Knocked Loose is a rare breed of hardcore in that they hold an extraordinary level of popularity that most hardcore bands just don’t reach, especially not at their young age (early 20’s). To most of us who don’t have ties to the Midwest beatdown/hardcore/metalcore scene, it seemed like they took over the world overnight with their debut full length album and their label debut “Laugh Tracks” on Pure Noise Records in 2016. While their “Pop Culture” EP put them on the map outside of their scene as one of the Midwest’s heaviest beatdown bands, the more metalcore tinged “Laugh Tracks” ascended them to a new level of popularity and through hard work and much touring, they only grew from there! While Oldham County, Kentucky isn’t known for its heavy music scene, Knocked Loose at least grew up within the greater metropolitan area of Louisville, KY, which does have a somewhat known hardcore scene, its biggest names including: Coliseum, Breather Resist, Young Widows, and Endpoint. While many naysayers would have you believe that the band are a collection of posers since they attract many people who are inexperienced with the hardcore scene, Knocked Loose themselves are really just a bunch of hardcore kids who realize their unique position, are passionate about music, and carry themselves with a mixture of pride and humility. They also often use their position to pay it forward to other up and coming bands whether through taking them on tour or through guest vocal segments on their records. In particular, we’re about to discuss one involving local Long Island heavy hitters, Silenus. With no signs of slowing down, they dropped their sophomore full length album “A Different Shade Of Blue”, an album that saw them expand their sound to include more metal influences while simultaneously taking a slightly more traditional approach to writing hardcore songs. They are supporting this album with a huge world tour. It was on the U.S. leg of this tour, at legendary venue Webster Hall in New York City that I got a chance to sit down for 15 minutes with guitarist Isaac Hale and discuss Knocked Loose’s new album ("A Different Shade Of Blue") their rise in popularity and other various misadventures along the way. The rest of the current Knocked Loose lineup includes: Bryan Garris, lead vocals, Cole Crutchfield, guitar, Kevin Otten, bass, and Kevin Kaine, drums. Interview conducted by Riley Hogan on November 3rd, 2019.
Photos by: Cameron Nunez, Danielle Dombrowski and Anne Spina. Graphics by: Bas Spierings.
Riley: Before I start, given my focus on Long Island hardcore, I know everyone wants me to bring this up: the Silenus demo!
Riley: I feel like they don’t play it much anymore cause they wrote it when they were like 15.
Isaac: Yeah, yeah, they’ve gone on to bigger and better things!
Riley: I still think the song is awesome!
Isaac: Yeah, those kids are super cool, they’ve been coming to Knocked Loose shows for a long time, Ya know? They literally rode out to like every show! They would come out to so many shows and over the course of years I would go on to meet them, hang out with them and they asked me to be on the song and obviously, I was gonna say yes cause they’d been around so much! But yeah, it was awesome! They put out a full length, I think last year?
Riley: Yeah! They did!
Isaac: That’s awesome!
Riley: Yeah, that was one of my favorite records of the year!
Isaac: For sure, for sure!
Riley: It was a little different, with all the ambient passages and stuff!
Isaac: Yeah, exactly! They’ve always been doing that dark shit, it’s cool!
Riley: That’s one thing I definitely like about you guys! When you go out on tour, I feel like you guys pick bands that you actually want to play with.
Isaac: Yeah, for sure!
ISAAC HALE, GUITARIST OF KNOCKED LOOSE. PHOTO BY: DANIELLE DOMBROWSKI
Riley: And sometimes there's a lot of up and coming bands doing lots of cool stuff. I think that’s really cool and I really appreciate that
Isaac: Of course, we’re always doing support tours all the time, playing with different bands and that’s the point: to get the style of music out, play with different people and have some new experiences and get the music out to new people. But, when it comes down to playing this show and our headliners, we’re always tryna put on bands that we like, bands that we want to see, helping bands out, try to get music in front of so many new people. Cause a lot of these kids coming to shows have never been to other hardcore shows and a lot of times this is their first one. So, we’re tryna create that experience of, like, a great first hardcore show! Ya know, that’s what we do when we build our headliners. Like tonight, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Candy, Rotting Out, Stick To Your Guns, Combust opening it up, it makes sense and for kids seeing it for the first time, it’s gonna be a great first show.
Riley: Yeah, and there’s a lot of diversity on the line up too, in terms of no two bands sound the same and I think that’s a good goal for a show, cause, ya know, I don’t wanna hear five bands that sound exactly the same on a show.
Isaac: Yeah exactly! That’s another thing that I agree with is, uh, there’s so much diversity in this line up. All these bands sound different, you got, like, metalcore, you got, like, Cleveland shit, you got, like, Cali punk stuff, Stick To Your Guns is kind of a blend of a bunch of things, and Knocked Loose is a heavier band so uhm, yeah, the point is to make something that’s diverse and I think we did that successfully on this tour.
PHOTO BY: DANIELLE DOMBROWSKI
Riley: Yeah! Speaking of diversity, I want to ask a little bit about the record. I was fascinated by the new record cause I felt like, while I’m sure the influences haven’t changed a whole lot since the first record, it’s only been like 3 years, but I got like more of an eclectic feel from it. Like, I listen to the opening track and it’s almost like listening to All Out War and there’s death growls going on…
Isaac: As far as influences go, Knocked Loose is a band that writes as a unit, we don’t write with just one person. So it’s like, whenever it comes down to jamming and just how we write our songs, there’s a bunch of different influences coming in. I think this time around, a lot more than the past records, there was a lot more metal that came through. It’s just cause, ya know, when we’re jamming, we like playing faster, we like playing a bit more technical, and that’s just what came out naturally. We didn’t go in wanting it to be that way… it just came out naturally to us. Yeah, I love the way the record turned out! I’m glad that those influences get to show because playing it live just happens to be a lot more fun!
