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Hey there, and thank you so much for doing this…if Steve is “a procrastinator, a perfectionist, and the always busy “band dad!”, how would the rest of you introduce yourselves to our readers with 3 personality traits?
Haha, nice. So Sean (guitar) offered up: mutant, freak, and dungeon master which is pretty damn accurate! Dennis (bass) claimed van packer, load-in time stickler, and liaison between bands. Mike Walsh (drums) is both passionate and serious, but most importantly, our resident contrarian. And last but not least, our own Mike Moynihan wants readers to know he is an idiot, irresponsible, and lazy!
Mike, being a male nanny, I am pretty sure you have encountered all sorts of dumb sexism?
Mike: Sexism is rampant in the child care world. I once had a conversation with someone who ran a day care center and asked if she’d ever hire me and she straight up told me no, because people don’t want to trust their children with males. Truth be told, having tattoos covering my arms and legs definitely doesn’t help.
Our zine fights to make an intersectional difference in the hardcore scene, what is your impression on topics such as racism, sexism and other forms of opression within this scene?
Steve: I’d like to think that we advocate the belief that those forms of oppression have no place in our scene, and if/when they present themselves there should be no tolerance. Unfortunately, the current political climate in the U.S. is proof enough that oppression (namely racism) is still extremely rampant in our culture. It’s really sad to see. Donald Trump is a spitting image of everything that is wrong with the way our country is structured and yet there are legions of people climbing aboard his bandwagon, despite the fact that he doesn’t even represent their best interests! His campaign appears to be singlehandedly dismantling any pittance of progress we’ve made in the last decade or so; making it okay to be openly racist. When the world around us is so rife with oppression it seems inevitable that it will find its way into our scene. It always does and to some degree probably always has. However, this zine you’re doing is a prime example of advocating and enacting a no tolerance policy. I think it’s safe to say that any faction of the global hardcore/punk scene is generally going to be a much safer place than the world at large, and that’s why we’ve built our foundation here. The true challenge is using our collective consciousness to channel our opposition beyond the boundaries of our respective scenes.
Your sound is described as a mixture of Nails, Buried Alive and Neurosis…would you agree?
Steve: Ya know, that seems fairly accurate. I can’t say I’m a fan of Nails, but the other two bands you mentioned are spot on! Our latest material however (the Parting Remains EP, and the new LP we are currently working on), reveal heavier leanings toward the Neurosis part of the equation… Other bands that come to mind are Torche, Mastodon and Russian Circles. At heart, we will always be a hardcore band. Sonically, we are definitely treading new territory.
Sorry I mixed up the shows, we saw you a time around Fluff, though… 🙂 what a pleasure it was….what was touring Europe like for you all?
Steve: Actually, we didn’t play Fluff Fest. We were offered a spot but couldn’t book a summer tour around it, so we toured Europe in October of 2015 instead. And honestly, we had a great time! It was truly an awesome experience; the people, the shows, the bands, the sights, the food… The only thing that didn’t make that list; the money! Regardless, it was worth it. We came home with stories to tell and memories that are priceless… Moreover, there’s Anchor & Oak (both from Sweden); collectively comprised of nine wonderful human beings who all took great care of us and made it one of our favorite tours thus far! We are truly lucky to be able to call those guys our friends.
Every band from the US always praises the vegan catering and the effort made for bands from the US, would you agree with that?
Steve: 100% – from the moment we arrived to the moment we left, we were taken care of. At times it was hard to believe! Mike and I had been to Europe in the past with Shai Hulud, and still, we were blown away. Such an incredible DIY ethic all across Europe, especially in Germany. And the key word, VEGAN. Such a relief, as vegans, to not have to worry about whether or not we can eat what’s being provided, but also empowering see that veganism is alive and well in Europe.
Do you have a personal preference of festivals (you have played a lot over the last 3 years) over club shows?
Steve: I think both have their place… Festivals are fun, but also completely exhausting. If we had to do ‘em night after night I think they’d get old pretty quickly. Then again, we haven’t played Fluff Fest yet, so our answer may change! We’ve had our hearts set on playing Fluff for years now… It’s part of our band bucket list. But back to the question, be it a festival, club, basement, or garage; our preference is simply to play in front of an engaged audience. That’s all we want. When a group of people (no matter how big or small) are standing as close as they can and giving off good vibes that we can feed off of, we’re gonna deliver a badass performance… one that’s ideally as beneficial for us as a band as it is for anyone watching. Not when there’s a giant horseshoe in the middle of the room with cross-armed people either vacantly staring at us, and/or fuckin around on their phones. This is something that’s been driving me insane as a frontman for the last couple years. We’re not asking you to be a mo$h warrior and start a war while we play… All we want is proximity, attention and for you to maybe bang your head a little if you’re feelin’ it!
