We decided to see what all the hullabaloo with podcasts was about so we launched our own! Welcome to the very first episode of The Cellar Door Sessions. In our premiere episode, we talk about the first shows we ever saw and what bands you need to go see soon! Hesitation Wounds, The White Noise, My Enemies & I, and Follow My Lead are just some of the bands that we discuss with this one. So listen to us rant and hit us back with your opinions and your show experiences!
Nothing is better,
Than finding creative ways,
To write new reviews.
So at HXC,
We have decided to do,
Reviews in haiku.
While former vocalist Danny Worsnop gets his shit together running around the streets of LA looking more or less like a lost and deranged homeless man, as online sources and IG accounts have claimed, his former bandmates in Asking Alexandria push forward with their newest vocalist Denis Stoff. Today, via Sumerian Records‘ YouTube account, the five piece dropped their latest video for “The Black” off of their upcoming record of the same name.
Jarrod Alonge‘s parody album Beating A Dead Horse came out earlier this year and now he’s picked up the stick again for the new Deluxe Ultra-Limited Exclusive Undead Edition. Alonge has added six new tracks to his hilarious yet surprisingly well-crafted collection of commentary on this music scene, including the pop punk “First World Tragedy” by Sunrise Skater Kids. Check out the music video for it below and grab the rest of the new tracks while you’re at it! Just try not to drop your iPhone.
“Pray for Progress” by Vermicide Violence
“Brevé Canzoné” by Canadian Softball
“Waifu (feat. Drewsif Stalin)” by Rectangles
“First World Tragedy” by Sunrise Skater Kids
“2 Warped 4 da Remix” by $wagCh0de
“Suck My 401k (feat. Chris Linck)” by Amidst The Grave’s Demons
A big part of being “in and of the scene” is being invested in local music. In this interview with Zoúme, the budding New York City band take HXC Magazine on a tour of their favorite spots. From big name venues like Irving Plaza and Webster Hall to world famous punk landmark Trash & Vaudeville, we shed some light on who three of the five Zoúme members actually are. Find out which of these guys showed up to a concert in a full suit, which one wouldn’t mind being on tour with the Jonas Brothers, and which one only started eating bagels last week. (P.S. – Along the way we also run into members of other NYC bands like Sylar and Perspectives! So make sure you watch the full video.)
A very wise man once said, “I spent my high school career spit on and shoved to agree/so I could watch all my heroes sell a car on T.V.”
For almost 10 years these words sung by Gerard Way in My Chemical Romance‘s 2006 track “Disenchanted” have rung in my ears. At first I thought I was so attracted to these lyrics because they were the words of my hero telling me how life gets disappointing as you grow up. It’s emo, and a fact we hear constantly as we get older, but I took it to be more of a thematic message, rather than a literal one. Who knew that by 2013 I’d watch my hero allow my favorite band to break up in order to actually sell his own botched image of David Bowie-meets-David Byrne not only on T.V., but on billboards and bus stop benches like some forgettable basketball player on a box of Wheaties. To me, Gerard Way, like so many artists before and after him, had sold out. And now, in a post-My Chem world, I am forced to sit back and watch the rest of my musical heroes follow suit.
When it comes to selling out one must ask two things: First, what exactly is selling out? And second, who actually does sell out?
Selling out is a common idiomatic pejorative expression for the compromising of a person’s integrity, morality, authenticity, or principles in exchange for personal gain, such as money. —Wikipedia
Selling Out: To compromise one’s values and/or aristic [sic] vision in order to gain fame and/or monetary profit. Commonplace in today’s musical society. It is rare to find a successful musical artist who has not “sold out”, however, this is not to say that they do not exist. —-Urban Dictionary
Sell Out: To betray one’s cause or associates especially for personal gain—Merriam-Webster
As many of you may have heard, it was recently announced that the deathcore-turned-alternative-rock band, Bring Me The Horizon has left the independent punk label Epitaph and signed to Columbia Records, a major corporation of a music label. By the definitions above–having altered their sound to reach a wider audience and appeal more to the levels of rock being released today while leaving their small time, more avant garde sound in order to do so– BMTH have seemingly sold out.