Riley: Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward, later tonight, to hearing a bunch of those songs live, cause I thought it was even better than “Laugh Tracks”. I thought it was great!
Isaac: Thanks, I appreciate it!
Riley: Obviously, I’m from out here (New York), I’m not from the Midwest, I didn’t exactly see what the early days were like for you guys, so for me, and I’m sure for a lot of the rest of the country, it feels like we all woke up one day and you guys just ruled the world! Like, how did we get here?
Isaac: I mean, dude, this is a question a lot of people ask us, ya know, “how did you get big?” or “how did you grow?” A lot of bands need, and this isn’t even me talking like a dad, like I know what I’m talking about, cause I’m fucking 22 years old, but like, it happened cause we toured. We just toured and we didn’t stop touring! A lot of bands don’t want to tour, which is fine, but you can’t expect your band to grow if you’re not playing in front of new people. You just can’t. It’s like, we would do a full US and then we would do another full US and then we would do another full US and then we’d go to Europe and then come back, go to Japan, Australia, ya know? Come back and do another full US! We’d do our own headliners, we’d support other bands, and when you see that, when you play your music in front of other people, they’re going to like it, they’re going to attach to it, they’re gonna want to see you again, you’re gonna get to new people, ya know? And THAT, is how to grow your band! I believe that 100%, that if you play shows and your music is good, and people pay attention to it, you’re going to get that attention, you just have to be willing to dedicate that time.
PHOTO BY: CAMERON NUNEZ
Riley: One thing that I always love hearing about is touring in other parts of the world, touring in Europe, touring in Japan; I actually just right before I came here interviewed some of my buddies in 4 In The Chamber about their reunion and they were talking about one of their other bands, Apparition, that they’re currently doing, they had some wacky stories about Chile and France, so what’s it like to get to travel so much? I feel like a lot of us in the hardcore scene, a lot of us who aren’t in bands, we don’t get to travel that much, we have to work a crappy day job.
Isaac: It’s a blessing! It’s a total blessing to be able to use touring like this to be able to experience so many different cultures, so many different places, it’s really amazing! I feel very very blessed to be able to experience all the things I’ve experienced getting to go to places like Japan, Australia, Europe, and hopefully even more in the future! It’s amazing man! So many different experiences I could talk about, but I think that I’d be doing a disservice if I was to talk about it for such a short amount of time. But what I will say is that it’s a total blessing! Everyone in Knocked Loose knows it’s a blessing to be able to go play shows all around the world and it’s something that we definitely do not take for granted ever!
Riley: That’s awesome! Anywhere in particular stand out to you?
Isaac: My favorite country in the world is Australia! Simply because it’s so beautiful to play there! The air seems clear, everywhere looks like a screensaver, it’s just a very very beautiful place! That’s probably my favorite country in the world to go to!
Riley: I’ve actually never been to Australia before!
Isaac: I mean, a lot of people haven’t so that’s not that weird.
PHOTO BY: ANNE SPINA
Riley: Yeah, I guess... So one thing I do want to ask about is my favorite track on the new record.
Isaac: Yeah for sure!
Riley: Keith Buckley! Every Time I Die! How? (In reference to Keith being featured on the track “Forget My Name” off of the new Knocked Loose album)
Isaac: That’s our homie! That’s our boy! On the track, Bryan (vocals) wanted a guy for that part, but more so, he wanted Keith on the record. We did three tours with Every Time I Die back to back.
Riley: I remember one of them stopped on Long Island with Harm’s Way!
Isaac: Yeah, we did! That was one of the tours we did with them! So we grew very very close with those guys, which is very cool, cause they’re such an influential band for all of us! But yeah, Bryan brought it up to Keith, like “Would you be interested in doing vocals on the new Knocked Loose record?” And he was SO excited about it! He was so stoked! He wanted us to be pleased so badly and it didn’t take long for us to be pleased because he’s fucking Keith Buckley! I’m glad his part turned out so amazing! I’m glad people love his part so much, because, he’s a fantastic singer, very big influence on Bryan and the rest of the band! So yeah, but really he’s just a dude I would consider our friend, singing on our song and he just so happens to be one of our favorite singers in hardcore music!
Riley: Yeah and the other feature on the record with Emma from Dying Wish was cool! Dying Wish is a really cool band!
Isaac: Dying Wish is an amazing band and Emma is an incredible vocalist!
Riley: Is this like a pattern on your records? That you bring one guy from like a big band and another guy from an up and coming band? Cause like, I feel like that’s what happened on “Laugh Tracks” too with Brendan (from Counterparts) and Dallas (Bryan’s younger brother).
Isaac: It did, and I don’t think we meant it to be that way, but it just turned out we noticed it was like that on this record, and… I don’t know, it’s cool! That’s kind of a cool thing… we were like “oh that’s cool that that happened!”
Riley: It’s a weird coincidence but it’s a really cool coincidence! That you get to work with people you admire and you also hopefully get some more traffic to bands that you feel deserve more attention than they get!
...I think that’s all I got for now! Thank you… anything else you wanna say?
Isaac: Knocked Loose has a new record, “A Different Shade of Blue”. It will be streaming everywhere, you can buy it anywhere, you can buy it at Target! Thank you so much if you check it out! I’m excited to be fucking playing up on stage, we’re gonna keep on going! But thank you so much for having me!
Riley: It’s wild that there’s a hardcore record at all at Target these days! Wouldn’t have even imagined that at all when I was 15! But, thank you for your time!
PHOTO BY: CAMERON NUNEZ
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