The Fight are a dynamic band. They cleverly combine elements of late '70s street punk with a modern hardcore sound while offering biting socio-political commentary in their lyrical content. That sort of amalgamation isn’t easy to rein in, nor is it easy to play without sounding particularly derivative. Yet, The Fight manage to steer clear of those pitfalls.
They’re also getting increasingly prolific with their catalogue, having released new music every year they’ve been together. And in just two weeks, the band will release Endless Noise, their debut on Triple B Records. I got a chance to talk with vocalist Kyle and bassist John about the band, politics, movies, and Long Island.
How was the recording process with Anthony Corallo? There’s an interesting convergence there since your band has cited Sheer Terror as an influence (Anthony plays drums in Sheer Terro).
Kyle: Recording with Tone was a pure pleasure. He’s naturally easy going but definitely put his stamp in the production of the record. If there was a bad take, he would call us out on it. I think we needed that push to stave off complacency, and it helped create a record we are proud of.
John: It was pretty smooth and straight forward. Tone did our promo cassette for the EP and we liked how that went so we decided he would just be best to do the actual EP. He knows what we’re trying to get sound wise and he’s also a friend so it just makes everything easier. We definitely drove him crazy though by keeping him there for a long time and doing some last minute revisions. Yeah, Sheer Terror is a very blatant influence of ours, shout out to Tone’s other bandm, Sick of Talk.
"Their New Aesthetic" seems a socio-cultural reaction to the ubiquity of technology and the effect of the internet on self-perception. Where did the motivation for that song come from, especially as the record’s opener?
Kyle: I think you nailed the understanding of the song. It’s something that has been addressed before, but the platform of communication and daily living is becoming inhuman. We, myself included, have linked our affect and emotion by what we put out into the digital world, and how it’s perceived. I’m not above it, and it’s something I struggle with, so in that sense it has a cathartic quality to it. We put the song first because musically speaking, it’s just a great driving song, and the bass really pounds in the beginning.
John: I mean you hit the nail on the head with that assumption. More or less the song is just about people succumbing to a fake reality where all they care about is an online persona or just falling victim to being addicted to their phone. It’s kind of an “old guy yelling at a cloud” statement but I think it’s a pretty reasonable topic, especially for people of my generation and younger. Too many of my peer’s care about that stuff and it kind of drives me crazy.
I really enjoy hanging out with friends while they sit on their phones or the topic of the conversation is something, they saw someone else post, let me tell ya really enjoyable. I think it also has a huge factor in causing depression and anxiety. As for it being the record opener, we never wrote it with intentions of “This one is gonna be the opener!” we practiced the songs in different orders before recording and just think the way the record flows in this order works the best. Funny enough, it was the last song we wrote for the record.
The record’s second song, “One in the Mirror,” seems to take aim at criminals and mass-shooters who try to manipulate the very real issue of mental health. What compelled you to focus on that aspect of these issues?
John: I really wanted there to be a song about the topic on the record, whether it deal with gun control or just mass shooters in general. I just feel like there’s been an increase of reports in the news about mass/school shootings within the past year or so. I think the song is extremely straight forward lyrically, there is really no excuse for someone to take an innocent life, especially multiple. A majority of them, if still alive after the incident, will usually fall back on blaming some kind of issue whether it be mentally or physically. I would like to believe people with mental health issues will try to seek help, or if it comes to this point, actually go after those who have abused them which is way more understandable.
If someone was abused and it’s eating at them mentally, I have no qualms at all if that person goes out and harms their abuser. I think mass shooters use the mental health issue as something to fall back on and use as a cop out which I think is a big slap in the face of people who actually deal with such issues. If a person’s first instinct is to go out and harm multiple people who have no relation to you but you hate the color of their skin, their beliefs, their status in life, a voice in your head is telling you to do it, or just for no reason at all…I think it’s better to just have that person take their own life.
Kyle: I agree with that assessment and it’s what I had in mind when I wrote it. It’s definitely worded in a particular way but it is most certainly about those who commit atrocities and then try to hide behind the mask of mental health issues, while simultaneously stigmatizing those who truly need mental health resources, and those who suffer silently. It’s something that I felt was prevalent and I felt a certain way about so I wrote about it. As with many other songs we write, I feel self indulgent if I write about personal stuff, that doesn’t at least have a greater connection to what’s going on in the world around me.
The record’s closer seems to be an allusion to a French documentary about the holocaust. What links or concepts are you developing through that allusion?
Kyle: The song “Shoah” is not necessarily referring to the documentary but rather the Hebrew term for the Holocaust. Without getting too into it, it’s something that my family endured, and, luckily, fared better than others. Additionally, in my professional life, I work with Holocaust Survivors, so there was definitely an influence there. I think with the increased rise of bigotry across the world, it’s important to realize that we still exist in a world where the concept of scapegoating has led to state sanctioned killings and torture, and that others still suffer today.
Kyle, what vocalists do you draw on stylistically? Did you approach the vocals in this record any differently than on previous recordings?