With the release of their upcoming record’s first single “Happy Song,” fans can see that the transition from deathcore found on staples such as Suicide Season and There Is A Hell… is no longer rooted in the same artful direction as their clean vocal heavy Sempiternal. It is now almost exclusively pop rock with an accented aggression on several musical notes. Gone are the days of frontman Oli Sykes screaming “Crucify me!” and in place are those of him melodically encouraging us to “sing a happy song,” because sometimes rainbows and butterflies make your day much better than well thought out religious imagery used ironically in songwriting.
Okay, so maybe I’m a little biased. However, the proof is in the pudding. With the release of (what is technically considered) the first purchasable single off of the upcoming record, old school fans were even more blasted by the change of BMTH’s direction with”Throne.” Though it upholds strong connotations image-wise to their deathcore days, it is almost a direct rip off of mid-2000s Linkin Park. With accented screams, electronica highlights, and catchy, melodic vocals, metalcore fans were left in the dark and feeling almost betrayed by BMTH.
Sure, many bands “evolve” or “mature” and change up their sound, but it seems as if the introduction of keyboardist Jordan Fish is what really did BMTH in. Though his efforts greatly helped bring BMTH out of their shell on 2013’s Sempiternal, his continued presence in the press when concerning this record is rather alarming. Rolling Stone labels him as the “keyboardist and primary songwriter” in their latest and only article ever concerned with BMTH, ineptly (yet maybe appropriately) titled “Ditching Metalcore.” As Fish upholds himself as the voice of BMTH after his work with the band for only one released full-length, it becomes worrisome. Oli Sykes has not been present for the majority of interviews since the release of “Happy Song.” So, is Jordan Fish taking over the band and corrupting it into a commercialized redundancy of old school alternative rock or is this actually Sykes agreeing to sell out and abandon all that he stood for previously?
But it’s not necessarily fair to blame Bring Me The Horizon for selling out. We cannot blame a band for going against all that they were when we, the public and music consumers, are the ones who potentially could have forced them into the environment that led them down this path. With a decline in record sales and the need for radio-publicity to spark interest in artists, major labels can expand the horizons (no pun intended) for a band confined to the minute exposure and monetary limitations of an independent label. This generation’s need to consume music for as cheap (or sometimes as free of cost) as possible is what is deteriorating musicians’ abilities to live through their work on smaller labels. But is it worth an artist’s musical integrity? Let’s look at some examples.
Exhibit A: Fall Out Boy.
For many, Fall Out Boy is the poster child of modern day “punk” or “alternative” selling out. But when exactly did they get flack? Somewhere in between the release of their chart topping full-length From Under The Cork Tree and the release of “Take Over, The Break’s Over,” a fun single off of their follow up Infinity On High where they call out all of their haters. People were angry at the guys in FOB for at the time signing to a label like Island Records (a sub-label of Universal Music Group). Though in retrospect, it is safe to say that while fans may have been disappointed with their signing to a major label and slight departure from their original underground sound, they still remained in the vein of the sonic aesthetic presented on the lesser known Take This To Your Grave. Even while boosting their careers on major labels, it wasn’t until their latest record American Beauty/American Psycho came out that they truly departed from all forms of rock or punk in favor of commercial pop. As of right now, it took them their entire musical career (and a four year hiatus) to actually sell out artistically.
Exhibit B: Breathe Carolina
Not really punk or hardcore, but still relevant. Breathe Carolina left their minor label in order to sign to *DING DING DING* Columbia Records, just like Bring Me did. Now, how did that work out? After one album, Hell Is What You Make It, the electro-duo had a top radio hit with “Blackout” and a self-proclaimed total loss of creative freedom. Eventually they would depart early from the label to return to a minor league with Fearless Records and even lose founding member Kyle Even. The sole remaining member, David Schmitt, luckily just decided to grab a backing band and continue on his own with the release of the highly successful record, in both the alternative and EDM scenes, Savages.
So what is it about Columbia Records that was so daunting? Why haven’t bands like PVRIS or A Day To Remember chosen to find major labels when their sounds are actually marketable to the mainstream? PVRIS purposely chose to sign to the metalcore label Rise Records, even though they are a pop-synth trio. A Day To Remember opted to self-release their latest record Common Courtesy rather than be tied to or bought out by any label, even though half of their careers they have gotten flack for “selling out” despite remaining decently in the underground. Why can All Time Low‘s hit singles and chart-topping records go platinum while they perpetually remain on Hopeless Records? There is an element to selling out rooted in the very base definitions above, but there is also a more personal element of selling out that rests on whether you compromise the artistic integrity of your music in order to gain a profit. Whether Bring Me The Horizon will entirely sell out is still yet to be determined, though unfortunately it seems that with “Throne” and “Happy Song” the band that I loved for being so harsh and out of the box will now be known to the general public alongside old Muse tracks and new Arctic Monkeys on top rock radio. But only time will tell.
