The dudes in Memphis hardcore group Bail have only been playing in this particular line-up for a few months, but already have an EP out on Fat Sandwich Records and shows under their belt in Memphis, Tupelo and Jackson, as well as plans for weekend tours throughout the year. Featuring former members of local bands Eyewitness, Nailed Shut, Eucharist, Verdicts and Blitzkrieg, among others, the members of Bail (Garrett Lewis, Paul Dygert, Austin Gutierrez, Marco Daniele and Brady Moore) are obviously dedicated to the genre and the promotion of the Memphis scene. I asked vocalist Garrett Lewis a few questions about their tape and his thoughts on the state of Memphis hardcore.
Q: It seems like the Memphis hardcore scene was really strong in the 90s, then had a bit of a slowdown, and now is on the upswing again. Is that how you see it, or am I way off?
A: Memphis has always had its ups and downs. When I started going to shows in 03/04, show turnouts were awesome. Until about 07 we were actually getting a ton of touring hardcore bands in Memphis. Around then we lost almost all of our venues that would allow hardcore shows for all age kids, which is one of the main reasons I think over the past couple of years the scene has kind of died out — because of the lack venues. Up until recently, there really has not been a venue for hardcore bands to play at. So with us starting to get more venues, more and more kids are starting to come out, more bands are getting formed, and it seems people are actually getting involved again. It’s going to take time to get everything back up, but I think if we work together we can make it happen
Q: Your tape “Lost in a Loveless World” was written in Memphis (I assume), recorded in Memphis, put out by Memphis label and the cover was designed by a Memphis design firm. Was that a conscious decision? (And thanks for the download code. I love buying physical media, but at the same time it’s nice to be able to download it.)
A: The main reason it was all done in Memphis is cost and convenience. We are all from and around the Memphis area, so it was just easier doing it all in Memphis, and as far as the download code goes, that’s all Daniel [Drinkard of Fat Sandwich Records], so thank him.
Q: You guys recorded your tape with Brass Tacks Audio at 1372 Overton Park, which is an address with a lot of Memphis and musical history. What was that like?
A: First off, recording with Matt [Qualls] is so awesome. I have known that dude since I was like 14 or 15 (almost 10 years). It was a comfortable environment, not stressful at all. As far as the place itself, it is such a cool feeling every time I go into that place. Recording there was really awesome, just knowing who all used to live there. His Hero Is Gone, Lucero, and Elvis just to name a couple.
Q: I’ve also seen love for Memphis on your Facebook page. What is it about Memphis that you guys love so much?
A: Memphis is home to us. It actually took me along time to realize that. There really is no other city like Memphis. People talk so negatively about it and it blows my mind because there is so much history and culture here.
Q: Why did you choose to put out your EP on cassette tape instead of vinyl or CD? Are you working on a full-length album?
A: We chose to do a tape because it’s a cheaper option for you to get our music, even if you don’t have a tape player — because we know it’s 2013 and not many people do. We did it more as a collectors’ thing, and just so we would have some kind of physical music out. That’s why we offer the digital download cards with it. We are actually in the process of writing our second EP, which we are hoping will come out on a 7″ later this year.
Q: How did you get involved with Fat Sandwich Records? What kind of influence has Fat Sandwich had on Memphis music?
A: I have known Daniel for roughly seven or eight years. He was at the space when we were recording and liked what he was hearing, and he offered to put it out. Daniel (Fat Sandwich) has given some bands a chance to actually get their music out. He put out a tape/cd for Tanks, and has done a 7″ for Cities Aviv (who now is all over Pitchfork and Spin Magazine). He has also booked a ton of shows in Memphis. So just by him doing that he’s helped influence the Memphis music scene.
Q: What have you guys been listening to lately?
A: For me personally, I have been listening to The Rival Mob, No Class, Incendiary, The Suicide File, Baroness, Floor, Rude Awakening, The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart, Pygmy Lush, Joyce Manor, Night Birds, Cock Sparrer, The Misfits, and I could really go on for days. I listen to so much music all the time.
Q: If you could book the ultimate show in Memphis, where would it be and who would play?
A: My ultimate show in Memphis wouldn’t be a show of all my favorite bands. It would be a show with nothing but old and new Memphis hardcore bands at the original Hi-Tone.
Q: Do you have anything else to add?
A: Pick up our tape. Support your local music scene. Help promote shows, pass out flyers, post shows on the internet, tell your friends, etc. Without help from everyone things will never get better. Memphis Hardcore is alive in 2013 whether you like it or not.