Ecostrike Interview With Lennon (Vocals)
from earlier in the month.
All Pictures by Jeff Lasich
Amongst the most prolific bands of our times, SELF DEFENSE FAMILY is also the weirdest one. I don’t know how many names they went through, nor why they change that much. Made as a collective of many members, they’ve released tons of records and toured a bunch worldwide. Honestly, they’re quite a mystery. And as much as I’d love to pierce through it, the work that it implies affraid me a bit. But one day, I’ll do it.
Anyway, the first time I saw them, it was at Fluff 3 years ago more or less. A great show indeed and I’m still impressed by their singer, who’s stage presence was crazy. Kaila was also playing bass in the band and I remember them covering a bunch of old school hardcore tunes on the free stage tent, where they played a unexpected show.
Last year, she played at Fluff again, but with GOODTIMES BOYS and was doing the merch for MEAN SEASON. It’s the first time that we spoke, and where this interview started kind of. Most of this was done through e-mail though, because at that time I wasn’t taking my voice recorder everywhere. She was on tour with Self Defense Family in the United State when she answered those questions. Continue reading
We’re only two months into 2015 but it’s shaping up to another beezer year for UKHC with big records from Repentance, True Vision and the Day Of Rights demos already and now Digress throwing the 7th Day into the mix. For those not on the skinhead tip, 90’s hardcore appears to be the dish of choice amongst the London straight edge. And whilst I often view these expeditions into 90‘s authenticity with one eyebrow raised, I can’t fault their enthusiasm and attention to detail one bit. Whilst brother bands Guidance, Repentance and Renounced may have drawn clear influence from the New Age, Good Life and Eulogy back catalogues respectively…Digress have chosen to rummage through the bag of tricks belonging to Floridia’s Strongarm .
I don’t front so I should preface this by stating that I tried listening to Strongarm’s Advent album when it came out. As was common at the time, pen friends would often tape new releases for one another because we were all simply to broke to keep up with everything. Foster (who would later inspire fear with Slavearc) had dubbed a copy of Strongarm for me with Cultures Born Of You on the other side. I didn’t think much to Culture, (and beyond Memento Mori I still don’t), and once I discovered that Strongarm were full on God heads I binned the tape off (despite quite liking it). Convictions maaaan. Anyhow beyond a passing musical similarity, Digress has very little to do with my reactionary and scornful teenage protestations….
Opening track Ascetic Ideal leads in with one of those melancholy acoustic intro’s that was popular amongst bands like Morning Again before cascading into a barrage of riffs and throaty desperate vocals. Musically there’s a lot more experimentation evident here than with the members other projects. Some complex riffs and textures coupled with smart understanding of dynamics create a heaviness that is less reliant on palm muting chug and more on tension and dischord. Reminiscent of early Shai Hulud perhaps? Vocalist Pat Hassan even drops in some of those super sincere spoken word passages. Hard to do them without involuntarily adopting an American accent!
Rock Of Sisyphus has a bit more mosh to it with shades of One King Down creeping in here and there with some really nice use of melody in the final third. Last song Avernment weighs in with that hefty mid pace crunch that would have had the Jannesport backpack brigade swinging at the knees and grabbing their curved brims to show how much they were FEELING it, the beat picks up and switches dynamics mid song for a furious thirty seconds but then it’s back to head nodding territory before closing out with a haunting solo. Lyrically Digress are far more introspective beast than their peers, looking inward at the inherent structural damage in the blueprint of humanity rather than lashing outwards. The lyrics are smart and I am reminded of the philosophical approach taken by the ancient vegan straight edge band Sevin on their Heavens Deception 7’. Within a genre that has a tedious propensity for macho bravado, Digress’s whole schtick exudes intelligence, frustration and a resigned melancholy that comes as a real breath of fresh air. Have a listen to the demo HERE