This is a first for our FRESH BLOOD page as stars seemed to align for this joint article that features 4 new bands from the Eastern half of the U.S. All 4 play an old-school style of hardcore punk, started in 2017 or later and all 4 have brand new releases out that came out just last month. Furthermore, when contacted about being featured here each band was extremely pro-active in getting in their info. They are all working on whatever their NEXT release is, are setting up future shows and tours and from our vantage point are just HUNGRY to get their band’s name out there. We were more than happy to help them out. Give each a chance, check out what they got to say, click on their covers to hear their music… you just may like what you find. Graphics by: John Franko (Smackdown graphic) and Bas Spierings.
FIXATION: PHILADELPHIA, PA. PHOTO BY: ERRICK EASTERDAY
FIXATION comes at us from Philadelphia, PA with a lineup of: Dan White, 25, on drums, Mikey Bifolco, 26, guitar, Matthew Green, 27, vocals, and Justin Pringle, 24 on bass. They started jamming in the summer of 2017 but didn’t get things really rolling until that November. Their first show was in January of 2018 and to date they have performed 21 shows with 3 in their hometown of Philadelphia and the remaining spread across 3 tours that has seen the band travel across most of the USA including the pre-show for the New Age Records 30th Anniversary show in Fullerton, CA. On the road they have already shared the stage with bands like Leeway, Miracle Drug, Strife, Criminal Instinct, Dying For It, Gulch, Cutting Through and Safe and Sound. Mikey, their guitarist is also currently in Drowse and Chemical Fix while Matthew also shares his time with The Dividing Line. In November of 2017 they released a 4 song demo titled “Here To Watch You Break” which was followed up in January of 2018 with a 4 song promo which then led to the “Marked” 8 song 7” EP which came out on WAR Records in August. Various members of Fixation were involved with answering the following questions:
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO FIXATION
IE: Hey guys, Fixation play an old-school style of hardcore at a time where the more metal influenced kind of stuff seems to be the cool thing or the in thing. When you guys started putting together ideas to start Fixation what was talked about as far as the direction you wanted to go in?
Fixation: We all have been playing and listening to hardcore punk for the better part of our lives. It is sort of just what comes out when we play. There is always nuances and varied goals with the different bands we start, but it all generally falls in the realm of hardcore punk.
IE: What bands would you say directly influenced the style you guys are putting out?
Fixation: When we first started jamming we wanted to do something straight forward in the vein of Tear It Up and Cut The Shit, but pretty quickly our mutual love for bands like The Rival Mob and The Boston Strangler started to show itself in the writing. The 7" has more variety. We all decided during the writing of the last record that developing musically was important, so I guess we'll see where that takes us on the next release.
IE: The band formed in 2017 and you already have put in a lot of work in a short time frame. Most notably is probably your debut EP on War Records out of California. How did that connection with Andrew from WAR (who is also the guitarist for Strife and Berhold City) come to be? When you announced you would be working with WAR did you sense the bands profile was raised even just a little from having that backing/label?
Fixation: Andrew approached me before our dates with Leeway in January. Spending some time with him when his other band Berthold City came through with Kill Your Idols and Fireburn was what solidified the decision. Working with him has definitely helped. I feel the attention that's come with WAR backing us has allowed us to do a lot that may have been more difficult otherwise.
PHOTO BY: VINCE GUDAUSKAS
IE: Do you feel that Philadelphia currently has the best hardcore scene in the US at the moment? It seems like bands are popping up out of your area left and right.
Fixation: Philly has a good scene for sure. As someone who's moved around a lot I can say that, though it fluctuates like anything other scene, Philly has some qualities that make it uniquely fun to be a part of.
IE: In our review of your EP we noted that you guys are not doing much new stylistically but are quite good regardless. What do you think it takes to stand out playing a style of music that doesn’t always accept change well?
Fixation: I think there's something in hardcore punk that doesn't appeal or apply to the general music fan. There's something unapologetic about this genre that serves well raw. Part of being a band that constantly tours and writes is you either develop or don't, and we all agreed we'd like to keep growing musically.
IE: Whats in store for Fixation for the rest of 2018 and 2019?
Fixation: We wrote a few tracks for a split, still reviewing our options as to who we'd like to be on the other side, we'll be recording soon regardless. We have some regional gigs and two tours in the next few months, as well as FYA Fest (Tampa, FL) in January. I think our next move is hitting more of the Southwest, Canada and Europe.
