In the realm of modern screamo and visceral post hardcore, few bands carry the weight and influence of Coma Regalia. Their sprawling legacy has been encapsulated in a special tribute album on Zegema Beach Records, “The One Who Became Many,” a collection that pays homage to their prolific output and indelible mark on the screamo genre. This compilation, featuring 19 bands each with their own unique take on a Coma Regalia song, is not just a celebration of the band’s music; it’s a testament to their impact on artists worldwide.
The list of participating bands reads like a who’s who of the modern screamo scene, each bringing their own flavor while honoring the essence of Coma Regalia’s work. The album traverses a landscape rich in emotional depth and sonic complexity and while being distinct in their interpretation, it shares a common thread – a reverence for the source material that shaped them.
Each band’s selection process for their respective tracks speaks volumes about their connection to Coma Regalia’s music. With many artists expressing how Coma Regalia’s work has been a formative influence in their artistic journey, the compilation’s significance extends beyond the music. It’s a community effort, with proceeds supporting Edie Quinn and their family, underscoring the ethos of support and solidarity that defines the DIY music scene.
As the bands reflect on their local scenes and the evolution of screamo, it’s clear that Coma Regalia’s influence is far-reaching. Whether it’s grappling with the challenges of maintaining the DIY ethos in a digital era or exploring new creative avenues, these artists are united in their respect for the band that has, in many ways, defined the genre.
The recent activities of Coma Regalia include split release “LACK,” featuring Atameo, Letterbombs, and Keratin, available in a limited cassette format. Coma Regalia also recently made their mark with the double single “Busy,” including a cover of Jawbreaker’s “Busy,” a nod to their wide-ranging influences and ability to honor the past while forging their own path. Coma Regalia’s participation in the Middle-Man Records compilation “Grave Neighbors V.7” and their collaborative effort in the split “MMXXIII” with Snag underscored their active role in fostering community and collaboration within the screamo scene. Check out these releases and a lot lot more at Middle-Man Records’ Bandcamp.
The bands and artists who participated in the interview below are: Burial Etiquette, King Slender, Split Silk, Memorrhage, My Hair Is A Rat’s Nest, Apostles of Eris, Letterbombs, Atameo, Low Before The Breeze, Piri Reis, Roman Lions, and To Forget.
With “The One Who Became Many” being a homage to Coma Regalia, what does the band’s legacy mean to each of you personally and artistically?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: Coma Regalia wholeheartedly means the world to me. I have all of their records & almost all of their tapes. I bought the 8 CD 2010-2020 discography album and listened to it in a few sittings on my ps2.
TJ from KING SLENDER: There’s an empathy there. We’ve all previously been in multiple bands for years and years. Before Coma was a group themselves. We collectively understand what it is to be in a band for a long time (it’s hard), and respect the difficulties that come with the retention of that ideal, both physically and mentally.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: To me Coma Regalia represents the power of an artists singular vision. Edie has been adding to this continuing story with every release over the years, and it all shares this really distinct artistic vision. Despite Coma songs varying in texture, they all contain the same heart inside of them. Her relentless work ethic really inspired me, as well as her approach to mixing. Most people mix their music to sound super polished, but Edie embraces the raw energy of the recordings. Everything feels like it’s stapled and pasted together patchwork like a photocopied zine. It’s perfect.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: Hugely important landmark in the screamo landscape with the longevity and breadth of work to prove it!
Jacob from MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: To me, Coma will always be the quintessential internet screamo band. Throughout the past decade, the sheer quantity of their output made them pretty much inescapable, and they used the internet as a means to distribute their music and connect with bands from all over the world. It’s basically the framework for how a screamo band operates today, at a time when the scene is completely decentralized and geographical location is a non-factor.
It’s taken for granted that anyone from anywhere can step in, release an album, and have a community from around the world ready to listen just on the merit that you’re making screamo. We owe a lot of that to Coma Regalia.
Jesse from APOSTLES OF ERIS: The immense size of their musical output paired with their support for the community and many unknown bands is extremely inspiring.
LETTERBOMBS: For me personally, I believe Coma Regalia to be one of the most important screamo band of the past decade in many ways. This covers productivity, uniqueness, musicianship, DIY-ethos, and unwillingness to compromise in their vision, whether it be regarding the music, lyrical themes or even presentation of the release.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: It’s no big secret that screamo in general is a genre that burns bright and fast, most of the hero’s we all grew up with released a few records over the course of a year or two and then became a part of history. What’s wild to me about Coma Regalia / Edie is how the songs have just kept coming. This kind of longevity and consistency hasn’t really existed in our screamo community before this, and their commitment to the scene at large is nothing short of inspiring. We can only hope to write a fraction of the songs Edie has.
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: I think Coma Regalia it’s one of those you cannot miss when speaking about screamo/emoviolence. If you are into this genre circuit, you know and you probably love this band.
I remember starting to lurk into screamo groups around the time I started my first emo band and I ran into Coma Regalia with their split with Drei Affen, although I arrived a little bit late, I still got hit by Edie’s music.
PIRI REIS: Well, my old band Quantis are the first band that Coma Regalia had a split with, out of nowhere, Edie picked us a Malaysian band to do the split instead of any US or European bands. Besides music Edie is really good at drawing and silkscreening, printing, all of the DIY things she’s done it artistically & passionately. In the same year, Utarid Tapes released Coma Regalia’s first tape ‘Mixed Manias & Sorrow Songs’ together with Middle-Man.
RIVERSLEEM: Coma Regalia is one of the most prolific acts in the genre and their stamp on screamo has opened up doors for each of the bands on this compilation in one way or another. This tribute and compilation showcases how meaningful a bands catalogue can truly be, with so many different textures, ideas, and approaches being brought to the table all in the name of honouring and showing love for a band that highlights why this scene is so important, and why screamo continues to resonate with us as artists and with folks all over the world.
