Ecostrike Interview With Lennon (Vocals)
from earlier in the month.
All Pictures by Jeff Lasich
I don’t really think anybody that listens to modern Hardcore hasn’t heard of either Soul Search, Fury Or Forced Order, even Whats Good. So here’s an interview with a dude heavily involved in the Hardcore scene, who’s in two bands that are signed to Rev and with numerous tours under his belt in Europe and beyond…
I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, I’m really in to Give.
They have a new record coming out soon on Rev, so the timing is pretty good for this interview I guess.
I sent a few words over to Crucial John about this and that.
Photography by Angela Owens.Josh Sisk And James Willett.
DR: Hey John, hows things? Do you want to give us a little history on Give? When and why you started, where and who’s in the band.
CJ:Hey man, doing great. Give started in loose form in 2005 I think, I can’t remember exactly. But it went through a lot of different line ups until we finally settled in and began playing out and recording in Nov of 2008. Right now the line-up is: Myself – Vocals, Doug – Bass, Gene – Drums, Ben – Guitar, Ian – Guitar and we have a lot of friends that help us out. Our friend Austin Stemper plays bass and Guitar for us when needed, and Dan Horres and Ashley Sykes lend Bass duties when they can.
DR: What was the main motivation with starting Give?
CJ: For me, I had just always wanted to be in a band. I wanted to be in a full time band where everyone was excited and motivated to write songs, play shows, release records, all that typical shit. At the time that everything connected for me, Give was the type of band I wanted to start and it came together slowly over the course of about 4 years. The line up changed a lot and we officially started at the very end of 2008.
DR: Who came up with the name Give? Is it taken from anything in particular? Its really crucial sounding i think.
CJ: I came up with it while I was in Iraq actually. I was listening to that band GONE a lot while I was over there and I really liked how their name looked on their record covers. Especially the first album “Let’s get real real gone for a change”, I just thought the name looked cool as shit, and I loved the “G” in particular. I wanted something similar so I started thinking about short words that started with the letter G that I could use for a band name. GIVE seemed to be the best choice.
DR: You are releasing a new record on Rev right? How did that come about? I guess it must be awesome to do stuff with Rev?
CJ: I don’t think there is any story there really, and if there is, I can’t remember it, but they just asked us if we would be interested. After we released the first 12″ EP on our own label and then started doing the 7″ singles with all our friends labels, the next thing I wanted to do were 12″ singles after our first LP. I asked Rev if they were down for that and we came to agree on a 5 song 12″ EP that will include a track from the LP. So far everything has been great with them and I’m really excited to release this record. I can’t wait for the world to see the artwork for this thing. My friend from Japan, Kinya Masuo, did this crazy amazing clay collage piece. We are going to drop a song and a peek at that art real soon. And for me, obviously being associated in any way with Revelation is cool since their early catalog changed the way I thought about music.
DR: How did you guys approach the writing for this record? Anything you knew you wanted to do from the start?
CJ: I didn’t write any of the music but I don’t think there was any real direction we were trying to take things in. That isn’t something we talk about much, we just show up with riffs or songs and keep what everyone likes and trash what sucks. This LP has some brand new stuff and some songs we had for awhile. The song “Sonic Bloom” has been around for a few years and if you have seen us live, you have heard it. We are finally giving it a home on this LP. I had a few lyrical ideas I knew I knew I wanted on this LP, mainly the songs “Heart first opened”, “Fuck me Blind”, and “Paint my Life”.
DR: Who would you say are the 4 main influences of Give?
CJ: Well everyone in the band would have completely different answers but for me its probably something like Youth of Today, Nirvana, Ignition, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I also asked Ian and he said “Dennis Rodman, Vic Dicara, Groucho Marx, and Guy Piccotto”
DR: Do you remember your first show and who you played with? Any good memories from early shows?
