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Interviews: Having compassion with JP of The HIRS Collective

The HIRS Collective are one day away from releasing their most collaborative album to date, We’re Still Here. Featuring more than 35 artists over the span of 17 tracks, the Collective melds their distinctive, heavy sound with the wide-ranging styles of their collaborators. They create a sonic explosion that will keep you on your toes as they go from the digital hardcore hip-hop of Ghösh to the electronic, noisy chaos of Melt-Banana, to name a just a few. The songs shimmer with rage, joy, despair, humour, and hope as the Collective explores mental health, living in a capitalist society, the importance of being there for each other, and much more.We’re Still Here will be out everywhere tomorrow via Get Better Records and the HIRS Collective will also be kicking off their US tour tomorrow in Washington, DC. Punknews editor Em Moore caught up with Collective member JP over Zoom to talk about the new album, the joys of collaboration, the power of communication, the significance of compassion, and so much more. Read the interview below!



Your upcoming album We’re Still Here is extremely collaborative, possibly the most collaborative album that the HIRS Collective has ever released, with over 35 artists featured over the course of 17 songs. How did you decide who to collaborate with on the album?

It is! [laughs] And that’s not including the folks that helped record things and with mixing and art, that’s just the features alone. There were people that we’ve done stuff with before or folks that we had chatted with about doing it for the past few years. Some of it was kind of like shooting our shot and some of it was just chatting with a friend and being like, “you should be on this record again or you should be on a record with us for the first time!” or just reaching out to folks we really admire or having friends of friends and asking them if they would feel comfortable. For example, with Nate Newton from Converge and Cave In and all those things, my friend sent me a screenshot of him commenting about one of our old records and I was like, “I love him and his bass tone and he’s sweet!” So I just messaged him on Instagram and was like, “What’s up? Would you like to have fun with us?” and he said yes. The Venn diagram of all the different ways we reached out was vast.

Do you have a favourite thing about collaborating with other artists?

The friendships and the community building that has happened through collaborating are my favourite things. As the person that did most of the reaching out and the communication, it was really intense and it was really stressful. This is one of the hardest records that we’ve ever done when it comes to specifically working with so many folks and mixing and the timing of it all, so that was a lesson learned. One of my favourite parts was just being able to have a reason to communicate with these folks, almost like having scheduled playdates with your friends. I miss playing! Remember when we used to knock on the door of a friend’s house and be like, “Hey, you want to go out and play?” This is our version of being like “Hey you wanna play? Let’s do this thing together!” With getting older and being busier and having jobs and stuff, it’s hard to stay in communication with some folks. The record was basically like, “well, I have to text Marissa today” or “I have to email Melt-Banana”. [laughs] Building new friendships was really great and continuing old ones was too.

That’s awesome. How would you describe the recording process since you had so many moving parts and so many people involved?

The organizing of everything was the most difficult part but everything else was pretty simple. On this record, myself and Scott wrote pretty much half of the songs, and getting the layout of the songs was pretty simple. There were lots of folks who contributed their sound and other sonic things besides their voices like Melt-Banana, Ghösh, Dylan Walker from Full of Hell, and Chris #2 from Anti-Flag. I’ve always loved seeing albums with a lot of features on them and having your friends join you on stage as well. I thought it was going to make it easy and I learned that it makes it one billion percent harder. I did not know the wild whirlwind that I was putting myself into, it was bananas. We turned the record into basically a sampler whether it’s ideas or themes or whatever.

Scott has a studio and he was able to record all of our parts there. I was able to record all of my parts in my little space that I have then we would go to Permanent Hearing Damage Studio and that’s where all the mixing for the record happened for the most part. The materials were simple to get, the mixing and the mastering and putting all the things where they needed to be and figuring out the sequence of the record and how it’s going to flow – those were the difficult parts. We did either close to or over sixty hours of mixing – only mixing, not including recording. I will be ok if this record is our peak record because it shows the work we did. It was intense and I don’t know if we would ever do something similar to this record again, it was one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever had. Not saying we won’t but probably not. [laughs]

Throughout the album you also incorporate samples of different things including an emergency broadcast at the end of the title track.

