Old school New York hardcore. Does it ring a bell? Sure it does, huh? But still, there are a lot of underground NYHC bands you haven’t heard of and surprisingly ABJECT! is one of them (at least in this part of the world). Such bands often stay out of fashion, are not in the main spotlight and tend to act like they don’t care (definitely not looking to please us all). And these are actually one of the greatest things about them. The sad part is that the punk veterans have decided to part their ways and the journey called ABJECT!. “Ugly on the Inside” is their final full length released on March 25 via Dead City Records. I managed to catch these notorious bad boys to discuss their farewell, local friends, and a lot more.
Hey guys! What’s up? How’s New York’s Spring treating you this year?
Hasn’t come yet.. brutal winter and we’ve yet to have more than one warm day per week. No such thing as climate change??
Ha! Damn right, bro.
Alright, let’s get to the point. Are you sad to see the band calling it a day?
Yes. Mainly because of the effort that John from Dead City Records has put into our last release.
What’s the story behind closing the curtains? Why did you decide to split up?
Well, Fact is, some people find their niche and are happy doing one thing forever ie: Jimmy G has been doing MURPHY’S LAW for over 30 years. Others, need to try new things and such. This is especially true for musicians. not just hardcore. Mattakins (lead guitarist) who was also the architect of the ABJECT sound, decided that it was time to move on and start something new. He had quite a commute to our practice space in lower Westchester. Also, when you work or play together with anyone for any extended period, you can start to get on each other’s nerves. We didn’t have a John vs Harley situation or anything but, perhaps, it was best to leave and stay friends long before that happened.
How have your friends and followers reacted to your success so far? What feedback has your farewell album received so far?
The album has gotten great reviews. In the opinion of each band member and all those close to us, “Ugly On The Inside” is the best thing we’ve ever played on/written etc., and we’ve all been at it for a long time. The kids in the scene who got behind us from the start never left.
As musicians, what does this decision mean to you? Are you already in a relationship with new bands? Tell me more about those other involvements you mentioned.
Well, like I said, some people find their comfort zone and other want to keep moving and keep trying new things. That’s a disagreement in philosophy me and other members had with Matt. Nothing personal, just a difference in opinion. But, yes, there are 2 new bands spawning from the ashes of ABJECT! Mattakins is in a new band called ACHE which is fronted by Ryan who, most notably, sang for HOME 33. And they have an excellent drummer also named Ryan who I’m not familiar with personally and a bassist named Rey who was not only the architect but also the driving force behind his own band in NY called BOMB SCARE. 3/5 of ABJECT!, Spew(guitar) Shuffles(drums) and myself, who have played together for years, predating ABJECT!, have a new band called CLOSE TO THE EDGE. It’s not gonna be an ABJECT clone, but anyone who loves and knows NYHC will not be disappointed in us.
Alright, so let’s go back in time for a while. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started making music?
I started making music in Spew’s house in 1995 where we would record songs making fun of death metal, bus drivers and friends. ABJECT began when Matt posted an ad on hardcorewebsite.net and I answered it, he also found a drummer (original drummer Chris Losavio) and I contacted an old scene pal to play bass (Chucky Brown) He played in NYC bands in the 90’s including THE WASTED, but hadn’t been out of the game for a while and he turned out to be down. We started jamming in November of 2010.
Let’s dig a bit deeper with these bands. Besides ABJECT!, what other crews have you been part of? Also, what’s the story of blending NYHC with DC hardcore in your case?
Matt has played in many bands over the years most notably, THE SCREWS from D.C.. That’s the NYC/D.C. connection. Matt is from D.C. and moved up to NY a few years back. Me and Spew have played together for almost 20 years. We played in NYHC bands like JOBBED OUT (2000-2003) and DEALIN’ WITH IT (2006-2012). Shuffles was also in DEALIN’ WITH IT for our entire run. Chucky played in several hardcore bands including one with members of DISTRICT 9 in the early 90’s and an Oi punk band THE WASTED.
How would you describe your experience while going through all these years? Did you start off as a one person and later emerged as someone a bit different? What is the biggest difference from when you started with punk, versus now? Can you expand on a transition you’ve gone through?
I felt like I found my home when I first entered the scene in 1995, but also saw a lot of the same bullshit I saw in high school with cliques and what not.. But through the years I’ve noticed, those people don’t last. They outgrow it. It’s a phase to them. The ones who know what it’s really about are the ones who remain through all the ups and downs. Right now, the NY scene is in a great upswing. As a person, hardcore punk taught me a lot about standing up for myself and my rights, seeing behind the curtain and seeking the truth. Before I entered the scene, I was always an outcast but, in other regards, I was a normal kid who believed the script they sold us.
How about some of the coolest, most inspiring and helpful people you’ve met during this 3-year travel?
Man, there are sooo many.. John Franko from Dead City who’s band AWKWARD THOUGHT was our biggest influence, all of the kids who got behind us and sang along and danced for us from start to finish, the Hilltap Tavern (which is today’s generation’s A7). Cuzin Joe and all the guys from Black N Blue productions, Johnny Bones and the family from D.C., Trey from ROANOKE, Farm Dysfunction fam, all the bands and friends from Boston and Providence, PENALTY KILL, REASON TO FIGHT, THE ENEMY WITHIN, Jo and Carolyn, Keith Brooks.. I could be here all day bottom line, we made many friends who were nothing but helpful and we tried our best to return the favor. It was a great run.
Apart from Dead City Records, have you worked with other labels and promoters?
Yes many great show promoters. I mentioned a few above.. but also, Mike L.C.B. and Howie Fightback who do a great job with the Long Island punk rock bbq every year. This year (July 13th 2013) MURPHY’S LAW is headlining and both Ache and CLOSE TO THE EDGE are on the bill. We put out a 7″ titled ”39 Hours In Bronx Central Booking” which was a joint collaboration of Haunted Hotel and Rockin Rex records. Haunted Hotel records will be releasing one final ABJECT! recording.. a cassette release of our farewell show from the Grand Victory. No release date set yet, but you heard it here first.
Where do you fit in with other New York hardcore bands? How are you different and what crews you certainly do not belong to?
Well, I’ll say this as I have many times.. I would like to see more mixed line ups and more kids supporting the whole scene rather that branching off into separatist cliques. I always booked shows that way (since 1999) where I would have a punk band, a fast hardcore band, a heavier hardcore band etc. Fortunately, Black N Blue, who book the biggest shows in NYC, have the same booking philosophy and more kids are catching on to that idea. Hate to be cliché but, UNITY! As for ABJECT!, I believe we were always able to fit on to any bill and play to any crowd. We had a good mix in our sound and lyrics that covered a lot of ground. Whether you love heavy breakdowns or circle pitting, or working class or anarchist and so on. .. BUT, we want ZERO part of anyone who’s in any way, shape, or form a bonehead! Or even anyone who is accepting of them. I can confidently say that speak on behalf of myself, members of CLOSE TO THE EDGE and ACHE.
Alright then. So let’s wrap it up. What’s coming up later this year from you guys and what else would you like to expound on here?
Be on the lookout for the new band I sing for called CLOSE TO THE EDGE N.Y.H.C. We hope to start playing out soon. Thanks for the interview and thanks to anyone who has supported Abject! in any way by seeing us live, picking up any of our records, sporting an Abject shirt, tagging our name, or listening to our music. Check out Dead City Records for more info on ABJECT! and many other great bands.
Thanks guys! Greetz from Poland!