Interview: Brian Poirot
Photos: Richard Perez
Sister Gwendolen and I loved to take in the occasional hardcore show growing up in Wisconsin in the ‘90s. Gwendolen would capture the raw intensity with her antique camera, while I preferred to have a less mediated experience with the unadulterated zeitgeist of little-known Wisconson hardcore outfits like Blood of Heros and Primal Pegasus. I had thought that energy had been lost, but along comes a band like Geometers and their merry band of like-minded sonic pranksters to breathe new life into what had become an digitized wasteland of whatever the opposite of counterculture is. I was compelled to find out more, so I sat with drummer David Beale and had him edify me.
As I understand it your band and your friends bands are part of a new New York City hardcore scene. Would you say that’s accurate? What’s new or different about 21st-century hardcore?
I’m not sure I could say we’re a part of the hardcore scene. I definitely grew up on hardcore, and we’re influenced by it for sure, but I’d say our hearts lie closest to the DC scene of the 90’s and early oughts. We get labeled as ‘post-hardcore’ quite often, and I can live with that I think. But honestly I think that’s what is great about the hardcore scene these days – much of the music produced by the bands doesn’t fit into the Black Flag/Minor Threat model at all. In fact, a few of the biggest bands in hardcore have a pretty strong shoegaze influence.
Did you see Kelefa Sanneh’s much discussed NYC Hard Core article in the New Yorker in march? What did you think? Do you think he has this history right?
I did, and it was great! He definitely knows what he’s talking about it and I learned a ton from it. I was a straight edge kid, and my knowledge of NYCHC was pretty centered around bands like Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits, so it was cool reading about what came before and after.
What is the state of live music in Brooklyn in general, and where do you see yourself fitting into it?
Playing music in Brooklyn is pretty bizarre. There’s a ton of venues pushing live music every night, and getting shows is the easiest thing ever, but 9 times out of 10 your playing to the walls. There really isn’t much of a unified scene, and my band and our friends bands are attempting to change that. I’m just doing the same thing I’ve always done – using the DIY ethics I learned early on. In my teens and early 20’s I was throwing shows in basements in Southwest Virginia, and now at 30, I’m doing the same thing in bars and DIY spaces in Brooklyn. We book the bands, find a space, print the flyers, promote online – it’s a grassroots mentality through and through.
What are shared influences you and the bands in your scene share?
I think for my generation, and hopefully, many to come, one of the biggest influences both musically and just in the way to exist as a punk and to operate a scene is Fugazi. DIY as we know it really came to be, based on their model. Other influences for us are Hum, Jawbox, Cave In, Engine Down, and so many other great bands from the last 25 years.
Can you describe for us a show that you think was foundational or emblematic?
Honestly, our last show at Legion really was a model for what we’re trying to do, but hopefully, the best is yet to come.
What does 2016 hold for you guys?
We have an EP coming out in February, and an LP later this year will be out via Jetsam-Flotsam records out of Chicago. We’re going to be on the road a lot, and doing a long US run in the fall. Planning to book more shows in Brooklyn with our friends bands, and hopefully secure some opening slots for national acts as well.