Discourage, by Becky DiGiglio

An Oakland take on early 2000’s Hardcore – introducing: DISCOURAGE!

8 mins read

DISCOURAGE is a forward-thinking Hardcore band hailing from Oakland, California, who say they’ve always described themselves as making “an Oakland take on early 2000’s Hardcore.” Discourage’s current line-up consists of vocalist Eric Pocock, drummer Matt Tyler, guitarist Richard Angeles, and bassist Alex Lord.

I can recall first hearing about Discourage upon the release of their 2020 EP, Forlorn Hope, which was released in a number of vinyl variants with a handful of unique 7-inch covers that I wasn’t able to snag prior to completely selling out. Come to find out, Discourage had released a self-titled 7-inch on Coin Toss Records, Assault Records, State of Mind Recordings & Speedowax Records and a self-released PNW Tour 2018 cassette tape both in 2018.

Throughout 2018-20, Discourage would continue to share a variety of split 7-inches with the likes of Kind Crew, LIFT, FAIM, and Time & Pressure.

Now, Discourage are back just a short two years after Forlorn Hope with their proper debut full-length, the amazingly-titled Disaster Fatigue.

It was surprise released just this past Monday, May 23, 2022, on Patient Zero Records in both 7-inch and digital formats. It’s hard to tell what will still be available at the time of this feature’s publication, but there were multiple vinyl color variants and alternative album covers issued on a super-limited edition basis.

Discourage & Patient Zero Records have additionally planned a much sought-after second pressing of the Forlorn Hope 7-inch.

I was fortunate enough to speak with Discourage’s Eric Pocock & Matt Tyler about all things Disaster Fatigue, Forlorn Hope, split 7-inches, and what to expect next from the Oakland Hardcore crew. The interview below has been lightly edited for general clarity.

Discourage’s Disaster Fatigue is now available in both digital and physical formats on Patient Zero Records.

Discourage - Band (cred_ Christopher Young)-min
Discourage, by Christopher Young

Who’s part of the current line-up of Discourage and what is each member’s role within the band?

Matt [Tyler] – drums, Eric [Pocock] – vocals, Richard [Angeles] – guitar, [and] Alex [Lord] – bass.

What did the writing, recording, production, creation, etc. processes behind Disaster Fatigue typically entail?

Eric Pocock: The writing for this record was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I don’t think any of us have ever written a full-length before and it was really important to us to write a cohesive album, rather than just a collection of songs. That said, some of the earlier tracks, like ‘Ministry of Truth,” were written back in 2019; while others, like “Disrepair,” were written just a couple months before recording.

Matt Tyler: What set this record apart from doing previous Discourage material was our ability to demo things out in advance. That really made a difference in fine-tuning the finished product. As far as recording it, we went to Sunsick Studios in San Diego to record with our friend Alex Jacobelli from Negative Blast (and formerly of Lewd Acts.)

Art by James Carroll, instagram.com/jamesfromclevo

Alex has been a long-time [friend] of both Richard and me and he really understands what a good Hardcore record should sound like; so, working with him was a great choice for us. All the vocals were engineered by me and recorded in our practice space in Oakland. We got to take our time doing the vocals, which allowed Eric to really deliver a fantastic performance. For mastering, we chose Bill Henderson of Azimuth Mastering, who really brought everything out beautifully. Lastly, layout and concept design was done by James Carroll of JTX Design, who did all the artwork for Forlorn Hope (2020) and our split (2020) with his band, Time & Pressure.

How did you decide upon the name Disaster Fatigue for this LP and what were some of the titles “left on the cutting room floor,” so to speak?

Pocock: There, actually, aren’t really any “cutting room floor” titles for this one. When I was writing lyrics for this record, I just found myself overwhelmed by the amount of tragedy and pain being heaped onto the world again and again and the continuous anxiety it created. From shootings, human rights being threatened, an attempted Far-right coup, a Global Pandemic, and everything in-between, I found that the lyrics I was writing were even more bleak than usual. “Disaster Fatigue” represents an unintended dissociation I started to feel as everything just continues to go wrong. I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling and it was a natural theme for the record.

Discourage - Band (cred_ Julio Hernandez)-min
Discourage, by Julio Hernandez

Who or what would you readily cite as some of your primary sources of inspiration and influence while creating Disaster Fatigue?

Pocock: The big ones for me are probably The Rival Mob, Down to Nothing, and Focused Minds.

Tyler: It’s kinda funny because when we were writing, most of the songs had working titles that were drawn from whatever band kinda influenced the song-writing. Like “Disaster Fatigue” was called “Terror” and “Ripple” was called “Righteous Jams” and there were a few others. But aside from that, we’ve always described ourselves as “an Oakland take on early 2000’s Hardcore” and that’s, basically, true of what we did in this record, as well.

Would you mind describing a little bit about the assortment of cover/vinyl color variants for the Disaster Fatigue 12-inch?

Tyler: We did [an] Eco-mix pressing to get this out as quickly as possible given the huge delays at vinyl pressing plants. Usually, these are the left-overs from large runs, so it’s 188 of random assorted colors. Jerry [Colvin at Patient Zero Records] told us about half of them, so far, are a purple variant. There is a Bandcamp variant cover with 26 copies. During a walk from my house down the street to my gym, I passed by a burned down U-Haul trailer and snapped a quick picture. I felt it was just a perfect synopsis of the moment in time we were experiencing in January 2022. We ended up using it as the Bandcamp cover. We, also, have CD’s, which is cool to offer something with high-quality digital audio like that.

