Nebraska’s Bent Life have been around since 2010, but it was 2016’s album Never Asked for Heaven (Bridge Nine Records) that really made the scene sit up and take notice. Primarily influenced by N.Y.H.C, but incorporating lots of different elements, they recorded one of my favorite albums of last year. We managed to grab the band, before they tear Europe/U.K a new one in April.
Interview by Chris Andrews
MM: How long have you guys been together, anyone in any other bands?
BL: We played our first show in September of 2010 so we have been together for 6 and half years now. Yeah, we’ve all been in a multitude of bands while also in Bent Life. Currently I play in the bands BIB, Suzi Q, Powerslop, and Crease. Nick plays in Division of Mind. Chris plays in a band called High Ruler. Aaron plays in Swamp Walk and Powerslop. Lots of different styles – punk, hardcore, classic rock, stoner metal. It’s cool to do other things in between Bent Life.
MM: How did you come up with the name Bent Life?
BL: It’s actually a song by Aesop Rock that the twins had already came up with before they asked me to join the band. Here it kind of meant a life of crime or just generally living a life outside of societal norms. Now a lot of people here equate it to like constantly being fucked up. I know it has a different meaning in the U.K. that people LOVE to point out to us. But being gay/queer isn’t a negative thing so it’s whatever to us. It’s not a great name but honestly what is?
MM: You guys are hitting the U.K in April. Is this your first time here?
BL: Our first time in the U.K. was actually August of 2014 and we did those dates with War Charge (RIP) from Scotland. Now some of those people are in Riot Conduct and I’m hoping we play with them on this tour. We had a really good time in the U.K. and I’m expecting even better shows this time around.
MM: You guys are from Nebraska. What is the H/C scene like there?
BL: Omaha, where Aaron and I live, has an absolutely amazing and thriving punk, diy, art, electronic, you name it, incredibly cohesive scene. Mostly made up of women with multiple femme owned and operated DIY venues. No better time to live in Nebraska, Omaha in particular. Come check it out.
MM: There’s a variety of influences coming through, when I listen to your music, but what bands are a big influence on Bent Life?
BL: I would say in general New York hardcore. All we have ever wanted to be is a hardcore band. Merauder, Leeway, Life of Agony, Breakdown, Cro Mags. Then a heavy Metallica black album, Pantera, and Alice in Chains influence on our LP.
MM: You were signed to Bridge Nine relatively quickly in your careers. How did that come about?
BL: I don’t know if I would say quickly into our career. We had been a band for 5 years and released a demo and 3 EPs by the time we linked up with Bridge Nine. We were just looking around for someone interested in working with us on an LP and Bridge Nine was instantly down and they’ve been amazing people to work with ever since.
MM: Your latest album Never asked for Heaven, came out last year and it has seemingly taken you to the next level. How does it differ to previous releases?
BL: Having an LP out on a highly respected and active label like Bridge Nine, has definitely helped us reach a wider audience than before. We were kind of getting tired of the same old stuff we had put out on 3 different EPs. We knew we didn’t want to hear or write 10 normal Bent Life songs. So after scrapping a lot of ideas we decided to pull in influences from a lot of metal bands like Pantera, Metallica, Exhorder, and more. We tried to make the LP sound like if Metallica wrote a New York Hardcore LP instead of the black album.
MM: Looking through some of your old flyers on Facebook, you’ve played with a host of great bands. What has been your most memorable show so far?
BL: After almost 7 years that is extremely hard to narrow down just one show. We’ve been lucky to play with Madball and Agnostic Front multiple times which is always an honour. Opening for Sick of It All early into the band was a big one. Touring with Bracewar was very cool. Touring with Bitter End. Too many to name. We’ve been lucky.
MM: So you get to create your dream gig. There’s Bent Life opening and 4 other bands can play. What bands (dead or otherwise) do you choose?
BL: Bad Brains. Cro Mags. Bitter End. Take Offense.
MM: What are your plans after this European tour? What does the rest of 2017 have in store for Bent Life?
BL: Right before we go to Europe we’re playing United Blood for the first time. After Europe we play Sound and Fury. Working on some other international and US tours for the end of the year as well.