TO FORGET: Their legacy is nothing short of inspirational. Any band would be proud to carry on as long as they have.
Can you share how Coma Regalia or Edie Quinn’s work with Middle Man Records has influenced or intersected with your musical journey?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: Burial Etiquette wouldn’t exist without Edie’s infectious & unrelenting passion for DIY screamo & vulnerable expression. I was going through a really hard time after the loss of someone close to me and finding the middleman records bandcamp awoke something in me I thought had died. Before finding her label I only knew screamo through finding bands like funeral diner, saetia, city of caterpillar through YouTube suggestions. Ours Is The Cause Most Noble & It Ends And So It Begins Again by Body Of Wasps were the first two albums I listened to. I was immediately captivated. I bought the labels digital discography, put it on my iPod classic along with stuff downloaded from Sophie’s floorboard and began my obsession w/ modern screamo.
TJ from KING SLENDER: Middleman was always in our stratosphere. Playing this type of music, we knew the type of bands we were aligned with and a lot of them were on Middleman. We’ve always felt we were a little different than their roster and maybe we didn’t quite fit musically. However, the work ethic and dedication to doing a type of music based on pure emotional catharsis, completely in the wake of no one giving a shit, is the tie that binds.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: Split Silk at it’s heart is a vision I’ve had, and before forming a proper band to back it, I wanted to prove that I could play all the instruments myself, record everything, and mix it. Edie’s approach to Coma Regalia was one of the biggest touchstones for me to show how you can create a singular unique sound by playing all the instruments and adding all of those aspects of yourself into every single track. I first saw Coma at a festival in 2015, with one of my first bands I was in, and it left such an impression on my 20 year old self. The energy and passion she brought to everything made me want to chase that sound in my head.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: Ever since being in an interview by Edie, I’ve been mega inspired to keep experimenting and always let the passion in my art be as visible as possible. I’ve always seen Edie and Coma Regalia’s passion shine no matter what release it is, be it a split or LP.
Jacob from MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: When you’re first getting into screamo and and you get past the initial Saetia/Orchid phase, you start digging through Bandcamp to find new music. Coma Regalia/Middleman’s catalogues are likely the first you’ll come across, and they’re just bottomless pits of amazing music. I used to spend literal hours sifting through their releases looking for new stuff to check out. Coma themselves, and the numerous bands I’ve discovered through them, helped shape my understanding of the genre, and ultimately what I wanted my own music to sound like.
Dave from APOSTLES OF ERIS: When I first started Zegema Beach Records in 2013 I came across Middle Man, Coma Regalia and Edie immediately and began releasing stuff together as well as working on a few projects together, with one of those yet-to-be-released.
LETTERBOMBS: As a massive Coma Regalia fan, it has obviously influenced me in many ways. Our most recent release LACK (4-way split with Atameo, Letterbombs, Coma Regalia and Keratin) is a dream come true for me in many ways. It’s also the start of my personal friendship with Edie, so it does mean a great deal.
Probably the most notable thing for me that Coma has really influenced is just strengthening the mindset of doing you own thing and focusing on that.
ATAMEO: When we have started listening to the screamo genre, most of the music we have discovered was through exploring Bandcamp – this is how we have found out about Middle Man Records and Edie’s work, which have led us to discover a lot of amazing music and some of our biggest influences up to this day.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: Kind of a similar answer to question 1, but the example that Edie has set with Coma/Middle Man has led so many folks to explore DIY heavy music. For those of us who grew up in the major label era – the idea of having music out on a record label seemed mythical, but the existence of something like Middle Man proved that we don’t need corporations for our art – with enough work we can take art into our own hands and get it out to those who wish to hear.
PIRI REIS: We want to do as many split releases as we can like Coma Regalia, the band inspired us to be more productive, hard working & creative in writing music.
TO FORGET: Edie is personally responsible for exposing me to so many bands that I now love. Through both MMR and Coma Regalia, I can’t think of anyone who has done more to contribute to the genre than Edie.
What was the selection process like for the track you covered for this compilation? Did it choose you, or did you choose it?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: The song ‘the knight in the squires imagination’ was the song that convinced me that what I had discovered was something incredibly special.
The lyrics spoke to me on another level. like any great story, it brought its world to life through the eyes of its characters. Each track exploring a different theme and bringing them all together in the climactic many who became one. I thought it was brilliant and it instantly made me excited about making music again. It also was the beginning of my journey to discovering the vocabulary I need to I feel comfortable enough to identify as non binary.
TJ from KING SLENDER: Our general vibe is more straight ahead. It sort of flies in the face of how experimental the genre has become. Which isn’t a criticism. Just a statement of fact. The track we chose was a straight ripper. We felt like it was a great song and would be the easiest for us to dig into.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: Ours is the Cause Most Noble is the Coma album that has by far left the biggest impression on me. I remember getting it in the mail and pouring over the liner notes and just admiring the way the package was put together.
The songs on that LP felt like they had more range, and weren’t afraid to bring out softer moments with more melody before embracing the noise. It’s an album full of personal anthems, so it felt fitting to pick the song that’s most anthemic, “Magician’s Clumsy Apprentice.”
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: I remember asking Dave if the song I chose was available and it was free so I jumped on it. I knew I wanted something from that album as it was the first release of theirs I ever heard.
Jacob from MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: I lean pretty heavily on those two-octave riffs, the ones where it almost sounds like the guitar is crying? And that’s always been a big part of Coma’s sound, so I specifically went for a song that had a lot of that going on.
Lyrically, I don’t want to put words in Edie’s mouth, but there’s a theme of being trapped in a cycle of getting kicked while you’re down, and I feel like that’s universal to an extent.
