interview

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: Jimmy Lo Fi

Photographer: Rachel Malvich

Photographer: Rachel Malvich

Jimmy Wilkens of The Sonder Bombs & Jimmy Lo Fi (as well as countless other music endeavors like Drag Daze & The Scuzzballs) is making his second appearance with The Hook Journal! The first being a gig back in Philadelphia, and now to share his thoughts on what music means to him!

Check it out below!

“It's hard to describe what music means to me because music is so abstract. I can't explain why myself, and thousands of other people, are willing to risk their health & financial livelihood all over 12 notes rearranged in different-yet-sometimes-the-same pattern. But for me, it's the only way I've ever truly been able to express myself. I tried drawing, I tried writing, but none of it stuck the way music did. Music allows me to connect with other people, to learn new perspectives, to discover things I like and don't like about people in a safe, constructive way. It also helps me make friends as an adult. I'm not in college anymore but I'm still in a community where I get to meet new people all of the time and that's pretty cool. Also, it's such a weird feeling listening to a song all the time and then meeting the creators of that song. You feel like you know them, but in reality you don't. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the circumstance, but it's an amazing feeling when you meet that person and then end up being really good friends.

Music also means I get to help others.

Playing in The Sonder Bombs has been wonderful because the songs we put out have connected with people in ways that words alone may or may not have. Willow & I started this band a little over 3 years ago and it has grown beyond something we ever thought it would, and having people come up to us after shows to tell us how a song of ours has helped them through something, it's incredible. Willow is a superb songwriter and the excitement I feel when she says "I have a new song" cannot be contained because it means I get to find a way to add a piece of myself to it and then ultimately share it with others.

I guess all of this can be summed into on statement: Music means to me that you'll never be alone.

A local artist I've really be into lately is Teamonade. They just dropped an EP, THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING and they have this song "Wreck" that literally wrecks me. The lyric "...so much has changed in the worst way" has me doubled over because it had effectively ripped my guts straight from my body."

You can check out Teamonade down below & stay tuned for more artists as we delve into What Music Means To Me!


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.

Emily's Top 5 Songs For Crying In The Shower

We need a good cry just as much as the next person - and what better way to get the tears flowing then a playlist to really bring to the surface all of the feelings you’ve been avoiding!

This weeks playlist is an ode to the saddies, the baddies in the shower just trying to get through life - and whether you’re crying in the shower at 7am, 12pm, or 11pm, we’re here to support you!

A Side / B Side - Tipling Rock

While we prefer the Acoustic version, Tipling Rock’s “A Side / B Side” is one of the happiest sad songs we know. If you’re trying to make sure your friends & fam aren’t worried about you, but still hoping to get a good cry in, Tipling Rock makes it easy. The song lends itself to the recently rejected, or the e-crush you haven’t DMed yet. That’s ok, take a walk and put this bad boy on - we won’t judge you!


Heat Wave - Snail

I was recently introduced to Snail Mail via someone I had gone on a few dates with, and when that person ended up to be not the best, Snail Mail was right there to pick me up. Perfect for cool autumn nights, Snail Mail’s album Lush recently dropped & has quickly become a go to sad times album. Check it out!


Upside Down - The Story So Far

The Story So Far lit up 2018 with their latest album Proper Dose. While I had not been a big TSSF fan, this album quickly changed my mind. “Upside Down” especially stuck out to me for lyricism, and also rhyming “It's all love now, upside down” - like, incredible? Also, this song is great for breakups, for being ghosted, for your High School Crush who you haven’t seen in 8 years. Music video below!


Other People - Beach House

Beach House are the OG sad tunes - we’ve all known this. “Other People" is not new, but it remains a stand by song for sadness showers (showers when you’re sad, yanno). While the track is not necessarily sad, Beach House embodies the aesthetic of melancholy in everything they do (for the most part, plz don’t quote us).


Bed Space - Darwin Deez

Ironically enough I found out about Darwin Deez after I had been on a one time date where I never heard from the guy again, so I have only ever known Darwin Deez as that guy, drumming against the wheel in his car, singing to me “Last Cigarette” and “The Bomb Song.” This track specifically makes me feel things because, I personally relate feeling far away from everyone you care about.


So, add these bad boys to your current crying curation, or feel free to hit us up with your favorite songs to shed some tears too! We’ve got Five Songs For Riding In The Car coming up next week, so stay tuned!

Honorable Mentions

The Magdalene - Foxing
Heart Contact - The City View
Just Friends - Pentimento
Apartment - Young The Giant
Charmer - Tigers Jaw
Chanel - Frank Ocean
Summer Depression - girl in red

ALL SONGS HAVE BEEN TESTED PERSONALLY FOR TEAR PRODUCTION & GENERAL SADNESS

Emily's Top 5 Songs For Kissing (Right Now)

It’s no secret that, sometimes, people like to kiss and listen to music. It’s even better when the person you’re kissing likes the music you’re kissing to, but how do you guarantee that mid-pause “wow, this playlist is great” validation you’ve been searching for?

Look no further!

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile 5 songs to add to your Makeout Playlist that are sure to make your boo (or not so boo) go, “wow, let’s kiss even more!” Of course, this list is yours to mix and match with, because we couldn’t give away all of our secrets now can we?

Check it out!

