Fast, super intense, and in your face grind / hardcore pack BOROUGHS (members of +HIRS+ and HEAVY MEDICAL) have teamed up with dark, furious, and crust influenced band FALTER to constitute a fresh and innovative reimagining of how to create a fierce performance. Packed with noise, and both harsh and grinding, this split results in a terrifying range of hardcore punk. The vicious force that both bands inject into their tracks carries over to a thoughtful and well-written record. Listen for yourself and scroll down to read my interview with both bands.
FALTER will be out on tour in April. See the dates below.
Top photo: BOROUGHS, by Sharyn Frenkel Photography // Interview with Scott and Vin from BOROUGHS and Lenny and Zach from FALTER.
Hi there buddies! I’m super stoked to host the premiere of this amazing record! Congratulations! Are you proud of the final effect?
Scott: Thanks! Over all we are happy with the way the recording came out.
Lenny: I think it turned out really good. Our side is darker, faster, and a bit more technical than our previous work. The BOROUGHS side of the split is harsh, spastic, and dissonant. Everything I love about hardcore.
Zach: Thanks! Since it took about a year to muster the motivation to write the songs musically, I think it is our greatest effort to date. As with the record as a whole, I have not been more excited to release something with another amazing band through one of the coolest labels out there.
How did you end up working with each other?
Scott: Andrew from Hydrogen Man Records hooked us up. He likes us and like FALTER and suggested we do a split. After checking FALTER out we were like, “YES!”
Zach: If you’re referencing the idea to do the split the BOROUGHS and release it through Hydrogen Man, it was actually through a good friend of mine Anthony. He sang in Callow and also released a record through Hydrogen Man. Anthony just contacted me about approaching Andrew (Hydrogen Man founder) to release a record. Since I’m a huge fan of splits and we hadn’t released one since the one with Milorganaut, I emailed him about it and Andrew was interested. Andrew knew BOROUGHS through just being friends with them and it just seemed natural to do a split with them. I also pushed it because of the affiliate bands that they were all in (+HIRS+, DYING, HEAVY MEDICAL, etc.)
Is Hydrogen the only label putting out the split?
Lenny: That is correct.
What was the recording process like? Did you record your tunes together?
Scott: We wrote a bunch of songs and got together with Steve Roche at Permanent Hearing Damage. I think it took us about three days to record and mix everything. We recorded 9 songs and used 8 for the record. We don’t have any plans for the song that didn’t make the cut. We recorded our side separate from FALTER.
Vin: I blew my voice out recording most of it in one day.
Lenny: FALTER recorded with our friend Matt Russel at Wall to Wall Recording in Chicago. He does awesome work and has an ear for the style we play. We’ll be working with him again in the near future. Check out his band, Moral Void.
The musical side of this record is a real monster. Can you explain where the ideas for your particular style and mix of subgenres come from? What other bands influence and shape the sound of BOROUGHS and FALTER?
Scott: My vision for BOROUGHS has always been to write simple, straightforward songs that are fast and heavy. I’ve been in some bands in the past (Letters in Binary and Enkephalin) that had complicated songs that took a long time to write. I wanted to avoid that and focus on intensity. I have been influenced by bands like JENNY PICCOLO, IRON LUNG, PHOENIX BODIES, and HATRED SURGE.
Vin: Scott is a beast. Dave is a beast. Dan is a beast. How they are able to come up with this kind of music is beyond me. I’ve tried to do what they do and write every part and it doesn’t make sense in my brain.
Zach: I love all types of hardcore. Some people like to really get technical with sub and/or microgenres. But to me, it’s just all hardcore to me. My favorite types of bands are usually the ones that try to push the envelope a little. Bands that range from ASSUCK, DISCORDANCE AXIS, PIG DESTROYER, ASTERISK, and AGENTS OF ABHORRENCE to ORCHID, JEROMES DREAM, COMBATWOUNDEDVETERAN, to downright hardcore punk like THE SWARM, LOS CRUDOS, DROPDEAD. It’s all pissed off music that I feed off of.
What are some of the main ideas behind the lyrical part of the album? Did you try to adjust both bands’ messages accordingly to ensure they have the most effective, double impact on the listener?
Scott: Vin wrote the majority of the lyrics for the BOROUGHS songs. I wrote lyrics to a couple songs. There is no specific message running through all the songs. We simply write about things that we care about.
