We talked to Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré about playing with members of The Hope Conspiracy, Trap Them, and a bunch of other bands you've probably stagedived to.
Photo: Erica Lauren
Jeremy Bolm is playing video games. Between writing and practicing with his band, Touché Amoré, and running his record label, Secret Voice, it’s a rare thing that he has time to do so. This is his first day off in months.
"I haven't owned a system in many, many years and about two years ago my older brother gave me his old Xbox 360 and a stack of games and I've started to chip away at them," he explains. "The games that I have are pretty old at this point, but to me everything is new and everything is awesome because I'm so behind. I'm currently playing a Tomb Raider game, I'm not sure which one but it's super fun."
Fun was also the impetus for Hesitation Wounds, Bolm's extremely aggressive side-project which also features guitarist Neeraj Kane (The Hope Conspiracy, Suicide File), drummer Jay Weinberg (Slipknot), and Stephen "Scuba" LaCour (Ex-Trap Them, True Cross). The band released a four-song seven-inch on Bolm's own label Secret Voice in 2012, however things have been fairly quiet in the Hesitation Wounds camp since then. Late last year, though, the group got together and recorded their debut full-length, Awake For Everything, which will be released by 6131 Records on May 27.
We tore Bolm away from Lara Croft long enough to talk about the band's new album, what the future holds for Hesitation Wounds, and if they'll be wearing masks onstage. Hear a new taste of the album, "New Abuse," below.
Noisey: How did Hesitation Wounds start? I'd imagine all of your schedules must be pretty crazy.
Jeremy Bolm: The band started because I had a wild idea of grabbing musician friends from bands that I'm a fan of that didn't know each other or definitely hadn't played music together and seeing how many songs we could write in one day. [Laughs.] Neeraj and Steven had known each other but had never played music together, and at that time, I had only recently met Jay when he was still in Against Me!. Jay happened to be coming to LA and Neeraj also lives out here because he's a school teacher. And at that time, Scuba had moved to Arizona so it would be easy enough for him to get to California. So we all got in a room and turned out songs and an intro thing and then recorded them the next day and it were like, "This is awesome."
How active has the band been since you released the self-titled seven-inch in 2012?
We've played a handful of shows but hadn't really done much with it in about a year-and-a-half. Jay happened to have some time off toward the end of last summer and I knew he was coming to town so we sort of cleared our schedules, and in one week, we basically wrote the record and recorded drums that weekend. Then over time we ended up finishing the rest of it. Neeraj was actually about to go in to do guitar tracks and ended up in a motorcycle accident and broke his arm so it took a little longer to get the guitar tracks done due to his injury. Then Scuba recorded all the bass in Arizona and I would put lyrics down when I had a chance.
Obviously your last release had to be recorded really quickly. Did you approach this album in a similar way?
Definitely. The idea of the seven-inch was for it to be not thought out and see what we could do not knowing if the band would go any further than the fact that we would have a lot of fun doing it. For this album we knew that Jay was coming to town so Neeraj started writing some riffs and we sort of talked about different influences that we'd like to put down into this record. We really wanted to harness the sound of bands like Deadguy, which is a sound that maybe isn't so popular at this certain time in aggressive music. I think we wrote three songs a day between Monday and Wednesday—and one of the days I think we wrote four songs—and then went over them a few times and went into the studio.
Lyrically the seven-inch on Secret Voice was pretty intense. Would you say this record is similar content-wise?
No. On the seven-inch, one song is about a friend that I unfortunately watched get killed in front of me and the second song is about a folk singer that I'm just a big fan of and the third song is like an all-around, encompassing the-world-sucks sort of song. [Laughs.] I've never had the confidence in myself to be a political songwriter and I sort of leave that to people who are much more eloquent and informed in those areas like Propagandhi and Strike Anywhere, but in the early Touché days, I wrote "History Reshits Itself" about gay marriage and I felt like a big weight off me to sing a song like that. I don't consider Touché being a band that I want to attach much political stuff to as it's been more of a personal outlet but there's been a lot of things in the media especially in the past year that made me want to write [more political] stuff so I sort of view Hesitation Wounds as my outlet for that. On this record, there's a handful of more politically minded songs that go alongside my typical personal outlet songs.
Sonically this is so different from Touché, especially your last album, Is Survived By. Does Hesitation Wounds feel like a different outlet for you or just another one?
It satisfies a whole other part of my being. I've always been a fan of ultra aggressive music; I was a big metalhead in high school and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for grind music and all that sort of stuff. The music that Touché makes is my comfort zone, it's what I love and what I work so hard at. But there's always a craving to do something extra heavy and hyper-angry, whereas Touché is kind of more sad and morose. I wanted something to just really sink my teeth into in a much more aggressive way and that's what Hesitation Wounds satisfies.
It's kind of hilarious to see you guys billed as members of Slipknot because I associate this band way more with The Hope Conspiracy or Trap Them.
Yeah, it's funny I did an interview the other day and the guy asked me if I think it's weird to be in a band that is probably more associated now with Slipknot than anything else but I don't think of it that way. I don't think of Jay as the drummer of Slipknot, I think of Jay as my friend who is really good at drums, you know? I found him far before that and it just happens to be his job now.
So no masks onstage with Hesitation Wounds?
No masks onstage. [Laughs] I don't understand how he does but props to him for being able to pull through.
How much time can you devote to Hesitation Wounds moving forward and touring? Is it just whenever schedules align?
It's funny, I would say the upside and the downside to a band like this is that since there's no pressure, it's harder to get people tied down to it. Everyone's schedules are currently pretty hectic in the sense that Touché will have a record out by the end of the year; Slipknot is on tour all summer on that Marilyn Manson tour; Scuba is actually welcoming his first child in June; and Nareej is a full-time school teacher who is only off in the summer. It's so hard to do anything but we know that we want to so whenever we can make it work we will but we just can't say when, you know?
Having been in such serious bands for so long, it must be refreshing for all of you to do a project like this strictly for fun.
That's exactly it. We already want to play shows, so if the record does really well and we feel like there's a really, really high demand, I'm sure we'll try to work something out. But if it happens to be a thing where we just get together every couple of years and play a handful of shows and record more stuff, that's fine too. I think it being just more of a recording project is not bad at all.
Jonah Bayer is survived by his Twitter - @mynameisjonah