What can you tell us about the assorted variants and versions that will soon become available as part of the second press of the Forlorn Hope 7-inch?

Pocock: The Forlorn Hope second [pressing] is 300 copies, 100 of which are on a beautiful picture disc that James Carroll (Time & Pressure) designed for us. James does pretty much all of our design work.

Art by James Carroll, instagram.com/jamesfromclevo

Tyler: The remaining 200 are a white and gold splatter. For the second [pressing] cover, we swapped the color scheme from Forlorn Hope first [pressing] so that the yellow parts are white and the white parts are yellow. There is, also, a Bandcamp variant, which is a rip-off of the logo of our favorite burrito spot in San Diego, Trujillo’s Taco Shop. Life-changing food at that place.

Art by James Carroll, instagram.com/jamesfromclevo

How would you say Discourage’s overall sound and style has changed and evolved since your last proper release, 2020’s Forlorn Hope?

Pocock: Overall, I think Disaster Fatigue is the next evolution of the band. This record is much meaner-sounding than Forlorn Hope with heavier riffs and darker lyrics. Thematically, Forlorn Hope was more “things haven’t been great, but I’m still looking ahead…” while Disaster Fatigue is more simply “everything is f***ed.”

Tyler: I think we have collectively grown as musicians with this release, in the sense of just playing our instruments better. I’ve grown mechanically in my drumming abilities and I know Richard [Angeles] put in some serious home practice to up his playing abilities. I think that is reflected in our overall ability to write more thoughtful song arrangements.

Discourage vinyls min
Art by James Carroll, instagram.com/jamesfromclevo

We know about your previously issued split 7-inches and cassettes with the likes of FAIM, Kind Crew, LIFT, and Time & Pressure… but who else would you guys like to recruit for some split releases?

Pocock: The best thing about those splits were that they were with some of our good friends. We’re very lucky to have made some great friends through this band and to me, any splits we do would have to be with more friends. En Love, PUMMEL, ENTRY, Headcount, and Raw Breed come to mind.

Tyler: Give me all the splits! I’ll do them any day. Our split with Time & Pressure really did things for us and for Patient Zero [Records,] as well, in the sense of exposing us to all kinds of new communities. I love doing splits with our friends, so aside from the one’s Eric mentioned, Bent Blue, All Beat Up, THERAPY, ILL COMMUNICATION all would be awesome. There’s so many others I could say outside of California, as well.

What drove you guys to record and release a cover of AFI’s “A Single Second” from Shut Your Mouth & Open Your Eyes (1997) coinciding with Halloween 2020?

Pocock: We, actually, recorded that at the same time we recorded our self-titled 7-inch for fun. AFI is my favorite band and Shut Your Mouth [& Open Your Eyes] is my favorite record of theirs. When Matt & I were first starting this band, we thought of potential covers to play. I don’t remember which of us first suggested “A Single Second,” but I know that the response from the other was an immediate “YES!”

Tyler: I think we realized that the cover had never made it to streaming, so we decide to put it up on Spotify alongside the rest of our material. This was during the depths of The Pandemic, so it was kind of a decision to just keep putting stuff out and pushing the band forward when we weren’t able to play shows.

Eric Pocock (L) & Matt Tyler (R) (cred_ Zac Zavala)
Eric Pocock (L) & Matt Tyler (R), by Zac Zavala

Does Discourage currently have any immediate plans to tour behind Disaster Fatigue this summer?

Pocock: We’re figuring that out right now, actually! Trying to plan a smaller West Coast run this summer and an East Coast tour in the Fall.

Tyler: After this year, we think it’s time to set our sights on doing an International run, which would probably be Europe, but I know my personal goal is to go to Asia & South America at some point. Hopefully, Summer 2023 one of those will be a reality.

What’s planned next for Discourage?

Pocock: We’re really excited to play as much as we can to support the new record. I’m, also, personally excited to get back to writing and recording new tunes. There were some cool riffs and song ideas that just didn’t quite make it onto the record [Disaster Fatigue] that I’m looking forward to fleshing out.

DISCOURAGE, by Zac Zavala
DISCOURAGE, by Zac Zavala

Tyler: I’d love to play more “local” shows and by “local,” I specifically mean Oakland. We’ve got a few cool spots that we can book here and while it’s still a pretty cautious area, I want to play more shows in our own backyard. We’re looking forward to playing a rad show with FAIM, ENTRY, and NØ MAN at the end of May 2022.

In addition to Discourage, do any of you have any additional musical projects or upcoming releases you might want to mention within this space?

Pocock: I’m playing in a new Emo/Pop-punk band called Little Low that I’m really excited about. We have some shows coming up and just finished recording an EP with Jack Shirley at The Atomic Garden.

Tyler: I play guitar in Tuning and we’re working on writing a new record. Our bassist, Alex [Lord] has a cool band called Trough that are a lot of fun to watch and, I believe, they will be doing a record, as well.

Discourage’s “Disaster Fatigue” is now available in both digital and physical formats on Patient Zero Records.

Art by James Carroll, instagram.com/jamesfromclevo
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