Entry is a Los Angeles-based band that brings together elements of D-beat, modern hardcore, and power violence, resulting in a potent formula. They last appeared on No Echo thanks to Detriment, which I featured on my 'Best 10 Hardcore Albums of 2020' list.
Since I'm such a big fan of Detriment, I wanted to learn more about the group and some of their lyrics, so I reached out to Entry vocalist Sara G.
In this interview, we get into her upbringing, the story behind the band, and the musical influences that helped pave her way.
Tell me a bit about your upbringing.
I grew up moving around a lot because my dad was in the military and my parents separated a few times. I lived in 11 or 12 different homes across Virginia, Kentucky, and eventually Pennsylvania before I was out of high school. I was really close to my older sister and we spent most of our time listening to the radio and to tapes.
The first sort of punk music I ever owned was when my dad bought me Dookie on cassette. He was really into Green Day, which was pretty awesome. When I was about 10, my sister started hanging out with kids who were into alternative music and I started to listen to whatever she brought home. I got really into Nirvana and eventually stuff like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Metallica, Rob Zombie, and just other random stuff I heard on the radio.
How did you go from that kind of stuff to the heavier/harder side of the musical spectrum?
When I was about 13/14 I started going to local shows and seeing pretty much any band that played. We had a few punk and ska bands around. I started buying music magazines at the mall and would get compilation CDs and found a ton of music that way. That's how I found Converge, Poison the Well, Glassjaw, Martyr A.D., etc.
From what I can remember, I had a few Punk-O-Rama CDs, Warped Tour comps, Take Action, and the Ferret and Trustkill record comps. In high school, I would go to my friend's house to go on her computer and get into chat rooms—blink-182 AIM chat [laughs]—and I'd talk to people there and find out about bands. I remember some random girl I talked to sent me a link to the video for "Cross Out the Eyes" and I became a Thursday superfan.
I ended up on a music forum called Pahardcore (now Stereokiller) and I'd go on from like 10 PM-2AM every night and just find out about bands and download them if I could find anything on soulseek or hxcmp3.com. I eventually met people from the boards from the Wilkes-Barre area and a friend of mine and I started driving there all the time and going to a ton of shows.
The first big hardcore show I went to was Throwdown, Walls of Jericho, and Every Time I Die in April of 2004.
Did you play in any bands back in Pennsylvania?
I was in a sort of power violence band in 2008-2011 called Naptakers. Our recordings are all trash but we had a lot of fun playing and played some really cool shows around central/Northeast PA. I started a few bands when I lived in Pittsburgh, but nothing ever came of them.
How did you initially meet Clayton Stevens, and how quickly did you guys get the lineup locked in to start Entry? Also, who were some of the influences that you all bonded on early on?
In 2012, I was touring with Code Orange (Kids) as their driver/merch person/misc. The band was friends with Clayton so he met up with us at Ché Café and then we stayed at his place after the show. We became very fast friends. I remember that we initially bonded over some bands like Nirvana, Cocteau Twins, Converge, Tragedy, My Bloody Valentine, Cave In, Pg. 99.
We started Entry in 2013 as just the two of us sending songs back and forth. I lived in Pittsburgh at the time and we had a couple of friends from there fill in to play a few shows before I moved to LA. When I moved here, we had our friend Daniel and Elliot from Touché Amoré playing with us for a while, but Daniel moved and Elliot was very busy with other things. Sean [Sakamoto] joined the band when Daniel moved. Chris [Dwyer] filled in for us on tour in 2017 and was a perfect fit so he ended up joining the band as well.
The first Entry demo came out in 2013, so how would you say the band’s sound changed/evolved from that early material in comparison to Detriment?
I think we've changed a lot just because writing is a collaborative effort now. We started out where It was really just Clayton and I writing pretty simple punk songs, not sure what we were even going to do with them.
Now when we write, there's a little bit of every member's taste thrown into the songs. We really opened up to jamming pretty much anything. The last song on Detriment ("Demons") is a result of that.
Detriment is a brutal-sounding record. The bass tone and vocals particularly stand out to me.
The recording process was pretty smooth. We recorded the drums first at Chris's studio. Aside from vocals, I'm the most particular about the drums so I tend to have a lot of input. Chris is very open to suggestions, and It was a very fun experience. Clayton did the first layer of guitar tracks in the same night. The other guitar tracks and the bass were recorded at our practice space a few days later. Chris and Sean traded off with engineering duties.
Quick rig rundown for the bass recording: Tele P bass made by Emperor, Ampeg micro VR stack, Boss odb-3, and Aguilar tone hammer pedal. No DI signal was used. Amp was mic’d with a Heil pr40 and a SE ribbon mic into CAPI VP28 preamps.
Since you have two people in the band who are audio engineers, I imagine the recording process for the album was a smooth one?
I recorded vocals with Chris engineering. We did them over a period of two days, but actually about a month apart since I got sick. We started out using a condenser mic setup but quickly dropped that and I just used my SM58. Maybe It's not the best way to get steady levels but I felt like using my own show mic helped me get into the right headspace.
I generally do a few lines at a time then take a break to make sure everything is sounding how I want. When we were making this record, I didn't want the vocals to sound studio perfect (if that is really even a thing in hardcore) but I also wanted It to be the greatest version of our songs, so we did a lot of different takes.
Of course, most of the time we ended up using the very first take anyway. We redid all of "Not Your Decision" probably 3 times then ended up going with the first version. On the contrary, the song "Control" was recorded with completely different lyrics on day 1 and when we came back, I had Chris delete it and we redid the whole thing.
“Selective Empathy” is a song with lyrics I know a lot of people will relate to. Were the lyrics inspired by personal experience, or was it more of something that came to you from observing other folks?
This song was very personal to me, and I can't lie I had some reservations about writing it because I know some people close to me would be pretty bummed on It. Thankfully those people have no interest in listening to hardcore so they will probably never hear It. It sucks, though.
I'm sorry for anyone else that has to deal with this stuff. For anyone who hasn't heard the song or doesn't know the lyrical content, It's basically about people you love getting sucked in by Facebook/Fox News/etc. and becoming unrecognizable with their beliefs.
The lockdown obviously had a terrible impact on record releases and touring plans for bands in 2020. Where are you guys now when it comes to all-things Entry? Are you waiting to see when you can go out and start playing shows and spread the word about the album, or are you moving on to the next release? Maybe both?
I think it'll end up being a bit of both. We wrote the record over two years ago at this point, so there's the want to play those songs live but also to write new material. As soon as we can get together again I think we'll probably write a bunch and just hope to get back on the road at some point. We're all really aching to play shows again.
Outside of music, what have you been keeping busy with?
I work a full-time job, so that keeps me busy 40-50 hours a week. Aside from that, I just watch a lot of TV and movies with my partner and my dog. I hadn't had much motivation to do anything other than that for a while until very recently.
I started doing some art projects and am hoping to actually take on some new creative endeavors. We'll see what happens.
Finally, what have you been listening to lately?
I usually put on a radio of some sort, so I'll play more fast punk/hardcore for working out and lighter stuff when I'm doing anything else. I guess mainly lately: Julien Baker, Gulch, Scalp, Gatecreeper, The Hope Conspiracy, Best Coast, Portrayal of Guilt, and lots of '80s/'90s pop music.
Detriment is available on vinyl and digital via Southern Lord Recordings.
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