Stress Positions: Chicago Band Puts on a Hardcore Punk Clinic on Harsh Reality Album

Photo: Stephanie Brooks

Consisting of former three members of the broken up C.H.E.W., Stress Positions is a killer hardcore punk outfit from the Windy City I wanted to highlight on the site today.

Formed in 2020 during the COVID nightmare, guitarist Benyamin Rudolph, bassist Russell Harrison, drummer Jonathan Giralt, and vocalist Stephanie Brooks got the co-sign from Iron Lung Records (Brain Tourniquet, Electric Chair) who released debut EP, Walang Hiya, in 2022.

To close out 2023, Stress Positions dropped their debut album, a clinic in furious and no-bullshit hardcore called Harsh Reality via Three One G. Don't sleep on this one.

I had the pleasure of chatting with guitarist Benyamin a few weeks back about all-things Stress Positons, including their aforementioned banger of an album.

Since three out of four of you had already played together, was there something you wanted to do much differently with Stress Positions that you hadn’t in C.H.E.W., stylistically or otherwise?

Not particularly. About half of the current material for this band was intended for the next C.H.E.W. release. Once we decided to regroup and start something new there were a couple of things things we wanted to try but that was mostly changing up the tone of things with different gear, etc.

Maybe a few stylistic things as well but mostly just trying to consistently evolve and find new ways to challenge ourselves while also keeping things to the point and pissed as hell. The musical ethic is the same.  We do whatever we want without feeling confined to what a hardcore band is “supposed” to sound like. 

How did you initially cross paths and then know that Stephanie Brooks was the perfect vocalist for the band? 

We have known Stephanie for a long time. We all knew each other back in Orlando and then Jono, Steph and Ben all lived together at Margaritaville (a former show space in Chicago) for a few years.

Added to the fact she was already a close friend, we knew that Stephanie could sing like an angel and scream like a banshee. Along with a lot to say, We had a feeling she would absolutely crush it. 

Photo courtesy of Three One G

I’ve covered many bands from Chicago on No Echo in recent years, so it would seem the hardcore scene is healthy there right now. How do you see it? Also, do you find that there’s divides within the hardcore scene there (punkier bands vs. more metallic bands vs. whatever else)?

As far as bands go, the hardcore scene is definitely healthy and  thriving here right now. However, there is a shortage of DIY spaces but that seems more due to the resulting effects of living in a pandemic. It’s getting back to where it was slowly but surely.

We don’t think there are really divides through the scenes in Chicago but the nature of living in a large city is that there could be 2/3 shows to attend on a given night. Naturally, when that happens, you might see more curated bills which isn’t always a bad thing. Mostly it seems people in 2023 are just stoked as fuck to see live music again and more embracing of lots of different stuff, which is awesome. 

Speaking of musical styles, I saw that you played with Sumac, and you were supposed to open for Superchunk. If you had it your way, would Stress Positions play/tour with more bands outside of the hardcore punk spectrum?

We have always liked variety. We are music lovers. For us what matters most is aligning ethically with bands we play with. Style doesn’t really matter. We all listen to a ton of other music outside of punk so we’d rather not be constricted by that. Plus, it’s fun to have a night of music where people who might not always share a space are aligned for the same reason. 

How did you come to work with Justin Pearson and Three One G? What made it the right fit? 

For this record, we wanted to try working with someone we hadn’t previously. Much like Iron lung (who did our previous record) their values are very closely aligned. Each label puts out music that they believe in, that is both challenging and unique across all spectrums of aggressive music.

Three One G has been releasing music of that ilk for almost as long as we have been alive and we’re big fans. We hadn’t met Justin personally before they agreed to release the record and we are stoked to be a part of that family.  


Harsh Reality is available now on vinyl and digital via Three One G.

Stress Positions on social media: Instagram | Bandcamp


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