Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wreak Havoc interview with Vocalist, Ryan Hardwick. August 20, 2010.

Vista: Hey Ryan. Just the basics, Who's in the band & who doin' what?

Ryan: Well I sing in the band and my main homie Kevin Kowalski plays guitar. We're the only original members that appear on our demo 7". Adam "Browneye" Brown plays bass and he joined right after the 7" was released, so he's practically an original member. Rob Kearsy joined the band killing drums a year later. This is the most solid line up the band has ever had and it will be the only line up. If one of these cats bail, then the band is done in my eyes. If you've seen us and we had two guitar players its because we've had a slew of fill ins. Mostly close friends in other bands that hit the road with us. 

Vista: Can you give us a brief history of the band, year started, ex-members, what has been released so far & what's still available, etc.?! 

Ryan: We started Wreak Havoc in the Summer of 2008. We've had some ex members but they're not important to talk about. Most of them left the band on good terms. We released our 7" demo in 2008 on Anthropogenic Records in the states as well as Monument Records in Europe. A year later we released a full length called "Abandon Everything" in the states on City of Kings as well as in Europe on Monument. We have a few new songs and some cover songs that we recorded and we're shopping that shit out to labels to shoot for another 7" or a split. Something of that nature. 

Vista: You guys seem to be mixing both Punk & Old School Hardcore. Who are some direct influences to Wreak Havoc! musically? 

Ryan: When we started Wreak Havoc the main inspiration were hardcore bands that I was obsessed  with in high school around the turn of the millennium. Bands mostly from the Boston area like American Nightmare, Panic, Horror Show, The Trouble, The Dedication. I've always been a fan of old Afi albums so they were a pretty big influence on the original sound. 

Vista: : Vocally, who are some of your influences? Can you pick some vocalists that inspired you to want to front a band?  

Ryan: I was always a fan of good writers and front men that lost their fucking minds live. Wes Eisold (American Nightmare) is a huge inspiration to me. When I was younger and I first heard American Nightmare albums I felt like those songs were written solely for me. That band is just timeless I'll probably listen to them for the rest of my life. I was also a big fan of Dennis the singer of Refused and Cedric from At The Drive In. I think that the Mars Volta is pretentious bullshit but that cat used to be punk as fuck. Refused is another timeless band to me. The shape of punk to come changed my life.

Vista: I see that you {and other guys in the band} are into tattoos. Pick one tattoo that you have that is your favorite & tell us about it?  

Ryan: Yeah the majority of us are pretty heavily tattooed. I used to work at a real solid tat shack in Elyria Ohio called Chronic Tattoo. As for my favorite...I'd have to say my stomach. It was done by my old boss Tony Derigo and its such a clean and solid tattoo.It hurt like fuck too, with a big painful work you earn that shit. kids that have their stomach or chest done know what I'm talking about... 

Vista: What was your first exposure to Punk/Hardcore? How old were you & what were the first bands that you really connected with? Also, what was the first show you attended/year? 

Ryan: My Dad used to own an auto body shop in South Amherst where I grew up. I spent a lot of time there as a child and I remember losing my mind when the Offspring song Self-Esteem would come on. I had never heard anything so sincere and bitter yet at my young age. I saved up money doing small errands around the shop that summer and bought my first compact disk which was the Offspring's Smash. I still think that record fucking rules. Damn solid punk album, those guys got fairly wanky but christ they used to rip hard. The first show I ever went to was fucking Smashmouth, Blur, and the Catherine Wheel when I was in like fifth grade haha. I had an "alternative" cousin and she talked my Mom into taking me. Fuck, the 90s were lame.

Vista: I was checking out pictures that are on your site. How many tours have you guys done & what are some of your favorite places {states} to perform? Also, have you guys been to Europe as a band? If so, what countries did you guys get to?
Ryan: I want to say that we've been on....4 or 5 tours and done several weekend jaunts. There are so many ridiculous tour stories that I could spend days typing out and I actually wish I had the time to but I'd have to say that I've had my personal best of times in Rochester NY, Tampa FL, and Pittsburgh PA. I've kept a tour memoir that I'm going to try to get published in the next few years with a ton of outlandish stories of the knucklehead shit we've done while on the road. Though we've had a few offers to play in Europe we haven't gone over yet. Thats a dream of mine and we work with a label in Sweden so hopefully one of these days we can get our broke asses across the pond.

 Vista: While on tour, what are your top 3 essential items that you have to have?
Ryan: An Ipod full of post rock to lull me to sleep,  A towel because drip drying after a shower can be freezing and sharing towels is straight disgusting and a jug of cheap ass vodka to keep me animal style and to save money towards my inebriation.

