Totally Slow: North Carolina Hardcore Punks Stay on Point on “Crosshairs” Single

Photo: Reid Haithcock

Totally Slow play dirty hardcore punk but their origins come from a positive place, as guitar/vocalist Scott Hicks tells No Echo. "The band has been an ongoing project for me and Andy Foster (the drummer) for about a decade, originally to contribute a protest song in support of LGBTQ+ rights in North Carolina. After that, we kept demoing some songs I had laying around that ended up becoming an album on Self Aware Records.

"We kept moving forward and eventually added Chuck Johnson (Torchrunner) on guitar, and Eddie Sanchez (Love Language, Solar Halos) on bass. With Chuck on board we dialed the sound in to a tighter, aggressive vibe—and my lyrics became more singularly focused on political rage, and more specifically anti-fascism and what it means to reject my privilege where I can as a straight white man in America."

The last time Totally Slow appeared on this site was in 2021 around the release of their third studio album, Casual Drag. They've kept busy since, touring, recently appearing at The Fest in Florida, and releasing a slew of singles to keep the momentum going.

Their latest track, "Crosshairs," arrived late last year and leans into the faster side of the Totally Slow sound. You see, band names can sometimes be deceiving.

Scott talks a bit about his influences: "I grew up around my dad being a huge '60s surf music fanatic, and found myself drawn to '80s punk rock that folded in a lot of that influence (Dead Kennedys, Agent Orange). The skate culture of the time was a huge brain-exploder for me as a kid and continues to be formative as an adult. From there, I got very much into DC hardcore and the more abstract and angular stuff that started happening with Dischord in the '90s.

"When I started playing music it was all about that two-guitar attack Brian Baker was doing on Out of Step and the first Dag Nasty record. Chuck and I write the riffs about 50/50—he’s a big fan of Hour of the Wolf, '90s-era AFI, Minor Threat, and Good Riddance. Our overall vision for this band’s vibe are pretty similar and the aesthetic we end up with is focused but varied."

With a Totally Slow album coming out later this year, No Echo asked Scott about the lyrics to "Crosshairs" and we're glad we did.

"'Crosshairs' itself was originally about Kyle Rittenhouse, and the culture in the right-wing of constructing folk heroes out of those who deliberately do violent harm in marginalized communities. Over time, I dialed it back to be a little more evergreen and abstract, but the message stands."

Since Totally Slow often play on mixed bills, No Echo was curious about the North Carolina music scene and his take on it. "North Carolina is a big, interesting scene. We recently played with Fading Signal from Raleigh, they’re a great straightforward hardcore band people should check out. Our bass player Eddie has another band called Night!Night! who do a sleazy rock kind of hardcore, in the vein of Jesus Lizard. They have a new album up on streaming that is very very good.

"Teens in Trouble are a pop-punk band on Asian Man, they’re friends of ours and currently seem to be touring a lot, so go say hi if they come through. Geeked from Chapel Hill are another super cool punk band. Our sound engineer Scotty plays with Wolvesx4, who’ve been around a long time and are also good friends.

"There are a ton of bands from every subgenre you could think of, things are more fragmented than I’d personally like to see, but there’s no shortage of good records happening here. I’m definitely forgetting to mention about 100 bands who are gonna beat me up for not mentioning them."


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