First off I would like to thank you for doing the interview.
It's always a good opportunity.
What bands would you say inspire you the most?
Each member of the band has their own different thing going on musically rather than all listening to the same things (which I suppose more or less adds to our resulting sound), so I'll just attempt to summarise it. Adam (guitar) and Tony (bass) are essentially the lifeforce of the band's material, and pick up a lot on the following: Napalm Death, Converge, Rise and Fall, The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, Black Sabbath, Neurosis, Redneck Manifesto, Boris, Advent, Brutal Truth, Trap Them, as well as other things that aren't heavy or fast in the least bit. Scott (drums) grew up listening to and playing punk for the most part, and seems to dig on bands like Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream, RX Bandits, along with some Darkest Hour; I even found him listening to Cynic recently. As for myself, I take in highly from Converge, Napalm Death, Cursed, Tragedy, His Hero is Gone, Shai Hulud, Die Young, Motörhead, and essentially anything with which Tomas Lindberg is involved.
What's the craziest show that you've played?
Easily, one of our first few shows as a band (under our old moniker, Rescuer) in early '08 at Jamestowne Hall in Saginaw, MI. It was some fest lined up with bands that we couldn't care less about at this point, but we had fun nonetheless. Considering how we were a new band, we didn't expect the response we received. Kids really went off; even a couple people were jumping off tables. Definitely a good moment to take home. More recently, our show with ACxDC in August was great, especially for returning from a hiatus. Besides that, we tend to have the most fun with house shows, regardless of the draw.
Michigan's local music scene seems to be reawakening as of late. Who are your favorite acts in the mitten?
It's easy to say that we've been a bit disheartened by the oversaturation and exploitation of soulless, uninspired bands in Michigan over the past couple years, but since becoming more involved in the scene again, we've been opened up to a wave of extremely solid groups. Cloud Rat and Damages have been mainstay favorites probably since both of their conceptions. Aside from them, honorable mentions include Traitor, Tharsis They, Under Anchor, Beast in the Field, Xtra Vomit, Bruxism, Hedorah, Apache, Dredd, Frandy, Wells, Nosferatu Man, Swimsuit, Scum, and Steamroller. Disconnected and React, while not from Michigan (Toledo, OH to be exact), deserve a nod as well.
Can you tell me about Discerned's writing process at all? I know with the band's that I've been in we usually get some sort of formula down where some members are the ones with the riffs, others are the ones with the knack for structure and pacing.
It's honestly not too different from that. Adam comes up with the majority of the riffs, Tony pans out the general structure of each song, and Scott does what he can to keep the rhythm from going stale; myself, I write all lyrics separate from the music (generally before the songs are even made), so that is mostly just about simple vocal placement more than anything.
So tell me about Rescuer. I wasn't familiar with you guys when you were under that moniker. Was there a stylistic shift that prompted a new name?
We started off with the simple idea of forming a hardcore band, because obviously the music was relevant to us, and in our local scene there hadn't yet been an active hardcore punk band to exist (at least to our collective knowledge), so we also partially wanted to do something new and expose it to (or alienate, depending on what seems more amusing) everyone into the dull, dull music that had been floating around here at the time. In the beginning, it started off as something akin to a slightly chuggier Carry On with more melodic riffs; nothing too special, but good times regardless. After a while, the material leaned more towards a Clevo-esque sound (à la Ringworm, Crucified, etc.; along with hints of Shai Hulud). Naturally, we were wanting to play faster, heavier, more intelligent songs. It reached a point where we ended up just taking a six-month break and reforming our sound almost completely, new setlist and all. We played a handful of shows using said set (while still under the same name), and eventually decided to record it all with our friend Ashton. There hadn't been a set title for the release, and I figured seeing as our current sound had been far removed from when we started, I prompted the band to see if they wanted to go under a new alias; to start on a new foundation, so to speak. The title choice was, as everyone can see today, a self-titled effort. The term 'discerned' itself was used to define ourselves as being a separate entity from what we were, as well as wanting to stand separate from what the rest of our most in the scene we were involved with were doing (at the time, at least). That's how we've come to be what we are now.
