I just want to give a big cheers! to Phil. He is a down to earth, receptive, friendly dude. I first heard Villain when "It's Rough" dropped. i loved it right away (read it) the new ep, "Trouble At Home" is even better. But the unseen vicious left hook i got slammed by that is Anti-Venom is ferocious, stunning, dark hardcore. Phil does vocals for both. and i feel pity for his larynx. The world should watch out for this shit. When he is not screaming about the filth of humanity, he is getting his label Shoe City to gain momentum. He was kind enough to give some time and some insight to his world.
If you don’t mind - can you give your age and how you stumbled into punk/hardcore/metal? Favorite bands of genres? Name some bands presently existing that i should be listening to.
I'm Phil, I'm 24, I worked at this place called the Rollerkingdom and when they started booking hardcore shows there I liked what I saw and hopped on board. I like Jawbreaker as far as early emo goes, Rage Against the Machine for radio rock, and Modest Mouse for indie shit. Current band you need to check, Suffer on Acid as soon as their demo drops, Good Times from Jersey, Rude Awakening, Yellow Stitches, and Graves to name a few.
How are shows for you guys?
-Hey Hutch, shows for Villain are usually pretty awesome. We get alot of love in the merrimack valley and in central mass, when we play anchors up kids really go off and sing along it gets me really pumped and I try to make it as fun and wild as possible. We always go to shows with lots and lots of friends, its always been a staple with Villain and all the other Marlborough Hardcore bands.
I had to miss that Slapshot show - How did that go?
-It went great, there werent too many people in the building yet but we brought friends and some unfamiliar faces were singing along too so that got me pretty stoked. Playing with Slapshot is pretty much like a dream come true, I love pretty much everything they got, even the shit that people don't like I find some fun in it. But, I do have a Slapshot tattoo on my leg, so I guess I'd have to like most of their material to find them fitting for my body.
How did you feel about It's Rough (for yourselves) and its reception?
-We were all super happy with it, it was everything we wanted to to be and more. Arrest Records put it out and I can't thank Johnnie enough for that. Putting out that record was one of the most significant things I've ever done in my life,(don't know about the rest of the band, but thats me) it showed me that I could do what ever the fuck i put my mind to and I really won't take no for an answer anymore. Before Johnnie signed on for it I didn't know what I was gunna do or how I was gunna do it but I knew I was just going to do it, and I just started putting it together, organized recording, mastering, album art, etc. As far as its reception, I didn't really feel it got much of a reception, I still think alot of people haven't checked it out and its a really fun record so I suggest that to anyone who hasn't. Further more, what I mean is people didn't seem to responde too much to it. The record title "It's Rough" refers to our home, Marlborough, which we often call marlboROUGH, it was a kind a way to scream out, this is where we are from, this is what we are doing.
How do you guys feel about "Trouble at Home"? How do other people seem to like it?
-Trouble at Home, that got a very well received reception. People finally were coming around to give us a chance, its a much more serious record, and it got heaves of positive feedback. As far as I feel about the record, it came out just the way I(we) wanted, I had it layed out in my mind months before it came out, the feel of the record is spot in for what we wanted. The record is an entire year of my life, front to back, writing some of the lyrics for that record felt like I was writing them in blood, some of it is hard to talk about but as I look back I have grown a lot and that record helped me to do it. The record title is from a song on the album, and it reflects on a boy I was friends with in high school, and the "Home" refers to Marlborough/Central Mass not my actual home.
I would just like to note that i loved "It's Rough" my review But you guys have grown and gotten way more solid. Thoughts? Accurate?
-Thanks again for the review, and yeah we refined our sound a lot and its easier to write as a band because we all know what we want now. We're not all throwing shit as a wall anymore and seeing what it looks like, we know what we want going into the music. Because of that it makes it easier for my to write lyrics about more serious topics, because the music makes more of the type of back drop i'm looking for to say what I want to say.
Talk about the sound/musical inflinces for Villain:
-Lyrically, I take inspiration from bands like COA, Hammer Bros. Shark Attack, Pitfall, Defiant Hearts, those were bands I got into a lot when I first started listening to hardcore and they were saying things I could really relate to and I want to start relay that same type of message.
-Muscally, hhhmmm, you'd have to ask the guys for sure but band I know they like a lot are sometimes take inspiration from are, Revenge, Power Trip, Pantera, Nirvana.
LYRICS - if you are a piece of shit, do you get people telling you to change?
-I assume your referring to S.C.S, the first track off Trouble at Home. Which pretty much explains how I feel about life in general and the way I live it. To the rest of the world, the working world, the married world, the I have 2 kids and wife a house and white picket fence world, Yeah you do think I'm a piece of shit. And thats the world that wants me to change? save your breath I'll change at my pace and however the fuck I want.
Since you named the ep after it…do you wanna say a few words about your dad and that situation?
-I didn't see this coming before the record came out but the song "Trouble at Home" isnt about my dad and I but a friend of mines and his dad. I can see how the song and lyrics can be misleading but basically, I had a friend Gustavo, his parents moved to America and when he was just entering middle school his father up and left, and it made him kind of a wild card, I remember talking to him in a parking lot as he tried to get me to huff paint with him, I kept turning him down and trying to get him to stop, but it seemed all he was concerned with as the time was getting high and getting in fits of depressed rage over how he hates his dad for abondoning him, it really bummed me out seeing him like that. Fast forward to after high school, hes living behind a home depot in one of the show shed that they set up, because him and his mother had a falling out. He gets a call from one of his friends who is drunk and that they are gunna drive to meet him, he tells them to sit tight , he walked to them and drive them home. He gets there drives his friends car home but on the way he gets pulled over. He wasn't drunk driving or on drugs, but since he is illegal and can't get a liscence he got arrested. About a month later his mother received a notice that he was being deported for driving that night. He doesn't know anyone in Brasil, his mother wont speak with him except only to tell him he was getting deported, and before he could meet with anyone to talk about what he was going through, he went to a tree in Marlborough that his and some of his friends often met up at and hanged himself from the tree. I blamed his father for giving him the hand that he had such a hard time playing, I can't even imagine up and leaving my family, never mind my own child behind.
How do you feel about our present society?
-I think its all bullshit, held to stupid social constraints, such a small amount of people rule all the on goings of the world. I wait for the day where for once I actually have to Live, to go out and feel like, I must go and survive cuz this the only thing to do. To live. Most days I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. I want for the day I live for the first time, or for when we as people decide to tear it down and start a new.
As you meet other people from other areas - how do you think Marlboro MA has effected you?
-I happy about where I grew up, I have lots of friends, we all love to party and must of us don't start stupid shit. Even tho its a small city it gave me a good look into what life every where is like, in the way of I don't tolerate and racial bullshit. No need for that. Most normal people just want to live and raise their family, and try their best. Hahaha, if only I was normal. Well, then I guess i wouldn't do this.
So Villain is awesome. Why Anti-Venom too?
-My schedule allows me a lot of free time, I work very early til usually noon, and I want to try some things I had been thinking about. Many friends I grew up with wanted to start a band for years but I never put much thought into it, til one day I wrote some lyrics and song structures I wanted to try and I got together with the boys and we started jamming.
Who is in it?
- Well I do vocals, but I try to keep it at a different style then Villain, Nick Swanson from Isolation and Streetsweeper plays drums, I have known him since we grew up, Justin "Jimmy Cheese" Doucette plays guitar, I knew of him when we kids in Marlborough but never hung with him until we started partying out in Boston and he joined Abomination, Matt Buckingham or Young Buck is only like 18 or 19 or some shit, he plays bass. I met him a couple years ago. He came to shows, we played magic together a bunch, he had a few gigs at his house, and was and all around good guy. When we formed the band I pretty much said "Yo, Buck you've been practicing bass right?.....Your gunna play bass in a band with Me, Ducy, and Swanny". Our second guitar player Greg Friedlander was also in Isolation, I met him when I went on their tour with Trblmkr and he was an awesome, funny guy. We wrote the demo and then he heard what we had and loved it, and I know he shreds on guitar and is just an amazing musician all around. The things he added to the demo really make it the cohesive thing that it is now. Super happy he joined.
Is there a different approach to AV's music?
-Yes, we either want it, very slow or very fast, and lyrically the demo is very introverted and not just me calling people out on their shit.
What do you want to get out of it, when you listen to music?
-The feel, the message, the frustration, the emptiness, Anti-Venom to me is grief incarnate, when we play I just go as hard as I can, thats what I want people to do, whatever that is to them.
The release is incredible - I am floored by it. When do we get a hard copy?
-Man, I'm glad you like it so much. There will be tapes out on Ride the Fury Records sometime soon, hopefully before we tour, which will be in January with a little luck.
To someone who has never heard of you - how would explain it?
-Its fast and heavy, fringe hardcore in the vain of Troublemaker, Black Sabbath, and Infest.
To someone who has never heard of hardcore - say at work or somewhere out - how would you explain it?
-Its not for everyone but if your pissed about things that you can't change you might feel it.
How do you respond when people ask "why are you so angry?"
-I usually say "How the fuck aren't you angry? This world is bullshit, and your swimming in it."
What about yourself is so enraging?
-Everyone has their own demons to run down, regrets, and mistakes. I try to stay positive but if I don't get to play music and release so stress, I get a little bit edgy.
What asppects of America infuriate you? The rest of the world?
-We don't have enough time for all that, I could go one for days. I'll give you one of each tho.
I hate the fact I'm better of finacially then my parents because the pieces of fucking dog shit on wall street and the government makes it so fucking hard for them to live. As far as the rest of the world, I really hate how some countries treat animals and homosexuals, fucking ignorant.
Does humanity have any redeeming qualities?
-Sometime I find it hard to see, but they are there. When you go on tour and feel the kindness of complete strangers it gives you real hope for the world. Having said that, I need to tour soon.
Do drugs booze vices help quell the rage? Thoughts of SXE as a response to the world's frustrations?
-Yeah, they do. Its easy to put them in place of pain, but I just try to use them to relieve stress and have fun. Its easy to lose track of who you are when your in a haze all the time.
Whats up with Shoe City?
-We just released pre orders for the Villain/Abomination Split, just got the Streetsweeper tapes in, the Agitator live tapes should be in soon, Darkwoods tapes should be in in December, tons and tons of merch on the way. You know, Shoe City on top.
Where does that name come from?
-Marlborough was known as the shoe city back in the day and we are from and based out of Marlborough. (it later came to my attention there are like 1000 cities in the U.S. named the shoe city, but marlborough is the illist)
When (and why) did you start that?
-I was tired of my friends having trouble putting out their music, I wanted to make a foundation to help bands from my area in the future and I just said fuck it, no one is going to tell me no. Grabbed my buddy Nick Nadeau, fellow member of the shoe and also an amazing graphic designer and decided to get this thing going. Hes been an amazing help and muse also Mike Vickers of Abomination does design work for us, Jim Douccette from Where It Ends, Taylor Green from Thats What She Said, and Clint Wood from Haverhill and Tyler smith my longtime friend do drawing for us. But without Johnnie Limit of Arrest records, I wouldn't have been anywhere near what it is now. Also when I decided to make the label I wanted to to be the open thing, I don't want the kids to feel like I was cutting them out, or we were exclusive, because that is the feeling you get around Boston sometimes, if you don't know somebody you ain't shit. Its the exact oppisite with me, if you wanna help, hang out, or learn like Johnnie showed me the ropes, feel free. Lets get together and make something happen. Hardcore is about community, so is Shoe City Records.
How is it going?
-Better than I ever could have imagined. We are becoming a more and more refined machine all the time, getting things done better, quicker, and allowing us to have a lot more fun. Right now its Villain, Abomination, Streetsweeper, and Darkwoods.
-I got lots I want to do, more tapes coming soon, I want to do a compilation and many younger bands I'm looking at that I like a lot. I only work with people I know and like, so that might limit me some but thats fine with me, this is what we're doing and if you wanna get down, you got to be down.