Culture Spy is a brand-new hardcore project started by Jeff Wright, a musician who has also played in Unconditional Arms, Compltr, and The American Scene.
"I started toying with demos for Culture Spy during my downtime in the pandemic," Jeff tells No Echo. "They were all instrumental, I tried to sing over them but I didn’t really like what I heard. Fast forward January 2022, I put out a call in my Instagram for a vocalist. Jordan [Sobolew] answered that call. He recorded some super interesting and fitting vocals for one of that tracks and from there we started to work over what would become our demo over the next few months."
With Jordan—who also records solo material as Reptoid—in the fold, Culture Spy was ready to get down. Jeff continues: "We recorded and mixed it ourselves (we’re both audio engineers!) and sent it off to Alberto De Icaza to master. Shortly after my friend Steve drew up the illustration for the cover art and we were off to the races."
The Culture Spy demo appeared on Bandcamp in early May:
The conversation turned to influences. "I have always been a big fan of hardcore and every little pocket that it encapsulates. There are so many different definitions and bands in this genre but some of my inspiration for this project comes from bands like Punch, Gel, Head Wound City, METZ, and probably early Ceremony. Jordan mentioned that he is super into Pissed Jeans, but more '90s stuff like Strife, Integrity, Hatebreed, and Deadguy."
In terms of lyrics, Culture Spy isn't in danger of appearing on any feel-good summer compilations any time soon. "Jordan’s lyrics are encapsulate a lot of existential dread and misanthropy.
"My honest to god favorite thing is that he came to this project to say shit about how we as humans are burning down the earth and the powers at be do not care rather than some kind of love song. I’ve been trapped writing songs about things that are deeply emotional for years in other projects and the fresh but true take that we are constantly stepping all over each other and expensing the shit out this planet lines up with what I have always believed and what we are doing, as a society."
Jeff shows love for Culture Spy's NorCal musical brethren: "The Bay Area scene is definitely coming back to life a little bit. Some really cool bands I have seen recently / like a lot from this area: Facet, Greyhound, Smirk, Cel Genesis, Cheree, XUI.
"We’re playing our first show with MSPaint from Mississippi on June 18th at the Golden Bull in Oakland. I saw a bunch of videos of them on tour with Gel and they are reallll rippers."
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