In 2014 it was St. Louis' Hard Evidence that took everyone by surprise with their fantastic debut "Last One Standing"! A split EP with Australia's The Butcher Boys followed that same year, but after that things got quiet... Until now! Because with the recently released split EP with Dog Company (Cadre Records / Oi! The Boat Records) and their upcoming, self-titled, full-length album (Rebellion Records / Longshot Music) around the corner, the Hard Evidence casuals are more alive than ever! Read all about it in the interview with bassist Nate below!
Hi Nate! Thanks a lot for doing this interview, how are things going at the moment?
This is Nate. Things are going great! It’s going to be a busy year with ‘ard Ev.
It’s 2016 and Hard Evidence is, fortunately, still alive and kicking! Is it true the band was on the verge of breaking up, or was that just a rumor? If true, what inspired you guys to hang in there and continue to make great music?
Yes, we did almost call it a day. We started to get too far ahead of ourselves with our excitement about the new music we were writing. We started to book too many tour dates and it became problematic with our personal lives. It just came crashing down on us and we had to reevaluate what is important in life. We took a break for a little while and decided that we still wanted to keep going, especially since we all were so crazy about our new songs. We dialed back the amount of time the band was going to take up in our lives. Now it’s about being fun again and not another added layer of stress in our lives. Things have been great since we got back to basics and focused on writing with the occasional shows. Now I would say we keep it to about 10 shows a year. It’s worked out well for the quality of the shows too. It makes people want to see you more if you don’t play out every 5 minutes.
A change of personnel was, as it seems, necessary to keep Hard Evidence going with the addition of two new guitarists, Bryan and Jim. How did this line-up change go down and would you reckon that Hard Evidence was still out there if Bryan and Jim didn’t join the band?
Without those two we wouldn’t be here anymore. They are two of the best musicians in St. Louis! Jim and I have been in bands together for years and years. We started out playing in The Bridgeburners together and put out a record on Dim Records (Germany). We also still play in another band together called The Supermen. We are a hardcore punk band that dresses in Mexican luchador outfits. Musically in the vain of Antiseen and 80’s hardcore with subject matter like that of The Meatmen or GG Allin…ridiculous chauvinistic lyrics about how great we are and being the champions of the world. Our 12” album “Back With a Gangbang” is available on Self Destructo Records, the same label that put out the new Meatmen full length. You won’t find it on a lot of streaming music sites. The record was banned for “inappropriate” content.
Bryan is the best musician I think I’ve ever played with. He is in another band with the Supermen’s drummer. They’re called The Humanoids and they are fantastic! They are a mix between Naked Raygun and Leatherface. Anyway, Bryan joined initially as a fill in for Luke, our original guitarist who left to go to school in Washington State. Bryan was initially going to just play TNT in Hartford Connecticut with us in 2014 (the final TNT). We gave him a copy of our first record and 7” and he showed up at the first practice and nailed every lead and change like he wrote the stuff. He’s the real deal! He is a natural fit and we have written the best music of our lives together. The new split 7”with Dog Company and our full length coming out this summer are testaments to how well we gel as a band. I couldn’t be more proud of these records coming out.
Do they have previous band experience prior to Hard Evidence? Could you give a brief introduction to ‘the new guys’?
Other than what I already mentioned, Dave and I also played in Pist ‘n’ Broke together. I was also in Southpaw Manners (an alternate version of Pist ‘n’ Broke I guess). Some of Southpaw Manners’ songs we recorded in the early 2000s ended up on the Pist ‘n’ Broke “20 Years Strong” picture disc that came out on Randale Records. Jim also played in Last Year’s Youth (GMM records). Ryan sang in a really good band called The Dead Ends around 2006. They self released the best 7” I have heard in my life. No joke. I still listen to that thing almost weekly! We still have a few copies and sell it at our shows. Dave has played drums in a lot of local bands and is currently playing in an outlaw country band called Tortuga with the singer of The 7 Shot Screamers (Haunted Town Records).
Only formed in 2013, Hard Evidence is still a relatively new band. But with the mentioned line-up change and the incredible response to your debut “Last One Standing” you guys already have a few turbulent years behind you! How do you look back in the past 2,5 years?
