Compared to 90s/00s fast, melodic hardcore punk acts Count Me Out, Carry On, and Go It Alone, St. Louis based pack TIME & PRESSURE have teamed up with San Diego’s Safe Inside Records to re-release their newly released debut demo and the effect is electrifying. The EP is front-loaded with sheer power and melodies that make for a nice balance. We have asked the band’s vocalist Drew to go through each song in detail regarding his lyrical approach and here’s what we’ve got.
Formed only a few short months ago, we’ve hit the ground running with this demo. Safe Inside Records out of San Diego, California will be releasing it. We wanted to create a band that sounded like our favorite era of hardcore collectively – the early 2000s. We take a lot of cues from bands like Count Me Out, Carry On, and Go It Alone. The goal is to play fast, hard, and energetic songs that’ll not only move people live, but hopefully resonate sonically and lyrically through our recordings.
This, like many of the songs I’ve written, is about a specific person. However, it differs in the fact that I wanted to direct the lyrics at them, to attack them with such precise language that there’s no way they could not know I was screaming at them.
The opening lines invoke the hammer and sickle, obvious nods to the symbols of Communism. The person in question touts themself as a radical leftist but is nothing more than a privileged rich kid whose smugness and holier-than-thou attitude has become a plague on our local music scene. I deliberately dropped in references to red to symbolize Communism–the first of these being the mention of rust, which dulls the sharpness of a blade and makes it ineffective over time. I want the person I wrote this song about to know that I am calling them stupid. (And for the record, I myself am pretty damn left wing politically, and this song isn’t an attack on any political ideology. It’s an attack on one singular person, but I needed these traits to identify them.)
The bridge verse centers around animals. First, a pig, because the person attempts to “police” our scene in a way that is reminiscent of dishonest cops but on a smaller scale, and I know that the comparison to a cop would be most offensive to them; then a sheep, attempting to appear harmless. The mention of “crying wolf,” should be easy to figure out, but I really wanted to highlight the person’s cowardice, so their tail stays firmly between their legs. Finally, I drew comparisons to a snake because, in literature, snakes are vindictive, sneaky and vile. There’s an old myth that snakes only die after sundown, but this is, obviously, untrue. They can still die in the sunlight, which I highlight in the song before, once again, questioning the authenticity of this person’s devotion to Communism and not to themself.
Love + Trash
First and foremost, the title is a stylistic reference to Last Lights’ song “Love + Rent,” which is one of my favorite hardcore songs of all time. Everyone should know that band. Go listen to it immediately.
This song is my reflection on a past relationship that ended poorly, as most of them do. I sing the first half in the second person, giving my perspective on a condensed version of the relationship. She had issues with substances, specifically alcohol, that I would become more and more familiar with as the relationship progressed. We met in the winter, as the song says, which I wanted to highlight because movies and stories so often show people falling in love in Spring and Summer, and I sort of thought that was a sign of just how doomed we were right from the beginning.
When the fast part comes back in, the lyrics shift to first person–this time it’s me talking about myself. I thought the change in perspective would indicate a passage of time. I’m not sure if it’s effective. However, this picks up after that relationship has dissolved, and while I spent much of the first half complaining about her vices, now I’m confessing to my own. While she was “kissing empty bottles,” I’m “kissing empty people,” but the end goal is the same: somehow, we think maybe we’ll find something that’s missing despite all evidence to the contrary.
At the Climax
I write a lot about sex. I read a lot of postmodern American literature in college, and the honesty about sexual encounters resonated with me in a way that a lot of work pre-1940s just doesn’t. This is a song about the residual feelings left when you don’t exactly have a regular relationship with someone, but you can’t deny that you also have real, genuinely strong emotions about them. When I was seeing the young woman who’d become the subject of this song, she was also with someone else, and she’d complain to me about him in an almost bragging tone; she wanted me to know that I was being strung along. At the same time, though, I was stringing her along because I wanted her around but was never confident enough in myself to have a partner. Instead, we’d meet in the backseat of her car and pretend that’s all it was.
This is a song I used to really hate. The lyrics were written in much more of a “stream of consciousness” sort of method than I’m used to. I normally like to treat lyrics like a story, with a clear beginning, middle, and end. This song doesn’t have that. Instead, it’s mostly just word vomit. The initial idea was to write a song about wanting to find a romantic partner who’d be supportive of my music despite how much it hurts to perform. And it really does hurt, by the way. At the end of a set, I have a massive headache, I’m worn out, and I’ve conjured up these negative feelings that I’m really trying to expel for the sake of catharsis. That’s sort of the direction the song took on its own, though: catharsis. The idea that, in order to feel better, you have to feel worse first. This is exactly why I’ve been performing music for the last 15 years.
I titled the song “Annihilation” after the novel and film adaptation from earlier this year. The main theme of both is self-destruction. I initially wrote the lyrics two or three years back, and I never had a title for it. When it came time to actually put it to music with this band, I noticed the similar themes and it just stuck. It’s helped me come to really enjoy playing it, and I don’t mind the jumbled structure so much anymore.
This is Not an Exit
The title to this one is a reference to American Psycho, which in itself is a reference to Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, a story about people waiting in the afterlife. Again, this is a song about a specific relationship ending. I drew from two main sources of imagery: religion and body fluids. Throughout the entirety of the song, I mention both of them, sometimes directly next to each other, like the line that describes a baptism in urine. I think that, as people, we tend to romanticize, well, romance and love. If we scrutinize sex and love, if we really look at it, it’s kind of gross at times. Kissing is trading spit, sex is an exchange of fluids from our crotches–it can be kind of repulsive if you really get into it. So, to me, exploring these from the perspective of my own failed relationship gave me a chance to view it from a more honest position. And if that specific relationship was anything, it was honest.
I think everything culminates in the breakdown, when I say that God is love and love is dead. The next line, “Maybe Hell is beautiful people,” brings back the Sartre reference, a spin on No Exit’s famous line, “Hell is other people.” Finally, “The devil’s in the ugly details,” is sort of my commentary on the song itself–meaning, if you’re looking hard enough at anything, you’ll find something unpleasant.
The last verse begins the same as the first. I have a weird obsession with trying to make things cyclical, especially in writing, but I also think it gives the song a feeling of coming back to where I first started to make these observations: as the relationship ended, I started to contemplate how we’d gotten to this point. I wrote the first part in my head as I was walking out her door. Through hangups and insecurities, I sometimes feel like I never left that mental state. Hence, “This is not an exit.”
TIME & PRESSURE live shows: