Tucson’s hardcore scene prides itself in the creative output of its locals, giving rise to diverse bands from every corner of the ring. One of the heaviest hitters of recent memory is the straight edge quartet Incentive, whose melodic, emotive outpourings raise a unique voice in an already unique scene.
To further expand on Incentive’s music, which includes the banger “Rebuke” off their upcoming EP, I discussed just that, as well as the importance of straight edge and more with guitarist Dan Brecht. Give it a read and keep your ears trained to their Bandcamp for more.
How did Incentive form up?
Basically, all of us knew each other already from going to shows in the Tucson scene. We had all been in other bands/projects and we all wanted to start something new and experiment with a style of hardcore that none of us had played before. We started jamming and we all got along on both professional and personal levels, so we wrote a few songs and started playing shows.
During the writing process, what bands, releases and aesthetics did you all take inspiration from?
We didn’t have a super specific vision from the start of the band other than that we wanted to play hardcore. We all come from pretty different musical backgrounds, but I would say the two biggest influences for all of us as a whole during writing would be Strife and Have Heart. There’s also a grip of bands that are currently doing really cool stuff in the world of hardcore that we feel inspired by.
Personally, I get really hyped when I look at bands like One Step Closer, or Magnitude killing shit and it just reminds me why I love hardcore.
As a straight edge band, how do you feel the ideology remains relevant in today's scene?
I’ve always seen straight edge as something that is completely about positivity. I think the notion of living a clean life uninhibited by substance or addiction is very easy to latch onto, especially for young people. That’s what drew me to straight edge, not the militance or the restriction, but the nature of being free and not being held down by addiction. I think that straight edge being constructive, and rooted in positivity is what continues to attract people.
What do you consider the quintessential straight edge albums? What is your personal favorite?
First off, I think respect of course needs to be paid to the OGs of straight edge hardcore who are responsible for starting and carrying the movement, bands like Minor Threat, Judge, Youth of Today, Earth Crisis, Project X, etc. There are way more bands of that era that I could name but you get the picture, I think everyone who claims straight edge should give those bands a listen even if they’re not your style.
On the other hand, I think the most influential straight edge record to me personally, is The Things We Carry by Have Heart. I think that is a record that really introduced a lot of kids in my generation to straight edge, and for some people it even got them into hardcore in general. It’s an undeniably great record.
I could talk forever about my favorite straight edge releases, but to just name a couple more, I really love When the Smoke Clears by Foundation, and also In This Defiance by Strife.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
Like I touched on earlier, we try to portray straight edge as something positive. We want to act as a stepping stone for people battling addiction and be an ally to those people. We also like to do our part to help keep people informed (and stay informed ourselves) on current social issues that we think are important to talk about.
We try to maintain a positive mindset and push that into the energy of our live performance, and we hope that anyone who gives us a listen or comes to a show can find a way to benefit from that.
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