8.31.2017

SPOTLIGHT: EYES OF THE LORD

SPOTLIGHT: EYES OF THE LORD

A breath of fresh air.
That's what first comes to mind when someone says Eyes Of The Lord to me. Weary as I am of the great hype machine that is the internet, I didn't listen to the Call It War EP until a few weeks after seeing them play their first show at This is Hardcore. As I'm sure you know, one of the hallmarks of this band is that it features former 100 Demons singer, Bruce LePage. It's more than likely that his voice is one of the first you heard when you found heavier music. With instrumentals supplied by members of God's Hate, Twitching Tongues, and Midnight Sons, I would venture to call them a super group. This is metal-influenced hardcore done right. I mean, look who's making it. Eyes Of The Lord never even had a chance to sound bad with the lineup they boast.

So, their very first show was in Philadelphia at This is Hardcore Fest this year. Even for them, that's insane. For a band to make it on that stage they had to have hit all the marks. For a band to make it on that stage with no prior shows played? That speaks to an innate ability that few have and even fewer can turn into something well-made. Most bands get on stage and give a little speech before they play. Typical stuff, shout outs, thank-yous, y'know. Bruce's opening speech to the crowd before their set? "Hardcore was never meant to be for everybody so if you don't like it, get the fuck out." A sentiment you know I can get behind. He also said this while wearing a shirt that said "Fuck your GoFundMe" so it's safe to assume some of his views about the current generation of hardcore kids. After that opener, they played the best set of the weekend as far non-reunion bands go. I haven't felt energy in a room like that in a while from a new band. Granted, we are dealing with veterans who are very used to this music but my point stands. Eyes Of The Lord is just music approached as a science. They've been around long enough to know what works and what doesn't. They created one of the most solid EPs I've heard recently and without any blatant rip offs or a cheesy gimmick. If you aren't a fan of this band then I don't think you should be calling yourself a fan of hardcore.

You can listen to Call It War on the Closed Casket Activities Bandcamp.

8.25.2017

AN INTERVIEW WITH DUSTON ANDERSON

AN INTERVIEW WITH DUSTON ANDERSON

Bassist of Piece of Mind and the genius behind Flyover Fest.

How did you find punk music and what made it stick as something important in your life?
I grew up on a farm, outside of a small rural town, in Oklahoma. I am the oldest child in my family, so punk and hardcore were not readily available. However, in the late 90's, I discovered Punk-O-Rama compilations and bought as many as I could. I would go thru those over and over and that's really where I discovered punk. It stuck with me because it was different from anything else I had ever heard. It had an actual message, and really spoke to me as a young, fairly directionless kid.

How has punk influenced your take on everyday life?
The first thing I noticed when I started going to local hardcore shows was the sense of community that existed between everyone there. Within that community, I have found the real power of hard work and dedication. I have found the power of teamwork and common goals, and I have found the best and most reliable friends I have ever come across, in my life.

How long have you been booking shows?
I've only been booking and promoting shows for a year and a half.

What made you want to book a fest?
The venue I manage, The Vanguard in Tulsa, has hosted a street punk festival called "Fuck You We Rule OK!" for the past 5 years. It is my favorite event every year and sells out annually. That definitely helps build confidence that it is absolutely feasible to hold a hardcore fest at that same level, especially with the team I have at The Vanguard.

I also play bass in 2 hardcore bands, Iron Born and Piece of Mind, and we play regional festivals throughout the year. Hard Times in Laredo, TX, Snow and Flurry in Fargo, ND, and Midwest Blood in Louisville, KY are obvious favorites and put on by some great people. Playing these festivals and getting to hang out with friends from all  over the country made me think, "Hey, I run an all ages venue, and no one is doing a hardcore festival within a few hundred miles of us. We can definitely make this happen."

