Fresh off the recent release of their emotive, hard hitting new singles “Crone” and “Ruthless Consumption”, St Petersburg, Florida melodic hardcore punks WALLED CITY are joining us today to give us a brief background of the band and their motivations.
Walled City have been active since 2020 and have released a four song EP called “Dream Deprivation” in 2021. Their newest 2-song single came out in early June and it draws from a variety of styles, including Burning Spirits hardcore, crust, 90s skatepunk, UK anarcho punk, with some crossover vibes and a healthy amount of 70s guitar lead worship. Their lyrics are political and highly left leaning, and we sat down to dive a little deeper into that.
The band plays out regularly in their region and are pressing forward with writing and recording a full length, with plans to do some touring in the next year.
“I grew up in the punk scene and gravitated heavily toward political punk early on, so music as both entertainment and activism is hardwired into my brain.” – comments guitarist Justin Grant.
“Things were feeling pretty apocalyptic in the spring of 2020, so I did what a lot of people did and turned to music, fiddling around with my guitar while locked down at home and just consuming loads of politically-charged, pissed off music. Next thing you know, I had some demos put together and started playing with a couple of my best friends, who I’ve played in various bands with off and on for over 20 years.”
“I had purchased a baritone guitar for a doom metal project that never materialized, so I started out with that and figured there was no reason to not just make this a “heavy” project while I was at it. I was having fun taking the guitar semi-seriously for the first time (I’ve almost exclusively played drums in bands), so I couldn’t help but throw in some solos and dual-lead guitar harmonies, which is a bit of a different sound than what you might expect from this genre.”
Walled City‘s main goal is to play music that they think people would want to listen to. “It’s important to have a message, but it’s much more effective if people actually want to listen, so our songs are pretty riff-centric by design.” – admits Justin.
“Rachael (Sibilia) and I tend to collaborate on lyrics, but on our new mini-EP, Crone, Rachael is the sole lyricist, focusing on two topics that have become even more urgent than when the songs were first written.”
The title track, Crone, is about how those in power are quick to categorize marginalized groups of people as “others,” which makes them much easier to blame for society’s problems.
“A few hundred years ago, women that didn’t fit in were deemed to be witches and were burned at the stake. Today, it’s more subtle, but the practice is still there.” – says Justin.
“Take Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, for example. He signed a bill into law earlier this year that prohibits teachers and school employees from kindergarten until third grade from making mention of sexual orientation and gender identity under the pretense that these topics are inappropriate to discuss with young children. You may have heard this bill referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, because it’s a blatant attempt at othering LGBTQ+ people by making a simple acknowledgement of their existence a forbidden topic in schools. It’s not just DeSantis, either: there are many lesser known fascists like him out there that are all too eager to trample others’ freedom to ensure that they maintain power.”
The second track on the EP, Ruthless Consumption, is about how we’re actively destroying the planet in exchange for consumer goods and corporate profits.
“It’s maddening to watch the world literally on fire around us while governments actively work to prevent progress by failing to set radical sustainability goals that might offer a slim chance of bailing out before the planet becomes uninhabitable.
In the same month that we released Crone, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency can no longer regulate power plant emissions and push utility companies toward sustainable energy sources, instead leaving it to individual states to manage their own climate policies. This will make it effectively impossible for the US to meet previously stated sustainability goals, as well as taking away the country’s ability to act as a leader in emissions standards. India and China are undoubtedly paying attention.
It’s a scary time for a lot of people across the world. It’s easy to feel powerless and hopeless in the face of so much cynicism and cruelty. Music has always been there for us during tough times, and we hope that our small contributions can motivate someone else out there, or at least let them know that they’re not alone. It might look pretty bleak out there, but there are a lot of people that want positive change now, and we’re not going to give up. We’re also going to play some fun music in the process!”