hardcore

What Music Means To Me: Shai Bender

Shai Bender isn’t just a boss front woman, vocalist & guitarist in Copley Woods, she is also an active member of the Philadelphia DIY scene. Shai shared with us what she felt about music, and we’re here to share it with you - check out Shai’s What Music Means To Me down below!

“What does music mean to me?

A variety of things honestly: loss, love, anger, pain, happiness, disgust; these are all things that can be evoked from music in all its forms. For me, music has always been an outlet, somewhere I can have some form of therapy. Performing and being on stage has given me freedoms I never would have had in my daily life, and allowed me to process complex emotions under the guise of metaphor, or through direct response. Copley Woods especially has been a project where I can continue to explore relationships in abstract concept; relationships with my mental health, gender identity, and relationships with the people around me. So as far as what music is to me personally, it’s the extreme concentration of my internal perceptions of myself, and external conflicts, whether it’s lyrical or even instrumental. I write a lot of my guitar parts to play off of the emotion of the song we’re working on, as well as to show off my technical prowess. A perfect example of my play style the is the breakdown in our most recent song “Missing Time” is raw and dizzying. The song is about someone experiencing PTSD flashbacks about being abducted by Aliens, and I wanted to reflect the chaotic and painfully experience of reliving someone violating your autonomy, something that I can say I have sadly been through.

I also wear my influences on my sleeve, and a lot of Jane Doe and Harms Way’s recent release from 2018, Post Human, certainly played a central role in the development of that part, which also happen to be both emotionally charged albums about abuse and general anxiety. So for me, music is purely self-expression, whether it’s hardcore, jazz, hip hop, or even country western and folk; it has to trigger some form of emotional response. “

Check out Shai’s influences down below, and stay tuned for more on What Music Means To Me!

What Music Means To Me: Lauren DeSantis

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Lauren DeSantis is a NJ local entrepreneur & music goer & friend who does nothing but support not only her local scene, but the scene as a whole. As someone who has always loved music & impressed me with the genuinity and free-thinking, Lauren had to be part of our series!

Check out what she had to say below!

Lauren DeSantis: (Entrepreneur/Music Listener):

As an entrepreneur and a tournament softball player, I couldn’t envision life without music, as cliché as that sounds. Music plays a huge role in both of those passions. Music means literally everything to me. I live in band shirts. I spend all of my money on concert tickets and meet and greets. It’s just something that’s too hard to put into words sometimes, you know. It’s something you have to experience in order to understand. Nothing makes me happier than being in a sweaty pit at a metal show (even at 26 years old with bad back!). When I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Being my own boss was the ultimate dream of mine. I got into the music scene shortly after when I attended my first Warped Tour. From that very day, I knew I wanted to forever be involved with music. It has allowed me to meet so many great people, and discover so many talented musicians.

Music fueled me to start a project called Remedies (still in the very beginning steps) - which I’m gearing towards feeding both local and touring bands and artists while on the road. I have a bunch of friends that tour frequently, so I know how hard it is to eat an actual meal, and that it can get costly. My main goal is to be able to use a huge passion of mine to help keep the dream going for others. Music has allowed me to appreciate life more. It’s just something that can’t be explained.

One of my favorite songs from a local band that I jam to almost everyday is Hold My Breath by Forest Green, from Michigan. I found them on whim one day, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. Also, if you’re in a band and ever pass through the Ocean County area of NJ, and want to be fed, please feel free to reach out and we can set something up!

Lee's Top 10 Albums of 2018

Lee Musgraves has shared their Top 10 Albums of 2018 with us, so check it out below!

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David Byrne - American Utopia

Best album of the year, in my opinion. Songs are truly unique compared to what else was released this year. My favorite track off of the album is “I Dance Like This.”

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Juice WRLD - Goodbye and Good Riddance

Emo trap music with really nice beats. Hit me with the same feels that Dashboard Confessional did when I was younger. A really solid record.

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Nine Inch Nails - Bad Witch

An exciting EP with plenty of different emotions going through it. The instrumentals on “God Break Down The Door” is one of my most favorite tracks the band has ever completed.

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George Ezra - Staying At Tamara's

You rarely hear deep baritone vocals over pop music, and this whole album has that in spades. Favorite tracks off of the album are “Shotgun” and “Paradise.”