ROMAN LIONS: Being as prolific as they are, Coma Regalia’s library has a ton of tracks to pick from. We went with a track (In Submission) that we thought had just enough overlap with our own style, but gave us enough of an opportunity to try a new take that didn’t wreck the foundation of the song.
Jesse from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I picked MQWC because it was on one of the earlier releases I was aware of, and also because it was short and sounded fun to play.
Dave from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I picked MQWC because it’s always been one of my favourite Coma tracks due to its immediacy. No brainer.
LETTERBOMBS: I’d say both. Devoid was the first song that came to mind, and we just went with that.
ATAMEO: When we were offered the opportunity to participate in the compilation, a few songs immediately came to mind. “we’ve all got our ghosts, man” was the first one we thought of and ultimately chose. We believed paying tribute to it would be both a fun and challenging experience, aiming to do it the best way we can.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: JB and myself (Andrew), found ourselves at a weird time in the band; we had recently found ourselves as a two piece for the first time since the band started and while it was bizarre it also like a very interesting chance to make something unique. I remember sitting down and revisiting the majority of the Coma Regalia discography and eventually deciding that “Esplame” had to be the song we covered.
I immediately sent it to JB and he also thought we could have a lot of fun with it. We entered West End Studio (Atlanta, GA, USA) with some loose ideas but largely wrote our version of the song with the help (and patience!) of the wonderful Tom Tapley Slowly but surely we put our own spin on what is already a killer song – hopefully we did it justice!
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: I totally chose it. When Dave told me about the compilation, I listened to a couple of my favorite tracks, but The Face Underwater clicked with me immediately. I thought it was the perfect song for DDTIFMTATMAS style.
PIRI REIS: Basically, we wanted to choose the song from Piri Reis / Coma Regalia split 10”. The first choice was the track Devoid but it had been taken by Finnish Letterbombs.
So we decided to cover Listless.
RIVERSLEEM: All of “Vau Faelgoh” goes incredibly hard, but “Indveil” chose us without a doubt.
TO FORGET: I would say that “Aestheroh” chose us. The song as a whole resonates deeply with me and the line “it’s all I ever wanted” still gives me chills after all this time. When we were asked to contribute to this comp, I knew immediately which song we’d cover.
When you first approached your selected Coma Regalia track, what elements did you identify as untouchable, and which parts did you feel compelled to reinterpret?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: More than anything we wanted to retain the original spirit and hopeful desperation present in the original. we added some layering because I can’t help myself but other than that I wanted to evoke the song as well as possible.
TJ from KING SLENDER: We gave it a few goes at practice. It was a fairly quick process. We honestly didn’t feel any pressure or expectation to do anything a certain way. At the end of the day, we just wanted it to be good. We played around with the arrangement, adding an intro and throwing a nice heavy ending. Again, it was a very quick process. The song itself is a fast ripper. We felt we should make the decisions on our approach in the same spirit.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: I really wanted to stick close to the original structurally. I made the opening part half-time, just because that’s a big aspect of my approach to rhythm. The overall tempos and structure I wanted to keep safe because the way the song builds is just so precious and perfect.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: I initially knew I wanted to completely reinterpret the track. As a curveball to what maybe most people might have expected of me. So it was a total reimagining from the start!
ROMAN LIONS: It was hard to want to change any of the parts, but we knew we needed to put our stamp on it. We felt the back half was the most important to keep mostly intact, and that building towards it with a more subtle opening was a good way to inject our sensibilities without completely trashing the spirit of the song.
Jesse from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I kept most of the guitars and bass similar, as well as certain drum parts, but it was a bit difficult to figure out what areas to add my own flair.
Dave from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I found following the vocal patterns at points difficult at some points (generally the latter half), so as I usually do with covers I just kinda worked the lyrics in with my own placements when I was curfuddled.
LETTERBOMBS: To be honest, the original idea was to play the version of the song as it was and try and do it the justice it deserves the Letterbombs way. Jussi (drums) decided while recording the actual track to bump the tempo up and I believe it was a good decision.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: “Esplame” is a song full of space – something I cherish in music. Edie’s Lyrics and vocal performance shine through above all else and that was the thing that we wanted to preserve most. We felt we could play with the instruments a bit, but those lyrics absolutely had to shine.
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: I tried to maintain the lyrics, although some of them had to interpret them by myself. I took a lot of freedom with the cover, changed the guitar a little bit to adapt it to my own skill, but maintained the rhythms.
PIRI REIS: We’re really bad at doing covers, so we try not to change the songs as much. We love it that way except we made the ending part a bit longer.
TO FORGET: Since we’re a three piece, our main goal was to reimagine the song with one guitar track while still maintaining the original feel. For my parts I tried to straddle the line between bass and second guitar by playing chords in some sections. Whether or not I accomplished that goal is anyone’s guess, but I’m happy with the result.
In covering a Coma Regalia song, how did you balance your unique sound with the spirit of the original track?
TJ from KING SLENDER: Our sound is more aligned with older emotional hardcore than screamo per say. In that respect, I’d say we took the approach of choosing a track that was more aligned with our sound in order to provide balance to ourselves, rather than the other way around.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: I tried to recreate some of that patchwork, photocopied zine sound that reflects Edie’s approach to mixing. Not forcing myself to redo parts constantly, and just trying to keep moving and not hyperfocus. I tried to think about the song as a whole instead. Me and her’s approach to guitar tones differ a little because I favor really low output single coil pickups and I know she was probably using humbuckers at this point.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: I would say it leaned hard into my interpretation and sound of the song while trying to maintain the emotional weight/spirit of the original.
Jesse from APOSTLES OF ERIS: The biggest differences are in the drum flow/pacing, especially at the end where I ramped things up rather than pull back. I also added a guitar solo because I know Edie enjoys some of the same thrash and other more metal bands that I do, but has never had a metal solo in one of her songs, so I figured I’d do it sort of in honor of our mutual tastes.
