Swords is a fast, blasting mix of hardcore, punk, and metal without falling into any conventional genre. With crazy stop and go riffs that are all over the place and heavy, intense drums, Lords has created their own distinct sound that apes no one and has yet to be mimicked (probably since they're such a young band). Time signatures and tempos are thrown around probably just as much as your favorite math-metal band, yet Lords loses nothing from their spectrum of being straightforward rock
Contributor Katy Otto decided to have a chat with these purveyors of all things loud
My friends often marvel at my penchant for frustration. I tend to be fascinated and drawn to conflict, resistance, and opposition. I’m attracted to ideas and energy that I can debate, framed differently from my own. Perhaps these are some of the reasons I found myself in the midst of this interview with Lords, a band of unparalleled vitriol, muscle, and ferocity. Their recent Jade Tree release Swords is incredible, their live performance commanding. The spirt and energy they embody is vital at a time when DIY punk is inundated with bands that sound like paler versions of their predecessors. Unfortunately, a snow storm kept me from conducting this interview in person, so it was done over e-mail. I didn’t get to experience the joy of hearing some of the proclamations below firsthand. I have, however, had the pleasure to see this band more than once—and look forward to the next time that I most definitely will.
by Katy Otto
(Chris Maggio, the drummer going to Europe with Coliseum, answers questions with the band.)
In what ways do you think your lyrics express your personal philosophies?
Chris Owens: Sometimes blatantly, sometimes figuratively. The way that I guess anybody else’s lyrics do... right now I’m stoned and pissed and stuck in some rich dickheads basement. Whatever. Buttever.
Maggio: The girl in the red skirt had a tight body, she was definitely lookin’ at me, I swear!
Tell me a bit about the history of Lords, other bands you all have been in, and why you chose the name.
CO: Lords started as a 4 piece, like The Beatles, there was a different bass player and another guitar player who sang too. The other guitar player had a real life and didn’t want to be in an active band, and the first bass player didn’t want to play “speed metal” anymore.
In June of 2000 Stan and I started playing in a called The Slow Suicide that was almost exactly like Lords... as a matter of fact numerous Lords songs were originally The Slow Suicide songs. The singer of that band quit to go to school, then we just regrouped and got another guitar player and I started singing and it became lords. One day Stan was like, “let’s call it Lords” and we were like “whatever, let’s do drugs.”
M: I’m not in the band but... I think the records speak for themselves and now we are all going to go do some whip-its!
What has it been like touring in support of your Jade Tree release Swords?
CO: Fuckin’ Cool.
What is your experience working with such a prominent independent label, and how does it compare to your experiences with labels in the past?
CO: Jade Tree is cool, they pretty much let us do what we want... we’re sort of like unruly children in that relationship. Initial was our friends so they don’t really count.
How do you feel about the punk community in Louisville, and your role in it?
CO: The only real drawback to Louisville right now is the lack of a solid all ages venue, otherwise there are tons of great bands and tons of great drugs.
Tell me about Maximum Louisville.
CO: Ryan Patterson and Matt Jaha (the ex-drummer for Coliseum and Black Cross), are cousins, but Ryan is like fucking huge, and Jaha is really small. So we were just saying that Ryan had more of the Patterson gene than Matt, and that Matt was “minimum Patterson” and Ryan was “maximum Patterson.” Then Ory Popp thought that was really funny or whatever and was like, “hey, let’s start calling everything maximum, that will make us all happy and gay, and like I can sell it on T-shirts for more money than it cost’s to make it.”
M: My name is Chris, I’m not into men so stop asking... I’m from maximum Florida...
What do you think punk kids around the country think of Louisville? What do you think of those perceptions?
CO: Unless you spend a lot of time or know a lot of people from Louisville then you don’t know shit about it... People always get Louisville wrong in one direction or the other, some people think it’s some tiny hick town, and other people think it’s some hardcore and indie rock mecca.
I would classify your band as confrontational and commanding of audience attention. What role do you think confrontation has in your music?
CO: Confrontation has nothing to do with Lords as a band, that’s probably just me as a person... and really it’s not about “confrontation” so much as it’s about letting people know what you really think... and that just sometimes results in confrontation. I like to know who my friends are, and who they aren’t.
What are you looking forward to for your upcoming European tour?
CO: A Muslim uprising in Denmark.
M: European men make different noises in porno’s in comparison to American men...
Chris, how do you think your experiences as a recording engineer/producer have impacted your songwriting?
CO: Not really at all. There are very, very few bands that I work with who I actually like musically... and for the most part those are bands that I was familiar with anyway before I worked with them.
Stan, you do all the artwork, which is intriguing and pretty specific. What’s your process like in making it? Is it directly connected to the music?
Stan: My art is a reflection of the very essence of my being, my art is a window in to my soul. I really try to create images that really express all the “L”s in life, you know the laughs, the loves, and the losses.
Please talk about your friendships with other bands, including bands you have done splits with. What are your favorite bands to play with?
CO: The only band we’ve done a split with is Coliseum. We’re doing one with In Tongues but it’s not out yet. Coliseum are our buddies and a band that I think rules, In Tongues are our buddies (zing). Other than the same Louisville crew, I think that Saviours and Akimbo are a couple of the bands that I enjoy dealing with a lot recently.
What was the most uncomfortable show you ever played? Most inspiring?
CO: Most uncomfortable, hands down the Knitting Factory show with Black Cross:
It was a matinee show that was supposed to start at 5, but for whatever reason got bumped up to like 1pm, and no one told us. So we’re leaving Brooklyn to head to the Knitting Factory, then Ryan Patterson calls me and is like “where are you, load in is now!”. So we’re hauling ass to get there, but everything gets fucked up because the directions we have tell us to take the Brooklyn Bridge, but then cops stop us and don’t let us cross because of the trailer. So then we have to take the Williamsburg Bridge, and traffic is dead locked as soon as we get across in to Manhattan. It ends up taking us about an hour to get to the club once we’re in Manhattan, then of course there’s no where to park, so I throw my flashers on and we start unloading—but Stan and Pat just take off inside and never really come back out. So Jason Ferrell from Retisonic helped me unload everything on to the sidewalk (meanwhile traffic is backing up for several blocks because of us). Then I end up driving around for another 40 minutes or so trying to find a place to park… and I don’t have a cell phone so I can’t call anyone and tell them what’s up. I just keep circling around the Knitting Factory waiting for someone to come out side.
Finally Evan Patterson comes out, he had set up all of my stuff for me and jumps in the van to drive it around while we play. And of course there’s only like 5 people there because everyone else thought that the show didn’t start until later.
That show sucked.
What band would you all go see together?
CO: Slayer, Wrangler Brutes, Melvins, and Melt Banana.
M: Anything involving porno.
As people close to my age, it makes me happy to see your band as fiercely active as you are. Is it challenging personally? What fuels you to be so active?
CO: What else am I going to do? Shoot people? Drugs? Both?
What does the future hold for Lords?
CO: Hopefully money and bitches. Just joking, but seriously hopefully lots of money and lots of guns.
Any final thoughts?
CO: Spring break!