Atlanta's Poster Boy.
(Photo by Sarah - Sarah Shoots People)
So, Zone 6 Music was slated to come out in spring but has been pushed back to summer, what happened?
Straight up, I have no idea. 
It’s in the plant, we’re gonna have physical copies in 3 weeks now, so it’s game time.

What are you most excited for people to hear on the new album?

I’m interested in what’s gonna happen. 
I feel like I write lyrics that kind of stand out. I’m not writing lyrics to appease people, I’m not trying to dumb my shit down so I’ll be able to walk in every social circle. 
A lot of bands will tailor their verbiage in accordance with the status quo, I try to just be true to myself. 

A lot of the more social sentiments someone intelligent would be able to break down and at the very least grasp what I'm saying, but topics like Self Evicted I could see people not agreeing. 
I mean it's nothing crazy, but it's about a dude from our past who we all genuinely hope dies tomorrow
Some people might find that excessive, but hey -the dude sucks.

You moved to LA earlier this year, how does the music scene differ from what you’re used to?
 I haven’t been to enough shows to tell, honestly. It’s mostly similar.
 I haven’t met too many people, I guess it’s really too soon to tell. 
I went to some bigger shows like the Bane last tour, and a Turnstile gig, but shows like that are similar everywhere - just fucking packed and wild.

Have you started any new bands in LA?
Yeah! I’m working on a band with Taylor Young and a couple other people but it’s called Midnight Sons and we’re almost done with it actually. 
It’s just a hardcore band, I’ve never been in a band that’s on the heavier side of things. 
Everything I’ve been in has been on the faster side because that's what I like and gravitate to. 
This came together because I’ve always wanted to do a band like that, it’s on the Cold As Life side. Lyrically, it's themed heavily from the mind of a gambling addict.

You’ve been going to shows since you were 10, you’ve obviously seen some things. 
What are the worst trends in hardcore to you? 
My first instinct is to go on all day about this but sometime I try to reason with myself because I don’t want to let shit bother me. 
I try to not get mad and usually fail.1. Kids thinking they have to be one type of hardcore kid. 
A kid in a 3x bulldoze shirt and camo pants is obviously a beatdown kid. It’s all he likes. 
Then the b-side hyper youth crew kid. Punk rock kids who hate everything about hardcore. 
Kids who confine themselves to one aspect of hardcore. 
I'll listen to Deep Wound one second and put on 25 Ta Life the next. I just like hardcore.

2. The new witch hunting social justice warrior. I hate that term. 
People who pick apart hardcore kids, when REAL problems exist in the REAL world, but they'd rather stick to spewing well accepted views over the mic or on a keyboard. 
Like people who say racism is rampant in hardcore as if hardcore is some Nazi Germany. 
You’d read some things some of these people say and think hardcore is some kind of Racist Disneyworld. 
To say that it’s a problem in hardcore is a little insulting to people who had to deal with insane sketchy nazis at shows and fought real hard to make them feel quite unwelcome.

Racism is definitely a thing but people act like it doesn't get taken care of.

 Hardcore is a piece of the world where racism can exist but for the most part DOES NOT and if it pops up it's stamped out.  
The fact is our world has evolved and ESPECIALLY HC has evolved to the point where these problems are dying more each day. 
But, being some kind of martyr or a victim is the new badge of honor, so people will stop at nothing to try and dig a problem out of a place where there might not be one.

How do you feel about hardcore in 2016?

Overall it’s sick. 
Lately what I’ve been trying to do is kind of just, in a weird way, put blinders on. 
Ignore the weird status quo, go to shows, support bands I think are sick. Take a step back. 
I like not knowing people in bands anymore. 
It’s like being 14 again like just listening to a good band. 
Like Countdown, it was a super refreshing feeling to not know anything about the dudes in the band and not know who’s in the band. It’s like a mystery in someways to me. 
It was really cool.

Name 3 bands that everyone should know about.  
King Nine, Regulate, Abuse of Power

How does country music influence CI?
In a pretty huge way. That’s my bread and butter. 
I didn’t grow up on it really young but I really got into it when we moved back to America when I was 10. I found out about Hank Sr. and from there I just dug and dug and became more obsessed. What I appreciate about country is how genuine it is and how unfiltered it is. 
Every song is like "I’m sad and here’s why. I wanna kill this dude, here’s why. I wanna kill myself, here’s why." 
If you read my lyrics I take a pretty similar approach. I just appreciate the realness in it. 
It’s a realness that’s hard to find in not only music but life.
It’s a huge influence on how we write music, for sure.

So, you’re not into internet culture, but what’s your favorite meme and what meme do you hate?

It’s not that I’m not into it, it just eludes me, man.

You're not a huge meme guy, it's okay.

Yeah! Haha. But this Rob Zombie meme fucking killed me. You saw it. The "this could be us but you won't dig through the ditches" one.

Okay, so what meme do you hate?

I mean, I hate what I don’t understand so 90% of them.

 I guess it’s just an insecurity cause I never get the joke. 

The frog thing is one, I don’t get what’s going on.

Describe yourself in five words.
Excessive. Gambler. Realistic. Uhhh, okay help me out here.

Remember when I called you frustrating?
Oh, that's a good one. Frustrating. Rambler. A rambler and a gambler. Actually. Fuck rambler, loyal.

Finally, any words of wisdom for the youth?
Speak your mind and don't ever let anyone make you feel like you can't. 
Don't be ashamed of who you are - no matter what you are. 

You can listen to Criminal Instinct on Bandcamp and follow them on Twitter.