Dave from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I can only scream like me so I tried to follow the vocal patterns as best as I could but never tried to sound like Edie.
LETTERBOMBS: We just did what comes naturally and hoped for the best.
ATAMEO: We’ve covered a few songs in the past, such as “Never To Be” by Funeral Diner (which you can listen to on our Bandcamp). Through repeated listening over a couple of days, we rehearse the song, adding little touches and making subtle changes. Trying to infuse our own style while preserving the essence of the original, or at least we hope so.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: In my opinion, JB’s drumming is what makes Low Before the Breeze a band, so the first thing of ours that we made room for was his approach to the structure of the song. From there it was really just up to me to fake my way through Edie’s absolutely sick guitar leads and vocals. The original song breathe’s so well, and our goal was to really replicate that just a taste of what we view as “our sound”.
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: I think DDTIFMTATMAS has this sound very recognizable, by maintaining rhythms and lyrics I knew I could balance the uniqueness of Dear Diary and the essence of the original song.
RIVERSLEEM: Covering Indveil presented a welcome challenge. Striking a balance between our sound and preserving the essence of the original track was very important to us. We aimed to maintain authenticity by staying true to our artistic identity while ensuring a cover that captured the energy of the original. We started by listening to our respective instruments individually, slowly figuring out the parts until we felt ready to jam it out in our space. We captured the majority of the performance in one session and put the finishing touches on later in a second session.
The engineering, recording, and mixing style was similar to how we approached our first EP, and we think this helped to blend the songwriting of Coma Regalia with our distinct musicianship, voice, and overall sound.
TO FORGET: We wanted to provide a bit of our own take on the song, but in subtle and thoughtful ways. For example, doing the intro part an octave down on guitar gave it a bit of a different feel. Joe also incorporated some bass noise in the intro and through the interlude sections for a heavy bass foundation. “Aestheroh” is such a powerful song on its own and we did our best to preserve the feel of the original song but with a slightly unique approach.
What challenges did you face in infusing your identity into the song while maintaining the integrity of Coma Regalia’s sound?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: Because the band was so formative for us, this wasn’t much of an issue.
TJ from KING SLENDER: None. Thanks Edie and Coma for writing a good one.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: Mostly in trying to play around with different rhythms. I went through a dozen or so drum tracks until I ended up kinda just returning to an arrangement that was closer to the original. I was trying hard to make it my own, not realizing that me playing those parts alone would give it a different feel. Edie is such a great drummer and she has these really signature fills and grooves that I could never replicate.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: In line with previous answers: I threw all traditional challenges out the window by going nearly fully away from the song’s style. You could say I turned it into a ballad of sorts which I hope comes across as me magnifying the lyrics with my delivery.
Jacob from MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: Using programmed drums and amp sims and whatnot definitely comes with some constraints. In all of Coma Regalia’s recordings, you can really hear the space and feel the rawness of the performances, and I feel like a lot of that was naturally lost in my version. I still tried to inject as much atmosphere into it as I could though, so hopefully I did it some justice.
ROMAN LIONS: This is the first cover we’ve ever done, so we talked a lot about how far was too far with making changes to the track. We knew we wanted to inject some of the atmosphere that we’re known for, but not subtract too much of the intensity of the track. That decision meant that we kept the back half pretty close to the original (with some slight rhythm changes and new guitar layers), and we introduced our style of dynamics to the first half of the song.
Jesse from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I guess trying to figure out where to spice things up and where to hold back. It’s such a short song, and many of the rhythms are integral to the feel of the song, so it was difficult at first to figure out the direction I wanted to take.
Dave from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I just didn’t want my vocals to suck lol
LETTERBOMBS: There really weren’t any issues. I believe it sounds distinctively like both bands in the best way possible.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: This song really pushed my guitar writing in a new direction, one that I think will be apparent in the next music we put out. In our demo and split ep (with Less Dead), the songs are largely riff heavy and dense. This cover challenged me to get creative with melody in a way that I haven’t had to do as a songwriter before. Eventually we did find that balance, and it was largely keeping the original’s sense of melody but infusing it with JB’s high energy drum attack.
PIRI REIS: Our sound is not much different from the original, only Mira’s vocals differentiate PR & CR.
TO FORGET: Getting together and recording this song was really fun. The most challenging aspect with this cover was mainly on the mixing/production side. We recorded this one at home, and while we could have had someone professional record it for us, we felt that trying to do it ourselves would be a solid way to pay tribute to Coma Regalia. I’m appreciative of the opportunity and experience.
How does this compilation, in your view, contribute to the ongoing narrative and evolution of screamo as a genre?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: I think it pays tribute in a powerful way to one of the most prolific and hardworking bands to ever grace the scene. I think it allows new bands to pay respects and show their audience what may have made them start recording again in the first place.
TJ from KING SLENDER: It certainly shows that at the core of this genre lies an indebtedness to community. And within that, a recognition of our peers and their ability to push the boundaries of what is fundamentally interesting and reverent within this music.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: I think this album really is a way to honor Coma Regalia and Edie’s contribution to screamo, and the greater DIY community. Coma is one of the most influential screamo bands of the past decade, and she’s still going strong with an amazing lineup. I think pretty much every active band playing this genre is indebted to her hard work. I know it’s probably like, really cheesy to say this, but most people who are big Coma fans are other musicians because the energy behind every Coma Regalia song makes you want to start your own band and play music.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: An overall amazing compilation that showcases a lot of passion, talent, and sense of community in screamo. The community is ever growing and this should be a great opportunity for those new to the genre to dive into Coma Regalia and those already entrenched to celebrate them.
ROMAN LIONS: I think this compilation shows not only the incredible love that exists for Coma Regalia, it also showcases the wide range of talent that exists in the genre. It’s awesome to see.
