Everyone following the NYC hardcore scene should be familiar with this band. Featuring former members of Inhuman and Shutdown, The Last Stand brings all the elements that make up the classic NYHC sound, whether you’re into kick-boxing or singing along. Their debut full-length The Time Is Now is probably one of the best albums of this style that I’ve heard recently and I encourage everyone to check it out. Here’s an interview I did with Michael, who does the vocals for the band.
Everyone following the NYC hardcore scene should be familiar with this band. Featuring former members of Inhuman and Shutdown, The Last Stand brings all the elements that make up the classic NYHC sound, whether you’re into kick-boxing or singing along. Their debut full-length The Time Is Now is probably one of the best albums of this style that I’ve heard recently and I encourage everyone to check it out. Here’s an interview I did with Michael, who does the vocals for the band.Hey man, congrats on The Time Is Now, this is truly awesome album. So, how do you feel about it now when it finally hit the streets and reviews are starting to trickle in?
Thanks so much for the support and kind words Jacek, it mean a lot that the record has been getting so many good reviews and the that the word of mouth is growing. I know we put a lot into both the song writing and the recording of this record, so it makes the whole band happy to see that the HC scene is embracing it so far. It has only been out 3 months, so we hope to take it much further.
How did you guys come up with the idea for starting The Last Stand? What was the main motivation behind starting the band, if there was one?
Dion, our bassist, is the main catalyst for The Last Stand, as he came up with the name and is the main songwriter. Dion, Steve and Jimmy were all in the band Shutdown, which featured my brother Mark on vocals and I am in the band Inhuman, so Shutdown and Inhuman obviously have a connection through blood and countless shows together. In May of 2010, I got a call from Dion and he explained to me that he and Jim and Steve missed playing Hardcore and wanted to do something new, with a new name and new songs. I was very intrigued and honored at the same time as I have watched all of these guys grow up and I look at the 3 of them as younger brothers. At the first band practice, I knew we had something special because of the way we all clicked. In the summer of 2010 we recorded the demo and our first show was October 2010.
You seem pretty happy with comparisons to classic NYC hardcore. Honestly, I think the album is NYHC to the bone. Was it your goal from the start to bring back this type of sound?
I would have to say yes. We love this style of music. We all agree that there are 2 reasons we do TLS - to play HARDCORE and to have fun with our friends. If you really listen to the entire record, you will hear elements of Sick Of It All, Madball, Agnostic Front, Breakdown, Killing Time, Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits - all classic NYHC bands. However, I also hear some West Coast influences like Chain of Strength, No For An Answer and some 90's HC moments for sure. We are doing nothing "new", but in some ways we are as I don't hear too many brand new bands that sound like TLS, and I do pay attention to new HC.
The band keeps things interesting thematically, with a focus on real life situations and honest message in the lyrics. Can you talk about some of the subjects you tackle on this album?
Dion wrote some great and catchy lyrics for this record. Songs like "Watch You Go", "Opportunities Lost and Found" and "Find Out" stay stuck in your head. Songs that I contributed to like "Unleashed", which is like a call to arms for TLS, a song that announces who we are and what we are about. Another song, "Good Day To Die", is not about dying, but living. Living your life to the fullest and being fearless so that when it IS your turn to die, it won't be such a sad day.
Coming from the hardcore scene at least since the 1990's, how would you say it has changed up until now?
2013 marks 25 years of Hardcore for me. My first show was in 1988 and I am still here. From 1988-1990, it was all brand new and extremely exciting and scary for me. An irreplaceable time, without a doubt. In the 90's, NYC went from sucking hard in the early 90's to coming back huge in 1995, then dying out again a bit in 2000, them coming back again in the mid 2000's. I think NYC is doing quite well in 2013.
Being involved in hardcore scene for some time already, what bands or individuals have been influential to you?
There are so many after 25 years. In all honestly every single band from the late 80's to around the late 90's rubbed off on me and shaped "My Hardcore" so to speak, but the 5 biggest NYHC influences are: Sick of It All, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits. Some non NYHC influences are Black Flag, Negative Approach, No For An Answer, Floorpunch, Ignite, Black Flag and a newer one would be Terror actually.
Are kids in NYC still dancing hard? What is the craziest thing that ever happened at one of your shows?
I want them to dance much harder for The Last Stand! We have had some nice pits, but I want harder dancing for sure! Nothing too crazy, but I think that will surely change.
Talking about NYHC, there’s a bunch of newer acts representing New York scene like Backtrack or Olde York. But sometimes it’s hard to get your name out there when you’re surrounded by all these classic bands that are still active or are getting together again. Do you follow any up and coming bands from your area? Any names we should check out?
As I mentioned earlier, I do follow new HC bands. NYC has Olde York, Abject!, On The Offense and in Log Island there is Backtrack and Incendiary. My favorite new HC band is from Boston, Boston Strangler! That band makes me want to smash things! I also like World War 4 which has Mark Porter from Floorpunch on vocals, their demo kills.
What are the best and worst aspects of life in New York City? Is there still much violence and homelessness?
The best aspects are the people, the bands, the food, the culture. The worst aspects are the yuppies and hipsters, the rising rents and high cost of living. The violence is nothing like it was in the 80's and 90's, but the homelessness is back on the rise again for sure.
What can we expect from The Last Stand in the near future?
A lot of shows. We want to play as much as possible to support "The Time Is Now" and we want as many people to hear it as possible. The cd came out in January on Eulogy Recordings, the limited vinyl is coming out in May on Demons Run Amok Entertainment from Germany. Please check us out at www.facebook.com/thelaststandnyhc and www.thelaststandnyhc.com. Thank you!
All photos by Carl Gunhouse.