We got a pretty warm reception to the first record and it opened up a lot of opportunities for us. We try to travel and make festivals when we can, but know when things are starting to get to be too much. We aren’t afraid to say no to opportunities anymore. We know that there will be more, and we don’t want to get the band to a point where it isn’t fun again.
And now back to the present and future! Because just about now your first new record in nearly two years, a split EP with Texas’ own Dog Company, has been released! How did this record get together?
Joe (Dog Company’s singer) and I have known each other for a while. I used to see his band Riot Squad play in St. Louis in the mid 90s and I ended up booking his next band The Staggers several times. I have always been a big fan of his stuff. We ended up reconnecting around the time of the first Live and Loud in Chicago in 2014. “Last One Standing” had been out for several months and he mentioned he liked it a lot, so we began discussing the inevitable split. It just took that long to get it all sorted out! It’s great to share a record with them. There isn’t a better set of guys around!
Two new songs can be found on your side of the vinyl, “I Wanna Know” and “Someday”, can you give our readers some background information on the recording of these songs, its content and your influences?
“I Wanna Know” was the first song we wrote together with Jim and Bryan. It was an easy transition really. I had been playing with Jim for years, so we were already accustomed to each other and Bryan is such a pro he can play anything! The song is about trying to be something you’re not. It talks about chasing happiness through the wrong channels and ending up worse off than when you started.
“Someday” is going to be on our self titled full length as well, albeit a different recording/version. To me, that song is about keeping your head together as you get older and seeing how so many people around you are completely full of shit. They always have been, but it gets easier to see it the older you get. You need to keep your eye on the ball, stay focused, and not be distracted by the parade of bullshit artists that are distracting you from things that truly matter.
Both songs are still a nod to the bands we love, but if I had to give one band credit it would have to be The Crack. They are and always have been a huge inspiration, both musically and lyrically.
Besides the split EP, your first ever full-length album is just around the corner as well! With the inclusion of the aforementioned “Someday”, this (self-titled) album will bring ten new songs! Excited?
More excited about this record than anything we’ve ever done! These songs took us a year and a half to write and we can’t wait for people to hear them! We just put up “Yesterday’s news” on YouTube in the first week of April. That is the first song off the new record, so go have a listen if you are interested!
The concept of the artwork is based on the Strangeways prison riot, is there a reference in the lyrical content of the album and its artwork? How did it influence the concept of the album?
Yes. We have a song called Strange Ways on the record. The song isn’t directly about the Strangeways riot, but rather about a young man who made one mistake and will pay for it for the rest of his life. It’s about going to jail and becoming a worse criminal that when you came in. The Strangeways riot was about prisoners rebelling due to abysmal living conditions and fighting to be treated like people. It made people think about prisoners as people, flawed people, but people nonetheless. It shinned a light on a dark part of the western world that people would just as soon forget about. We have a line in the song “Injustice it becomes the norm, only death can now reform, forget about your future and your life.” It’s referring to the idea that we tend to lock these people up and forget about them.
We are by no means a bunch of bleeding hearts feeling sorry for criminals. Far from it. The song is simply trying to consider the world from a prisoner’s perspective. Having empathy for people is something that seems to be lost within a lot of us today.
Do you reckon that the Hard Evidence sound somewhat changed compared to “Last One Standing”? What can the fans expect of this album?
I think it has a little. Overall, I think it’s still us. I can tell you the same level of effort went into it! We have 2 new members, but they brought good things to the band, and I think we are better for it. Ryan and I wrote a lot of the first record, and we had a lot to do with this one as well, so that Hard Evidence sound you are used to is still in there.
As mentioned before you guys are still a relatively new band, but within your short existence you took the scene by storm! Now, what are some of your favorite, newer bands out there?
I like The Virgin Whores and Victory from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Philly’s Legion 76 and Duffy’s Cut are great! I’m really excited about Assault and Battery’s new record. We just played with them in Milwaukee and they sounded better than ever! Giuda, not that they are really new anymore, they have been around about as long as us, but I still can’t stop listening to those three records. Battle Ruins as well. Again, not “new,” but to me they are. If it came out after the 90s it’s new to me! Haha!
Ok, I’m almost there... final question! How many pair of Adidas’ do you guys own?
Hahaha! I’m embarrassed to say…I just had to go count. I personally have 9 pair right now. I have more than my wife!