CJ: The first show was in November of 2008 opening for Rival Schools at the Ottobar in Baltimore. We were able to get on the show and I remember it really got us motivated to practice almost everyday for a month and write songs in preparation. That was cool. Our second show was in Pennsylvania with Mindset at their “Realpower” record release. The next 4 or 5 shows were all played in Central America. Lion of Judah had a tour booked there so we tagged along and that was an interesting way to kind of break the band in. We met a lot of good people there and our friend Luiso from Guatemala drew our flower logo and has done numerous artwork and design for bands in DC.
DR: What has been a fun tour or individual show for you guys recently?
CJ: We played a show in Brooklyn recently with BOLD, Intent, and Clear that was super fun. It was the last date of a short tour we did with Fell to Low and I wasn’t sure how well the show would do, but it turned into a great time. The only thing I want in life is to see BOLD play to a packed house of people acting like maniacs and their set here was probably the closest I will get to that. Most all of my closest friends were here and people were fucking siked to see BOLD. They played every song from the Looking Back 12″, every song from Speak Out except “Now or Never”, “Accept the Blame”, and “Still Strong” and did “Can’t you see”. Close to perfect set. But yeah, every tour we have done has been great really and we have been fortunate to have bands take good care of us. We did a tour recently with Bane and Code Orange Kids that was fun, touring with No Tolerance in Europe was the fucking best, and the midwest tour with Night Birds and Tenement was awesome.
DR : You Have Records out on Painkiller and Triple B, who else have you worked with?
CJ:S/T 12″ EP – MOONFLOWER RECORDS
HEAVEN IS WAITING 7″ – REACT RECORDS
BOOTS OF FAITH 7″ – DERANGED RECORDS
FLOWERHEAD 7″ – YOUNGBLOOD RECORDS
PETAL PUSHING 7″ – PAINKILLER RECORDS
I AM LOVE 7″ – TRIPLE B RECORDS
A-SIDES CASSETTE – WILLOW TREE RECORDS
SINGLES GOING CONFETTI 12″ – DERANGED RECORDS/ASSAULT RECORDS
GIVE/FREE SPIRIT/CLEAR/DISENGAGE Live at Asefus CASSETTE – CRUSH RECORDS
VOODOO LEATHER CASSETTE/ZINE – HEARTWORM PRESS
I AM LIVE 7″ – PHOTOBOOTH RECORDS
DR: What style of Hardcore do you really like personally?
CJ:Straight Edge Hardcore for sure and especially obscure 3rd and 4th tier stuff from the late 80’s in particular. Youth of Today and Bold are top dogs obviously but bands like Unit Pride, Insight, Powerhouse, Breakaway, etc are my shit. And you keep going into the Walk Proud and Positive Approach region, I can’t get enough. It’s fun to find demo only bands and overlooked local 7″s from that era. I just like the style and look that genre of hardcore was giving at that time. Looking at the insert to the True till Death changed everything for me for example, the way I thought, dressed, acted, etc. I’ve been listening to a shitload of Sportswear recently, fucking love that LP. The Follow Through 12″ means a lot to me. Other than that, harDCore is another style of hardcore that just absoluelty has my heart. Pretty much every band from DC from between 1980 – 1990 means a lot to me.
12: Give has members from a few other bands, am i right? Who are those bands?
CJ: At the moment I think it’s something like this…
Gene – Zoom
Doug – Rival Mob, No Tolerance, World War 4, Innumerable Forms
Ian – No Tolerance, Big Mouth
Myself – Mob Mentality
I’m probably forgetting some.
DR: Who is great in Hardcore at the moment?
CJ:Three bands that excite me are Omegas, No Tolerance, and Turnstile. Tons of great shit happening right now, earth is fucking sick.
DR:Thanks for your time- any last words?
CJ: We have the ELECTRIC FLOWER CIRCUS LP coming out soon and not far behind that are the 12″ EPs on Lockin Out and Revelation. We are hitting Europe again in November and have plans to do the midwest and Cali very soon. I also do a Fanzine/Label with my friend Zack from Intent called Moshers Delight and we have a new issue coming soon with content from all of your favorite bands and are constantly releasing tapes and shit. Keep updated at www.moshersdelight.bigcartel.com.
