Interview w/ Connor (who actually plays in a shitload of great bands)

by xjtx

“I love reading droidxrage! Very excited you want to interview me. Cheers!”

Well, that’s cool when someone answers this when you ask him to do an interview. Connor’s the type of dudes I’d loved to hang out with in real life because he seems so… I don’t know… Cool, natural, funny…

POSERS LEAVE DA HALL

1/ Hey Connor, thanks for according your time!
Before getting to the very heart of the matter I would like to know how was/is the RED DEATH southern US tour? “BBQ and Bad Ass Weekend” everywhere you went?

Yo!!! The Red Death “BBQ and Badass Weekend” tour was sick as fuck! We played exclusively spots that we hadn’t played before and all the shows were really fun. Birmingham, Alabama was a surprise highlight. That show was fucking awesome AND we ate at a sick BBQ spot that was right down the street from where we played. Shoutout to Dreamland BBQ!!

2/ Now can you please introduce yourself (where do you come from, how old are you and what do you do for a living?) and introduce the different bands you’re featuring in according to your Discogs profile (PROTESTER, ABUSE, GENOCIDE PACT, LAST WORDS, LUNG MATTER, MACHT NICHTS, RED DEATH, SEMPER EADEM… If I’m right you also used to play in PURE DISGUST?)?

My name is Connor James Donegan, I’m 21 years old, and I walk dogs for a living as well as occasionally work the counter at Smash Records in DC. Damn you want me to list all the bands? Alright, here we go…

Protester: Straight edge hardcore from DC that I sing for. We have a new 7″ called “No Identity” that’s coming out on Triple B Records this summer, so look out for that.

Red Death: COC/Discharge worship. Kinda “thrashy” I guess. It’s me on drums, Chad from Intent/Zoom on the mic, Robin from Pure Disgust/Protester on bass, and Ace from Pure Disgust/Stand Off on guitar. Our LP “Permanent Exile” is coming out via Grave Mistake Records in the US + Hardware Records in Europe real soon.

Genocide Pact: Death Metal band in vein of the classic shit like Bolt Thrower, Demigod, Obituary, etc that I play drums for. “Forged Through Domination” LP will be out this summer on A389 Recordings.

Semper Eadem: Steve from 86 Mentality’s new band that he writes all the music for. Sort of has an Oi-ish vibe, but it’s still Hardcore. We don’t play very often but we’re recording a record right now which I’m very excited about!

The rest of the bands aren’t active, so I’ll keep it brief. ABUSE. was a Crossed Out-worship band that I was in with Ace from Red Death back when we lived in North Carolina. LAST WORDS was an X-Claim style Hardcore band that I played drums for, also from North Carolina. Some of the songs that are on the Last Words LP were actually written to be Protester songs back in the day! MACHT NICHTS was the first band I ever fronted, and it was Ace and I trying to do some shit that sounded like Citizens Arrest or something. We played like 4 shows and then I moved. LUNG MATTER was the first Hardcore band I was ever in. We started when I was 16 or 17 and lasted for about a year. And yeah, you’re right about me being in Pure Disgust! I played drums on the demo and did 3 or 4 shows with them. I think that covers it!

3/ For how long have you been involved into music and into the DC hardcore punk scene?

I’ve been into music since I saw the movie School Of Rock when I was like 8 or 9. That shit made me want to stop playing baseball and pick up a guitar haha. Worst decision of my life! As far as in DC, I’ve lived here for about 2 years now. Protester, Genocide Pact, and Pure Disgust all started within like a month of me moving to DC, so I’ve been keeping pretty busy ever since!

4/ The current DC scene is actually my favorite US hardcore scene: it seems everyone down there who’s involved in hardcore punk is actually playing in different awesome bands. In my opinion, if you focuse on live footages, there’s always a great energy, people seem to have a lot of fun! What do you think of that observation? Is this an inheritance from the early DC hardcore scene/Dischord-era?
By the way which local bands are your favorites? And what about nowadays american or worldwide band?

I agree with you 100%! There’s always a good vibe at shows here. Lately there’s been lots of moshing too which is sick. I think what we’ve got going on in DC is kinda similar to what was going on here in the 80’s, especially in that so many of the people in bands are really young. A lot of the people who make up the newer DC bands here range from being 16 to 21 years old.

As far as my favorite current DC bands go, GIVE is easily my favorite. They’re the sickest. Zoom, Pure Disgust, and Stand Off are other bands I’m super into. Check them out if you haven’t. Outside of DC, I love No Tolerance, Depths Of Reality, The Flex, Chain Rank, Impalers, Ajax, Fury, Barge, Blazing Eye, and of course motherfucking TURNSTILE. Hardcore is too sick right now, for real.

5/ I recently took a look at DAMAGED CITY FEST announcement and I was completely freaking out like “this is the greatest place to be if hardcore punk’s definitly your thing, dude.” If I’m right, you’ll play w/ SEMPER EADEM? How do you feel with that upcoming edition?
Which bands do you really wanna see/play with?
I remember, watching INFEST (matinee) set footages during the 2014 edition you seemed really enthusiastic in the pit! In my opinion INFEST reunion was one of the best ideas a “legendary” band lately had. Does this show will remain a great memory?
What do you think of “legendary” hardcore puni bands still playing or reunited like BLACK FLAG, FLAG (whatever name they use), POISON IDEA, NEGATIVE APPROACH…?

