Hardcore Explorer is a new feature here at In Effect where we bring together bands and people from all corners of the world to show the reach that hardcore punk music has. With this first installment we went with some bands from places that aren’t traditionally known as hardcore hotspots. I have rocked all three of these bands’ music on my phone, in the car and at home and really like what each is doing. Hardcore Explorer is not here just to show that there are bands set up in far off places… these bands are here now and putting out good shit! Please give each one a listen, follow them on their social media if you like what they are doing, send them a message about their music, tell a friend, buy some merch… just get involved! Boise, ID. Linkoping, Sweden and Bombay, India have probably never been linked together through music before but now they have and the #MoshUnitDude is ready to go back out on the road to find who is next! Drop us some feedback if you want to see more articles like this one. Artwork by: Sven Gjurcek aka heARTcore over in Croatia further driving home the worldwide vibes that this article is going for. Graphics by: John Franko.
Links to all bands' social media and music can be found at the end of this article.
REJECTION PACT are from Boise, ID and formed in the fall of 2017. The lineup consists of: Charlie on drums, Nathan- guitar, Hunter- guitar, Ralph on bass and Devin on vocals. To date Rejection Pact has released a 5 song demo tape in January of 2018, and a 10 song 7” titled “Threats of The World” on Safe Inside Records in April of 2019 along with a couple of tracks on various compilations.
PACIFIST are from Bombay, India and formed in early 2018 with the current lineup of: Apurv- guitar, Ashish- guitar, Utkarsh- bass, Varun- drums and Sidharth- vocals solidifying in early 2019. Their four song “Greyscale Dreams” EP came out in June of 2019 and was followed by the singles “Against The Tide” and “Resolve” which came out in February and March of this year.
NOWHERES are from Linkoping, Sweden and got their start in 2020. Their lone release is their “The Way Back Home” demo which came out in January. They also have a track on the “Greetings From Sweden, Quarantined Hardcore Volume 1” comp. Nowheres is: Simon Petersson- guitar, Erik Vandelay- guitar, Goran Bartol- drums, Björn Carlstedt- bass and Mattias Grane- vocals.
REJECTION PACT PHOTO BY: COLE HADLEY
IE: When was your bands last show before Covid restrictions took place and shows came to a halt?
Devin Rejection Pact: The last show we played was in Boise, ID on February 27th with Ceremony and locals Chief Broom. The show was at this spot called The Shredder which is at this point is the longest running smaller all-ages venues.
Sidharth Pacifist: We played a handful of limited entry club shows in India in early March 2021, when things had reopened for a bit on this side. Shows took place in the cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Guwahati. We were supposed to play a home gig in Bombay as well, but called that one off as the number of cases here had suddenly spiked up. Things seemed like they were in control, but not for too long. There were public election rallies, massive religious gatherings, so inevitably India hit another wave of the pandemic in April and May. That one was really bad, so things have been shut ever since. We're hoping the higher vaccination rates will help us tide through these times.
Simon Nowheres: Due to starting the band in the early stages of the pandemic, we have yet to play a show. Our first show would've been in Stockholm with Cro-Mags in late August of this year, but it has been postponed till August of 2022. As for now, it looks like we'll be playing our first show in November, opening for the classic Swedish skatepunk band No Fun At All at The Crypt here in Linköping.
IE: What kind of effect did the last year’s global events have on your band?
Devin Rejection Pact: It definitely threw a wrench in the works. We were slated to play Wild Rose Hardcore Festival in Calgary and Prom Core in Tusla, OK that spring along with some cool regional shows. We had planned on touring the East Coast over the summer as well. We were in the middle of writing an LP prior to the pandemic and were set on recording it during the summer so with our plans squashed, we used our down time to write remotely and and piece things together. We tried to collaborate as safely as we could and we put together the remainder of the album and we recorded demos over late summer/early fall. It wasn’t our normal writing process for some of the songs, but we didn’t want to not take advantage of having down time. We merely pivoted to the circumstances. Once we demo-tracked the record and were happy with it, we scheduled time to start recording it. Right around that time one of us got sick and had to postpone recording. On top of it, Covid cases in Boise were skyrocketing and were the worst they’d been for our city, so we decided to just put recording on hold until we were vaccinated and it was safer to do. Speaking for me personally, the pandemic and the general social/political climate occurring during the pandemic put me in a very frustrated headspace so when it came to writing lyrics for the new LP, writers block definitely wasn’t an issue as I had a lot of things I wanted to either get off my chest or discuss/bring attention to.
