Mt. Zena is a Portland band lists itself as "bubblegum hardcore" on their Bandcamp page, which is definitely the first time No Echo has ever heard that descriptor used. "Bands such as Dope Body, Ice Age, Big Black, My Bloody Valentine, and Slint have heavily inspired our music in more ways than just sound," vocalist Garrett Smith tells No Echo.
"What most inspires myself is when a band can transform across records and keep their musical identity. The band Liars, for instance, have continuously put out great work while completely changing the way they sound record to record. Originality has always been the goal of our music.
"Hardcore is just a label that has been put on to us. Personally, I could give less of a fuck what label people put on to us as long as I feel the music sounds distinct to our band and our sound."
Well, listen to Mt. Zena's latest EP, Acceleration!, below and come up with your own genre tag for what the group is doing:
"The goal of the sound on this record is to be as immediate as possible," says Garrett. "Staccato guitars and explosive drums are key to our sound here. I wanted this record to sound like two glaciers crashing together in an explosion of pink and yellow color. I wanted it to sound sterile and electronic as reflection of the technological world we live in. I also wanted this record to be catchy, unlike most hardcore music, and I think we achieved that here. Overall, I just wanted this record to sound angry, catchy, bright, and explosive."
As Garrett explains, the eclectic nature of Mt. Zena's sound has created a quite interesting situation for the group in the Portland music community. "Our local scene has recieved us in a strange way. For the most part, I feel like I’m back in high school and I’m caught in limbo between social groups. Portland has a strong music scene, but is mostly geared towards pretty specific genres. Because we seem to fall somewhere between hardcore and noise rock, it’s been difficult to find our audience.
"I feel misunderstood as an artist who is trying to innovate, but that just makes me wanna go further down the rabbit hole. As someone who has always been in love with all kinds of music, it’s difficult to not be taken seriously."
Garrett and Mt. Zena are clearly moving to the beat of their own drum, scene constrictions or not. "At the end of the day, I’m just gonna keep transforming and progressing as an artist. After all, if your making music for your audience your doing it wrong. Making music to rehash old shit is what most bands, do and we will never do what most bands do."
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