Boasting a sound that captures the raw hardcore meets galloping thrash metal of 80’s NYHC cross-over, Activator is coming! Side-stepping the modern metal-core era, the New York based quartet reference such iconic bands as Leeway, The Crumbsuckers, The Cro-Mags and Absolution in their approach. While Activator has existed for several years and has played stages across the country with such notables as the Bad Brains, Murphy’s Law and Merauder, their self-titled debut album (sporting cover artwork designed by Version Industries, who have worked with such names as Daft Punk and Louis C.K.) is finally ready to be released on September 17th.
Featuring brand new material as well as re-workings of their earlier demo material, the album benefited from the assistance of Jim Williams of Maximum Penalty/Nausea fame on vocal production and mixing by Matt Snedecor (Rush, Dresden Dolls). “I wanted to capture the same ferocity of our live show on recording,” explains Shannon Moore (vocals). “While we were recording at Night Owl Studios (which is owned by Williams), Jim’s experience with recording and being a vocalist really helped make sure we went in the right direction,” adds guitarist Jared Drace. The resulting amp aggression and out front vocals captured on such songs as “Shackle” and “Unfortunate Lovely” is a true representation of the band’s stage prowess committed to record.
Activator’s line-up is completed by bassist Willie Paredes (formerly of alt-rock group Pagoda), and Soviet born and bred drummer, Sunny Leejean. The group first came to fruition in 2006, when Queens, NY native Moore first met Drace at the recently shuttered L.E.S. artist/skater bar, Max Fish. The two instantly connected over their shared love for the metal, punk and art that’s come out of the New York scene over the years. “I was more of a metal head growing up, drawing inspiration from all sorts of sub-genres,” reveals Drace. “As we started to collaborate on music, Shannon and I were able to combine our roots to hardcore and metal to create a truly hybrid sound.”
Moore has been a fixture in the hardcore scene since the 80’s. Yet over the last few years, he has been taken up by touring the world with hip-hop heavyweight, El-P. Acting as hype-man for the decorated producer/emcee, Moore has been rocketing from country to country and sharing stages with a wealth of rap personalities. Having a foot in these two worlds, there were opportunities when Activator became known to hip-hop audiences. This included the band signing to Def Jux Records (Aesop Rock, Cage) shortly before the labels demise. Speaking on this experience Moore says, “I’ll always be a fan of rap and friends with many rappers but make no mistake, hardcore music came first for me. Activator scratches a different itch for me, and provides a different type of freedom to express myself.”
Part of that itch is the adrenaline of performing live. “I’ve had experiences playing on large festivals and as cool as playing to 50,000 people can be, you tend to feel really detached from the audience,” shares Moore. “There’s something special about the intimacy of an underground hardcore show or small club matinee like CBGB’s with nothing separating you from the audience. That gives us energy to feed off of.” Look for video premieres and show announcements in support of the upcoming album shortly.