Brooklyn-based underground hardcore/noise-punk outfit Chain Gang Grave will unearth their debut album Cement Mind this Friday, April 16th.
Inspired by bands like Black Flag, Rites of Spring, and Immolation, founding members Andrew Lanza (vocals, guitar, bass) and Jason Markowitz (drums) formed Chain Gang Grave in the 2010s.
The band operated under the radar in the New York City region for several years, releasing two EPs and a 7” of songs that broke out of the strict boundaries of hardcore music.
Now four years since their last release, and shedding some band members along the way, the duo have pared it down to the essence, unleashing aggressive, yet complex tunes in all their raw intensity and unrest.
Lanza has kindly taken some time to reply to our ongoing Protest Interview series, because there are still deep-seated issues and idiotic/deluded mentality that are still running rampant through the general public…
Hello! Please introduce yourself/yourselves and give a description of your sound/musical vision.
My name is Andrew Lanza. I play guitar and sing in the band Chain Gang Grave. We’re an unconventional sludgy hardcore band.
What is/are the main personal, national, and/or international issue(s) concerning you the most these days?
Watching damaging conspiracies get openly embraced by large elements of the population, including elected officials, in the USA. Seeing this happen on a more personal level with people I come into contact with, and watching these people slowly divorce themselves from reality. The fact [that] we as a people no longer operate with a shared set of facts when we engage with one another.
What song, video, or lyrics quote of yours best represents your current viewpoint on this/these important topic(s)?
The lyrics to our song “Tinfoil Brain Leach” describes the outlook of someone stuck in this conspiratorial mindset: “Everyone a sham, a sheep, or a shill, except for you, the only one with free will.” I offer my assessment of this type of person later in the song: “You’re a moron, a dodgy, dumb fuck – moron.”
What’s your favorite song, video, or lyrics quote by another act or artist that best exemplifies, or at least partly relates to, your current viewpoint?
I’ll be honest; I’m not sure. I don’t remember this issue being covered, as I feel it’s kind of a very modern one. Of course, I am sure there are some modern bands that make light of this issue; I just don’t listen to them (yet). On second thought, I’m sure something by Born Against fits this bill in some way… I just can’t put my finger on the exact song.
What other forms of protest, besides through your music, are you involved with to get your message across?
I am woefully under-involved in any sort of real political organizing. I express my viewpoints through my lyrics, but I have only been writing lyrics for a short time. I more often use my visual art to illustrate my qualms with the current state of the world. I engage with friends and family members who have slowly slid to the other side of the political spectrum and have started to give any sort of quarter to loony conspiracy theories.
It’s easy to judge and criticize others, even with the recent sea change in the U.S. government. The residual effects of the past four years with a hateful and destructive president and his administration still linger. The fact remains that we need to work together to ensure that positive change occurs. Name an action to take, or an organization that would be worthwhile to contribute to, for your cause.
As hackneyed as it is – go out and vote (blue, naturally). Get these fiends out of office, or keep them out of office.
What gives you hope for the future?
The younger generation seems to be very involved politically, and many have their priorities in the right place.
Where can we purchase/stream your music and find out more about you?
We are also on Spotify and other streaming platforms.