WORDS: HARRY HIGGINSON
World Be Free aren’t your typical hardcore band. The brainchild of Terror frontman Scott Vogel, the band’s lineup features members of titans like Strife, Judge and Chains of Strength, but steer clear of being simply a sum of their parts. We had a chat with frontman Scott Vogel about the band’s new release, One Time for Unity, how the project came together, and the trials and difficulties of stepping outside of his musical comfort zone.
“One day, feels like about six years ago now, I was taking a walk… listening to Dag Nasty. Every band I’ve ever done has been this ultra-aggressive band, and I listen to so much melodic stuff, and I had the idea that I wanted to do something a little more melodic” Vogel explains, as he takes a very similar walk to the one that spawned World Be Free. He recounts how he reached out to Joe Garlipp of Envy, as well as Andrew Kline of Strife and Sammy Siegler of Judge to turn this idea into a reality, with the latter being the one to push Vogel to making the project come to fruition. Vogel recounts that Siegler told him, “I don’t want it to just be this record that comes out, I want it to be a real band”, crediting the drummer with making the band a serious idea.
““I don’t want it to just be this record that comes out, I want it to be a real band…”
Though he sings the praises of genre titans like Hatebreed and Madball as he explains the roots of the band, there is a reverence in the way Vogel talks about Dag Nasty and his personal favourite band, Hot Water Music. These outfits, more than anything, differentiate the band from Terror or Judge, as World Be Free sees Vogel trying his hand at melodic singing, something that is slightly uncharted territory. He notes how, in spite of a clear vision for what he wanted to do in the studio, there were more practical limitations, stating that “there’s me, someone who’s been ‘singing’ in a band for twenty years, and you think ‘oh, I could do that’, but it’s not only not that easy… in a way it’s not even possible”. Vogel’s limited experience as a clean vocalist made melodic singing on a record something of a “nerve-wracking” process, and one that “took a lot of time,” an unfamiliar experience for such a household name.
This was not the only in-studio experimentation that went in to the band’s sound, as Vogel recalls the recording and writing of the new EP. He relays the way in which Siegler added flourishes and creative twists during the recording process, encouraging Vogel to experiment with the spoken vocals that loom over the introduction to the closing track, ‘Broken Youth’. “Just sitting there, talking into the microphone and then playing it back was kinda weird, emo kind of stuff,” he jokes, reflecting that “when I look back to it… it’s really effective.”
The band has, at various points, struggled to stay afloat, however. Vogel comments with a laugh that the stacked line-up has caused a degree of friction, “because everyone is really experienced and wants their opinions [heard]… it gets very stressful. I think everyone has quit, but nobody’s ever meant it… I’ve probably quit the band three times!”
“I think everyone has quit, but nobody’s ever meant it… I’ve probably quit the band three times!”
Ss he looks back at why he was drawn back to the band in spite of the teething problems, recalling the first time he heard what would become the opener of One Time for Unity. “Andrew sent me what became Acceptance, and something about the energy of the song… it, to me, was just the perfect hardcore, the type of hardcore that moves me… This band is too good, it’s too fun to focus on these little niggling things.”
Vogel hesitates on the idea that “there isn’t a place for World Be Free”. As hardcore has expanded, he notes the tendency of newer bands to increasingly embrace breakdowns, Vogel noting that “it’s this kind of niche thing to be a semi-melodic, positive hardcore band.” This is in no way disparaging the current trend towards a metallic edge, he notes, simply observing that bands like World Be Free aren’t as commonplace as they once were. Though World Be Free may not share much DNA with the Code Oranges, Knocked Looses, or Jesus Pieces of modern hardcore, the way the band returns to the roots of the genre, their sound is not dated, but fresh, sharp and intense. Though Vogel reflects that he does not want the band to be “a band that’s for people that used to care about hardcore,” their newest release could not be further from this. More than the sum of their parts, Vogel’s melodic collaboration with bands he “grew up jumping around [his] bedroom to” could not be a more vital contribution to modern punk music.
ONE TIME FOR UNITY IS OUT THIS MONTH VIA REVELATION RECORDS.