Talking to GHETTOBLASTER a while ago, one answer read:
We mostly play small rooms with a slim attendance, and we know that going into it. And even though we’ve toured a healthy amount in our time as a band, our audiences are mostly comprised of people seeing us for the first time, with a solid handful of people we know on a first name basis. It’s not always easy to play rooms with under 10 paid and half the crowd is watching you out of pity while they stand there and spend most of the set texting on their phones… But that’s the reality of what we’re doing.
is this still the case for your band?
Steve: To a degree, yes. And for all we know, it may always be that way. Although, I will say that touring Europe certainly had a hand in reinvigorating us. Nearly every show there was usually at least one or two people (sometimes more) that knew our music and were extremely happy to be seeing us. That alone makes it all worthwhile! When we started this band we knew one thing: we wanted to tour, and if along the way we could connect with even a small handful of people through our music, all the better! Not to mention, hardcore and punk is one of few genres of music that rewards hard work (a little quip bestowed on me by Aaron Bedard of Bane back in 2004). We’ve been a band for 4.5 years, touring aggressively for most of that time, and we are finally starting to see some payoff: Touring Europe, signing with Good Fight, and now getting on a bigger tour with Unearth and Ringworm. Hell, what am I saying?! From the moment we formed we’ve been pretty lucky: signing with Panic immediately, playing Rain Fest, and then touring with Trial one year after our inception?! We seriously have a lot to be thankful for.
I see this happening a lot, also to European bands that once filled larger venues but now only 20 paying people show up. If you are not playing the latest flavor of the week, you are out. Does this ever get to you as musicians or are you just into doing this because you love it?
Steve: Without a doubt, yes, of course it gets to us. We pour a lot of ourselves into this band, and when we don’t get that instant payoff of people crowding to the front of the stage to sing along and share our passion and enthusiasm for these songs, it can be a little upsetting from time to time. Especially when you see, like you mentioned, flavor of the week bands being spoon fed those types of reactions. But at the end of the day, we do it because we love it. Speaking for myself, I don’t know what lies beyond doing Hollow Earth. It’s a thought that scares the shit of me in fact. So long as we’re doing this band though, we’re gonna give it all we’ve fucking got. And while we certainly would love for it to spark some sort of widespread reaction and tangible connectivity, it’s not entirely necessary. We’ve still got gas in the tank and we’ll keep going until we run out. And with people such as yourself making it possible for us to keep refueling, it’s difficult to see an end 🙂
You released Parting Remains this spring. If the album would be a painting made of music, how would you describe it to those who have not checked it out yet? (interview will be out much later than the release date)
Steve: Parting Remains came out this past January (2016). We recorded it last spring (April, 2015). Describe it as a painting, huh? Broad strokes of heavy earth tones circumvented by the cold vacuity of space?! Haha, that’s a tough one! Let’s just let the album art speak for itself on this one.
And please walk us through the lyrics of the record, which have always been a matter of the heart to you all.
Steve: At the moment, we are in Connecticut recording a concept album called, Dead Planet. Parting Remains is the prologue to Dead Planet. With this EP we set the stage for a sci-fi based narrative rooted in the lyrical ideas we’ve been establishing since our first release, We Are Not Humanity. Our story is set in an apocalyptic future and involves privileged/wealthy human beings (the elite) evacuating the planet to colonize in space while the poor and middle classes (the masses) are left behind to perish with the Earth. The lyrics as well as a narrative excerpt are available on our label’s Bandcamp page; Good Fight Music. Please check it out.
The first song, No Equilibrium is essentially a third person telling of the final evacuation from earth. Though the song makes it clear that humans are to blame for the planet’s devastation, there is no accountability. Survival and salvation exist only in the stars as far as they’re concerned, to both The Elite and The Masses alike.
The second track, Beyond Celestial Limits is told from the vantage point of The Elite; the self-appointed saviors of the human race. Unwilling to compromise their tactics, they’ve now taken the same all-consuming and dominating approach of earthly living to galaxies beyond.
The last song, Terminal Vestige reminds us that the Earth has outlasted several mass extinction events and end of human civilization will be no exception. If there’s hope for the human race, it’s certainly not in the stars, but in the balance of ALL living things on the very planet that once gave us life.
In the past, apocalyptic visions have been (also) part of the lyrics (along with the matching sound). We are abolitionist vegans (minus the rape culture dudes Youronosfky and Francione of the movement), so we kind of aspire to a world without any cruelty towards animals. But still, we do not see this happening in our lifetime. Do you or do you view the world as doomed?
Every once in a while you can catch me in a hopeful state of mind, but more often than not I feel that we are doomed. As history has proven, every empire will eventually fall, and human civilization/domination is no exception. The Earth itself however, will likely persevere. It may take an unfathomable amount of time for the planet to recover from the devastation we’ve inflicted, but eventually some sort of balance will be restored. So in short, I do not see the world as doomed, rather, I see our current way of life as doomed. And that, essentially, is exactly what we write songs about.
