Regulate are a young band on the rise with members from Long Island, NYC as well as the Jersey Shore. They have been paying their dues over the last couple of years with good things coming back in return in the form of opening slots on some high profile gigs as of late. Although all their members proudly represent the straight edge you would never know it from their lyrics which lean heavily on anger and revenge. Plugging Regulate into the 1990’s NYHC scene would have been an easy fit with their heavy and catchy brand of hardcore which you can check out now via their brand spanking new EP titled “Years Of Rage”. We caught up with Regulate frontman Sebastian Paba via phone on the night of April 25th to do this interview. Regulate is made up of Sebastian-vocals, Jarred-guitar, DanMax-bass, Botti-guitar, and Harry-drums.
Lead photo by: Sarah Jessica Dunn, Graphics by: Bas Spierings.
IE: Hey, what’s up Sebastian? It is already after 11pm, so this is one of the later in the day interviews I have ever done. What were you up to earlier and what would you be doing if we weren’t bothering you?
Sebastian: I just got home from doing a bunch of schoolwork so I would probably just be eating something right now because I am broke. I don’t have money to be spending on city food like that. I usually wait to eat what my mom makes for dinner. I probably also would watch a few episodes of The Office before I went to sleep.
IE: Over the last year or so things have been breaking well for Regulate as you can probably see the band turning the corner and getting on some pretty big shows. You guys opened for Burn last December in NYC, the FYA Fest down in Florida in January, United Blood in Virginia in March and you have the opening spot on the Black ‘N Blue Bowl in NY in May. Would you say this is more of a thing where your hard work is finally paying off or is it more of a thing where you just had some good opportunities fall your way?
Sebastian: I want to say it is a little bit of both because we definitely have worked for everything we’ve been able to do but at the same time we have friends and people who have given us a chance. When we played the second FYA ever, but our first time playing FYA it was because Blind Justice couldn’t play and they told us if Regulate could get to Florida that we could play. There have been some things like that where the opportunity will just come up and we jump on it and we take advantage of it. It’s a culmination of both where we have people looking out for us and also everything that we have worked hard for finally paying off.
IE: You guys are putting out a new 7” on Edgewood Records called “Years Of Rage”. It is actually streaming online right now with the actual vinyl coming out in June. Can you tell us a little about this new EP, where you recorded it and just your feelings on the new Regulate material?
Sebastian: We couldn’t be any happier with it especially because the first thing we ever put out was a 2 song demo that we wrote, recorded and released in one day. We were just anxious to get something out which obviously wasn’t the best thing to do. The first EP we did called “Corrupt/Correct” was alright. The recordings themselves… I can’t even listen to a song without cringing. It is just not a representation of what Regulate is. I think this new record “Years Of Rage” definitely is. Before we had the new record streaming when people would ask me what Regulate sounds like I would tell them to watch a You Tube video because I didn’t want people listening to “Corrupt/Correct” thinking that is what we are. Now I can’t wait to send people a link to stream the new EP because I am finally confident with every aspect of the band. Live we are tight, we put in our time practicing but there are two parts to a hardcore band. If you are good live that is obviously important but you have to be able to do it recording wise too. We recorded it in New Hampshire I think? It was on the border with New Hampshire and Maine and it was with this guy Dean (Baltulonis- The Wild Artic, Portsmouth, NH). He has recorded a lot of things I wasn’t aware of and also a lot of records that we all like. It was great to work with him because he had a lot of good insight and a lot of good advice. We can all take criticism and whenever he would give us suggestions it was always a positive one where we felt he made the music better. It was great recording with him.
IE: It sounds like you guys were real comfortable working with him?
Sebastian: Absolutely, he liked the music himself which is really important. We wouldn’t want to record with someone who wasn’t feeling the music because they probably wouldn’t be putting all their effort into it that we are. Everything he did with the recording process was definitely a positive in every way.