That sample was recorded while I was on my way to our practice space during the protests after George Floyd and lockdown was happening. I was sitting in my car getting ready to go in and getting texts from friends about protests that were about to happen. The sample is from a real broadcast from NPR that I heard while I was sitting in my car. I grabbed my phone and hit record when I heard it, I wasn’t even thinking. I was like, “this is important” and it ended up being something we used on the record. I remember the exact moment of that happening. Later on, that night was, shockingly, the first time that I was ever maced or fucked up with clubs and shit. It was bananas. Luckily, I wasn’t arrested but that night was a wild night and every time I hear that it brings back a lot.

Then the song after ends with police sirens and it sounds like a car being turned over.

It’s actually the sound of a burning house. It’s sirens from multiple emergency vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances.

With the emergency broadcast about the curfew and protests in the song before that, I thought that was part of the protest. That’s really interesting!

That was not even on purpose. You put that together before I did! That’s amazing. I’m happy that it flows that way. [laughs]

Where does the burning house sound come from?

I wish I had a better answer than YouTube. We don’t always have a fully formed theme or idea for a song but we had been playing that song live for a while in the midst of writing these and I knew that the end lyrics were going to be “burn your house down” because it was going to be about landlords. So that’s how the sample ended up working.

Some of the other samples being used are a quote from the “Twisted Sister” episode of the Powerpuff Girls that connects “Neila Forever” (ft. Jeremy Bolm of Touche Amore and Jordan Dreyeri of La Dispute) and “Last King Meets Last Priest” (ft. Derek Zanetti of The Homeless Gospel Choir and Chris #2 of Anti-Flag) and there’s a quote from The Crying Game that ends “You Are Not Alone” (ft. Lora Mathis and The Body). Why did you include those specific samples?

Some of them were just ones that I had already, if I hear something where I’m like, “ooh that could be used in either a fun way or a silly way”, I save it. Because while we are an aggressive and intense band and we have a lot of darker themes or sadder themes, why not have Powerpuff Girls or a silly thing for a story about negative things? I was obsessed with The Crying Game when I was younger before I knew I was trans and there’s obviously that whole story. There’s this cis straight het dude threatening this guy by making him pick up his teeth off the ground with broken fingers by standing up for a trans woman, I’m like, “yeah, that’s going in there”. [laughs]. With all those things there’s so much nuance and I’m sure that people could tell us all the ways that that movie sucks and the transphobia of it all but at the same time, I wanted to take that little snippet out specifically. In that song, there’s a sound of a tapedeck that’s happening between the poem and the loud part with Chip [King] from The Body which is actually the sound of the character putting the tape into a cassette player and hitting play so that’s what that little sound is before the quote.

Sometimes we use samples just to make it flow. Sometimes it’s just something that sounds good and many, many other times it’s because it can encapsulate the idea of a song that you can’t understand the lyrics to if you’re not reading them. When we play live, I don’t need any more reason to be able to speak in between songs, so if we can use samples instead of me saying, “this next song is this and is about this” then boom, we’ve nailed it. That’s kind of how it all started. Sometimes they don’t even match the song but that’s rare. I knew that those samples were going to go there. It doesn’t have to mean anything but even just having the quote there from that movie meant something to me.

That’s all that matters. You did mention earlier how you have another Powerpuff Girls sample that you want to use in the future. What’s that?

In the episode “The Boys Are Back In Town” there’s a villain that’s based around toxic masculinity and when the Powerpuff Girls figure out to defeat the villain Blossom says, “Did you see that? Whenever their masculinity is threatened, they shrink in size.”

How would you describe your songwriting process?

We write stuff, we send it to each other, and we go from there. We already have so many songs written that we could probably do another LP. We love writing and when we have something we go for it. For the more thought-out albums, like ones that we want to be something more than just an EP or a fun little split, we’ll pick out the songs that we’re really into and we try to have it be half and half with half songs I wrote and half songs Scott wrote. On this record, we actually collaborated for the first time ever on a song. He was having a hard time finishing something and it was the first time beyond adding different drums to something where we collaborated on the actual formation of the song.

What was the song that you collaborated on?

It was on the last song, “Bringing Light and Replenishments”. He sent me the first half of it and was like, “I’ve been having a hard time finding and writing an ending for this song” and where the choir happens in that song with piano, choir, cello, and all that stuff, that’s where I started building the song. So we did it that way. I could be wrong, but besides me writing the lyrics or adding something to a mostly formed song that he had, that was the first time we did that. I think it’s a great way to end the record.

The song really hits you hard too with the subject matter and everything, especially now.

