Philadelphia’s Reign Supreme have just released their debut album on Deathwish Inc, which includes a roster of some of the greatest hardcore bands of all time.
Vocalist Jay Pepito was kind enough to answer a few questions for me before he headed out on the road with Shai Hulud.
Let’s start with an introduction. Can you tell us your name, what you do in the band and your favorite record from the 90’s?
My name is Jay Pepito. I sing for the band, in addition to a host of other random administrative duties and odds and ends stuff. My favorite record from the 90’s is Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’.
Can you give us a bit of a run down about how the band was formed?
Same as every other band of all time really, a bunch of friends got together and started playing music. Then we thought maybe we weren’t just a garage band type of band, we thought maybe we could tour and people would be into it. So we did. Fast forward two years and a bunch of lineup changes and you have the current incarnation of Reign Supreme.
As some people may know, you used to play guitar for Blacklisted. Can you tell us the why you left?
Because they kicked me out.
Can you describe your band’s sound to someone who has never heard you before?
Imagine a catapult made of oak and barbed wire hurling a meteor through space that has a boom box strapped to it with dynamite that is playing a mix tape of Madball, Hatebreed, Machine Head, and Sepultura and imagine that catapult is operated by a guy who really likes Radiohead, The Pixies, Nirvana, The breeders and GVSB.
Your debut album “Testing The Limits Of Infinite” is out now. Can you tell us a bit about the writing/recording process for the album?
We wrote it over the course of a few years and change, and then recorded it over the course of 4 months at the Machine Shop in Hoboken. It was pretty standard fare.
What has the reaction to the album been like so far? Are you happy with how it has been received?
People are generally really siked on it. I’m happy that it’s being well-received but I also don’t mind the critics who say it’s too generic or whatever. That’s fine. They also probably don’t like Hatebreed and I guarantee they’ve never seen breakdown.
“Testing The Limits Of Infinite” was released by Deathwish Inc. Why do you think Deathwish is the best label to release your band’s music?
They do a phenomenal job. I like being on Deathwish because they work super hard for you, and it feels like a family. But like all families, there is sometimes dysfunction and those guys tend to do whatever they can to remedy it.
Your “American Violence” EP was regarded by many (including myself) as one of the best releases of 2008. Did you feel any pressure writing the follow up to “American Violence”?
Yes and no. I did, because pretty much everyone expected the record to suck, so we wanted to silence the haters. But I didn’t, because I knew it was a good record, and the only criticisms people have of our band are stupid ones. We can play hardcore, we can play music, we show up and perform our hearts out live….so say what you want, it doesn’t really matter that much when we know we’re doing ok.
You guys are about to head out on a huge tour with Shai Hulud and The Carrier. What are some things you are looking forward to about this tour? Have you played many shows with either of those bands before?
I like both of these bands a lot, so it’s good to be able to hang out and see them play music that I like every night for a month. We toured last summer with the carrier and it was great, but we didn’t know the Shai guys very well. They’re really cool though, so hopefully all goes well.
You recently toured Europe with Australia’s own 50 Lions. What was that tour like?
Super fun. That band rules. I want to tour with them again.
Are you the main songwriter in the band? Where do you draw your main influences from for your lyrics?
Yes. I draw it from everything, art, music, movies. Whatever. I like Ian Curtis’ lyrics and the Cro-Mags.
Do either of your releases have a main theme with the lyrics?
Desperation and loneliness. Just feeling alone and the consequences of living your life in a way that frustrates you.
What is the local scene like where you’re from? Are there any bands from there that we should be checking out?
It’s pretty good, a lot of kids, always really good shows. I don’t really know. Maybe Force Fed from Doylestown, a pretty hard straight edge band. Mother of Mercy too, I like them.
Who are your favorite bands to play shows with and why?
Advent, because they are one of my favorite bands and some of my favorite people. The Cancer Bats are great, The Carrier, Madball was really fun to tour with, I don’t know, there’s a lot.
Who are the best up and coming bands that you have seen lately?
Advent, A Loss For Words, Alpha & Omega and Unholy.
What are your top 5 records of the year so far?
Advent – naked and cold, Set Your Goals – This Will Be The Death Of Us, A Loss For Words- The Kids Can’t Lose and I’m going to assume the new Madball and new Converge will be 4 and 5.
What are the three best shows you have played this year and three best you have attended?
Bamboozle, Reach The Sky reunion in MA, last European show in Germany. Shows I’ve attended would probably be Hatebreed and Earth Crisis in CT, Cro-Mags in Philadelphia, and United Blood in RVA.
If you could play in any band ever past or present, who would that band be and why?
I have never really thought about this. I don’t know. Maybe I’d like to jam with my bloody valentine, just for the noise and fun effects pedals.
Your house is on fire and you can only grab five records from your music collection. What records would you pick and why?
None, I don’t own any records. I sold them all to Jeff Lasich in order to pay rent while reign supreme was starting out on tour.
Final question. When can we expect to see Reign Supreme touring Australia?
Maybe in the New Year? I want to go over there really badly. Hopefully us and Graham can work something out soon.
Thanks for your time!
Reign Supreme‘s new album ‘Testing The Limits Of Infinite‘ is out now via Deathwish/Stomp Records. For more info on the band head to their Myspace page.