We also planned to feature Old Wounds in this issue, which you referred readers to in another interview. Are you guys friends and tour mates or is it their music that you like in particular (or both)?
We met Old Wounds in March of 2014. At the time, our friend Andrew Doyle (State of Mind) was booking tours for us. He was also booking tours for OW so he suggested we hit the road together, so we did. Since then they’ve become some of our best buds and a band we always look forward to crossing paths with. Hell, they’re the ones responsible for helping us establish a relationship with Good Fight Music, something we are forever grateful for! Furthermore, their band kicks ass and they work hard. I do see us touring together again in the hopefully not too distant future… Maybe even Europe, who knows?!
As we also speak to Justin of Ghostlimb and Graf Orlock, we always wonder, what it is like to maintain more than one band…your other projects are Left of the Dial, Cheapshow, Great Reversals, Tharsis They. Please describe how they add up in your caleidoscope of musical output.
I’ll tell you what it’s like… It’s exhausting! Our involvement with the above projects is virtually non-existent these days. The balancing act required to maintain a lifestyle that involves touring for weeks and months at a time is no easy feat… When you start throwing other bands into the fold it only gets that much more complicated. I balanced Hollow Earth, Tharsis They and Great Reversals as best I could for the better part of 2 years. Exhaustion got the best of me though. You come home from tour tired and broke. All you wanna do is lay around and take advantages of comforts you missed while constantly on the go, but like I said, you’re broke so ya gotta go back to work! Then you’ve got these other bands that have been waiting for you to get back so you can practice, write and record, play shows… It just gets to be too much. At least for me. Justin must have some tricks up his sleeve. He was telling me that he has a notebook where he’s written down details about every show he’s ever played! I imagine he’s also pretty good at time management. At this point, Tharsis They and Left of the Dial are on indefinite hiatus. Great Reversals however is still at full strength without me – they have an LP called Mere Mortals coming out any day now, check it out because it’s an ass kicker! Cheapshow is also still rocking without Mike Walsh… I keep meaning to check out their most recent record because I’ve heard only good things, so if you’re reading this you should do the same!
Politically speaking, I have to ask you about TRUMP, since you personally take an interest at this weirdness happening right now in your country… what the fuck is going on??
I honestly can’t tell you what the fuck is going on because I can’t even figure it out for myself. It’s as though there’s a master puppeteer behind the scenes laughing his ass off, saying, “Just how far can I take this 2 party shitshow before these people rise up and revolt?!” We’ve got this “bizarre love triangle” thing going on between the first woman to ever receive an official large party nomination (Hillary Clinton), a down to earth legit candidate that seems to good to be true and might even stand a chance (Bernie Sanders), and then of course “America’s walking talking brush fire” that you mentioned, Donald Drumpf (thanks John Oliver). Beyond that, there’s horrifying gun violence and police brutality every other day, all the while (as I mentioned above) every racist, bigoted piece of human scum now thinks it’s okay to speak their mind. It’s as though any hint of forward progress is automatically overshadowed by something appalling. I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I generally keep myself largely uninformed. I’ve become desensitized to the violent atrocities and jaded on the idea that I can make any sort of difference in this fucked up life, so I generally indulge in things to keep myself distracted. I did vote in the primaries though, something I’ve never done before. Of course there’s varying schools of thought on voting and whether or not it truly makes a difference, but we won’t get into all that. Anyway, I wish I had a better answer for you, I really do.
Last one’s for fun: what are your collective all-time faves at Karaoke together (could it be a song by QUEEN?)
Haha, excellent question. As for me, I like to do a little number known as, “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground. Which means for 3 to 4 minutes I assume the roll of token white guy trying (yet failing) to rap. Mike has knocked “Kiss from a Rose” out of the park on more than one occasion, as well as a Weird Al song or two, despite the fact that nobody wants to hear it! Sean goes with karaoke staples but hasn’t done the same song twice… We’re talkin’ The Temptations, Smashing Pumpkins and Danzig. As for Queen songs, well, no one currently in the band can quite pull it off. Our old bassist used to do a fairly impressive version of “Don’t Stop Me Now” though! I miss the days when all 5 members of the band would go up there individually and do at least one song, if not two… Currently the best we can do is sing “Margaritaville” together, haha!
….and who is the best frisbee player?
Hmm… It’s gotta be between me and Sean. Whenever we play Ultimate on tour we aren’t allowed to be on the same team. Then again, neither of have a damn thing on Claes from Anchor, that guy can toss a fuckin’ frisbee!!
Thanks for the interview! These were great questions. Absolutely love that you took the time to read other interviews we’ve done and base questions off of previous answers. Very cool 👌🏼✨
.straight edge 1998