I was going to say something so cheesy, I was going to say we’re always in now but now is difficult, you know. It’s easy to think about what we can do in the future or what we’ve already done, but existing is hard. That’s why the album starts off with “We’re Still Here” and we finish the album as well by saying “we’re still here” during “Bringing Light and Replenishments”. It’s kinda like being, “Yo! We’re still here!” at the start and then having a reminder as the album is finishing. Having Lex [Alex Nihilum] of Sunrot and the Punk Cellist on the song just added to it, I loved having them. It that was a really challenging and really amazing track to work on.

I wanted to make a Hot Topic sampler-meets-hip-hop record where every single song has a feature, not just consistently doing the same thing over and over and over again. Hopefully we’re always progressing with each record and bringing something new and trying to stay entertaining and original, continuing to challenge ourselves to do something new. Not being stuck.

“Judgement Night” with Ghösh and Jessica Joy Mills references and samples Oynx and Biohazard’s song of the same name from 1993. What drew you to this song?

Yeah, the opening lyrics are “walking thru a biohazard zone with a fist full of onyx.” It also says “fuck the rules” in it as well which is a Biohazard song. [laughs] I knew that we wanted to work with Ghösh forever. I love them. We knew one of the older members for years and when we met them and saw them play, I knew that we wanted to do something together. When we got their stems back for this song I was like, “Holy shit, yes! Thank you!” It made me so happy. It’s one of my favourite songs on the record for sure and when we were reaching out to Jessica, she was like, “I want to put something on this song!” and I was like, “Yes, please!” I didn’t have any lyrics yet and when Ghösh sent us their stems and I built off of what they’d sent. That’s what I’ll do a lot when I’m like, “Hey, this is the chunk of the song I would love for you to do. If you want to have a theme we can talk about it but if you have something you really wanna talk about, go ahead”. When it ended up being “Judgement Night”, I honestly don’t remember if I had used the sample for it or not yet but I was like, “Perfect!” This is like we’re taking all of the play-doh and mushing it up together and making a song that references a track that is a classic. Judgement Night was this old movie with Emilio Estevez and the entire soundtrack is all rock and roll bands with hip-hop groups so that’s how that whole thing happened.

In that song one of the lyrics is “we’re slayin’ posers”. How do you spot a poser?

So I didn’t write that and while I do believe there are posers, I would hopefully never judge anyone until I got to know them. As a person who was probably called a poser in school, I just wouldn’t want to be like, “this is what a poser is” because typically when you do that you’re fucking wrong, and if you’re out there immediately calling out posers maybe you are. [laughs] That isn’t to be said about Ghösh because I know they’re not. You spot a poser by their actions. A poser is not someone who cares about harm reduction.

Your video for “Trust The Process”, which features Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance and Rosie Richeson of Night Witch, pays tribute to the Beastie Boys’ video for “So What’cha Want”. What inspired you to base your video on theirs? What impact have the Beastie Boys had on you?

I love showing homage in the way of kind of copying. [laughs] It’s hard to be original these days. Great song, great video, great group. I can’t speak for everyone in the Collective, but I know Scott and I like the Beastie Boys and when I brought up the subject we were all like, “that sounds fun but silly and that’s great!” It just seemed like a good way to hang out with Rosie and Scott and his wife and their dog and be in the backyard after so long in lockdown, just being able to do something that was silly and fun and without pressure. Beastie Boys hanging out in the woods is pretty simple. [laughs] Frank was so busy and I sent him the idea and he was like, “oh my god, yeah!” and when he sent in his part and I was like, “Hell yeah!”. He was even wearing a New York Knicks sweater in the video. He had a lot of fun with it and I appreciate him having fun and sending that in. He was honestly such a sweetheart. This was another song where he sent his lyrics in first and we built off of it.

We got to meet for the first time at an L.S. Dunes show recently. I actually got to meet Anthony Greene too who is in L.S. Dunes with him and is also on the record (“A Different Kind of Bed Death”). They’re both sweeties. You stay in punk long enough, you get to meet people who you are nervous might be egotistical rock stars and then you’re like, “oh you’re such a babe and the fact that you’re even interested in hanging out with us or doing this is great”. People were losing their minds when they saw the feature. It’s fun to have on our obi strip “featuring members of My Chemical Romance”, it’s pretty radical and sweet and it humanizes people and helps you remember that people are people.

“Bringing Light and Replenishments” (ft. Punk Cellist and Sunrot) talks about feeling exhausted and burnt out but still wanting to be there for people. What helps you feel like yourself again when you’ve reached that point?

