xBYSTANDERx by Veronika Reinert
Interviews

Greg Bennick comments on new xBYSTANDERx / OLD GHOSTS split, help for Haiti, COVID-19, race issue in the US, hardcore bands worth a check

xBYSTANDERx by Veronika Reinert
BYSTANDER and OLD GHOSTS have teamed up up to release an extremely limited split LP with all proceeds benefiting humanitarian non-profit organization One Hundred For Haiti. To celebrate and get you a bit more engaged in this help project, we sat down with Greg Bennick to give you some more details about the release, future projects from BYSTANDER,  and his charity work at One Hundred For Haiti.

One Hundred For Haiti is a nonprofit dedicated to long-term, sustainable relief in Haiti through clean water projects and anti-violence education. Founded after the earthquake in 2010, the group is active year-round.

The new split record features unreleased and live songs from Bystander and all new songs from Old Ghosts. All proceeds go to 100 for Haiti and will directly support human rights initiatives in Haiti over the next few months. This LP with be limited to 100 copies in the USA on State of Mind Recordings and 100 copies in Europe on Goodwill Records. Tape version, limited to 50 copies, is available via Ugly & Proud Records. The LP is 20 ($ in the States and EUR in Europe), with a limited number of test pressings available for $50 each.

Listen to BYSTANDER’s cover of “In Your Face” by 7 SECONDS and “Prey” from OLD GHOSTS:

Words by Greg Bennick:

𝐹𝑙𝑒𝑓𝑓 𝐹𝑒𝑠𝑑 2019 𝑖𝑛 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ πΆπ‘§π‘’π‘β„Ž 𝑅𝑒𝑝𝑒𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 π‘€π‘Žπ‘  π‘Ž π‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘§π‘¦ π‘‘π‘Žπ‘¦ π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π΅π‘¦π‘ π‘‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿ.

We had not seen one another since the studio six months before when we had recorded our second record β€œWhere Did We Go Wrong?” for Safe Inside Records.

And in the studio that winter, we recorded our parts individually. And the tracks we recorded individually we had never played together as a band before. Ever. Not even once. We are a logistical nightmare of as band. Two members live in Chicago. One in LA. One in Cincinatti. One in Seattle. So we basically practice never. And what this meant for Fluff Fest was that the very first time we had played these songs live was on that stage in front of a thousand people. The word β€œterrified” is in the zone of how that felt. I remember being backstage ten minutes before we went on, and I overheard Marky our bassist ask Shariq who plays guitar, β€œHow does that one part go in that one song?” And I thought, β€œWe are doomed.” I thought for sure the band would end in total disaster within 30 seconds of our set starting. It didn’t. And I am thankful for that.

Continued below…

BYSTANDER live at Fluff Fest 2019

BYSTANDER live at Fluff Fest 2019. 3rd and 4th photo by Dario Adamic

Especially because it meant that we could keep going, play more shows, have Dave from State of Mind offer us this split LP, connect with Old Ghosts, have them contribute a great half of the record, and have it all come out as a benefit for One Hundred For Haiti. Had we crashed and burned onstage in the Czech Republic, none of this would have happened.

Continued below…

One Hundred For Haiti

π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘π‘’π‘’π‘‘π‘  π‘“π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘š π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘‘ π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘”π‘œπ‘–π‘›π‘” π‘‘π‘œ π‘”π‘œ π‘‘π‘œπ‘€π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘  𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑙𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘œπ‘“π‘  𝑖𝑛 π»π‘Žπ‘–π‘‘π‘–, π‘œπ‘› π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘™ β„Žπ‘œπ‘’π‘ π‘’π‘  π‘€β„Žπ‘–π‘β„Ž π‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘™π‘¦ π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’π‘›π‘’π‘‘ π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Ž π‘π‘œπ‘™π‘™π‘Žπ‘π‘ π‘’

The rainy season means vulnerability for people with thatched roofs on mud-walled structures, so as of this moment the plan is to take the proceeds from this record, and build tin roofs for as many houses as we can with the money. I say β€œas of this moment” because One Hundred For Haiti works for the Haitian people. They don’t work for us. And if the need is greater in another area by the time funds come in and they let us know, then we will focus where they want efforts placed.

The Bystander songs on the record (and readers please seek out Old Ghosts for their thoughts on their half!) are a combination of four live tracks from Fluff Fest in the Czech Republic in 2019, an unreleased track, a previously comp-only track, and a 7 Seconds cover which was originally intended for another project which never saw the light of day.

πΉπ‘’π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘π‘™π‘Žπ‘›π‘  π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ 𝑂𝑛𝑒 π»π‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘‘ πΉπ‘œπ‘Ÿ π»π‘Žπ‘–π‘‘π‘–

First of all, they include putting more roofs on rural houses, as many as we can afford (they range from $100 to $350 each depending on size, condition of the structure – if wall repairs need to be done, location). We also want to be working with local people to establish consistency in food production but this is more long term. Checking onehundredforhaiti.org and our social media (@onehundredforhaiti on Instagram) will always give the latest news and updates. We are a small organization. But we do what we can, with whatever resources we have to do it.

π‘Šπ‘’ 𝑔𝑒𝑑 π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘ π‘’π‘™π‘‘π‘  π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘π‘’π‘œπ‘π‘™π‘’ 𝑀𝑒 π‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘Žπ‘π‘œπ‘’π‘‘ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘ π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘£π‘’. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑀𝑒 𝑀𝑖𝑙𝑙 π‘›π‘’π‘£π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘ π‘‘π‘œπ‘.