Red Death and Semper Eadem are both playing the fest this year. I’m real psyched! Definitely most excited to see No Tolerance, Heratys, and Career Suicide. I think they’re all playing back to back haha.

I actually watched that Infest video earlier today! That shit was so fun. They played like shit, but I’ll never be able to see Infest in a place like that ever again so it doesn’t matter. That was also the first Red Death gig! I’ll never forget that show, that shit ruled. I think they’re one of the best “reunion” bands playing right now. I saw The Abused in 2012 and they were cool, even though the guitarist had a broken arm. Negative Approach is always sick. Killing Time and Judge were both sick as fuck when I saw them at This Is Hardcore. It’s weird because whenever a band starts playing shows again I always assume the worst, but I still always end up going to see them. I’ve seen some terrible reunion bands and I’ve seen some sick ones, but as long as they’re not embarrassing to like a Black Flag level I don’t give a fuck.

6/ You told me you read DROIDxRAGE. In January, I wrote something about PROTESTER’s first s/t 7″ on Trash King Productions. Honestly, this record is just amazing. I red you entirely composed it cuz – that’s the way it is according to your Discogs profile – you compose everything in PROTESTER. Do you really do?
Which bands inspired you to create your sound – apart from CONFRONT’s “One Life Drug Free” visual?
Usually you play drums in the different bands you’re involved in, why did you decide to pick up the mic in PROTESTER? In my humble opinion, this was a great idea!
What are the different subjects you approach in your lyrics?
How important is the straight edge ethic in these lyrics?
What’s PROTESTER near future?

Thanks!!! I’m glad you like the record. Aside from Confront, I’d say the big influences behind Protester are all the early Boston bands like SSD and DYS, early NYHC shit, mainly The Abused, Antidote and Agnostic Front, and a little bit of that sweet, sweet mid 80’s-era Poison Idea (Kings Of Punk and War All The Time, specifically). The first few Rev releases are huge for me as well.

Yeah, I do play all the instruments on the recordings. I do that cause when I started the band I was living in North Carolina and I didn’t know anyone who was edge that would do a 80’s style HC band with me, so I just did it all myself. Originally I didn’t want to sing, but after I recorded the music for the demo I decided I wanted to use some lyrics I had written and now I sing for the band haha. Stuff I sing about is pretty much just whatever shit I’m feeling negative about at the time of writing. Usually it’s shit about people I hate, shitty situations, being unhappy with myself, etc. Straight edge is super important to the lyrics. I don’t write songs like “fuck you if you drink” yadda yadda yadda but I do write shit about stuff I’ve been through and seen that have influenced and continue to influence my decision to be straight edge. I wouldn’t want to sing for a band if it wasn’t an edge band.

As far as what we’ve got coming up, we have a 7″ coming out this summer on Triple B records and a mostly-written 12″ that will be out eventually on Trash King Productions. We’re touring the west coast this summer with Forced Order, Freedom, and Fury, so look out for more info on that soon!

7/ Not only you’re involved into hardcore punk but you’re also fond of metal music – speaking ofΒ  Β GENOCIDE PACT for example.
I got several questions about metal’s impact on hardcore punk (sub)culture: I’ve already seen a pic of Max Cavalera wearing a GENOCIDE PACT t-shirt: does it affect you?
I start up with the Cavalera brothers: I know you’re a huge fan of Igor Cavalera who made more than an appearance on 2012 STRIFE’s “Witness A Rebirth” album, for example, why don’t you try to play in a metallic hardcore band? Does Washington DC has a scene of that kind in 2015?

Fuck, I freaked out when I saw the picture of Max wearing the Genocide Pact shirt! Sepultura is one of my favorite bands of all time, and to see that Max is a fan of something I’m involved in is straight up insane to me. If I had told 15 year old Connor that someone from Sepultura would be wearing his band’s shirt, I would have told myself to fuck off haha. Metal is right next to Punk/Hardcore as my favorite type of music. I’ve been into Metal since I was like 13 years old and that shit is a huge influence on me, regardless of whether or not what I’m playing is Metal. There’s a part on the new Protester record that is very heavily influenced by my favorite Slayer song, “Spirit In Black”, which I don’t think many people would expect haha.

Igor is seriously one of my favorite drummers of all time. His drumming on Chaos AD straight up changed my perspective on playing when first I heard it. Truly the greatest to ever do it. I’ve never heard the Strife record he played on actually, I should check it out haha. I like some Metallic Hardcore, mainly the 90’s Clevo stuff and entry level shit like Hatebreed, Merauder, etc, but overall I’m not really a huge fan. I probably wouldnt do a band like that, but who knows? Maybe it’ll happen someday haha. That kind of thing isn’t really big in DC. Baltimore is where that kind of thing really thrives.

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8/ If you wanna add something to conclude this interview…?
Thanks again Connor!!

Thanks so much for doing the interview! These questions were really fun to answer. Look out for Protester, Pure Disgust, and Red Death in Europe summer 2016. Cheers!

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