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Hawthorne Heights - Bad Frequencies

This album shows the band maturing as they get older. Evolving their sound and lyrics without getting rid of what I, and many others, love about Hawthorne Heights.

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Ice Nine Kills - The Silver Scream

A horror movie focused concept album that brings what we already love into a conceptual movement. Very loud, intense vocals that truly bring Halloween classics to life for listeners.

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Post Malone - Beerbongs & Bentleys

Beerbongs & Bentleys is, arguably, way better than his debut. All of these songs are truly memorable, clearly rocketing Postie onto a huge stage. This has been my most played album of the year.

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Eric Church - Desperate Man

This is a great follow up to 2015's Mr. Misunderstood, bringing that same great music without the same conceptual elements.

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Kero Kero Bonito - Time ‘n’ Place

Truly, a different sound that breathes fresh air into Pop music. It's like bubblegum Death Grips. The rock influenced sound is a nice touch as well to what their truly unique style!

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Dance Gavin Dance - Artificial Selection

If you like DGD, and their last few albums, this is a good addition. They have their sound down, and while I'd like to see them try something new, this is still an album I keep coming back to.

5 Stupid Questions With Triac

5 Stupid Questions for Kevin Bernstein of Triac. Kevin Bernstein plays guitar in Baltimore based Triac and runs Developing Nations recording studio, also in Baltimore.

Gene: Hey Kevin, I was wondering, would you want to do my “5 Stupid Questions” interview thing?
Kevin: I can think of a lot of other things I'd rather be doing. Is this really the first question?

Gene: My band is recording at your studio and I’m actually looking at your back right now. Do you work out? If so, how do you get your back in such great shape?
Kevin: I don't work out enough to say that I work out. My mom and dad both have good backs. Luck of the draw, I guess.

Gene: Aren’t you a bit old to be messing around with this music nonsense? When are you gonna get a real job? And maybe a haircut too?
Kevin: Listen bud, the only thing getting old around here are these dumbass questions. I will, however, probably cut my hair soon. Long hair is mostly an annoyance. Looking cool isn't worth the hassle. A real job does sound nice though. 40 hours a week doing something I hate is probably better than 50-60+ hours of doing something I sometimes enjoy but mostly still sort of hate. Thanks for the tip, dad!

Gene: What is your favorite record you’ve ever worked on, either as a musician or a producer?Kevin: Hands down, Genocide Pact's "Forged Through Domination" is my favorite LP I've ever recorded. Top to bottom, the entire record is fantastic. An added bonus is that, sonically speaking, I don't think I fucked it up too badly. They're coming back very soon to record a follow up LP, and I really hope they don't blow it. That sophomore slump can be a real killer. Other than that, most of the rest of my catalog is crap, but the new Ilsa LP coming out later this year is also quite stellar.

Gene: What if God was one of us? You know, just like, a stranger on the bus?
Kevin: I don't often ride the bus. Thankfully I live above the studio, as I really try to not leave my house. So I'd probably never run into this god person. Are they cool? Should I have them over for tea?

For more useless info, check out Triacs below!

Triacs: Bandcamp

5 Stupid Questions With Hate5six

5 Stupid Questions with Sunny Singh of Hate5six. Sunny Singh is founder and head videographer of hate5six productions, a company that films hardcore and metal concerts up and down the east coast.

Gene: So Sunny, as a film-er of things, what would you say is your favorite movie? Personally I love Tom Hanks’s “The Money Pit.” It’s a classic comedy for the whole family that gets disparaged unfairly by the overtly cynical news media.
Sunny: Aronofsky's "Pi" is the reason I pursued math/computer science in college/grad school, so I can't deny its significance. I'm not as big of a film head as I'd like to be. Just watched "Lion" the other night and that fucked me up.

Gene: Aren’t you worried someone is gonna do a crazy mosh pit move and break your camera? Aren’t those things expensive? You kids and your mosh pits and your pac man video games…
Sunny: I've been filming as hate5six since 2007 and nothing serious has happened...until about two weeks ago. My camera got punched out of my hand at a small VFW show. The impact with the floor broke the eyepiece and tore a brand new battery apart. $500 repair. The only other incident was in 2015 when my camera got punched into my face, breaking two teeth. $70 dental repair. The camera was not hurt.