You never really know what to expect when you walk into an interview. Whatever your expectations may be, however, I doubt you would expect to walk in on your interviewee casually reading a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel that would seriously hurt if someone decided to use it as a weapon. Meet Mike Hranica, vocalist of the well-known metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada, and avid consumer of Russian literature.
But intimidating books are not all he talks about. In this interview with Hranica at the Holmdel, NJ date of Mayhem Fest 2015, we discuss the band’s upcoming Space EP and why the Zombie EP remains so important, starting out in skate parks, and, if you’ve ever wondered what TDWP would look like as comic book characters, you may not be wondering for long…
Bring Me The Horizon‘s first new single since one-off “Drown” confused fans well enough. Coming from what used to be a deathcore band, “The Happy Song” began to spell alt rock doom for many. But everyone’s allowed a grace period. Maybe they just wanted to shock us.
And then Rolling Stone debuted BMTH’s music video for their following single, “Throne,” with the headline “Ditching Metalcore for Poppy, Positive New LP.” Obviously, a lot is wrong with that sentence. But the headline did get one thing right, at least, in the eyes of a lot of upset fans–the word “ditch.”
The UK band’s last monumental record, Sempiternal, was already a decisive change in genre for those who were used to the raw belligerence of records like 2008’s Suicide Season and 2010’s There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret. But Sempiternal still kept the music in the realm of metalcore, if not deathcore. New single “Throne” takes the softer vocals and electronic sounds of Sempiternal even further, causing a lot of old followers to shake their heads and walk away.
But what do you think? Is the split detrimental or just evolutionary? Could it be at all positive, or is it just downhill from here? Watch “Throne” below and judge for yourself.
A few weeks ago we gave you a list of 10 Things You Do Pre-Show, from freaking out over buying your ticket to rocketing through the ceiling like Family Guy’s Peter Griffin when you’ve had one too many energy drinks. But just as important as your pre-show rituals are your post-show ones. That’s what this list is for. Let us see if we can pinpoint exactly what goes down after you and your friends leave the venue.
1. Immediately begin repeating the phrase “That was fucking awesome.”
2. Head to the merch table and buy all the things.
3. Whether it’s those 99cent Iced Teas or some Gatorade, you get your hydration on like you’ve spent a week in the Sahara.
4. Make your way to the same IHOP, McDonalds or Denny’s you’ve been going to post-show for the last five years.
5. Run into people from the show you just came from at said IHOP, McDonalds or Denny’s.
6. Instagram, Instagram, Instagram.
7. Compare notes about the bands you saw.
8. Start obsessively researching that one opening band that was surprisingly awesome.
9. Fall in love with this new band and vow to see them next time they tour. You’re gonna be the reason they make it big.
10. Collapse. You’ve earned it.
When you think “Do It Yourself,” you are probably thinking about self-promotion, self-production, and self-release. However, sometimes doing things yourself also can mean making it yourself, as was the case with The Ongoing Concept‘s second full-length release, Handmade. In one of the most unexpected and delightfully surprising moves in the contemporary scene, The Ongoing Concept broke ground when they announced they had physically handmade all of the instruments they used to record their latest record.
From cutting down trees, finding the perfect angles to shape a drum head, and writing a solid follow up to their debut, we caught up with vocalist and guitarist Dawson Scholz to get the inside scoop on all the handcrafted work that went into bringing about Handmade.
What was the mindset going into writing and recording Handmade?
We are always changing so I feel our mindset is never consistent, but I know we went into it wanting it to be something other than a Saloon 2.0. We wanted something raw, something from the ground up, and overall, we wanted something that was a concept without it being a typical “concept album” that involves some sort of lyrical or story type theme.
How did you plan to follow up after Saloon was so well received?
We didn’t really know to be honest. Saloon was years in the making. It felt like our life’s work and to follow up with any debut album is tough. We spent months and months writing. We weren’t going to submit an “OK” album so we were prepared to take longer than expected to get the record done. If we weren’t happy with the product, we weren’t going to release it.
