In the wake of Law of Power’s dissolution, 4 of its 5 members have become A.N.T.I., or All Negative Thoughts Inside. The band aims to depict the darker side of Los Angeles, expose new forms of propaganda and how it negatively affects our society.
The group began as a side project conceptualized and written by Chris and Ryan, their recently released demo boasts 4 tracks in just as many minutes.
A.N.T.I. contains the hallmarks that made L.A's modern hardcore scene so engaging, but they strive to dive deeper into issues outside of their sphere, tackling overarching issues in society and the larger hardcore scene. You see, hardcore was once a place the misfits of society could come to and enjoy, even if they disagreed on certain issues.
Now, it seems there’s a large amount of polarization and an almost homogenous viewpoint from the collective scene. A.N.T.I. seeks to challenge this, and bring uncomfortable discussions back to hardcore.
In conversation, Chris stated his hopes of utilizing A.N.T.I. to express his perspective on the current state of the world and open up a dialogue with people, rather than pat each other on the back and disagree in secret. As we’ve seen expressed with Section H8, and previously Law of Power, Chris’ world is not rooted in the environment most No Echo readers probably come from.
Chris: “I had thought of the name A.N.T.I. in August of last year. It was stuck in my head for a while, then I started writing songs around the idea. Ryan was the first person I asked to be in the band.”
Looking at the scene in Los Angeles, it becomes clear that members of Section H8, Human Garbage, and others have formed their own scene, whose band members channel the reality of their lives into their songwriting.
Ryan added that the reason they all have so many projects is due to their constant inspiration to write and record music that’s different from the other projects they’re in. “We’re always writing and conjuring up new ideas. That’s natural even within the realm of punk and hardcore—not one size fits all.
"Everything is always going to be a bit different and that’s why you get a lot of mixed-bills and complex sounds from bands. A lot of the riffs and melodies that Chris and I come up with won’t always fit certain bands we have.”
Their creativity shows in how each band they play in sounds exceptionally different from the last one, yet the themes express similar values and experiences that were in place from past projects. A.N.T.I.’s songs are exceptionally shorter and more abrasive than previous projects, showcasing elements of crust punk and early LA crossover bands like Suicidal Tendencies and Cryptic Slaughter.
In discussing inspiration, Chris lists specific bands that influence A.N.T.I.’s speed and aggression while also holding a keen ear to the modern heaviness that most hardcore bands deliver.
“Driller Killer, Stout, Piece By Piece, Furious Styles, Trapped Under Ice, to name a few," says Chris. "I’ve always wanted short and fast songs that are no more than a minute or two long. This is a hardcore punk band—no extremely long and slow breakdowns—just true to the genre.
Bringing even further influences to the band is Ryan, explaining his love of both dark hardcore bands such as Kickback and even black metal bands which help establish A.N.T.I.’s sound and aesthetic. “Early Stigmata, Kickback, Next Step Up, and Merauder. We just wanted to show that there’s a lot you can put into tracks that are a minute and 15-seconds long. Not every song needs to be long and the world will see that.”
Hardcore, despite many objections, has always been a lyrically dense genre. In the short amount of time each band plays a song, they pack as many expressive lyrics as possible. Chris aims to do that with A.N.T.I. “
"The very foundation of this band was my search for the truth. Everyday I’m being lied to. When I turn on the TV, when I’m on my computer, when I look at my phone, it doesn’t matter. I’m being lied to somewhere while interacting with technology or media. But when I actually experience something in real life, I know the truth."
Chris continues: "I have a huge problem with society in general, but also the hardcore scene where there’s polarizing ideologies being driven into the minds of a new generation. Nobody can agree to disagree. Everyone would rather point a finger and say, ‘Fuck you for thinking different than me.’ This whole thing isn’t about argument; it’s about uniting people with different viewpoints and having a conversation about it.”
Speaking further on the matter, Chris speaks on something that he feels is one of the biggest issues in America and the world. “The government divides us by getting in everyone’s head and making us part of their ‘left or right’ war, when it’s all just bullshit. That’s the thing I’m talking about here. It’s a scary and prominent issue in the world, and it’s made its way down to our subculture. The TV moved from being in your house, to being in your hand, right now, infecting everything you hear, read and see.”
Chris points out that many hardcore bands with strong stances on controversial subjects don’t speak on them from a place of experience, but rather they parrot what they see through media. “There’s a lot of people that aren’t speaking from experience. They seem to associate with tragedy and victimization easily, and it’s pretty damaging to what this scene is about. I write songs about what I experience.
"I’ll never shy away from an uncomfortable conversation. I’d rather see how much more alike I am to someone that may think different from me. I disagree with the people I’m close to all the time, but we talk about it because that’s what people are supposed to do. Learn how to dissolve the issue and coincide. I feel like there’s not a lot of that going on in the world right now.”
Ryan adds an interesting point on the matter that goes to point how little sense this makes in the scene. “If you walked out of your house everyday and everyone thought, dressed and looked exactly the same, it’d drive you insane at some point. People think that they’re on the outside, when really they’re living in this self affirming echo chamber. That was the very thing punk and hardcore was against when it all started out. Music is supposed to be adversarial; it’s supposed to rebel against the established norm.”
A.N.T.I. represents many sections of the old school of hardcore and punk that the new school needs to be reminded of, and they do it with a renewed energy and perspective, and at the same time, they carry their hometown's punk legacy of channeling speed and anger into their approach.
To represent their views on democracy, A.N.T.I. has formed a website, www.darknet.media, which contains videos and articles based around biased media, mass psychosis and examples of concurrent propaganda, and how each of these things are utilized to cause division in society. Not many bands bring these type of messages to the table, but A.N.T.I. sees it as their duty to do so.
A.N.T.I. will be playing a hometown show on June 17th with Angel Du$t, End It, and D0PE Cellar (Chris’ solo project) at Lodge Room.