Vin: Like Scott said, we share lyrical duties despite my majority and it all comes from different worlds, mentally speaking. Any similarities between them just show that our differences from each other aren’t too far off.
Lenny: We didn’t communicate about lyrics at all during the writing process. FALTER’s lyrics are mostly personal. I’m pretty disconnected with people, I have trouble with intimate relationships, I struggle with gender identity, and I disagree with a lot of my peers’ social standards.
By the way lyrics, how important is this part of “the job”? Do you feel the need to explain your work and push certain values on your listeners?
Scott: We are not very pushy with our values. However, we won’t play shows with bands that have values that we don’t agree with (such as homophobia, racism, etc…). We are all different people with different things we are passionate about. That comes through in the variety of subjects we talk about in our lyrics.
Vin: So I’m a pretty passionate person politically, but BOROUGHS was never a purely political band. I write based on my values sometimes, but I don’t expect people to agree with me. Even when I do write about issues, I hope that I’ve veiled them enough that they’re more universal.
Lenny: I don’t try to push anything on our listeners. Most of my lyrics are observations about my character or experiences I’ve had.
Where do you get your inspiration from for lyrics?
Scott: We write about the things we are passionate about. We have songs about depression and personal struggles. We also have songs about skateboarding and cutting hair.
Vin: Scott is able to be more literal than I am and yet somehow have poetry about it. Even when I write songs about things I like you’d think it’s killing me inside. So… nihilism? Let’s say that.
Lenny: FALTER is an emotional outlet for me. I’ve always been in bands so I would have a way to express all of my anger, fear, and negativity. The lyrics reflect that and I only write about things that upset me.
Zach: Lenny and I have had quite a few conversations about his lyrics. Being a personal outlet for him, I can only stand behind what he says. Whether it’s about the suffering of animals (Lenny and I are the only diet conscious members of the band) or of events of the past, we back the things he says.
What pisses you off about both global and local politics, social issues, etc.?
Scott: We are all different and have some different views. However, the overarching view that is shared by all of us is that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, kindness, and fairness.
Vin: Yeah, I like to think that we’re all pretty egalitarian.
Zach: I think what upsets me the most is that we live in a country where we can choose to ignore what’s going on around us, put a veil around us, and just live a life of ignorance. All the while, the rest of us deals with conflict off all matters, lines are constantly being redrawn, and blood is shed on a daily basis. If you let guilt be suppressed by convenience instead of at the very least being informed of things happening in OUR world, then why should people take you into account? Just be aware.
What should punk bands be concentrating more on these days?
Scott: Accepting everyone who is a good person and focusing less on petty things like how someone dresses or the bands they like. Punk should NOT be a popularity contest and should be a place where everyone is welcome to learn and to fill their open minds.
Vin: Punk and hardcore and metal are all in a weird state right now. Everything is about who knows what, does what, and how core you are or some shit. Some people are all about speaking their mind without giving a fuck, and others are about walking on eggshells. I don’t know what punk bands should be concentrating on, but I know that they should care. That’s all. About their community, about the planet, about their mother, anything. They should just care.
Zach: Just doing whatever they want I guess?
Lenny: That’s what I was thinking.
Ok guys, so before we say goodbye, let’s go back for a while. How did you get involved in hardcore music? Please drop us a couple of lines describing your background, other projects and experience in the heavy music field.
Scott: For me I started listening to punk in 6th grade because of skateboard videos. I remember listening to Operation Ivy because of an old H-street video. Then I got into bands like BAD RELIGON, NOFX, and PENNYWISE. From there I started listening to bands like LIFETIME and mid-90’s screamo from Michigan, which is where I’m from. I really liked bands like MAINSPRING, WALLSIDE, OTTAWA, and EMPATHY. I was in my first punk band in 1994 called THE OUTLIERS. Then my first hardcore band in 1995, which was called DEPRIVE. After that I was in a band called HAMILTON that started in 1996. I was in that band for a couple years then got kicked out. That really bummed me out and I didn’t want anything to do with music for a while. Eventually I started playing music with some skateboard friends. We started a band called Enkephalin. We started that around the year 2000. We toured a bunch and put a split record on Init Records with a band called Phoenix Bodies. After that I started a new band with my best friend called LETTERS IN BINARY. We also toured a bunch and put out a hand full of self released records along with one record on CONSPIRATORS IN SOUNDS Records. After that my best friend and I started a two-piece punk band and moved to Philadelphia. That band put out some thing on our own and toured America and Europe. After that we started a band called +HIRS+, which is still active. Shortly after +HIRS+ started I started BOROUGHS with my old Michigan friend and fellow ex ENKEPHLAIN memeber, Dan.
