Noise, Noise, and More Noise: LA Hardcore Noise Band PSEUDO Makes Our Ears Bleed with Their New EP, “Non”

7 mins read

The fierce, enigmatic pain of LA’s quartet hardcore noise band, Pseudo bringsforth the overwhelming pleasure of noise that stimulates your senses, while fucking your ears.

Their latest EP, “Non,” proved to be a force to be reckoned with, since their cacophony of chaos subvert a traditional hardcore sound as they inject infectious noise into their wall of distortion.

Not only is the EP a claustrophobic sonic collage, but its dense subject matter becomes the heart and soul of the record. Touching on subjects such as false identity, the bullshit of daily monotony, independent thought, religion, and alien abductions, Singer Ben Monarrez adds his distortion through his prose: “It wouldn’t be hell if you knew it was hell” – a perfect summation of the entire theme.

Working alongside LA’s engineer Alex Estrada in his beautiful recording studio, Pale Moon Audio, Pseudo’s sound was reinforced by Estrada’s craftsmanship. From capturing Ahsohn’s drums’ enormous drum sound from high-ceiling live room to finding trash, or how Charles’ put it, “broken sound,” guitar tone, Pseudo and Estrada had specific intentions to make this EP come to life.

Recently, I got to spend some time with them to discuss their record. They shared their connection to one another, how writing music in their 30s is an unusual experience, and how they go about the creative process. As an outsider, watching and asking about the inner-workings of the world of Pseudo, I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Here’s what they said:

Names and position?

Ahsohn – drums
Ben – Vox
Drew – Bass
Charles – Guitar

When did PSEUDO start?

D – We started in the spring of 2019.

A – The core of the band, the rhythm section, me, Charles, and Drew have been playing in various forms. It’s always been a nucleus that has gone through different forms, and PSEUDO is the latest form.

How did y’all come up with the name PSEUDO?

D – Our original name wasn’t PSEUDO, it was actually SLAB, Like S, L, A, B.

B – And I was like, we should call it “PSEUDO,” cause everything is fake.
C – We got a text one day that said, “How about PSEUDO?” We were intending to go with SLAB, but “PSEUDO” just felt right.

When writing your first demo, what was that preliminary writing stage, foundational period, what was that like ?

B – Well, we had an original demo before that.

C – But it was kind of a failure. It was a whole mess. We DIY recorded everything. It kept getting delayed because people were working and shit. We ended up not being super happy with the finished product; both our music, and the quality.

You guys did the original demo yourselves?

All – yeah, us and a buddy.

C – A buddy that does film audio shit. He said he had the equipment at least, and we’ll figure it out.
Fuck around and find out, right? Oh yeah, and we found out.

B – It was cool because it helped us zone in on what we want.

And what was that during that time, was there a clear vision?

D – It was more of a formulation. That was a time where we were figuring out what we wanted to do, and finding out the meaning of what all this meant. It’s like writing notes on paper, which was the start of it, I guess? It was basic. It was raw. It wasn’t calculated in any measure, and I wanna say that we probably had another 6 or 7 songs that never made it to where we are right now. They’re somewhere.

B – We meshed all those songs…

D – We took bits and pieces from there, but we scrapped a lot of stuff to get where we are; to get to a place where we all felt comfortable with what we’re doing.

What was the headspace when y’all were starting this off, starting the band at this age versus starting a project when you were younger?

A – We knew right away that people’s time was limited because of where we are in life, so the approach we took was whatever decision we made for the band, we wanted it to be a fulfilling decision that we felt was worth our time because our time is valuable. We set clear dreams, if not, at least expectations of where we wanted this band to be and the frequency of playing shows and what ideals would be. We’ve been working towards that.

So from there and then jumping into it was the demo right after, right?

D – Yeah. There’s been a lot of time though, since the original stuff. For me, my perspective in this band; we started recording the original stuff that we never put out years ago. During that time, my father got really really sick and passed away. To go through that experience and want to do all of this with them. I feel like I am here, and I get to play with these guys. Yeah, and that is everything for me right now. And at that point, they gave me the space and the grace to go through that. And then there was the joke we kept saying, our new pseudo EP 2025. You know, we were, where we were, we weren’t sure when it was going, anything was gonna happen or come out. And this band has been a process of time and patience. And just, everyone’s been so chill. It’s not, “Hey, we got to do this. We got to do that. “ It’s organic.

Alex Estrada did that demo, right?

B – Yeah, he did both the demo and the EP.

How was working with Alex then versus now?

