After one split release, an EP and a slew of singles, two-piece chaotic hardcore band Death Goals have earned a reputation as one of the most hectic bands of the U.K. underground. Finally, we are delighted to reveal that the band have taken the leap to record their debut album, The Horrible and the Miserable – 11 blistering tracks of jarring, dissonant chords and pained screams, due out June 4th. Despite the consistent quality of the band’s previous releases, having a full length record will provide listeners with something more substantial they can sink their teeth into, and will most certainly draw the band a great deal of attention from mathcore fans.
Speaking to band founder and guitarist/vocalist Harry Bailey, and newly recruited drummer/vocalist George Milner, the duo recount the recent changes within the band, how they approached their first album, and their status as a queer-identifying band.
What was the motivation behind starting the band?
HB: I wanted to play hard, fast music, which was something I’d been lacking. My old band was more math rock, which was fun but very set in its ways. There was a divide between me going really hard and no one else was, so I wanted a project where I had more creative freedom and could do what I want. Being a live band was the main thing. This band has become a venting source for me, just because it’s so physical; we have to play these songs hard to make them sound good.
George, was there any pressure joining an existing band, particularly when you’d be making up 50% of the group?
GM: Yes, a lot haha! A big part of that came from me already being a fan, as well as thinking there are boots I need to fill but not simply being the guy who plays drums. I wanted to bring something that Death Goals didn’t already have. Rather than feeling nervous, my main thought was presenting myself as a representation of the band, like ‘the two of us IS Death Goals, and that’s how it’s going to be’.
Harry, normally you write everything. Has this changed with the addition of George?
HB: Yes, on the album George wrote a load of lyrics, so him joining the band was a big bonus as I hate writing lyrics. I’m very over-analytical of my lyrics. I’d send a song to George and he’d write like four paragraphs of ridiculous stuff that I then had to edit down. There were a few songs where George changed the drum parts, but it was still mostly me tackling the music and George did a lot of the lyrics.
Were there any unexpected benefits of creating an album entirely during lockdown?
GM: Because we were both so bored it really pushed us to work hard on the record. Harry would send me stuff to work on, but then I’d wake up the next day and have changed my mind on what I’d written, and you can’t really have that when you’re in a practice room. If we disagreed while texting, you can just put your phone down and think about it for a while so you don’t butt heads, whereas if you disagree in a practice room you’re still playing for three more hours.
HB: It also gave us time to actually perfect things, and take our time. Normally I’d tweak an idea for a bit, but then after the recording is finished I’d wish I’d spent more time on it. We spent so much time perfecting these songs and were so happy with them that we had to make sure it was actually good.
Your track Gender Traitor deals with LGBTQ issues, which is more prevalent on this record than previous releases. Was there something that sparked this change?
HB: I’ve always been very vocal about it in my personal life, identifying as queer, but after lockdown and being at uni it was far more prevalent in my mind. Seeing the rise of the alt-right and such made me think that now is the time to start talking about this, as it’s something I need to get off my chest.
What reaction has there been so far to the subject matter of the track?
HB: Most people already know about me being queer, but my Grandad sent me a text saying he’d watched it and thought it was powerful stuff. I was surprised he’d even heard it, he’s a seventy year old man, he shouldn’t be listening to hardcore!
GM: Because Harry wrote the lyrics for the track, I didn’t really claim the sentiment as my own, but the more it’s been out, it’s made me more comfortable talking about it with people. If we started working on a second record, I’d want to talk about my experiences of being queer and make more of a point about it.
There seems to be an increase in extreme music being made by members of the LGBTQ community. Do you feel there is a reason behind this?
HB: I think that the voice of minorities has always been more prevalent in hardcore and left field music. The lockdown has given people more time alone, so they’ve become more comfortable with themselves. I’ve had so many friends come out during lockdown as they haven’t been putting on a performance for others. People in the hardcore community feel its a safe place to voice their opinions, and the queer community within it are incredibly vocal and supportive of each other.
What other bands from the LGBTQ community should we check out?
HB: Pupil Slicer are mad grindy mathcore that is ridiculous, Shooting Daggers are like 80s/90s style hardcore, wicked vocals, super sick. Not heavy, but I love girl in red. She’s proper indie, bedroom pop about lesbian love songs. Limp Wrist are an older power-violence band who all wear leather onstage, and Gay Panic Defence from Scotland, a power-violence grind band, are super sick.
GM: itoldyouiwouldeatyou, they’re sort of like 90s emo with a Foxing vibe to them. SeeYouSpaceCowboy, amazing 90s metalcore, loads of dischords. A huge one for me is Kitchens of Distinction, who are like a shoegazy version of The Smiths, with vocals identical to Neil Tennant from Petshop Boys.
The Horrible and the Miserable will be self released on June 4th.
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