Vin: Okay, so I grew up in Sussex County, NJ. This is a region of northern NJ that people don’t quite know because it’s a suburb of a suburb. Image rural mountain town without the farms. Okay, they exist, but not quite. And the mountains are hills. I was growing up right before the Internet exploded, with Geocities websites and such. So we had our own music scene split between the few towns around us. Our version of hardcore and punk then was very specific and there were shows every week. The same five bands and no one would give a fuck. I remember the first show I went to I watched some ska band from who knows where, and some Shattered Realm ripoff from some of our scenes old-heads. That was it. The energy there sold me. I mean I’d been listening to.. whatever 8th graders listen to. MISFITS, MINOR THREAT… THE fucking ATARIS. So I didn’t know how to access punk really, but this opened it up. I started singing in a terrible screamo band called FADED MEMORIES freshman year of high school and it started there. We covered SUM 41. From there I was in a tough guy hardcore band called Burn the Bridge, another called Drop the Charade, and then a pretty serious hiatus until I was in a group called Barfly, that would eventually become New Jersey’s own Ides, after I up and moved to San Francisco. When I moved to Philly, I met Scott when I heard he needed a vocalist for some loud project he was working on.
Lenny: I found a few bands like DEAD KENNEDYS and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES through video games when I was a kid. During middle school and especially high school I discovered a lot more through friends and the internet. I started playing punk shows when I was 15 and I’ve been in bands ever since.
Zach: I got involved in hardcore through my hatred for normalcy, my religious family, and being just one confused, self destructive kid. Having toured often enough to see just about every side of coin touring wise, DIY holds a special place in my heart forever. Nothing beats playing in a packed basement with kids flying everywhere! As far as other endeavors, I’ve been in crappy punk bands, but nothing serious. I am currently operating under the moniker W R I T H E, which is my power electronics/noise project. I’ll be putting out a tape soon through Soft Exit.
How did hardcore punk change your outlook on life?
Scott: I guess the main thing hardcore and punk has done for my outlook is it has shown me that I should question everything.
Vin: It pretty much led me to the root of all of my ideas in one way or another. I often wonder if I would be the same person today, but then I think… nah whatever.
Lenny: It didn’t change my outlook so much as it gave me a place where my outlook was accepted and not treated as alien.
Zach: Coming from a place of abuse, hardcore spoke volumes to me about the real world and problems that lie therein. It also introduced to straight edge and veganism how important it is to impact your surroundings as little as possible.
Have you been attracted by the more metal kind of extreme music? How have punk and metal shaped your local music scene? What’s the relationship between both genres in your area? Feel free to drop us a proper local scene reports :)
Scott: I personally am attracted to music that is sincere. If a band sounds good but the people in the band are doing it for the wrong reasons I get really turned off by that band. I don’t know much about the metal scene in Philly so I can’t really comment on the relationship between the two genres.
Vin: You know, I’m typically on the punk side of things but I do enjoy something heavy on the occasion. But I feel our band bridges gaps so well that we only ever play mixed shows, you know? I can’t say that happens frequently, but it’s pretty regular with us.
Lenny: I don’t really dig metal aside from a few doom bands. There’s some crossover between scenes here but I think the metal scene is a lot more extensive than I’m aware of.
Zach: I suppose I have in recent years, but the community surrounding it are sorta whatever. Kinda rock star shit that I am not a huge fan of.
When are both bands going to tour next?
Scott: Currently we don’t have any plans to tour. We are all pretty busy people so it can be hard to get away for extended periods of time. We hope to get some traveling in this coming summer.
Lenny: FALTER will be on the road April 9th-25th. Tour dates can be found at this location.
Great, thanks! Cheers for your time. Thanks again, feel free to add anything you like and good luck for the rest of the year! Come to Europe – Fluff Fest is waiting for you buds! :)
Scott: We would love to come to Europe!