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Know the Score: ‘00s Hardcore Band Makes Triumphant Return After 14 Years Away

Photo: Kiabad Meza

Before this month, it had been 14 years (!) since the hardcore community last heard from Know the Score. Issued by Eight-Sixed Records (Day by Day, Deflect), the Delay of Game EP finds the Florida band in fighting shape, delivering no-nonsense hardcore that doesn't waste any time with forced nuance. So, yeah, No Echo approves.

We chatted with Know the Score bassist Nick Smith to get the story behind their absence, why they returned, and his take on the current state of the South Florida hardcore scene.

We should start with the story of Know the Score, since you guys started out many years ago.

The band started in the early '00s as a side project between guys from Protagonis (Blackout! rRcords, Paper + Plastick Records) and On Our Own (Stab and Kill, Perfect Victim Records). We had no real agenda other than playing a more traditional style of hardcore that really wasn't represented in Florida at the time.

We had influences from Cleveland hardcore to Floorpunch to Helmet even; with the overall intension to be fast and abrasive with hard dance parts.

In hindsight it seems pretty generic, but at that time the scene in Florida was still heavily leaning towards the more metallic stuff like Poison the Well, Evergreen Terrace, Remembering Never, and Underoath. 

What ended up leading to the break-up of the band, and what drew you guys together again for Delay of Game?

Well, we actually never really broke up, we just stopped touring because all the members were heading in different directions in life. Around 08-09; Chad joined Shai Hulud, I joined the Mongoloids, Pete moved back to Philly, and Jeffy ended up moving back to Baltimore.

We had a full-length album written and demoed around that time but we never moved forward with it. A few years later we started writing a new 7 inch, even recorded it, but ended up scrapping that as well.

About two years ago, we revisited everything we wrote and tried to bring it all in for a new 7 inch which would later become Delay of Game. We never played a last show or anything dramatic like that. Over the last ten years we played every so often at a few fests like FYA and shows in Florida.

How would you describe the band’s sound today versus the earlier era?

I think the early stuff was just fundamental hardcore. You hear a riff from a band you admire, you bite it, and try to make a song around it. Our newer stuff on the other hand is a little more refined with transitions and structure. Everyone was involved in writing the music so the songs are so much more intentional in sound.

There is definitely more of a [Anthrax guitarist] Scott Ian stompy riff influence on the newer stuff as well. But lets be real, these are minute and half long songs; we aren't redefining a genre.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tell me about the lyrics on Delay of Game. What are some of the topics you tackle this time out?

It's all pretty much scene politics, sports references, and social observations. A song like "Smash Racism" was written three years ago as a response to the unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore. It's a clearly defined song, but it just touches on the idea of absolute frustration from exhausting peaceful means for radical change and the enviable explosive reaction of constant oppression.

On the other hand, you have a song like "Go Fund Yourself" which highlights the conversation of people who throw these self-made principles around, echo lyrics from past bands overcoming first world struggles, and then try to raise money through hardcore for every complication in life.

I think hardcore should function as a community on some level when a person is truly in need but far to often that is abused. 

Since you’ve had a lot of time to witness its ebbs and flows, how would you describe the last couple of years in the South Florida hardcore scene?

From what I can tell, the South Florida scene has been more accepting to all types of hardcore. In a way, it almost seems like they have reinvented themselves and carved their own lane from some of the more forgettable things of the '00s.

Younger kids today have embraced more of the older bands like Tension, Timescape Zero, Culture, and some less notable stuff. You have bands popping up all over playing not only that mid-'90s metallic Florida sound but all other types of hardcore as well.

South Florida has always been a little different, but I think the younger generation is more accepting to other influences. The same guys playing in those notable bands are also the ones running the labels and booking the shows. Its cool to see them flourish and show respect to those older Florida bands.

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Delay of Game is out now. Hit this link to get all of the purchasing and streaming options for the record.

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