Q: I have seen a post on Instagram, that you are recording new stuff. Is there anything you can tell us about your next release, or still to early?
Chris: Yes, we wrapped up the first stage of recording two new songs this past weekend at Red Room Studio in Seattle, WA. We recorded with the same engineer we worked with on “At Capacity” as we were really happy with the way that EP turned out. This record is sort of a transition between the last one and a full-length. Originally, we were going to focus on writing the full-length but we had a few older songs that we felt really wouldn’t fit on what we’ve written thus far for the full-length. After a few member changes and solidifying our lineup the sound is a little different and we wanted the full-length to reflect that fluidly. We felt these two songs make a good EP and we were eager to get back in the studio. As far as the next release, it’s called “Grotesque Lie” and it’s going to be a little darker and heavier than the last record. The lyrical content is more on the personal side but still very political. The songs deal with how the atrocities of rape culture, patriarchy and sexual manipulation have infiltrated our underground sub-cultures as well as the role religious ideologies (primarily christianity) play in the decisions people make in their lives. We are hoping to have the vinyl pressed and the record ready to go by the time we head to Europe in July. The EP will be released on Catalyst Records and we are extremely excited about that.
Max: Grotesque Lie (the B-side of this 7″) is the first song I had a hand in writing after I joined the band on drums back in May 2016. For me that song is very emotional and carries a lot of weight due to myself and a lot of people close to me also being victims of sexual assault. The song is about a specific individual situation, but my hope is that it will give anyone affected by forms of sexual violence the courage to speak out about their experiences.
Q: Oh, I really like it darker and heavier. That sounds great. Your decision of this transition record also shows that you keep the big picture in focus and work towards. To be honest, I also prefer 7inches instead of a full-length LP, although you can express more emotions on a LP than a 7inch. Yea these days it is getting more and more important to stay strong against those topics mentioned above. Especially with such a clown as a president. Do you think the attitude of a random HC kid has changed with the alt-right movement and if so, in a good way? I am just asking, because especially here in Germany, sometimes those right winged bastards try to infiltrate the vegan-anarchist movement. The other interesting point is: You are coming to Europe? That’s really nice information. You already have a few confirmed dates or venues, or still in the early stages of development? Have you heard that Vegan Reich will do a show on Summer in UK? Good timing, I guess. haha.
A: Chris: Yes, darker and heavier and overall a little different. One of the newly recorded songs actually has a d-beat part in it. All of us love that type of music but never really considered incorporating it into our sound. One day, we were writing the song “Within” and I believe I mentioned in a joking manner “why don’t we throw a d-beat part in there as opposed to a thrash part.” We tried it and it worked. Or at least we think it worked. It’s been well received at live shows. Yes, we definitely have the big picture approach to the full-length. We already have the vibe of the record figured out – like, how we want it to begin, the number of songs, the title track in the middle of the record, and how we want it to end. We even have a working title! But right now we are focusing on touring the west coast US one more time for “At Capacity” and then pushing “Grotesque Lie” and working with Catalyst before concentrating more on the full-length.
That’s such a good question (attitude of a random HC kid changing w alt-right movement). I think it might be a little too early to tell but one thing I’ve noticed over the past few months and the past year is that more and more random HC kids and new bands are getting involved in actually trying to make this world a better place. I see the message and a sense of urgency of the late 1980s and 90s hardcore returning to contemporary hardcore. Over the last few months it’s been amazing to see people rally against that clown (I love that you referred to him as a clown…I saw a slogan the other day that said “Elect a clown. Expect a circus.” So accurate. We must be vigilant in our quest to ban all circuses haha). People are coming together in so many ways, so many protests, campaigns, and actions in the Seattle area directed against the alt-right movement. The Womxns March, NODAPL protests and marches, Black Lives Matter marches and rallies. I believe the overall engagement in these important issues and activities has increased (by both HC kids and “norms”) and I hope it will continue as long as the alt-right agenda is present. Last month we played a benefit show for the White Helmets (https:www.whitehelmets.orgen), a group providing immediate humanitarian relief following bombings in Syria. For Seattle, that show was decently attended and we raised $700 for the cause. There were, however, a lot of people missing who would have normally been at the show. The cool thing about that is the reason those people were missing is because they were attending the massive protest at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where over 10,000 people gathered in opposition to the clown’s executive order on immigration. Many of the folks on the front lines, especially the anarchist vegan antifa kids, would have been at the show but they opted to engage in the protest, which I think is amazing. I think and hope that in the long run the average HC kid is going to direct their anger and energy towards this type of support and protest action.
