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CAPSULE are back: Miami hardcore innovators discuss new EP “Ferox”

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There’s an undeniable thrill that comes with the return of Capsule, Miami’s chaotic (post) hardcore legends. After a near-decade hiatus from live performances and new releases, they’re storming back into the scene with their new EP, “Ferox,” out today! With this comeback, Capsule reaffirms their commitment to pushing the boundaries of hardcore music, both in technical mastery and raw intensity.

Formed in 2005, Capsule’s lineup has included members and ex-members of acclaimed bands like Torche, WRONG, and Kylesa. Their journey began with Eric Hernandez (drums, vocals) and Colin Smith (guitar, vocals), later joined by Shane Starak on bass. Ryan Haft replaced Starak in 2007, and Derrick Flanagin rounded out the lineup on drums. This ensemble has created a distinctive sound, a fusion of hardcore energy and experimental edge, evident in their previous releases: “Blue” (2008), “No Ghost” (2011), and the EP “[A]” (2013).

Their latest offering, “Ferox,” is a self-produced masterpiece, capturing the band’s essence in its purest form. Haft, who also handled the recording and mixing, brings a hands-on approach that lends authenticity to their sound. The EP, with tracks like “Trash,” “Ferox,” and “Thermocline,” showcases a diverse thematic range, from social critique to horror movie references, all delivered with Capsule’s signature intensity.

In a special interview with IDIOTEQ, Eric Hernandez and Ryan Haft dive deep into the creative process behind “Ferox,” discussing how they’ve reconnected with Capsule’s unique musical language and pushed their artistic vision further.

They reflect on the band’s evolution, lineup changes, and how these factors have shaped their sound. The duo also shares insights into their recent performance at Fest 21 in Gainesville, Florida, highlighting the importance of live music in their artistic expression.

Answered by: Eric Hernandez and Ryan Haft

With “Ferox” marking your return to the music scene after a significant hiatus, can you share the creative process that went into this EP and how it reflects your current artistic vision?

Eric: Capsule always had its own language, so it was exciting to step back into that world in a creative sense. There’s no real limitations in terms of how fast or slow or technical we want to be. Personally, these guys are some of the best musicians I’ve ever played with, so when I’m writing music for Capsule I know I can push it as far as I want and these guys will pick it up and make it sound awesome. We can really spread our wings and challenge ourselves musically with this band, but it’s never been about the technicality or being flashy.

Nothing we do is really flashy at all, it’s just …fast. We each have diverse musical backgrounds and influences, but with Capsule it’s more looking inward and creating what we want to hear and what we don’t hear out there. Ever since we were kids, Colin (guitars, vocals) had this style of playing guitar that really isn’t like anything else I’ve ever heard; very melodic while simultaneously being atonal if that makes sense. Eventually, I kind of picked it up and started writing songs on guitar and that’s really how the foundation of Capsule’s language was formed. It really wasn’t challenging as much as it was liberating to slip into that mindset.

The track titles “Trash,” “Ferox,” and “Thermocline” suggest a diverse thematic range. Can you delve into the stories or inspirations behind these tracks?

Eric: Lyrically, it’s not anything specific. There are some social critiques in there along with horror movie references, pretty much what every band talks about, right?

Being a fan of horror movies myself, ‘Ferox’ is a reference to Cannibal Ferox, an Italian cannibal exploitation movie from the early 80’s. Its translation is something feral or animalistic, more or less.

That gave me the idea of the feel for the songs overall; a little more uninhibited and relentless, or unpredictable.

Thermocline’ is more the social critique one. In a way, the title is a reference to classism and biases that are ingrained in us throughout our lives…you know, nothing important.

For ‘Trash’, the title is just what I would say everytime I would record the guitar track as I demoed the song; Do a take. “Trash”. Do another take. “Trash”. Do another take, and so on.

I actually like the idea of people having their own interpretation of the lyrics and imagery. Music takes everyone to different places, so thematically it’s purposely sparse and more open to whatever anyone wants it to be.

