Big Time Sniper: Ohio Band Specializes in “Anti-discourse, Anti-intelligence-Inspired Hardcore”

Photo: Kristen Necovski

The Columbus scene is what I would consider to be the strongest in Ohio right now. There are constantly new bands coming into the fold, new kids coming in from Ohio State University, and the DIY history it already had with places like the Legion of Doom.

Featuring members of Anteater, For Your Health, Forest Fucker, Kill Gosling, and Wasp Factory, Big Time Sniper is a new band that issued their self-titled debut release last week on Charity Kill Records. The 8-track collection is self described as “anti-discourse and anti-intelligence-inspired hardcore." With songs about straight edge steroid use, BDSM shaming, and abusive cops, there is a good spread of some of the most punk lyrics going today. 

I caught up with vocalist, Sniper, for a quick interview into the mind of a man that writes lyrics like, “When I flex/see my veins/I've got worms instead of brains.”

So, how did Big Time Sniper come to be?

Basically, I just had so much fun doing Anteater and wanted something that was “my own." It’s nice having something where I can just demo a song out and be like, “hey, here’s what we’re doing,” but also everyone in this band is so talented that everything gets punched up to sounding better than whatever I envisioned.

Why did you choose to include two cover songs on the album?

Arrogance. With “Gimme That," I wanted to show we can be on Crime Light’s level. And I love Crime Light and I love that song, it’s just like, yes I fully believe Big Time Sniper could be as big as Crime. And “Wild Thing," it was like, we can be as timeless as X. And I love that era of hardcore too.

People are always going on and on about '90s NYHC and I think that shit sucks. But I love all that early '80s LA stuff. So in a way I’m sort of more OG and more respectful to the roots of hardcore than all those guys peddling Madball and Agnostic Front. Plus, I love 'Major League.'

What are the other songs on the album about?

“Good Cops” is like classic Sniper-style songwriting. Taking something I don’t like and depicting it in as disgusting of a way as possible. “Old Bugs 2000” was actually something I wrote for Anteater, pretty much just about a sports nut that’s the victim of some Lovecraftian horror. That visual of something crawling under the skin is something that always sticks with me.

“Spit In My Mouth” is just an attempt to get people mad at me, which is almost impossible in hardcore days! Big brain take here but it’s also a critique of fascism in the same vein as Salo.

“Roids” I had the phrase “swingin’ on gay kids in the pit” so I built a song around that. Classic Sniper trope of depicting a guy that’s desperate to prove he’s a man. “Fuck Griphook” is about ethics in gaming journalism.

Photo: Kristen Necovski

What’s next for the band?

Honestly, we don’t know! We’ve got a lot of stuff planned, a couple splits, a 7”, and LP, and a tour. Just not sure which one we’re gonna tackle first. 

What do you think it is that makes Ohio’s scene so strong?

Devo. There’s this interview with Gerald Casale where he says that Ohio is the most normal state, which makes it the perfect breeding ground for abnormal art. And I think hardcore is abnormal. It’s weird, moshing and all that shit is weird. 

READ MORE: Devo’s Gerald Casale on Johnny Rotten, Being the “New Wave Grateful Dead” + More

What about Columbus specifically?

Not to be a dickrider, but probably Ilija from En Love. The guy busts his ass when it comes to shows and I think it’s definitely put Columbus on the map when it comes to hardcore. Also, probably like Dirty Dungarees is like a fucking meme now. I think OSU is a big part of it too. Like everyone in the scene either went there or lives in the shadow of this fucked institution.

Buildings named after Jeffrey Epstein’s mentor and sicking campus PD on people protesting for Palestine and every inch of the area becoming shitty four over ones. And the mascot for all this is a fucking nut! It’s all very disenchanting and I think for a lot of people the realest thing they can feel these days is just someone slamming into them in the pit. Oh, also, it’s the hometown of Big Time Sniper. 

Anyone you’d like to shout out?

Yeah, too many people. Bigg Egg. PAL is probably the best band in Ohio. Delayed Gratification Records, those guys are cool. DANA, best band in Columbus for sure, maybe Ohio. Cruelster and Piss Me Off. Charity Kill Records! Tim’s awesome and has been supporting me for years. And lastly our label mates Chalk, I guess. 

Photo: Kristen Necovski

Last word is yours.

Our friend Bradon made a really good point about us that like “because it’s funny doesn’t mean it’s a joke," and eventually a bunch of guys who make this super self serious brand of hardcore are gonna half to reckon with the fact that these assholes in Big Time Sniper who go up and cover other people’s song and shit are as good if not better than them. And I think that’s really funny. 

Clocking in under 10 minutes, this Big Time Sniper album is another example of the Ohio scene’s strength.


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