Singaporean heavy hardcore punks LOSING END have been touring their native lands, North America and Europe for the last couple of years and in support of their latest release Devil’s Advocate, and we have caught up with them to discuss the experience, ask about the differences between hardcore scenes they’ve experienced and plans for the future.
“Devil’s Advocate” by LOSING END is out now via Powertrip Records and Dangerous Goods Distro. Building on the foundation of hardcore punk and adding in metallic punches and abrasiveness, they conjured a record that’s serves a solid kick in the head and promises a great follow-up as the band is currently working on their new record, aiming for a late 2018 release. Stay tuned for more details on that.
Hey guys, thanks a lot for joining us! Let’s start in an offbeat way and let’s go back to early 2016. How do you remember the time you were gearing up for your trip to Europe and America? What were your expectations and how did they collide with reality, your actual experiences while being on tour?
We were very nervous because it would be our first time doing a tour outside of Asia. So, every day before the tour was just stressful and mentally taxing.
No one had a clue on what to expect or had any contingency plan for anything, we just went with the flow. Having generally low expectations, we expected some hiccups along the way. (Which we did!) But, the tour turned out way better than what we even imagined; everything went pretty smoothly, no major hiccups and the overall response was better than expected!
What places, cities and countries surprised you the most and why?
I would say a few places caught us off guard, but, Luxembourg surprised me the most because none of us knew there was a scene there. The city was beautiful and the people were great, I’m glad we got to play there!
Oh some of the venues we played at last year was cool as well, like in Hamburg, the venue was in a train station! We don’t have these kinds of venues back home, so it’s all pretty new to us. We also played at Woody’s in Schleiz, which was super crazy, definitely one of the best venues we’ve ever been to. We took a detour en route to the next city to walk around in the forest for a bit. it was really chill.
How about the US trek last year? How do you remember it?
Just being in the US was very surreal for us, we were nervous because it’s always been a dream to play shows in the US . We really enjoyed ourselves in the West Coast! We got to watch and also meet a lot of the bands we’d never get a chance to when we’re back home, it is definitely one of the top 3 experiences in my whole life.
Compared to your local scene, what major differences do you see when it comes to European, American, and Asian hardcore scenes, their characteristics, logistics and operational activities?
In Asia, you’re pretty much covered in terms of backline, you only need get yourself to the venue with your instruments and merchandise for the show. In Europe and America, you’d have to have a van and a full backline of your own.
Hospitality wise, it’s almost the same everywhere, except in America. Lodging wasn’t part of the deal, we never knew bands had to ask around for a place to crash on the day of the show. It was quite a cool experience! We got to meet so many people and also got to pet some really cute dogs!
Other than that, I feel like the characteristics and atmosphere is almost the same everywhere!
Touring wise, how has 2017 been treating you so far? Can you share some thoughts on your Spring tour with STRENGTHEN WHAT REMAINS?
2017 has been great so far, started the year with the inaugural Dangerous Goods Fest, wrote a whole bunch of songs and even got to share the stage with the legendary EARTH CRISIS. The Spring Tour was great, we love Strengthen What Remains, they’re like family to us. We got to play in cities we’ve never played before and watching them get a crazy reaction from the crowd here in Asia makes me really happy.
Ok, so let’s talk a bit about your background. How did you become interested in hardcore in the first place? What made you gravitate toward that particular community and music genre?
My brother in an now-defunct band called POINT OF VIEW, he and my cousin were already into hardcore back then. They gave me my first hardcore cd which was SHUTDOWN’s Few And Far Between, that was basically what started it all for me. The hardcore community and the music itself has always been about unity. The messages in the lyrics leans towards being an outcast or different from society, which was something my friends and I were able to relate to growing up, so I guess that made us to be more inclined to the hardcore community.
How do you feel your approach has evolved?
Our approach has always been very straight forward, we try to do things that are more in our lane. If we don’t feel comfortable or if it’s something thats not in line with what we believe in then we’ll probably pass on it. We’ve recently had a change in lineup with our guitarist deciding that it was time for him to move on. So, we got our bassist, Farza, to take over on guitars and have our sessionist, Mel, to continue playing bass for us (this has been the line up for almost all the tours, as our ex-guitarist was still under conscription.) We’ve also been busy writing for the new record, taking a different approach to our songwriting style and having Farza on guitars changes the whole dynamic of the band because of his influences.
How do you like the way the punk scene fits into the picture of modern, digitalized world? What makes you satisfied about its progression and what are some of the aspects of its development you don’t agree with?
The scene keeps the DIY spirit alive, at a time when everything is convenient and information is readily available in a click of a button. It provides a safe space, especially during this period where there is increasing hostility, segregation and discrimination.
Everything is so modernised now that it is vital for the scene to keep progressing. The most prominent for me would be the availability of music archives and releases online. It is now possible to get your hands on the latest, as well as the the obscure and rare releases in a click of a button.
With all the conveniently accessible information, archive and what not, one thing that bugs me is having big fast-fashion companies ripping off band merchandise and sell it to the mass market for a quick buck. Not that I’m against the progression of the scene into the world wide web, but it’s just a pet peeve of mine.
Alright guys, so what’s coming next for the band? Feel free to unveil some of your plans for the rest of 2018.
We’re kind of taking things a bit slow this year, finishing up some new material and trying to get it out before the year ends. We’ve been recording some demos not long after the Europe tour last year, trying to keep to the same style of the EP, but honestly, I feel like it’s moving in a whole other direction and I love it.
Shows wise, we don’t really got much going on. We’ve got some plans towards the end of 2018, hopefully all goes smoothly. Me and Farza also do some booking on the side and we’ve got some tours/shows coming to Asia real soon. Should be a fun year, really looking forward to it!