Decades after New York City spawned The Youth Crew, and its own Straight Edge Hardcore Scene, NYC has a brand new band carrying the banner that YOUTH OF TODAY, JUDGE, PROJECT X and GORILLA BISCUITS waved before them. LOCKED INSIDE is made up of veterans of the NY, NJ, Long Island, Colombia, and Argentina hardcore scenes. Ed (vocals) answered some questions.
The term "super-group" is KIND of lame, but man, you guys are a who's who of legendary hardcore bands. How did Locked Inside come together?
Well, that’s kind but I’d hardly call us a supergroup— The band consists of me, Ed McKirdy (MOUTHPIECE/HANDS TIED/SEARCH) on vocals, Hugo Fitzgerald (KILL YOUR IDOLS) on guitar, Gerardo Villalobos (NUEVA ETICA) on bass, Carlos Gutierrez on rhythm guitar and Vinny Panza (YOT/BOLD reunion line-up/VINNY AND THE HOOLIGANS) on drums.
We’re honestly just 5 guys who love hardcore and feel like we still have something to contribute. Sure, most us of have done bands that have been lucky enough to garner a modest degree of attention over the years, but that’s more a testament to the scene—the more you put in the more reciprocation you get. And by that I mean we are all just people, equals exchanging ideas, music, values, and art. In the end, the hardcore scene for me, has always been a gathering of incredibly creative people brought together by a common love of music and all of creativity that grows out of that. That’s behind what’s kept me involved for so long.
The story of how Locked Inside came together is, perhaps, an indication of Marshall McLuhan’ Global Village in which we all live in 2020. With members culled from as far aways South America and as close as the office down the hall (Hugo and I used to work together at the same advertising agency), we were brought together by a common love of Straight Edge hardcore.
Having been part of the hardcore scene for so long have you noticed a change in the hardcore environment?
I think the hardcore scene will always be a place of intensely creative and passionate people. Beyond that, it is constantly changing; and I think that’s a good thing. I will say, however, I do miss how different different scenes used to be from state to state and even from town to town. You can’t stop progress and technology (and I certainly am not advocating that we should) but because of the the internet, etc. the scene has lost a lot of that geographically-based individuality. When I was a kid, I used to love reading scene reports from different cities or even seeing how different kids looked from one state to the next. Again, this isn’t some old man screed pining away for “the good old days” but I’d be remiss not to mention that one big difference.
"Your Thoughts, Your Own' came out last year and it's a rager. A throwback to pissed off hardcore with a message. Any plans to follow it up with another EP or album?
Thanks Man… we’re all super pumped with how it came out and the response to it has been awesome. My expectations for this band were non-existent. I just didn’t know what kids would think and so far it’s been super fun to learn that that’s still room for us in a scene invented by and created for kids.
We are currently working on a new record which will most likely be another 7”. I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but I’ve always felt traditional Straight Edge hardcore’s most successful format is the EP. An entire LP’s worth of this style of music is an incredibly difficult thing to do without losing some of the intensity and immediacy of a more compact format like a 7”. Plenty of bands have pulled it off (Youth of Today, Uniform Choice, Gorilla Biscuits to name a few) but they set the bar so high! We’ll see what we come up with. My point is this band rejects any and all filler and the material that makes it to vinyl has to feel urgent.
If there was one song you didn't write, but wish you did, what is it and why?
“Break Down The Walls” by Youth of Today. The music, the message, the power. It is the perfect hardcore song.
Whether it be writers, bands or people, who has had a major influence on you?
Oh man, that is such a great but complicated question. I take my influences from so many sources I could write for 20 pages without even scratching the surface. People ranging from Ian Mackaye to Martin Luther King Jr. to J. D. Salinger to William M. Gaines to Longmont Potion Castle to The Jerky Boys to Charles Shultz to George Romero to Don Dohler to Martin Scorcese to The Bones Brigade to Vernon Courtlandt Johnson to Pushhead… I could go on and on.
Outside of Locked Inside, what keeps you busy?
Beyond design (which is also my career). I also love horror movies. In terms of more mainstream horror, my favorite directors have to be John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and George Romero. Halloween (the original from 1978) is my favorite horror film of all time with Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Dawn of The Dead (1978) not very far behind.
A lesser-known filmmaker I’m a huge fan of is director S.F. Brownrigg. The look, feel and overall vibe just creates a feeling; a lingering, sweaty, over-saturated, dizzy drone that somehow creeps into your pores and under your skin. His films, for me, encapsulate everything that is grotesque and all at once beautiful about 1970s rural America.
This is getting a little out there but I think its worth mentioning; for some reason I have a an odd fascination with Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre. Tragedy aside (and it was a horrible tragedy), if I had to categorize the look and feel of the photos, audio recordings and films from the Jim Jones sermons, etc. strictly on their vibe, I might put them in a similar category as Brownrigg’s work. Those images, etc. are the only things I have encountered that seem to hit me in a similar (although darker) way. The major difference, of course, is that Brownrigg’s films are works of fiction. I have fun watching these movies, but it’s a strange kind of fun. (It probably doesn’t hurt that Don’t Look In The Basement was the very first horror film I ever saw. The scene where Jennifer [Harryette Warren] gets jabbed through the eye has stuck with me since 1983, the year I saw the movie.)
Another (even lesser known) filmmaker who I’m obsessed with is Baltimore native Don Dohler. His early films, The Alien Factor (1978), Fiend (1980), Nightbeast (1982) and Galaxy Invader (1985) are all stellar. All of his films were made on virtually zero budget, filmed using his own home and backyard (and surrounding areas) as sets, and often featuring non-actors like his aunt’s hairdresser for example, in leading roles. But the stories, performances, special effects, etc. are done with such heart and soul that the films are, in many ways, vastly more interesting and fun to watch than big budget Hollywood dreck. His films are all available for free on YouTube and I highly recommend checking them out.
Bands that are recently forming out of the ashes of other bands (Locked Inside, World Be Free, Be Well, Constant Elevation to name a few) seems to be trending, in that the music is fresh, yet not so unlike the members former bands (Bane, Battery, Mouthpiece, The Movielife, Gorilla Biscuits). Would it be easier to reform said bands, or to start fresh? (i don't know one person that would be mad at any of those bands putting out more music!). And has the (recording) lifespan run its course for said bands?
Oh Man… for me it is always MUCH easier to reform pre-existing bands than starting fresh. Starting over with a band new band, especially this late in life, is no easy task. Not that I think I deserve to be treated any differently than any other brand new band but you really do start at the very beginning again. If anything, I think some kids might even scoff at the notion of a brand new band consisting of some people who have arguably overstayed their welcome in the hardcore scene by more than a decade. While that might not be fair, it’s the reality and I totally respect it. I’ve played shows opening for bands made up of teenage kids and guess what? That’s the way it should be. Nothing I have done in the past should allow me to cut in line or expect to be treated any differently. A new band is a new band and we are just grateful to have the opportunity to put our stuff out there and see what kids think—just like any new band, young or old.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for reaching out! Check out our new track “Force of Will” on all of the streaming services. Here’s a link to our Bandcamp: https://lockedinside.bandcamp.com and give us a follow on Instagram: lockedinside_nycse
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