Big Shot, Broadway (Bushwick, BK), photo by Carl Gunhouse
Big Shot, Broadway (Bushwick, BK), photo by Carl Gunhouse

BIG SHOT discuss new music, NYHC, Texas hardcore

7 mins read

Big Shot just unleashed a three-song promo, and it’s clear they’ve taken a plunge into darker waters. This new collection, forged from the remnants of their last album “Paid in Blood,” marks a raw, unfiltered shift in their metallized hardcore sound.

We sat down with the band to discuss the darker and more chaotic sound of their new tracks, their creative process for each song, the influence of global and personal turmoil, their collaboration with Day Zero Collective, their top hardcore releases of the year, the multi-faceted nature of the New York hardcore scene, their connection to the Texas hardcore scene, and their involvement in various side projects.

Texas seems to have played a pivotal role in this transformation. Back in New York after their recent tour there, the riffs from the southern state started to morph into something heavier and more atmospheric.

Big Shot’s recent tracks embody a world that’s increasingly grim. The band’s commentary on global and personal despair has always been unflinching, but “Big Shot II” delves deeper into the crushing weight of existence. Whether it’s the systemic oppression or the turmoil of personal relationships, their music captures a raw, unvarnished reality.

Big Shot’s journey is far from over. With side projects like Z.O.N.E., Servant of Sorrow, and new bands like Nemesis and Commitment In Pain, they’re constantly expanding their horizons.

It’s been over three years since you dropped your first release, and we’re dying to know – how have the last three years been for you guys? What kept you busy, any side projects? Give us a quick rundown.

Well for one Jake moved back to Texas a year into us being a band, it was a good year but before 2022 was out Jake had come back for a weekend run with Montclair.

Since then we’ve sort of been figuring out how to make this whole long distance thing work most effectively. It kind sucks because sometimes we get asked to play gigs like the week before or after we have NY stuff or TX stuff and we gotta turn it down for the most part, but we do what we can where we can.

At least we got to do a week-long run with Free 4 All out west and have another one coming up and a show in Brooklyn with Clique in August.

Now, about your new release with that cover art – tell us more about the visual concept. What’s the story behind it, and how does it tie in with the lyrics of the tracks?

The artwork actually was sort of a long time coming. For a minute we knew we wanted something less cartoony which was kind of a niche we put ourselves in. But we wanted to divert from that sort of vibe and we had been toying with using some type of renaissance art and we found Xavier Wilson and I had sent him some pictures I saw from Met and we sent him some album artwork we liked and he came up with the album cover you see today, but originally it was Sepia tone and we thought icy blue would work better. Cold and Alone.

While we’re at it, how about giving us a track-by-track breakdown? We’d love to get a deeper insight into each song.

So under siege was originally written for a home project between my brother and I that never really came together and he didn’t like that song, but I loved it. So I took it to practice and that was that.

Satisfaction also came together pretty instantly as well. We had gotten back from Texas and my car was at Nick’s house where we practice and so he and I practiced. I don’t know if he had heard the song prior but by the end of practice we had a demo that was pretty much how you hear it today.

Tears took a little more time to make. We had really fallen in love with the darker ideas we were throwing around and so we wanted to make something that was a little slower, have all kinds of riffs, and mosh parts and different vibes so we put all our eggs in one basket on that one.

We really demoed the hell out of all of these until we were ready to finally track sometime around the Holidays and at that time we were preparing for our tour with Free 4 All so we had to grind it out anyways.

Big Shot by Josh Larntz
Big Shot by Josh Larntz

The new tracks are pretty dark. Was that a conscious decision? What influenced this shift? How do you guys see the world right now – does what’s happening out there seep into your lyrics and sound, or is it more about what you’re digging musically and composition-wise?

Answer: Yeah, the world and it’s litany of problems have always been a subject we don’t stray from even on Paid in Blood but Big Shot II is about how absolutely crushing this existence can be. Whether its how crushing the powers that run the world destroy the already downtrodden or how crushing the failings of our interpersonal relationships and heartache can be. I think as a band we just decided to put ourselves into it and I guess during the writing process that was what was happening. We liked the change of pace sonically but it was just a response the reality around us.

