While it’s true that the term supergroup chucked around like a frisbee, it’s not too much of stretch to apply that term to Hesitation Wounds.
Fronted by Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm, and completed by guitarist Neeraj Kane (The Hope Conspiracy, Suicide File, Holy Fever), bassist Stephen ‘Scuba’ LaCour (Trap Them, True Cross) and drummer Jay Weinberg (Slipknot), they’re a band who have one hell of a pedigree and who make one hell of a racket. Ahead of the release of their debut album, Awake For Everything, we caught up with Jeremy Bolm to get the full lowdown on the band and their monolithic hybrid of hardcore and metal.
1. THE BAND FIRST GOT TOGETHER IN 2012
Jeremy Bolm: “I had this idea that I wanted to get three friends who had never played music together before, and some of whom had never even met, in a room, just as a fun thing to do with your friends. At the time, Jay was playing in Against Me!. I’d met Neeraj because Touché and Hope Conspiracy did a weekend tour in 2009 or 2010. I’ve always been a big fan of Neeraj in general, whether it’s Hope Con or Suicide File, so I was excited to play in a band with him. I’d known Scuba for ages. He currently plays in a band called True Cross, but I met him through Trap Them. He’s one of the funniest, most charming people I’ve ever met, so getting him in the band was really exciting. He lives in Arizona now, and he’s lived in pretty much every major city since I’ve known him, so he’s one of those guys who jumps around a lot, and it’s easier for him to just hop on a bus and take a six hour drive to Los Angeles, so I recruited him.”
2. THEY RELEASED THEIR DEBUT SELF-TITLED 7” IN APRIL 2013 ON BOLM’S LABEL
“I want to say it’s more serious now, but I would probably be lying, only because everybody else is really, really tied into their worlds. Neeraj plays in so many bands here in LA, and on top of that he’s a full-time high school teacher. Scuba is welcoming his first child into the world in about three weeks, Jay obviously has his whole world, and Touché is going to be super active towards the end of the year. So it’s hard to get together and hard to figure out playing shows and things like that, but we’d never say that we’re done or we’re breaking up. It’s something we all like to explore when we have the opportunity. It’s 100% fun. And that’s the best part about it, because I think everyone is used to such a serious, thought out, strategic way of being in a band, that having this thing on the side where there’s no rules and nothing matters apart from having fun. So it’s still this capricious idea of like, ‘Whatever! Let’s just write songs and have fun.’”
3. THE BAND WROTE STREAMLINED ON THE DAY OF THEIR FIRST EVER GIG
“When we got together to play our first few shows, it was in support of the seven-inch which was out, but we realised we really only had three songs. So we played the intro and the three songs, did two cover songs – a Nirvana cover and a Minor Threat cover, because they’re easy and everyone should know them – and the day of our first show we said ‘Let’s just write a song.’ And we wrote Streamlined like three hours before our first show. And the lyrics to that song I made up on the spot at each one of the three shows, and then, when writing for the record, I watched videos and listened to sound clips of us playing these shows and just wrote out whatever I was saying and made that the lyrics to the song on the record. Which is also why I called it Streamlined – it was just shit that was stream of consciousness.”
4. THE ALBUM WAS RECORDED ALMOST A YEAR AGO
“It’s been done for a really long time, so I’m excited that it’s finally going to be in people’s hands. We recorded it last summer, but there were some delays with the pressing plant – which is a modern stress – so I’m very excited that it’s finally going to be in people’s hands. But because it’s been done for so long it’s almost in my peripheral more.”
5. THEY WORK REALLY FAST. UNTIL SOMEONE GOES AND BREAKS AN ARM…
“Our first EP we made in two days. We wrote the songs the first day and recorded them the next. This new record we wrote in three days. We already had Streamlined, but we got together on a Monday, and wrote three songs, four songs, three songs on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday. And then Jay recorded the drums on Friday, because on Thursday we rehearsed all the songs we had written and tried to remember everything. The guitar tracks would have been done a lot quicker, but Neeraj got in a motorcycle accident and broke his arm so he didn’t get a chance to do his guitar tracks for maybe a month and a half. Which was great for me, because then I had time to focus on the lyrics and get them just right.”
