BARGE first 7″ on Vinyl Conflict Label is amazing (so is their demo). That band sums up everything I ever like concerning 1982/90 era of hardcore punk: the fury, the frustration, sharped lyrics (“Fuck you and your guilty pleasures that you never will admit You’re doing it all fucking wrong How can you just look at me and say you support this shit?”, “We as humans live for shit We can’t get enough of it Live for pain”, “You think that I don’t know the truth Don’t open your mouth, there is no use […] God fucks you…”)… BARGE sounds like a lovely INFEST/SSD crossover if you want my opinion, a band full of anger. It seems weird when you realize singer Jean-Pierre is actually a really nice human being!
1/ Hi Jean-Pierre, thanks for your time: I think BARGE’s actually one of the recent American hardcore punk bands who really beats the crap out that’s why I’m really glad to ask you these several questions!
First things first: I’m pleasantly surprised by your first name! Do you have some french origins? I ask you this not only because I’m French myself, but you have to know that I was born in 1988 and actually the only French dude named Jean-Pierre during that year is one of my good friends. PRETTY SICK? I KNOW!
I actually get that a lot! My origin is strictly Peruvian, both my parents are from Peru. I was born in 1988 as well! I’ve come to notice that, while not highly popular, Jean-Pierre is an unusually common name in Peru.
Seriously: can you introduce you – how old are you? Where do you come from? When did you fell into punk? What attracted you to that music and ethic and what still makes you stick with that mentality in 2015?
I’m 26 years old and hopefully going to make it in the 27 club very soon! I was born in Peru, but grew up in a suburb of DC called Arlington, VA, then later moved to Herndon, VA. My dad’s influence on rock-n-roll and, more importantly, skateboarding eventually got me into punk rock, along with help from some local freak friends I grew up with in my town. What attracted me to punk is the speed, the energy and the songs that were actually about important topics. My favorite bands were pissed about the state in which the world is in and I think that’s important to remember. I think it’s important to be aware of the world you live in, because there are many things wrong about it. We are set to believe that the world is changing, advancing, and progressing, but there are still institutions that keep hatred and greed alive; and that’s what makes me pissed and making me stick with that mentality in 2015.
Besides the fact that you play with BARGE, you also play/played with HARD STRIPES, THE HAVERCHUCKS, SOUTHSIDE STRANGLERS…how these bands differ from BARGE?
As far as sound, Barge is definitely the fastest and heaviest of any project I’ve ever been a part of. Hard Stripes has more traditional hardcore/punk influence. Haverchucks were a Screeching Weasel/Lookout! Records worship band. Southside Stranglers were a group of fuckers that loved to play rock-n-roll punk.
Are the other BARGE members playing in other bands?
What are your favorite current American Hardcore bands?
Dan, the bassist, plays in a ton of other bands that it’s hard for me to keep track of what he’s doing these days, but off the top of my head PROTESTER, ZOOM, TRUE HEAD, and he fills in for GIVE sometimes. Zack is in other projects, such as OUTSHINED, METH LAB, and REGULATOR. Bob is in HANOVER HUMAN SOCIETY, and will occasionally play in HARD STRIPES. There are a lot of current bands I love, but I gotta give it out to the homies that put out good music and give a good name to hardcore: GIVE, HOUNDS OF HATE, FURY (CA), UNIFIED RIGHT, PURE DISGUST, FORCED ORDER, ANGEL DU$T.
Since WHITE CROSS during the early 1980s, it seems Richmond, Virginia, is a dedicated place to punk rock. What can you told us about nowadays Richmond hardcore/punk scene?
We are spoiled, and it’s great. There are so many bands here and they keep on forming. Sometimes there will be three shows in one night and it’s hard to decide what show to commit to. There are always bands coming through, to which there is a lot of local support for. I think that people know that they can be in for a good time, so they make a stop in little Richmond, VA. There’s a lot of freaks here who love punk and hardcore and it’s always a good time.
2/ What about BARGE itself:
When did the idea of forming such a – in my humble opinion – great tribute to what INFEST offered to American Hardcore Punk History? In that case, chosing that name “BARGE” as a label was pretty much a good idea!
Barge wasn’t supposed to be anything more than a studio project that was started out by the guitarist, Bob Quirk. He had just started up a studio and made a project where he wanted to record a made up band. He had asked me to lay vocals for this demo he had recorded with Brandon Ferrell (GOVENMENT WARNING/WASTED TIME) on drums; and that became known as the Barge demo. Bobby Egger and Alex DiMattesa have joined together to form a sub label called VINYL CONFLICT RECORDS, which just show case local bands via GRAVE MISTAKE RECORDS. They had asked us if we were going to continue being a real band and we decided to write a 7” for. The name itself seemed to fit the style of music we’re going for, so we stuck with that.
Do you write the lyrics? What do you deal with?
