"We rotate practices each week between three different towns, which often means 2-hour commutes with California traffic," Tony Bertolino, vocalist of San Diego band Bent Blue. That's the kind of driving nightmare any Californian can relate to, but bound together by a love for hardcore, the quartet make it happen, traffic be damned.
"When we first rehearsed, we established creative constraints on what we were hoping to accomplish sonically," Tony continues. "The idea was to play strictly unmetallic, fast, emotive, hardcore punk that was socially conscious, and that alluded to an old-school sound. We all came to the table with a love for DC hardcore.
"Bands like Minor threat, Gray Matter, Bad Brains, Fugazi, and One Last Wish. We are also heavily influenced by Gorilla Biscuits, Lifetime, Have Heart, and modern bands like Fiddlehead, Praise, Restraining Order, and One Step Closer."
Bent Blue's new demo, Between Your and You're, showcases the group's sound better than any written could, so here you go:
"Comments we've received on the demo and from people at shows is that we have a Dischord sound. Revolution Summer, Minor Threat, and Fugazi are often referenced. As a band, we often talk about maintaining an organic, earthy guitar sound, jangly bass, and lots of time changes. While we enjoy heavy hardcore, we love playing fast, high-energy music."
One of those early fans is WAR Records founder Andrew Kline, who will be releasing the Between Your and You're demo in cassette form. "Their sound is pretty unique and fresh, and I think a perfect fit to add some new flavor to the WAR Records roster," Kline tells No Echo.
Andrew, who also plays in the bands Strife, Berthold City, and World Be Free, is clearly excited about working with Bent Blue, and some of their fellow hardcore upstarts: "Since we have been on lockdown, I have been looking for more ways to not only stay busy, but to stay connected with the hardcore scene, and to help bands during this time.
"I decided to launch a demo series, partnering with a few different bands to help release their demos on cassette. Over the last few weeks, I have release tapes from Buggy (New Jersey) and Exhibition (Buffalo)."
No Echo asks Tony about some of the lyrical concepts featured on the Bent Blue demo. "The title of the demo comes from our song by the same name, and addresses the limbo in which immigrants and others find themselves when they're forced to leave a place they call home and arrive in a new land that shares an almost equal opposition to their being there. The inspiration for the song comes from personal experiences of members in the band who have been in this limbo or have loved ones who have.
"The song 'They Ask Why' is about gun control and was inspired by the concerns of one of the band's young family members. 'Influence Me' is a song about the culture of influencers and social media thought leaders and the ignorance of their followers. It was inspired by hearing and seeing influencers with little-to-no authoritative qualification make statements of persuasion that negatively impact the lives of real people."
Tony gives props to some of Bent Blue's California hardcore counterparts to finish our interview out. "We're buddies with Glean form San Diego, In Time from Ventura, and Redwoods from LA. We've been fortunate to have our first two shows at Programme in Fullerton and Ché Café in San Diego with bands like Absence of Mine and No Right.
"The weekend our demo released was when Coronavirus hit hard and a bunch of our shows got cancelled. We were really looking forward to playing a show at Ché Café with Berthold City, Spirits, and Time & Pressure."
In addition to the Between Your and You're demo cassette, WAR Records also launched a preorder for a limited benefit shirt with all proceeds going to the The International Rescue Committee. The organization responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.
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