Redbone - Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino has evolved in many ways since his debut as the musical counterpart of Donald Glover. With his first studio album, Camp, Gambino rocketed into stardom with angry, bent out of shape tracks like “Heartbeat” & “Bonfire.” From there, Because The Internet introduced us to Gambino’s more ethereal side - the side that samples tracks and soothes, tracks like “3005” and “IV. Sweatpants.” In 2016, after 3 years without releasing anything substantial and threatening the end of the Childish Gambino era, Awaken, My Love! was released with a mixed bag of reviews. However, “Redbone” was one of the two featured tracks that Gambino released before the album dropped - an instant classic. With vibes reminiscent of funk, jazz and blues, Gambino hit’s on his ability to smooth over every syllable, every word. It’s sexy, and you can’t deny that - so “Redbone” makes it onto our makeout list because not only will your kissing partner think you’re suave af, who doesn’t want to makeout to this shit?


The Sun - Myd
Have you ever been sitting there, watching the sun set with your boo on the beach thinking, “damn, I really wish we had the perfect song to set the mood.” Well, Myd has provided us with the perfect kissing at dusk song, and aptly named “The Sun” is a groovy, indie little jam that pulls on retro European funk & disco vibes. The french native, Quentin Lepoutre, began their journey in 2008 primarily as a sound engineer. With EP releases happening promptly every two years beginning in 2011, Myd’s latest release, All Inclusive, is the best by far. “The Sun” is one of my favorites off of the release, and has been tested and proven as a great late afternoon, we’re both sweating and at the beach kind of song.


i don’t want to say too much - sagun
Maybe you’re looking for something with a lot less words and a lot more instrumental sounds. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Late night hook up with that boo who’s been incessantly liking your Instagram pics? This slow rolling, careful song is perfect for when things are better when they’re quiet - just without the silence that is. “i don’t want to say too much” is one of many from nepal native sagun. The producer and artist is aptly known for their instrumental work, but they have been known to do remixes and collaborations with other artists. While I specifically love this track for the ukulele chords that hold it down, the sound of water that keeps the tempo, and the gentle knocking - you could choose really any of sagun’s works to add to your makeout playlist.


Stolen Dance - Milky Chance
Of course I can’t forget all of you lucky fucks in relationships. Milky Chance is one of my favorite bands in the world, and one time I got to watch them play acoustic outside of Reading Terminal Market on the corner of 12th and Filbert here in Philly - but, I digress. “Stolen Dance” is the first single the German group ever put out in April 2013. The folky, indie vibes it gives off is timeless, though. I choose Stolen Dance because, lyrically, it is meaningful. The song lends itself perfectly to showing that person you like/love/care for that you really do like/love/care for them - especially when kissing.


I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend - girl in red
19 year old Norwegian DIY legend, girl in red has taken streaming by storm in the past year. With all of her music produced in her bedroom, she has begun performing festivals in Europe and taking the internet by storm. This song is steamy, guttural, and envelopes everything I love about DIY music.


Well, there ya have it. 5 songs you could sneak into your Makeout Playlist to see how they go - and if you don’t have a Makeout Playlist, then they’re just good songs to listen to. Let us know how they work out, drop us a comment or a message on any of our social media!

Stay tuned for more playlists coming in the future!

H O N O R A B L E ~ M E N T I O N S
OFTEN - THE WEEKND
ELECTRIC FEEL - MGMT
GOOEY - GLASS ANIMALS
GOODIE BAG - STILL WOOZY
YOU - MK.GEE
SUNNN - GOTH BABE
HER - MAJID JORDAN

* all music listed on this playlist has been personally tested for it’s credibility and accessibility for being made out to *

5 Stupid Questions With Backslider

Jake is bassist and lead stud muffin of Philadelphia based powerviolence/grunge outfit Backslider, and we got a chance to talk to him for our 5 stupid questions below!
 
Gene: Suhhhh duuuuu?
Jake: chillin on an airplane after drinking a bottle of tequila and putting tons of weed in my system in different ways. Backslider's West Coast tour ended yesterday in Portland and then we hung out with some close friends talking about Metallica and Norm Macdonald all day, and then I saw this fucking email after boarding at like 10:30pm.

G: You’re a Philly guy, so I gotta ask, who has better cheesesteaks, McDonalds or Burger King?
J: I guess 5 years makes me a Philly guy now? That's cool. I broke vedge in Philly so this is sort of appropriate. BK has French toast sticks and that's tight. Best cheesesteaks are Cosmi's.....or any cheesesteak that is less than 4 bucks at your nearest corner store.

G: I bet you I could throw a football over them mountains over there. Wanna put some money on it?
J: I always thought of you as an Uncle Rico. I can throw a football man, tight spiral. Fuck with it. Real talk though, I remember my mom being really supportive of me playing sports n shit....but years later she admitted that she was relieved when I put down the ball and picked up the fuckin axe. My mom shreds harder than Bandit, just sayin. 

G: Your band started as a powerviolence band but recently has shown strong grunge and noise rock influences, what inspired this musical shift? How do you think the band’s sound will develop moving forward?
J: Yea, I remember the first time I saw Backslider. Years before I was in the band, fuckin ding dongs just sounded like Lack Of Interest with jorts on. By the time I joined the band there was a bunch of sludgy crap goin on....like some STP meets Infest type shit. Then Pat bought a bunch of Unsane shirts and we wrote a song with a lot of tom hits and BOOM! The noise rock rumors started. But really, Backslider has been a band way too long to keep doing the same shit, so after awhile you change it up. We just got a new drummer who is famous for blast beats, but we're recording an ep at the end of the month with no blast beats. Just pummeling hardcore punk tunes for full grown adults to wreck their rooms to. You know what I'm talking about, Gene. You're angsty as fuck. 

G: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, why does my Dad not love me?
J: Just remember, if your dad loves you, you ain't shit. Be grateful he thinks of you as a mistake. You couldn't do stand up comedy or play grind if he cared about you. 

Thanks to Jake and Backslider for slamming these out! To keep up with Backslider, check out their social media below!

Backslider: Facebook // Bandcamp

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