As far as right-wingers infiltrating the scene here, I have not seen much of that lately but I haven’t been to a bigger HC show this year (except Code Orange and there were no alt-right idiots there as far as I could tell). I also haven’t been to a punk or metal show this year that might attract the neo-nazi types. We will see and I imagine that it’s only a matter of time before those idiots start showing up at HC shows. I do know there has been a lot of activity concerning alt-right assholes trying to infiltrate the antifa movement and actions here. The alt-right presence is definitely making its self known and beyond that we have seen an increase in hate crimes committed all over this city and many other cities in the US.
Another thing I’ve noticed over the past year or so is a lot of bands and labels are getting engaged with supporting organizations and causes. A great example is the support show for 100 for Haiti, the organization Greg Bennick from Trial helped create. Wake of Humanity actually did the first collaborative benefit t-shirt with them last year and since then a lot of other bands, even several long broken up, have contributed shirt designs. Some of those bands include Earth Crisis, Outspoken, Mean Season and the Swarm. One band and label combination in particular that I’m most impressed with is Good Fight Records and Hollow Earth. They offered a per-order benefit shirt bundle when “Dead Planet” came out. I think that speaks a lot in terms of integrity for both the band and the label. They were concerned with giving back to the community and not just per-order sales.
Yes! We are coming to Europe this summer. I have no idea how we’re going to afford it but we are going to make it happen. We don’t have plane tickets yet but we do have the tour mapped out and are waiting on a few other logistics to determine whether we are going to book the tour ourselves (very scary and expensive) or see if someone such as Avocado Booking would be interested in helping out a relatively new and unknown band. I think we are looking at booking 14 shows throughout the course of the tour. We have a few solid contacts in half the cities we’d like to play. We’re thinking of doing a big loop, starting in Prague and ending in Dresden. I do, however, think we’ll go over well in Europe. I can’t wait to get back there! Wow, Vegan Reich in the UK! That’s the first I’ve heard of them playing there but it would be amazing if they were touring Europe around the same time. I’d love to play with that band. We played with Racetraitor last week so why not Vegan Reich this summer?
Max: I think the political climate in the US has engaged and mobilized a lot of people (“hc kid” and non-hc kid) who were not necessarily politically active until an openly racist, misogynist and fascist individual was elected as president. I also think it has given certain people justification for their views that are still condemned by most, but they now believe they are safe from consequence and protected by the state. I think a lot of HC kids will make sure those views don’t take hold in our community, but we will see as time goes on how much of an impact the community will make.
I have never even traveled to Europe, so touring is daunting, but we will make it happen with LaPointe’s elder wisdom and experience. I think we will have more info on that soon. I’m just excited to spread our message. I think that is way more important than the music itself.
Mike: I feel it’s forcing people to be more political, which is positive. But at the same time, it’s depressing that it takes shit to get this bad to make people want to do anything. That being said, hardcore is more relevant than ever. There are a lot of current bands speaking out and are helping bring a force of change in the dominant paradigm.
Q: A good d-beat is always a good choice to pep up a song. Haha. I listened a lot to bands like Dropdead, Wolfbrigade, Skitsystem, about 10 years ago. For me the whole D-Beat and Crust scene has a huge influence in the Animal Liberation movement besides hardcore and metalcore. I guess for me the Italian underground crust scene pushed me more into veganism, than anything else. They always offered good meals, conversations, flyers and good bands. Thats what I really miss at the shows today. It is mainly only for buying the newest merch and pose with it on on Instagram and Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, bands live for selling merch and doing shows, but the main intention of people going to show has been changed in my eyes. Nevertheless, bands can have a big impact on their environment and the chance to change people’s attitude. Especially today, as you said before, when people stand up and protest for the right thing. I think all those racist scumbags are trying to infiltrate HC shows of bands which do not explicitly are against racism and fascism. For example, I have never seen a Nazi on a First Blood show. But if I am right, I have already seen them on a Hatebreed show. So better stay always strictly antifascist to make sure, no douchebags will use your shows for their dumb views.
Yea traveling is expensive, so I hope you will find a way to afford it. The Vegan Reich show is not yet confirmed, I mean, the date, when it should happen. I also don’t know if they want to play with other bands or only a one band show. But it is cool to see, you are open to play with them. You want to tell us what your opinion on the hardline movement is. By the way, I mean the original movement, without homophobia etc.
