Exclusive

LOWLIFE – “Fuck elitism in hardcore”

LOWLIFE from Rhode Island is a straight up hardcore pack delivering a solid piece of fast punk. They have just released their new EP, so instead of reviewing it (some of you already know that I don’t like reviews; you can easily review it yourself :) everyone is his own reviewer), I decided to talk them into an interview. So here it is, a set of my boring questions followed with honest answers (I hope). Oh, and no, I didn’t ask about the gigantic shit in the toilet on their cover art below, but I took the view that you’ll write your own stories for that after reading our chat.

Oh, and don’t miss the essence. Recorded last year, “Stranded on Retard Island” EP is available for streaming, as well as a free download below.

The band consists of Brandon (vocals), Joey (guitars), Joe (guitars), Mike (bass) and Dewey (drums).

Hey, guys! What’s up? How are you doing?

Brandon (vocals):

Yo, idioteq.com. I am doing so goddamn good you wouldn’t believe it. I slept all day, with my main homey Morris E. Fulci, the cat from hell. I am living the absolute dream. I can’t believe it.

Joe G (guitar):

Sup bbi asl?

Ha! Looks like I caught you in the right moment! [smiles] I’m cool, too. Tired after work, but great anyway!

So, you have a new EP out now, huh? How are the reactions to the new record so far?

B:

Yeah. It’s about time too. All we had out before this, for almost a year, was a demo that sounded like it was recorded in a toilet by amputees. That thing’s been sent the way of the dinosaur, about half of the songs from that demo we re-recorded and threw on this. As far as reactions go, I’ve been totally surprised at how positive it’s been really. We posted it on Lambgoat and b9 forums, both forums being pretty legendary for tearing everything apart. Not a single bad word was said. Only positive stuff. It’s been really good.

J:

People are stoked about the record, it’s great to hear them talk about how much they like it.

Damn, it can’t be true! There must be something wrong with it then!

Major Destroyer Records is handling the physical release of “Stranded on Retard Island”. Are you putting it out only on cassettes? Why tapes?

B:

Major Destroyer are some gnarly dudes, first and foremost. Lifelong friends of mine. Supporting what we have been doing since before it was worth supporting what we are doing. And tapes…noone buys cd’s anymore, vinyl is too expensive for us to do right now, and a few of our friends bands have had some success with tapes. Tapes it is. Yellow ones. With toilets and turds on the cover.

J:

When is the last time you wanted to buy a cd?

Back in the 90s. But 90s are back (so I’ve heard)! Will you distribute your debut music video on VHS? [laughs]

What has pushed you to choose this form of thrashy hardcore punk? Tell me about your inspirations.

B:

Ha. I wish, I actually collect VHS, so that would rule

This is a question I could write a book on to answer. All 5 of us are into different styles of stuff overall, but I guess the one common ground is what LOWLIFE sounds like. Really this style of music is fun as fuck to play, the reaction has been good…it’s really not much more than 5 buddies playing tunes that just come out the way they come out. All of us listen to different stuff, and then this is just the culmination of that…for example, Dewey, our drummer is into the most technical crazy ass metal, which I think you can hear in our playing. I love weirdo shit from the 80s like THE CULT and KILLING JOKE, and while I doubt anyone would be able to hear that in our stuff, I have definitely written tunes with stuff like that in mind.

J:

That question is all you.

And what about the lyrical sphere? What pisses you off? [smiles]

B:

The main source of anger for the majority of my lyrics is the total lack of social and economic justice in this world, and that it affects. I’m not going to sit here are say I’m writing some otherworldly, uber-intelligent shit. But that’s the source for most of it. Then, the bullshit of the political nature of the Providence music scene. There are some straight up pieces of garbage in this town that should be called out…from greedy pay-to-play promoters to bands who think they are on the high end of some sort of bullshit hierarchy. The fans we have, the people who have listened to our music, we earned them without the help of any of the human scabs that are in the “top end” of Providence music culture. . Long Live Funky Jungle, the best place to play in Providence! No ticket sales, no ass kissing, just come be yourself and play.

What was your first exposure to hardcore punk?