Kyle: Stylistically speaking, I think it’s clear that I’m drawing from John Brannon of Negative Approach, Paul Bearer of Sheer Terror, and Jerry A of Poison Idea. With that being said, for this record, I felt it was important to look at current vocalists who influence me and see what they do. I think to Seb from Regulate, who is weaving lived experience and unflinching political messages with authenticity. I admire and strive for that. I also think to Jon from Rule Them All who is constantly self-reflective on numerous levels in his lyrics, and I admire that too.
I am also fortunate to have two former vocalists in Quinn and Dylan in the band who constantly give me feedback. I think going into recording, my goal is consistency. I don’t think I approached it from any other way, except just listening and nitpicking from previous recordings and trying to improve myself.
The artwork, especially in the layout, is both austere and antagonistic. How did you all develop those symbols, and what might you be hoping people consider when looking it over?
Kyle: We are fortunately able to have a good friend like Kyle Niland who has known us since the beginning of this band, and was able to take our vision and manifest it. He had all of our lyrics, concepts, ideas, and pictures we thought were valuable and was able to come together with a cohesive image we are proud of putting on a record. It’s very easy to be apathetic in these times, and hopefully the images convey that we’re still invested in the fight.
John: We just wanted something that was to the point, minimalistic, and memorable / stuck out. We sent Kyle Niland a few different ideas and it’s what he came up with. All the doodles in the insert are also by him. The topic / symbolism has been around forever but hopefully people don’t just see it as “another symbol” and look into why we would even have those views…ie: the world just going to shit in more ways than just one
Triple B Records is one of the best hardcore record labels around. How did the relationship come together?
John: I put out our first EP on my own and I had like 80 copies left before they were sold out. I hit up [label founder] Sam [Yarmuth] to see if he wanted some to put in his webstore. He started off with 30 and sold them all in a few hours then I came up with the idea of maybe just making a special cover for the last 50 and treat is as a “Triple B pressing” he was down with it and those sold pretty quickly. I jokingly talked about him just putting out the new record and he was down. I’ve known Sam for a while and have helped book some of his bands / bands on his roster over the years so we already had a friendship which also made the process easier.
Kyle: Sam and Scanlon have known each other for a while, and I really do not know too much more than that. I haven’t had the chance to speak to Sam but I appreciate him and Triple B helping us out and giving us this opportunity.
What was behind the decision to release the two-song cassette ahead of the entire record?
Kyle: With those two songs, we had them completed for a long time and wanted to show people we were not just resting on our laurels. It was a very organic thing.
What was the writing process like for this record? Did the band do anything differently in writing for this LP than from other releases?
Kyle: The writing process was very similar to that of the last record. Because D drums in Sanction, we had a fire under our ass and I think that contributes to the urgency of the record. We all contribute in all aspects of the record as best we can. Quinn wrote lyrics to a song, Scanlon wrote lyrics to a song, at one practice I picked up the bass and wrote a song with D. That’s something I’ve never experienced before in a band.
John: Nothing too different except for the fact that we actually had a practice space this time around so we were actually able to practice longer / more frequently. Still the same formula though – usually Quinn comes up with an idea and we’ll work off that. Dylan will throw some ideas around as well. Kyle actually wrote a full song which was the only real different thing this time around.
The Fight plays consistently around the East Coast. Has there been any discussion about going more towards full-time with touring? How comfortable are you with the touring schedule you’ve developed?
John: It’s cool that people fuck with us enough to keep booking us all over. I’ve said it before but we really started just because we felt a lack of “fast / straight forward” bands on the Island and everything was starting to sound the same, so to play anywhere, besides, Long Island is always appreciated and unexpected, we like to stay modest. We’ll never be a full-time touring band mainly because Kyle Fee has a big boy job but that’s honestly ok with me, I’m totally content with what we’re doing.
I’d like to maybe do a 2 week thing if it ever pans out, or maybe go to another country but other than that the occasional weekender or flying out to play some shows in parts of the US we normally wouldn’t be able to play is totally cool with me. We’re open to whatever so if someone hits us up for a show, wherever, we’ll try to make it work.
Kyle: Of course I wish we can tour more. Unfortunately, my professional life currently prevents that at times, and it’s something that I hope to change in the future to make the most of any opportunity we are given. We now strive to do what we can when we can and not half ass it.
For John personally, how aware are you of not ‘overbooking’ your band since you do so many great shows on Long Island?
John: I’m a hater of putting my band on shows I book but it’s kind of hard not to. I’ll put us on stuff that makes sense but I ideally only want to play LI once every like two or three months which is what we’ve been doing as of late. You actually gave me shit for not putting my own band on the Gorilla Biscuits shows I’m doing but that once again falls into me not wanting to overdo it.
Most underrated Long Island band of all time? Any era.
Kyle: All time is tough, but the first that comes to my mind is Agent.
John: This answer will always be Silent Majority. Mind Over Matter is a close second. Inside might be third.
One book or movie that everyone needs to know?
Kyle: I wish I had a more profound answer but Uncut Gems is The Godfather for the Jewish people.
John: Movie: Before Sunrise (trilogy if that can count). Book: Kokoro by Natsume Soseki.
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