I write all the lyrics. I write about what I know and deal with on a pretty daily basis: Being a person of color in punk, institutional racism, homophobia, sexism, hatred, abuse, violence, all on macro and micro levels, in and out of the punk/hardcore scene. There are themes on anxiety, not knowing who you are, and finding yourself in a world that doesn’t care for you. I get that humans are selfish, but I feel like punk and DIY are a way to come together and achieve things. The world is a strange fucked up place. I also think it’s important to sing about issues that don’t regularly get brought up in punk. Where I grew up, punk/hardcore scenes were always so white dominated, so I always felt left out and treated differently for being a non-white. In short, people recycle jokes and stereotypes that I’m tired of hearing.
Both “Lose” demo (on CUT THE CORD THAT…RECORDS) and “No Gain” 7″ (on VINYL CONFLICT LABEL) really are great releases and, honestly, I think that kind of releases, in 2015, can seriously set things straight concerning these shitloads of bands who actually just try to, ineffectively, update a fastcore/powerviolence trend which was probably great during fall 1990s but a bit boring nowadays! Is my (Internet) vision of the type of angry feelings you wanna pass on to the audience seem correct with what you personally figure about BARGE? What really surprised me about BARGE is that it was the EXACT answer to these hundreds of silly copycats all around bandcamp since 2010. Is BARGE a reaction to that?
We weren’t trying to set anything straight or trying to be a reaction to anything. Like I had mentioned earlier, Barge was just a studio project. As the band started writing the 7”, we found our own style and just blended every single thing we liked about hardcore and punk, old and new, and tried to make it fit into one package. Everyone in the band likes a little bit of everything, especially me. I have close to no filter when it comes to music.
Recently, you guys featured on both DAMAGED CITY FEST In Washington DC and UNITED BLOOD announcement.
What can you tell us about being part of these crucial nowadays US Hardcore events?
Which bands were completely mad? Out of curiosity, have you seen CROWN OF THORNZ’s show?
You also played a show with SLAPSHOT, NIGHT BIRDS and FRIEND OR FOE on January 23rd, what a strange and fucking awesome event? How was it?
It feels great! I’m lucky to be a part of that and the fact that people want to feature us on hardcore fests along with other great bands. FORCED ORDER and FREEDOM were among the newer bands that people lost their shit for. It was sick seeing that. It’s always a pleasure seeing COLD WORLD, BREAKDOWN, and locally BRACEWAR. Damaged City is way more up my alley as far as hardcore is concerned. There were tons of bands I loved seeing. FURY, PURE DISGUST, NO TOLERANCE, LEATHER DADDY (MA), ARMS RACE, and THE FLEX. GOVERNMENT WARNING and CAREER SUICIDE were very important to see for me since they were huge bands for me. I also think they’re both modern greats. CROWN OF THORNZ set was a pleasure, moreso the banter from Lord Ezec, but also because Mentally Vexed was my shit in high school. That SLAPSHOT, NIGHT BIRDS gig was definitely very mixed line up. Lots of different types of sects of punk and hardcore came out to the show, even ones from out of state. Also a good time!
3/ You recently announced on BARGE’s Facebook profile you’ll have a 2015 promo tape for sell at your shows. When I saw there was a MADBALL cover (“Get Out”) I wasn’t surprised at all! Actually I think that “No Gain” 7″ is, sort of, a reference to what was actually super cool about MADBALL’s “Ball Of Destruction” 7″. What do you think of that?
Madball’s Ball of Destruction 7” is my favorite Madball release, and also arguably, one of my favorite 7”s of all time. It’s fast, mean, has so many slam parts, and most importantly, punk as fuck. I think those are nice words given to us, but I also don’t think we’ll ever have an impact as big as Madball, or Ball of Destruction alone. I think it’s a NYHC classic. I will say that it made sense for us to cover that song since there’s fast parts and slam, which is a formula we love.
Are you aware that your next release must be a hella challenge regarding your previous releases?
Are you currently working on a new EP? Maybe a LP?
Will you tour in 2015?
I hadn’t thought about that, no. We just want to keep writing fast, heavy, pissed off hardcore. We are currently recording a 12” EP that will be out on Grave Mistake, summer 2015. While that comes out, we will be doing a full U.S. tour with Pure Disgust, June 26 – July 24. We will hopefully make it out to Europe by the end of the year, or even in 2016 when everyone hopefully has more time!
4/ I have no further questions, if you want to add something to conclude the interview!
I always thank both Alex DiMattesa and Bobby Egger, but I want it to be on print that I love them and appreciate everything they’ve done for me and for the bands that I’m in. They’re doing great things for punk as well as Richmond and will continue to keep doing so. If you’re ever in town, please check out VINYL CONFLICT RECORDS in Richmond, VA or order records off GRAVE MISTAKE webstore.