Sidharth Pacifist: We were actively playing A LOT of shows locally in 2019 to early 2020… the pandemic brought a lot of that momentum to a halt. The singles we recorded stayed in the can for nearly a year before they came out. There was some personal stuff to take care of, the pandemic caused some of us that lived in rental apartments to move out of an expensive city like Bombay as well. We all meet up very occasionally now, but our desire to do more with the music is now higher than ever. I guess the pandemic took us apart physically, but brought us closer and made us believe in ourselves a lot more, especially since the singles came out and the response was excellent.
Simon Nowheres: In a way the pandemic actually kinda kickstarted the whole band. The demo and the songs from the compilation were written at home during the spring and then we got the first chance to practice in June. Lately though, it's actually been affecting us worse... we haven't been able to rehearse for a few months due to restrictions, but it looks like things might be going the right way soon...ish. In the meantime we're trying to write as many new songs as we can, planning our next recording, where, with who, and so on.
IE: For those who have never heard of your band please give us a little description to what you are all about?
Devin Rejection Pact: We’re a hardcore punk band that aims to keep things short and sweet. Our lyrics lean heavy into social and political issues. For us, the band is a platform to discuss issues bigger than hardcore and as the band has grown, so has our interest in these ideas. If the music we write and the things we talk about can help bring awareness to current issues, spark thoughts, create conversations, and challenge the status quo, then that is a win. The world’s a pretty fucked up place, with the potential for greatness, and it can be overwhelming and frustrating. We’d rather use our platform to talk about things bigger than ourselves. Hardcore and punk was a gateway for us that helped shape how we think and interact with the world both on a social and political level, and if we can be that catalyst for someone else, then that’s awesome. I see a lot of people speak up on issues in their personal lives, but not in the music they create. We want to carry over how we feel in our personal lives into the music we write.
Sidharth Pacifist: Our EP “Greyscale Dreams” has a lot to do with life in the city, especially one like Bombay. It's crazy hectic, with little to no regard for the value of human life. The EP’s songs circle around these themes mainly, but we've started writing a lot more variety of themes in our music that's both deeply personal and sociopolitical at the same time. We just want to continue expanding on that, with the aim of writing a full length next. The human condition and our life experiences shape our music and themes, pretty much.
Simon Nowheres: I'd say that our music is definitely rooted in the late 90's straight edge hardcore sound, with obvious 80’s punk/hardcore/postpunk influences thrown in. We never really intended the band to be as melodic as it turned out to be, as we didn't really have a plan set up for anything other than to do a hardcore band together. But I just love the sound we've achieved and I'm a sucker for guitar pedals, especially chorus and delay. And I'm hugely into post punk stuff, older classic bands but also more "recent" (they've been active for ages) bands such as Soft Kill, Drab Majesty and The Twilight Sad. So in a way, I get to combine my love for two musical styles and turn it into one. But yeah, that's just my own perspective of things.
IE: What are some cool things you like to do near where you live?
Devin Rejection Pact: If you’re into outdoorsy type stuff, Boise is pretty sick. You can go hiking in the foothills minutes from downtown. There’s lots of parks and swimming spots. You can float the Boise River. Outside of the city, you’re a short drive away from lots of hiking, outdoor exploring, rafting, etc. We get a lot of Northwest luxuries with high desert heat.
