WARNING: There is virtually nothing new in this issue that has not been previously published on our web blog. There is no cover price and money being charged here is to nominally cover printing, shipping and bank fees. You may be able to get a copy for free or small donation from touring bands or at Extreme Noise Records, Long Haul Info Shop and other cool DIY places
KRANG are a new band birthed from Chicago’s DIY punk underbelly. They play a brutally powerful brand of thrashy riff-laden crustcore and have an intense live presence. They have recently recorded for a few vinyl projects, including PE’s own 7″ singles series. Check ‘em out!
Interviewed by Brian Poulin (NEGLIGENCE). All photos by Adam DeGross.
PE Who’s in the band and what does each of you do?
AUSTIN: guitars / backing vocals / song writing (synth & keyboard on 12″)
ADAM: bass / backing vocals / song writing
BRENDAN: lead vocals / lyrical content
DEVAN: drums & percussion / backing vocals
PE: What’s a brief history of the band and how did you guys form?
Austin: We started circa 2009. We had an additional guitarist: Louis C. He went on to start a blackened crust band called Welkin Dusk, based in Chicago that he plays drums & lead vocals for. We used to have an additional lead singer as well: Hannah B. Hannah was a part of our first two releases: the out of print “Onward Desolation” demo tape, and also the out of print “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″. Hannah is now the front-woman in a band called Despise, based out of Minneapolis. Our original drummer, Brett, is on the two recordings I mentioned before, as well as our “Sounds of Death” 12″. Brett now drums for a Chicago / northwest Indiana band called Asphixiate. Devan is now our permanent drummer and he will have his first appearance on the “Broken Waves” 7″, released by Profane Existence, which is coming out in June. Devan will also be on our next 12″: “Bad Moon”, which we are writing right now. I, as well as Krang, are totally stoked on Devan and really happy to have them. Devan is active outside of percussion as well with assisting in writing, assistance in lyrical content & structure, and the internet stuff. This line up has been solidified for over a year and is totally fucking Krang! It just works perfectly.
PE: You guys are based out of Chicago. What are your favorite parts of the scene there? What are your least favorite things about Chicago’s scene?
Devan: Chicago’s an interesting place. I feel like the pros and cons are often directly related to one-another. For example, the mere size of the city. There are so many people – new to here, young, old, whatever – that there is basically always something going on and a handful of solid DIY spaces at all times, regardless of whether people leave or places get busted or whatever. The downside is that the physical structure of the city makes it difficult and/or terribly time-consuming to navigate. Especially if you don’t have a car. And even if you do, parking sucks. Anyway, as a result of the city being as segregated as it is, people are often inclined to just stick to what’s going on in their neighborhood and it results in a lack of exposure or attention paid to some really cool things. It’s unfortunate. But then there are some events like the annual Black and Brown Punk Show (shout-out to Monika!) or other fest-type shows where the attendance is crazy and bullshit is minimal. It’s rad.
Austin: I used to live in CHI. I reside in northwest Indiana (NWI). It’s really close. You can compare it to how close Jersey is to NYC. The rest of the band does live in CHI. My favorite things about Chicago is the “don’t take shit” attitude that at least me and the scene we’re involved with has. We’ll kick you out if your a piece of shit human or kick your ass if we have to. I also like The Void Haus in NWI for gigs. My personal least favorite things are cliques, hype, division, etc… the things that you see in every rather large city, I suppose.
Adam: I love Chicago’s unspoken rule of everyone being down to get down when shit hits the fan and nobody lets bogus comments or derogatory gestures fly. My complaint for the longest time was how there is the same hierarchy that we all hate in daily life at a lot of the gigs. It seems like those “in crowd” wanks have come and gone though, or maybe I just don’t surround myself with such fools anymore. My main complaint, and I know I am sounding super negative, but for such a large city there is a lack of bands playing what I am into personally. There are a lot of great bands doing great things…but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am into them musically. Haha! I have a particular taste and its not being fulfilled. I usually go to shows to hang out and have a good time and just show support but its rare that I actually shit over a band that I see locally. I do really, really get down to Population though. White boy can’t dance but when I see this band I start doing shit I didn’t know I was capable of.
Brendan: Chicago is simultaneously the best & worst place to live; which I’d imagine is a critique most other big-city dwellers share. There is no shortage of great folks, bands, eats, cool nerd-haunts (comic & record collectors rejoice!), and beautiful neighborhoods/communities in which to live. The same is true for all of the awful yuppies, gold cost bourgeois, & assholes who get your friends hooked on hard drugs. A lot of the time I wish that I lived in a vast expanse of lush nature with no human presence save myself. When I’m not wishing for seclusion, I’m loving how hard of a time I have sorting out which of the 5 awesome punk shows I get to go see any given night. Chicago has everything I love & hate at once; most of the time its worth it.
PE: Musically what are you guys going for?
Devan: I’d say sincerity, first and foremost. In sound, words, and delivery. And the connections we can and have made with people based on that. My musician’s answer would be just to write the best songs we can and perform them at the highest level at all times.
Austin: I just want to stick out and be a little different sounding. I still want to have that essential formula for great punk. I personally believe we found the introduction to our sound with the “Sounds of Death” 12″. We have two formulas: triumphant, galloping crust metal and simplified, pissed off, to-the-point stuff.
Brendan: Initially we formed with the idea of writing over the top odes to crust circa late 80’s/early 90’s; stuff you could flail your overgrown dreadlocks around to. We all fell into a groove with each other over time, where we don’t really need to define what we’re gonna write before we do. We approach releases with general outlines (theme,length, format etc.), but when writing songs I’d say we aim for mean, earnest & impactful.
Adam: I think naturally all being into different types of musical backgrounds, our finished product ends up being a thing of its own, but we all have similar enough interests to where we end up with the result that we initially were trying to go for. I personally am really into trying to sound like the bands I am into. It doesn’t end up exactly that way which is good but I love when bands obsess over old school sounds/bands/records and try to make their contemporary music sound as authentic as possible whether it be tone or style or whatever. At the end of the day we are trying to sound pissed, like we worship the 80s and have our music sound anarchy as fuck!
PE: What bands inspire you the most?