Other people. The sample that happens in that song is from Alone, the reality show where they put someone in the middle of nowhere, and I remember watching it and there are moments where I’m like, “Holy shit, that’s a sample” and “Oh my god, that’s how I feel right now”. It made me think about being burnt out and alone and exhausted. Something that will give me a boost of energy is if somebody texts me and is like, “Jenna, I’m not feeling great, can we talk?” that will get me out of my funk sometimes, but not always. Making this music and sharing it with people and having to keep moving, keep fighting, keep loving, keep living, and keep experiencing nice things also helps. It doesn’t always have to be about the struggles that it so often is.

The “you deserve happiness” idea.

Yeah! Like our songs “Love” and “Affection and Care” say, we all deserve love, affection, and care. I saw my psychologist today and we were talking, I was like, “I try to have compassion even for the posers, even for the worst people”. [laughs] I also feel very grateful for the anger that I have and how I use that by being a part of my community or going to the protests. Those are all really important and they are exhausting and this record was written during all of that. So I think there are a lot of different feelings from a lot of us all involved in it. It’s funny how asking “what helps you bring yourself sweetness” can be a difficult question.

I always go back to the idea of harm reduction for ourselves as well and just being there for each other. I know all the shit sounds so cliche but I think there are reasons for it. This was the most intense and difficult record to ever do but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m so happy to be friends with these folks and with people who are all on the same page. If there’s something that we disagreed on, we would talk about it and support each other and work forward.

You’ve mentioned before how the Collective is like a support group and everyone is there to provide care and safety and the space to talk about fears and feelings. That’s so powerful and just by listening to the music you get a sense of that.

All of your feelings are valid as long as you’re not hurting someone with your actions because of those feelings. It’s ok for us to be exhausted. It’s ok to feel, period.

What’s helped you talk about your feelings more openly? Do you have any advice that you’d give to somebody who is struggling to do that?

Therapy. Practice. It took a long time for me to realize that feelings are valid. There’s a couple of relationships in my life that really provided certain types of communication that helped me in my everyday life. There’s this cheesy book called the Non-Violent Communication Handbook that teaches you how to phrase things better so instead of “You hurt my feelings!” it’s “My feelings are hurt because…” It also teaches you how to listen to someone saying something without being defensive. I am also lucky that I get to communicate about things that I’m feeling in my life with this band. Primarily when we play live or go on tour or I get to share others people’s experiences via the songs that we’re collaborating on. We still play those song when those folks aren’t around. We put them on the backing track or sometimes we have them with us. I’m really excited to have Jessica play sax with us when we play in Albuquerque on this tour, I’m pretty sure it’s in Albuquerque. It’s gonna be great.

It’s all just practice and therapy and books about communication and knowing that communication is difficult. We are actually never taught to express our feelings in healthy ways and we have to learn how to do that on our own sometimes. As a trans woman or as a person – until I realized who I was – being raised as a male, you’re taught these aggressive ways or to bottle it in until you explode. Scott and I had a conversation yesterday about better ways to communicate with each other. We’ve been best friends for twenty years and we still need to work on our communication skills. I wish I could say there’s an end to it but we just have to keep practicing. [laughs]

You don’t reach enlightenment and stay enlightened, you have to keep working at it.

[laughs] Yeah! How nice it would be.

Last June you posted something on Instagram asking people to take videos of themselves saying “I’m still here” and these videos are featured in both of your videos for “We’re Still Here” (feat. Shirley Manson of Garbage and AC Sapphire). How did this idea come about? What was seeing the response like?

We obviously love collaboration and stuff, whether it’s with famous people like Frank or with anyone who wants to offer. I forget the first time we did it, maybe it was for the split we did with Thou where we just did a call-out for people to send in vocals that we would throw in. The idea is always fun and then it becomes a lot of work but it’s always worth it. I always want to invite people who want to be part of us to join the Collective. I want us to be a forever-growing, infinite amount of people. We had to make two videos because we couldn’t fit everyone in to one. Granted, that was because we have a lot of live footage and I was like, “we have so many folks, let’s do one more”. It was beautiful though, it was really great. When we did post it, a lot of people either commented or reached out saying “you used my video!” We even used the ones that were just audio that you couldn’t see and we put them on that last little grid at the end of the second video. I think there might’ve been one that glitched that I tried to get a redo of but I think we used all of them.

