Long Island's hardcore mainstays Incendiary kick down the sonic doorway with their first album in six years, Change The Way You Think About Pain, out May 26th through Closed Caskets Activities.
Passionate, frenzied heaviness mixed with bitingly relevant lyrics, Change The Way You Think About Pain sees the foursome of frontman Brendan Garrone, guitarists Brian Audley and Rob Nobile, and drummer Dan Lomeli at their most unrelentingly vicious and dynamic.
Garrone sat down with Metal Injection for a deep dive into the new album, balancing band and home life, his thoughts on the state of hardcore, and the current drama in the hardcore space stemming from a recent incident at a Terror show in Fort Worth Texas.
On First New Incendiary Album in Six Years
Honestly man, like I feel like Incendiary’s purpose and mission is to play live. And part of the delay is we would want to write and get serious and then basically we would get an offer to do a show and it'd be like, "Ah, fuck it, let's do that. Let's practice for the show, let's play these shows, or let's do this little run" or whatever. So I feel like we just were so focused on playing that the right thing we kind of kept putting off.
And I think it wasn't until COVID, which is obviously very stereotypical for a lot of bands, but I think Brian, our guitar player specifically, he really had the vision for this album and really put in some time initially to like lay the groundwork of everything. And that was kind of the catalyst for getting serious about being like, okay, we're going to do this. And I think from the jump he was like, 'this is going to be an LP, I want to do this!' And we basically all got on board and were like let's just fucking put the ax to the grindstone and make it happen.
On Writing Heavy/Catchy Music With A Message
For us and for me personally, because of the bands that were very influential to us in, generally speaking, the late '90s, heavy hardcore of like your Earth Crisis, 108, VOD (Vision of Disorder), Snapcase, Strife, Indecision, like all of that cohort of bands, I think at that time it was almost just like a part and parcel of playing this kind of music. So it's funny, I was just talking about this the other day, I was surprised for us to become like a band that's “known” for certain socio-political topics because to me that's what hardcore bands would write about.
We're not from the streets, so we're not going to be writing about fighting and stuff like that because we're never going to present ourselves … and there's nothing wrong with that by the way, like a lot of hardcore music I like is of that ilk. But it's very important for us, I think, to be authentic and that's not authentically us.
So I think in lieu of that, these are the things that kind of came out naturally. And to your very apt point, like how could you not have that be an influence based on the day to day life that we're all living in post-COVID? So like the most no brainer of no brainers, at least to me.
I think one of the things that we've focused on, like on the musical front to that point, particularly on the last two records, as in this one that's coming out and Thousand Mile Stare, we wanted to get better at writing songs. After Cost of Living, which was kind of a watershed album for us, like when we were going into writing Thousand Mile Stare, I think one of the biggest goals that we had was to be better songwriters.
And I feel like there's always a way to refine that. It's kind of like, I don't know, an art and a science. And so I think for this album, for Change, we continue to want to refine that part of our process.
On Recent Terror Incident & Hardcore Show Etiquette
That incident is as old as time, first of all, with heavy music. Security and hardcore kids are oil and water. And that has been the case since the '80s, basically. I mean, that's like always been a thing. I think that as you're seeing hardcore music have like a little bit of "moment" there's going to be a lot of collision between normal music, normal society, status-quo civilian sort of like jock bouncers and a fucking weird kind of music that's meant to be on the periphery. And sometimes when music that is meant for the periphery and for the outsiders comes into the mainstream, it's not always smooth. And to me that's just like another example of this.
And so I commend Terror for being one of the best hardcore bands in the history of the genre. But I also commend them specifically because Terror has never shied away from playing different kinds of tours, with different kinds of bands in different kinds of venues. And they were a supporting act on this one.
So you know, I think those things are honestly, dude, kind of inevitable. And oftentimes the scene is designed to self-police itself. And that's why you've seen certain security guards get handled in the past by cohorts of hardcore kids because this kind of music has a tendency to take care of their own.
I think that there's a performative aspect of crowd participation now that hasn't existed in the past because of the virality online of hardcore shows. I think that there was also an element of hierarchy and social Darwinism in the past in hardcore where you would have a few lunatics acting crazy because they were lunatics and most people would deal with it for that reason.
Nowadays, because of the emphasis on not fighting at shows, I think some people get away with a lot and I think that sometimes probably people need to get punched in the face, because when I was going to shows when I was younger, certain behavior was condoned and cool and certain wasn't. And there was, again, not to get back, there was a self-policing aspect to the shows that has changed a little bit.
So ultimately, my sense is that these things kind of work themselves out. But I do think that usually there's always going to be the wrong person to hit. And it might take five, 10, 15 times, but ultimately you may run into someone who is not the right person to hit. I think a lot of things are a part of the social contract that if you want to be upfront there's going to be crazy shit.
I've been, for a very long time on the mic, like an outspoken advocate of moshing in the front. And I've always thought that people who are kind of like in the back are fair game for getting smashed. So I do think a lot of these things kind of work themselves out, but ultimately there may need to be some more self-policing that you probably see moving forward. And that still happens in a lot of cases, and I think that will probably not totally go away. So that's my general take on it.
On Balancing Home Life & Music Career
I think that that time in terms of any kind of far more frustration, has largely already happened. I mean, we've already passed over countless things. I think for me in particular, I am not interested in what it seems to take to be a modern touring act in terms of viability. I have no interest in promoting myself as Brendan from Incendiary. I have a private Instagram.
I have no interest in notoriety. I have no interest in bringing a videographer on tour to post clips for audiences. I'm not interested in being a content creator, basically. I don't give a fuck about the social media machine that's seemingly required to be successful nowadays in a band.
I guess I kind of come at it from that perspective where I'm really just focused on playing. And you know, we have gotten to kind of see the world and do those things. We've just done it in a different way. But we have gotten around and I'm proud of that. I think we will always be focused on being as strategic at maximizing the places that we play as much as possible.
I think for us, the difference nowadays is that there's a, how should I put this? There's a sense of perspective and sort of gratitude for continuing to be a part of this scene this late in our career and this many albums in.
The fact that we still feel like we're part of or in the mix of hardcore, I think for us that's something that we're super cognizant of and don't want to take for granted. So a lot of it is just we want to still be a part of this community and get it while the getting's good for lack of a better way of saying it. So we're just so happy to still have the interest from the hardcore community and from the kids that are into us.