Interviews

DC area post hardcore act HAN GAN premiere new EP; share insightful thoughts on The George Floyd protests, DC scene, and more!

HAN GAN by Justin Greeat
HAN GAN by Justin Greeat
Deriving from the band’s reflections of the current mediascape, economic inequality, government inaction on climate change and social justice, and the dangerous hypocrisy of the religious right, “The Time Past”, the newest EP from Alexandria, Virginia based HAN GAN draws on its collective hardcore punk roots to create sounds familiar to the inculcated, but accessible to all. Today, we’re giving you the first listen to the full EP, along with the band’s insightful commentary on their work, DC punk scene, and current turbulent events following the tragic death of George Floyd.

HAN GAN’s guitarist and vocalist Brian Nicewander, drummer Mathew Eng, and bassist Ahmasi O’Daniel are no strangers to the roots of melodic hardcore and punk evident in these songs, having performed in numerous projects in the Mid-Atlantic region since the early 1990s. 

All proceeds from streaming royalties, digital sales, and the purchase of limited-edition cassettes and compact discs will go to the Community Justice Exchange’s emergency response fund to support BLM protesters and immigrant detainees.

The record was produced and mixed remotely with Alan Siegler at Third Street Studio in Brooklyn, New York during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. Comments the band: “The music and lyrics for The Time Past were written a few months before the COVID-19 outbreak and before the murder of George Floyd, but what we had written portended to us a major shift in the country. A lot of people could feel something was coming, and the Time Past is our document of that feeling.”

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑇𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑃𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝐸𝑃 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒𝑛 𝑠𝑜𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑎𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑢𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝐴𝑙𝑒𝑥𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑟𝑖𝑎, 𝑉𝑖𝑟𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑎; 𝑎 𝑚𝑒𝑡𝑎𝑝ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑝ℎ𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑒𝑦𝑒𝑠𝑜𝑟𝑒, 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑒 𝐼𝑆 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑢𝑠 𝑙𝑜𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦.

The band elaborates: “On The Time Past EP, we discuss the things that have been permanent fixtures of our lives in the United States; vast economic inequality, government inaction on climate change and social justice, and the dangerous hypocrisy of the religious right, which has steadily marched our country to its current precipice. The power of social media to both bring us together and tear us a part is also a theme captured on the EP.”

Han Gan - The Time Past -Cover

Cover by Angela Eng and Han Gan

“We wanted to release The Time Past EP on vinyl to support a Spring tour. However, live performances remain out of reach for now. We debated waiting to release the songs until we could schedule a post-COVID-19 tour, but the songs felt prescient and we wanted to share them. Artists are using their creativity right now to raise their voices and to tell their stories, and that is something we wanted to share in.

We enlisted Alan Siegler at Third Street Studio in Brooklyn, New York to mix and co-produce the songs with us. We recorded and engineered the songs ourselves from our rehearsal space in Alexandria, Virginia, as we have been making investments in quality preamps and microphones and had hoped, before COVID-19 hit, to start recording other artists as well.

We recorded and produced our first release, The City of Magnificent Intentions, ourselves, and although we were happy with the outcome and the songs, we wanted to add new mixing and recording ideas to this production. It all just worked out with Alan, who is a pleasure to work with, a good friend, and who overcame his own bout with COVID-19 during the production.”

Photo by Angela Eng

Photo by Angela Eng

The Time Past EP released to all major streaming services and on Bandcamp on Wednesday, July 1.

“We decided all proceeds from streaming, digital, and physical sales should go to the Community Justice Exchange’s protest and COVID-19 emergency response fund to support bail for protesters and immigrant detainees whose lives are endangered by COVID-19 outbreaks in federal detention facilities (go here to learn more).

We are currently taking pre-orders for cassettes and compact discs of The Time Past EP on our Bandcamp page for people who want to contribute, but who would like to have a physical copy for their collections. We are avid vinyl and cassettes collectors ourselves.

We are also working on new songs remotely and are planning vinyl releases of current and past work as our band’s finances permit.”

𝑊𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑜 𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝐷𝐼𝑌 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑝𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑑 𝑙𝑎𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐.

“Our plans for touring in 2020 have been indefinitely suspended due to COVID-19. We want to ensure any space in which we play is safe. Like all responsible acts, we are monitoring conditions and hopes to perform again as soon as it is safe to do so. When we do play live, we want to ensure we are not putting people at risk.”

Han Gan Live - Angela Eng

Han Gan Live, by Angela Eng

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐺𝑒𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑒 𝐹𝑙𝑜𝑦𝑑 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑈𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑟𝑦 𝑑𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒. 𝑊𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑒 𝑜𝑟 𝑠𝑦𝑚𝑏𝑜𝑙 𝑤ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑠 𝑒𝑥𝑖𝑔𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑦 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑎𝑠𝑐𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛.