REGULATE @ UNITED BLOOD FEST, RICHMOND, VA MARCH 25, 2016. PHOTO BY: KEN PENN
CLICK PHOTO TO WATCH A PORTION OF REGULATE'S UNITED BLOOD SET BY @KENCREDIBLE
IE: How long was the recording process for “Years Of Rage”?
Sebastian: We went up there in late September or early October. We went up on a Thursday and came back Sunday. We just banged it out in a weekend.
IE: “Years Of Rage” is online now available as a stream with the physical copies of the 7” not due out until June. What is the reason for the long gap between the time you put the new music up online and to when you get the records actually out into people’s hands?
Sebastian: I really wanted it to be out, streaming at least… before we played at United Blood in March. I wanted people to know the songs for when we played our set and for BNB as well. It was kind of a strategic move on our part just to get some more hype around our United Blood set. Playing that fest is a really big deal so we wanted it to be as crazy as possible and we put it out a week before that show. Now it is just a matter of the plant being held back. It’s weird because whenever a friend tells me about their record coming out it is never coming out when they wanted it to because it seems like every plant that makes the records is backed up. If it was up to us it would come out tomorrow. Hopefully we have the records in our hands in late May or early June.
IE: From listening to “Years Of Rage” and checking out the lyrics it is obvious that there is an underlying theme of anger as well as getting back at people. Is the anger coming out in the lyrics directed at individual people you have encountered in everyday life or more or a generalization of all the BS you may have going on around you?
Sebastian: The record on a whole shows my distain for the general population. “Zero Toleranxe” is about a certain group of people. Specifically people who drop out of hardcore or break edge which is fine because it is not for everybody but instead of just doing their own thing they only have bad things to say about hardcore or straight edge. That’s not how it works. I don’t understand how you could turn your back on something that you said meant so much to you at some point, but maybe it didn’t. That song is about one of my first friends I ever made in hardcore who I thought was the sickest guy and he stopped coming around which I understood because he was in college. He broke edge and had nothing good to say about hardcore after that and hardcore only did good things for him. Each song has someone in mind. There definitely is a target for each song. “Life Wish” is about the people I hate the most in this world. There are like a handful of people who are truly on a different level of my hate which is unmatched. I explain in “Life Wish” that there are people I hate and I want to kill them and I want them to die and the people who I really hate I want them to live eternally and I want every day to get worse for them. Each song is on a different level with anger and hate and all that stuff. But I’m a nice guy you know? (Laughing)
IE: Where did you grow up and how did you find out about and get into hardcore music?
Sebastian: I was born in Colombia and then my mom and I moved into an apartment with my grandparents in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I lived there until I was about 10. As far back as I can remember as far as knowing what music was I found out about it on my own. I found music kind of early, maybe around 7 or 8 years old. This was before I even knew or had a full grasp of the English language because Spanish was our first language. I remember watching Fuse or whatever it was called before that, maybe Much Music it was called. Back then whatever a music video would come on, if it was rock music I would just think it was crazy and I loved it and I guess it kind of molded me. I moved to Merrick on Long Island when I was 10 or 11 and that is when I met my stepfather. He is really into stuff like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and all that stuff and he got me into that. I love that stuff too. One day I was watching something on You Tube and one of the recommended videos was a Gorilla Biscuits video. I watched it and thought it was the craziest thing I ever saw in my life. That’s kind of how it all started. I didn’t have any other relatives to show me stuff. All of my older cousins weren’t into anything like that. So I kind of found it through my dad and also through me. In school I was the only hardcore kid that I knew of. There were a couple of kids that were older than me that are still around and they are in a band called Provider and they are from East Meadow. Before those kids, who graduated like a year before I even started high school I was pretty much the only hardcore kid in East Meadow High School.
IE: What were the early days of this band like when you got a full band together and started having practices and have things changed much as far as how you guys put together music?
