we've teamed up with SLC's resident wise sages, Milk Money, to answer questions and tell stories about hardcore, hardrock, the "scene", life advice, and whatever other random shit comes to mind. follow them on TWITTER, check them out on SPOTIFY, and check back next week for WTFDYTYA#3.
Believe it or not, we’re back for a second dose of “Who the Fuck Do You Think You Are?” and we’re just as shocked as you are. They’re letting us do this again for some reason, but it seems as if that’s a good thing. From the looks of these questions, some of you are just as bored as we are. So here we go again with answers you definitely weren’t looking for.
moshxlord666 asks: Are panic chords still cool? Why or why not?
M$: You know how when you go to Comic Con (or, more likely, when you’re walking around downtown during Comic Con) you see all these people dressed up as characters from their favorite comic books/movies/video games? That’s called cosplay. Now some of the costumes are really, really good. There’s an attention to detail in them that only diehard fans pay attention to, and it’s what makes those costumes special—even if most people won’t even notice.
That’s a long way of saying that panic chords are pretty much just HC cosplay. You might get close to being a poor man’s Knocked Loose, or a second-rate Emmure, but you’re never going to be Disembodied. People are going to hear it and say, “I see what you’re doing. I get it, but now I just want to listen to If God Only Knew the Rest Were Dead again.”
Try as you might, but you’re never actually going to be Legolas.
JaStan69 asks: Is Hatebreed a good band?
M$: Here’s the thing—Hatebreed is fucking awesome. But that’s not your question. And determining whether or not Hatebreed is a “good” band requires an entirely different approach, but it’s one that we’re more than happy to explore.
Discovering Hatebreed is a rite of passage for anyone getting into hardcore. It’s like when your parents first heard The Rolling Stones, or when we first heard Nirvana. Eventually, someone younger than you is going to be talking about Code Orange or Vein, and you, in your infinite wisdom, are going to hit play on “Doomsayer” and everyone is suddenly doing spin kicks in the living room, or stage diving from the passenger seat and trying to headwalk on everyone in the back of the car.
Satisfaction is the Death of Desire is still an all-timer, and needs to be enshrined in whatever ends up being the HC Hall of Fame. Perseverance and The Rise of Brutality both get close to the peak, but never quite make it. Anyone that says Under the Knife is the best one is trying to sound cool. Hatebreed also has other albums.
Now back to our original point—those three records are fucking awesome. But they’re actually not that good. If you listen to two straight hours of Hatebreed, it really doesn’t take very long before you start wondering if you’re just listening to the same three songs over and over again. Certain tracks stick out, but more or less they all follow the same structure, with slight variations on the same four power chords. A lot of the lyrics are about suffering, smashing enemies, and having the odds stacked against them. None of these songs mean anything, but they all mean the same thing—even if no one actually knows what that is.
That’s kind of a theme with hardcore bands of Hatebreed’s status. You have to be as vague as possible, while also latching on to a few specific phrases that can be interpreted in any way, by anyone, no matter their worldview. The absolute last thing Hatebreed wants to do is alienate someone that might spend money on their stuff. Jamey Jasta is a businessman, and Hatebreed is a business, man.
We have all the respect in the world for Jamey Jasta, and Hatebreed, again, is fucking awesome. But no, they’re not a good band.
Soul Jail asks: How do y’all hardrock so hard?
M$: It’s pretty easy, actually. Every day we wake up and think “What would Trapt do?” Then we do the exact fucking opposite.
@beelzaibub asks: My question is: Why does heavy music matter? Why do you think it’s something so many people latch onto? What does it say about the people that find comfort in heavy music?
M$: Well this is a change of pace.
Who let actual writers with rational thoughts, intelligent questions, and interview backgrounds in here? It’s much harder to make jokes when there’s a real level of sincerity involved. God damn it, Zaina. But since you asked…
Punk, metal, and hardcore became staples of what you listened to when you (sometimes subconsciously) wanted to piss off your parents or annoy your siblings. We were all angsty teenagers once, and sometimes heavy music just spoke to us. It’s always kind of dismissed at first as garbage or noise, but once you get a little older, start listening to more and more of it, you start to realize that it takes a lot of craftsmanship to write a good song that’s also heavy. In 2004, everyone thought they could be Hatebreed, but no one actually understood how to do that—which is why there’s still only one Hatebreed releasing albums in 2020.
Heavy music evokes a feeling inside of you that you either relate to or you don’t. There’s really no way to cheat your way through being a fan. It’s like a cool little club that only a few people know the password to. And like Rob from High Fidelity said, “What really matters is what you like, not what you are like.”
All of the best M$ friendships were forged in the flames of shitty venues listening to breakdowns while someone accidentally kicked us in the stomach as we were trying to grab the mic to sing along. I don’t think any of us would trade that for anything.
So in conclusion, we think it’s as simple as this:
@rickley_kilbot asks: Full Collapse or War All The Time?
M$: Great question given the zeitgeist. M$ stands behind Full Collapse.
Sure we would have to sacrifice all of our current creature comforts. With the grid down, everything electric goes—wifi, cable, light, Animal Crossing. Eventually gas lines would shut down and imported resources like sneakers and bat viruses would dry up.
Within just a few years, we would be fully reverted to agrarian and/or nomadic ways. Some would hunker down and farm, others would choose hunting and gathering.
The wisest would band together to maintain some semblance of community. Some tribes would organize around geography, turning their neighborhoods into new chiefdoms, others would organize around more ideological dynamics like religion, politics or emo-rap.
At our fundamental level, A0001, we’d exercise more understanding in tough situations like car crashes. We’d be more honest—less concealers. We’d have time. We could all write autobiographies of people, animals or nations. We wouldn’t have the same strife, the same holes in the world. We’d cross out the eyes that judge us over petty shit like fashion or social distancing . Paris probably would end up in flames but none of us would be killers. We’d stand on the edges of beauty at all times, in fall, winter, spring and summer. Our nights would be long and we wouldn’t talk about being 100 anymore; We’d be on 1100.
It’s not like we never considered this. We all read Ishmael is high school, right? And while none of us consider ourselves to be Anarcho-Primitivists, I think we all share the wanderlust of Thoreau and some of the ideological fury of the John Zerzan or Billy French’s of the world. It’s clear that our current way of life is based on the exploitation of all sentient beings by an elitist system that only survives through manufactured consent and manipulated participation. Zerzan sums this up eloquently in his ’02 penning, Running On Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization:
“Culture has led us to betray our own aboriginal spirit and wholeness, into an ever-worsening realm of synthetic, isolating, impoverishing estrangement. Which is not to say that there are no more everyday pleasures, without which we would lose our humanness. But as our plight deepens, we glimpse how much must be erased for our redemption.”
So I think it’s safe to say that M$ is full-on Full Collapse.
On the flip-side, War All The Time would let us maintain some semblance of our normal routines and conveniences. We’d probably still have Animal Crossing. But in a state of perpetual war among all nations, what normalcy would we ever really have? Imagine a world where we could all be drafted at any time to go to battle? Where every tweet could be our last? Come to think of it, are we already living War All The Time... Shit.. Fuck.
Some Guy Named Phillip asks: You’re still doing this?