Watching the videos gave me goosebumps, it’s such a powerful statement, and the first time I watched the videos I teared up.

Even though I edited the video, when I watched it the first time, I was like, “fuuuck” because a lot of those people are my very close friends or people I haven’t seen because they live far away or people I specifically reached out to like, “hey, do you want to do this thing because I miss and love you?” because I haven’t seen them in so long.

You’ve mentioned before how creating an environment at your shows that mimics what the Collective’s all about, with an emphasis on safety and being supportive, is important to you. How do you make sure people feel safe and supported at your shows?

So, the hard truth is we can’t. We cannot provide a safe space but we can provide a space where you know that we want to make it safer for you and that if something happens we will try our best to have your back. And at the same time, we hope that when we’re a thousand miles from home, the community of folks that are coming to see us are doing so because they have the same hopeful ideas as us and want to see like-minded bands. I know I’ve been part of things where a homophobic attack or something happened and there being a takeover, like all the homos and queers and stuff would go take over this place where it happened. That’s kind of how I feel about our shows except without something needing to happen. We just want to be there without needing a reason beyond just being excited to be on tour.

This question is a really intense one for me because it’s really important to me and it’s different when you’re not playing basements or DIY punk venues that are already in full support of that. We’ve been playing shows for 12 years now and we have some bigger venues on the upcoming tour where we’ve had a hard time with all ages stuff. We have a handful of places where it’s not all ages and we basically just tried to see if a parent can bring them or have them work our merch or figure out a way to get them in. Hopefully, you know that coming to see a HIRS show means that we aren’t hiding in the green room. If something pops off for you, it pops off for us and we’re not silent about that stuff. We’ve gotten a few emails from a few people who are worried about certain places and so far, it’s been pretty simple for us to be like, “if you need anything, just holler” and that’s kind of it. Hopefully, anyone that wants to come see us knows that all they would have to do is just say something and we’ll sort it out. We also put dance music in between our songs so we can all have a fun little dance party. It all started when we were playing grindcore shows and hardcore shows where all these dudes would dance violently. I love violent dancing as long as you’re in your zone but I also love pop music and if there’s a dude out there who is out to destroy and be a jerk, when Britney Spears comes on, it fucks up his flow and it gives the dance party a better time. [laughs]

[laughs] That’s great! I’ve also seen videos online where you have a surfboard for crowdsurfing at your shows.

We did! [sighs] We retired it during one of our shows and I’m looking to find another one.

Why did you retire it?

The last show with it was wild, it was when we played with Full of Hell. We had a great time with this surfboard and at the end, I tossed it out into the crowd and said, “Anybody who wants it can have it!”. I would love to have one again because they’re a lot of fun. I love encouraging safe crowd-surfing.

What makes the perfect crowd-surf board?

Softness, no fins, and the community of people to hold it up beneath you. I made a joke at one of our shows and I felt bad because I was like, “if you can’t hold up this surfboard, you’re transphobic!” I was joking but it got it up. [laughs] I hope that people can also handle silly trans-girl humour. But yeah, no fins, soft, and a good audience is all you need. People taking care of each other.

A sea of support.

Yes! Oh my god, you answered it for me. [laughs]

This is the first tour where you’ve worked with a booking agent. What has that process been like so far?

It’s difficult to give that trust to someone you’ve never met. It’s with Heavy Talent and so far they’ve been fucking amazing. Our booker Aaron is amazing. He’s been really sweet and has had long phone calls with me about transness, about all ages, about gender-neutral bathrooms, and not being like, “these are 100% things we can do” but understanding that they’re things that are important to us and the places that we want to play. When people find out when we’re playing somewhere they’re like, “WAIT, you’re playing there?” and I’m like, “wait, is that ok?” and they’re like, “it’s this amazing gay goth club!” and I’m like, “YES!” I think it was beneficial to have this while dealing with the record. I really miss the same connection that I talked about with new people on the record because I primarily did most of the booking before this tour and it was stressful as hell but it was also always fun to have that connection with people and make friends all over the world. But it was nice to let go for this tour. [laughs] We’ll see what happens. I am nervous and that feels ok to be nervous but I have handed over the reins to someone who seems sweet and understands what we were looking for and we’ll see what happens. I want to make it very clear that it’s a very positive “we’ll see”. I am nervous but I don’t want that to take away from how excited I am.

Lots of good stuff coming.

Heck yeah! And the reason we’re going to be able to do this Canadian run, hopefully.