Jesse from APOSTLES OF ERIS: Every band’s contribution sounds like it’s a CR cover, yet each artist retains their identity in the sense that it could also be mistaken for an original song. On top of that there’s people from multiple generations of screamo artists involved from many parts of the world.
LETTERBOMBS: In my opinion it just shows how screamo has no boundaries, musically or geographically.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: This compilation feels like a snapshot of where the genre is today; so many different approaches to “screamo” are present. The term has always felt so ambiguous, and even more so today – that seems apparent by how many bands interpret these Coma Regalia songs through their own lens. If the genre is largely defined by ambiguity and evolution, then this is absolutely another step into that direction.
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: I think recognizing some acts that have been around for a long time and have done lots of work to keep doing it for so long it’s a way to introduce new listeners through the importance of the history of them and the screamo genre.
PIRI REIS: All the bands on the compilation will get a wider audience, especially to Coma Regalia’s fans. It’s amazing to see screamo is growing better & stronger.
RIVERSLEEM: Like all genres, screamo is ever-evolving, but it is also a genre where honouring its initial legacy is so important to its progression and appreciation. Bands like Coma Regalia have pushed forward the overall narrative of screamo by existing in so much of its DNA for more than a decade.
At this point in time, we are “post-revival” of the genre and this compilation shows how much that same DNA has influenced every corner of the scene, from where it’s been, and to where it’s going. Riversleem is a newer band and we’re on this compilation with acts who have been contributing to this scene for years, which is a total honour, and it’s only through compilations like this and the support from people like Dave and ZBR that folks from all over can come together and contribute to a common goal that not only honours a stellar band but at the same time, becomes a part of the very same narrative that they have helped to foster and bolster.
TO FORGET: To me, this comp contributes to the evolution of the screamo world by being focused around community. When Dave reached out to us and told us his plan to develop this comp as a surprise gift to Edie, we loved the idea. It’s so deeply rooted in friendship and support from artists from far off places. It’s a taste of how meaningful the efforts that Edie and Coma Regalia have made to this genre. It’s quite a beautiful thing.
Beyond the tribute, the proceeds from this compilation are going to support Edie and Coma Regalia. Could you reflect on the importance of community support and giving back in the DIY music scene?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: I think it is imperative for people to support each other in the scene. Not only because it helps you meet people and discover new cool music. But also because it just feels good to see your friends in the scene journey as songwriters. And how inspiring it is to be among people who are so humble, incredibly talented & endearingly true to themselves.
TJ from KING SLENDER: We’ve all been playing shows to absolutely no one for years. That’s not going to stop. It’s been interesting to see the rises and falls in interest within this type of music. Sometimes it bubbles up and outsiders start taking interest.
However, throughout those valleys and peaks, it’s maintained. Not faded away. That’s in large part due to people like Edie and the Daves at Zegema, as well as all of the bands that keep pushing challenging music in the face of absolutely no one giving a shit (sometimes). Giving back and recognizing your peers and what they’re doing is what keeps this alive. Which is why we immediately agreed to be involved with this compilation.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: Some of my longest lasting friendships are through this scene. I played in just one screamo band for a bit in the mid 2010s and met some great folks then that I still talk to almost weekly. Because we all share this very specific passion, I think it’s something that really brings us together. We have this deeper level of understanding towards each other that makes us want to step in when someone needs help. A lot of us are also parts of marginalized communities, especially queer folks and people of color. We’re all really familiar with the struggles of living in the margins of late-stage capitalism, so we’re always there to support each other.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: Yes. Without that DIY ethos, the scene doesn’t really thrive. The community support is essential in keeping the genre (musicians and fans alike) staying connected.
Jacob from MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: Everyone knows there’s no money in screamo. By getting involved, you enter a sort of informal agreement that everyone is in it for the music, and we lean on each other for support. What Dave’s put together here is an amazing display of that. I also think it’s important to send a message that everyone is entitled to the same love and respect regardless of how they identify, and there’s no place for acting like an ass here.
ROMAN LIONS: DIY doesn’t work without community. It’s kind of a misleading term because “do it yourself” suggests that you can only rely on yourself, but in our experience that’s never been the case. Since our teens, every song written, and every tour booked has been done with the support of others who had the same motivation to make something cool together. Giving back to the community is the unwritten law of DIY, so it’s awesome (but not surprising) to see so many bands step up for this comp.
Dave from APOSTLES OF ERIS: Edie has given up so much money, time, and effort to help people just because she loved them and/or their music. I have literally seen some bands turn their backs on her once elevated to higher levels of “importance” in the industry and feel like she’s been taken advantage of. This was a way to give back to her as she gives and gives, but rarely receives. Grounding egos in screamo is very important, as that is the poison that erases giving back to the scene and replaces it with selfishness.
LETTERBOMBS: I see the DIY-ideology as just means to an end in many ways. Try to do things by yourself or reach out to people in the community and they’ll help. It works both ways, so just try and be active and help in a way that you feel comfortable with.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: Supporting DIY is the most important thing that we can do as fans of creative music and art. I love radio pop as much as the next person, but it’s no secret to anyone that the real innovations in art are taking place on a DIY level. Unique approaches and personalities are not only allowed, but encouraged in DIY and without people like Edie we would see those things dwindle or even cease to exist.
PIRI REIS: Edie has done a lot for the screamo & hardcore punk DIY scene in general. She sacrificed a lot of her money & time to the scene & it’s important for us to support Edie’s work & life.
TO FORGET: I think there’s so much pressure in our society to work, make money, and consume excessively in hopes of feeling fulfilled. In reality, what we need is to feel useful, to feel understood, and to feel like we’re a part of a community that shows up for and takes care of one another. I think DIY music can help meet those needs.