You’ve mentioned prioritizing making more music and pushing boundaries both musically and technically. How do you feel “Ferox” embodies this philosophy?

Eric: As I said, the translation of the word ‘ferox’ (feral, wild) is really what set the tone for the songs. To be honest, that’s been our goal since back when we started in 2005. I’ve personally always wanted to be in the heaviest band on the planet, and I’ve always loved to play fast. It’s those extreme sensibilities that drive the song writing in Capsule, at least for me.

It’s funny because when I listen back to our records like Blue, it feels way too fast. Then our last EP Capsule [A] is a bit slower. With Ferox, the idea was to meet in the middle and make the fast stuff heavier, so this one really has a different feel than anything we’ve done before. There was actually another song written that got scrapped before we went into the studio, and the reason for that was it just didn’t fit the vibe of the other three songs.

So it’s not like there aren’t any boundaries ever, it’s just within that space that Capsule exists, we can do whatever we want.

Capsule

Having a history of playing with a variety of hardcore and experimental bands, how have these experiences influenced the sound and direction of Capsule on this new EP?

Eric: Not many outside influences affected the writing of these songs as much as it was internal. I went back and got familiar with the Capsule vernacular, and the new songs are what we imagine would be the next logical step in our evolution. Our influences are always there in the song writing, but sonically it’s really kind of our own method of creating rhythms and patterns that we tap into when writing.

More often than not, any inspiration for a song comes from something simple like Judas Priest or ZZtop. Personally, I have a great appreciation for classic rock and heavy metal songwriting, and compositionally that is still at the core of my mind when we work on Capsule music.

The band has seen some lineup changes over the years. How have these shifts impacted the dynamic and sound of Capsule, especially in the creation of “Ferox”?

Ryan: The band has been the 3 core members (Myself, Colin and Eric) since around 2006 and we had decided after a couple years to expand to a four piece with me moving from Bass to Guitar and Eric moving from Drums to Bass. We toured with a couple different drummers before securing Derrick into the fold and that has been the lineup of the band for the past 12+ years.

That step to playing as a four piece allowed the band to sound bigger and expand on melodies and harmonic ideas having two harmonic instruments playing vs just the one guitar/drums/bass setup. Our album No Ghost highlights that shift in the sound of the band and has been the theme musically since. In creating “Ferox” it was, as Eric said, more of an introspective approach to relink with the language of how we all played together in the past.

After nearly a decade without live performances, how was the experience of playing at the Fest 21 in Gainesville, and what does performing live bring to Capsule as a band?

Ryan: It was excellent! We have played multiple times at The Fest over the years so it was nostalgic and exciting to do it again. We have always strived and pushed ourselves to keep the bar high for performing challenging music as accurately as we can and not leave it to recording tricks. It was great to have that motivator again to get out there and pull it off.

Your approach to self-producing “Ferox” with Ryan Haft handling recording and mixing is quite hands-on. How does this approach benefit the authenticity and the final outcome?

Ryan: I basically got into making records out of a necessity or desire to record the projects I was involved in. Likely the first thing I ever recorded was a different project between Me Eric and Colin and I think it ties into the logic of being able to do whatever, whenever, and however we want.

Recording our own material allows for complete freedom of the process with no other contributing influence other than ourselves. It affects the outcome in the ability to take the music straight onto ‘“tape” without any obstacles or delay. As a band we have always kind of just done what needs to be done and not wait for things to happen such as booking our own tours and working on our own artwork and the recording process is a full extension of that ideology.

Looking forward, what can fans expect from Capsule in terms of new directions, tours, etc?

Eric: We look forward to being in the studio any chance we get. Aside from playing live, there are plans to release more music and just keep doing what we love to do.

Ryan: We may play some shows next year and are open to whatever opportunities come our way. Collectively everyone is always working on music so we’ll see what transpires.

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