Sidharth Pacifist: India has a few cities where shows and bands performed on the regular before the pandemic struck. Anti-Social in Bombay and Fandom in Bangalore are some names worth noting… great venues to play shows at here! We're also huge fans when it comes to craft beer and artisanal coffee, which I understand have a huge interest and influence in Western punk culture (depending on if you're SxE or not!) Vinyl and record collectors are a rare bunch, we have a few enthusiasts who run a store in Bombay called The Revolver Club. Our guitarist Apurv is an avid vinyl collector as well! We're also huge fans of skateboarding, which is steadily on the rise in India. A lot of grassroots DIY work is being done in not just cities but even rural India. There's local groups for each city and organizations like Holystoked who help lesser privileged ones get a chance at pursuing skateboarding as a sport and art. The connection between punk and skateboarding isn't that prevalent though in India, but we want to do something that can get the two communities together someday.
Mattias Nowheres: Two of our members are straight edge and the rest of us are not. Me personally, I love to explore and taste my way through different beer styles, especially Belgian lambics. And we actually have some good pubs with nice selections in Linköping for that, like De Klomp, Backen and Malt och Humle. I’d also love to have me some hot and ridiculously good coffee at Simons Rosteri. And then just across the street from there I’d go to check out some neat t-shirt styles or cool sneakers at Sportif Unlimited - a store that pretty much has been an institution for street culture and urban fashion in Linköping for decades. Last but not least, I might just take a stroll along Stångån – the river that runs right through town.
CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE "RESOLVE" MUSIC VIDEO BY PACIFIST
IE: Next question is basically the same as the last but with a little twist… What are some of the most "punk rock" things to do in your area?
Devin Rejection Pact: As far as venues go, we basically have The Shredder, some small bars that have shows and the occasional house show pops up here and there. There are also a few bigger 1000+ capacity rooms. Rhodes is one of the sickest skate parks anywhere and you can grab a slice of vegan pizza from Americana Pizza across the street. You can swing over to Devotion Tattoo a couple miles down the way and get some good work from great people.The Record Exchange is pretty much the main record store here and it’s been around forever. I dunno, Boise is definitely a weird mix of conservative goofballs and liberals, and isn’t really a hot spot for your typical “punk” pastimes. If you’re into breweries that host bike bars that USED to be the punk spots, we have plenty of those.
Mattias Nowheres: Well, the punk rock scene isn’t that vibrant at the moment around here. But Linköping has a vivid history of having a vital punk and hardcore scene in Sweden. So hopefully things will turn around. Skylten is a classic punk venue. Cro-Mags, Fugazi, Civ, American Nightmare, you name it, they have all played there. Nowadays it’s more of a cultural centre (where I actually work) run by the municipality. But if anyone wants to put up an all-ages show there, you’ll pretty much just have to ask. Gaphals is a player in town who are normally putting up a wide variation of shows in the region (everything from 70’s rock revival stuff to punk rock to radio friendly singer songwriters and what not) and releasing records on many different niched labels that they run. Those guys have their roots in the punk and the DIY scene and are definitely doing a great job keeping Linköping alive. They also run a record store called Freight Train inside of a tattoo parlor called Suspiria. Platens is another classic venue for live shows that has been asleep for a long time but they seem to be opening up again right after this summer with new cool promoters. So me and Simon have actually planned to put up some punk shows there if all the stars align. And this very day we were talking to the local skateboard association about putting up a skate contest were we would flip vinyl records as DJ’s. Its obvious that a lot of people have a lot of ideas they want to put in to realization after the pandemic!
CLICK BELOW TO STREAM "THREATS OF THE WORLD" BY REJECTION PACT
IE: Other bands (any genre) that you feel influences the sound and style that your band creates?
Devin Rejection Pact: The Rivalry Records roster but in particular Go It Alone. They are probably the single biggest influence sonically on our band. Other than that, it’s just basically mid 2000’s era hardcore and 90’s punk. It’s cliche but everyone in the band on a personal level listens to a wide variety of alternative music so sometimes the influences we bring to the band are kinda all over the place. Some specific bands we’ve drawn influence or inspiration from include: Paint It Black, Strike Anywhere, American Nightmare, Bad Religion, Propagandhi, Comeback Kid , Verse, Anti-Flag.