THE F.A. TREASURE COAST, FL
Florida’s THE F.A. are up next and have a lineup made up of: Brian Espitia (42), vocals, Joe Grover (40), guitar, Jeff Sheridan (37), bass, Lee Fetzer (48), guitar, and Dave Bender (46), drums. They got their start in May of 2017 and to date have played 12 shows. Brian is a New Jersey transplant who used to play in a NYHC band called Nothing Lost in the 90’s and 00’s while Lee was in the well-known Endpoint from Louisville in the early 90’s as well as Guilt and Enkindle. Dave spent time in Stockton, CA bands like Mindrot and Stand Clear while Joe and Jeff have put in time with Florida punk bands like Flying Sharks and Filthy By Association to name just a few. The F.A.’s first and only release is their newly self-released “How Riots Start” CD which contains 6 songs. We got Brian and Joe to give us some more info via the questions below:
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE F.A.
IE: Your “How Riots Start” EP starts off with the song “Last Man Standing” which has an old audio clip from a Vietnam veteran trashing the medals he had been awarded. Upon further review this song’s lyrics were written by your wife. Can you give us some insight to the songs meaning and why you felt she was qualified to write the lyrics to this song?
Brian: The music was actually written by Lee a few years ago. We were playing around with it, with our old band that my wife sang in, so she wound up writing the lyrics and we
maybe played it live once or twice. Later on Lee wound up adding the "Cro-Mags" style intro and we just played it heavier and faster. There was no point at all in changing the lyrics around, since
she is a professional writer and wrote the song about her dad who is a Vietnam Veteran who left Nam with a Purple Heart, only to find out later the whole platoon was wiped out a short time after. He
was injured jumping out of a plane and his chute didn't open properly. He still walks with a limp to this day and he has never spoken about his time in Vietnam. She can't pry a word out of him to
IE: Brian, you are a New Jersey transplant now living in Florida and I believe the other band members are not native to down there either. How did The F.A. come together and what kind of mutual ideas did you all agree on as far as how you wanted this band’s music to be constructed?
Brian: I guess it all started with an ad on Craigslist where I met Lee. We are cut from the same hardcore cloth, basically, and we needed to fill our veins with hardcore since I
took about 13 years off from playing music and all. After our old band broke up, we hooked up with Joey Chainsaw who we knew from The Stamp, and was looking for a band. He pulled Jeff and Dave out of
his hat and boom! We were ready to go. Florida is pretty much where everyone goes to die anyway, so almost nobody is from here… except maybe Jeff.
IE: What bands would you say directly influenced the music we hear on your EP?
Brian: A lot of our music has 7 Seconds written all over it. Definitely Cro-Mags, Dag Nasty's in there. A little Warzone, A little Agnostic Front. Vocally, I'm pretty much a blend of Hatebreed meets Wisdom In Chains kind of thing!
IE: You guys put out your EP totally DIY style without any label and are pressing them on CD. Talk about the whole process from recording to ordering the CD’s. How much money did you have to put into this whole venture and did you come away with any knowledge or advice that you can pass on to other bands thinking about doing it as well?
Joey Chainsaw: We played the hell out of our songs and did a bunch of shows before settling down to record. I’m glad we did this, because songs can evolve as you get better at playing them. We ended up having the final product ready to go without wondering too much about “how will we do this or that". As far as the recording process, we looked around at a few options and our good friend Grant Stutz had just completed an album for his band O.S.F. that he recorded and self-produced. He wanted more practice, so we went with him to help him out. Little did we know that this dude is a frigging WIZARD with recording AND his rig is mobile! He came to our warehouse with all of the needed gear and we tracked everything in our own comfortable space. I took our band photos and did all of the design for the album packaging, so we saved a ton of money going full DIY. 100 CDs for around $150 after shipping, $20 per year and Distrokid does our digital distribution. My advice is to make some friends that are good at what they do and team up to go DIY. Screw the record labels!
PHOTO BY: TOM'S FAUXTOGRAPHY
IE: What exactly is the Treasure Coast where you guys list yourselves from?
Brian: The Treasure Coast is a region of Florida that starts just north of Palm Beach County and goes north almost as far north as Melbourne. For the most part, it's like assisted living central and plenty of strip malls, with not much exciting going on. Just a decent place to live, work and raise kids. There is however, a decent scene of bands up in this area kicking it hard. Our best shows have been in Vero and Melbourne. They got a good scene up there and we love it. Check the Wikipedia answer to that question HERE.
IE: What it is like there as far as a punk rock and hardcore perspective goes?
Brian: Well, for one thing, it is a lot harder to pull crowds down here than it is in NY. Bands down here halve to work twice as hard to make things happen but it's going strong!
Bands like O.S.F., Put To An End, Subculture Threat, Dairokkan and Hunting With Dick Cheney are kicking it around these days and it's a lot of fun.
IE: What’s in store for The F.A. for the rest of 2018 and into 2019?
