North Carolina is a breeding ground for epic hardcore acts, that’s plain to see. With bands like Magnitude, Advent, and Between the Buried and Me on the roster, the Tar Heel State completely covers the playing field.
I grew up only a few miles across the border in Virginia Beach, and some of my favorite show memories are of my friends and I roadtripping to the triangle or the OBX to catch a massive gathering of energetic and emotionally charged performances. Often, some of my most favorite hometown shows featured North Carolina acts on the bill as well.
Until now, my interviews have been conducted under the assumption that my subpar performance in any English classes is obvious in my writing. I have been lucky enough to interview such bands as Scowl, Gulch, and Sunami recently, and it’s clear that their music and aesthetics have pretty much carried the interviews along with Carlos’ flawless editing and direction.
A couple of weeks ago, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer submit anything to No Echo that I considered elementary. My writing must progress so that I can continue writing successfully.
My first interview after that promise to myself is fortunately with someone I consider a friend and a role model. At a ripe age of 22, Jordan Holland of North Carolina is one of the most hard working and influential musicians of the NCHC community.
He plays in both Fading Signal (who just released an excellent EP) Flames of Betrayal, and every single track they put out and/or perform exceeds expectations in my annoyingly critical cerebral cortex. This is my first interview truly digging deep and taking risks asking heavy questions.
What bands do you currently play in, and what bands have you played in previously?
I sing in Fading Signal and play bass in Flames of Betrayal. I was in a couple projects before, and I have some cooking, but those are the only active ones I'm currently in.
Tell me about the new Fading Signal record.
Our new record is a big step up for us in my opinion. Every lineup we've had has been great, but Bailey (from Shame Spiral, Fools Game, Flames of Betrayal, etc.) joining us on guitar brought our sound to another level. It's a little heavier and darker, the songwriting is a step up, and I'm super proud of my lyrics on this record.
It's titled Long Ago and Far Away after a Frank Sinatra song (actually an Ira Gershwin song apparently, but I know it through Frank Sinatra) and it just came out on Safe Inside Records.
What are your favorite and least favorite cities to play in?
We've only played a few cities so far so that's hard to answer, but my favorite show was our first show post-quarantine at Skylark Social Club in Charlotte, NC.
What kind of messages do you get from fans?
I've gotten a lot of very touching messages and had a few good conversations with fans. Talking about this is kind of weird for me, because I never expected anyone to be affected by my music, but a few people have told me that they listen to my band when they're sad and angry and that they relate to it, and it helps them. I think as an artist, that's one of the best praises you can ever receive.
Do you have any fans you want to shout out?
There's a kid in North Carolina named Angel who's on the younger side, and is always up front moshing like crazy and singing along. I watched him get his eyebrow split open during Invoke at a benefit show we played with them, and he was in the crowd for Pain of Truth like two weeks later losing his mind. That kid, and kids like him, make me so happy and hopeful for the future of hardcore.
I know you're a big mewithoutYou fan. What's your favorite song by them?
"Bullet to Binary," but "The Fox, The Crow, and The Cookie" is a close second.
Tell me about a really heavy time in your life.
2018 was pretty awful. I'm not gonna pretend I've had the hardest life, but starting in 2018 and going up through well into 2020 I was at my lowest mentally. Our entire last EP [Nothing Feels Good Anymore] is about that time in my life.
Describe your childhood and how you got to where you are now as a person.
I grew up in a really rural town. Most of the people around me were super into sports, and not really into music besides stuff on the radio (which I also loved at the time) or even really art in general. I always gravitated towards books and music and used them to relate to the world and mold it into something that made sense to me, which is something I still do to this day.
You’re on record as a big Oasis fan. Tell me about that.
They're just the sickest band. People hate on them on the internet because it's cool to have contrarian opinions, and I'm sure there are people who just straight up hate them, and that's fine. But there's something appealing to me about taking very obvious influences, and even directly ripping off those influences and making it your own thing with your tongue firmly planted in your cheek.
That band made 6 chords go farther than they should logically be able to and wrote some of the best radio music of the 1990s, and just had the coolest presence about them. Band confirmed rocks.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
I'm massively influenced by American Nightmare, and I think that much is obvious. Wes was and is a master lyricist and songwriter. I'm also super influenced by George Hirsch from Blacklisted lyrically, as well as Pete Wentz, Morrissey, Patrick Kindlon of Self Defense Family/Drug Church, and countless others from music to poetry to movies.
My biggest influences are things that are specific, but relatable. One of the hardest and most affecting chords to strike successfully.
What got you into music?
