The New Jersey hardcore scene is in a prolific state these days. Everyone and their mother wants to start a project and to hit the circuit with everything they have. All in hopes that they have some talent that either breaks the mold or leads to cheap popularity. As much as I’d love to sit here and say the artistic expression people cultivate into creating music is a great thing, it is also bares a fair share of annoyances. This can be due to a plethora of reasons. For one, the egotistical and “rock star” driven need for fame, money, and cheap popularity that some people desire could easily ruin what ever talent or credit they deserved or had. Especially when it comes to hardcore, there’s no winners in this game baby.
Furthermore, there is nothing more frustrating than seeing bands rush or half ass their projects. Don’t get it twisted, get in the basement and start whatever the fuck it is you wish to do. Just take the time and due diligence to create something worthy of your true self. Dig deep through the heartaches and pleasure within your soul in order to give it what you have. These convictions were exactly what the boys in Grievance had in mind when forming this project.
Grievance is a four piece hardcore unit out of New Jersey that features members of several long standing acts including; Hold Your Ground, Existence, and even Depreciator, which is currently active and slated to tour this spring. This project isn’t here to change the game so don’t expect these guys to give a damn about your expectations. However, should you happen to expect violently discharging riffs and hauntingly passionate lyricism? You’ll be pleased to know those prerequisites have been properly met.
Let Grievance’s first demo stand as a promising first release filled with aggressive timbres and vengeful themes of self loathing and social distaste of one’s environment. It’s not easy living where we are from. This is not to take away from other walks of life that may be subjected to worse standards of living but it is to say that New Jersey most definitely has the capability to chew you up and swallow you whole.
Grievance is but a collection of lives that have all been through torment and despair. Only through listening to this demo can one have a chance to understand or relate to these guys.
If you haven’t already clicked play or took the time of day to listen, than do it. Especially when life feels meaningless or in ruins.
All photography is courtesy & all rights reserved: Trevor Novatin
Interview with Charlie (Bassist)
HEAD WALK: This heavy hitting act has not one, but two well seasoned vocalists. When it comes to writing lyricism, is this a joint task between Ryan and you? Furthermore, can we expect a bigger dynamic of you two screaming on Grievance?
Charlie: First and foremost thank you for reaching out to ask if you questions. Anytime you have even a small group of people interested in what you have to say, it’s always a good feeling. As far as the lyrical content goes,I really wanted to let Ryan breathe on this. At least for this first EP. Really wanted the lyrical content to be his own brain child. Throughout the recording process I tweaked words and played with vocal placement, but that was about it.
Everyone has a lot to say so I was excited to hear what Ryan had to say. As far as the future, you can 150% expect more of a dynamic between the two of us…shit, even the three of us. If anyone knows me they know I dabble with vocals a little so it would be a blast.
HW: The beatdown style of hardcore is making a swift resurgence as its popularity is high on the rise. Why would this be and how does this project separate itself from the others?
C: Oh God, the dreaded genre question. This is the type a question you can answer and you are going to piss off at least 50% of the people reading it. If anyone has listened to my previous band Existence, they would know that we were well-rounded as far as styles when it wasn’t a matter of trying to come out in a specific genre. We wrote music on how we liked the chord progression or the riff, we went with it and if we didn’t, we kept writing until we did. This project follows the same math.
Now, about that the resurgence you were talking about, I think there’s one giant misconception about the beatdown/slam resurgence that people are talking about. Mostly being that the bands they are referring to as beatdown/slam aren’t actually either of those. Just because you use “126.96.36.199” in a “breakdown”, does not make you beatdown nor does riding the bell make you slam.
But, I do appreciate that vibe of music coming back. I think it has a lot to do with other bands doing reunions while allowing younger cats in being introduced to music they normally wouldn’t. I would NOT, let me repeat, NOT consider us a “beatdown band.” Those elements might show up in our songs simply because the main creator of our music (Moke) tends to listen to that stuff on the regular. As far as what separates us, I don’t necessarily think we are trying to separate ourselves. There is a vibe to our songs that touches base on a few different genres. We want it to flow. That’s about as much thought pertaining to how we sound..
HW: At best, hardcore houses a controlled state of chaos. Violence is inevitable and pain is expected. There was a time when nearly every venue would either get shut down or end up refusing to host hardcore gigs. Now that we are older and have seen the best and worst outcomes of shows, where do you see the line being drawn? Or should there even be one?
C: I’m going to speak for myself here and by no means am I condoning someone going into a venue with a chainsaw or doing windmills cutting off people’s limbs. But hardcore was about no lines, except obviously things like racism and homophobia and ignorant things of that nature. Yet, it was a place that you could come and go as you please. Like you have a really shitty work week or a really shitty week at school so you just show up to a venue and let loose.
Be yourself, breathe deep, let it out, go home, and do it all over again. Are there people who take it too far? I’m sure. So, instead of making a shitty Facebook post about it or a lame tweet, pull the person aside and have an adult conversation. In my years of doing this I have seen some wild shit (laughs). “Hardcore” is for anyone but at the same time it’s not for everyone.
HW: The five track self titled EP is a solid demo that seems to captivate the overall idea of Grievance. How was the production of this record?
C: This is the easiest question to answer, our guitarist Moke is an animal. Besides dealing with the real life and day-to-day stuff, he balances multiple bands alongside this project. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that music is saving this dude’s life. I could only imagine what not being able to get these thoughts out must feel like and the fact he is able to balance three bands while having enough material that sounds different between the three of them shows to me he’s got a lot going on. I’m glad that I can be a part of one third of his creative and liberating process.
HW: What’s on the plate for the rest of the year? Any plans for a full length and if so, what studios are you looking at?
C: Hell yeah music, music, music. That’s really what this project is all about. We are all getting a little older so it’s just nice to have an outlet. I always joke about being like a hip-hop artist for the fact Moke is constantly writing and sending new material. It’s almost as if he has an endless well of material.
The last part of this question is a tricky one as it’s kind a hard to justify going to a studio when you have members who have the capability of delivering an end result of solid quality. But, with that being said, we definitely have friends in the industry that put out amazing work as well and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in taking some roughs and letting them polish those up.