Living Cursed: LA Band Serves a ‘00s-Styled Metalcore Pummeling on “Wither”

Photo: Pete Cohen

A year ago I covered Living Cursed as they debuted with their EP Nothing Left to Give and they’re still one of the best students of the early 2000s New England metalcore sound. A reminder of the heyday when bands like Black My Heart, Bury Your Dead, and On Broken Wings would ruin venues across the states.

Featuring downtuned guitars and songs whose very foundation is built upon breakdowns and throat shredding vocalwork Living Cursed showed their incredible strength early on. Taking influence from other more modern bands like Kublai Khan and the Acacia Strain also assisted in building Living Cursed’s energetic and cataclysmic sound, because if you want the heaviest breakdowns you gotta see who’s dishing them out right now.

The title track on their debut EP, Desolation, served as perfect example of this as it smacks you with its choppy opening leads and pumps up the tempo into a rhythm that equates to getting your head bashed repeatedly by a hammer:

Since the beginning vocalist Cam has mentioned how his biggest vocal inspiration has always been Bury Your Dead’s Mat Bruso and since the first I heard him mention it he hasn’t let me down. Dishing out his brutal yet emotional lyrics with one of the most distinct voices I’ve heard in this style as he continues to “Channel [his] inner Bruso.”

Living Cursed steadily played shows throughout 2022 and this year before slowing down a bit and focusing on other things in life but they still stayed busy with the music, writing and recording a brand new EP for those hoping to hear more of their devastating sound. Their upcoming self-titled EP will be out early next year and the band feels this is their definitive statement thus far, hence the reason for the self-title.

Recently they dropped their first single off this EP titled “Wither,” along with the music video for the single. A destructive return to form as they continue the breakdown layered slam fest mixed with Cam’s emotionally alarming lyricism. Not one step has been lost and not one second is wasted on the track.

I was recently able to chat with the members of Living Cursed about their updates to the bands lineup, what still motivates them to make this crushing music and how fucking brutal these new tracks are going to sound. Check out the interview below!

What were your lyrical inspirations for this new song? What’s the song about?

Cam: Lyrical inspirations for this EP were my usual suspects: depression, misery, anger, trauma. I generally use writing as an outlet to put my negative thoughts on paper as almost a coping mechanism. The lyrics are very personal and reflective of experiences I’ve had that have caused some grief or a little trauma and how it’s kind of settled in my brain.

The single in particular, “Wither,” is about how I just had to watch my mother deteriorate from cancer and how there was really nothing I could do about it.

Who did you shoot the video with and where?

Cam: We shot the video with Ben Busch at Adam’s work warehouse. We actually shot two  videos back to back. So stay tuned we got another one coming down the pipeline soon. 

What musical influences did you guys draw from for this new single?

Jeremy: Circus Bigfoot shit. We definitely went with a classic Hatebreed/Bury Your Dead type of vibe for this one. It has the bounciness and attitude we love from those bands.

Adam: Chicken wings and Beer! Most of my influences while writing came from the first EP. I wanted to keep that same Living Cursed feel but heavier and meaner.

Cam: I leaned heavy on bands like Kublai Khan TX, Acacia Strain, Hatebreed, and Bury Your Dead (Bruso stuff) to draw influence from for the heavier moshy parts. I had also been listening to a lot of '90s/early '00s hardcore like Strife, Madball, and Terror. 

It’s definitely a very metallic record but I really wanted to bridge the gap we had into the hardcore side and add a little bit of that flavor into the mix. Really we just asked ourselves, what would it sound like if you could hear the smell of Bigfoot’s nutsack.

Pete: Heavy influence from bands like Slipknot, Deftones, Comeback Kid, NoFx, Stray From the Path, Wage War, Kublai Khan, Limp Bizkitm and Bigfoot, obviously.

Photo: Jamie Kaufman

Have you expanded your influences from the last EP or did you feel like you found your niche with that sound?

Cam: I would say yes we’ve expanded for sure. There are always bands that I draw from like BYD as mentioned that I think are just ingrained into my style. But we really tried to make this record heavier, meaner, and have a bit more of a “swagger,” if you will. At the same time we didn’t want to wander too far from who we really are at our core. 

Jeremy: We really dove deep within the nostalgia of these genres. We wanted to make sure we let people get a glimpse of who we are and where we come from.  At the end of the day it's all about having fun and making music we want to play. I think having Percy (Pete) join the band allowed us to expand our sound and really add in the dynamics we were looking for. It's a step up from the first EP, we finally feel like we sound like us.

Adam: We definitely expanded our influences from the first EP just from the fact that each and every one of us had a lot of creative input on this record. While we each have slightly different tastes in metal/hardcore as a whole… The record has a nice blend of all of our personal influences. We were able to collaborate together so effortlessly to make a badass sounding record that we are all very proud of. Special shout out to Pete. Pete joining the band elevated our sound to a whole other level. 

Photo: Jamie Kaufman

What’s the name of the new EP?

Jeremy: Self-titled. We figured if we're going to push anything, let's push the brand. We want people to know who we are and what we are about. Living Cursed Mother Fuckers! 

Cam: We’re going with a self titled EP. To play a little off of what Jeremy said, we tossed around a few different titles. This record is really something we feel is like a true embodiment of what we wanted this band to sound like.

The first record was great and we saw what we could do. I think we pushed ourselves to take that a little further and I think we found what we do best. It just felt right calling it Living Cursed. Almost like, alright motherfuckers you heard the last record but THIS. THIS IS LIVING CURSED.

Do you have a release date yet?

Cam: We’re looking at probably an early 2024 release. The first single dropped with our video on 11/24. We will drop one more single maybe sometime in December or January and then the full EP shortly after.

Who did you record this with?

Cam: We recorded with Erol Ulug at Brightlights Basement Studio. He did such a great job with our first EP that we knew we had to work with him again.

What do you feel has changed in the band since the last EP?

Jeremy: Percy, having him join the band changed everything. Pete and I played guitar in a metal band for over 10 years so being able to reunite and play music with one of my oldest friends is a privilege. For a guitarist to switch instruments and become a nasty drummer is so amazing to watch and I'm very proud of him and the band. This record was the most collaborative music I've ever been a part of. We wrote so much together that it feels like we found our sound. It's got a piece of everyone on it.

Cam: We have a new drummer. His name is Pete and he rules. Pete was able to come in at a perfect time and write this record with us. Pete’s drumming style has definitely allowed us to incorporate parts that are a bit more on the technical side.

Other than that, I think we all feel more sure of ourselves in the aspect of knowing what we want to sound like and really have established a great collaborative and communicative nature to the band when it comes to writing and everything creative. 

Mario: Pete joining the band felt so natural that the momentum of the band carried onto this second EP right away. You can definitely hear everyone's influences bleed through this one, while still keeping the dark Living Cursed tone.

Photo: Kimberly Butler

What’s next for the band? Will you do a record release show? Tour? Merch?l to go with it?

Cam: Definitely a record release show. New merch coming in support of the new EP. New shirts, pins, and any other fun shit we can think of. We are trying to set up some mini banger tours on both coasts. 

Anybody you’d like to shout out?

Hollow Points, Lowsight, Iron Rule, Ishiki, Loather, Last of Our Kind, Cold View, Shawshank, Cultist, Thrown into Exile, Waspmother, Grasp, Swamphead, Black Empathy, Dreadworm, Death Warrant, Erol Ulug/Brightlights, Ben Busch, Scott Halloran, Ricky Brandano/Mighty Proper, death grip Wax, VT Pro Design, Bigfoot’s ball bag.


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