Continued below…

π‘†π‘π‘’π‘Žπ‘˜π‘–π‘›π‘” π‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘ π‘œπ‘›π‘Žπ‘™π‘™π‘¦ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘›π‘œπ‘‘ π‘œπ‘› π‘π‘’β„Žπ‘Žπ‘™π‘“ π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘ , π‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘›π‘Žπ‘£π‘–π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘  β„Žπ‘Žπ‘  𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 π‘Žπ‘› π‘–π‘›π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘‘π‘–π‘π‘™π‘’ π‘œπ‘π‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘’π‘›π‘–π‘‘π‘¦ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘Ž π‘›π‘–π‘”β„Žπ‘‘π‘šπ‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘–π‘ β„Ž π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘–π‘› π‘€π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘π‘˜ π‘Žπ‘™π‘™ 𝑖𝑛 π‘œπ‘›π‘’.

In terms of it being an opportunity, its extracted from all of us, as creatives, the answer to a call. The universe has called to creatives and asked if they are going to step up or stand down. There’s no right answer, and neither response makes one better or worse. But for us, as a band, we decided that we would answer the call by producing new material. We decided to do collaboration songs with other bands, from targeted geographic locations, about coronavirus.

Our first, with the brilliantly political and super intense band Dagger from Hong Kong, is called β€œGuillotine” and it came out two weeks ago.

The next is with the band Galeforce, made up of international activists and one devoted academic, many of whom work with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. This track is tentatively titled β€œCrying Out” and it is from an Italian experience perspective about the pandemic. The lyrics are finished and final music tracks are being recorded now.

The third is a collaboration between Bystander and Chaka Malik (Burn, Orange 9mm, Ghost Decibels) and looks at the effect that the pandemic has on our psyche. That one is almost finished musically and sounds like Burn on their best day with Bystander getting into a groove, with lyrics being finished soon. So creativity has been on point throughout this time, even if the mental challenges and personal challenges of living in a world in crisis have made day to day life difficult.

Thoughts on the current situation in the United States involving race and how it is now part of the national conversation

Race is the entire conversation currently, finally. Watch the documentary β€œ13th”. Its available for free (as of June 10th 2020) here

𝐼𝑑’𝑠 π‘’π‘ π‘ π‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘–π‘Žπ‘™ π‘‘π‘œ β„Žπ‘’π‘™π‘ π‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘ π‘‘π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘Žπ‘¦π‘  π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ π‘œπ‘π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘ π‘ π‘–π‘œπ‘› π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘£π‘–π‘œπ‘™π‘’π‘›π‘π‘’ π‘Žπ‘”π‘Žπ‘–π‘›π‘ π‘‘ π‘π‘™π‘Žπ‘π‘˜ π‘π‘’π‘œπ‘π‘™π‘’ 𝑖𝑛 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘ˆπ‘›π‘–π‘‘π‘’π‘‘ π‘†π‘‘π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’π‘  β„Žπ‘Žπ‘  𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑙𝑑 π‘–π‘›π‘‘π‘œ π‘œπ‘’π‘Ÿ π‘π‘’π‘™π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’, β„Žπ‘–π‘ π‘‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘¦, π‘™π‘Žπ‘€π‘ , π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘›π‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘›π‘Žπ‘™ 𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑦 π‘“π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘š π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘ π‘‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘.

I have been in Portland Oregon for the last two weeks and there has been incredible support for protests on two fronts: marches, and direct confrontation with the police. As one of the Black Lives Matter speakers said last night β€œIn the 1960’s it was Malcolm AND Martin!” He meant we need to be marching, and we need to be in direct confrontation as well.

πΆπ‘œπ‘›π‘“π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘›π‘‘π‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘› 𝑖𝑠 π‘π‘’π‘Žπ‘’π‘‘π‘–π‘“π‘’π‘™. π‘Šπ‘’ 𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑 π‘‘π‘œ π‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘› π‘šπ‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘‘π‘”π‘’π‘ . π‘Šπ‘’ π‘π‘Žπ‘› 𝑏𝑒𝑖𝑙𝑑 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘š π‘π‘Žπ‘π‘˜ π‘™π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿ 𝑖𝑓 π‘€β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ 𝑖𝑠 π‘œπ‘› π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘œπ‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘Ÿ 𝑠𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑖𝑠 π‘Žπ‘π‘‘π‘’π‘Žπ‘™π‘™π‘¦ π‘€π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘‘β„Ž π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘β„Žπ‘–π‘›π‘”.

Other bands and projects worth your time

Gone Wrong

Young kids with immense hearts out of Burlington Vermont. Skaters, graffiti artists, hardcore kids all in one and totally getting traction currently.

Unite Asia

Incredible news, music, information site.

Ancestors of God

I don’t even know how to describe them, other than that they are basically all I listened to this winter. Nick, formerly drummer of Trial’s newest metal hardcore endeavor.

Dagger

Essential political hardcore from Hong Kong.

Galeforce

Heartfelt environmental/animal-rights based hardcore from a global perspective.


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Greg Bennick comments on new xBYSTANDERx / OLD GHOSTS split, help for Haiti, COVID-19, race issue in the US, hardcore bands worth a check
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