In the context of your local music scene, how has the screamo genre evolved, and where does your band fit into that landscape?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: Thunder Bay is an extremely isolated city. The closet lest thing to us is a 7 hour drive. And Toronto is 16 hours. We owe everything to the connections we’ve forged online and at new friends / zegema beach fest. We’re the only thing of our kind here so we have a pretty dedicated following of local Emos.
TJ from KING SLENDER: We see a lot of younger people taking up the flag. Massa Nera, Pyre, Sonagi, Mt Ida, A Paramount A Love Supreme come to mind. These bands are populated by people who were all either playing or attending basement/diy shows for years. The passion is there. And they’re focused on making challenging, emotionally charged music. That’s what’s important. Our own band is probably stylistically very different from them and vice versa. But I think we share a similar catharsis.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: We’re just starting to play shows now after just being a recording project for the past year, but I’m really happy to start playing out and bringing our sound to the table. Split Silk isn’t necessarily screamo, but it definitely falls under that emo/post-hardcore umbrella. I just love blending melody, dissonance and hooks into something that feels as indebted to bands like Coma Regalia as it does Cat Power or Kim Deal.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: It’s still strong and keeps cycling with younger groups as newer folks get into it. Amazing to see. I would say my band (on the comp) doesn’t necessarily fit into that landscape as well as another project of mine (Cara Neir), but I personally always feel welcome in the landscape. It’s always a genre that will stick with me no matter what directions I go in music in general.
ROMAN LIONS : We’re a band of two cities. Half of us grew up in Baltimore, MD, and the other half in San Jose, CA, so we’re a product of two groups of kids who came up in two incredible areas for punk. Screamo, like most genres, hit a point where new bands started to pop up that didn’t sound like pure screamo, but were clearly influenced by it. We’re one of those bands. We identify with the emotional intensity of screamo, while aiming for something with a broader sonic footprint.
Jesse from APOSTLES OF ERIS: In Richmond there seems to be more people coming out to shows than pre 2020, including younger people/bands. There’s been some newer bands playing out like Humanitarian Deficit, Donald Shimoda, and societe du spectacle who are doing cool stuff, on top of more established acts like Ostraca, .gif from god, Listless, Kristeva, and my band In Wolves Clothing.
Dave from APOSTLES OF ERIS: I’m on Vancouver Island so there’s nothing but I play guitar and would very much like to play shows asap.
LETTERBOMBS: Finland’s screamo scene is constantly growing. We each just do our own thing, support each other and try help when we can.
ATAMEO: In the past year, there has been some growth in the screamo genre in our local scene. Two years ago, we were pretty much the only band playing screamo out here, and now there are all those new amazing bands, such as ITAKO, saäs, Sonya, and TheLightWeShare.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: Atlanta has seen an explosion of Screamo bands in the post pandemic world! It felt like only Slow Fire Pistol existed for the longest time, but now we have so many different interpretations of the “screamo” sound, and it’s absolutely heart warming. Low Before the Breeze seems to exist on the heavier end of that sound, whatever that means; we like to add in some metal influences and have fun with math-y rhythms that hopefully come off as interesting to anyone else who’s in love with this whole screamo thing.
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: In recent years I’ve seen some new emo acts born here and it’s exciting, because I live in a small town who have always been kinda reluctant to do music out of the ordinary. It’s always nice to listen to other people who understand what you do or what you listen to.
PIRI REIS: The screamo scene here in Malaysia is still small, but we have few new promising bands coming up this year. Piri Reis & all the new bands are close to each other.
TO FORGET: In Charleston, we don’t have too many screamo counterparts. We would love to see more bands start here so we can collaborate and develop the scene further. It’s important for us to help provide an encouraging and welcoming environment with our contributions here. There are a lot of younger kids coming out to shows now and starting new projects, and we strive to be an active supporter of the next generation of artists to have a place to create and be themselves.
What can you tell us about the current dynamics of your local scene, especially in light of the challenges posed by recent global events?
TJ from KING SLENDER: In the last few years, we’ve seen a bit of resurgence in the genre. Largely bolstered by the constant championing of bands of this ilk by labels like Middleman and Zegema. The bands and community around here have tried to capitalize on that by working to provide places for shows and space for the scene to thrive. In general, everyone is really supportive. There isn’t shit talking or negativity. Which is honestly amazing given that it’s the city of Philadelphia. This is a tough city to have a band in. There’s a million musicians and within that the expectation to be very good. In some ways, it breeds a better band. But it can be defeating as well. However, the vibe within the current scene is very uplifting. That’s a special thing.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: Atlanta GA is kind of a screamo hotbed right now? We have about a dozen bands right now playing stuff in this realm and it’s crazy to see. I remember going to shows about a decade ago and there were only like 2-3 bands.
Georgia has had some really amazing bands in the past like Portrait, I Would Set Myself On Fire For You, Nurture, Inkwell, etc, and there are some amazing bands right now that are carrying on that torch. Slow Fire Pistol, Dim, /hospitality/, In Memories, Less Dead, Low Before the Breeze, Hambear, Clavus.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: It seems to always be aware and of the position of supporting one another, making sure the scene is a safe environment and about progression.
LETTERBOMBS: The current on-going genocide of the Palestinian people has caught the attention of people in the Finnish hardcore/DIY-scene. People have actively spread awareness, participated in protests, and even raised money for charities in various ways.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: We are in love with our local scene. Atlanta DIY feels like it’s at an all time great spot right now and it’s so exciting. I feel like any show I go to has so many friends either playing or supporting. There is so much positivity, so much innovation, and honestly just so much good music. I’ve never experienced a scene that felt this unified and I only hope that it continues in this same spirit for a long time.
RIVERSLEEM: We would say that the Saskatoon heavy scene is seeing a bit of a revitalization in recent years. Lots of new bands popping up, lots of them from brand new folks, and some from older members of the scene. Lots of energy and excitement overall!! We’re excited to see how it evolves in the coming years, and begins to contextualize and respond in meaningful ways to an increasingly angry and confusing time.
