Ancient Shores is makin’ a hellish noise
Graffiti: So Ancient Shores is from WV, right? Can you describe the area you guys come from a little bit?
BJ: Morgantown is a small town packed with people. You could say it is diverse and not really known for anything in particular.
Joel: We’re all from different areas originally (Delaware, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Michigan) but we all met in Morgantown. We’ve all played in different bands over the years (and continue to) and just out of mutual respect for one another became a unit.
Greg: My home town didn’t have a huge local music scene, but being so close to Baltimore there was so much that I overlooked. As soon as I could sink my teeth into something heavy, all I wanted to do was go to shows and slam people around. When I got to Morgantown and was given the opportunity to make hellish noises for these guys, I couldn’t have been happier.
Graffiti: How’d you guys get started as a band and how does where you come from influence your music, if it does at all?
BJ: I do not feel any musical influence from location.
Joel: Brett started the band. There were some line-up changes but Brett, BJ, and Greg are the original members still standing. I do feel that it’s kind of odd to be a band that writes pretty non-traditional hardcore songs from mountainous Appalachia. The area has such a deep history with bluegrass, old style, country, etc., but even when it comes to heavier music from the area we don’t really fit in either. I don’t think that our aggressive sound can be compared to a lot of the serene areas we live in.
Brett: The band came together after my freshman year of college because of some unused material for my previous band My America. Originally I toyed with the idea of being a two piece similar to Lightning Bolt – but after jamming with BJ and Greg, it became clear that Ancient Shores would be best suited as a five piece venture. With my Delaware hometown being so close to thriving Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York music scenes, I had a lot of exposure and access to touring national and underground bands. Also, growing up I worked at a CD and record shop – which was a great starting point for my current musical taste.
Greg: Lyrically our music finds a good bit of inspiration from my surroundings. I immersed myself in frustration, disgust, ruin and disdain. Whether or not that came from where I was at the time, I can’t really say. For all intents and purposes, yeah sure Morgantown had an influence on that.
Graffiti: How would you describe the style of Ancient Shores? Any comparable bands? Who are your influences?
BJ: We have a dense sound that we push with volume and tonal compatibility.
Joel: I prefer the term ‘abrasive.’ Some people have described it as ‘chaotic.’ We’re just a loud band that tries to bring a strong level of intensity to our live show and recordings. We’ve all got our own influences that seem to mesh really well with one another. Some of us dig Queens of the Stone Age. Some of us love Coalesce. Some of us dig Neurosis. It’s literally five guys with different interpretations of ‘heavy’ music.
Brett: Abrasive. Dense. Loud. Chaotic. Like Joel said, we all have completely different backgrounds that take our music in different directions. In the same genre, I think we take a lot of influence from bands like Botch, Breather Resist, Converge, Coalesce, The Minor Times, The Dillinger Escape Plan (and the list can go on, haha) – but we sort of take our own spin on things.
Greg: Loud, f*ck your brain up heaviness. With too many influences to name, I draw my vocals from Poison the Well, Converge, Dillinger and the likes. Man, I wish I had pipes like those dudes. We can pretend, right?
Graffiti: Tell the readers about the origin of the band’s name, Ancient Shores.
Joel: Brett read the book “Ancient Shores” by Jack McDevitt and thought it was a cool name.
Brett: Middle school book report. Love sci-fi, dug the name, figured, why not?
Graffiti: What’s the scene like for hardcore/punk in West Virginia?
BJ: In WV, you can be any kind of band you want as long as you like what you are playing.
Joel: It’s a lot of ebb and flow. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not. I think right now there’s a bunch of great bands in the state that are really trying hard to push each other. Although we might not all play a specific style, we certainly have been in positions where we’ve depended on one another.
Greg: When I first started going to shows in Morgantown it was either small time local, or you went into Pittsburgh for the bigger stuff: Mr. Smalls, The World, those kind of venues. However, in the past few years there have been more shows opening up, especially for our kind of destruction. We’re lucky to have a network of nearby bands to drive in and kick ass with us. One venue in particular (if we aren’t talking house shows) has been extremely gracious to us: 123 Pleasant St. Look it up kids.
Graffiti: We heard that you guys were recently signed by A389 records. How’d that come about and what are your thoughts on being signed? Is A389 a big deal?
BJ: A389 is a big deal because the people behind it are very diligent in their approach to running a label, and because the roster has bands that command respect.
Joel: For those that listen to hardcore or independent music in general, A389 is a big deal. The roster is incredible and how it’s run is amazing. It’s literally one person who believes in everything he puts out.
Brett: Some mutual friends suggested A389 as a perfect fit for our music – so I sent some press materials in the mail and received an email of high praise back. From there, we worked out the details to release the ‘Step to the Edge’ 7″ on the label. (Owner) Dom (Romeo) is the man. He works harder than anyone I know and is always willing to put in the effort for those who work hard in return. We are really honored and extremely lucky to be a part of the family.
Greg: Dom rules. He’s been so good to us and continues to support what we do. A389 let’s us share a label with bands like Full of Hell, Astronomer and Eddie Brock (just to name some of my favorites). How awesome is that?
Graffiti: What’s the band working on currently? Where can people see you guys next?
BJ: We are going to start writing soon. Earlier this year we finished writing and recording for a split 12″ that A389 is releasing next year.
Joel: We will always work on new material. I don’t think we could ever just stop.
Brett: Besides writing, we are looking into some shows for November & December once our drummer Evan returns from his European excursion with the WV band Karma to Burn.
Greg: Grinding our teeth and sharpening our fingers for the next sonic onslaught we can throw together. How uncomfortable do you want to be?