B:

1994. I was 8. Headbanger’s Ball. BIOHAZARD. I am not even sure if it qualifies as hardcore punk? The first bands I loved in hardcore punk though? Much more on the hardcore end of things, when I was in high school… WITH HONOR and MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD were my jam, and they seemed to play Providence every other weekend. GORILLA BISCUITS, BAD BRAINS, MINOR THREAT, BLACK FLAG, CIRCLE JERKS. The classics, ya know?

J:

Yo, Tony Hawk Pro Skater demo in 98′.

How do you feel about the current state of hardcore in your area? How has it changed over the years?

B:

It has it’s highs and lows. Over the past ten or twelve years… since I have been going to shows really…when I first came into the scene, it was incredible. The shows were some of the best I have ever been to. Then they dipped for a while, with the height of the popularity of all the metalcore stuff, came alot of really lame shows. Basically things are getting alot better again, but we have gotta get the greedy promoters and elitist dickheads outta here. Which is actually sort of happening, there is like this whole new scene growing every show. It’s really cool to be a part of.

How much are you a part of it? Do you have any other side projects going on right now?

B:

I work full time at a miserable, overworked, underpaid retail job, and go to school. So I don’t have time for anything else but LOWLIFE. But Mike, our bassist is always doing something. Dewey, our drummer is in a jam band. Joe C, one of our guitar players. is in Boston doing some shit. Joe G….

J:

Way too many. I play guitar in a riff party called BARBER COP, Bass in a more post hardcore band by the name AWFSOME and a few other nameless projects. People who complain about their music scenes should quit being a baby and start a band.

How many shows have you played thus far?

B:

Something like 30. We’ve been playing out for about a year, but we’ve had some lineup changes and what nots.

J:

I’ve only played 3 so far, one coming up and hopefully a ton in the future

Any crazy gigs you’d like to recall?

B:

Yes. A few. Our first Boston Show with OPPOSITION RISING, GRAVES, INTHESHIT and ANTIVENOM. Show was outrageous. This summer in Olneyville with PRODUCT OF WASTE, HOLY NIGHT and POWER MASTERS. And the last one with GREAT AMERICAN GHOST and PASTIME. The reactions were awesome at all of those. And all of them were in Basements/Warehouses. DIY shows are way better than venues. At least thus far.

J:

We played in the basement of my house (Funky Jungle) recently and people went absolutely nuts. One of our dudes jumped off the PA speaker.

You have 5 shows scheduled for April and May. Is there any particular one you’re exceptionally stoked about?

B:

Man, all of them. It’s gonna be cool to get out of RI again, playing some places we have never played before. Also some of the bands on the trek are so gnarly. We are playing two dates with GET A GRIP from Vermont, the band is so damn gnarly. PASTIME from Maine is the shit, we will be seeing them too. Really all of them. I just get excited to play with bands I really like. Ha.

Are you already planning a bigger trek, a proper US tour perhaps?

B:

Ha, I mean maybe one day. It’d be fun. We are doing this little Northeast thing in April/May for now. We’ve been talking about doing a week in August too, but we will just have to see.

J:

We’re all down to play anywhere any time. Hit us up!

I’m based in Warsaw, so you’d have to extend your range a bit. Come to Europe, I’m curious about your opinion on European punk.

B:

Who knows. Things have certainly gone much differently for thus far for this band than I ever thought. It was just supposed to be some friends jamming out drunk in a basement…and then people dug it alot more than we thought they would. So maybe if enough people dig it…and we grow about 10’000 dollars…we will end up in Poland?? Europe seems so rad. EVERYONE GO CHECK OUT OUR EP AND DOWNLOAD IT! YOU CAN  PAY WHATEVER YOU WANT…. BUT IF YOU PAY 10’000 DOLLARS, WE WILL COME TO EUROPE. SWEAR TO GOD.

Maybe you should start a kickstarter campaign (check this out) [smiles] Would you consider launching something like that? or is it against the hc punx codex? [laughs]

B:

Honestly No. It’s not against any codex or anything, I feel like it’s exploitative of your fans and lazy. Just go do what every other band ever of all time has done….and go work for it. I’m half kidding about the Europe Money anyway….those dudes are completely serious….at least they aren’t asking for like 500’000 dollars or something ridiculous to get the album started.

You mention something about it, but let’s get it straight. Is LOWLIFE your full time adventure? What do you do for a living?

B:

Nope. I work at a truly awful liquor store. I can’t wait til I am done with college and I can quit that motherfucker. It would be absolutely sick if LOWLIFE generated enough money to “make a living” on.

J:

Yes hands down. I’m an unemployed cook/ English language teacher.

J., what amazing dishes did you cook this year?

A bunch of toilet water.

Oh, how sweet [smiles].

Let’s move on, guys.

Rhode Island isn’t that far from Big Apple. How does NYC hardcore impact on your local punk scene? Does it have a significant influence on it? Bigger than on the other parts of the US?

B:

I’m gonna say not too much… but Joe lived in NY for a while, so I think he can answer this better than I…

J:

I’ve always loved NYHC bands. I had the fortune of coming across a bunch of old comps when I was younger with all kinds of different  bands on them.  Having lived in Buffalo for a long time I can say that style influenced so many people in one way or another.

Yeah, but you’re obviously not following the path. Was this on purpose or did it just turn out that way? [smiles] How did you end up not playing tough guy hardcore? [smiles]

B:

Straight up. I fucking hate beatdown / tough guy shit. It’s so boring.

Have you been traveling a lot? What other cities and their music scenes do you admire?

B:

Not yet. We are doing our first small tour this spring. I will say this though, Providence has gotten so much better with advent of a judgement free, profit free punk scene. If you have never been to Funky Jungle, fucking go. It’s 5 bucks. Always. And noone will judge you for not being at the past 34 shows of the same 4 bands with the same 4 people in them at the same 2 venues. Fuck elitism in hardcore/punk. The shit just isn’t there at FJ. Don’t take this as anti-Providence sentiment…I love this city, and feel very fortunate to live here. It’s just time for an overhaul in the music scene…and I feel like we are on the cusp of that with a few places. Firehouse 13, FJ, Simon’s 677 (maybe…it’s new…they need to be careful).

J:

I’ve seen different music scenes all over the world.  I don’t really look up to any one city for anything other than attendance. Providence is a pretty small city but there are definitely a ton of active people into music. What I dislike regardless of location are the shitheads who talk about how lousy everything is. Fuck those people.

Young pampered hipsters? [laughs]

B:

And OLD pampered hipsters too.

So, boys. What are you next steps? Do you have any songs left after the recent recordings? Can we count on a new outing sometime soon?

B:

Do this little Spring mini tour, maybe do a full week this Summer, but we will see. Recording again soon is actually pretty high on the agenda…we’ve got 4 or 5 songs in various phases of writing. There are also about 4 songs we threw away before recording. SO yeah, we would like to get something out again soon. Keep the buzz going. A split would rule actually.

Any ideas for a pack that would join you for a split release?

B:

A few ideas…but I’m not tellin’ [laughs]. Not until it’s solid.

Ha! You’re too alert! [smiles]

Have you already manufactured some cool merch items? When was the last time you wore a LOWLIFE shirt? [laughs]

Oh hell yeah. Ha. We got pins and shirts. Come get one at a show. Send us 10’000 dollars to come play Europe and we will send you a shirt/pins for sure.

[laughs] What personal release do you get from your music?

Giant boners from seeing rooms full of people punch each other. It’s also awesome to get to yell about everything that pisses me off, then have people share that anger with me. Shows. I love playing shows. It’s this weird love/hate thing.. love the energy that comes from pretty hateful songs.

Alright, let’s sum it up. What does the next year look like for LOWLIFE? Anything we should discuss before we finish off?

Keep in touch with us and download our EP “Stranded on Retard Island” for free (or you can pay…10’000 dollars plz)! Hit us up! Spread the word! LOWLIFE!

Ok, thank you so much for your time, buys. Sorry for all the questions you hated to answer and wish you the best of everything for the rest of the year! Cheers!

Thank you!

Comments
To Top