Vista: What are your top 10 favorite bands/albums of all-time? It doesn't matter what genre...Just your top 10 favs? 
American Nightmare - discography (its all too good to pick one).
Refused - Shape of Punk to Come.
Suicide Machines - Destruction by Definition.
Waxwing - Nobody can take what everybody owns.
The Appleseed Cast - Two Conversations.
At the Drive In - Relationship Command.
Irepress - Samus Octology.
Elliott Smith - From a basement on a hill.
The Misfits - discography.
The party of helicopters - please believe it.

Vista: Pretend there is no such thing as the crappy internet...Pick 5 words that would best describe what the band sounds like/is all about?
Ryan: Punk, rage, fuck, party, hardcore.  
Vista: Lyrically, what are some topics that you guys are touching on? Also, what is the song, "Every Single Story Sadder Than Our Own" all about? 
Ryan: I write about all sorts of things that deal with my life but I guess that I mostly writesongs about growing up in South Amherst Ohio or how I need to change my life. I grew up in a very blue collar town and my family struggled to make ends meet for a majority of my life. My Father passed away when I was 15 and it was a crushing experience. So I try to write very sincere lyrics when recollecting my childhood and whatnot. Some songs are quite bitter about old friends or people that have fucked me over or the state of music that makes me sick but a majority of the songs are about heartbreak and overcoming awful situations or just feeling doomed/trapped in general. 
Vista: I know you guys posted 2 cover songs {A.F.I. & Bouncing Souls} on your Myspace site. Have you guys done these songs live as well? Also, what other {if any} cover songs have you guys done live or at practice? 
Ryan: We used to cover the AFI  song "He Who Laughs Last" off of Very Proud of Ya but we actually have never played either of the songs we recorded live. Those songs are supposed to go on a split with our friends Hellmouth. We recorded another cover song for that split but its a surprise jam. We've covered a ton of songs live though and usually every tour we do a different cover to keep shit fresh. Let me see we've covered Dead Ramones by Modern Life is War, 2003 by the Suicide File, Hearts and Farewell by American Nightmare, Reaction by From Ashes Rise, Written in Stone by Panic, and a short amount of Du Hast by Rammstein because that riff is punishing as fuck. ha! 
Vista: If you were to give any advice to a young band starting out, what would that be? 
Ryan: Practice your dicks off and make your band the tightest group of friends that you've ever had. A lot of bands break up after releasing some solid albums, so know the kids you're getting involved with like brothers.  After you have a solid demo's worth of songs hit up a a solid studio in your area (I know recording your own shit is punk or something like that but come on dude, you want your shit to play real clear and solid). Bang out your demo... burn hundreds of copies and pass them out at every hardcore show in your city so kids know what you're working with and that way you can also network with other bands in your scene. Hardcore is a very close knit least in Cleveland it is. You'll get on solid shows in no time. Once you work out the live kinks hit the road and rep your city the hardest you can. 
Vista: While on tour, there are a few "must" questions that I'm wondering about, because this is shit that is classic: 1. which band member drives the most? 2. which band member has to take a piss the most? 3. Which band member steals the most candy/snacks at convenient store at 3 a.m. from unsuspecting cashiers? 4. What is the most played CD while on tour? 
Ryan: The guitar player Kevin drives the most. I recently started driving long hauls but that dude doesn't mind staring at a highway for more than 6 hours at a time. Browneye has to take a piss the most since hes always drinking and has a bladder like a child. Rob our drummer steals a lot of tasty treats which he actually just got busted for this summer by some raging Russian lady in Rochester NY. As far as van jams we listen to a lot of R Kelly and Bone Thugs and Harmony... Clevo rep! R Kelly is out of his fucking mind and his lyrics are hilarious so that's been a group fav for years. 
Vista: What are your thoughts on the current Hardcore scene? What are some great things about it & what is the shits about it? I ask this question often & some times bands are very politically-correct and say, "oh, I just don't pay attention to trends" but I believe, how the fuck can't you "pay attention" to some of the worst era bands/trends ever in 2010!? How can you possible miss seeing guys in girl pants, guys with flat ironed hair & and a thousand bands who want to "make a career" out of their band who site Avenged Sevenfold as a MAIN influence! Thoughts? 