B – I think he had a better feel for what was going on. We were talking about this earlier. His mic’d the amped and asked Charles if he wanted it to sound broken and asked if he was sure about that tone.

C – yeah, he was more accepting of it the second time around. I think he knew what we were going for.

Yeah. I mean, it was a demo and then you guys are doing an EP. I think that naturally the intentions would get more specific. It’s kind of paving the way for what’s to come. And it’s somewhat defined in the demo, obviously. And I really like where it’s at too. Like I mentioned earlier, I really like fucking “GOER.” That’s my fucking banger right there.

A – I think that each time we’ve worked with Alex, the production process patterned out more right after the writing process. For instance, with our second project, the writing is much more focused because we knew the sound we were going for, and had the vocabulary to encapsulate what we were trying to musically accomplish. And because we had a clear vision of that going in, I think it made the recording process that much easier. The cool thing about Alex, his production and his engineering style is very much in service of what we’re trying to do. He basically runs or takes our raw ideas and runs them through his own mental filter of professionalism and says, “so tell me what you guys want to achieve.“ And then, you know, he has a bag of tricks that he pulls from that helps him know how to achieve what we’re trying to do. It was a really cool experience working with him. And the nice thing about that was the location of it all. You get to get away from it all, and sequester yourself for a while. There’s something cool about being in the desert.

C – He set us all for live recording as well. Yeah, that’s just sick. It made the most sense for us.


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As for NON, what is it about? What does it mean to you?

B – I think sonically, we’ve been trying to explore more of space.

D – We’re all hardcore kids too, so there’s aspects that feel spacey and there’s this feel that makes you want to bang your fucking head to it?

A – I think PSEUDO is such a fitting name for the band. The name SLAB puts you into a specific mind frame for the listener. When I think of SLAB, I think of a heavy hardcore band. Very deliberate and straight ahead, but something like PSEUDO invites more mystery and invites more ambiguity. Yeah, I think it’s cool because we’re kind of like a pseudo hardcore band. We occupy a space between hardcore, noise, power violence, and sludge, and doing with all that shit. We’re kind of occupying some kind of space in the middle. We’ve noticed this thing: Charles was saying to me earlier that every time we played a show on our last weekend run, someone different would come up to us and say we sound like a different band that we consider an influence.

Like what?

C – Jesus Lizard. Boris. Godflesh.

A – And that’s so cool because all these bands we consider to be influences. I love that people are able to hear those different elements shine through because we definitely pull from all that stuff.

B – Independent thought was the core of it. Independent thought when you collaborate. I guess abandoning everything you’ve been taught and letting some light in and seeing what’s true to you. That within the personal spiritual warfare, I guess. Self awareness. We do have a song about being abducted by aliens. And then they put self awareness in you. That’s what that’s about. Fucking aliens. You’re given self awareness and you get put back on Earth?

Where did that come from?

B – Many different places. Oh, specifically a Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve A Man.” In that episode, they promised prosperity and all this stuff for humanity. But they end up eating everyone, so there’s a reference to that.

Well, what’s next?

C – I think an LP can happen. We were originally like, intending on just doing a whole lot of EPS.

B – Play more shows. I think an LP would be interesting and see where that takes us.

Do you get a little bit more hardcore?

A – Yeah, I’d love to get more in that scene too. I’m I’m a hardcore kid at fucking heart man. And I love being in shows. I love playing hardcore shows. I love playing all the shows we played and I liked the sort of post COVID Show era that we’re in with all the crazy mix bills and shit like that. That’s been really fun. I’d love to play more straight up just fucking, opened up, good ol’ hardcore show. Bring back stage dives.

Any shout outs?

A – shout out to fucking MACHINEKIT, dawg. Silkabo.

Real quick, your weekender we did together with Silkabo and us (machine kit) and Silkabo, how have y’all feel about it?

D – this is the best tour I’ve been on. It was easy. From a place to stay to a venue, it all felt natural. Every night has been fun.

B – Easy. It felt organic. When I saw you guys perform, I was like, “aw, we’re gonna get along with those people.”

It’s because we’re trash people.

John Rojas

John Montoya is a musician, producer and a writer who grew up in the LA DIY punk scene. Since the early 2000s, he has been playing in several bands to engineering bands around town. His reverence for the hard work of being a musician and DIY ethos led to his co-founding of Bridgetown DIY, a collective that has been running since 2013 - one of the longest running DIY spaces in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV); located in his hometown of La Puente. He lives by his belief that supporting your local music scene is not always easy, but whatever one can do is better than nothing. Catch his band, Machinekit, live and online, and check out his recording studio MachineHouse Audio located in Orange, CA.

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