A: Chris: Yeah, a lot of the politics around d-beat and crust had a big impact on this band. I believe for our current lineup, Dropdead has been a big influence. They had more of an impact on me, our drummer and guitar player than, say, Earth Crisis. When I think of the Animal Liberation movement intersecting with music, the first image I recall seeing would be that of the Dropdead “Unjustified Murder” era. I think that’s also the first time I consciously thought of the term “liberation” in this context. Also, I love their imagery and overall crust aesthetic. Black and white and reminds me of a lot of the early political hardcore stuff I was into like Crucifix, Conflict UK, Crass and such. Ha, I’ve been jamming so much Wolfbrigade lately!
Oh Hardline, another interesting question and this one is difficult for several reasons. First, I never really paid much attention to hardline when it was a thing in the early to mid-90s. I wasn’t too connected to that scene and really didn’t formulate a strong opinion. I wasn’t straightedge and I was not yet vegan. If anything, I thought hardline was kind of silly. This was a time where I was really developing my political beliefs etc. I was vegetarian, a budding environmentalist studying environmental science and biology and really starting to think beyond the shock value and angst of punk. I’ve never been a fan of conservative politics and that’s what I identified hardline with back then and now. The sexual politics and the whole anti-abortion stance of hardline does not align whatsoever with my beliefs or the beliefs of this band. I was into stuff like Spitboy, Los Crudos, Soul Side, Rites of Spring, Fugazi and many other Dischord Records bands in the 90s. Therefore, I was not a fan of the overall hardline movement and don’t think about it much now even though I said I’d be stoked to play with Vegan Reich. It would be interesting, however, to read an updated interview with Sean Muttaqi and to see if his beliefs are still the same, different, stronger, etc. I don’t even know if that dude or any of the other dudes from that band are still straightedge (except Andy Hurley, if he’s still their drummer). There probably exists an interview or several and I’m probably just not paying attention. For me, hardline was never that appealing. It’s funny to see a resurgence in it though. I mean, you look at our record and it kind of has that vibe but that wasn’t our intent.
There are certain concepts and philosophies the hardline movement identifies with that are aligned with my personal beliefs. Animal liberation, I’m onboard with that of course. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol, very down with that. Deep Ecology is a concept and philosophy that is of the utmost importance to me. By training, I’m a restoration ecologist and in doing so I lean way more towards the biocentric side of thought as opposed to viewing the environment as a resource for humans to use up. Funny side note, while on the bus to work this morning I was thinking of trees. Old growth trees, evergreens, giants of the forest, extremely important parts of a forest ecosystem, both living and dead. Trees are so taken for granted by most humans and often seen only as a resource to exploit. I penned the phrase “value beyond commodity” in my notebook as I was thinking and conjuring up new lyrical content. I’m always thinking in those terms, about how humans so blindly fuck up the balance of nature and take and take and take with no regard whatsoever for the intricacies and importance of intact ecosystems. If you extract one piece of that puzzle so humans can live comfortably you could, in effect, damage the entire system beyond recognition. Naturally, the concept of deep ecology and denouncing anthropocentric greed is reflected in our current release, especially in the title track “At Capacity” and the whole premise of “WA016F” is rooted in the concept of deep ecology.
So my final thought on hardline – good try, not for me and damaging for others, especially women.
Mike: With or without homophobia, “pro-life” ideals are bullshit. A belief that a man has any say or opinion on what a woman does with her body is garbage. Religion and anything that mimics it is toxic.
Q: Humans have forgotten the real value of our environment. We live in a world where people freak out the software of an iPhone is unresponding, or when they can’t get the newest smartphone. They do not realize, that those issues are not even first world problems, those are first-first-first world problems. It is just a thing. Even if they won’t believe you, they could live without it, but we can not live without a functioning ecosystem. And thats where we are destroying our own habitat, every single day. You already mentioned the track „At Capacity,“ there is one line on which I agree most: “Too many humans breeding us into oblivion“ There are too many humans for our mother earth. I am still hoping, one day we will eradicate ourself. Hopefully after we released every non-human animal from laboratories, slaughterhouses, cages etc.
I will do my best to see if Sean is interested in answering a few questions. But what I can say is, he is still vegan and straightedge. When I wrote that sentence, I realized I had a debate on how to write straightedge. People say it needs to be written straightedge and not straight edge. Because if you write straight edge it could mean you are straight and not homosexual and that means you would exclude every homosexual men and women. I think thats silly, but to avoid stress with people, I always just say veganedge. Haha. Do you think it really makes a difference if you write straightedge or straight edge?
I’m glad you mentioned and agree with that line from “At Capacity.” To me, it seems like such a basic concept; there are simply too many people on this planet exploiting it beyond recognition. But most people really don’t understand or are unwilling to acknowledge that humans are the problem and only humans can remedy the situation by not being so selfish in so many of their day to day decisions. The need especially in first world countries to consume and spend beyond reasonable means blows my mind. I’m guilty of it, I got that privilege but I do everything in my power to offset the negative impact I may make on the environment. Yes, I agree with you 100% that one day we will eradicate ourselves. Mother Earth will be here long after our stupid asses are gone. I could go on for hours about this but I’ll stop now.
As for the debate on straight edge vs, straightedge, I hear you in that writing it as “straight edge” is not inclusive and as a movement we should be way beyond that. I’ve always just written it as “straightedge” but then again, a straightedge is a tool. Maybe, we’re all just tools? I like “veganedge” as well and honestly, the vegan part to me and probably the rest of WOH is of the utmost importance in our identity as a band and as individuals. That said, I won’t hesitate to X up at any given moment. I’m interested in what the others have to say about this…
Q: I guess, if Mother Earth knew what we as humans are doing against others, we were the first species on the list of an extinction chosen by Gaia. Unfortunately, we made it so far, that many innocent victims have no longer the chance to live in peace and harmony. Haha, today I saw on TV news regarding new planets were found by the Nasa. I can’t understand why they are so happy, because they found similar planets like ours. We are not even able to take care of this one and destroy it step by step. I mean how stupid is that?
If people are vegan and straightedge and then drop or rather break straight edge by drinking alcohol or something else, I really don’t care. But when they break vegan it is like a punch in the face for all non-human animals. I will never understand how people could do that.
A: Chris: I’m the same exact way about breaking edge vs. selling out veganism. For me straightedge is a personal choice. With that said, I recognize drinking and doing drugs affects others in a negative manner in that it’s a destructive lifestyle that most of the time ends supports corporations and it potentially kills innocent people. For me selling out veganism makes no sense. If you have the sense enough to make a choice to go vegan, how can you justifiably sell that out? This concept is precisely what the song Null & Void is about. It makes me so angry.
Q: Yea, omnivores are shit, as they believe it is okay or rather acceptable to eat dead flesh of an animal. But vegan people who sold out, are even worse. I mean, how can they still look in the mirror with no regret?
Better switch to another subject. You are sponsored by Outcast Agenda Clothing. What does that mean to you, that a clothing label supports you as a band? Can you tell us more about your collaboration?
A: Chris: For me, it goes beyond getting free gear (although I always wanted one of those VSXE sweatshirts). Jack has been a friend of ours for some time and even before I became friends with him I respected his clothing company and what it stands for. His beliefs and our beliefs are very closely aligned so it’s a natural fit for us to work together. I think that’s the most important thing to me. The fact that we’re supporting each other in common causes is really cool. The dude is legit too. He’s not just some internet kid cashing in on vegan edge merch. He’s out there on the front lines, working for Sea Shepherd on various campaigns. We respect that a great deal. And it’s motivated us as well in terms of going beyond being long time Sea Shepherd supporters and getting involved in their campaigns. Our bass player, Mike, just recently did a volunteer outreach stint with Sea Shepherd and attended the Seattle Boat Show informing people about illegal whaling and other activities. Beyond that, Jack is genuinely invested in the bands he supports and that means a lot.
Q: I hope it was already clear for everyone out there, that you do not have that collaboration for the free gear, but for the message Jack spreads.
He definitely is a legit guy, I am also writing with him on a daily base right now. When this interviews is finished, the interview with Jack is already online and you can read it here. It is cool to read, that also your band is involved into Sea Shepherd. That underlines again, that you as a band not only talk about Animal Liberation, you also do something against that cruelty.
I think we could end our interview here at that point. Is there something you want to say?
A: Sounds like a great place to end but the last few things I wanted to add are 1. Thank you so much for the interest in our band and for spending the time to talk to us. It’s greatly appreciated. 2. I wanted to reiterate that we are super excited for our new release to hopefully coincide with our tour of Europe in July and we can’t wait to get out there and meet people as we spread our message through our music! and finally 3. Go vegan. Stay vegan.
Links you should check out: