WORDS : WOODY WOODWORTH
2020 has been putting us through the ringer for six months. What has been an absolute rollercoaster year, to say the least, has led to major changes brewing in society. Issues stemming from systemic racism in the U.S. have finally been thrusted onto the people’s radar, forcing them to make a choice; fight or flight. Not surprisingly, Sharptooth chose to fight.
“There are massive grey areas in our society and in our culture,” shares vocalist Lauren Kashan. “We have to be willing to do the hard work of sitting down and parsing through it all. As a white person, it is my responsibility to have that hard conversation with white people because they’ll be able to hear it better from me. I can talk from my place of privilege and be like, “Hey, I also was XYZ but I learned ABC is actually true. What do you think about that?”
When I was younger, I didn’t have a community where I felt like I fit in that was my place. I want that place for so many people
These narratives are outlined in their new album Transitional Forms, out July 10th via Pure Noise Records. It is a follow up to 2017’s Clever Girl, which was originally put out DIY, but ultimately pulled and re-released through Pure Noise. Although fans have been waiting three years for a new album, the band finished recording a little over a year ago but were waiting for the right time to release it.
“I’m honestly really glad people are getting to see the version of us and who we are now as a band,” shares Kashan. “I’m glad our fans are getting to experience our net evolution and just getting to get these songs I’ve been obsessing over for two years, that’s very gratifying.”
Transitional Forms is a showcase of the growth of the five-piece from Baltimore and their views on society’s issues today and how they are affecting the world. While the songs are different, the same intensity and socio-political innateness can be found throughout the record. Luckily, the hardcore / metalcore scene is one of the perfect places to release that aesthetic, providing a safe space for those who need it.
“At the very least, I’m hoping that what we are doing shows people the breadth of what you can be doing in your position as an artist to talk about issues that are important to you regardless of who your community is,” says Kashan. “Hardcore and metalcore have some major fucking problems but there’s a reson that its the music thats so near and dear to me. It creates a safe space to express and feel and work through all of those difficult feelings. When I was younger, I didn’t have a community where I felt like I fit in that was my place. I want that place for so many people.”
What can I do today to eliminate those racial biases so I am not part of the problem. That is consistently very well meant but a big misstep that people make in social justice reform
The hardcore scene has been a beacon for inclusion since its inception. As time moved forward on the outside, those few hours at the show stood still and provided a much needed break from worry. While the world has struggled with critical issues, marginalization has always been a problem in the music industry. Although it seems like the times are changing, it isn’t enough; it’s about self-education and being mature enough to swallow pride and own the fact that changing views based on new information is okay.
“It’s a lot harder for us to look in the mirror and go ‘hey, what racial biases am i bringing to the show?” admits Kashan. “What can I do today to eliminate those racial biases so I am not part of the problem. That is consistently very well meant but a big misstep that people make in social justice reform.”
Going along with fighting for social justice, the hardcore outfit used their platform to raise money for the Black Live Matter movement and the Bail Bonds Support for Protestors through an exclusive merch drop. While avoiding the rhetoric that it’s all about them, they pooled lyrics from “Give ‘Em Hell Kid” for one shirt and used an older design that was reworked for others.
Fighting injustice has been the foundation that Sharptooth built itself on. There is so much in the world today that is changing, but the message has stayed clear since day one: to keep pushing forward. It’s time to take a look inward and see what you can do to enact change. Make not only a pledge to yourself but a pledge to the marginalized communities in the scene that you are on their side and you will fight with them.
“Our existence is political because we are existing in a space that we have not historically been in,” reflects Kashan. “Being a woman in the hardcore scene, my existence is political. I didn’t get to decide that; I didn’t get to opt out of that. Frankly, I probably would have; feeling marginlized fucking sucks.”