You’ve mentioned in the past that they are certain words that no longer carry weight or power. Is it possible for a word to regain power once it has been lost? How do you make sure words continue to be powerful without having that power taken away or co-opted?

‘Punk’ became a powerful word, right? To me, when I think of ‘punk’ I think less of a genre of music and more of a mindset. That’s why I like to use the word ‘punk’ or even ‘hardcore’. We’re going to have a new shirt that says “QTHC” either for “Queer Trans Hardcore” or for “QT Hardcore”, like “what’s up cutie?” Embrace the silly and be sweet, be aggressive but also be fun. It’s such an interesting question and pretty hard to find an answer for. I’m also thinking about the word ‘faggot’. I love that word because I am one and I get to use it. Depending on when I say it, even around other homos or queers, they’re like “ohh” and I’m like, “aha! I get to use that for me”. I have used it as a powerful derogatory where I have definitely said that as a threat to homophobes like, “you don’t want to get fucked up by a faggot” or “you don’t want to fuck with this faggot”. Whether or not I even thought I could handle my own in that situation, it made them think about that and think about the power I might hold.

I use the word ‘wild’ instead of ‘insane’ because I also want to have compassion for people who have had that word used in a derogatory way. When I was in therapy we were talking about the difference between the words ‘alcoholism’ and ‘alcohol use disorder’ and we’re consistently changing the ways in which the words we use for things to either be compassionate or to be more clear which is really important. Language is powerful. It can be built and destroyed. Thinking about the word ‘punk’, you build it up into this huge, massive castle and then everybody just starts calling everything ‘punk’ and it gets destroyed. It’s just finding new words or using the words that you feel best fit the identity or idea that you have.

So much matters on word choice.

Yeah! Communication, literally, the Non-Violent Communication Handbook. I feel like I’m trying to talk about the word ‘punk’ and be like, “how can I make ‘I’ statements?” [laughs] When you were like, “what’s a poser?” I was like, “I don’t know, what’s a punk?” The whole idea of what’s a poser vs what’s a punk. You know that if you surveyed a thousand people you wouldn’t be able to tell which was which. Who fucking cares? Be compassionate, don’t be a jerk. Well, be a jerk when you need to, and communicate when you need to.

That’s good advice for everyone! How would you describe the punk scene in Philadelphia?

A lot has changed in the last three years. There’s still a beautiful, wild community of radical folks that are here to help their actual community and it doesn’t have to be based around music or being cool or what you’re wearing but literally just caring about the space you’re taking up, where you live, why you live there, etc. On the other side of that, there’s always great shows and great people doing cool things. Now that touring has started again you’re like, “three of my favourite friends are playing in three different parts of the city” and what a beautiful, difficult choice that is to make.

If only you could teleport.

Oh my god, yes. [laughs] Also it’s tiring because there’s something to do all the time whether it’s being an activist, a caretaker, a community member, a showgoer, or anything. Any of those to me are positive things. There is always something to do almost to the point where you’re like, “Am I doing enough? Because I missed 50% of what happened!” but then you’re like, “yeah, but I did the other 50%”.

You did the 50% well and you didn’t try to do everything.

Yeah. A good full-assed half-show up. [laughs]

What are you listening to now?

Podcasts, Jenna and the Pups, and HIRS, now that I can listen to the record. The record almost didn’t happen, it was really difficult. I am so grateful to Alex [Lichtenauer] and the rest of Get Better Records for knowing that it was going to be good and understanding that it would take probably longer than any of us thought plus some. My original deadline for people to get us their finished product for it was April 1, 2021, and I don’t even remember when I got the last one but it was nowhere close. [laughs] I listened to 36 Chambers recently, the Wu-Tang album. The two things that I listened to the most beyond HIRS and Jenna and The Pups, were Logic – more phenomenal hip-hop – and Bo Burnham. Backslider, who are on tour right now are phenomenal. The bassist of Backslider is gonna play guitar for HIRS for two weeks on our tour because Scott can’t make it. But yeah, mostly podcasts all day and new HIRS material that I’m writing lyrics for.

What’s next for the HIRS Collective?

We’ve been working on a collaboration with Fed Ash who are from Syracuse and are amazing. We did a little weekend with them a while ago and we’ve always loved them. The first show that we ever played not even back from COVID was just a live stream that we drove to Syracuse for to do with them. They’re so phenomenal. That’s one that hopefully if it works, we’re pretty excited about.


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