Austin: I listen to EVERYTHING. I don’t know where to begin but musically, keeping personal interest aside, I think we’re inspired by 80’s UK crust and a lot of Japanese stuff as far as writing collectively. This is something me and you will have to nerd out on when we’re in Boston next. Haha!
Adam: For Krang, bands that influence the writing process for me are Masskontroll, Deathraid, Sacrilege, Hellshock, Deviated Instinct, Sodom, Axegrinder and Amebix as well as Instinct of Survival. Personally I am all over the water but my all time 2 favorite punk bands have always and will always be Discharge and the Dead Boys.
Devan: I could go on a long rant about every band I’ve ever loved and how they’ve all stuck with and influence me to this day and blah blah blah, but I’ll spare you the cost of ink and just say Sacrilege, Crude, Amebix and Discharge. That said, we are quite the eclectic bunch.
Brendan: Musically, anything running the gamut from Paintbox to Elliot Smith. I enjoy a lot of soaring Japanese hardcore with that Burning Spirits feel, 90’s screamo, early black metal & hip hop. Any band that has a way with words gets me going, but mostly I enjoy music that you can’t help but feel.
PE: What are most of your songs about? What inspires the lyrics?
Brendan: Lemme preface by saying that Discharge is rad & “The More I See…” could be the soundtrack to my daily tedium… but i think punk rock has much more potential than to rehash our dogmatic & oftentimes simplistic politics. Having been a few places where the punk scene eats itself inside out with depression, addiction, & apathy towards the struggles of those around us, I think its real important to allow ourselves to be more open in the way we express all of the things exploding in our minds. I am not blowing my own horn, or any horn for that matter, but I really enjoy taking the personal route when it comes to writing & am constantly attempting to better address the common threads that run through all of our lives. Our first wave of songs covered some of our political leanings in regards to vivisection, arms manufacturing, rape culture & the willful destruction of our Earth. The “Bog of Eternal Stenchcore” 7″ reflects on the weight of stagnation on the “politically motivated”. “Sounds of Death” is the result of an obsession with death and a years worth of hurt; friends making irreversible decisions in regards to their lives & some of us falling into those spirals ourselves. There is absolution in acceptance though & I think a glint of hope in such dark subject matter. Our upcoming 7″ deals with cycles of change in our lives, moments of mania & madness; a counterpoint to our last 7″. The songs we are writing & playing now are an extension of that, focusing on moments of change in our lives, wanderlust & really just form one big, loud, pissed love letter to the DIY community, punk rock & time spent on the road. Inspiration comes from any human I’ve met that has dared to be open, honest & shameless about it.
Devan: Passion in all its forms and extremities is what inspires us. Totally.
PE: You guys have done a few extensive tours. What’s your favorite city you guys haveplayed in? What’s your least favorite?
Austin: I love Boston. Detroit, New Orleans, and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis) are up there too. I don’t really have a least favorite. We have had some bad experiences, though. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and not mention them. Hopefully things will be better when we return.
Devan: New Orleans is my favorite city ever, and our most recent gig in Boston totally ruled. I’d have to say, though, that many of my favorite shows have been in non-major cities. Birmingham AL was awesome, Asheville NC, Cincinatti OH, Grand Rapids MI…basically anywhere with a really tight-knit but wide-ranging DIY scene in terms of age, music, spaces, projects, etc. It’s always super encouraging to see.
Brendan: I’ll echo the others in saying that NOLA, Asheville, Cincy, Birmingham, Boston & Baltimore all kick ass. I’m usually super appreciative of all the towns we’ve been lucky enough to play in, though of course we’ve played in towns that seemed to embrace the anti-PC attitude/sense of humor that I am so fucking sick of. Some cities are really 50/50 because you’ll either play an amazing show with bad-ass folks & have the time of your life, or you might end up wanting to eviscerate some fuckhead who only listens to GG Allin & doesn’t get why a confederate flag hanging at a show space might ruffle some feathers.
Austin: We as a band aren’t about making sure we are politically correct all the time, but we definitely are hellbent on showing one another respect and are willing to give respect back to those who are legit. No single city is bad. Like I said before, sometimes there are some bad experiences. Fuckheads are everywhere.
Adam: Yes, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Boston, but most of all NOLA and Minneapolis. New Orleans and Minneapolis…no other city can live up to the debauchery that is expected to happen when we arrive in these two places. We need a week of recovery after being in either place for just a day. Also I love playing Madison a lot. Fuck, I love touring. So many amazing friends are being missed right now as we speak.
PE: What are some of your favorite bands you guys have played with?
Lord Krang: Scum from Detroit, Appalachian Terror Unit, Antisect, In Defense, Nu-kle-ar Blast Suntan, Kontrasekt, Cognitive Dissonance, The Skuds, Coelacanth, WrathCobra, Wartorn, Negligence, In Ruins, and definitely D-Clone; but honestly, it’s great to play with anyone and everyone who aren’t assholes and give a shit about “punk rock”.
PE: What are some of your favorite local bands from Chicago?
Lord Krang: Asphyxiate, Decay After Death (Decay A.D.), Cemetery (RIP), Culo, Die Time, Slag, Escalofrio, Sex Bunker (RIP), Birth Deformities, Gas Rag, Welkin Dusk, Daylight Robbery, Dirty Surgeon Insurgency, The Breathing Light, La Armada, Black September, Kontaminat, Ooze, Tensions, The Busy Sugnals, Population, More that we’re forgetting to mention….
PE: What does the future hold for Krang?
Devan: As Austin mentioned earlier, we have our “Broken Waves” 7″ being released in June, at which point we’ll be doing a small tour with Coelacanth. Also, as previously stated, we are well along in the writing process for our next full-length LP. Look for us around the Mid-west this summer and keep up-to-date and get in touch via the following:
crustardpunx[AT]gmail.com – krangcrustards.bandcamp.com – krangcrustards.blogspot.com
Austin: More touring, more albums, more blood spit nights, more everything! We’ll do a more extensive tour when the new LP comes out.
Brendan: “Bad Moon” 12″ – Skull Fest – Split(s?) – Self-Destruction With A Gusto
Lord Krang: Record labels that are interested in helping us with our next 12″ (which is more than half way written) get in touch with us!!! It will be even more galloping, pist, and triumphant than our still available “Sounds of Death” 12″!
For those of you who don’t know DEADLY REIGN, Its time to get with the program! DEADLY REIGN is a 3 piece D-BEAT killing machine with a legendary line up comprised of members from GLYICNE MAX, DOGMA MUNDISTA, SCARRED FOR LIFE, WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, KEGCHARGE, CENTURY OF WAR AND TILL DEATH. These guys have been at it for a long time and don’t fuck around when it comes to bringing you punk rock authentic and true to its sound and with their new single released on PE entitled SLAVE! These guys don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. So let’s get to the brass tacks and see what these guys have been up to. (INTERVIEW BY DUTCH WELCH FROM KRIGBLAST)
PE: So what are your names, what do you play, and how did you guys come together?
(RAYGUNN) I MOVED TO AUSTIN AND RAN INTO GUERINOT AT HIS DAUGHTER’S BIRTHDAY PARTY. UNKNOWN TO ME, MY WIFE WAS AND STILL IS GOOD FRIENDS WITH HIS WIFE AT THE TIME AND HE AND I KNEW EACH OTHER FROM THE PAST WHEN OUR PREVIOUS BANDS HAD PLAYED TOGETHER. WE GOT TO TALKING AND DECIDED THAT WE SHOULD START A BAND. I SAID, WE JUST NEED A BASS PLAYER/SINGER, AND HE SAID HE HAD ONE. HE CALLED HIS FRIEND GUSHAMMER AND HE WAS INTO IT. THEY HAD BEEN WANTING TO START SOMETHING TOGETHER FOR A WHILE. AND EVENTUALLY WE GOT THE BALL ROLLING (OR SHOULD I SAY, THE BEERS FLOWING?).
PE: You guys have all been in some pretty kick ass bands in the past. who played in what?
RAYGUNN – GLYCINE MAX, DOGMA MUNDISTA, KONTRAKLASE, AND SCARRED FOR LIFE.
GUERINOT – WORLD BURNS TO DEATH, AND KEGCHARGE.
GUSHAMMER – CENTURY OF WAR, AND TILL DEATH.
PE: Who came up with the name Deadly Reign?
(RAYGUNN) I USED TO HANG OUT WITH A KICK ASS BAND IN THE EARLY 80’s CALLED BODY COUNT. THEY WERE AN EARLY D-BEAT STYLE OF BAND (BEFORE THE TERM D-BEAT WAS AROUND) AND THEY HAD A SONG CALLED DEADLY REIGN. SO I TOOK IT FROM THAT. (AND YES, I AM AWARE THAT THERE WAS A BAND CALLED DEADLY REIGN FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BACK IN THE EARLY 80’s, BUT THAT IS NOT WHERE I GOT THE NAME FROM).
PE: The music of DR is furious, in your face politically and socially. Whats the motivation behind your song writing?
(RAYGUNN) MUSICALLY, WE JUST TRY TO WRITE MUSIC THAT WE LIKE. THE KIND OF STUFF WE WOULD LISTEN TO AT HOME. NOT SO MUCH TRYING TO BE ORIGINAL OR GROUND BREAKING. MORE OF JUST PLAYING THE HARD AGGRESIVE TYPE OF MUSIC THAT WE LIKE. WE GET IT ALL TOGETHER AND THEN GUSHAMMER WRITES SOME LYRICS.
(GUERINOT) I’VE ALWAYS SAID I CAN’T AND WON’T BE IN A BAND THAT I COULDN’T ALSO LISTEN TO. WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT OF PLAYING SHIT THAT YOU DON’T LIKE? WE AREN’T DOING THIS TO PLEASE OTHERS, JUST OURSELVES.
(GUS) SOME LYRICS HIT RIGHT TO THE POINT, RELIGION. IT’S FUCKING 2013 AND HERE WE ARE STILL DEALING WITH RELIGIOUS NONSENSE! PEOPLE THE WORLD OVER ARE BEING PERSECUTED, MISLEAD, AND OUT RIGHT SLAUGHTERED OVER RELIGION. RATHER IT’S CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS, JEWS, OR WHATEVER FICTITIOUS BULLSHIT SECT THEY ARE IN. RELIGION IN ANY FORM IS UNCALLED FOR AND DANGEROUS! AND THIS COUNTRY USES IT TO PULL OFF SOME SERIOUSLY HEINOUS ACTS OF PURE AND UTTER VIOLENCE AND WAR. WE TOUCH ON THIS OF COURSE ON THIS RECORD, BUT MORE SPECIFICALLY IT’S DIRECTED TOWARD THE WORKING CLASS FOLKS AND THEIR DAILY STRUGGLE JUST TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR FAMILIES. THE OLDER WE GET, THE SAME STRUGGLE REMAINS, EXCEPT NOW WE MUST NOT ONLY FIGHT TO FEED OURSELVES BUT FIRST FEED OUR CHILDREN AND LOVED ONES AND THEN WITH WHAT IS LEFT OVER, TAKE CARE OF OURSLEVES. SO WE CAN SLAVE ANOTHER DAY FOR A LESS THAN ACCEPTABLE WAGE. OVER THE YEARS I HAVE WATCHED OUR (PUNK) COMMUNITY OF FRIENDS WORK IN HORRIBLE CONDITIONS FOR SHIT WAGES WITH NO BENEFITS AND NO HOPE OF MOVING UPWARD IN THESE POSITIONS. AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY HAVE A SMALL CHECK THAT IS OVER TAXED AND A SORE ACHING BODY, THAT CONTINUES TO GET WORSE. “TELL ME IS THIS THE LIFE I’M FORCED TO LIVE TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY?”…THE ANSWER IS NO! BUT NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT. WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO POINT OUT THESE CONCERNS OVER AND OVER UNTIL THE POWERS THAT BE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO LISTEN.
PE: You guys did a split with HELLKRUSHER not to long ago entitled Continuous Warfare. How did this collaboration come about?
(RAYGUNN) I HAVE KNOWN SCOTTY (HELLKRUSHER) SINCE THE MID 80’s WHEN HE WAS IN HELLBASTARD, AND I WAS IN GLYCINE MAX. WE USED TO BE PEN PALS, AND WOULD SEND EACH OTHER TAPES OF OUR BANDS, AND OUR FRIENDS BANDS. WE EVENTUALLY LOST TOUCH WITH EACH OTHER AND THEN YEARS LATER FOUND EACHOTHER VIA THE INTERNET. I SENT HIM SOME DEADLY REIGN AND HE LIKED IT. AND WE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING TOGETHER.
PE: You guys all have family’s now and continue to tour, play shows, practice, record and work. How has DIY punk changed in your lives and how do you make it work?
(GUERINOT) WELL, I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS BUT HAVING AN UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORTIVE PARTNER IS KEY. HAVING KIDS IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I CAN POSSIBLY IMAGINE SO IN MY OPINION, THEY COME FIRST. WORKING AROUND THEM AND WORK IS USALLY PRETTY EASY. LATELY IT HAS BEEN A BIT MORE DIFFICULT BUT TRYING TO WORK OUT THE KINKS IN A SITUATION AND PUT PIECES BACK TOGETHER IS PART OF THE PROCESS.
PE: The new single from Profane Existence entitled SLAVE, what can we expect and do you have any future releases coming out?
(RAYGUNN) IT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN OUR LAST TWO RECORDS, BUT STILL THE DEADLY REIGN STYLE. NEXT WE WILL BE WRITING FOR A SPLIT 12″ WITH OUR FRIENDS KONTRASEKT.
PE: Closing comments, any last words?
THANKS TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS THE WORLD OVER. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. ALSO, THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW. AND BE SURE TO PICK UP THE NEW DEADLY REIGN ‘SLAVE’ EP ON PROFANE EXISTENCE! AS WELL AS OUR LP AND THE SPLIT WITH HELLKRUSHER. ALSO, WE WOULD LOVE TO GO TO EUROPE SOMEDAY, IF ANYONE OVER THERE WOULD LIKE TO HELP OUR BROKE ASSES OUT. HAHA! CHEERS – DEADLY REIGN
WARTORN are a whirlwind of thrash punk goodness hailing from Wisconsin. Since 2004, they’ve been hitting the touring and record release circuit with no looking back. Here’s a quick interview I did to let people know about their two latest releases, Domestic Terrorist 7″ (Profane Existence) & Iconic Nightmare 12″ (Southern Lord). – Andy Leffer
(This interview also appears in CVLT NATION)
PE: You know the drill, just give us the basics on who’s who and what’s changed in the past, in regards to any line up changes, etc. Also, give us some insight on where WARTORN is going. We want to know tours, records, riots, protests, arrests….the whole back story on WARTORN’s origins.
Bitty: (Vocals) The band started in 2004, with Ryan, Hart (on drums) and myself as a three-piece. Within half a year I got a call with an offer for our first tour, which was with Municipal Waste. We did a mini tour with them and ever since then we have been able to go on tours with amazing bands each year such as Los Dolares, ATU, CYP, Krang, In Defence, Pyroklast, Hellshock, and up next Raw Power . We have been to 13 countries and have done lots of releases on many different labels.
Ryan: guitar / low vocals / whiskey enthusiast. Well we started as a 3-piece and over a span of over 8 years, have ended up with 6 members. With 3 of us being guitar players we are able to diversify our songs in ways that we could only do in a studio setting. This obviously makes a difference live as well.
Ela: I’ve been the bass player for over the last 6 years. Recently, we came out with an LP/CD on Southern Lord Records called “Iconic Nightmare” and a 7-inch, “Domestic Terrorist”, released on Profane Existence (which is part of their limited edition singles series).
Toban: (Guitar) I think I might have the most arrests out of anyone in the band. Not like its anything to brag about. I did narrowly avoid another arrest a few weeks ago.
Derek: Guitar as well. I’ve been in the band for a few months and have been on two tours so far.
PE: The music is dynamic, to say the least. You’re not getting any half-assed riffs or mindlessly thrown together lyrics or production with your music. Elaborate on the process and what is the driving force for doing such a band. Punk is a political movement, it’s always been a political movement. Are you a part of this fray as a whole, or is this more of a personal, therapeutic outlet?
Ryan: I definitely believe in the power of the riff. Heavy and raging. Punk is a political movement, but I also see it as a community (full of musicians, artists, writers, photographers, open thinkers etc). A lot of us live/ have lived in punk houses and have been booking DIY shows for years. It’s something we do to contribute to it as a whole.
Toban: Ryan is the riff-master general of the band. He does a great job of coming up with some of the most incredible riffs of anyone I’ve been in a band with. Adding Bitty’s smartly composed lyrics and Hart’s hard hitting/tight drum style makes a great concoction.
Bitty: As far as what I write lyrically, I mainly write about personal experiences or historical events. I don’t tell people what they need to think, that is for them to figure out on their own. Also, I could not label myself as more than a realist and a situationalist.
Ela: Well in my opinion, I would say that we are a part of this as a whole, but it also is a personal outlet for me. We have all contributed to the movement in one way or another, but I think of punk as more than just a political movement. For me it is also about a unified community… where people come together, whether it is for political reasons, to share a passion for music, a hobby, art, etc. … and we definitely have that in Appleton, which is awesome.
Hart: I honestly wouldn’t say punk’s always been a political movement at all. The fact that DK, Meatmen, and the Germs, for example, all existed during one heyday suggests more of a harsh musical and broad social changeover than anything to me. For me personally, punk rock, metal and hardcore have always been a therapeutic and vindicating way of life that has consistently solved a lot of my life’s most harrowing, fucked-up times. It had a total bottleneck effect on how I raised myself mentally and emotionally. It was a really great thing to find out about when I was trying to figure out how to express myself when everything just infuriated or bored the shit out of me. Later, after I was free as an adult, I quickly found out it came replete with its own sense of community, and a totally viscous following I was never aware existed at all. This band is fucking great, cause we never throw a blind rhetorical blanket over our lyrical ideals, or even necessarily our instrumentation for that matter. We have a rough format that we’ve stuck to, but we all come from slightly different scenes and upbringings, and I’ve always thought it showed at least a little in our styles. I honestly don’t think the excitement of being in this band has worn off for any of us. Sure, growing pains have slowed our progress a couple of times, but whenever the next lightbulb goes on over our heads, it’s all go no slow!
Derek: For me, this is definitely a personal outlet. That’s what music has always been for me. Being the young’n metalhead in the group, I’ve kind of just been exposed to the world of punk houses and DIY shows recently. From what I’ve gathered so far I can at least say that the sense of community is beautiful.
PE: Your latest singles release on Profane Existence “Domestic Terrorist”. There’s no beating around the bush on this subject matter. Once again, can you elaborate on this specific release and the intention behind the subject?
Bitty: There have been a few times where I had local law enforcement “protect and serve” the shit out of me. As a kid in the 80’s from a small hometown, I’ve had guns in my face from the cops, hammers pulled back and screaming in my face. I have also had an off-duty cop put a gun in my face and ask me if I thought it was funny while he was wasted. You know of all the times I was ever robbed or assaulted, at least I knew if I fought back I stood a chance; I even survived an attempted homicide! But, it’s not so easy when you have to fight back against law enforcement. They just beat your ass and lock you up, even if they are totally in the wrong. I’ve witnessed so much personal corruption; to me it seems to be an extension of an abuse of absolute power. Now that, to me, strikes terror in any citizen.
PE: Bitty, you’re straight edge…maybe not self-proclaimed, but you don’t consume drugs or alcohol. Considering the genre of punk and it’s history of abuse with these elements, has this hindered your views on the movement?
Hart: Total interjection here! Dude, Bitty’s optimism actually astounds me. He’s seen more friends either die or completely lose their vitality as humans due to drug and alcohol use than I’d like to ponder. He’s remained pretty fucking pragmatic in his attitude toward his friends’ choices in that sense. I myself get pretty fed-up at times about my own friend’s use of drugs, especially certain ones. I’ve had plenty problems controlling my drinking in the past. I do believe I have a fairly good idea these days of when to dry out, but it can pull me into a real bad place. I start questioning what even matters anymore, and I start fighting everything that means the most to me. However, that’s where that community comes in again! I’m learning to seek out the right punks or no one at all when the time feels right, and I’ve been keeping up on it for a while now.
Bitty: Not at all. You don’t need to be like me in order for me to like you. The real moment that reinforced my decision was when I came home to a friend that lived with me and I found him in a pool of his own blood. He had tried to cut his hand off with a butcher knife while he was completely wasted and ended up with more stiches then an average shark attack. It really put a bad taste in my mouth about how substances can amplify bad decision-making skills. Although I am aware that most just use it to have a good time, truth be told, I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t my thing. But as long as you’re not hurting me or others in any way shape or form it’s your deal not mine. This is just a suggestion, have fun and do what you need to do to deal with things or get by, but try not to destroy yourself in the process. You might end up missing out on some good things in life.
PE: WARTORN is a great band, so with that….does WARTORN have anything they’d like to say to the world, it’s listeners or the masses in general?
Toban: In the words of country music legend Kris Kristofferson “Don’t let the bastards get you down”. Ryan: Thanks for the interview.
Ela: Thanks for all the support. We can’t wait to hit the road and tear it up again in a couple months!
Derek: May the force be with you. But seriously, I can’t wait to hit the road and I hope to see everyone reading this there.
Hart: As always, start 4 bands tomorrow and eat your fiber!
Bitty: Thanks for the interview Andy and everyone that helped us out and we’ll see you on the road. If you’d like to help us out with booking or have any questions, feel free to write us at email@example.com.
DESPISE are a four piece punk/crust/metal unit from the depths of the Minneapolis underground. Their 7″ release is a line of single’s being released by Profane Existence this year.
Interview by Andy (Leffer) of War//Plague
Let’s get this party started. First off…like most all interviews let’s start with who you are, what you do and what DESPISE is up to? What does the future hold after this PE single release? Also, expand on some each of your backgrounds, and what you were involved with prior to the band.
I’m Hannah, I do vocals and write the lyrics. I moved to Minneapolis from Chicago in 2010. I played bass and did vocals in Securicor from Chicago, and also vocals in Krang.
Zach: Hopefully we can put out some full length records seeing as we have a lot of material. As for before despise. I started going to shows at age 13 or 14. Played in a band called EZ Bleeders. We were rock/metal/funk/punk so everyone hated us but we just wanted to play. Grew up in uptown Mpls around a lot of older punks.
Hi. my name is Mike. I play bass real loud. moved to Minneapolis in 2009. its rad here.
What’s your thoughts on the Minneapolis punk community and how DESPISE falls into the DIY mix. There seems to be quite a good mix of punk and crust rising from the ashes of other previous projects within the Minneapolis scene. We had the 90’s and early 00’s that brought us DESTROY, STATE OF FEAR, ASSRASH, PROVOKED, PONTIUSPILATE, and needless to say MISERY, which is still going strong. Do you feel DESPISE is a part of this element of resurgence and is there still that dedicated @narcho thought process within the band?
Hannah: Definatly. Minneapolis has such a awesome punk scene/ community. So many rad bands that I have grown up listening to and have influenced me are from here.
Mike: well, if you want my grossly unimportant opinion, the scene and the music within it are two separate entities. the music is fucking fantastic. and only getting better.so many new bands and new faces. as far as where Despise fits into everything, i think we fit right in. if ive learned anything about minneapolis since ive lived here, its that its a weird fucking place filled with weird fucking people who like weeeeeeeeeeeiiiirrd fucking music. and if you havent met us, were a bunch of weird motherfuckers too. i fucking love it here.
Mitch: The scene has really picked up , it’s awesome to see so much activity now, it reminds me of how much was going on in the 90’s, so many awesome bands going on these days that local shows are always “stacked”, can’t even go grocery shopping without seeing people from bands or shows. It reminds me to be grateful , a lot of towns don’t have that. I definitely feel that Despise fits right in with what’s been going on.
Zach: I think despise takes a whole different approach to the punk scene. I don’t think of our music as being punk or even being really a part of this “scene”. I don’t make music for other people. I do it because its what I want to do
I know you folks had a bit simpler sound when you began. Straight up D-beat hardcore punk, but now it seems you’ve melded into a more crust, metallic sound. Was this an evolution of the band you knew would take shape, or was it more “fly by the seat” type thing?
Hannah: I think its the result of a combination of all of us taking influence from different sub genres of punk…grind, crust, black metal, d-beat, hardcore, etc…throw it all in a mix and you get Despise.
Mitch: It’s been a pretty natural thing as far as songwriting, the musicianship has lent itself to more technical stuff without losing our roots, really had no idea it would progress that way. Stay tuned for some good old fashioned though.
Mike: We always kinda had a general idea of what we wanted the band to sound like. the first batch of songs we wrote were very black and white, crust or metal. after that, everything just kind of naturally progressed into whateverthefuck it is today. zach is so talented when it comes to songwriting. he’s responsible for the metal parts. i just try to keep up and take care of the wicked awesome bass solos. we’ve become who we are together because thats all we can be. ourselves. when people ask what genre of music we play, i usually just say “loud as fuck” because i honestly have no fucking clue haha.
Zach: Crust is fun to play but as far as what I enjoy playing I usually drift more towards metal. Black metal at that. Probably we’re a lot of the metallic elements of our music comes out. Definitely don’t want to take all the credit for that because everybody helps meld the song.
What’s the ideology behind the lyrics and how the music is written?
Mitch: As far as the music goes it’s really just as simple as playing solid riffs and piecing the songs together as it sounds good, we’ll always come to a consensus before a song is finished, that way we all like the finished product. We try keeping things heavy and not being afraid to test the waters. Hannah will have to field the lyrics side.
Hannah: I write most of the lyrics…Most of which pertain to animal rights, vivisection, mental disorders, depression, drug addictions, negative effects humans have on the planet and our ecosystem, and of course cute bunnies taking over and killing humans.
Mike:Hannah has the voice of 10,000 angels. …burning alive in the fires of hell hahahaha. her voice is as much a part of our sound as our guitar and bass tones. but yea she takes care of the lyrics. all of our songs are about things that truly matter to us and to her. you can really hear that she means what she’s saying. we have some political stuff, animal rights, war is bad, so is jesus, blahblahblah. but the ones that stand out to me, the ones that make my cry a little every time we play them, are about real fucking shit. like how drug addiction is killing the scene from the inside out, watching all of our friends (and ourselves) die and lose their minds right in front of us and not being able to do anything about it, that feeling of hopelessness and desperation and shame you get every morning when you wake up and realize the world is still shit. im really grateful that i get to make music with three no shit honestly good hearted human beings.
Zach: Lyrics? We have lyrics?
Are you guys gonna tour and what about local gigs…big plans?
Mitch: Would be nice to do at least a little touring either east or west some time this year, locally, we definitely play our share. lol. Really want to get the rest of our recording released and get back in the studio, lots of newer songs. Hoping for all that this year.
Mike: I think so. i hope so. i let them do the planning for the most part. im down to party whenever wherever and however long they tell me to. but yea. another 7″ comin out soon, followed by what is bound to be the most epic full length record you’ll be listening to while you listen to it as long as you’re not playing a more epic record at the same time.
Hannah: We are planning on touring the east coast this summer. Hopefully the south and west coast after that. We’ve been playing a lot of local shows lately, especially with the release of the 7″. Hoping to record again soon!
Let’s end this interview the normal way. Last words or comments for the world?
Hannah:Up the punks! Ha.
Mitch: Thanks to Profane Existence for releasing the e.p. We can be contacted via Facebook or despisecrust@gmail we’ll have some merch available online soon.
Mike: Be yourself. fuck anyone who tells you you’re not cool or not good enough. this shit belongs to all of us. and if we want it to live forever, we need every single one of you. oh yea. and dont be a dick. seriously. why the fuck cant we all just get along? yea. sorry. fuck everything. upthapuuunnnxxxxx.
“I’ve looked through all the windows / I’ve gone through all the drawers / more empty now than ever before” – Cursed
My head is killing me. I woke up this morning with a horrible migraine, that and the pile of new-used shirts next to my bed are the reminders of the show I played last night at Hollywood Babylon, a vintage clothing shop in Portland. I have what is commonly referred to as a “bangover” in heavier music circles. Wherein an individual rocks out and “headbangs” so hard that they wake up feeling headachy, disoriented and irritable the next morning.
I have a history of getting really severe migraines on and off since I was a child, so I can definitely tell when one of those is stirring in my head. It’s 10:30 am and I need to make a decision here. Do I spend the day resting, trying to fight off this headache and leave tomorrow morning? Or do I power through it, go with my original plan of leaving today (albeit late at this point) and risk passing out while cycling or making my migraine so severe that I’m stranded somewhere? I rested till about noon, had some tea, listened to some music and finally decided it was time. Today’s the day!
Most of my packing was finished last night, so that didn’t leave me with much to take care of this morning, thankfully. My borrowed waterproof panniers were stuffed with a borrowed sleeping bag, my tent, cookware, bike tools, tubes and an extra tire. On the back rack I used an old bike inner tube to lash my tent poles to the frame, and on top of the poles I tied a plastic, square gallon jug of water with a bungee chord. In my front basket sat my backpack, with a really cool “jungle net” style bungee chord with multiple hooks securing it in place that I got from Starmichael. I considered getting a front rack for my bike and borrowing more panniers, but since I already had a pretty nice Chrome waterproof backpack I figured I might as well use it for it’s intended purpose. The unofficial theme of the tour so far seems to be “work with what you got”, which I guess is kind of the unofficial theme of my life up until the present anyway, so this isn’t much of a surprise. The bike looks a little funny in comparison to a lot of typical touring bikes you’d see, but everything’s secure and the bike rides well so that’s all that matters here. I’m pretty proud of the work I put into this thing and I’m not afraid to admit it, I stood and basked in it’s DIY punk-as-shit glory for a few minutes before I decided it was time to leave.
Other than my bike gear I just have my wallet, a couple pairs of shorts, biking shorts, a pair of pants, several sleeveless shirts (essential), rain pants and jacket and some bear mace (obviously not to be used on bears). I worked out a very conservative budget for this trip, only allowing myself one day of eating out, as I’m not even certain I’ll have enough money to finish the trip and eventually get home. On top of that I haven’t had a cell phone for almost a year, and though it’s a liberating experience, not having it for this trip terrifies a lot of people who care about me, haha. I guess people get freaked out when you decide to bike 400 miles with no money, no phone and no backup plan if shit goes south. Who knew?
Only one of my six housemates was home, so I bid her farewell and awkwardly carried my heavy bike down our front steps. I’m not one for big dramatic goodbyes anyway. The sunlight is killing my already sensitive eyes while I start biking down our street, it’s noon and the sun is overbearing. I decided early on that I was going to use my sunglasses sparingly on this trip born out of a mortal fear of getting “reverse raccoon eyes”. I’m going to be seeing a lot of sun on this trip, and whatever I’m wearing will be outlined with a tan for weeks to come.