Your band seems to favor dark imagery what inspires that?
This is mostly an aesthetic choice on my part, as I do all the visual work for the band. Most of our musical peers seem to prefer evil, violent, shocking, or perhaps politically-charged imagery, which there's nothing wrong with at all. It's a staple of the underground. However, I'm a full-blown artsy person, and tend to enjoy more tasteful, gloomy, and evoking imagery; Madison from Cloud Rat even jokingly asked us if we were 'depressive black metal' after seeing a copy of our EP. It's also a way to visually stand out from other groups like us, so we aren't just another 'grind/crust/whatever' band or what have you to throw on the pile. Hopefully, at least.
What do you think separates you guys from the pack when it comes to your type of music. I see more and more bands waving the flag for d-beat and metallic hardcore these days since that beatdown crud went out of style but a lot of these bands just don't have the piss and venom that comes with the territory.
We tend to really focus on putting out music that suits us as opposed to trying to fall in line to a genre, subgenre, or 'wave' of things. To put it bluntly: we genuinely care about what we write and do our best to show that, as well as continuously attempting to expand on all efforts and grow from that. We hold standards for ourselves both as personal musicians and as a unit. As for the type of music we play and what separates us specifically: there are no claims or guarantees. We play what comes naturally, and if people happen to dig that, it's always a positive. If not, it isn't an issue. Listen to a different band. We're not shithead purists. Everyone has their own interests, and we can actually accept that. It doesn't halt us in the least bit.
Tell me about your lyrics. What's the message behind Discerned, what're you trying to get across?
The lyrics tend be split perfectly between personal strife and socio-political issues. We all have our struggles, and I use the opportunity to vent my own; cathartic, to say the least. It also can't be helped that a simple glance at the world will inform you that something is fucked up. Something is wrong, and most of the time no one acknowledges it with a sound mind. You will never find generic 'fuck the government' or 'my life is unfair' anthems in our material. Many of the personal issues revolve around subjects such as paranoia, 'ex-suicide' philosophy, anxiety, the occasional bridge-burning and inevitability of death; the social and political ones seem to cover more specific looks at obvious bases: religious fearmongering in children, zealous and biased agendas bent on violating human rights, condemnation of violence in the name of nations or faith, and ultimately crushing oppression of the individual.
I seem to get a definite blackened vibe from your stuff. Is that intentional?
Not really. While we all take an interest in black metal (Tony even has his own atmospheric BM project, Mammon), it's never been intentional, although I suppose it tends to bleed into our material every now and then somehow.
Are there any big shows coming up that you'd like to tell people about?
Just the ones to kick off 2012. Beast in the Field, Nosferatu Man, Bruxism, and Traitor at the Blackened Moon in Lansing on January 6th; then Anguish (from NJ), Hate Your Guts (from CT), Retribution, Fight It Out, Traitor, and Bloodhound at Launch Board Shop in Ann Arbor the following day
How soon should we expect new recordings?
An EP is in the works for early next year, hopefully before spring hits. Four or five songs is the plan. We may do a split as well, but that's not quite settled yet.
Once again, I'd like to thank you for doing this interview. It's been nice to get some insight into what you dudes are about. Are there any closing statements that you'd like to share with the readers?
I should thank you. It's great to see the reception we've received from everyone in recent months. We went from the scene being apathetic towards whether we existed or not to a suddenly consistent demand for us to jump on shows and release things. It's great. But anyway, last words: at a show, buy merch, not booze. Also, Lemmy is god.
You can check out Discerned here and listen to their EP on their bandcamp.
Discerned is for Fans of: Iskra, Trap Them, Pulling Teeth, Shipwreck AD, Traitor and Skitsystem