TO FORGET: Our city is more focused on real estate development and tourism than supporting the arts. Our government can’t help with the ever-rising cost of living but is happily inventing new ways to fund war. Life feels like one giant meat grinder and all we have is each other.
How does your band keep the DIY spirit alive in your own practices and within your community?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: We put in & play benefit shows to raise money for vulnerable people. We donate bandcamp money to refugee causes, trans active and other non for profit organizations. We try and bring some of the energy and passion we see at new friends fest and online to our hometown.’
TJ from KING SLENDER: God, we probably don’t do enough. We try to champion those around us and buy their records and just attend shows and give support. Some have a lot of energy to give and others don’t. And I think much like being in a band, you find your job and do it. And you get out of the way or just be generally supportive when someone else is taking the reins on something.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: Personally I’m a really self reliant person. I love learning how to do things myself, rather than just paying someone to do it. That was my approach to recording, mixing and mastering these initial Split Silk releases. I wanted to be involved in the sound of the music I was making from the first demos, to recording guitar tracks, to the final masters I uploaded on bandcamp. I wanted to be able to understand the process so that if down the line we do work with other people to record or master our stuff, I’m able to talk intelligently about what is happening.
There are a lot of shitty men in the music world that love talking down to girls about this stuff, and I don’t want my music to suffer because I’m working with someone who’s being negligent or condescending to me. Any knowledge I learn I try to pass on to others, I was able to publish some essays in Edie’s zine SparX about how to record yourself and being able to take the reins with regard to recording and mixing your music.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: Mainly working with independent labels or self releasing, self producing (always), and then also making sure I can donate to those in need whenever possible.
ROMAN LIONS: We create 100% of our own media. Our songs, photography, music videos, logos, etc are created by each of us in the band. For everything else we rely on the support of like-minded friends. The Daves from Zegema Beach/Tomb Tree Tapes are some of the awesome friends that help us make cool stuff, and keep the DIY spirit alive.
LETTERBOMBS: We’re quite DIY as we pretty much do most things by ourselves, recording, mixing, mastering and artwork. We do branch out and have other people do things too, but the people we work with share our passion for DIY.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: I think DIY is our only option at this point in the life of our band – from recording with friends to self releasing tapes, every aspect of our music has been within that DIY umbrella. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a community that supports this kind of thing, and friends that are available to help us in the areas that we are less familiar with (looking at Brian from Dim /Star Rat for tapes, Conner at Sobek Sound for recording, Cameron at ENT Design for art). Beyond that it’s just about supporting our friends, wether they are booking a show, releasing music, performing, or creating in any way.
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: The passion about what you do it’s something that you can’t fake. I think all people in DIY scenes around the world know this and that’s the main reason it still works despite the fantasy of being the next big hit.
PIRI REIS: We try to do everything as much as we can, we’re lucky that we have a community that is very supportive.
RIVERSLEEM: When it comes to our music, we try to be as DIY as possible. We record in makeshift studio spaces, play shows in local venues, design our artwork and merch, and try to create a network of like-minded folks who are in it for the love of it. As well, we support other independent artists and community initiatives whenever possible.
We’ve involved a fundraiser for local organizations to each of our EP releases and shows. Digital sales from our most recent EP release will be going to Chokecherry Studios, a local Indigenous youth arts initiative and collective, and this upcoming December we will be playing a show in support of our local food bank.
Working to support our communities and give back in any way possible is integral to our values as a band, and is always an important aspect of any decision the four of us make together.
TO FORGET: When it comes to our DIY ethic in Charleston, lately we’ve been trying to think outside the box and try new things. We’re fortunate to have a dedicated group of friends here that we can work together with. For example, we’ve done a couple of generator shows this year on an abandoned bridge downtown, and we call it “nowhere.”
It’s been inspiring to see how trying things like this have impacted people. All ages spaces are hard to come by here, and we also have an active discussion about establishing an all ages venue in the future. Thinking big and working collectively goes a long way. We’re happy to be a part of a movement of making the changes we wish to see in the world, and home is where that all starts.
With screamo being a niche but passionate community, what efforts do you see or partake in to grow the scene without sacrificing its core values? Especially in the current digital music era?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: Being inspired by the generosity of the screamo community it has always been my personal rule of thumb to give back at least twice as much as I take. I listen to, share and buy my friends albums and other bands in the scene I respect. I write about new stuff I like and share them with people I think may be interested.
TJ from KING SLENDER: It’s so simple, but buying physical items from bands/peers is so integral to their success. Sharing their accomplishments on social media is another. It’s so obvious, but just giving your money or support is crucial. It gives literal value to their creative spirit. Buy your friend’s records!
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: For me it really comes down to being genuine. So much of the internet is coated in multiple layers of sarcasm and irony. People are afraid to show that they like something for fear of being seen as “cringe” or whatever. I fucking hate that shit. Whenever I’m at a show or practice, I’m just beaming with joy and bliss. I’m just happy to be able to see amazing music, and share those experiences with other people. This community is a place where I try to unmask, and be myself, and let the giddy excitement I feel whenever I get to talk to someone about Portrait or Ethel Meserve at shows and share in that collective passion we all feel.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: Collaboration especially with newer artists. Get to know them, not only through collaboration but also sharing discoveries with each other. Newer artists might have a better pulse on other newer artists that I may not be aware of. Keeping in touch this way keeps evolving the genre and scene.
Jacob from MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: With the internet, the scene sort of grows itself. I think it’s our obligation to be welcoming to new artists and ideas, and shut down any form of gatekeeping when we see it. Screamo is more accessible than ever, with a whole new generation of artists embracing bedroom aesthetics, and making art with as little means possible. I find that really exciting.
