West Coast based PMA hardcore band KNELT BEFORE features former members of Second Coming, LoveHateHero, What Lies Within and Divide the Day, and they just self-released their debut album, Be Nice. If you love classic hardcore punk in the vein of H2O, Ignite, Gorilla Biscuits then it’s a straight up glorious start to the week with their wicked tunes!
The band makes hardcore infused with pop-punk subtleties with positive lyrics (no cursing, etc). Two of the members are straight edge, one is Hare Krishna and a few are vegetarian and vegan as well.
For Fans Of: H2O, Face (Japan), Ignite, Good Clean Fun, Gorilla Biscuits, , Youth Of Today
After leaving music for many years, Mark Johnston and Don Rossington got together through a mutual appreciation of straight edge hardcore, positive thinking, and strong moral values (Don is a teacher, Mark is a firefighter). After searching for months to find like-minded individuals, Mark and Don connected with Shannon Eoff and Derek Woodard. Having known Mark from a previous project, Shannon was an obvious choice, and on her recommendation Derek was added as a second guitarist.
Expanding upon a cache of songs that Mark and Don had written, the group went right into recording and producing their debut album, “Be Nice.”
Being that 3/4 of the band are parents (Shannon is a proud new grandmom!) the group adheres to a no cussing / PMA approach to songwriting and life in general.
Mark elaborates, “Throughout my career I have pushed to make positive, accessible music. Refraining from cursing, and having positive messages in our music is a tenet that I hold firmly to.”
With this release, Knelt Before are making music on their terms in a time when it seems most people are creating for social media more than themselves.
Knelt Before doesn’t pander to what’s popular, they make music for themselves. They’re too old to care about what other people think of them.
We asked the band’s vocalist Mark Johnston to comment on each of the new songs and we’ve got a nice, insightful rundown that we’re thrilled to share with you below.
1. Anger and Acceptance – A song about letting go of the anger and aggression that we carry around. I saw it in myself and decided to change my outlook and attitude about things. I stopped allowing external forces to influence my self-worth or how I reacted to things. And, by letting go, I was able to respond better to stress and deal with problems that arose.
2. Make Your Own – Don’t let other people dictate your life. Most people / entities will lie to you to get you to follow along or relinquish your ideals for their purposes. Make your own path. Some people will smile and shake your hand while driving a knife into your back.
3. Purpose – We all want to know that what we’re doing means something. As a father, you worry about your kids and if they’re going to turn out alright. As a firefighter, I worry that the time I spent away from my family is time that I’ll never get back (and the possibility of being killed kinda sucks). As a singer, I want to be a positive influence in peoples’ lives but I don’t want to have the message obscured. But whatever we worry about, we just have to do our best and trust that things will work out.
4. Knelt Before – Your past can influence who are, but don’t let it define who are you. I get walked over a lot because of my commitment to service and my belief that there is good in everything. Although I will always put my best into everything I do, it doesn’t mean that you can treat me like a slave.
5. I Think It’s Best If You Just Leave Me Alone – This is about a boss I had once. He definitely used his position over me. He often took my ideas and presented them as his own, lied, and worse. Luckily for me, people knew I was the one doing the work, and he eventually left. Who knows what songs I’d be pumping out if he were still around, though.
6. Firewatch – I love being a firefighter. But as a structural / wildland firefighter I have the opportunity to help fight fires all over my state, and even travel to other states to help. I enjoy the work, I love that I am making a difference, but leaving my family is the hardest thing to do. I know my son is proud of me and is okay when I’m gone…but it still hurts to leave him and my wife.
7. Choices – Sometimes we get into situations where we can’t decide whether it is better to just walk away, or sticking it out and dealing with the consequences. I had a girlfriend in High School that would constantly threaten self harm as a way to pressure me into things or as a consequence should I ever leave. Being that it was my first girlfriend, it scared me to death not knowing if it was better to sacrifice myself keep her happy, or to end our relationship and deal with the consequences. These lyrics were inspired by my past relationships, but I kept it a little lighter – these songs are for my son and I don’t want to scare him off relationships haha.
8. All the Kids – This is for all the kids that don’t care what other people think about them and just do their own thing. To have the courage to go against the norm and make their own path when there is so much pressure to do what the majority wants. It bothers me that we can no longer have differing opinions without being completely ostracized for it. So here’s to the kinds that would rather be loners than popular!
9. But Today – This is a compendium to “Choices.” When you finally do make that decision to “be selfish” and leave a negative relationship for your own health and well-being there are a whole new set of challenges you may face. This one is a self pep talk to stay the course while the person that you are trying to get away from is doing their darndest to keep you close by playing games.
10. 生きる しか ない (Live with Myself) – This is a conversation that I have had about how I live my life. I am Vegan and I am Straight Edge. Those words have connotations (a lot of which I don’t adhere to but still am lumped into the group) and we have to accept the stereotype if we are going to label ourselves. I am often disappointed with the choices people make, using these labels as excuses for their actions. This song is saying that, whatever you do in your life, you are solely responsible for the consequences. We can try and blame external forces for who we are and the choices we make, but ultimately we have to be able to live with ourselves and our choices.
11. My Legacy to You – Me talking to my son about how wonderful he is and how proud I am of him. That’s it. I love my boy.