A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Adam (drums) from Stick Together to find out they were playing a few shows in Sweden, including my adopted home of Malmö. This was total news to me, as there was little to no advertising for this show here in the city, on the SWHC Forum (until i posted the flyer) or on the net (as one of the guys from Eisberg was saying). There was a small amount of advertising on a couple of groups for some the other shows in Sweden, but not for Malmö. It was at a venue even one of the local bands had never heard of… a really cool little community center type place with little to no stage, in a total residential area, with a library attached to it and within spitting distance of the prison (which actually isn’t an ugly building). It took me back to some of the 2003/04 shows I attended in Canterbury. UK. It ended up being a really cool show with all the bands being good. Iron from Malmö were great, as well as Eisberg from Luxembourg/England. Anyway, I thought as the show was coming up I would save the interview until after they had played, as it was my first time to see them as well. The guys were great, pretty tired, but got to talk Hardcore with them for a couple of hours which is, believe it or not, a rarity for me. All in all a great evening, I just hope they have more shows there.
DR: Hi Adam how’s things? Where are you guys currently at?
AR: Hey man. Right now were in Boston for the afternoon. On our way to Maine for a show with DNA and then back to Boston for a show with Into Another and Supertouch. Very excited about the gigs. But I’m also very tired.
DR: Let us in on a bit of ST history,who started the band and where etc?
AR: Well Hoodrack always wanted to do a straight edge band. Hoodrack and I decided to start it together. We then got Justin to play guitar and he came with some songs and then the demo was done. Ned played bass on the demo, but he couldn’t always play with us live and be also wanted to play second guitar. So we got Ryan to play bass on our first tour and he was a good fit so he stayed along. And now. Here we are.
DR: You released No More Second Chances in Dec 2013, how was that received by the fans? I think it’s a great record- lots of substance
AR: Thanks man. Well it’s just the first two 7″s put together so it’s nothing really different. People like having it all on one record though. So it’s cool. I’m excited about our new lp. Hopefully it gets finished soon.
DR: I’d say you have a real Traditional Straight Edge Hardcore sound with that modern twist, who would you liken yourselves to?
AR: When we were writing the demo the plan was to be the 1988 straight edge band from NYC that never existed. So I think it worked alright.
DR: You just played a few shows in Europe, how was that? And who were you playing with?
Also how do you like the food here?! Haha…
AR: Yeah. The shows were awesome. We loved it. We played the shows with cold world. We’ve all toured Europe several times before with our other bands before so we were fine food wise. I always enjoy it.
DR: What are some of your main Lyrical focuses?
AR: There’s definitely straight edge songs. But I would say we write about things in the hardcore scene that we think are fucked up and just not really right.
DR: Is the writing a group effort?
AR: Hoodrack wrote the major majority of the lyrics. Justin writes a big chunk of the music and I write whatever is left.
DR: What are some of the labels you are affiliated with and that have released stuff for you?
AR: We have released a comp song on Six Feet Under Records. Our first 7″ was put out by Ned on Back to Back Records. And we exclusively put out everything in America through Triple B Records and in Europe through Control Records.
DR: What are some of the other bands you guys are in?
AR: I am in Blacklisted, Life of Reilly, Gypsy, and Consolation Prize. Hoodrack is in War Hungry and Disengage. Justin is in Consolation Prize and Disengage. Ryan is in Dead End Path. And Ned is in Title Fight, Disengage, Big Contest, Noise Pet, and 3D.
DR: The Straight Edge is a heavy influence in ST so who are some of your favourite Straight Edge bands past and present?
AR: Bold, Unit Pride, Confront, Chain of Strength, Youth of Today, and Integrity when they were a straight edge band.
DR: What are some of the other interests that run through the band?