LETTERBOMBS: Surround yourself with good people, play shows, create music, and reach out to bands you like and your good to go. That’s pretty much the essence of it.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: Screamo is something that has to be seen to really be experienced, so it’s just about dragging your friends to shows. If someone can tolerate loud music in any sense then you’ve just got to get them into a DIY art space and let them see some kid scream their heart out to a crowd of 17 people. It’s hard not to be a pessimist about the whole streaming thing, but as long as we can keep that wonder of live passionate music alive I think we can keep growing this scene.
PIRI REIS: More physical releases! But digital releases are ok too. The most special thing about physical releases are the artwork & special variant of vinyl & tapes (like Zegema Beach has mastered).
TO FORGET: Some of our efforts to contribute to the screamo community include supporting artists that mean a lot to us. It’s a fulfilling experience to provide a band we love with a good opportunity in Charleston to network and make new friends. The means in which we promote shows and distribute music must remain genuine as well. In the digital age of music, we’re very grateful for Zegema Beach Records for helping us provide some awesome physical media, and we often stock our local record shop to keep things accessible here at home. I think by staying true to ourselves, taking care of one another, and sustaining an inclusive environment is how we can contribute to the scene in the big picture.
Finally, what’s next for your band? Are there any new directions or projects you’re exploring after being part of this monumental compilation?
Jaccob, BURIAL ETIQUETTE: We are releasing our debut album on zegema beach records next year.
We have worked on it for a long time while we wrote material for splits. It will be available on vinyl.
TJ from KING SLENDER: We recently released a cover song of one of our favorite bands The Cardigans. That was fun. In 2024 we’re looking to record and release a follow up to our last LP, Gold Days.
We’re excited about the songs we have. A little more fine tuning and we’ll be hitting the studio soon.
Cassandra from SPLIT SILK: This track is the last one in this first phase of Split Silk where I’m playing all the instruments. I’ve taken this as far as I can go with my ability. I’ve recruited some dear friends to fill out a band lineup so we can start playing shows and eventually start recording next year.
We have some splits with friends of ours coming up as well and we can’t wait to share that news and those songs. Recording everything by myself was really powerful and empowering, but I’m ready to be vulnerable and share this music with other musicians.
I’m ready to collaborate and create something in a room and embrace that different sort of energy and see what these angels are going to bring to this project.
Garry from MEMORRHAGE: Always writing! In almost all my projects. I’ve been on my nostalgic nu-metal kick (as someone in their mid-30s) so I’m riding this wave and exploring many avenues in it. Taking elements of death metal, screamo, synthwave, industrial and more to combine with.
Jacob from MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: I made a lot of music this year, between two full-lengths and all the collaborative projects I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of, like this one. I kind of want to dial it back and work on something short and concise. I’m not sure what that will sound like yet, but it should be a nice change of pace
ROMAN LIONS: We’re aiming to release our next LP, and a split EP in 2024. We also have some fun creative projects planned to support those releases, which means the coming year will be the most challenging and hopefully most rewarding year we’ve had as a band.
APOSTLES OF ERIS: We are working on an LP and a collaboration, plus our other band Our Future Is An Absolute Shadow has an album waiting to be pressed.
LETTERBOMBS: The new LACK-split just came out and we’re very excited for people to hear it. Our debut full-length will be released in 2024 at some point and that’s what we’ve been focusing on mainly this year. We hope to play more abroad, meet new people, and enjoy things as they come.
👉 Be sure to check out our multi-interview about “Slava Ukraini“, a project from Scottish DIY label Hunkofplastic Records, also featuring Letterbombs.’
ATAMEO: For the past two years or so, we’ve been working really hard on new music for our second album.
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We’ve been writing and rewriting again and again, sometimes feeling like total lunatics, other times like we’ve discovered something beautiful to us, and occasionally, just feeling like everything is falling apart.
LOW BEFORE THE BREEZE: Low Before the Breeze is currently at a really exciting point. Very shortly after recording this song we added two new members, Jon Kemp as a guitarist and Chris Williams as a bassist; their influence has been felt in writing a new batch of songs and we can’t wait to get them recorded and released into the world.
Aside from that, myself (Andrew) and fellow Compilation contributors Jake and Matt of Less Dead, have been involved in a new project that will be seeing the light of day very soon – which I am also very excited about!
MY HAIR IS A RAT’S NEST: A while ago I thought about putting this project into a hiatus, but I’m thinking about doing a new release soon. Can’t promise tho.
PIRI REIS: Nothing much for now, we’re still writing new music. So hopefully we can see a new album or another split release in the future.
RIVERSLEEM: Firstly we’re so privileged to have been included on this compilation, and we thank Dave immensely for the opportunity!
We just released our second EP “A Second Release by Riversleem” this September on Zegema Beach Records, and are largely just so grateful to have that released and out in the world.
To coincide with the new EP we’ll be putting out our very first official music video soon, which was directed by the incredibly talented Jacob Farrell and Dorothy Studios.
Beyond that, we’ve actually started to write material for the next release and are in the process of putting the building blocks together of what that might look like, which we hope to put out into the world sooner rather than later.
TO FORGET: Next up for us, we have an upcoming show with Frail Body and Pains in Charleston on 11/28, and we’re playing a fest in Atlanta on 12/22 called Three Days ‘Til Christmas Fest with a bunch of great southeastern screamo bands.
After that, we plan to take a breather from shows for a few months and focus on writing. We’ve been discussing some new sound directions to move forward with, including some darker textures, noisier spaces, and more rhythmic undercurrents.
We’re excited to grow our sound in a way that feels sincere to who we are now.
Being a part of this compilation is an excellent reminder of how special, versatile, and expansive the screamo community is, and it encourages us to keep going.
Want to keep the beat going?
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