Through n Through: The face of Little Village Hardcore talks about how bands can support local music

Through n Through, a hardcore band from the Mexican-American neighborhood of Little Village, hit the scene in 2014. In the past three years, the band has released a handful of singles and two EPs, Defend and Give Me Hate.  The band’s next show is Saturday,  October 7th, with Fragmented Era, a Little Village metal band; Black Mass, a hardcore band out of Chicago Heights; Jury of Fears, a Chicago metal band; and Self-Medicated, a reggae/ska group from Little Village, at the Rebel Lion House.

Through n Through’s next show is this Saturday! Get more info here.

In an exclusive interview with locals only, guitarist Romario Gutierrez talked about upcoming shows, a new album in the works, and ways he believes bands can better support local music.

The last time I saw you guys was at the House of Blues show. What was it like to play that venue?

Romario Gutierrez: Oh man, playing the House Of Blues show had to have been one of the most fun, yet nerve-wrecking, shows we have played together as a band. Aside from the venue being quite prestigious, especially for a band like us who is still on the coming up, it was so much fun playing on such a big stage and being able to move around more than usual. We’ve played various venues over the years but so far, House of Blues was probably the one with the most space. There was also a good turnout at that show; we invited a lot [of] people who don’t normally go to the hardcore shows we play so having that many people come out to see you for the first time on a big stage added to the anticipation and nervousness. But all in all it turned out really well. We had a blast!
Any favorite spots or venues to play in Chicago? Why?
G: Well, if I had to narrow it down it would most likely come down to Cobra Lounge as my favorite venue to play in Chicago. The venue always has exceptional sound- possibly the best in the city- which makes playing shows there much more enjoyable both for us as band and for the audience I imagine! Also, the staff and sound engineer there are some of the coolest people I’ve met at a venue that are easy to work with and that is always important when playing at any venue. Lastly, we can’t talk about Cobra Lounge and not mention the sensational food and drinks they have to offer there! I always look forward to getting a Cobra burger whenever I am going to be at the venue.
Your next show is 10/7 at Rebel Lion. Any expectations for that show? Any other shows coming up?
G: Our next show at the Rebel Lion house should be fun! Personally, I always look forward to playing at a house show because it’s not very often that we do, but also the vibe at these shows appears to be much more intimate. I enjoy house shows because everyone at a house show appears to be friends with each other; it feels very laid back which is always a cool feel. From a band perspective, I think we are able to connect a little better with an audience at a house show opposed to playing a ginormous arena or something. Playing in a band, I always feel that having that connection with your audience is crucial in achieving the best experience when going to a show which I feel is more likely to happen at a house show.
 After that show, we will be at Royal Skateshop in Lansing, IL on November 3rd!
Switching gears to recording: there’s about a year & a half gap between Defend and Give Me Hate. What were the differences between recording these 2 EPs?
G: Between the two EPs, I would say there were a few differences. First, we recorded the two EPs in two very different studio setups. Defend was recorded in what one would call a “DIY mobile studio,” I suppose. Our friend CJ basically has a recording setup that could be mobile so he came over to our old practice space and set up right there and then in our room. We already had the songs written and essentially recorded the drums live with my live guitar going to Izzy’s headphones. The final product came out great and our friend CJ did a great job putting it all together but, in retrospect, we as a band felt that we weren’t the most prepared for the recording process and so we kept that in mind up until we recorded Give Me Hate. So with that being said, for Give Me Hate, we were much more prepared in basically every way from knowing the songs in and out, having all the equipment prepared, pre-production, and of course our mental state being prepared. The studio we went to for Give Me Hate was also a more “professional” studio with a solid track record of bands that have recorded there so all in all, we had confidence in going to that studio and the end result was more than satisfactory.
What were your inspirations for these two releases? How did those influences change over time?
