In reality, an artist often feels intertwined with their work. We create because we must. The creation, before it takes shape, rattles around in the creator’s mind until it finally finds an escape. The creator then reflects that onto the page, or via their instrument, or via whatever other means they use to create their work.
This pure but volatile process drove the creation of the caustic debut full length from portrayal of guilt, Let Pain Be Your Guide, out November 16. The record remains tight, but wildly sprawling. It’s not a hardcore record, or a grindcore record, or anything else neatly boxed into a category. Instead, the debut proves vicious, long having broken out of its bonds and clawing at the path in front of it.
The raw, tearing feeling at its core grew from a raw connection on the part of the musicians themselves to their craft. They’re not just turning something out for the hell of it — far from it. They’re in this process for themselves — charting a path, perhaps, for others who might like to do the same in music.
“I would say just punk in general rests at the core of what we’re doing,” vocalist Matt King explains, “just because the idea behind what we’re doing is just doing whatever we want and just not really answering to anybody — honestly I mean. We’re not managed by anybody, and nobody runs anything. I run everything as far as social media, and presentation and whatnot. Aside from that, we do whatever we want. We’ll play wherever we want to play as many times as we want. We’ll write whatever we want. Every decision is made solely based on the people in the band. There are no outside interests that are trying to get involved with what we’re doing. Another core would by DIY — just DIY and punk I think are the core of the band in general, just freethinking ideas and stuff like that. No thought is too crazy. Anything is possible.”
Staying Out Of A Rut
The band set out on their ambition dedicated path following years and years of exposure and involvement in their community. Their output truly represents a personal drive that means something to the members. This feature lends their work enormous sonic power.
“I’ve been into screamo music for so long,” King says. “Screamo in general is the genre of music that even got me into heavy music in the first place. So, I would say maybe our sound came from there, just because since that period of time I’ve gone through so many different phases. We had another band before this one that broke up right before portrayal of guilt started, and the idea behind it was basically to write heavy music and write music that we like. I had been writing some stuff on the side when we were doing our other band — it just definitely comes from the screamo music that I was listening to when I was younger, I would say — and then our drummer is just amazing, so he fills it out.”
King performs alongside Blake Given, Rick Flores, and James Beveridge.
When it comes to the practical side of their work, they’ve been helped along their way by a number of doors opening while their writing process itself has also gradually become more freewheeling and organic. “We just start playing, and if it sounds cool, we go with it,” King says.
Europe’s prominent Holy Roar Records — a label not easily described as anything other than unique — is distributing their debut overseas from the band’s home in Texas, and Gilead Media is picking up the slack at home.
“I don’t think Holy Roar is only looking out for themselves as far as money and stuff like that,” King suggests, proud of his experience with the label, which has released music from artists ranging from Employed To Serve to Rolo Tomassi. “I think they’re just genuinely releasing things that they like and being fair.” He’s got similar praise for Gilead Media too, a label whose releases include the Khemmis-associated project Glacial Tomb and Fórn.
King’s band had to get to the point of needing a distributor in the first place, and for that, they worked with Majority Rule’s Matt Michel. After touring with his band and learning of his studio set-up, they got to work at his place in Virginia recording demos. Thanks to the band’s satisfaction with that process, they were back soon to record their totally fleshed out full length — which they finished in just one weekend.
Artistic drive let the band power through a potentially precarious situation, one might say. They’re thrilled with the output of their work, King says — and they’re keeping busy, too. He estimates they could have another EP ready in 2019, and a full length not long after that.
Besides their recording ambitions, they’re staying dedicated to the live circuit. That push that a sound as demanding as Let Pain Be Your Guide requires keeps popping up.
“I think the idea is, when the record comes out, we want to do a lot of touring,” King explained within the last few weeks ahead of release. “We’ve been fortunate enough to already go to Europe, and we’ve toured the U.S. multiple times since we’ve started the band. One of our things is we just really like to travel, just in general, so the goal would be to tour as much of the world as we can on this record.”
They don’t sound like they’re stopping anytime soon. Their apparent wild drive has a way of ensuring as much.
Check out a single below.