Ok, first thing’s first, bike across town to the Max stop and board the Hillsboro train. One of the maps I printed at the library explained the easiest way to get from Portland out to Tillamook, and one of the thing it suggests is bypassing the suburbs of Portland by taking the light rail we have in the city referred to as “the Max” to the edge of Hillsboro (a portland suburb). I arrive at the Rose Quarter Max stop and wait a few minutes for the first train. I’m concerned there won’t be enough room on the train to maneuver my awkwardly huge bike, but since it’s the middle of a monday I’m feeling ok about it. A few trains go past before mine arrives, and they were all almost completely empty, so I feel a bit more confident that I’ll be able to fit my bike on the next one. Pretty soon my train arrives, and guess what? It’s so thick with passengers you can’t even see the other side of the train through the windows! Hoards of zombie-looking commuters going to who the heck knows where. Where did they all come from and why are they all seemingly going to Hillsboro? In a panicky fashion I rush back and forth between cars to desperately find a car I can squeeze my bike in, but to no avail. The doors close and the train leaves the station. FUCKERS! I already paid my $2.50 for the ticket, so I decide to wait for the next train. I rearranged my bags and slung on my backpack to make it a little easier to navigate my bike on the train, and thankfully the next train that arrived was strangely, almost eerily empty. I brought my bike on board, lifted it up onto one of the wheel hooks and breathed a sigh of relief as I settled in.
A few stops later a street punk around my age with a mohawk hops onto the train. He immediately rushes over to the handicap seating area, for what I think initially is to take one of the seats, even though there are dozens open all around him. Those seats are technically reserved for folks who find it difficult to get to other parts of the train, so I was pretty bummed. A second later I’m surprised when I look over and realize that a man with a walker is inching his way off the platform and onto the train, just as the punk guy holds down one of the spring loaded seats and offers his arm to help guide the man to his seat. Faith in punk restored! I always have a sense of pride when I see punks helping other folks out, and although it really shouldn’t be a surprise to see somebody treat another person with common decency and respect I was still silently stoked to see someone on my team taking the initiative. The man with the walker had a “Legalize Gay” shirt and after he sat down looked up at the street punk and said “check out my shirt!” and the punk dude responded with something inaudible and smiles. Then the guy with the walker turns to me and points to his shirt, and as he’s too far for me to communicate with verbally, I just give him a thumbs up and a big smile. Good start to my day.
Several miles later the train ends at the edge of Hillsboro, a veritable wasteland in my opinion. It’s been a few years since I’d been out here, but a wave of unpleasant court memories flooded back to me, including the day I spent in jail out here. A few of us locked into lock boxes at an anti-vivisection protest at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and had to be cut out with high powered saws. We were protesting Oregon Health and Sciences University’s continued use of non-human animals in frivolous, cruel and wasteful experiments. It made international news, and we spent the day and most of the night in jail celebrating with our other cellmates who were so excited that they just saw us on TV. They also stuck an informant in our cell with us who tried to bait us into bragging about any illegal activity regarding the animal liberation movement. He told us he was “vegan straightedge” and then proceeded to tell us about his weed growing operation, and how much he loved eating steak. Surely whoever instructed him to say these words to us to build some kind of camaraderie failed to mention what they ACTUALLY mean, but at the risk of sounding tangential I’ll get back to the story at hand.
I get my backpack situated back in it’s basket, pull out my map and find that I can fit it conveniently in between my backpack and the netting, displaying the map clearly for me as I ride. This makes it easier to just have the directions laid out in front of me for the day so I don’t have to keep stopping every hour or so to reorient myself. As I’m trying to determine what direction is West I eventually ask a kid on a mountain bike. He eagerly tells me where I need to be headed and from the inflection in his voice I get the idea that this town is boring enough that when a strange and sweaty dude on a bike asks you for directions, it’s pretty darn exciting. I thank him and head off.
It feels good to finally just start pedaling consistently. It gives me the feeling that I’m finally on the road and making this happen. I bike through some neighborhoods and eventually get spit out on a road through some farmlands on the way to a town called Banks. I pass a few extremely old abandoned barns and houses and make a mental note to return here at a later time to photograph them with my nice camera. I reach Banks in about a half hour, and finally connect with Highway 6 which is a straight shot out to Tillamook, OR which is the nearest coastal town. The 6 is a small, 2-lane highway much like most of the highways and roads I’ll be taking down the entire coast, but unfortunately the traffic on this one is a bit heavier than most according to the info I found online. It’s not terrible to bike on the shoulder here, but it’s also not my favorite as I’m constantly passed by massive RV’s and trucks going well over the speed limit.
I pull off on a side road a couple hours later to refill my small water bottle from my gallon jug and eat a couple protein bars. The majority of the food I brought for this trip are a variety of different food bars, and these pre-cooked indian food pouches made by a company called Tasty Bite. I’ve had them time and time again on the road, and since they have several different vegan choices and are small and compact enough to backpack with they’re an obvious choice. As I’m standing in this small road about 100 ft from the highway I start to unpack my backpack to pull out a protein bar. Not 3 minutes later a big, lifted truck pulls down the road from a private drive further up the hill. He drives up alongside me and strains to be heard over his diesel engine as he yells “WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?”. I tell him I just stopped to refill my water and check my map, and he responds “YEAH WELL THIS IS A PRIVATE ROAD. WE’VE HAD SOME TROUBLE OUT HERE.” and then pauses for a considerable amount of time while staring at me through redneck-style sunglasses. “Oh, ok. Well I’ll be out of here in like 5 minutes, tops. Just gotta put my stuff together and then I’ll be leaving” ASSHOLE. He gives me a nod, pops his truck into gear and pulls out onto the highway. What a dick.
After finishing my bar a few minutes later I strap my backpack into place and coast down the side road toward the highway. As I’m about to turn back out onto Highway 6 I see “lifted truck guy” pulling back onto the side road again, giving me a friendly wave. Why were you gone for only 5 minutes? I wave back with all my fingers and not just the one I want to show him and continue on.