How did your cooperation with Day Zero Collective come about? What’s the backstory there? How did you meet, and what made you decide to team up with them?

We met Mike when we played this gig in Albany and Private Mind was on the bill. I used to live in Long Island and he and I rapped about basically old head shit, this and that show and what have you.

We played with them again in New Jersey and just became friends and I’d see Mike in Long Island all the time. We were thinking of who to bring Paid in Blood to because we didn’t want to release it ourselves and after a lot of sending to various folks and not getting any serious interest we figured let’s just go with a friend who puts out quality stuff, is passionate about making a good product, and is basically the homie.

So when it came time to do the promo we did send it to some people but all the while we knew we wanted to do it with Day Zero again.

Big Shot by Josh Larntz
Big Shot by Josh Larntz

Let’s talk hardcore releases this year. What are your top picks? What would you recommend, even if it’s from lesser-known bands?

First and foremost Cross of Disbelief, Paradise from Austin, the new Means of Survival release is FIRE don’t sleep, Burning Lord LP, the Deal with God record slaps, the new Grimoire single is great, the new Ultimatum is awesome, From One Hell, the Extinguish LP, Hardluck.MF promo, In 2 Again see em live they’ll make you a believer, Kidnapped Disgust, and the new Wreckage songs slap. There’s more but that’s the choice list. One more…. Soulless. Two more Aguanta Guerra.

Big Shot by Marcus Gonzalez
Big Shot by Marcus Gonzalez

Speaking of the NY hardcore scene – it’s got so many layers and spots with different vibes. Where do you guys fit in? How would you explain the current layout of the scene to someone who’s completely new to it?

Well we’re a Hudson Valley band, ain’t no getting around that. I think having Jake in Texas and me in Manhattan and the other two guys up in the Valley we don’t really have a home like other bands do. So when we play New York we typically play in Brooklyn because all of our friends or anyone who wants to see us in the Tri-State area will make it out and then it feels like home to us.

New York is awesome and multi-faceted. You have promoters that do everything from packed Brooklyn Monarch shows to crusty punk shit at Bootleg Bar and it’s all pretty fun. The thing about NYC, I find, is that the community here is actually smaller than you think and something you really gotta get involved with to find the most fun shit and meet folks.

You’ll get a band like Drain or Speed who sell out Brooklyn Monarch and you’ll be like “who the fuck are all these people? I never seen them before” but then you leave that show and there’s some twerp outside being like “hey, come to this show” and he hands you a flier.

Let me tell you something: if you live in the Five Boroughs, go to that show, because you’ll meet someone there who probably actually gives a damn whereas a good 5/6 of those guys buying 9 dollar beers at the Monarch show won’t give a fuck about that flier or the twerp handing it out or most bands that are new or maybe underrated.

Heard you recently played some gigs in Texas. With your vocalist being from there, what’s your connection to that place? How did those shows go?

Answer: Texas is as much hardcore town USA as NY, CT, LA, Bay Area, Philly, NJ, SFL, or Boston. Texas has had a boatload of great bands over the years but in recent years Texas has had A LOT of good bands come out. The shows are fucking awesome and enthusiastic all the time and not just because Jake is from there but because they really care.

People mosh fucking HARD and the bands actively playing shows from there are not carbon copies of one another and they’re all good. We’ve played San Antonio and Austin a few times and they’re great but we did Dallas this past spring and those kids went the fuck off and they were all so nice and cool.

Texas is a great place for hardcore, period.

Spit My Rage, Grimoire, Future Shock, Inner Self, Ozone, Since My Beloved, Vision of Mortality, Sheer Force, M.O, Paradise, Ballista. Texas rules.

Thanks so much. Feel free to add anything you feel it’s worth our attention or a shoutout. Cheers!

Answer: I think I gave enough shoutouts. Andrew and I do other bands Z.O.N.E I do drums in and Adrew plays guitar in Servant of Sorrow and Glutton for Suffering with guys from Cross of Disbelief and All Out War.

Jake has a newish band called Nemesis coming out this summer.

I do vocals in a band called Commitment In Pain and we’re gonna be doing our (sorta) debut.

That’s it though, thanks for you’re time. Free Palestine.

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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