I got into music through listening to the radio as a kid. My parents were super into country and pop and rap when I was young, and as I got older family members introduced me to different bands from Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe to Outkast and AFI and everything in between.
When I became a teenager I simultaneously got into multiple types of underground music through reading through Thank You lists and interviews from artists whose music I liked, and that's just how I've gotten into music since, along with recommendation sections on streaming services like Spotify and websites like YouTube.
Describe your scene and community.
The North Carolina scene is really diverse. For a while it was firmly dominated by heavy and metallic leaning hardcore bands, which there are still plenty of (Thirteenth, Fever Strike, etc.), but recently there have been more traditional hardcore bands like The Unruled, Soul to Keep, and No Longer at Ease.
There are also a few really good alternative bands around North Carolina like Sparing, Fake Eyes, and Dull Mourning. And of course Magnitude goes without saying. There are too many sick bands in North Carolina to count right now and that's awesome. The community is growing every day. There are a bunch of new kids coming in and older dudes coming back out and starting bands. It's really cool to see how far North Carolina has come in the past couple years.
There are obviously outliers that are dickheads and people you don't see eye to eye with, but that's par for the course for any community.
What got you into hardcore?
I got into hardcore through metal when I was around 14. I found Nails through other metal bands I listened to and got into hardcore from there. Early bands that were important to me were Nails, Have Heart, Trapped Under Ice, Rotting Out, and Cruel Hand. I also had a big metalcore phase when I was around 18 or 19. I was super into stuff like Eighteen Visions, Coalesce, Burn It Down, etc., and then I worked my way back around to more traditional hardcore.
Hate5Six videos also played a huge role in getting me into hardcore. Being able to see the bands and the effect they had on people was very important to me and how I internalized what hardcore was supposed to be and what purpose it was supposed to serve.
The first hardcore show I actually attended was Magnitude's first show with xElegyx (sickest band of that time period), Invoke, Time Walk, Skourge, and, I believe, Line of Sight. That show had a huge effect on me.
Tell me about a time where hardcore saved your life.
In the time period mentioned a few questions ago, I was listening to American Nightmare a lot. Background Music made me feel like I wasn't alone and it was okay to be feeling the way I was feeling. I have lyrics from that record tattooed on me. I talk about them a lot, but there will never be enough words to describe my love for that band and appreciation for the way that that music helped me.
Aside from that, there have been various records and bands that have made me feel comforted and not as alone. AFI, Ink & Dagger, 108, Have Heart, Blacklisted, Lifetime, Bane, Thursday, and of course countless others have been there for me when even my closest friends couldn’t be.
Tell me about a time where hardcore risked your life.
Too many to count, hahaha. I've definitely taken some spills at shows that should have messed me up bad, but it comes with the territory. Specifically I remember seeing the band Tourniquet in late 2018. Long story short I took a tumble from about 5 feet in the air and hit my head on the concrete floor of the venue.
Also, either time I've seen Advent in North Carolina. Not my style musically anymore really, but any chance I get to see them in North Carolina I will. People just lose their minds and it can get scary.
What is your favorite North Carolina band? Also, what is your all-time favorite band, from there or anywhere?
My favorite North Carolina band of all time is Prayer for Cleansing. My favorite current North Carolina band is No Longer At Ease, and my favorite band of all time is Fall Out Boy.
What do you like to do outside of play music?
I like to read and write a lot, watch a lot of movies, and listen to new music. Other than that I really just work and spend time with my friends and my family.
Fuck, Marry, Kill: Pizza, Tacos, Spaghetti.
Fuck pizza, marry spaghetti, kill tacos. Super easy.
What is your favorite split release?
The Hope Conspiracy/Suicide File Dead Mans Hand split. The Tear It Up/Down In Flames and Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Converge Poacher Diaries splits are tied for second.
What is your favorite venue to play?
My favorite venue we've played so far was Culture Lounge in Greensboro.
What's up next for Fading Signal?
We're playing two shows to celebrate its release with Chemical Fix, one in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 12th with 156/Silence, The Unruled, and Soul to Keep, and one in Richmond, Virginia at the Crystal Palace with No Other Way and Sling Blade on November 13th. I'm very proud of and excited for this EP, I think it blows our other material out of the water.
Shoutout to the 919, Soul to Keep, Thirteenth, Eyez Wide Shut, Roseblood, Take It To Heart, Ill Communication, A Knife In the Dark, Hesitate, Pummel, Gel, Sparing, Safe Inside Records, To Live a Lie Records, Force of Reckoning Records, Sore Ear Collective, Chemical Fix, and Time & Pressure (RIP).
Fading Signal's Long Ago and Far Away EP is available now via Safe Inside Records.
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