New Lows is a Massachusetts-based hardcore band that recently signed to Deathwish, Inc. This interview was conducted between Scott Brown and New Lows vocalist P-Boy as the band prepares for its second appearance at Sound and Fury.
Your band has a definite theme and vibe. Do you have a five-year plan or anything like that?
A five-year plan doesn't really fit the theme or vibe of the band, I wouldn't think. We all studied under Dr. Leo Marvin and are still rabid followers of his "Baby Steps" method.
When I hear New Lows, it sounds like a Boston band. Why has Boston continued to be such an important international epicenter for hardcore?
The short answer is, it is because we are all miserable people. To expand- The weather is too cold, and then it is too hot. Sometimes it rains a lot and that sucks and then sometimes it is too sunny out and that sucks too. It has long been a college town which sucks and it is filled with club thumping carefree college transplants who suck. That makes rent goes up more and more due to gentrification and that really sucks. There are more and more changes happening to the landscape and year after year Boston loses more and more of its face and its character and that sucks and sucks and sucks. Mission Hill, my neighborhood I grew up in sucked 10 years ago and now it sucks 10 times worse. I think that is where the inspiration for many local area bands come from. Great baked beans though.
You have a shirt design that uses the cover of Sartre's Nausea. Has that book or any others played an important role in your development as a band or artist?
I felt it to be a very powerful book that I was also really connecting with to on a personal level. It certainly is a book that I felt embodied a lot of what I would write from a lyrical standpoint or even able to relate my own occasional thoughts to. Celine', Henry Miller, The artist Alfred Kubin, even someone like Woody Allen I feel have all bled a twisted sort of beauty out of bleak and drab landscapes, which I think I subconsciously could draw comparisons to where I grew up. I get a really sick sort of comfort out them I guess.
I heard you broke your leg and are not playing shows because of it. Why not do shows in a wheelchair or on crutches?
Our live shows aren't really conducive to that. Most importantly, I did not want to risk injuring myself any worse, but to just be sitting there would have been so depressing and awkward. James Hetfield or Seth Putnam I am not. I broke my toe after Sound And Fury last year and played one show sitting down and I hated it. We did play a show with Rival Mob and Guns Up when I was still in the air cast and able to stand, and I just found it to be awkward. With that said, it will probably still be a while until I am 100 percent, so the next few shows we play I am sure will be rough in my mind.
Your signing to Deathwish was announced awhile ago, but there hasn't been a release yet. What's the plan?
We saw how successful Guns N Roses were with taking 17 years to release a record and decided that was the method we should approach as well. In reality I moved down to NYC last fall to do improv comedy and with all of our full time jobs we don't have a lot of time to always just meet up and jam. This is a band we all do because we love music, so it has never been nor will it ever be treated as a job, so there was no real deadline for us to hang ourselves over. We decided we were not going to rush through the writing process for that reason alone. I can personally say I am always picky and never satisfied or have a habit of changing my mind on a lot of the stuff I write. We do have a demo of some new songs we recorded with CC a few weeks ago and it is really my favorite recording yet, and it will be available at Sound And Fury.
What is your relationship with the band The Wrong Side?
Oh, gosh…I would say it was an explosive or volatile relationship. Morgado and his blue eyes and soft mannerisms really charmed Shawn, Mark and myself off the streets and into the grave. But he could suddenly have mood swings and yell at us and tell us we were worthless and that we embarrass him in public. He would forbid us from being with anyone else, and yet would leave us in a basement whimpering and quivering while he was out fraternizing and jamming with other people, constantly reminding us we were replaceable. But he would still come back to us and say he was sorry and he loved us, and we would always allow him back. Finally one day, we decided enough was enough and with the support and genuine love from Doug and Jo we were finally able to break out of that relationship. Is it crazy that we still miss him sometimes?
I live in Ohio, which has a thriving house show scene all over the state. Recently, the town of Athens, OH (home of Ohio University and host to For Real Fest and tons of house shows) has banned house shows. How do you think underground hardcore and punk would be different without house shows?
Underground punk and hardcore would be non existent. There is really no other way to answer that. That is what it was built on. You've never heard of a thriving Alamo basement scene have you? Exactly.
This is your second year on Sound and Fury. What's the best and worst parts of playing Sound and Fury and other fests like it?
As cliched as it is, the only worst part of Sound And Fury is when it ends. Bob, Todd, and Riley constantly top themselves and we are honored they are having us back. I really don't think there is a better fest out there.