Sidharth Pacifist: Definitely the melodic side of hardcore and post-hardcore bands that chose a path less treaded. Obvious influences would be Fugazi, Slint, Thursday, At The Drive In, Quicksand, Touche Amore and the like. Our individual tastes cover a whole lot of other music as well, ranging from the avant-garde, doom/sludge, indie, noise-rock to hip-hop and metal.
Nowheres: Chain of Strength, Depeche Mode, Negative Approach, Texas Is The Reason.
CLICK BELOW TO STREAM THE "AGAINST THE TIDE" SINGLE BY PACIFIST
IE: Name a song you would love your band to cover?
Devin Rejection Pact: We discuss covers quite often in the group chat but I’d personally love to cover
“The System” by FAR.
Sidharth Pacifist: We've done ATDI's “Sleepwalk Capsules” quite a bit in the past, loved the anthemic sing-a-long on Fugazi's “Public Witness Program” every time we played it live and the rhythmic groovy jam of Helmet's “In The Meantime”. We'll probably want to belt some new covers down the line for kicks haha!
Simon Nowheres: Haha, this answer would be so different, depending on who you ask, but here's just a few random songs that has been mentioned within the band: The Stone Roses: “I Wanna be Adored”, Bad Brains: “Big Take Over”, The Van Pelt: “His Steppe Is My Prarie”, Beastie Boys: “Sabotage”.
CLICK BELOW TO STREAM "THE WAY BACK HOME" DEMO BY NOWHERES
IE: Give us a short review of the other 2 bands that are also featured in this article.
Devin Rejection Pact: Nowheres: You like fast driving hardcore with tasteful melodic leanings and youth crew energy? If so this is right up your alley. At times reminds me of a youth crew spin on the Rev summer sound. Did you love Rivalry Records or React Records? Then you’re ready to go. Pacifist: Melodic but still abrasive hardcore with a clear post hardcore and even at times screamo influence. The strongest parts of this band are their lyrics. They’re sincere with an emphasis on resistance, personal resolve, and positivity in trying times. If you have a soft spot for political hardcore or more aggressive post hardcore, this is for you.
Sidharth Pacifist: Rejection Pact - Great band and people, we're familiar with their music and just interacted recently! Love the strongly written words that go with their songs. We'd love to head over to Boise someday and throw it down with them at a live show. Nowheres- solid hardcore punk! The Euro scene has always been a destination for us Asian bands to aspire for, and we definitely look up to the Swedish scene and their pedigree in hardcore history. Loving the fast and aggressive tunes with the melodies, classic old-school approach!
Mattias Nowheres: Rejection Pact… Awesome, there’s definitely a vibe of youth crew revival going on, but it’s also just cool ripping hardcore punk with intense breakdowns. I love the fact that none of the 10 tracks of the album break the 2-minute limit! I’m putting this in my playlist right now. Pacifist… Yeah! I know nothing about hardcore in India. Pacifist proves I need to do my homework, because this is good! There’s a lot of things going on here that I might enjoy separately, but that necessarily won’t work that well together for me when combined. Post hardcore grooves, youth crew urgency, lots of tempo changes, emo octaves, screaming solos, extensive track lengths and what not… but they seriously pull it off. Would love to see them live!
IE: What's next? What are your bands current plans/hopes for putting out new music or tour/live show plans?
Devin Rejection Pact: We’re in the middle of recording an 12” LP that will be coming out in 2022 on Safe Inside Records. We don’t have a specific release date but who really knows considering how pressing plants are right now. We’re also working on some cool stuff to accompany the rollout and release of that record. The format for this “cool stuff” has yet to be fully determined, but it’s something we’re mindful of and really want to have fun with it. We’re playing our first show back on July 9th at the Shredder in downtown Boise. It’s a pretty cool mixed bill show that’s also a record release for Grave Titan; Boise death metal/metalcore, for their new album “In Perpetuum.”. There’s also some new younger locals on the show and in my opinion, there’s not enough younger kids playing aggressive music so that has me extra stoked. We’re playing Treefort Music Fest here in September which is a big Northwest music fest akin to SXSW. We also have some other stuff we have lined up that we can’t quite announce yet. In terms of actual touring, we’d love to get back to doing something in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California, but for actual tour plans we’re kind of holding off on until the LP is out. When it drops, we want to hit the road and push that release. Ideally, we’d love to play Europe at some point, it keeps getting brought up into conversation.