Brian: In a nutshell, I don't see The F.A. slowing down at all until we land a spot on the This Is Hardcore Fest. I'm going for it, however long it takes. We are currently promoting the EP as much as possible and writing a few new songs. We are planning a mini tour around Florida in November where we plan to hit Orlando, Gainesville and Tampa, West Palm or Ft. Lauderdale. We played a lot locally and are branching outside of our area now. Hopefully, a full length in 2019 and a few more mini tours on the horizon for The F.A.
IE: Lastly, why the name the F.A.?
Joey Chainsaw: While brainstorming for band names, I had an idea to use my side project name but just the initials so I could still use the name in the future. I’m not gonna tell what the original was, but we’ve had plenty of fun letting people make up their own names for us… The Flying Assholes, Farting Aardvarks, Friendly Atheists, the list goes on! Coincidentally, we have a song titled “The Final Anthem,” which I had a feeling would lead to people assuming that was our band name, and I’m pretty sure we are all just fine with that!
RESTRAINING ORDER WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA PHOTOS BY: JEFF LASICH
Straight outta West Springfield, MASS is RESTRAINING ORDER who are: Patrick Cozens, vocals, Kyle Beaudreault, guitar, Jake Miller, guitar, Keith Freeman, bass and Will Hirst on drums. They formed in January of 2017 and got a quick start releasing a 5 song demo in March of that year followed by the 3 song “Something For The Youth” cassette in November. In August of 2018 New Age Records released a 6 song self-titled 7” which has gotten them more widespread recognition. Members of Restraining Order have previously been in: Alert, Revenge, Violence To Fade, Contempt and Depths Of Reality. Members of Restraining Order are currently in: Maniac, AmmuNation, Palehorse and Negative Outlook. To date they have played approximately 20 shows. Bassist Keith Freeman answered all of the following questions:
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO RESTRAINING ORDER
IE: Hey Keith. So the press release that came along with your new EP from New Age Records stated that Restraining Order started as a New Year’s resolution to start a 1982 style hardcore band. Can you talk a little about this time early on in the bands history (that actually wasn’t all that long ago) and what you guys were all thinking and talking about leading up to this resolution you all seemed to be on the same page with?
Keith: Well me and Will have always talked about doing a band like this for quite a long time. We’ve both been in other active bands so we were never really too motivated for it. Pat was in a CT band called Contempt at the time and he was such a good frontman that we felt we needed to recruit him for this band. So as a New Year’s resolution we decided to finally make it happen. We set up a practice and had Kyle play guitar since he also wanted to do a band like this. Kyle was actually gonna try to do vocals but once we saw Pat and Contempt we knew he was the one.
IE: Bands you feel directly influenced the songs on your new EP?
Keith: The thing with us is we’re all influenced by bands of all different eras for a variety of things. Everything from Wipers to Black Flag to more recent bands like Fucked Up and Career Suicide. For me it’s the same thing. It can range from someone like Zero Boys to someone like Social Circkle. I take it all in.
IE: Just a few weeks after you guys started jamming you played your first show at a pizzeria without even a demo out or even a band name. Can you talk a little about that show, where was it? Who else played? How do you think you guys did?
Keith: Yeah, a band I sang in at the time, Violence To Fade, had a show in Poughkeepsie at a spot called My Place Pizza and it was with Ends Meet, Rochdale, High Card, Limit and Mase. Restraining Order hopped on right before VTF and did the demo and I think it went over really well. Ended up playing our official first show a little bit later and that was also in Poughkeepsie which is funny.
IE: How was the pizza?
Keith: I don’t recall ever eating it because everyone said it sucked so bad!
IE: Just a few days ago you played out in California as part of the New Age Fest. Can you talk about the whole weekend? The flight out there, the vibe, your set and how it felt playing early on in the lineup considering you guys are pretty new and still not widely known.
Keith: We flew into San Diego on Thursday. We have a lot of friends there so they set up a show. The record is doing pretty well on New Age, but since a lot of the current New Age fan base I feel are more of an older crowd, I wasn’t sure how we’d really go over. The vibe of the weekend was awesome. We had a lot of fun. Usually traveling out we treat it like a vacation, you know? San Diego was badass. Good vibes all around and we played well. We did a pre-show at Programme in Fullerton on Friday and thought we did well there too. Honestly, we killed it all weekend in terms of playing and our actual set at New Age showcase was surprisingly a little wild! Like you said, we’re still basically babies compared to the roster of that line up and it was cool of some of those guys to approach us after and tell us we were good or whatever. It was a badass time!
IE: What is in store for the band for the rest of 2018 and into 2019?
Keith: We have some shows and fests and stuff we’re gonna be playing this fall and winter. Currently writing songs for an LP we hope to put out at some point in 2019. Keep an ear out because so far we think it’s gonna be a banger! We’re also putting a song out on a 12” compilation from Rhode Island’s Atomic Action Records which should probably be out later this year!