Sebastian: Our first practices were in Garden City at our old guitarists basement. The way we practiced hasn’t really changed much. Our guitarist Jarred who is still in the band, he is OG… he writes all the riffs, and he will send it to us or whenever we get together to practice we’ll start playing them and then our drummer Harry will start doing his own thing. Jarred is where all the songs really start. He writes all the riffs and we kind of just pick at it and it grows off of that. Now we practice at Jam House in Lindenhurst. It’s a good practice space, I highly recommend it. It’s like 50 bucks and you can be there for as long as you want. You could pretty much live there because no one is ever there. They don’t know what’s going on so for like 50 bucks you could probably live at that place. I have been thinking about it. (Laughing).
REGULATE @ UNITED BLOOD FEST, RICHMOND, VA MARCH 25, 2016. PHOTO BY: KEN PENN
IE: Thinking back what can you tell us about the very first Regulate show? When and where was it and who else played? Were you nervous that first time out?
Sebastian: The first show we ever played was at this place called One Stop Media in 2013. It was just like an empty warehouse type of place. Cement walls, no stage. It was in Deer Park I think. It was us, Bottom Out, Downpresser, Take Offense and maybe one other band. It was a really, really good first show for us to play. I was definitely kind of nervous but it didn’t affect me while we were playing. I had been in a few bands but it barely counts because Regulate is the only band I have ever really done anything with. Our set went over really well and we covered District 9. It was definitely a little sloppy but we got through it. Now I don’t really get nervous. I don’t do anything different than if I was at a show watching a band. Before we play I kind of get the feeling I get when I am going to watch a band. Right before the BNB show I probably will be a little nervous. Physically that is the biggest stage we’ve ever played on. The magnitude of that show is kind of crazy.
IE: When you first decided to be a singer in a hardcore band what kind of stuff did you do to try to make yourself the best you could be doing it?
Sebastian: I didn’t really learn it at all. I would just yell as loud as I could. If you were to listen to our 3 releases, the demo, the first EP, and this new one I sound different on all of them. You can tell it is the same person but I definitely sound different. I feel like now it is more dynamic and there is more thought that goes into it along with my cadence and my vocal patterns. It is still just me pretty much yelling as loud as I can. What is funny though is that if there is any technique that I actually use I got from the interview you did with Dan from King Nine. He was talking about how he sings like from his gut instead of his head. I used to get crazy light headed and it would feel like my head was in a vice grip. I read that interview and I said to myself “Let me try that”. The next show we did was the last Foundation show on Long Island and I was trying to be more aware where my voice was coming from and I tried to bring everything out from my gut and it changed. I feel like I am better live now.
IE: Did you tell Dan that you got the idea for that from reading what he said in that interview?
Sebastian: Nah, I don’t want to give him too many props because I don’t want him to get a big head! (Laughing)
IE: The beginning part of “No Toleranxe” off of the new EP has a pretty sick rolling of your R’s right before the vocals kick in. How many takes did it take to nail that?
Sebastian: (Laughing) Just the one!
IE: What has Regulate done as far as touring up to this point and when do you plan to hit the road for any extended time again?
Sebastian: When we played the FYA Fest in Florida the first time we played in Richmond, VA and then we drove down to Florida, it was a pretty long drive. This past January we did a proper tour down to FYA with Jukai and Sanction from Long Island. I think it was 11 shows. We did all the shows together going down there and it was just Regulate for like 2 or 3 shows after FYA. We have something set up in June. June 1st through the 20th. We will be making our way out west with a band from New Jersey. I am also trying to work some stuff out for weekends in the summer but there are no other definite plans except for the tour we have in June.
IE: Who else is going out with you guys and where are the shows going to be?
Sebastian: Well, the first show is in Richmond and the last show is in Wilkes-Barre. We will be going out to California and this is the first time we are leaving the East Coast. It is a full US tour, it is 3 weeks long, we will be at Sound & Fury Fest, and we are going to be going out there with Blind Justice which I am very happy about. Our guitarist Mike plays in both bands. The regular drummer for Blind Justice is playing drums for a band on the Warped Tour so he isn’t doing the tour for Blind Justice. Our drummer is going to be playing for both bands. Old Wounds is the band on the Warped Tour that he will be playing with.