What are your goals for this year's fest?
My goals are for people to come listen to some great music and have a killer time. It's really that simple. I want this to be a huge party. I am seeing some shows pop up in other cities as bands route to Flyover and I think that is incredible. I am very excited to see other regional hardcore scenes, that get missed with tours too often, catch some of these bands on their way to and from Tulsa.

Do you see Flyover becoming a regular in the fest circuit if this year goes well?
Absolutely. That was part of the plan from day 1. Even if this year bombs, which I can't imagine happening, we will learn from our mistakes and take new actions. We only move forward, never backward.

What was your formula for picking this year's lineup?
When it comes down to it, I just booked a bunch of bands that I wanted to see. Haha. I was particular about booking bands that I know to be hard working and focused on their goals. With the exception of All Out War, 100 Demons, Integrity, and Harley Flanagan, most of the bands are friends of mine that I have met through touring over the past 4 years, so those were easy picks.

With there being so many fests these days, what do you think makes Flyover stand out?
The biggest fests, that usually book bands at the level of the headliners I chose, really only happen on the coasts. Holding this festival in the center of the country makes it stand out for sure. The other thing I would note, is that this festival is being held in a relatively small room, with a capacity of 500. There are not a lot of opportunities to see a band like Integrity in a room this intimate.

What are some "must see" spots near the venue and in the city that everyone should visit?
The "Outsider's" house, The Golden Driller, and Center of the Universe all come to mind. If you like huge statues of praying hands, we have that too, but I prefer to think of them as the world's largest high-five.

So, when I saw you last, you brought up the idea of having a dunk tank at the fest... Tell me more about that.
This idea actually came from my close friend and vocalist of Iron Born, Cash. I love the idea of having a dunk tank at the festival and recruiting the best shit talkers we can find to sit in it and inspire people to dunk them. I'm thinking we'll give you 3 balls for $5 and all proceeds will go to a charity to be announced very soon. I think it's important we leave the world a better place than we found it, and I think this a fun way to bond and move toward that goal.

Describe Flyover in one word.
Exciting!

When are you announcing the winner of the ticket contest?
September 1st!

And finally, do you have a message for the attendees of the fest and my readers?
I want everyone to come ready to make new friends, hang with old ones, and mosh hard. I hate drama, so leave it at home. This is supposed to be fun. Let's make that happen.

You can buy tickets to Flyover Fest here and keep up with the announcements and contest on Twitter.
 

8.09.2017

AN INTERVIEW WITH MATT ANDERSON

AN INTERVIEW WITH MATT ANDERSON

Singer of Purgatory and nature enthusiast.
(Photo by Errick Easterday)
How did you find punk music and what made it stick as something important in your life?
Definitely through my dad. Him and his brothers and friends all used to go to a decent amount of concerts and some local shows when they were younger back home in Sioux Falls, SD where I'm from and some of the surrounding cities. There was a place called The Pomp Room that used to bring a lot of cool shit through. He saw Metallica when they were first going, saw the band that was pre-Guns N' Roses, etc, etc. Mainly classic rock. But he had this brief case full of tapes and I used to listen to them constantly before he started buying me my own and CD's too. I remember him buying me the Danzig ST and the Slipknot ST and saying "don't tell your mom" haha. Aside from that, he was my introduction to Black Flag and Suicidal and of course, The Clash and The Sex Pistols, but also KoRn and all that too. But in 5th grade a friends older brother showed me Helmet, Type O, Deicide, Agnostic Front, and Manson. All in one sitting, I remember thinking the whole time "what the fuck is this?" in the best way you can think of. Life changing, I understood there was something else out there besides the average shit on the radio we all listened to. Being from where I'm from, HC wasn't real accessible but luckily some friends listened to Hatebreed, Integrity, 25 Ta Life, Judge and whatnot. Reading lyrics I could get my hands on and thinking "these guys must have psycho lives, they don't like anything and they don't want to belong" and myself being a little hellion just embraced it. It was like I was holding something secret and dangerous and that's what made it stick.