“Bridging the seemingly impossible intersections of class and privilege in the real-world means transferring funding from militarized police forces to free, accessible, and quality public education and universal physical and mental health services. It means the rebuilding of communities devasted by decades of racist urban planning and constituting citizen friendly civil monitoring rather than continuing the kinds of patrols that abuse Black and communities of color.

Real change means expunging the records of prisoners of the forty year-long failed and racist drug war and releasing those held unjustly captive in the nation’s privately and publicly funded lockups. It means legal protection and justice for LGBTQIA communities, and it means real policy changes that will end the systemic racism and the inequity too many people experience in the United States every single day.

Change should be preferable for decision makers too, but some in power still opt to fire rubber bullets and gas canisters at peaceful protestors who refuse to bring the iconography and the systems of the Jim Crow South with them into the 21st century.”

𝑁𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑢𝑠 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑠𝑖𝑡 𝑖𝑑𝑙𝑦 𝑏𝑦 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑠𝑚 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑓𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑒𝑠.

“As a band, we want to ensure many voices are included and heard in our songs.”

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑊𝑎𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑡𝑜𝑛, 𝐷.𝐶. 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑎𝑛 𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑢𝑡𝑝𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝐵𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘 𝐿𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑀𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐶𝑂𝑉𝐼𝐷-19 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑐.

“Virtual shows and benefits have been a staple to support both. Two regular concert series, Damaged City which was scheduled for April, and the summer concerts at Fort Reno Park in D.C. are postponed, or uncertain for now due to COVID-19. At the time of this writing, states in the U.S. South and West are seeing catastrophic numbers of new COVID-19 infections that are sure to impact our region further.

Protests have been intense in D.C. On June 1, U.S. Park Police and other federal law enforcement unleashed smoke canisters, pepper balls, and used batons to remove protesters at Lafayette Square near the Whitehouse before a stated 7 PM curfew. The attack was to clear the way for a photo-op in which Donald Trump held up a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Church leaders denounced the act.”

𝑅𝑖𝑐ℎ𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑑, 𝑉𝑖𝑟𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑎, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑎𝑝𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑒𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑦, 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑣𝑖𝑏𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑛𝑠, 𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑠𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑠𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒.

“Nonetheless, Richomonders were successful in removing some of the vestiges of the “lost cause” in their city, a post-Civil War movement in the U.S. South to rewrite the history of the war and to lionize confederate traitors; tearing down a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederate states during the Civil War who had been enshrined on Richmond’s Monument Avenue since the 1930s. Protesters also projected images of George Floyd on the most prominent confederate monument in the city, a statue of Virginia confederate general Robert E. Lee.”

Photo by Brian Nicewander

Photo by Brian Nicewander

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑁𝑜𝑟𝑓𝑜𝑙𝑘 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑜𝑜, 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑖ℎ𝑜𝑜𝑑𝑠 𝑑𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝐶𝑂𝑉𝐼𝐷-19.

“Brain Hemorrhage and Not for The Weak records, Studio 239, and Industry Workers all use their online presence in Norfolk to provide economic relief to laid off restaurant workers, Black Lives Matter, various lawyers’ guilds and to raise bail funds to keep the city in a cohesive state of survival, resistance, and reconstruction.”

For more inspirations and our usual new music networking, we asked the band to give us some other bands recommendations and their Spotify playlist with songs representing their mood during their respective quarantines!

Comments the band: “Some of the bands we’ve had a great time performing with so far have been Hobbyist, out of Chicago, Huffers out of New York, Arms Bizarre, Bantustans, From Overseas, and Infinite Bliss in Norfolk,  Leisure Burn from DC (RIP), Penny Pistolero from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and Backwoods Payback from West Chester, Pennsylvania.”

More: Spotify Playlist:

“Each of us chose five songs to represent our mood during our respective quarantines. Some of the songs speak directly to today and others warp us back to our younger selves like a time capsule. Some of the songs are especially good if you are feeling anxious and need a little thrashing around.”

Matt (drums, synths, xylophone, vocals):

• Hounds of Love, Kate Bush
• In Green, Volcano, I’m Still Excited
• Silverfuck, Smashing Pumpkins (Matt takes full note that Corgan is less than impressive these days)
• Mother, IDLES
• Plague Doctor, Listener

Brian (vocals, guitars, keys, effects):

• Sailin’ On, Bad Brains
• Run and Run, The Psychedelic Furs
• Just Look Around, Sick Of It All
• Think Again, Minor Threat
• Rode (For Justin), Garden Variety

Ahmasi (bass, effects):

• 24 Hours, Joy Division
• Kill The Night, Hot Water Music
• Feel the Pain, Dinosaur Jr.
• Ooh la la (feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier), Run The Jewels
• ULT, Denzel Curry


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