Sidharth Pacifist: The future of live music in India seems uncertain till higher vaccination rates make cities and public spaces safer. We did manage to play a few shows and thought we'd been through the worst of times around early 2021 - but we couldn't have been more wrong. The only thing we want to reserve our energies and focus on is probably writing a full length right now. Everything else can follow after and in time.
Simon Nowheres: We're gonna record songs for an upcoming EP. It will be released on vinyl by the Belgian label Genet Records. Due to all the obvious reasons everything has been pushed back a bit, but hopefully we can start recording late summer/early fall. So perhaps it'll be out early next year. We all would've liked it to be sooner, but there ain't much we can do about it. Most likely we'll throw together some sort of video for a single or something. As soon as shows start happening over here again I really hope we can get something together, like a small tour or some weekend shows. Being in our early 40's with full time jobs and kids and what not it's definitely a challenge but we're all excited to see it happen.
IE: Any shout outs?
Devin Rejection Pact: Shout out to Safe Inside Records. They’re a great label to work with, they took a chance on us being a pretty small hardcore band which is cool and they’re putting out some of my favorite current hardcore releases. Chris Mollet and Youth Energy Designs. He’s handled a good portion of our design work, will continue to work with the band, and really understands what we’re going for. Axe To Grind Podcast. They’ve been super supportive of our band and played us on one of their first listening party episodes which really put a lot of people on to us. The best podcast in hardcore. Carlos and No Echo. He’s done a number of features on the band from when we only had a demo and really helped get our music in front of new people. Scoped Exposure outta Canada. They film shows, have a badass podcast, and create tons of cool playlists. We’ve been able to be part of their documented shows and podcast guests. They really put on for hardcore of all types and sizes and do a lot for the community. Edgemen Printing out of Michigan. We won a contest to get some free merch from them, and we’re so pleased with the goods that we’ve continued to work with them ever since. Get your merch printed through them. Boise Hardcore: It’s a smaller community that ebbs and flows but it’s in a much better spot than it used to be and gotta be thankful for that. Shout out to Natural Evil, Grave Titan and Ingrown. Change. One of our favorite current bands that embodies everything we love about hardcore and specifically NWHC. Beyond writing awesome music and lyrics, they really put on for the community, are consistent with their energy, and have been super supportive of us as well. Anyone who’s taken the time and stress to book us. Booking shows is a very thankless and taxing thing so thank you. Lastly, anyone who’s taken the time to engage with our music whether it’s coming to a show, picking up a record, posting about our music, telling their friends about it, adding us to a playlist of theirs, whatever it may be, thank you. Hardcore moves so much faster now and the biggest album or band can be a flash in the pan, so whenever anyone takes interest in what we’re doing, that’s really cool and we appreciate it. There’s a lot of “too cool” energy floating around and we don’t have time for that. Always be appreciative of anyone taking the time to care about what you’re doing.
Sidharth Pacifist: Absolutely! Firstly big ups to Pat Flynn for literally making 2021 awesome with his endless support and all the shout outs he's done for us. We really love and respect his passion for the music, and his kind words for our songs. Riz Farooqi of Unite Asia for helping us get the word out on the releases, and helping our music really travel around the globe. Closer back home - Rana Ghose and Anusha Menon for the “Against The Tide” video, Anirudh “The BigFatminimalist” Mehta for designing our singles and our yet to be released merch, all of our friends that played shows or came out to support us in these uncertain times. Really hopeful for 2022!
Nowheres: Skylten, Ludvig Kennberg, Alexander Vibeck, Jack Ankersen, Christopher Davis, Erik Eja Joelsson, Marcus Ericsson and Eric Arnehed (Quarantied Fanzine & Records), Svensk Hardcorekultur, Bruno and Genet Records… and everyone who's shown support for us from the start.