This route turned out to be tougher than I thought it would be. I mean, A LOT tougher than I thought it would be. On the map it looks like a single day’s ride due to the distance, but that’s before you take into account the elevation as well. It’s only about 70 miles or so from Portland to Tillamook, but people (like myself) often forget that you have to climb over 1,500 ft in elevation over the course of 20 miles. The ride down the other side I’m sure will be a breeze, but fighting this climb with this heavy bike and a pounding migraine is almost too much to bear. To make matters worse, as I was rounding a turn up an especially steep area of the climb, I almost get hit by an RV barreling up the hill. I was warned about these RV’s, and I hadn’t forgotten the warning either. These giant, semi-truck sized vehicles for some miraculous reason don’t need a special license to drive, meaning that the people driving them have had no training in doing so. Thus creating a lot of deadly collisions, particularly more deadly for me than for them. As I’m rounding a turn, this particular asshole RV driver cut the corner too closely, stepped over into the emergency lane where I’m biking, and comes within about 2 ft of hitting me. I’m already hugging the railing as closely as I can and as the RV passes me I’m temporarily deafened by the roar of it’s engine and the blast of air it displaces as it passes. They must have been going around 65 miles an hour in a 50 zone, while I was maybe doing a meager 15 miles an hour up this hill. Even worse, as they pass they’re dragging a boat behind their giant caravan so it bounds and bounces past me with a horrible screeching noise that rattles me to my core. I was hit by a car from behind a few years ago, and I still get anxious when cars drive past me from behind. “FUCKING ASSHOLE FUCK YOU!” I scream as I give them a finger that they probably couldn’t see even if they bothered to look back. So fucking pissed.
Once I calm down I take a look at my map, and see that it indicates 3 state parks that touch this Highway in the Tillamook State Forest. I assumed I would get at least to the 2nd or the 3rd state park on the route, but as I’m nearing the summit the pounding in my head and the rapid loss of sunlight are both telling me to cut the day short. I started late in the day as it was, and I made a promise to some folks back home that I wouldn’t be biking at night. When I start to see signs for Gales Creek Campground I decide that will be my home for the night, might as well play it safe this evening since it’s my first day out. I follow the signs down a gravel road that drops into a valley about a mile down. As I’m coasting down the hill I’m approached by a lifted truck leaving the park, and instead of pulling aside and letting me pass he continues on unabated and I almost fly off into the ditch as I swerve into a thick gravel patch to avoid him. What is it about driving a lifted truck that just immediately makes you an asshole?
I roll into camp just as the sun is dipping beneath the trees. The shade is a welcome relief from the sun, and this campground is pretty near empty. Just the way I like it, and not surprising for a Monday night. There’s a guy and a dog off in a corner who look like they’ve been here for a while, with a big stack of firewood and a large, well maintained tent. There’s a family about a 1/4 mile up the road (I can tell because I can here the kids yelling and screaming) but at the site I eventually pick I have almost complete privacy as I can’t see anyone in any direction I look. It’s a pretty rugged campground, no bathrooms in our camp circle and the only running water is drawn from a well with a hand-pump: the liquid that comes out tasting strongly of metal. I fill out one of those little “honor system” forms for campsites with my name and site number, drop a $5 bill in the envelope and put it in the little box that the ranger comes by and collects. In my experience the ranger rarely ever comes by on weekdays, and I wonder if I’ll regret paying for the site tomorrow if I end up never getting checked in on. I justify not paying these fees in my mind by saying that giving the state park money empowers them to sell off public lands to logging companies out here (which they do); but in reality, and more immediately, I’m just on a razor thin budget and find it difficult to justify paying money to sleep in an empty lot where I clean up after myself and leave no trace of my presence. Whatever though, I won’t lose sleep over it. And sleep right now sounds amazing.
The back of my camp pushes up against Gale’s Creek, the water from the stream only about 4 feet from where I pitch my tent. After I get everything set up I strip down to my shorts and take a quick dip in the freezing cold water. This passes well enough for a shower in my opinion, so I soak for a bit and climb out when I start to get hungry for dinner. There’s no left-behind fire logs in my fire pit, and I’m too tired to search for dry wood in the forest, so I end up eating my Chana Masala and Punjab Eggplant cold out of the frying pan I brought along to cook with. Even though it’s luke warm from the sun it still tastes like a dream, and I’ve never been more thankful to be eating than I am in this moment. Dear me, this is delicious! I scrape the pan clean and wash it with the metal-water from the well, careful not to get any food residue in the camp and attract wildlife. Not that I don’t enjoy being around wildlife, but I’m not stoked when people feed wild animals, then those animals get used to being fed by humans, they then eventually become aggressive toward humans and then end up getting shot or poisoned by different humans. It’s a horrible, human driven cycle and the only ones who really lose are the non-human animals. So yeah, clean up after yourself.
I make sure all my gear is put away properly and that all three of my bags are in my tent for the night. I lock the frame of my bike to the metal chain rooted in the ground that locks the picnic table in place and I climb into my tent. Who would steal a picnic table? The ground under my tent is extremely rocky and jagged, and I didn’t bring a sleeping pad, but I am so tired that I hardly notice. I listen to the Game of Thrones series on audiobook for a couple hours to see what all the fuss is about while the light fades out of the sky. The fading light then gives way to glowing stars that are perfectly visible through the ceiling of my tent. I’d be amazed if it ends up raining this evening, so I don’t bother putting on the plastic rain guard over the top of my tent. It’s deadly silent and beautiful up on this mountain, and it’s exactly what I was hoping for. Even though my head is still throbbing from this morning’s migraine I feel peaceful and content in my sleeping bag. It’s cold up here, especially for June, and I’m thankful to have brought a low-rated mummy bag along with me thanks to my housemate Lif.
I finally start to drift off once the darkness fully envelops the forest, and I start to doze thinking of Dire Wolves and Valerian steel, with the sound of the Gale’s Creek babbling in the background just a few feet from me. I recognize the potential here for strange nightmares, but I have nightmares every night, so this doesn’t necessarily concern me. I’m just glad to be out in the world right now and to be experiencing the wild places of Oregon, which I still maintain is one of the most, if not THE most beautiful state in the US. With that to be debated amongst yourselves I’ll leave you to your night, and I’ll be left to mine. Sleep well my friends.