Ryan: I'll start this by saying that I fucking hate new wave metalcore. That shit is clown shoes and I can't believe how huge it got over the past few years. I almost feel bad for young kids that fall into that sea of shit. Dudes in makeup with haircuts that look like an ugly bird sat on their head wearing purple shirts with 20 neon colors that hurt my eyes and they get hand and neck tats when they're 18 before they even have a fucking sleeve...fuck, it makes me so mad... it's like get the fuck out of here man. I wrote the song "Kids These Days" on Abandon Everything about this topic in general. As far as my thoughts on the current hardcore scene I have nothing but positive comments . I've been going to hxc shows for a long time. I'm 25 and I saw my first hxc show when I was 15 so thats a fucking decade of shit. Things seem stronger now then they've ever been and I think its a fucking awesome scene to get involved with at a young age. It keeps a lot of kids off of drugs and gives them that strength to keep their heads up through thick and thin ya know? I don't know how I feel about that hate mosh bullshit but every city is different. Ya know what really chaps my ass though... that fucking Brokencyde band... If I could make it happen I'd start a band fight with those dudes. Wreak Havoc vs. Brokencyde 2010. Ya know there's a group of Mothers who publicly speak out about that bands message? Fuck those kids to death man. 
Vista: Outside of everything that is involved with being in a band {practice, writing/recording, live shows, etc.}....What are some of your interests & hobbies? 
Ryan: Well I go to the gym like 5 days a week and I try to live a fairly clean life. We're not a sxe band by any means and from  time to time we go out and get crushed and act like knuckleheads but we just like to have fun. I go to a lot of shows, I read a lot of books, I watch a lot of movies, I have a rad dog named Carl that I hangout with....I'd like to think that I'm a pretty normal dude. I'm really excited for Fall and hoodie weather and haunted houses and shit like that. 
Vista: Have any of you guys been in any other bands prior to Wreak Havoc! & do any of ya's have any side-project bands going on? 
Ryan: I used to sing in a spacey screamo band called Nsdwhoa/Neversaydie for like 8 years. We did a few tours and played a ridiculous amount of shows. They're still a band actually they just released a new demo and its fucking radical. Kevin our guitar player was playing with an indie band called Florida Snowman with members of Homewrecker who are really good friends of ours. He also played a few shows with Mammals, another Cleveland HXC band. I'm actually going to try to start a waxwing influenced indie band this winter to play some low key shows that or a really violent sounding punk band. I haven't made up my mind yet. 
Vista: What is going on these days locally in Ohio, as far as bands? Any bands worth checking out? Also, where are shows going on there, clubs, Legion Halls, basements? Is the scene strong & supportive or do kids only come out for big-biz bands & then disappear back into the wood-work!? 
Ryan: There is usually a show worth going to every night in Cleveland. That's why I love this city. Venues like Now That's Class, Crankys, and Grog Shop are bringing some awesome bands in. The DIY shows go down at the Tower and Gomorrah (the church) and they fucking take the cake honestly. There are too many good bands in Cleveland right now. Masakari, Homewrecker, Exseteras, Our Fight, Mad Minds, Heads Held High, Light Years.... all good friends of ours, all rippers! A good amount of kids support every show but obviously there are some home town heroes that bring a good crowd to every show.
Vista: If Wreck Havoc! ended today, what would be your fondest memory of the band be? Also, what would be the biggest, shittiest disappointment? Hey, there HAS to be a fip-side to everything!? the 
Ryan: There are too many incredible memories I have with this band to be able to pick one out. Every tour we've done has been so fucking rad that I never want to come home. Releasing a 7" and a 12" was a huge thing for me, and playing shows in different cities all over the country and seeing kids I've never met before sing my lyrics always puts a smile on my face. I guess being able to stand in front of a group of strangers alongside my best friends and perform something so sincere to me will always be the fondest memory. If WH was to break up soon I'd be rather disappointed that we never got to go to Europe or tour the west coast. I'm working on both those things for 2011 though. 
Vista: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. I really appreciate it. Is there anything else you'd like to say? Also, what is the best way to get in touch with the band? 
Ryan: Well I guess I can use this to say what the band plans on doing. We have three new songs and 2 newly recorded cover songs up on myspace and facebook pages. We plan on releasing two splits with them or if it doesn't work out we'll just do our own 7" in which we're looking for a label to help out with. We're going to lay low for awhile in the Fall and write a new album. We'll hit the studio in Winter and hopefully have another full length out by Spring 2011 then tour all fucking summer on that bad bitch. That's the plan as of now so stay tuned and check us out if we're in your city. I also book shows at a radical bar in Cleveland called Crankys, so bands in need hit me up.

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