G: For Defend on a more musical level, I would definitely say we were influenced a lot by bands like Turnstile and Expire. I myself was and still feel relatively new to more hardcore oriented bands. Around the time we were putting together songs for Defend, I would most definitely say that those bands were my biggest influence. For Give Me Hate, I can confidently say that we were able to better channel all of our various influences and combine them all into one cohesive piece of work. Personally, at the time I was listening to all the hardcore bands from Chicago we were playing with. The shows we were playing at the time in Chicago featured a lot of great bands who were also very heavy; a lot heavier than most of the hardcore bands I was listening to at the time of Defend. Being around such heavy music more often eventually began to rub off on me and thus helped in the shaping of Give Me Hate; I’m sure to the listener there is definitely a distinct difference in terms of “heaviness” when it comes to Give Me Hate in comparison to Defend. On top of the newfound influence, I feel like we were still able to showcase our earlier style that we began with and manage to blend it with the new stuff which then, in turn, became the foundation to everything we decided to do with Give Me Hate.
What kind of new stuff is in the works?
G: Right now, we are just setting our sights on the new year coming up and hopefully by then we will have many new songs to showcase; all of which will be part of our first full length release.
What’s your main focus right now: playing more shows or working on new tunes?
G: As of now, we are definitely more focused on writing some new tunes! After the show at the Rebel Lion, we have one more and that will possibly the last show of the year for us. After that, we are planning on taking a break from live shows in an effort to really focus in on our writing. We have a couple new songs in the works, but our ultimate goal will be to finally release our first full length album sometime next year!
Clearly you guys have strong ties to your community. What about living in Little Village resonates with you? Who/what are your local inspirations?
G: Living in Little Village, there can be a lot that resonates with you. As a band, we are all proud to be and proudly represent being from Little Village. Speaking for myself, what resonates with me personally are a few things. Living in Little Village, there is a lot of culture to the neighborhood; something that can’t be found in many other neighborhoods in the city. Being able to experience the culture that one can find here and not being able to find it anywhere else gives me a sense of pride and makes me appreciate the neighborhood I come from because it is like no other.
Also, what really resonates with me about living in Little Village is the “street” experience. Little Village as a neighborhood quite often carries the stigma of being a “rough” area; so with that being said, many stereotypes tend to be projected onto people from Little Village such as myself. These stereotypes may differ but a common one would be that if you are from Little Village, to an outsider, you are automatically perceived as a thug or criminal who will not amount to much of anything. Now, growing up in the neighborhood has most definitely shaped my character and helped turn me into who I am today, but one thing I will not do is live up to such a negative stereotype just because I am from a “rough” area. This experience as a whole, being from Little Village resonates with me a lot and so I hope that with what we are doing with music, we can demonstrate to anyone and everyone that even though we are from Little Village, a “rough” place, we can still partake in doing something positive and productive like how we are doing with Through N Through.
What do you do to support music in your community?
G: There are many things one can do to support music in the community. We always try and go to shows that are happening around us that we are not playing. One thing I have always thought and still think is very crucial in keeping any music scene alive is for people in bands to go to shows even if they are not playing that specific show. When we all support each other, whether it be someone in a band or not, we can all get together and keep the scene prospering.
In your opinion, what needs to be done to support local music that isn’t already being done?
G: More bands need to go to shows that they are not playing to support the rest of the scene.
Finally, I always give bands an opportunity to give out a few crucial thanks. These can be shout-outs to bands, friends, family, etc…

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G: Huge thanks to you for having me! Thank you to Little Village for being a home to four guys who decided to get together and make music! Thank you to the Chicago and Midwest Hardcore scene for allowing us to play in front of you all! There’s a lot of great bands coming out of Chicago that you all need to pay attention to! Shoutout to BlackMass ILHC, Habitats, Decline, Drowning, XEUTHANIZEDX, Savagery, Reign, Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre, Eske, and Epitasis. Shoutout to our boys from Wisconsin in Delinquents, Wits End, Blood Money, and Backbone. Shout out to Teddy and Jay from Just Riffin podcast for their endless support! Lastly, thank you to anyone who has given us a chance and checked out our music; we wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for you all giving us a shot! LVHC forever.
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