True Love is a band that has no qualms with doing exactly what they want to do without pandering to the trends of the here and now. Their sound encapsulates a time period that the average current hardcore fan and musician doesn’t normally nod to (but I have a firm belief they will be soon), the early 2000s. True Love incorporates the musical styles and presentation of bands like American Nightmare, Carry on, and Right Brigade; they would have been right at home on any of the Posi Numbers lineups of the era.
Their sophomore LP, The Pact, coming out on Triple-B Records, is leaps and bounds beyond their previous material, which was already outstanding. I got a chance to ask guitarist Alec Faber some questions about the record and what it is to be True Love.
There is a clear difference in sound on this record by comparison to the records you have released previously. The Pact comes off as much more visceral, it’s heavier, the vocals are deeper in a way; was each of these things intentional? I know guitarist Mike Cesario joined the band previous to this record being written, would you say this had an influence on the sound, or was the band already thinking of heading this direction before?
It was always the intention to move in this direction with whatever we did following our last record. The last song on “Heaven’s Too Good For Us” was intentionally different and a little heavier than the rest of the album, sort of a post credit scene for what was to come. When the bands we were influenced by got to a second LP, it usually leaned more melodic or “smarter.” We weren’t interested in that. Sonically, it does nothing for me.
So, we decided instead of going from [American Nightmare's] Background Music to We’re Down Til We’re Underground, we’d go from [Carry On's] A Life Less Plagued to [Terror's] Lowest of the Low. That was our mission statement. Mike joining the band, with that in mind, made a lot of that possible. I knew that I was creatively tapped out of that early-2000s Boston hardcore sound after writing over 20 songs in that style, so when he stepped in it added another creative voice to our process. The riffs he brought forced me to adjust and step up my writing.
What do you hope for the future of True Love? What are the band’s collective goals? Spread the seeds of poetic straight edge? Become the kings of melancholy in current hardcore? The world needs to know!
For me, the goal was to write a hard and fast hardcore record. Nothing extra. So much of “hardcore” right now is down tuned or drop tuned bullshit, feeding the conversation of what is and isn’t hardcore. Some bands toe the line because there is something to be said for ethics and attitude and ethos. Hardcore doesn’t necessarily require sonic uniformity but what so many bands haven’t figured out yet is the difference between heavy and hard. You don’t need to tune fifty steps down. Maybe that makes you “heavy” by design, but that doesn’t make your music hard. The riff makes it hard and if the riff is hard, E standard is enough. Whether you love or hate our vibe, lyrics, or aesthetic approach, at the end of the day we just want to be good a hardcore band and I’d like to think we made a record that reflects that desire.
At some point in time someone said to me “Earth Crisis has songs in E standard and they are as hard as it comes.” I completely agree that just down tuning might make your music heavy but it doesn’t necessarily make it hard. A fair amount of doom metal bands, if not all doom metal bands, play in drop tuning, but that music is more atmospheric and less “hard” so to speak. Give me three of the hardest tracks in known hardcore written in standard tuning, educate the masses.
I'll go with:
I think the dichotomy between you being in both True Love and Freedom is interesting, what would you say is the main difference between the two in regards to your personal experience?
They’re definitely different experiences. I’m not a primary songwriter in Freedom, I get to sprinkle ideas and opinions here and there, but I have no ego about who the creative driving forces are with that band. That environment is mostly stress free for me so it’s more of an opportunity to have fun and play hardcore. Since I’m more creatively involved with True Love, it definitely feels like a lot more work. What’s so cool about being part of both groups though, is that I get to express my love for two different styles of hardcore.
How do you manage being in so many active bands? Between Freedom, True Love, and Twitching Tongues, I would imagine you get spread pretty thin. In regards to The Pact, does True Love plan on doing more on the road or will you remain that special appearance band people have to travel to in order to see?
Freedom and True Love have never really been full-time active bands. Twitching Tongues, especially now that we’re in the final stages of rolling out our new record, is really my only full-time band. It can be stressful, especially with all three bands having new records come out in a single year, but I just try to find a healthy balance. Honestly, I think of starting new bands everyday. I love hardcore. The more I get to play music the better life is.
True Love will play in as many places and as often as we can. With other bands, school, jobs, and family it might not be everyone’s priority. But we’ll certainly be open to anything we can make time for.
What is an example of another type of band you think of starting?
I talked all kinds of shit about tuning down, but I want to do a band that’s like Satisfaction-era Hatebreed, except all of the songs are under a minute. Fast, heavy, and hard.
You get 4 slots including True Love, what would you dream tour lineup be? It can be active bands or bands that have broken up.
This is tough. I’ll just make it easy and say I would want to open this show:
True Love is doing some dates around United Blood with Twitching Tongues and Vamachara, two bands that generally bring a crowd that leans towards heavier stylings. Are you anticipating being the odd man out on this lineup? Or do you feel like with the new material, True Love will flow with everything?
I actually like being in that position. I think playing so much of our newer material might make the juxtaposition less drastic, but I’m not really sweating it. We’re in a position now as a band that we need to play in front of people that may not necessarily like us in the first place. If you can’t find something to like about fast hardcore then I don’t know what to say to you.
The new record is coming out on Triple-B Records, one of, if not the premier label in modern hardcore. Did they reach out to you or did you reach out to them for The Pact? Has the experience doing this record differed greatly than doing previous ones?
It’s funny, Sam [Yarmuth] reached out to us about 20 minutes before I was going to reach out to him. We were at This Is Hardcore last year and he was talking to Derrick (our drummer) and it just randomly came up. I was going to ask him later on when Derrick texted me that Sam asked if we were down. And so it was written.
As far as the rest of the experience making the record, this was the most time we’ve put into the song writing. Mike and I demo’d tracks for a few months before we got together with everyone else and learned the songs. We recorded at Bricktop in Chicago with Andy Nelson (where we did our last two records) and then had Taylor Young mix it. This feels like the most complete and focused material. It may only be eight songs, but it feels like an album.
Last question: How many pairs of pants of you gone through hitting that icon status jump?
In 2017 it was three pairs. I love pants and I buy them so that they look fitted and good when worn, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re fit for the type of abuse they receive when I play. At United Blood I killed a pair of Double RL cargos and that was a pretty big personal loss.
Double RL? That truly is a decimating loss, I had no idea those were on that level. Actually this will be the last question, prompted by the flyer you sent earlier: 110 or Permanent?
Easy answer: Permanent.
The Pact will be out soon via Triple-B Records.
Tagged: true love hardcore band