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Reflect: A New Hardcore Group Emerges from the River City

Reflect is one of the newest bands to come out of the fertile Richmond, Virginia hardcore scene. No Echo found out about the group's debut release, River City Hardcore, via an email from David Webster, the drummer/songwriter who began the project. "Justin (our vocalist) and I used to play together in what could probably best be described as a Run for Cover Records-style emo band called Morningside a few years back," says David.

"In that band, he played bass and I sang and played guitar. We had a lot of fun playing shows, we put out a record, but during that time I always talked about wanting to do a hardcore band. Being the guitarist of that band, I had an itch to play drums in a hardcore band, something I hadn’t done in 17 years as a drummer.

"Fast forward to this past year, I had written some songs on guitar, showed Justin and he was ecstatic. He has no prior experience as a vocalist, but as soon as I heard his voice, I knew he had a natural talent for heavy-style vocals. So far, the two of us are the only permanent members, I tracked the instruments in the studio while he killed it on vocals. We do, however, have a live lineup ready to go as soon as this quarantine ends."

How does David describe the particular strain of hardcore Reflect was created for? "Short and sweet? If you like your hardcore with a nice mixture of both grooviness to make you dance as well as a bit of melody to make you feel something, topped with vocals that aren’t quite too harsh, then I think Reflect would be your cup of tea. One thing that I think is really cool about hardcore nowadays is that there are so many different interpretations of it based off its 40 years of evolution.

"Hardcore to one person means Vein, Code Orange, or Division of Mind. To another it means One Step Closer, Anxious, and Magnitude. To a third person, it means Mindset, Stick Together, or Break Away. Whether it’s a more metallic side, a melodic side, a swaggy NYC side, or a classic Youth Crew side, I think it’s cool that there are so many subgenres within the subgenre coexisting in 2020."

David Webster of Reflect (Photo: Justin Valdez)

No Echo asks David to give us some background on the River City Hardcore demo: "Musically, we wanted Reflect to have an overall fun vibe, but it was lyrically where I wanted to dig a bit deeper in my writing. I would summarize 'Inner Peace' as being about mental health and suffering as well as how battling one’s demons is a back and forth struggle that lasts a lifetime. It also touches (in the first verse) on how a lot of suffering is self-induced by the narratives in our heads; the expectations we have that lead to disappointment as well as the meaning we attach to everything around us.

"All those inner narratives, expectations, and attachments cause us to suffer. Suffering is an inevitable part of life, and sometimes we may make the mistake of thinking rough times are in the past; that we’ve overcome all our demons, only to fall back to where you were in the first place, maybe even deeper.

"As stated in the song, most people you will meet who have built a sense of happiness, contentment, and/or inner peace have not done so without some bruises and scars along the way. Those scars, whether literal or metaphorical help define your unique story. Inner peace is a fight, and your only choice is to fight it one day at a time."

David mentioned having a full lineup ready to pounce the live circuit once all of this madness subsides, but what else can we expect from Reflect? "We are currently finishing the writing of an EP which we plan on releasing later this year at some point.

"Now that Reflect is established, Justin will be the one writing the lyrics, sharing his own thoughts and experiences while I still continue to write on one or two of the upcoming songs."

Reflect on social media: BandcampInstagram

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