Chopping Block: Seattle Band Returns with Two New Hardcore Heaters (PREMIERE)

Photo: Gabe Becerra

Last time No Echo caught up with Chopping Block, they were announcing themselves to a very uncertain world.

They quietly released one of the coolest demos of 2019–4 songs and under 4 minutes that fell somewhere between 1980s Youth Crew with 2000s Youth Attack vibes. The band was showing promise pre-COVID opening some of the hottest regional gigs in the Seattle area before…well, you know. 

The band teamed up with Safe Inside Records to release the demo on cassette in 2020 and over the course of the following year continued to craft their next release, a self-titled tape that they self-released (once again, quietly). The tape showed a continued development of the band’s sound.

Still short, fast, and pissed, but planted more firmly in the lane of React! Records hardcore that a dedicated group of individuals (such as myself) have rode hard for over the years. It also features artwork from John Twentyfive, who has probably designed for some of your favorite bands from the late '90s to today like Blue Monday, Another Breath, and Sinking Ships.

Now that you’ve made your year end lists and posted your Spotify Wrapped so all of your friends can see how questionable or conformist your taste is, Chopping Block is closing out the year for something else for you to consider with a No Echo exclusive 2-song promo ahead of a 2024 digital release:

You’ve changed some members since the eponymous tape. How has that changed your writing process?

Chopping Block started as a living room project by Kevin, who recruited Antonio to sing. They recorded the songs on that first demo without any real plans of being a band or playing out. When I heard those songs I immediately texted them announcing that Block #1 had to be a real band and #2 I was going to be in it.

Wait, you did what? 

[Laughing] Yeah, I just told them I was in their band now. It was a real wildcard move.

Are you allowed to just do that?

I mean it worked? So I guess so? I was blown away by the demo. It was everything I wanted a band to be. Fast and hard, short in your face songs. I just had to be in the band.

So then what happened?

Well, in early 2020 we pieced the band together and played a couple shows, and then like you said, the world shut down for Covid.

Writing that second tape, we were really balancing two big challenges. We loved writing and playing music with each other, but I had just had a kid so I needed to be really careful about Covid risk. For the second tape, we were individually bursting at the seams with music but didn’t have a ton of time to work on it together. Each of us brought music to the band, we learned songs, and then we recorded them more or less unchanged. I dig those songs a lot, but we didn’t all get to put our marks on them.

Another thing that happened to us during COVID was that one of our original members Kevin moved to Colorado. You’ve gotta check out his band Public Opinion. They’re so good. He says they sound like The Hives, but to me they sound like Kid Dynamite covering Cocksparrer.

Writing new songs has been great. We’ve been practicing every week, bringing music to the table, without a timeline to record. So we all get to learn the songs, go home and rework parts, and then come back with new ideas to bounce off each other. It’s been an awesome creative and collaborative experience, and I’m really fucking pumped for you guys to hear what we’re cooking up.

Has it changed your ability to be a more active band?

We’re looking to turn it up in 2024 for sure. Honestly I think that has more to do with our life-schedules than any individual member. Every show we play has great vibes, and I love writing and even just hanging out with the guys in this band. So we’re pumped to do more.

What plans do you have for future shows and supporting this release?

In early January we’re rolling down for a couple of Northern California shows, and hitting Eugene on the way home. Really excited to play some more locally in the Pacific Northwest as well. 

There’s so much cool stuff happening in NWHC right now - Tacoma has had an awesome scene for quite some time, Seattle and Everett have new bands gaining some momentum and kids who roll out to every show. Vancouver’s Punitive Damage is probably my favorite active band, and it looks like Juice and Poisoned Seeds are going to play more in 2024 as well. 

Nothing is booked yet, but Calgary and Kelowna always seem to have great bands and great shows. I’m really hoping to get Chopping Block out that way in the spring.

We’re excited to play out! 

What are the two songs on this promo about? 

Both songs carry through a theme of people you know not being who they pretend to be. Actions always speak louder than words. Smooth talk and charisma can sometimes cover up a rotten core… but only for a while.

Real original.

Haha yeah, I know. This subject is well covered in the hardcore canon, but our stories and feelings are still true and still need an outlet. Antonio’s lyrics resonate with me and maybe they’ll resonate for other people too.

What else can we expect from Chopping Block in 2024?

More writing, more recording, more shows - and the same fast hardcore energy we’ve always brought!

Here’s a video from a set we played at a pizza place. It was wild! Huge shout out to Vanguardist Media who is doing an awesome job cataloging the amazing stuff happening in NWHC:


Catch Chopping Block on their run of shows in January:
Friday January 12 - San Jose, CA @ The Beat Shop
Saturday January 13 - Fresno, CA @ Great Room
Sunday January 14 - Eugene, OR @ Nails House

The two-song promo will hit stream services on January 2, 2024.


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