An early contender for best release of 2020, Ohio bruisers Treason have raised the bar in Hardcore with their new E.P True Believers, out now on New Age Records. With ex members of Culture and Terror in their ranks, this was always going to be essential listening. Mass Movement caught up with drummer Rich Thurston to find out what it’s like to carry the flag for old school straight edge Hardcore in 2020…
Interview by Chris Andrew and Tim Cundle
Band photo by Dan Murphy
MM: Introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about Treason…?
Rich: Well my name is Rich I play drums. Also in the band is Chris on Vocals, Jon on guitar, Travis on bass and Shaun on guitar. Chris and I started the band in 2017. In the beginning we just wanted to record some music for ourselves, put it out online. I sent it to Mike from New Age Records. He was way into it and wanted to put a proper release out so we found other members. Took a while but we have a solid line up now.
MM: How did you first become aware of, and involved in the Hardcore scene? What was it about Hardcore that drew you to it and do you still feel the same about the scene as you did when you initially became a part of it, or have your feelings toward it changed over time?
Rich: I found Hardcore like most of my generation did, through metal and skateboarding. I can remember the first time I actually listened to a Hardcore band. I was on a plane going to Florida with my family for a vacation. There was some dude with a giant Mohawk on my flight. He walked by and saw my slayer tape case. He was like “That band is awesome. Check these out”. He gave me a The Exploited and an Agnostic Front tape. As far as feeling the same about Hardcore… I will always love the music, I will always love the “scene” I will also always hate parts of the scene too. I’ve seen it go up and down over the years. Some old faces and a lot of new ones. I do love that there are so many bands now. Shows me that it’s a still a “thing”. It’s still important. We may not be able to change the world but we can change our part of that world.
MM: How, when and why did Treason get together?
Rich: Chris and I started the band in 2017. In the beginning we just wanted to record some music for ourselves, put it out online. I sent it to Mike from New Age Records. He was way into it and wanted to put a proper release out so we found other members. Took a while but we have a solid line up now.
MM: Treason and New Age Records seem to be the perfect partnership. How did this collaboration get started?
Rich Like I said I just sent Mike some music as more of a “Hey man check out what I’m doing now” type thing. I didn’t expect him to say he would want to release it. People forget that New Age started off with some pretty heavy ass bands for the time period.
MM: Treason sounds like it’s all about bringing that hard edge mid 90’s sounding SXE Hardcore/Metal sound -with nods to newer bands like Malevolence etc. Would you agree with that?
Rich: The one thing about Treason is I try not to write music based on a certain sound or genre. We all like some many different types of bands so being able to pull from all of those influences is awesome
MM: The new E.P True Believers feels like a continuation of the sound you developed on No One Is Safe albeit with beefed up production. How did the recording experiences differ?
Rich We just took more time doing it. The first recording wasn’t rushed per say but with True Believers we definitely paid attention to more little things that I think helped in the end.
MM: How important is Straight Edge in relation to your music?
Rich We are an unapologetic straight edge band. We live it. We sing about it. Etc. That being said… I’m not here to give anyone a hard time about what’s in their cup. Our songs are about our lives. It’s about our dedication. Our struggles. If you can identify that’s sick. If you can’t maybe we can talk about it. We just write what is true to us as a band and individuals.
MM: Straight Edge and Veganism went hand in hand back in the day and while veganism is very much in the mainstream, straight edge-is still very much a subculture. Why do you think that is?
Rich: I think living a meat free plant based diet is used by so many walks of life now. From weightlifters to doctors so it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Straight Edge still doesn’t “make sense” to people. I still get asked the old “what do you do for fun?” question. I don’t know that SXE will ever be as popular as veganism/vegetarianism.
MM: Has the xSxEX Hardcore changed since you initially discovered it? If so, how has it changed and have those changes been detrimental or positive? Why?
Rich: Straight edge always comes in waves. I’ve seen at least three different versions of it. Militant, almost non-existent, and a new crop of young bands coming up like Magnitude. Dudes like that give me hope for the future, I don’t know if the changes are good or bad I just know they are necessary. We need to evolve but always keep our core beliefs intact.
MM: What do you think is the most common, mainstream misconception about Hardcore?
Rich: “Oh you listen to that kill your parents eat your dog music?” “Why is everyone yelling?” “Why does everyone have camo shorts on?”
MM: What are the bands plans for 2020. Any plans to bring the band to the U.K?
Rich: Our plans are to play more shows when we are actually allowed. This virus has got us all hemmed up. We don’t play music for a living but we have plenty of friends that do so I know how hard this is. We will just keep practicing and writing songs in the meantime. Once this shit breaks we are going to see some sick bands go on tour. It’s going to be great.
MM: If there’s anything that you’d like to add, speak now or forever hold your peace…
Rich Live By The Code! Hardcore Lives! Straight Edge Forever-Forever Straight Edge
True Believers is out now. Grab a copy here