How has hardcore influenced your approach and take on "normal" every day life?
Hardcore, real true hardcore, is a gigantic middle finger to a modern society and their way of thinking. It taught me to think twice before trusting everyone, the government and the police and all religious figures are lying to you. The media is brainwashing you. It gave me a blueprint to learn how to think for my fucking self and it's a clear reminder the grass isn't always greener on the other side. My opinions and attitude clash with people all the time, why? Because I form my own, they aren't force fed to me and I'm not afraid to not fit in or argue or have some fucking loser who doesn't wanna be forgotten in a week so he or she hops on every single wave that comes through, wake up in the morning and feel like dog shit about themselves because of how truly hollow and empty and fake they really are, try and tell me what I can and cannot do and what I can and cannot say.  I see people trying so hard to fit a mold for acceptance and validation and it's disgusting to me. It makes me strive to never want to be like another person. Granted that's hard cause we all have similarities, I can wake up everyday and live my life for me. People trying to live their socially acceptable lives so that their neighbors will like them and admire them, so that their families will accept them, their friends will think they're cool and familiar with current trends. It's like they started 7th grade and never left. Now "normal" society has infiltrated hardcore and it pisses me off. A bunch of dumb fucking kids who have been spoon fed everything, had the world at their fingertips, and never fought or struggled a day in their lives are objecting to everything already set in place with their opinions and their views without ever having had to earn their keep or put in their time. Thankfully there are still a lot of bands and a lot of people holding true to certain values and ideals that created this sub-genre in the first place. But for all you dime a dozen, here today gone tomorrow kids who don't truly give a shit... Hurry up and drop out already. Please.

So, Purgatory is working on a new record. What are some of the themes we can expect in the lyrics?
We are! We hit the studio in early/mid October. Every single release that we've done I've steered away from theatrical, fantasized lyrics and have been putting my thoughts and feelings down how I want. I've seen, been through, and done some fucked up things so some of the songs touch base on personal experiences of the "darker side of life." The world is a very unforgiving place, it plays favorites to nobody, and you play the hand you're dealt. Sometimes you deal with things you wish you hadn't but that's life. Sometimes you do things because you have too, that's life. Depression is a real and existing thing, I deal with it but I rarely talk about it but it's easy for me to put down on paper. It's a romanticized thing for Tumblr kids these days and it's sad to see. I've had a lot of people come and go and show their true colors and I wish nothing but the worst for most of them. Not all. But if I could know some of them are in pain and their lives aren't shit, it would please me and I would feel certain scores are settled. The grit, grime, and cold side of life is what this record is about. It's not fun (well, not always) and it's not pretty but that's just the way it goes.

Name your biggest non-musical influences on who you are as a person.
My dad again, he taught me to be a fucking man. To deal with my problems and take care of the ones close to me, he would call me on my shit and it made me value things over time. Vikings and Samurai, their dedication to their craft and heritage and their willingness to protect those or the things they love at any cost is truly amazing to me. Pure discipline and focus, and unmatched strength.

How do you feel about the internet's effects on the subculture?
The internet is a perfect source for finding music, researching its history and the purpose behind the culture. Who started it, why, and how it's still existing in today's world. There has always been drama and there has always been conflict. However, in today's age, kids - even myself to a degree, have no fucking idea how much easier it is to exist in the HC scene. There was a real, actual Nazi/White Power problem for a long time. If you showed up to a show wearing any sort of fascist support you were stabbed, beat with tire irons, bricks, pipes, chains, any fucking thing someone could grab that could cause any sort of damage at all. Until eventually that movement was flushed out of the scene for good. If you were a rapist or sexually abused someone you were dealt with in similar ways. Like goddamn, if you had beef you beat the fuck out of someone and either a lesson was learned or you went at it again. You didn't have 200 little fucks spouting off on a social media page never setting foot outside to handle anything at all. A story that comes to mind, in Minnesota there was a band in the early 2000's whose singer got ousted for being a scumbag. He was a sexually abusive piece of trash. I wanna say it was Death To Your King. Anyways, this was before social media was as dominant as it is now. That dude ended up getting drug into a room, held on the ground and had a wrench or a tire iron, can't remember for sure, shoved up his ass. Needless to say, things got handled. Now you have people who cry wolf over  abuse and other incredibly traumatizing things that not only can ruin someones life forever but it 100% discredits people who are true victims of these crimes. I swear every kid on the internet is suffering from "depression" or compares anything to abuse. Like I said, these Tumblr kids are romanticizing things people struggle with and suffer from everyday of their lives. It's fucked. The internet in some ways has desensitized kids to the dangerous, adrenaline driven, aggressive form of music that ended up having some of us find our way here for a reason. You got kicked in the face at a show? Congrats, so have 4 million other people who didn't feel special and entitled and need to set up a gofundme because they understand certain things come with the territory.

You and your band are constantly at the center of some kind of Twitter fiasco. The funny thing about that, however, is that each time someone tries to start a digital witch hunt for you, they end up being exposed as some kind of piece of shit. What's it like being in a band that's always thrown into controversy? 
In dealing with us? I've been called every single "ist" word you can think of by a bunch of wack ass internet warriors who wont ever, ever, ever set foot at a show and stick up for their beliefs. Funny, referring to Minnesota again, a tirade of kids had me painted out to be a homophobic, ableist, abusive terrible person but none of them came out to our show to confront me about it. I guest listed half of those fuckers, one kid agreed to meet me and then blocked me anyways. THAT'S the problem. Stand up for your beliefs and I'll at least respect you. But know this, you think you're safe behind the internet because 400 people favorite some uneducated stupid fucking tweet you made so you can get your gold star for the day. But if you get caught slipping 'cause you can't separate fantasy from reality, do not be shocked or surprised when you get your ass beat for running your mouth. You are basically signing a guest book saying "I'm so and so from here, I said this and now I'm going to get beat up." I get discouraged by the younger generations all the time, but like I said above... I remember some kids and some bands are still sticking strong to true ideals and values and it calms my nerves. As for most of you running your mouths or hopping on this bullshit PC train, you don't amount to shit. Outside of the internet you're nothing. You will hold no legacy for your "activism" and low and behold most of you hold yourself to such a high standard you forget you're actually pieces of shit and are being exposed and dropping like flies. If being myself and not backing down from my beliefs and calling people on their wack ass bullshit means I'll continue to be involved in controversy, that's fine. I know my worth.

Do you have any goals for the next Purgatory tour?
Hmmm, goal is just to do our thing. Play how we play, say what we want to say, and just give 200% every night. We never have a goal to "impress" anyone, we do what we do and you either like it or you don't.

Describe a Purgatory set in one word.
BEASTMODE. 

Who are your favorite bands right now?
I'm gonna list some newer bands that are in rotation: Eyes of The Lord, Trail of Lies (not new necessarily but were MIA for too long), Vein, Queensway, Vicious Embrace, Stone, Inclination, Atonement, Time Walk, Hands of God, Human Garbage, Counterattack, Jukai, Absolute Suffering.

Any final remarks/a message to the youth?
If you firmly believe something, then stand by your beliefs. Have a little respect for yourself and others will as well. Hardcore was created for us, by us. Protect your scenes and dismiss kids who want to speak poorly about it or try and bring you or your scene down because they truly have no place. Don't break edge. Don't fit in. Fuck 12. Be yourself and be happy with who you are. Start a band, don't take anybodies shit, don't be an idiot. Make mistakes and learn from 'em. If you are struggling with mental illness, please reach out. Somebody will listen. If a friend is struggling and they reach out to you, do not offer them advice unless they ask for it, lend your ear and just listen. Be a friend not a fucking therapist.

You can listen to Purgatory on Bandcamp and keep up with them on Twitter.