Noise records and can be purchased on nearly every major format of distribution. Be sure to catch Can’t Swim on tour this winter with Four Year Strong, Light Years, and Sleep On It. Head over to their website for more on tour dates, information, and news on the band.

Below is an interview between lead frontman Chris and Matt. Enjoy!

HEAD WALK: Can’t Swim started off as an endeavor from Chris that slowly unraveled into a full line up. How was the process of forming the band as a whole?

Chris LoPorto: I was very fortunate to get the guys I did. They were my first pick and it just so happened that everyone was in the right point of their lives to be able to do this. Once Pure Noise put the record out, we quickly bought some gear, a van, and started touring right away.

HW: Matty Carlock was actually the first person to recommend us your listen as he discussed his formidable years during Back and Forth. From what we understand Chris once played drums for B&F, why the change towards something less aggressive? Is hardcore still relevant within your life or was it a stage to grow off of in order to expand your musical skills?

CL: I think they exist in separate universes. Punk and hardcore was the first type of music I really got into. My Uncle Mike played in a bunch of punk bands in the 90’s and he was the reason I started playing drums. But ever since I was young, I liked all different types of music. Can’t Swim is kinda just what came out when I started writing, what I was capable of, I don’t know how much of it was premeditated.

HW: There seems to be quite the discussion with how inclusive or not bands are these days. Coming from a band who has a female presence in the band, do you feel that there is a lack of feminine or marginalized groups of people in music these days, or this just irrelevant debate?

CL: I certainly don’t think it’s irrelevant, but we had no thoughts like that when we asked her to be in our band, we just loved her personality and thought she was an incredible musician. But now that she’s in the band, a lot of females have reached out and said how much of an inspiration she is and how they want to join a band of their own. Personally, I think that’s pretty incredible and would love for that to continue.

HW: Why the christen the band as Can’t Swim? Was this just a sweet sounding name or is there something more contextual behind it?

CL: Embarrassingly enough, I actually can’t swim.

HW: What song off of Fail You Again hits home with the most? In other words, which track delivers the greatest significance to you in terms of lyricism?

CL: DDAN was really about one certain relationship. A period of my life with that person, and how I feel about it today. FYA coves that subject as well, but also other relationships within my family and the friends I’ve made in the last few years. “One Shot” hits home the most and is probably my favorite song lyrically on the record.

HW: What type of person do you think could relate to Can’t Swim? In fact, what bands did you relate to growing up that allowed this project to reflect on those inspirations?

CL: I’d like to think that we aren’t much of an acquired taste and that we keep it pretty simple, so anyone who’s into loud rock songs could maybe dig it. I hope kids can relate and realize they should go and start a band with their friends like I did.

Seeing guys like Robert Smith of The Cure or Evan Dando of The Lemonheads, gave me the confidence that I could make a band too. Just normal guys singing about things they know and not trying to be something they’re not. I hope people think of Can’t Swim that way as well.

HW: Can’t Swim shall be touring on Fail You Again a bit this year. After completing the Set Your Goals leg of this tour, how would you say everything feels?

CL: Pretty great. We love having Can’t Swim as a five piece. It really was the missing ingredient to our live show. We also are quite happy to not be playing the same five songs anymore and have a wider variety of tunes to pick from.

HW: Let’s talk some gear for all the musicians out there reading this. What are you guys running in terms of heads, guitars, pedal effects, and kit wise that you credit towards your sound?

CL: Amps we do are Vox, Orange, and Ibanez. We always liked the sound of smaller amps, so we use 2×12’s, 1×12’s, and a 1×15.

We aren’t a very high gain sounding band so for effects it’s mostly an OCD pedal or a Tube Screamer kinda vibe. Plenty of delays and reverbs.

Drums, we all swear by the Ludwig Black Beauty. It’s a snare I’ve owned for years and we have used it for everything we’ve done.

HW: Why the decision to have Danny Rico (drummer) record FYA?

CL: We had the mentality of “if it’s not broken, why try and fix it?”
Danny did such a great job with DDAN that it only made sense for him to do FYA.

HW: What came into play in deciding on the album artwork for FYA? Looks to be the same women found on DDAN but with a bit more maturity and confidence behind her eyes. Is this to say that FYA is similar to its previous release but differs as it is has grown in terms of the band’s musicianship?

CL: Oddly enough, it’s the same girl. The photo for DDAN was shot 7 years ago while the photo for FYA was shot 6 months ago. It’s the person I write all my songs about and is the reason I started the band. I do love the idea of documenting her growing older, album cover to album cover.

HW: Anything else you’d like to make public or thank before we close this one up?

CL: Thank you for taking the time to do this! We are very excited for 2017 and can’t wait for the record to come out.

Review: Super Snake “Leap of Love”

The latest contribution of work from Super Snake, Leap of Love, is a hallucination of epic proportions aimed in curating what is most notably a journey into the darkest part of the mind. A wormhole of epicness blended with the grimmest of rhythms.

Leap of Love plays quite simple at first listen with a rather fluid like construction. What seems like a peaceful ride on a small wake soon bursts open into thunderous breaks of hallucinated ridden blues. A kind of bellowing blues only the devil in the bayou could ever appreciate.

Now mix that notion in with some of the grooviest rock n’ roll riffs you’ve heard in quite some time and a healthy layer of acid trippin’ shoegaze and shit, you have quite the fucking sound.

The guitars work in perfect tandem to pull off this Black Sabbath meets My Bloody Valentine sound. Pete August (rhythm) combines the use of his detailed board (more on that subject with our interview) in generating a tormenting wall of noise for Joe Laga to place his signature leads all over.

Leap of Love pulls you in and out of reality like waves do when they clash on and off the rocks of a coastline. Often times there are moments when you feel as if you have been sucked into this hallowing abyss of self hysteria that it makes you question the environment you’re in.

Now, that very well could just be the acid trip’s point of view but let’s digress from that notion and continue forth on this haunting journey of love and evil.

Actually, let’s talk about one of my favorite aspects about this album; the songwriting. Jerry Jones (Trophy Scars) matches his voice on Leap of Love with varying degrees of timber. Neither scratchy or harsh, rather, drifting and lingering throughout those shoegaze moments and then growling in nature during the tumultuous parts. Overall, Jerry’s singing is quite proper in complementing this hallucinatory jaunting record as he combines his natural projection in conjunction with an effects processor (Boss VE – 8 for example) to create a unique style of singing that matches the music. It is important to understand that the effects that are used to modulate his voice are neither unnecessary or over produced. Rather, the dynamics being used accompany the the complexity of this composition.

The layout of the record is something you would expect from the singer of Trophy Scars to be in. However, don’t let that statement fool you as I’m sure any fan of Jerry’s songwriting know’s that his work is often etched in such an ambiguous manner that presents both awe and mystery to the listener. Each song is eloquently written in terms of both lyricism and music writing. To have one without the other would absolutely ruin a record of this caliber so it’s great to hear that isn’t a problem.

With everything in mind,and without any bias you may argue, this record is a phenomenal representation of taking forgotten elements from longstanding genres and cultivating it into something refreshing and unique. Doom, sludge, blues, and that old time rock n’ roll are all intrinsic within many of these pieces. As odd as a mix as that sounds, I can assure the listener that these fine young gents found just the way to pull it off without adding too much saturation or production behind it.

Tone is of the utmost importance with this intoxicating endeavor of music. What better way than by having Kevin Antreassian (Dillinger Escape Plan) under the helm of recording this production. We’ve talked extensively about Backroom Studios over the past few months in regards to the recent works of bands like Wastelands or On Sight. Kevin is the head engineer over at Backroom and as such he is able to provide a promising standard of production behind Super Snake’s sophomore release.

Leap of Love has been out since Valentine’s day and is available on nearly every major format of distribution. From how I’ve been listening to this lately, I’m pretty sure this one will be actively rotating throughout the library in the coming months. This is because Super Snake is able to produce records for listeners that love to find new meaning and understanding within music. To discover something through engaged listening over time is a feeling reflective of happiness and the wonder of awe. Highly recommend that the listener listen to this record from start to finish in order to grasp the emotional and contextual underlinings of the record.

Jesus Christ, there is just so much to take in from this one. From the enticing guitar work to the groovy coalition that is the drum and bass of this band and to the mesmerizing imagery that is held here, only those who crave a feeling of fulfillment will ever truly appreciate this album.

Interview with Rhythm Guitarist, Peter August

HEAD WALK: Leap of Love is full of distinctive styles, tone, and modulating effects throughout the record. What gear are you personally running through your rig and more importantly, what’s the pedalboard situation like?

Pete August: A LOT of gear. Current setup is a Splawn Quickrod 100 through a Bogner Uberschall 4×12 and a Framus Cobra 4×12. Mostly playing a 72 Tele Deluxe with a Gibson burstbucker in it.

We recently just got an endorsement with Rougarou Pedals out of Louisiana, so that is awesome. My pedalboard is a bit of a mess but here’s what I remember on it:

Boss tuner, Frantone “the sweet” Fuzz, Boss HM2, MXR EQ, Boss Bass Octave, tc electronics “transition” delay, Rougarou “banshee” reverb, this shitty Livewire reverb pedal from the 80’s that sounds horrible, but I love it, two line 6 dl4’s (because 1 isn’t enough), and a Digitech whammy from the 90’s.

HW: Influences can answer a lot when asking what inspired someone to write the music they did. Were there any records that you or the band had been listening to while writing the Leap of Love?

PA: We wanted to make a record that incorporates everything we love but is still listenable. Keep in mind we love a ton of stuff. The hardest part for us was making all of our influences work together so I’ll answer this question in two parts:

1. Stuff we always listen to: Black Sabbath, Mr. Bungle, QOTSA/Kyuss, Sonic Youth, & The Jesus and Mary Chain.

2. Stuff I had been listening to around the time we wrote this: Allah Las, Tame Impala, had been on a healthy Sleep and Fugazi kick at the time, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, & even Orchid (the stoner band not the screams band).

HW: One of the greatest feelings that any musician could ever feel is when they finally get to showcase the music they’ve been working on for a live crowd. The Leap of Love release show was one hell of a time and I would like to know how that evening was for you?

PA: For me it was hectic, but worth it. I work doing sound at the venue (Mexicali Live) we through the show at. My mom came to the show and was her first time ever seeing me play, which was it’s very own special kind of anxiety. I wanted it to go off without a hitch and I’m a particular kind of guy. Luckily, it wound up going off without a hitch. The room was packed, all the opener bands were awesome, and we played our set tight. From what I could tell it sounded beastly. The album has been selling really well and I haven’t found any negative reviews online. Been more press than I’m used to for an album we put out via DIY, but that’s a good thing right?

HW: Shit, that’s more than any band could ever ask for. So what can we expect from the Super Snake camp in the future?

PA: We’re working on some tours for late spring. Hopefully Europe in the fall. We’re halfway into writing our next album and it’s starting to take a really cool vibe. We wanna focus on playing more out of state stuff, so bookers hit me up!

HW: Last words and final thoughts?

PA: Working my ass off everywhere. Garrett got a stick up his ass to start writing another Banner record, Nick Lang got a stick up his ass to start writing a new Choke record, and I have a stick up my ass to write an even cooler Super Snake record. So long story short a bunch of people got sticks up their asses and I’m gunna have a busy summer.

Below is a collection of shots taken by the ever talented Nicole Spangenburg from the Leap of Love release show at Mexicali Live last month. All rights are reserved under her name. Enjoy kiddos!

Expire’s Last NJ Show

Last night was a much needed escape. The stresses and headaches from our day to day lives can take quite the toll on the body and mind. School, work, family, and personal issues are nearly endless within our environment that it becomes necessary from time to time to back away in order to clear the chaos.

Hell, what better way than to get a bunch of the homies together in a dim lit basement and beat the living shit out of each other to some of the best hardcore music going around these days?

For those that missed out on witnessing what was perhaps one of the wildest shows to ever go down at the locker? Well, I feel fucking sorry you had better things to partake in. Seriously, I can not stress enough on the amount of talent this line up housed. From the opening acts of Threat 2 Society and Phantom Pain to the touring support of Cross Me and Homewrecker, this was one to remember for New Jersey Hardcore.

Two things to keep in mind about last night’s show. First, is that Threat 2 Society has shot some of the final pieces for their latest music video. More information will be released as soon as we have word and permission from the band. Second, there’s a new band in town ladies and gentlemen. Phantom Pain is the newest and most pissed off addition to the hardcore scene in recent times. Definitely hop on that wave.

Well, if there is anything that should be said about Expire it is this..

Thank you for providing what was one of the most unique and menacing sounds to ever grace hardcore. From the time Pendulum Swings first claimed reckoning upon my ear drums I knew there would be something special about all of this. The messages related to self worth and the woes of humanity from your music has been relatable to many of your fans.

All to the point that when you ever you’d play, a choir consisting of hundreds of screaming kids would be shouting your lyrics alongside you. All as if something truly real resonating within them or that for once, someone understood their pain. Everyone here in the New Jersey hardcore scene thanks you for all the work that you’ve put in and for all the times you came by and partied with us. We hope that you all find it within yourselves to continue making music through other endeavors down the road.

Until then, fair winds and traveling seas…

All rights and ownership of these photos are property of Eddie Trefurt.

Phantom Pain

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Facebook  |  Bandcamp

Cross Me

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Threat 2 Society

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Facebook  |  Bandcamp

Pay to Play and Why it’s Not All that Great

One the greatest debates within any music scene has been the issue of the “Pay to Play” system. Often times, this system only ever benefits the promoter while disregarding the bands or their effort in drawing attendance. Many people consider this structure as deceitful business tactics aimed at using bands as mere tools for selling tickets. This article focuses on the concerns and problems with “Pay to Play” and questions whether there is any real use for it?

Well, in order to answer this dispute let’s break this down into a few separate questions:

What is Pay to Play?

A system designed to issue tickets to bands who are performing in order to attract more people to said performance. These bands must fulfill an obligation by selling an X amount of tickets before the day of their show as a prerequisite for performing. Now, should a band fail to sell this required amount of tickets, then they run the risk of performing at a lesser time slot or not at all. The overall argument towards the “Pay to Play” system is that it places the artists as capitalistic pawns within the promoter’s business venture.

Depends on who is throwing the gig, really.

The responsibility of possessing any blame (for the most part but give me a minute here) solely relies on the one who has put the event together. At the end of the day, the person throwing the show is spending his or her free time and money to put together a gig and should accept the duties and responsibilities of such a position. Event coordinators or venue managers are generally only responsible for executing the pay to play system during the day of show.

However, the person putting the event together could very well be anyone so it’s important to know who that person is should problems ever arise.

The notion of ownership almost always leaves the promoter (let us use this word in referring to the one in charge of the show) with a sense of entitlement of his or her event. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It does however rely on the character of the promoter and that individual’s attitude towards others. Ethical and moral judgements based on concerns for those around you is what will help any person in developing healthy and successful relationships.

Unfortunately, this is such a system that only notorious promoters ever seem to use.

Humanity is genuinely respected when paired with a morally sound and ethically correct attitudes towards others. Most solid promotion agencies and individual promoters do a rather tight job as they understand the value of using people as an end in themselves. Still, any seasoned touring musician could tell you a handful of nightmares from playing gigs. Not every venue is ideal nor is every promoter trustworthy. The use of pay to play may very well be the first red flag.

Keep in mind that most venues do not rely on their own promotion or throw together most of their events. In fact they rely heavily on hiring professionally experienced promoters to handle that fucking headache. Still, should a promoter develop a history of faulty or questionable behavior, it would be pertinent that the venue takes appropriate actions in either correcting their actions or ceasing bonds with them.

Why Do Venues Ask Attendees What Band They Are There To See?

A little off topic but nonetheless important question to the overall issue as lack of attendance is what inspired this system.

Plain and simple, a music venue is a fucking business that requires a proper level of profit in order to continue operating. Everything is a money sign for an owner. From the water you use when washing your hands after taking a piss (that you uncontrollably stained on the toilet seat mind you) to putting a hole in the wall during an Absolute Suffering set, there is always a cost to house an event. Keep in mind also that without decent acts playing a event people wouldn’t bother coming out of their dwellings to see a show.

