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Chiller: Pittsburgh Hardcore Punk Miscreants Keep Things Sounding Classic

Photo: Em DeMarco

"We started in May of 2015, but I’ve known all of these guys for more than 10 years and yes, we’ve all mostly played together at one time or another," Chiller vocalist Steve tells me when I ask him for a quick intro for his band. The Pittsburgh's hardcore combo's 2018 epoynmous EP recently arrived in my mailbox and has found its way into my regular playlist for the last couple of weeks.

Chiller's songwriting is lean and mean, with a strong sense of classic hardcore permeating every aspect of its deliver, especially the hookier parts of the songwriting. With so much of the stuff I cover on No Echo leaning towards a more metallic hardcore direction, I want to get Steve's take on his band's more stripped-down approach. "The funny thing is I have gotten more into metal as I have gotten older compared to when I was a kid. I think a lot of the metal influence in hardcore does more damage than good but there are certain bands that can make it work. I saw Spectral Voice a few months ago and it was the best gig I have seen in 10 years."

Lyrically speaking, what are some of the themes Chiller touch upon for this new record? "I think the lyrics touch on feeling very alone in a reality that is constantly in question. A lot of it comes from watching people and how they interact and how our world is changing and how fearful and dangerous unchecked power can be."

Photo: Em DeMarco

I love Pittsburgh and spent quite a bit of time there in the early '00s when I dated a girl from there, but I admit to Steve that I'm not too hip on what's going on over there at the moment. "I think Pittsburgh has some killer bands and more new bands with younger kids are popping up all the time. Blood Pressure is probably my favorite group here but people know about them. Cruel Noise is the record store that does a lot of work spreading the word and putting on gigs. That’s where I usually learn about new bands in town."

Steve tells me that he and the Chiller dudes are planning on spreading their name outside of the Pittsburgh area in the near future. "We play fairly regularly in Pittsburgh but we will be out of town a lot more in the fall. We have gigs in upstate NY, Philly, and Cleveland in the next few weeks."

Photo: Em DeMarco

"Hardcore punk" seems like a perfect way to describe Chiller, but what does Steve think? "Our friend Jimmy Rose asked someone about us at a gig and they replied: 'They look like dads but they rip.' I like that one."

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Chiller's latest EP is available on Bandcamp, along with their previous releases.

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