TIME AND PRESSURE SAINT LOUIS, MO
TIME AND PRESSURE from Saint Louis, MO round things out here as the newest of this new crop of bands having formed in February of 2018. The lineup is: Travis Schaeffer, 32, drums, James Carroll 28, guitar, David Shanle, 31, bass, and Drew Maxey, 30, vocals. They recorded a 5 song demo in the beginning of August and self-released a small run of them on cassette before being picked up by California’s Safe Inside Records who will be releasing/distributing the demo on cassette shortly. To date Time And Pressure have played a total of 8 shows with half of them being away from Saint Louis. Drew (vocals) and James (guitar) were both in the now defunct band Perfect People who were once featured on this same Fresh Blood section. Travis currently plays in Better Days and David plays guitar in New Lives. Drew and James answered the following questions:
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO TIME & PRESSURE
IE: Hey guys, the songs on your new demo are really fast. What kinds of ideas were you guys kicking around when you started this band and is this the fastest music you all have been a part of playing?
Drew: I have no interest in being in a slow band. Speed is what attracted me to punk rock as a kid, and I have only ever wanted to play as fast as possible while still conveying some kind of emotion. That was the goal when we started, and I assume that is always going to be the goal. I’m not sure if it’s the fastest band I’ve ever done, but it’s up there for sure.
James: Slowed down hardcore makes my fucking balls itch. I like Todd Jones’ approach to the Carry On records, so that’s basically what I wanted to go for when I was demoing out songs to send the guys. The demo is just a big love letter to early 2000’s hardcore. This isn’t the fastest band I’ve ever been in but this is easily the best sounding band I’ve ever played in.
IE: What bands would you say have directly influenced the songs on the demo?
Drew: From a lyrical standpoint, I’ve taken a ton of influence from American Nightmare in recent years. They were a band that was sort of lost on me for a long time, and in 2015, something really clicked, and I became obsessed with Wes’ writing. I think his word choices are extremely precise, as if every single word is deliberately chosen to convey a specific feeling. The same with George from Blacklisted, especially in later albums. His use of imagery is just incredible and I love his way of making that which wouldn’t typically be considered hardcore and making it fit in an aggressive song. I’m also influenced by a ton of non-hardcore bands and lyricists, like The Menzingers, Mountain Goats, and Julien Baker, just to name a few. I could go on and on about really great writers.
James: Musically it’s definitely Carry On, Count Me Out, American Nightmare, Ruiner, Sinking Ships and things along those lines.
IE: There seems to be a lot of motivation behind this bands start. Within a very short time you have put out a demo, have played a decent amount of shows and have more lined up already for the fall. What would you attribute this fast start to?
Drew: There’s a definite cohesion with the four of us, which absolutely helps. For me personally, I just want to play shows. That’s been the drive for me. My and James’ last band eventually got to a point where some of the members were losing steam and they just didn’t care to play that often anymore. That isn’t how I operate. I want to play any show possible all the time because it just makes me happy. Having like-minded bandmates certainly helps.
James: We’re all older, some of us have kids, and we all have careers. I’m not trying to be in a band that has no interest in doing cool things so from the get go, our attitude has always been do as much as we can when we can. The whole point of this band was to hit the ground running as soon as we were able to. I managed to book us two small tours before we even recorded any music just because that’s the attitude we’ve had since the beginning. There’s a definite cohesiveness with our band and we’re all on the same page with things which helps immensely.
IE: What's going on these days in the STL scene? What other bands, venues, labels, promoters are doing good things where people should check in with them if passing through your gateway to the west?
James: St. Louis Hardcore is the single greatest thing on the fucking planet, don’t @ me. For a long time, Drew and I booked a good majority of the shows going on in the city but since he’s taken a step back to be a lame ass teacher, Travis and I are doing it now. We book under Gateway City Hardcore, so if you’re tryna come through, holler at me and we’ll set you up right. Shouts out Better Days, Brute Force, Life Sucks, Chalked Up, Redbait, Kill Their Past, Slow Damage, Murtaugh, Coffin Fit, Tensions Rising, Magmadiver. Big up to the Sinkhole for being the best DIY venue this city has had in years, Matt and Emily are good people. Also shouts out Safe Inside Records for being a consistently good label that puts out shit worth listening to.
IE: What's in store for Time And Pressure for the rest of 2018 and into 2019?
Drew: We’re gonna start writing some new music soon, and I’m hoping we get to play in a few places I’ve never been before. I don’t know exactly what’s coming up soon, but I’m excited about it in a way I haven’t been in a long time.
James: Bruh, we’re about to do so much cool shit next year. Touring, recording, releasing some new music. You better fuckin’ ask somebody.