Interview with NJ’s SICKER THAN MOST!
NJHC hardcore band Sicker Than Most are bringing the crunch and chug of Jersey’s Finest to hardcore enthusiasts everywhere. With super heavy down tuned guitars, gruff tough guy vocals that teetering on death metal growling, and plenty of breakdowns to keep the pit in motion, STM are brutalizing stages and dance floors wherever they play.
Their full-length album, No Dividing Line, is set to drop on Good Life Recordings, and the label is definitely a good fit for this group of shredders. NJ is known for producing some mighty heavy bands, and we might as well chalk STM up on the board as contenders for the title right now… Shit sounds tough!
One of the openers for East Coast Tsunami a few weeks back, I was unfortunately unable to catch their performance. Workdays will do that to a man, but I did want to get in touch with the guys to discuss their sound, their performance at the show and those forthcoming, and the state of New Jersey hardcore. I spoke with the guys via email to get the answers to these questions, and can’t wait to get a taste of the group live in the future!
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and is everyone from dirty Jersey?
Lord Stanley (Joe) – guitar
G- How long has Sicker Than Most officially been around and when did you first get started? Do you remember the moment that you really felt the group “click?” When was your first show?
Question 1: Joe- late January 2008
Shawn- A few years later.
Joe- It took us a while to figure our direction.
Andy- At least 2 years into it.
George- When I joined the band. (laughs)
Frank- When I moved to guitar things really came together. (laughs)
G- So tell me a bit about the current state of NJHC… How is the scene and how are the responses at the shows there? Still berserk?
Shawn- Revitalizing, definitely coming back, but still a huge separation.
Joe- Our shows are insane most of the time, especially our home shows, but we’ve been getting huge responses almost everywhere now.
G- You are either just about to, or have recently released, an album titled No Dividing Line on Good Life Recordings… great label! Where did you record the record, who was behind the boards, and what was it like in the studio for the band? Any fun packages going to be released ie: vinyl pressings, colors, etc?
Joe- Len Carmichael, Sound of Revolution. He is amazing and great to work with. The CD came out June 2, 2012. You can get it at most underground record stores, through REVHQ, iTunes, and of course through us.
Shawn- Being in the studio was super comfortable.
Andy- The recording experience on this record was the single best experience in the studio I’ve ever had.
G- I know they’re super heavy, but can you tell us a bit about your tunes and where you find the inspiration to write your new material?
Shawn- We’re a life-inspired band, we don’t write about mythical dragons and things.
Joe- Shawn and I share a lot of the writing and yes everything we talk about is something we’ve been through or feelings we have. As far as writing the music, I try to keep it as heavy as possible without being redundant. I try to write parts to engage the listener, as well as make them want to smash things. (laughs)
G- Do you have a favorite song that STM has written to date? Which one is it and why?
George- Burning Bridges, ‘cuz fuck the haters.
Frank- Bring the Pain, because, I don’t know, I love it.
Shawn- Bring the Pain
Andy- Toss up between Bring The Pain and Morning Star
Joe- I can’t choose. I love them all, but if my life depended on it, The Real Thing because it’s fast and high energy. But, I also love the reaction we get to Stand. Fight. Unite.
G- Does STM subscribe to any political or social ideology ie. SXE/Vegan? How you feel about politics/president with the upcoming election so close?
Joe- We don’t usually talk about politics and just agree to disagree. 4 out of 5 of us are edge. I am vegetarian. We do mostly agree that something needs to change in this country. Shit’s just ass backwards for the most part.
G- What is your writing process like, and who in the band typically comes up new music? Do you have a primary songwriter, or do you write music more organically through jamming during rehearsals?
Joe- I usually come up with something and we jam on it until it turns into something. We haven’t really worked on anything new since the album came out so I’m curious to see now how it comes together with Frank and George. From what we’ve played around with I think our next cd will have a lot more diversity on it.
Andy- I hit round things with sticks.
G- Can you give us a few examples of any bands or artists in particular that influence your style? Who do you typically like to listen to, and are there any acts you think we should know about?
George- Lifeless and Wisdom in Chains are my favorites.
Shawn- Stick to Your Guns, Lifeless, but not just hxc.
Andy- Heaven Shall Burn, Wisdom in Chains, SIC
Frank- Reign Supreme, Lifeless, All Out War
Joe- I listen to so many bands, but my favorites are 100demons, Shattered Realm, and Earth Crisis. Some bands I think you should know about are Lifeless, Ready to Die, Not ‘til Death, Vice, Bottomfeeder, Life after Death, and Before I Had Wings.
G- Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future? If you could assemble a dream bill for STM, who would be on it?
Shawn- Every time I die
Andy- Heaven Shall Burn
Frank- I don’t know… We played with everybody at ECT fest.
Joe- Earth Crisis, 100 Demons. If we play with either of those bands, or better yet both on the same bill, I think I will die.
G- What is the craziest show that STM has played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
Frank- June 2nd, our CD release show was insane.
George- ECT Fest
Shawn- Our set June 2nd was the most violent and had the most sing-a-longs.
Andy- Our first show in Syracuse was crazy. Before we even started playing, kids were kicking each other.
Joe- I’m going with June 2nd, I mean there are things that happened that we can’t really get into… it got so crazy. (laughs)
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician in hardcore music?
George- Support the scene, go to other band’s shows.
Andy- Take respect.
Shawn- Quit now so we don’t have to deal with you quitting later… kidding.
Joe- If your heart is in it, just keep going. Don’t give up and make sure you respect the people that been doing this longer, whether it’s bands, promoters, or just people that have been going to shows forever. Learn from them; you’re going to have your ups and downs but the good shows tend to make up for the bad shows and all the B.S. in between.