What have been some other major musical influences you guys have had?
It might sound really cliché or even stupid to say this but for the past two records, my major musical influences hasn’t been music at all. I found that what influences me is not the music itself, but the drive, branding, or just the overall influence the artist who releases that music has on the culture or scene at that particular time. I have always wondered how certain songs become songs or even records we listen to for years and years after they are released and how others become a fad for a particular month or year. There is a way certain bands have captivated people with their records. They have made them works of art, something beautiful, something you think back on later and still go, “Wow, this album is still great.” I look at bands like Underoath, Bring Me The Horizon, or even Brand New. I don’t really even listen to these bands, but they have become huge influences of mine because they have left a huge imprint of what music is today.
So for this album you guys actually handmade the instruments you used to record with. What inspired this action?
We have always been a “do it yourself” type band. We are drawn to doing things we never thought we could do. We have always been into concepts (as our name kind of states). [Laughs] I love concept albums and how they bring about a story or an idea into something whole. I wanted to do a concept album, but I didn’t want to do an album that was a story or some lyrical concept that unfolded throughout ten songs. I wanted something beyond the actual music itself. I was looking up building a guitar one day and the whole handmade concept hit me. It seemed impossible at the time to pull something like that off and I think that in itself is what inspired me.
Do you guys have a background in wood shop or did you learn how to do all of this for the project?
We have built our own guitar cabs and stuff but no, no wood shop background class at all. Kyle [Scholz, vocals and keys] does a lot of construction so I guess that helped a lot. Most of it was trial and error though. It was a bit nerve-racking to be honest.
What was the most difficult thing you guys had to make?
Certain parts of the building process were a one chance don’t mess this up type deal, most notably the part where we routed the edge of the drum shells. Kyle had to do a ton of math and very articulate cuts to get that very fine slopped edge the drum head sits on to create the resonance of the drum shell. Messing that up would’ve meant the drum shell was basically not useable anymore. Kyle is kind of a genius so a lot of that went over my head and I have no idea how he accomplished it.
How many trees were cut down in the process of making this album?
Just one. It was a fairly large tree. We actually have a lot left over which we may use to make some cool little pre-order incentives!
What led you to want to do a video documentation of hand making these instruments?
In this day, people want proof of everything. Saying we built it all from hand is not good enough. We just wanted to actually show that all this happened. Also, there is a lot more that goes into making an instrument that can’t really be explained without some sort of visual. We wanted to show everything, even our mistakes.
You guys have such a fun album cover. What inspired the image you guys chose to use for the album?
Thank you! We tried out a few different album covers but ended up with that one. We were kind of wanting to go back to the classic rock type records. We feel bands have strayed away from album covers that incorporate the band itself. So many classic rock albums are iconic for that. I thought it would be a good way to promote the whole handmade concept.
What would you say are some of your favorite tracks on the album and why?
I think my favorite songs would be “Unwanted,” “Amends,” “Soul,” and even “Melody.” I feel those songs are our most poppy and mature songs so far.
Can we expect the return of a banjo on any of these upcoming tracks?
Ha! No, you won’t unfortunately. The banjo fit “Cover Girl” but there weren’t any songs on this new album that fit having a banjo again. Maybe you will see it again but we won’t put it in another song unless we feel it actually fits.
Do you guys have any music videos currently planned in support of Handmade?
We have two in the works right now. Be on the lookout for them!
This is your second record with Solid State Records after previously releasing two independent EPs. How has the transition been from self-releasing your work to having a label been the last few years?
Having a label behind you makes it much more of a business than a hobby. A lot more money is involved. Releasing those two EPs felt much more like a fun hobby than an actual job.
You guys have an upcoming tour with Dayseeker that was just announced. How are you guys preparing for those shows?
Kyle is actually getting married here in the next couple weeks so it’s been a bit hard to prepare. I think you can easily expect to see us play a few songs from the new album though!
What sets a show with The Ongoing Concept apart?
I feel we bring a really fun and memorable show. I don’t want our band to be that cool movie you saw in theaters but wasn’t quite good enough to pay the $10 to see it again. I feel each member brings something different and we try to keep the audience guessing.
Describe The Ongoing Concept in one word.