Here’s an interview with Sam, Austin, Texas THE REAL COST’s singer, a young lad which seems to be pretty enthusiast to answer to the following questions and that’s pretty much why I enjoy writing interviews: realizing bands love playing music and chatting with ease about their bands and lifestyles! THE REAL COST is a youth crew band with a fucking old-school vibe and that’s really cool!
1/ Hey Sam, thanks for according your time. First of all:
– Can you introduce you: age, where do you live, occupation, your role in THE REAL COST?
Yo, my name’s Sam Watterson, I just turned 18, I live in Austin, Texas, and I work at a store called Old Navy. I provide the vocals for The Real Cost.
– Can you introduce THE REAL COST: when did you start the band, who’s playing in the band, why did you chose to be a youth crew band and what can you tell me about your “From The Flame Of Insight” cassette (on Endosuffan Tapes) and “The Real Coast” cassette (on I Hate I Skate)?
The Real Cost started less than a year ago, and it consists of myself, Jarron Griffith (19) on guitar, Sebastian Mitchell (19) on bass, and Grayson Darwin (17) on drums. We put out our first tape after only playing one show, so we didn’t fully know what we were doing with the band yet. Our homie Chester (Endosulfan Tapes) helped us make some cassettes for it, and we started working on solidifying our sound more. In January we put out our latest tape that our good friend Victor recorded and put out himself on his super cool label call I Hate I Skate, and we’ve been playing songs off both projects since.
2/ What’s up in Austin, Texas? Is there a strong hardcore scene and straight edge mentality? Are you guys hanging with other hardcore bands?
Austin is very cool and also not so cool. For anyone who doesn’t know there’s a very flourishing punk scene here with tons of sick bands and regular shows. People love to divide up more punk sounding bands from hardcore sounding bands but we are starting to have more diverse shows here that are a ton of fun. Amongst this mixed scene are some straightedge kids but I wouldn’t say it’s a super big movement here. With this being said, Texas as a state and a scene holds it down with hardcore, straightedge or not, and I love so many bands from here, so we are very blessed. In Austin we chill with a lot of young, new bands like Enemy One, Big League, GLAASSSS, Skeleton, Nosferatu, Nub, Cruelties, just to name a few. But as far as TX hardcore goes we have love for bands like Dress Code, Skourge, United Races, Glue, Might, Surplus, The Pose, Hard Strike, Mass Movement, Hired Gun, Stacked Against, there’s probably a few I’m forgetting right now.
3/ Your different releases sound pretty old-school, what are your different influences?
We definitely get influence from all the classic hardcore bands, but sound wise I love stuff like Crippled Youth, Straight Ahead, Brotherhood, Raw Deal, Turning Point and Judge. The list goes on and on but I love simple, hard-hitting music that’s really genuine.
4/ Which equipment did you use to record your two releases and create this really natural sound?
Honestly we don’t really know anything about recording or getting a great sound so I think it’s a mix of that and the fact that we use really bad, old gear. The only reason our last release was listenable at all was because of Victor.
5/ I have the feeling there is a pretty new trend within the American hardcore kids, they seem to worship legendary straight edge bands and try to look like them (sporting vintage clothes and sneakers) and if they play in a band, they try to sound like if they were living in the 80s. Is that the same thing with THE REAL COST?
I definitely know what you’re talking about with that, but I don’t know if I view it only as a trend or something like that. Obviously I’m biased because I’m one of those kids you’re talking about, but as a young person involved in hardcore, I couldn’t think of anything better, sound wise or attitude wise. I would much rather go to a show that sounds and looks like I’m in 1988 than a contemporary sounding show where I get my ass beat just for standing there. A lot of newer “hardcore” bands are whack because of the total lack of spirit or enthusiasm that these newer completely have harnessed. I’m really proud to be a part of this current scene because it’s leading to an environment of having fun and including others, not going out to hurt eachother and just being generally excited about the music, which are all attitudes that often get lost these days. I have lots of hope for 2016, you gotta trust the kids.
6/ Did you play in other bands before starting THE REAL COST?
I’ve been in a few other projects, mainly playing bass. I’ve been in bands since 8th grade and because of that they’re all pretty cringey and stupid so I won’t mention any of their names here. The Real Cost is easily the best and most successful project I’ve been a part of and I love it so much, it’s often all I can think about.
7/ Who writes the songs lyrics? Being a youth crew band, do you think there is a specific way of approaching the spirit of this kind of music and identity?
I write all the lyrics, I don’t really think about it like that, because youth crew or whatever can get really cliché and formulaic really quick so I usually just sit down with an idea and write it out in like 5 minutes and then be done with it. Sometimes I’ll go back in a fix it, but I try to make it a genuine thing so that I don’t overthink the words too much.
8/ I’ve noticed you tagged “unity” on THE REAL COST’s bandcamp page, is that something the band really believes in?
Unity is a tough one. We definitely all believe in it and strive for it like a lot of bands, but at the same time so many people claim to care about unity and then do so much to keep it from happening. I try not think of it as a crusade or mission statement, but instead to keep it in the back of my mind when assessing goals or things with the band. Start with just your city, and then work towards your state, because a tight knit community of different people working together is truly unstoppable, and I believe in that for sure.
9/ Why do you expect about being member of a hardcore band in 2016? Does it help you in your basic daily life?
I don’t expect much from hardcore at all really, I think if you want anything you gotta go get it or make it for yourself, no one’s gonna hand you anything. I would definitely say hardcore helps my daily life, there’s nothing better than having a crazy show to look forward to every week or month just to keep yourself looking to the future. It’s gotten to the point that I get too distracted with hardcore sometimes that I can’t focus on other things like homework or art or anything else I’m involved in. I’ve got it on the brain all the time.
10/ What are your latest favorite hardcore punk releases?
Damn there’s been so many great ones. 2015 was a remarkable year for hardcore and 2016 is already crushing it. My favorite release of 2015 might have to be Unified Right’s EP, I jam that one all the time still. I can just list a few that I love though. Fury’s new promo kills, I’ve been digging on some demos like Abuse of Power, Faze, Society Abuse, Depths of Reality, Free, Odd Man Out, Dress Code put out a great 7”, all of the TX bands above did great shit. Our homies in Step 4 Change put out a sick EP on Advanced Perspective everyone should listen to. Also Free At Last and Take Control are both dropping EP’s on Triple B soon that I’m very excited for. Also anything Mosher’s Delight drops is pure gold. So far my favorite of 2016 has been that Countdown demo, it’s so good. It seems like there’ a sick new band coming out every other week I love it.
11/ Final word?
Be on the look out for us, we got a new release in the works and once we all graduate high school we’re gonna try to do some tours and get out on the national scene more. Shoutouts to all my Texas people, especially Jordan Stewart, he’s the best “promoter” in the game. Shouts to MDR and a major shout out to Step 4 Change, they’re coming down to TX in a few weeks to play some dates with us and I can’t wait. Also my project No Rules Fanzine issue No. 2 is under way. Thank you so much for the interview!