When the message is honest and the music equally sincere, the respect is always going to be there. Gearing up to return to our shores, Killyourstereo.com sits down with Jesse Barnett of Orange County hardcore outfit Stick to Your Guns to discuss the upcoming shows, the genre and plans for the future.
G’day Jesse. How has the year been for yourself and Stick to Your Guns so far?
This year has been unbelievable for Stick To Your Guns. I believe I speak for everyone when I say we have been blown away by the diehard support of everyone. Stick To Your Guns fans don’t just come out and support this band. They live it. They breathe it. Just like we do. It’s incredible and we absolutely love it and are overwhelmingly grateful.
Good to hear. Obviously we are excited to have you here shortly for The Amity tour. How are things coming along for your return to our shores?
They are coming along great. We have a Canadian tour right before this run with Amity so that will give us the time needed to get into a solid groove so we don’t come all the way over there just to embarrass ourselves and waste all of your peoples time (laughs).
There are some big venues on this tour that are a bit more expansive than a general club. For a hardcore band, is the smaller stage your best friend or do you prefer larger confines?
This is question that we get asked quiet often, but it’s a question I love. For those familiar with hardcore, they know that it was born in a hole in the wall. On a small stage. In a basement. A garage. You get the picture. So, obviously that’s where I believe the music to be at its most organic state. However, I do believe that the intense feel of an intimate small hardcore show can be brought to a large room. I love both small and large shows. I love them both for different reasons. I believe if I had to choose I would say that the small in your face shows will always hold the number one spot in my heart, but I gladly accept the challenge of making 1000 plus people feel like we’re playing just for them. It’s something that is hard to pull off but it can be done.
What’s high on the list of things you’d like to do in Australia this time around that you haven’t yet had the chance to do?
Something that isn’t even on my list. Something that I didn’t even know existed. Something that just blows my fucking mind. It’s Australia. That shouldn’t be hard to achieve.
One thing I really respect about a lot of hardcore bands today, yourself included, is the positivity in the lyrics. How important is the message when it comes time to create music?
Message to this band has always been important. For me going to shows when I was younger, but still true today, I always gravitate towards those bands that had a passion for change. A reason to scream. People who were passionate about veganism, politics, sober living, feminism, anarchism. Hardcore is a cesspool of brilliant people with viewpoints and lifestyles worth sharing. This is what I love. The façade. The fact that the world looks at a hardcore kid and thinks, “Oh, another burnout.” When in fact it’s quite the opposite.
What has been one of the hardest aspects and/or moments being in Stick to Your Guns so far?
It’s not a problem I’ve had with Stick To Your Guns. It’s a problem I’ve had with myself. Trying to please everyone. It’s simply not possible. Being in this band is already demanding of myself as it is, so on top of that trying to please everyone brings me to level that I hate to be. I turn into an asshole. But Stick To Your Guns has taught me this about myself. It teaches me things everyday and for that I am grateful.
I know touring is taking priority at the moment. When conceivably do you see you guys sitting down and working on a follow-up to ‘Diamond’?
Now (laughs). Things are being worked on at this very moment and we will be recording our new record at the beginning of 2014. Maybe a summer release? Who knows? We all just have to play the waiting game.
Fans will be excited for that.
What is an album recently that has really taken you by storm?
The new letlive. album (‘The Blackest Beautiful’) is absolutely incredible. They really fucked my ass up with that record. I was amazed. Also, the new Story So Far [record], but I cant say I was surprised. They simply can’t write a bad song. What a plague, right??
Hardcore shows are renowned for the intensity, the sense of community as well. What gig growing up did you attend that had a big impact on you and made you want to pursue being in a band?
Yes, Yes and Yes! Hardcore shows [in general] is where I learned that being different is ok, not trying to be someone else for the sake of someone else and if people don’t like who you are then fuck ‘em. At a hardcore show it doesn’t matter if you come from the streets, the beach, a gated community, a broken home, none of it matters. While the bands are playing we are all singing along to a song that has brought us together in ways we can’t even imagine. For those who know and who have experienced it, they know that they were apart of one of the most important forms of alternative music and living that exists.
Just some easy ones to finish off with before we let you go:
Favourite album of 2013?
Tegan and Sara – ‘Heartthrob’
Most disappointing album of 2013?
Something so disappointing I’ve already forgot.
Favourite song to blare in the tour van?
George’s 90’s mix. Truly outstanding.
Thanks for your time Jesse. Look forward to catching up in Melbourne.