The ever verdant ecosystem that is Baltimore punk and hardcore has blossomed yet again, in the wonderfully nauseating form of Grudge.
Having recently caught the band opening on the mighty FAIM’s last ride, their firebrand and unique take on hardcore punk was deserving of a deeper dive. The band was kind enough to indulge me, albeit virtually, on all things Grudge.
In the immediate future, you can catch Grudge sharing the stage with an impossibly rad lineup at Break Free Fest this Juneteenth weekend in Philly (Lenape Land). Hold this grudge, if any.
What’s up, Grudge? Introduce yourselves to the No Echo faithful! Who are ya? How’d the band come together?
Rhea: I’m Rhea and I do vocals. We’ve got Ross on drums, Ino on bass, and Dallon and Sebastian on guitar. The band came together organically. Me and Ross and Dallon had been playing around with some ideas for a bit, then we brought Ino on and recorded the demo. Sebastian’s our newest addition. We just keep adding band members.
I’m loath to use the term “having a moment,” but Baltimore’s scene is inarguably thriving right now. How’s it been to be a part of such a fruitful time?
Ino: I’m so tired. There’s so many shows.
Ross: It’s so much fun.
Your debut EP, Revenge Fantasy, rules. It’s a unique grip of songs! Without playing spoiler, can we expect any new Grudge material?
Ino: We’re midway through recording our next EP. And that should be coming out later this year.
I love that the Bandcamp bio dubs the band “nauseating punk from Baltimore.” There’s an unsettling or perhaps uneasy bent to the band’s sound, which I find really singular. I’d imagine the sound is purely organic, but are there any influences that jump out? It’s a seamless mic of fast and, at time, stomping punk, but there’s an adventurous and noisy bent to the tracks I don’t hear elsewhere. Dish on that a bit!
Ross: I attribute the Grudge sound so far to Dallon’s unique style of guitar playing and also me being a novice drummer and not really knowing what I’m doing. Musically, we have a huge array of influences between the five of us. We dabble in pretty much every genre of rock music.
Ino: We’ve jammed on Dragonaut and The Chain a bunch.
Dallon: We’ve done Zombie quite a bit.
Rhea: Our influences are simple jammable songs that we can make sound evil. When I was writing the earlier stuff, I was listening to Minor Threat songs and trying to figure out how to write a bass line that sounds like that.
Sebastian: I haven’t written any songs for this band yet, but in my early guitar learning days, Jade Puget from AFI was, and still is, one of my biggest punk guitar influences.
Ino: Cake’s bassist was my bass teacher.
Lyrically, Grudge splits the difference between directly confrontational and economical, word-wise, and something a bit more poetic. Any peek behind the curtain we can get on the inspiration for them?
Rhea: I usually come up with the lyrics after the rest of the band puts together a structure for the song. Honestly, I try not to overthink it. I did get an MFA in poetry, but we don’t have to talk about that.
The band has already shared stages with a wildly diverse range of artists. Shout out some bands we should all keep an eye on! Spring has seen the band really starting to ramp it up in the live sense. What’s the immediate future look like for Grudge?
Ino: Chill Parents, Psyop
Ross: Shout out to Hormone and Pearl.
Dallon: Negative Creep
Ino: Shows and more shows. Catch us at Break Free Fest in Philly on June 18th.
I’m a sucker for lists. In lieu of doing the impossible “all-time favorite” throw out some recent records Grudge has been digging…
Ross: I’ve been listening to the new Zulu and DRAIN albums.
Ino: I’ve been listening to No World Order by Todd Rungren, and Hostile Architecture by Ashenspire, which came out last year is really good. I feel like black metal needs more clarinets and violins in it and they deliver.
Dallon: Royal Trux - Twin Infinitives and The Marias - Super Clean.
Rhea: I listened to the new boygenius album.
Sebastian: Fontaines D.C. and I always listen to Ice Age. I fucking love Ice Age.
Think of this next question as a service to touring bands [laughs]. What’s your favorite food spot in Baltimore? As Marylanders, we don’t have the same stakes in the Sheetz or Wawa debate, so let’s start a new one. 7-11 or Royal Farms?
Ross: If you come to Baltimore, swing by Soup’s On in Mount Vernon. Delicious soups and sandwiches made from scratch for a very affordable price.
Sebastian: Mi Comalito is one of my favorites.
Dallon: University Market and Deli. You get hammered and get a sausage, egg, and cheese and sit on the sidewalk.
Sebastian: And ROFO, this is not a debate. There’s no comparison.
How can we best keep up with Grudge?
Ross: You can check us out on Instagram (@grudgebmore). Or just come to Baltimore and you’ll probably run into one of us.
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