Porcupine Takes Us on Dizzying Hardcore Trip on “Army of Martyrs” (PREMIERE)

Photo: Brian Santostefano

Porcupine is a band that I think exists in the same realm as AFI, Ceremony, and Title Fight in the sense that they move into a new direction with every release, but always offer a glimpse of what’s to come next.

On their last main release, The Sibyl, there were four songs that fit and one song, “The Kingdom of Heaven," that had no regard for whatever expectations one had of the band. My own personal history with Porcupine goes pretty far back. I have known them since their first tour and am always thrilled to be involved in whatever new release they cook up.

Porpupine have a new album, All Is Vapor, coming out this summer through New Morality Zine. I’ve heard it, and it continues to push the stylistic envelope, potentially scaring off more standard hardcore fans and inviting in listeners with more adventurous listening tastes.

Today, we are premiering one of the the album's singles, “Army of Martyrs," so I chatted with Porcupine guitarist Joey H. and vocalist Dawson about the track, All Is Vapor, and the band's future plans.

What was the writing process like for “Army of Martyrs”? 

(Joey H, guitar): "Army of Martyrs" was originally an idea of wanting to create a song with the stop and start thing going on in the beginning, kinda like the song “The Deadly Rhythm” by Refused.

As I kept writing, the idea of splitting the two halves of Porcupine into one song came to me. First half would be erratic and chaotic, while the second half would display more of our dynamic, weirder side. I thought it would be a great song to put out there to promote the overall vibe of the new record. 

Tell us what this song is about, and what should we take away from it?

(Dawson, vocals): It’s hard to divorce “Army of Martyrs” from the rest of the songs written for the album, as I wrote the lyrics to all the songs simultaneously. In a literal sense, this song is about martyrdom. Yet, I was thinking about a lot more than that while writing.

I am hesitant to say exactly what I think the song means, as I want listeners to interpret it for themselves. Listeners can take away from it what they want to. I hope listeners are moved by it in some way. 

How has it been with Dawson living in Pittsburgh, Joey living in Springfield, and everyone else living in Chicago? Have you kept busy writing, just not playing shows?

(Joey): With Porcupine being spread out, it is a bit challenging getting us all together of course, but we are constantly working and writing for the band despite that. Everyone in Porcupine has a bunch of other things going on besides the band, but we make it work because we love making stuff together.

Dawson: There are challenges to the fact that everyone lives in different places, but I think we manage it well. Joey and I talk pretty much every other day. We are constantly writing. We send each other voice memos of riffs and different song ideas. 

What can you tell us about All Is Vapor?

(Joey): It is definitely the most realized version of Porcupine. It is our first formal studio release, so I think that had a hand in making it sound tighter than we have ever had before.

This next release evolves the band in a way I have always wanted, where we can pretty much play whatever kind of song we’d like to, whether it be a punky song, a doomy gloomy song, or even a stripped back acoustic cut. It opens a lot of doors for us and it shows off what we can do. 

Photo: Chris West

How did working on this next album feel compared to The Sibyl, or even the split with Griphook? 

(Joey): Working on this album was definitely a lot more intense than anything, mostly because we all were recording in a proper studio for the first time, and not just within the band’s history. With The Sibyl and the Griphook split, I recorded it all and mixed it myself, which gave me infinitely more time to think about what to do or add than the studio.

We were on the clock in the studio, which was a ton of pressure because we only had so much time. But in the end, we got a really sick product out of it and we know these songs extremely well, more than the older stuff at this point. 

What’s next, can we expect a tour? Some more consistency from Porcupine in terms of playing shows?

(Joey): We got a run we are doing in June in the East that’ll be announced soon, so be on the lookout for that. Also, we are also plotting a few release shows in late August at some towns we really love.

We’ve been extremely busy in our lives for the past couple years, but we are going to be getting out there a lot more than ever this year. We want to play these songs live, especially in places we haven’t been yet. 

Porcupine’s Linktree is here. Stay free.

Tagged: porcupine