Gene: According to some of your facebbok profile pics, you also enjoy do extreme BMX biking tricks. Tell me, has Mountain Dew offered it’s sponsorship yet?
Sunny: They haven't! The only things I get are being asked by random couples at the Art Museum to do tricks in their wedding photos.

Gene: How did you get into filming hardcore shows and why do you think it’s a worthwhile venture?
Sunny: I needed something to do in 2001/2002 and decided to start filming bands my friends were in. It sort of grew from that. It's fun to relive shows but I get messages from people all over the world saying the videos make them feel less alone--from kids in countries where live hardcore doesn't exist to people stuck in Humvees in Afghanistan missing their friends and favorite bands. I also hear from people seriously on hospital beds saying the videos help them connect to a scene they can no longer experience in the flesh. That shit is so intense to process. But it's the reason I keep doing it.

Gene: So, do you always eat your eggs “Sunny side up”? Ha, get it? I fucking hate myself.
Sunny: This vegan hasn't had eggs since the mid/late 00s!

To check out Hate5six, we've got some links below! Really rad, quality videos on there too.

Hate5six: Website

5 Stupid Questions With Xibalba

Xibalba are a sludgy Death/Doom/Hardcore outfit from Pomona, California. We asked Brian Ortiz 5 stupid questions, so check it out!

Gene: In Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, there is a character named “Sebulba” which kind of rhymes with the name of your band. Was this intentional?
Brian: No, not at all. He lost a race against a little ass boy, no way we'd name ourselves after a loser like that. 

Gene: Yo, have you heard of this band, Bolt Thrower? They’re pretty sick.
Brian: We've been blessed enough in our lives to have heard this great band. I even saw them once and orgasmed a few times from the pleasurable heaviness.

Gene: Half of you guys are straight edge yet your band still has the reputation for getting drunk and showing up late to your own shows. Is this sort of dichotomy a reflection on the duality of mankind?
Brian: Straightedge? None of us are straightedge, hence why we get fucked up and show up late. You're throwing all these big words at me like dichotomy and I don't understand it, so I'm gonna take that as disrespect... watch your mouth. 

Gene: I saw you guys perform at Kung Fu Necktie in Philly this past Winter and honestly it sort of re-established my faith in Hardcore. Your singer seemed very passionate about the music and the scene yet also very humble and down to earth. How do these ideas translate into your band’s philosophy?
Brian: We're all about family and friends. We also just wanna party, play and get fucked up with our family and friends. We love what we do baby. 

Gene: Are those your skis? Both of them?
Brian: No it's a cardigan but thanks! Yea! Killer boots man! Well...see ya later!

For more on Xibalba and what they're wearing, check out their social media below!

Xibalba: Bandcamp

5 Stupid Questions With Weekend Nachos

5 Stupid Questions for John Hoffman of Weekend Nachos. John Hoffman was the Vocalist of legendary Chicago powerviolence band Weekend Nachos. They played their last show earlier this year.

Gene: Back in college I started a comedy group called “Weekend Nachos” in tribute to your band. After we had uploaded some videos to Youtube you sent me an e-mail politely asking that we change our name. Assuming you watched all of our videos, which was your favorite? I personally loved the one about the man who mistakes a middle school anime club for an NA meeting.
John: I really liked the one where the old lady waitress slipped and fell as she was bringing coffee over to one of her tables, and in the process spilled the coffee all over her face. When the little kid with his family yelled "Oopsie!" as she was screaming in pain, I just lost it. Some of the funniest shit I've seen in a while.

Gene: Why does everyone call them the “Cubbies”? Like what? That’s just like, really lame. What are your thoughts? Are you a White Sox fan? If so, how is the mullet coming in?
John: Agreed, it's very lame. I'm not a White Sox fan either though, I don't really like baseball that much. It's just Cubs fans that I hate, so honestly I think they deserve to be called "Cubbies". My brother had an orange mullet in high school, we used to make fun of him.

Gene: Ugh, I really didn’t want to have to ask this question but I can’t help myself: where does the name Weekend Nachos come from?
John: We wanted to call our band something NOT brutal or hard. So we came up with something random that sounded goofy/lighthearted. The goal was to make serious hardcore/metal fans think we were lame, which is exactly what happened for the entire 13 years we were a band.

