LIBERTY AND JUSTICE
(Interview by Gareth Postans aka Girth, introduction by Mano)
With their sophomore album "Pressure" for Contra Records and Death Exclamations! fresh off the presses, it was only a matter of time before Gareth bombed Liberty And Justice's inbox with over a dozen of questions! Fortunately that time is now and Ryan and Halston were kind enough to quickly response, so enjoy the read!
First of all, can you introduce yourselves and why you’re the bollocks?
Ryan - I’m Ryan, vocalist in the band. We also got Halston and Ramzi on guitar, Edwin on bass, and Cory on drums. We’ve all been playing music in various bands for the majority of our lives, so coming together on this project years ago with these guys was a dream come true. We’ve somehow all managed to get along relatively well, and all collectively bring something to the table with each song.
First of all, congrats on ‘Pressure’. How do you feel about it? I’ve been streaming it non stop for days. How easy/difficult was it to record during Covid?
Ryan -Pressure was/is our baby. To say we put a lot into it would be a gross understatement. Going back to us all playing in bands for years, we’ve also felt the sting of coming from a coast that doesn’t get the hype or attention it deserves. So with “pressure”, from the core recording, to lyrical content, to art with Scott, to having Johnny Rioux produce it, to how to properly advertise it, we put everything into it. In terms of recording during covid, it wasn’t too bad. Certainly made things easier with all of our work schedules because we were no longer on a time crunch(we started recording right before covid).Gang vocals got tricky haha. In terms of advertising and doing press-we had to get creative with shows not really poppin off so we worked with Derek and Ramzi on videos big time. Which, being a kid that grew up on MTV, thats been a blast.
Halston - In regards of recording during covid, Scale of 1-10 id say 7. And really only on the mental tip for me personally and I’m sure the guys as well. Not knowing how I felt about going out and being around people at the time was weird.
How does ‘Pressure’ compare to your first album ‘For all?’
Ryan - with “for all” our original guitarist Rhys was still in the band. When we started liberty he was sitting on an insane amount of fully formed ready to go songs. So really most of “for all” were songs written by Rhys. “Pressure” was the first record that was 100% a group effort, every person in the band has tracks that they contributed/worked on. Lyrically “for all” was more of coming from the angle of being a newer father, touching on all the fear, my own family history. My struggles in the past with drugs and alcohol and how that might affect the kids. But also had a certain amount of hope for what these kids might do for us in the future. “Pressure” is a much darker album lyrically, certainly not intentionally but just where I was/is, and the community was/is at the time. Touching on political ambivalence in the scene, media influence and corruption, global and national inequalities, suicide, drug addiction, losing loved ones and what that process looks like and so many other issues.
Halston - All is a pure no frills streetrock record, completely written and directed by Rhys Kill. No song diverts or loses momentum, and it’s an amazing record that I was honored to take part in. But when we started writing pressure we were already a new unit, unfortunately without Rhys due to him just not wanting to “do the whole band thing”. So we all have work on this record. Even songs “written” by Ramzi or Edwin, or myself have elements and parts created by all of us. I think that is the main force behind our vibe and mission. It’s all of us.
But sonically, pressure is more pop influenced and a lot more care was put into the song writing and production. Johnny Rioux produced 4 All and pressure, he heavily influenced the arrangement and background vocals on the record.
I really like the rang of sounds and influences in ‘Pressure’. I definitely hear some Springsteen in there! Are you big fans?
Ryan - yo i told johnny about this question and he said “maybe its your politics” 🤣 I dont know about all that but I love Springsteen. Atlantic city FUCKS.
Halston - Badlands.
So you’re saying Joe Hawkins isn’t the king of the skins? Who’s this Dave Wells geezer?
Ryan - Going back to our coast not getting the attention it deserves, I felt like I had written enough songs about dead people I wanted to push a anthem for a friend of ours. Dave is an old school houston skin that should have been dead 15 times over and is still rockin. Dude got shot in the head! Hes put on a lot for Houston over the years and is just an 100% rider.
‘Immigrant Rock and Roll’ is an absolute banger. How did you get ‘Los Skanarles’ involved?
Ryan - Skarnales are local legends around here and dear friends of ours so goin into rerecording immigrant rnr we knew we wanted to get them on the track. it was a perfect marriage for this song.
I see you’re actually playing gigs again! How is that going? Is it very polite with people drinking wine at tables?
Ryan - We just had one legit gig april 24, all outdoors sorta limited capacity deal. Its been awesome being able to get back to it in a relatively comfortable manner after so long without. In our area vaccines opened up awhile back so a good chunk of our people got it. Plus still rockin masks so we feel good about the situations.
Houston, Texas is your endz. How’s the scene there? Any other bands we should be checking out?
Ryan - love this city for all the hate it gets. its our home. tons of acts to check out- fat tony, true intentions, killer hearts, hooligan 45, trash magz, vanguard, life force, narrow head, the pose, dress code, tooth and claw, lockjaw, skatastrophics, whyjae, los skarnales,fitna, fun haunts, groundhog day, will to live, pride kills, die young, dende, too many to name.
I read that one of your members is big into hip hop. Seems like all the members bring a different flavour. Will your next album be pure hip hop?
Halston - The next album will be an r&b/neo-soul masterpiece
Do you have any plans to come to Europe when things calm down?
Ryan - So we actually just signed onto MAD booking which we’re floored about. We’ll be playing punk and disorderly festival may 2022 with a 2 week tour around it
Which member of the band is the true essence of rock and roll?
Ryan - Cory hands down.
How do you feel the internet and streaming has helped you spread your music? Where do you look for reviews and new bands?
Ryan - For pressure its all we’ve been able to rely on mostly. Thats helped us push this album in a period where shows arent happening and its and folks arent gathering. I look at american oi, neutral accents, and my barber shop 🤣 honestly you kinda stumped me on that one, im always discovering new bands and acts to check out but its mostly from conversations with friends
Do you guys manage to make a living from the band or do you have other jobs? Is ‘making a living’ selling out?
Ryan - remember the 90s when everyone was a sellout? Na making a living is not selling out, hats off to folks that can do it. All of us are pretty into our careers just as much as our music. We just try to balance both. Im an owner of a barber shop that I cut at(east end barber). Edwin is a barber there as well and owns a pomade company(pomps not dead). Halston does music full time-teaching lessons and playing in every r & b/neo soul act in town. Cory slings paint and plays in the killer hearts. Ramzi does graphic design and plays in fun haunts and fitna.
What does the future hood for you?
Ryan - We have a split 7” coming out officially june 12 on Cutthroat Records with our friends Killer Hearts. Releasing a video for six two pretty soon. Playing scattered shows throughout the summer. Putting together a tour with concrete elite, and playing europe next year.
Any final words?
Ryan - Check out my podcast “no deep shit” with gabe from pride kills and freezer. Check out my other band trash magz. Debut 12” ep called “give me the beat” coming out soon on grimace records/death exclamations! Thank you for what you do homie
Halston - Funk is the absence of any and everything you can think of, but the very essence of all that is. ...