COMBATANT 2015 demo came out fall 2015 and I wasn’t able to cop one of these awesome tapes back at the time, to be honest I just ordered a copy from S&A because I got in touch with Tyler who sings in the band and it reminds me that I did not own a copy yet. This is a tape I really like. This is definitly some kind of straightforward hardcore punk for those who share the same tastes than me, these six songs are sharpened as fuck and without compromise, with an old school vibe. I was pretty curious about what Tyler could tell me about his band because there’s not much info on the Internet, hope you’ll like this!
1/ For the record, before we got in touch and discussed about doing this interview I was listening to really different stuffs from COMBATANT, such as neofolk, acid house and nowadays bands making their own thing within the hardcore punk scene (like COLD WORLD for example). And then I realize how awesome it was to listen to a hardcore demo released in 2015 which sounds like something released during the eighties (with a better production though!).
What were you guys expecting from COMBATANT when you started rehearsing?
I wasn’t sure what to expect when we first got together. I’d never sung for a band before and about half of the demo material were leftover/unfinished songs from my previous band. I initially just wanted to put those songs to use for something but I didn’t expect to have a demo recorded within three months of forming, let alone writing for an EP and playing shows.
2/ In my opinion, there are a few great new/young American bands like BURST OF RAGE for example which just sound perfect if you’re into traditional hardcore punk style. What are the bands you definitly support in the U.S.?
NYC Headhunters, Primitive Pact, Savageheads, Vanity, Waste Management, MFP, Inmates
3/ Now lets do a bit of History:
– who play in COMBATANT?
– is COMBATANT each member’s first band experience?
– you guys come from Maine, is there any scene here? Which bands shall we listen to?
– can you tell me how the band started and how the band’s doing right now? Any project for 2016?
– I didn’t find that much informations about COMBATANT on the Internet, but I’ve found this FB event for this show in Cambridge, MA at the Democracy Center with SWEET JESUS, BIG CONTEST, LIFE OF REILLY (really like this band) and GLORY on June 24th. Do you guys play a lot of shows? How do you feel about this upcoming event in Cambridge with these great current bands?
Combatant is Ryan on guitar, Al on drums, Matt on bass and I sing. The idea for Combatant had been around for a while but didn’t start taking shape until around July or August of 2015. I just hit up Ryan one day about starting an Agnostic Front styled band using a couple throwaway Forced Control songs. He’s a strong player and loves all things Stigma related so having him play was a no-brainer. Ryan suggested I contact Alex who had played drums for a mutual friend’s band awhile back. Alex happened to be living near Ryan for the school year so he got drafted to play. We met up about 3 or 4 times as a three piece before going to Boston to record the demo. Once we got the songs back, Al got us in touch with his friend Matt about playing bass. Month and a half later we played our first show. As for what we’re up to now, we just booked some recording time with Ryan at Side Two for next month to record another six songs for a 7″ EP, and I just finished writing another batch of songs to be released later on a new tape sometime this year. Maine’s scene is small and spread out and I admittedly don’t make it out to as many shows as I used to but Central Gallery in Bangor and the bands associated with that space are really whats going on in Maine right now.
We’ve kept a real low profile on the internet and have only played one show so far. We’ve got a gig in Portland with Blank Spell from Philly next month. Really looking forward to playing in Cambridge -we’ve all been going to shows down there for a while so it will be cool to get out of Maine for a bit. There’s been talk of another gig sometime in July and we’ll probably book something ourselves somewhere in between.
4/ On COMBATANT’s bandcamp, there’s this “victim in pain” tag added to describe the style of music you play and on Broke & Infamous Records FB page (which is the record company which has produced your demo tape) we can read “[…] COMBATANT is mainly influenced by the first two AGNOSTIC FRONT releases with a few nods to various NYHC alumni circa ’82-’84.” What can you tell us about the impact of NYHC on COMBATANT’s identity?
Ha, I wrote the description for both the bandcamp and that small write-up on the Broke & Infamous page. The whole idea to go for an AF thing came from basically exploiting a common thread in all the songs I had brought over from Forced Control. The Victim In Pain foundation was already there it was just a matter of stripping everything down a little and throwing in a few Stigma-esque big one note power chord ringouts. NYHC dominates most of my music collection so any time I write something, it will inherently sound like some era of New York. I just try to write things that I think would cater to a bunch of angel dusted bald freaks stomping around A7.
– Have you red Tony Rettman’s NYHC anthology? Do you think nowadays youngsters are kinda nostalgic about that American hardcore era? I feel like this specific kind of punk rock re-gained popularity since a few years: it’s funny how you can stalk on social networks like Instagram and see kids dressing like those who were hanging in front of CBGB’s. Plus, I can’t wait to see this New Breed Tape Documentary!
I actually forgot that the book came out and only recently got a copy so I’ve only read a few chapters. I’ve always been really fascinated with the pre-’83 New York scene. The Stimulators, The Mob, The Psychos – so I’m looking forward to getting into the book a little more. As far as hardcore punk being the “in-thing” now – it’s definitely cool that there’s bands biting Poison Idea and Negative Approach as opposed to when bands were copying the Lockin’ Out thing or No Warning. The music just isn’t made for actual weirdo’s and outcasts anymore, its too accessible. I’m personally not into the Spirit of ’88 style going on either. I see a lot less people actually being themselves in favor of being some character.
The New Breed doc will be cool, but Where The Wild Things Are is the superior compilation.
5/ Who created COMBATANT demo’s artwork?
What does the design refer to?
Is it linked with what the lyrics of the demo deal with?
By the way why didn’t you put the lyrics on the bandcamp? Can we know what lyrics are about?
The demo artwork origins are a secret but myself and Ryan had known about the image for awhile and knew we wouldn’t be able to find anything better to really compliment the music. Also, the bandname coupled with the image of bums fighting in trash surrounded by brick buildings just worked.
The reason we didn’t include the lyrics on bandcamp was to get people to just pick up the tape. I generally hate having any sort of online presence but I think the bandcamp has definitely helped get the songs out there to more people. Out For War is basically a war premonition type song and Disorder has an anti-poser stance. A lot of the songs deal with not letting others run your life or make your decisions for you. People we all cross paths with everyday who let the smallest amount of power go to their head or think they know whats best for you. Habitual line steppers.
6/ What about international hardcore bands: as to you which scene is worth it?
The French Oi scene is really strong right now, Rixe are one of my favorite bands and Coupe-Gourge and Syndrome 81 are great. Canada was putting out a lot of quality a couple years ago, not sure who’s still around though. Die is great. The NWOBHC has some cool things going on – and Shipwrecked still rules.
7/ No more questions, final word?
Thanks for the interview, check Corrective Measure on their upcoming tour and Standard Issue when they put out their new tape