Welcome to the world Absolute Truth, a new straight edge hardcore band out of the Windy City. Decline, Si Dios Quiere, and XGatekeeperX are a few of the other groups the quintet's members have put work in throughout the years.
In terms of their stylistic outlook, Absolute Truth keeps things loyal to the classic Youth Crew sound with some modern bite added to the mix.
With other rising hardcore acts as Bent Blue, Last Gasp, and Abstain already on its roster, WAR Records has also welcomed Absolute Truth into the fold. The Los Angeles label will be releasing Where Does It Start?, a six-song EP from the Chicago sXe crew later this month.
No Echo chatted with Absolute Truth vocalist Chad Rapper to get the story behind the new band, Where Does It Start?, and we're also premiering a track called "Bright Lights" to get you psyched for the EP.
You're all obviously busy with your other bands and family obligations, so what was the impetus for starting Absolute Truth?
Kyle, Shariq, Andy, and myself have been doing Decline for almost 10 years now. As for XGatekeeperX, that was just a fun project that Matthew from Life Force and myself thought about throwing together during the first winter of COVID as a side project. We’ll definitely record more songs and play some shows but with James being busy and touring heavily with Harms Way, this again was just going to be a fun side project amongst friends.
So the four of us from Decline wanted to start something that would be more serious where all the members actually live in the same city and can be more active. With that we grabbed Ricardo from another great Chicago hardcore band called Si Dios Quiere, and he took over drum duties.
As I mentioned, Decline has been together for almost a decade, and we just wanted to start another project with something fresh, hopefully thought-provoking, and more of in your face fast hardcore band with a little different sound from what we do in Decline.
Since we're premiering "Bright Lights" today, what can you tell us about the song's lyrics and inspiration behind them?
The inspiration behind "Bright Lights" is wanting to give people hope in the midst of depression. With so many being in isolation during COVID, it brought a lot of things out in people they didn’t even know they had and depression was definitely one of those things.
Personally speaking, I’ve never really dealt with any heavy depression but at the beginning of COVID it was the first time I ever felt a level of despair that was hard to put to words at the time. My life is set up in a way where there’s always something going on whether it’s playing a show, band practice, hanging out with the family and doing family stuff, etc. When COVID hit, everything was wiped off the table and suddenly there was nothing to look forward to and it was just a really weird time mentally.
It’s hard knowing what other people are going through and often we might say, “hey, how are you doing?” Too often we’re just conditioned to answer generically by saying “I’m good” or “I’m fine,” and the reality is often people are not fine. Sometimes we have to dig in a little deeper other than just saying, “hey, I’m here for you if you need to talk.” Really get with friends, spend time with them, make sure they are really doing OK, let’s not get conditioned to wait for them to come to us.
Sometimes those who seem the happiest are often fighting demons we may never understand, and that’s where the inspiration for the lyrics “sometimes the brightest lights, have the darkest nights,” came from.
For Absolute Truth, you've moved from drums to the lead vocals position. Is this your first time fronting a band?
It’s not my first time doing vocals. Shariq and I were in a hardcore band called Expired Youth in the mid-'00s and when that band ended in 2007, we did another band called One Foot in the Grave, which also had James from Harms Way playing bass, and I was the frontman for that project also. We were around for a couple years, played a bunch of shows and released a 7-inch that came out on Third-Party Records with our good friend Nick Baran.
People who know me know I’m very outspoken, and I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, and obviously being a drummer we’re just kind of back there holding things down and I think deep inside every drummer there’s a want to get out from behind the kit and and front a band, and luckily, I got some great dudes that allow me to do just that.
How would you describe the Absolute Truth sound?
I would say we are a fairly traditional, fast hardcore band. The people who know me know I am huge fan of Youth Crew, but this band I would say, is a little beyond that in the sense that it’s not as simplistic with some of the songs definitely have a harder edge to them and are slower. But at the root of it, we’re a fast, message-driven hardcore band.
Sound wise, Kyle, for example, I know has drawn some of his influences in writing the songs from bands, like Inside Out, A Chorus of Disapproval, Turning Point and others.
What keeps you motivated to still stay involved in the hardcore community, start new bands, and continue to make new music?
I’ve actually had that question asked a bunch of times and I love it. Being involved with hardcore for over 30 years, having a job that keeps me busy and a family, it’s often been asked why I still choose to be involved with something like this, and for me the answer is pretty simple, my life was changed at a young age because of this music and the bands that came before us.
In a time when mainstream music has very little to offer in terms of a positive messages or something that might actually make someone think, I still believe this music has the power to change people, and to introduce them to things they might not ever have thought about before.
If we as a band can help someone see some aspect of their life in a more positive way or we help give them hope in anyway, it’s all worth it 100%. Plus, getting to hang out with four other people that I thoroughly enjoy being with on a regular basis and playing this music is also a huge motivator since we genuinely enjoy being together and hanging out.
What are some of your current favorite bands representing your hometown of Chicago?
Some of the local bands would include Snuffed, Break the Cycle, Si Dios Quiere, Sector, Home Invasion, Contempt, Subliminal Excess, Instill, and others.
Where Does It Start? is out April 21st via WAR Records. You can hit this link to pre-order the limited edition cassette or lathe cut 7-inch.
Absolute Truth on social media: Instagram
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