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


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!

What Music Means To Me: Tre Turner


Vocalist of Spirit Breaker, and generally good person, Tre Turner gave us his take on what music means - not only to him, but to scenes as a whole!

Check out what he had to say below!

Tre Turner (Musician/Vocalist):

“Most of our lives are filled with the strong and constant longing for something more. No matter how much we dive into things that make us happy, most of the time these things end up being conditional, predictable, materialistic,and unfulfilling. At least until one day you stumble upon something that consumes you.

For me, its Progressive Metal. A genre that is so unpredictable, unconditional, and breathtaking. If I could put it into a visual, it's a sky full of overwhelming colors, shape-shifting clouds, a vibrant burning sun with a soothing warmth, and lightly frosted moon with a calming wind in the evening air. For years, I've bared witness to bands expanding on their craft, uniquely redefining their sound and song structure. Periphery, Invent, Animate, and Veil of Maya are all examples of this. The odd time signatures, the complicated guitar-work, the ferocity of the drums, and the soul-infused jazz breaks speak love into this tired body. To me, this genre is love.

Nothing compares, though, to watching someone you know do it in your backyard. Blank Slate: a band paving bright sounds into a gloomy, oversaturated Michigan. What started off as a simple, experimental band has now grown into a storm of color that I've had the pleasure of watching rain over me side stage and intimately from a beautiful home. Something about a Frontwoman gliding her voice in and out of electrifying riffs and drum-work with elegance and charisma. I find myself in awe at the beauty of my local music scene.”

Check out Blank Slate on their Facebook page!

Lee's Top 10 Albums of 2018

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


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.”

Goodbye & Good Riddance.jpg

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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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 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 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 Amnesian

Simon Millington does vocals and guitar for Amnesian, one of the best Grindcore bands in all of British Columbia, and of course we had to ask 5 stupid questions! 

Gene: Your band is called “Amnesian”? What are you guys trying to forget? More importantly, what are you guys running from? What are your deepest insecurities?
Simon: For me I'm more struggling to remember rather than forget. Maybe I'm running from some traumatic event from my childhood that's buried way deep in my psyche, what am I a psychologist? Probably my biggest insecurity is that no one will ever like any of the music I write as a direct result of the fact that no one likes me as a person. This is like three questions in one and now I'm sad so thanks a lot there Dr Phil.

Gene: You’re from Canada. Are there just hockey pucks flying around everywhere up there? How many moose do you live with?
Simon: Yes, but with our free health coverage it's not too big of an issue to take a puck to the face, or stomach, or even groin every now and then, and I'm only living with two at the moment.

Gene: Did you ever get an erection when you were climbing the rope during gym class?
Simon: No way, I was too busy struggling to climb and hating life to get aroused even at that age.

Gene: “Behind The Tropic of Cancer” is one of my all time favorite songs. Along with “Banished/No Haven Left” from last year’s self-titled LP, you guys have shown a serious proclivity to add a dark and foreboding atmosphere to your music which is fairly uncommon for a Grindcore band. Is this a conscious decision? And if so, why choose this route over the more standard “blast as many songs as we can into 10 minutes” ethos of most grind bands?
Simon: A lot of my biggest influences for fast music, such as Pig Destroyer, Converge, Discordance Axis etc. always had an experimental edge and complimented their albums with a few slower atmospheric songs, so to me it felt like the natural thing to do, or a tradition in heavy music I wanted to be a part of. In particular, Pig Destroyer's "Prowler in the Yard" to me was the perfect template on how to structure a grind album, by essentially starting off fast and straight forward and getting more experimental and dynamic by the album's end. Plus I've always loved sludgy/experimental/atmospheric bands like Neurosis, Thou, The Melvins etc. and have wanted to incorporate elements of those bands in our sound any way I could. I've been lucky enough to do pretty much whatever I want creatively with this band so if we can get slow and weird sometimes why the heck not? Staying in one style to me has always been boring.

Gene: In his 1988 hit single, Will Smith claimed that “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” What are your thoughts on such a controversial and bold artistic statement?
Simon: There will always be a generational gap or learning curve between kids and parents I suppose, maybe it's the kids who just don't understand? Will Smith is a dad now, does he understand? I'm not sure I understand.

Thanks for reading, check out Amnesian's links below!

Amnesian: Facebook // Bandcamp


5 Stupid Questions With Full Of Hell

Spencer Hazard plays guitar in Full Of Hell, a Death/Grind band from Maryland who are currently conquering the world. Check out our interview below to get answers to our 5 stupid questions!

Gene: So, first of all, does anyone call you “Spenny”? Can I call you Spenny?
Spencer: Some girl in high school always used to call me that. 

Gene: So Spenny, I’m a big fan of your band but aren’t you all worried that having the word “Hell” in your name might offend some of your Christian audience? Have you guys discussed going by “Full Of Heck?”
Spencer: We usually go by Full of Heck on Sundays. 

Gene: Did you know that “Arby’s” is actually an elongated version of “R.B.’s” which originally stood for “Roast Beef?” Isn’t that crazy? So weird.
Spencer: I did recently find that out. Arby's is one of my top favorite fast food restaurants. It's pretty expensive though, so I only go when I'm feeling classy. 

Gene: Aside from creating dynamic and constantly evolving music, your band also has an interesting aesthetic visually for your album covers and merchandise. I’m curious as to what visual influences your band has?
Spencer: For me personally the visuals are almost as important to the music. We take a lot of inspiration from early death metal, early Grindcore and industrial for the visuals. Three of my favorite bands, Swans,Man is the Bastard, and Gism, are not just my favorite bands musically, but aesthetically as well. I feel as though their art represents their music perfectly and catches your eye without being too flashy. That's reason why we've gone with Mark McCoy for our newest record and the record with Merzbow. We love all the art he has done for his label,Youth Attack, and the way he presents it. It's all very stylized and has a certain aesthetic too it. 

Gene: Yo, how great are long sleeve shirts? I fux with them so hard. Normally I like to show the guns off but I make an exception whenever I have my Coffins long sleeve clean
Spencer: They're pretty cool. I now basically switch between long sleeves and shirts with the sleeves cut off. 

Full Of Hell: Facebook // Bandcamp