AR: We like malls, pretzels, and talkin shit.
DR: Where do you think the biggest Scene is in HC at the moment, East or West Coast USA? There seems to be lots of new bands from both at the moment.
AR: East coast scene is probably smaller than usual right now. It’s on it’s way back up with. West coast is probably bigger right now. Shows are good out there.
DR: What’s Planned for ST in 2014?
AR: We’re doing a week in Sweden at the end of May. Playing some east coast shows soon and then playing out on the west coast for the next Destroy LA Fest. Also our new LP should be out soon. That’s about it.
DR: Great Talking with you, anything else you might want to add?
AR: Thanks for the interview. Eat pretzels and listen to the worst rap that you can find.
Black and White photos were sent to me by Adam the others are Iphone 5 pics by me from Fridays show.
Ive been a fan of Soul Search for around a year. Really like their sound.
Heres an interview i did with Dorian (Drums)By
DR: First off, Introduce yourself.
DZ: My name is Dorian, and I play drums in SS.
DR: Who is in and does what in SS.
DZ: Omar sings, Aaron & Nick play guitar, Alfredo plays bass and I (Dorian) play drums.
DR: What made you start up? Were you all doing bands before SS?
DZ: Soul Search started in 2010. Pretty much me, Omar and our then guitarist, Ronnie, wanted to start a hardcore band, heavily influenced by NYHC, something that no one was doing on the West Coast. After a few practices, we wrote the demo.
DR: You have just signed to Rev, right? That must be awesome.
Tell us a bit about the new record.
DZ: It’s crazy man, never thought I’d be on a label with some of my favorite bands. Some of the early Revelation roster is responsible for getting me into Hardcore, and now I get to be part of that label, pretty fuckin sick. Well the record is pretty much done. Me, Aaron & Alfredo were in the studio 3 days last week tracking it. We finished all the music. So now, only thing that’s left is for Omar to do vocals. Hopefully he does that soon. Our first release on Revelation Records will be a reissue of “Nothing But A Nightmare” remixed and remastered with brand new layout and artwork.
DR: Who was putting your stuff out before that?
DZ: Thick Skin put out our demo 7 inch. Triple B Records put out “Bury The Blame”. We did a compilation 7″ on Flatspot Records. We were on the Americas Hardcore Vol. 2 on Triple B Records. Our “Nothing But A Nightmare” 7inch came out on Back To Back & Closed Casket Activities is putting out the Soul Search/Minus split 7″ that should be out very soon.
DR: what are some of the bands that influence your sound? Past and present?
DZ: We are influenced by DMIZE, Merauder & Confusion.
DR: Did you guys play UB this year?
What other fests have you played?
DZ: Didn’t play UB this year, but we did play it last year. We’ve played Sound & Fury, Rainfest, This Is Hardcore, Destroy LA Fest & United Blood.
DR: Do you think you will get over to Europe this summer?
DZ: Hopefully. We are actually trying to come out this year so hopefully it happens and we can actually go through with it. Only thing I’m worried is about promoters not taking us seriously this time around, lol, but I don’t blame them. Every time we’ve canceled Europe, it’s been for a reason beyond our control.
DR: What kinda places do you like to play?
DZ: We’ll play anywhere.
DR: Who are some of the other HC bands local to you?
DZ: Fury, Forced Order, Disapproval, Whats Good, New Brigade, Enough Said, Stoic Violence, Slammers, Violent Situation, God’s Hate.
DR: Who do you like playing with the most?
DZ: It’s cool when we play shows with our friends.
DR: What other stuff do you have going on other than SS?
DZ: I play drums in Forced Order. Alfredo plays bass in Forced Order and guitar Fury. Nick plays guitar in New Brigade. Alfredo & I also play in Whats Good
DR: Thanks Bro anything else you want to say?
DZ: We got a new LP coming later this year on Revelation Records. Expect us to hit the road pretty hard soon after that