Simply put there are two major reasons why the door guy asks who you’re there to see:

1.) Draw – this lets us know who YOU want to see the most. Music is very much a popularity contest to a degree and unfortunately not everyone is going to have the chance to see the band they’d like to at any given gig. Same goes to the bands trying their best to get on those bangers.

Telling the pissed off door guy who you are there to see is simply giving the promoter viable information on attendance. Keep in mind, promoters have the right to book who they want and frankly, your opinion on the matter may very well be shit. Still, it would be keen for any promoter to grant the wishes of their scene and to take some chances when possible. For without a demand for bands to play and people that want to see them? Fuck, I wouldn’t even be writing this damn article.

2.) Payout – what’s fair is fair and equal compensation is absolutely up that alley. Without musicians, this debate would be nonexistent. Bands that draw should be compensated to a fair level based on the crowd they bring. Clearly the question here is how much and at what point do they start getting paid? The amount of expenses that add up is much more than people realize so in order for a band to be paid they should be able to draw a crowd. Hell, most locals will play bigger shows for free in hopes of getting the proper spotlight or out of due respect towards the headlining act. Regardless, even a tank of gas, some food, or help finding a place in being put up for the night can go a long way for the non national touring acts or just locals driving a couple hours out.

Pay to play may have a stipulation that not only requires pre-sale tickets but also a fair amount of ticket sales at the door the day of the show.

The question here is should the band that has the potential with the highest of a turn out have the right to play the show or should the promoter give what would be an equal opportunity for bands to prove themselves? Could you not argue that the ability to sell an X amount of tickets is not already an opportunity to prove your turn out? After all, should a band wish to ever be successful or yearn for popularity than it would be pertinent in promoting your own band. That means going out and selling hard copy tickets to your fans in person or putting the hours to get that music out there on social media. Remember, proper business ethics must always be in place should you ever want to have a reputable or professional name.

So what exactly is so terrible about pay to play?

Depending on the promoter the use of pay to play may very well have the potential in ruining a scene. If you’re only angle of promoting an event is to rely on the local bands to sell tickets? Well, you better find a better promotion tactic quick because that is sure to fail eventually.

Yes, bands should be able to draw but in no way should it be dependent solely on themselves for the outcome of a successful gig. Reign Supreme could get together for a reunion show and sell out any given Sunday as long as the public is well informed of the happening. To have bands go out and sell tickets seems more like a bunch of pawns in a sketchy business tactic. Unless of course every band on the bill is a bunch of unknown acts with no distinct fan base then and only then could I agree upon such a flawed promotion tactic.

Furthermore, to provide ultimatums or false promises towards an act is quite the dirty move. I’ve seen it quite too many times when the specified total of tickets that should have been sold apparently was higher than previously agreed upon or that the promise of a pay out becomes compromised or denied.

Should someone ever pull this kind of stunt on you then I urge you to reach out to us and let it be known.Seeing actual artists go out there and bust their own ass getting fans out to show and only end up getting screwed over is an irritating fucking feeling.

Granted it’s one thing when a promoter has falsified or withdrew their business standard and another if you just do not agree with how they operate.
Promoters can be the ugly twin of a car salesman. No seasoned musician has never not experienced a shady booking agent or promoter in their day. Still, always make sure that there is enough evidence or proof of anything wrong.

What Does This All Mean?

In my personal opinionated bullshit, people just love to fuck one another and take them for what they are worth these days. It’s only inevitable that we cross the path of shiesty promoters or venues with poor operating standards. Don’t get me wrong, bands should definitely promote the shows that they are booked on. A duty to inform your own fans and to get a few new ones out should always be something the band is working on. An instagram post here or a repost of the event page on facebook does more than you may think.

At the same token, it should not be the sole responsibility of a band to promote a show as much as they should never be used as puppets by the promoters.

Always remember to get things in writing when making any deal or agreement. If a promoter, booking agent, or venue decides to fuck you over or pull something slick on y’all? Drop us a line with what ever proof or reasoning that you think there is of the matter. We might just be able to help you out.