Photo: Chelsea Watt
The Maritime punk scene continues to impress with the arrival of Acousma, a raw, intense hardcore outfit from Prince Edward Island. The group offer up forceful, straight-ahead, and occasionally eclectic hardcore that showcases both small-town aggression and a sense of universal anger. Following an impressive demo last year, the band recently released their debut seven-inch via Chicago’s High Fashion Industries. Like all of their material, it was mixed by hardcore legend Will Killingsworth. We spoke with the band’s bassist about what it’s like to be a member of PEI’s most pummeling hardcore band.
AUX: What’s everyone’s name and what do they play in the band?
Calvin: George sings, Matt plays guitar, Dexter plays drums and I (Calvin) play bass.
When did Acousma start? How did your band come together?
The band came together in October 2012. I was asked by our vocalist if I’d be interested in messing around with some songs he had written. He picked up our guitar player Matt, who I had known since high school, and I suggested my friend and now our former drummer James for drums. We played our first show last November in a basement with Hoax and IDNS and have been at it ever since.
What’s it like to play hardcore in PEI? Do you have a supportive community or do you feel isolated?
Playing hardcore on PEI is cool. It’s a pretty small scene with only a handful of bands. The kids that come out are super supportive towards what we’re doing, towards each other, and all the other bands here. Halifax is only a 3.5 hour drive away too, and we’ve had a lot of support over there as well—hell, our drummer lives there. It’s like a second home for the band right now.
Where do you practice?
We practice in my basement when Dexter can get over here, and when we go to him, we practice in his basement. From the basement to the basement.
How did you first get into this style of music? Are there some scene forebears that introduced you to specific bands?
We’ve all been fans of hardcore and whatnot since I can remember. I accidentally “found” hardcore by going to a show my guitar teacher was playing back when I was in like grade seven. It has certainly changed my life.
Who are some of your influences?
We’re all influenced by a lot of different types of hardcore and just different types of music in general. You can catch us listening to the new Hoax LP, or a Weakerthans record in the van. We are all very different people musically. Although we all have one thing in common, and that is a love for hardcore and punk, and I can’t see that changing.
It’s pretty amazing that you got Will Killingsworth (Orchid, Ampere, Bucket Full of Teeth, etc.) to mix your recordings. How did that come about?
I’ve always been super into Will K’s bands and his recording. I think when we were about to record the second tape George tossed up the idea of having him mix it and it just made sense. I sent him an email and he was into it, and the rest is history really. So far he has mixed a tape for us, a seven-inch, and just finished mixing and is currently mastering something else for us as we speak. Will is a great person to work with and he really just understands everything a punk band is about, not to mention his mixing is top notch. I’d really like to have us make it out to his studio in Massachusetts someday to record.
What do you hope to accomplish as a band?
We have 7-inch out now on our pal Eric Frankel’s (Divine Right, Rash) new label, High Fashion Industries. I’d like to get back on the road in support of that. And we’ve been talking about hitting the USA up next summer so hopefully that works out.
How hard is it to tour where you are?
It’s actually pretty great, not very hard at all. Halifax, NS has always been great to us and any other band I’ve played in. The entire maritime punk and hardcore scene (PEI, NS, NB, NFLD) is very tight knit and we’re all friends with each other. It makes me super proud to be a part of it all. We’ve actually had a lot of support wherever we have played so far, it’s pretty awesome and really appreciated.
[magazine month=”February” year=”2014″]