Gene: I saw your band last year play in Philadelphia, and before the last song you gave a short speech in which you said “Punk Rock to me has never been about one group of people imposing their values upon another group of people. Punk has always been about freedom, freedom of choice and freedom of expression.” (Something along those lines). I felt that was a very profound statement (one that I completely agree with). I’m curious if you could elaborate further and perhaps even share some insight as to the context of that sentiment.
John: Thanks, I appreciate the acknowledgement! I think a lot of people try to make punk a set of values, or a certain way you need to think. I just don't agree with that, because that's what the rest of the world/society expects. One of the things that made me feel "punk" was the fact that I didn't want to follow a set of rules or expectations. To me, finding your own path in a world full of people who only want you to blindly follow them is a beautiful thing. For someone to tell me "No, you can't think that way or else you aren't punk" then I guess I just wouldn't be punk anymore, haha.

Gene: You wear a headband when you perform. Is that like a Jimi Hendrix thing where you dip it in LSD before the show? Or is it like an Olivia Newton Jon type deal, just to keep the sweat from staining those beautiful blue eyes of yours?
John: I honestly think it's a little bit of both. I'm a big fan of both Jimi Hendrix and Olivia Newton John so to be compared to either of them is very flattering. I can only hope that I'm pulling it off the way they do!

To mourn the death of Weekend Nachos like the rest of us, check out their bandcamp!

Weekend Nachos: Bandcamp

5 Stupid Questions With Downtrodder

Downtrodder are a 4-piece from Philadelphia that play post-hardcore, but not that stupid mallcore crap. Check out our 5 Stupid questions interview with them down below!

Gene: First of all, as a band, as a group of musicians playing music with such passion and vigor, I have to ask: who let the dogs out? What is the prevailing theory you all have? 
Downtrodder: Our sense, based on a vivid remembering of a book we read in middle school, George Orwell's Animal Farm (the literal bible for folks who want to force an argument about politics in crowded basements while a band is playing), is that the dogs were actually enforcers of an illegitimate authoritarian regime and that the Baha Men were trying to warn any farm animals in the area that a raid was in effect. The idea that the dogs themselves were some sort of metaphor for authoritarian communist rule is incorrect however, as these dogs were literal cop-dogs. The fact the the song was such a hit speaks to the scientific value of  the Top 40 radio chart as a barometer for increasing "woke-ness" among the teenage population in the new millennium years (consider as well the contribution of Eiffel 65's "I'm Blue" to the advent of neoliberal disdain for green party candidates). Had memes been popular back then, we may well have experienced a full-on political revolution. 

Gene: Ketchup, mustard or mayo? No, you can’t be edgy and say “relish”. These are the only three possible answers. And don’t ask what you’re putting it on, that’s irrelevant.
DT: We don't eat food, sorry.

Gene: What was your favorite Playstation 1 video game? And why was it Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater?
DT: This is nonsense, Gene. The greatest game for the system you mentioned was, and always will be Toby Hank's Pro Blader 2. 8 wheels were always better than four in the scientific community we were all raised in. We constantly fought over who would get to play as Campbell Cream, and groaned whenever we had to settle for Bam Bam Marinara or Ryan NyQuil. 

Gene: I feel like you guys have gotten both heavier and more melodic since I last saw you guys in 2016. Has this been a conscious artistic decision or just something that came about naturally?
DT: I think it is a little of both. With our lyrical message becoming more and more direct and deliberate with every song, it seemed fitting to add a bit of depth and grace to the sound rather than stick to a kind of sonic assault. We try to make our songs more textured and pensive than the last and we're really happy with what we've been developing. Thanks for noticing!

Gene: When you buy a movie ticket and they say “Enjoy the movie,” do you ever say “You too!” and feel like an idiot?
DT: Yeah. All the time, and in many different scenarios. Especially when the woman at the front desk shouts that the Star Wars young adult novels I checked out are overdue as I woefully drag myself out of the public library after using their free internet connection to google all the nice things Pitchfork and Noisey are saying about our band. So embarrassing.

Downtrodder: Bandcamp // Facebook