IE: Tell us about how Regulate has been getting around on these long drives. Do you guys have your own van or truck yet?
Sebastian: We got our own van now. Harry was in an old band that disbanded and they had a van because they were going to start touring so now we just use that van. The first time we went to Florida though we took Harry’s fucking mini-van like a Toyota Sienna and it wasn’t that bad. Anytime I see it now I think how the fuck did we drive to Florida in this… but we made it happen. Until say the beginning of last summer we took the min-van to every single show. This new tour van is a very new member of Regulate. We have air conditioning, we have heat which I am very happy about. We did blow a tire in Georgia on that tour with Jukai and got stuck in a ditch in Savannah, Georgia but other than that there have been no mechanical issues with the new van so far.
IE: When it comes to listening to music on longer trips who is usually the DJ and what kind of music can all of you agree on?
Sebastian: We all take different shifts driving and usually whoever is sitting shotgun is DJ-ing. I would say all of our music tastes are pretty much in the same realm. Sometimes though Harry could be playing like Saves The Day and The Starting Line for like 3 hours and I want to blow my brains out. Then I will be riding shotgun and be playing Dying Fetus for 3 hours and I am sure Harry wants to blow HIS brains out. Then we will put on 50 Cent and everyone is happy. There is a happy medium somewhere but I just hate when Harry has to put on Blink 182 for 5 hours.
IE: To you who is the artist that you are most embarrassed to say you like?
Sebastian: That’s a good question. I am not embarrassed about any music that I like. The first musical outfit that I was ever a fan of… for whatever reason, don’t ask me why… I don’t know what led me to that point in my young life… but I used to be a really, really big Back Street Boys fan. I may or may not have one of their albums still on my i-Pod. So I guess if I were to answer this question honestly it would be the Back Street Boys.
IE: Can you give us 3 current bands that you haven’t played with yet that you would be dying for Regulate to share a stage with?
Sebastian: Criminal Instinct, Countdown, and Faze.
IE: If we were to somehow get Regulate into a time machine and you could play with any band from any era or style of music who would you want to play with?
Sebastian: Bad Brains, Train Of Thought, and… Neglect.
IE: When you think of the future of this band where would you like to see Regulate in say a year’s time and then hopefully say 5 years from now as well? Do all of you look at Regulate as a long term musical commitment and if there is a band out there now that you could have like a parallel success with who would it be?
Sebastian: I feel like we all feel the same way about the band. We just want to keep making music. Everyone in the band is in school besides Harry. We want to keep touring whenever we can and take advantage of our free time, put out music, I don’t know. Maybe in a year to have another record out? I guess if we could be like any band and we could be a full time touring band, I would love to do that. I would love to be like Turnstile who are always on the road, playing all the big fests in Europe, doing like 3 full US tours a year… I’d love to do that but that is probably never going to happen for Regulate and I am OK with that too. Bands like King Nine and Gods Hate all have like real adult jobs and you just can’t drop that to tour all the time. King Nine plays Long Island maybe 2 or 3 times a year and people go crazy. There are positives and negatives to being a full time touring band. So a band like King Nine or a band like Turnstile, either end of the spectrum would be OK with me.
IE: That’s all we got, is there anything else you wanted to add before we ended?
Sebastian: Yeah, shout out to Long Island, shout out to the Jersey Shore, shout out to Richmond, shout out to Atlanta. Listen to Countdown and Faze, two brand new bands. Countdown is made up of people from around the Northeast, Faze is a band from Florida and they are amazing, both of them. A lot of bands try to worship New York Hardcore and they all sound like shit but Faze and Countdown are two bands that are doing it right. Being from New York and actually myself worshipping all those old NY bands I am kind of stingy on who I give props to and Faze and Countdown are definitely two of the best right now.