6. THE ALBUM WAS MIXED BY CONVERGE GUITARIST KURT BALLOU “We recorded the record with our friend Alex Estrada, who did the seven-inch and who’s done plenty of Touché stuff through the years and who also plays in Silver Snakes. He’s a local guy who’s a good friend who we can always rely on to just call sand say ‘Hey man, can we come in this week?’ and he’ll be like ‘Sure!’ Which is what we did. And we started hearing it back and we’re like ‘This is better than any of us expected it to be!’ So we decided to hit up Kurt Ballou, asked if he’d be interested in mixing it and he put his touch on it, which gave the record a whole new breath of life. To have him behind the helm on mixing really turned the record from what I would say was a 5 to an 11. I was blown away by the stuff that Kurt did for the record. Getting to work with him was so exciting.”
7. AWAKE FOR EVERYTHING WAS A CHANCE TO WEAR THEIR INFLUENCES ON THEIR SLEEVES
“There’s no real direction with this band. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey! What have you been listening to lately? Oh, dude – we should totally try to do something like that!’ Though we all come from slightly different worlds and grew up in different cities with different friends, we’ve come to realise that everybody likes at least five of the same bands, so we try to harness that. And it’s usually a sound that’s not so prevalent in 2016. Like, Deadguy were this band from the mid-90s – you can compare them to Botch a little bit – and they were a monster of a band. Neeraj and I had been reminiscing about how awesome Deadguy was maybe a month before writing the record, and we’re like ‘We should just try to write some Deadguy songs!’ And the first song, Operatic, is probably sue-worthy because we took real liberty with our influence. But it made me excited, because it’s a sound that isn’t really happening right now. It was exciting to just grab things – like all four of us like the Deftones and the song New Abuse is really Deftones-y in a weird sort of way.”
8. IT WAS ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY FOR BOLM TO BE MORE POLITICALLY MINDED THAN HE IS IN TOUCHÉ AMORÉ
“Touché never felt like a band to be political with. In the early days I wrote some social commentary songs – on the first record, there’s History Reshits Itself, which is about gay marriage, and on our demo we wrote a song about the Westboro Baptist Church – but it was my first time being a singer and I was just writing about whatever was going on at that point. But I’ve grown up and I’ve gone through a lot personally to where that gives me more than enough lyrical ammunition to get Touché to be this specific thing. I would never want to write political songs because I have to be a political singer – I need to be really inspired something. And thanks but no thanks to the current state of America there’s a lot to write about, especially since the last Touché record to this Hesitation Wounds record, just I those couple years a lot has happened and has given be a lot of fuel to write these songs.”
9. JAY WEINBERG TRIED OUT FOR SLIPKNOT SECRETLY WHILE HESITATION WOUNDS WERE PREPARING FOR THEIR SECOND RUN OF GIGS
“I’m really, really proud of him. Him joining that band was a really exciting thing to see happen. We’ve gotten together to play shows three separate times now, and the second time, when we were rehearsing, he was very late for band practice and he couldn’t tell us why. But it was because he’d just auditioned for Slipknot, and it was before the news of Joey [Jordison being fired] had really broke out. So when we came to realise later what was going on we were just like, ‘Wow! Good for you!’ I got to see Slipknot play with Jay less than a year ago and I was blown away. I’d seen Slipknot on tours on their first album back whenever that was, and Jay is killing it.”
10. THE ALBUM TITLE IS SOMETHING OF A MISSION STATEMENT FOR THE BAND THEMSELVES
“It can be mean a lot of things, but the core idea is about not burying your head in the sand and actually paying attention. I think it’s really easy for people to be apathetic, and it’s really hard to not feel apathetic with the way the world is, the way people are treated, and the way you see the world work in general through media or actions or choices, so this is looking at it straight in the eye, as opposed to turning away from it.”
Hesitation Wounds’ debut album Awake For Everything will be released on May 27 through 6131 Records.