Interview: Silk Leash
Andrew: Sonically speaking I just want to play loud and fast with lots of feedback and nasty distorted bass. We are working on our third release right now, which we hope will be done soon. We've changed our lineup since the last release, with Matt moving from drums to being a frontman, and we have a new drummer, Brendan. So we're gonna have a pretty different sound than before, and I think people are gonna like it.
I recently discovered Disconnect by the Neck by Silk Leash as a result of someone sharing it in a noise group on Facebook and after binging all of their music wanted more info about the band so, as brazen as always, I decided to go straight to the source to try and further educate myself and hopefully, some of you as well, here are the results:
(((O))): First off who are Silk Leash?
Andrew: Silk Leash is Andrew (bass/vocals) Matt (vocals, drums on first 2 releases) Shalin (guitar) and Brendan (new drummer, gonna be on the next release).
(((O))): One of the main motivators of this interview was that I wanted to ask you guys, why is there so little information or web presence for the band, is that an ideological or creative decision or just a byproduct of your character as individual band members?
Shalin: Why there isn’t much information on us is mostly because we are pretty irresponsible in how we promote ourselves almost to the point of being negligent haha. I guess we could be seen from the outside as being “mysterious guy hardcore” with how little we announce our existence but that’s not our intention and we do try from time to time to let ourselves be known.
Andrew: I just don’t like seeing bands asking for attention on social media; it just puts a bad taste in my mouth. If people discover us it should be by word of mouth based on the merit of the music.
Matt: Honestly, it never really came up. I don’t see this band ever using social media platforms. I understand the need to promote shows, but shouldn’t there be some sort of mystery when you go see a band?
Brendan: No idea but I like the fact that there’s hardly any info. Come to the show if you wanna know.
(((O))): Do you not think that you could do social media the Silk Leash way? Like it doesn’t have to be sharing shit for contents sake or pandering, it can be useful for helping people keep track of your band and not forget about you. Today, I remembered about a really great sludge band called Greenhorn cause they posted for the first time in a while and I’m gonna interview them as well now. The thing about the internet is that it means you’re connected to like-minded people across the world that would never otherwise here your music, like Brendan, you said “if you wanna know, come to a show”. This is basically impossible for me. Not just cause of the lockdown that will effect live music for the next year or likely even further, but also cause I live in England and I’m fucking poor. I imagine some digital fans of your music might not even be able to cross state lines to see you guys and many of them would likely wonder some of the same things as me and probably even forget about you guys, despite how good the music is.
I actually thought you were probably a 90’s hardcore band being reposted by a band member later in life as I’ve encountered quite a number of albums like that over the years. I think it’s important to consider that anything you do, you will do in the way that you do it, with the same principals and character. Silk Leash social media would be like Silk Leash music or Silk Leash artwork or merchandise or live rig or whatever. Or even a website would be the same principal. I think the stigmas some of you share likely come from seeing really insipid commercialised social media attempts, but for people like me, they’re a really important source of information and keeping tabs. I dunno if that has any impact on the way you guys will do things but, do you think there’s validity or value in any of that?
Andrew: Those are definitely valid points for why bands choose to get on social media. I guess connecting with new fans hasn’t really been a goal of ours, we’ve just been focusing on putting out good recordings and gaining traction in our local scenes in Baltimore and DC. Our bandcamp has all our shows listed, all our music, and all our merch, and so far that’s been all the content that we want to put online. But we have been tossing around the idea of an international tour (UK maybe??) for this next release. In which case I think we would want to step into the realm of legitimate promotion and get t-shirts made, set up a Facebook page with a list of tour dates, and put all our music on Spotify.
(((O))): Another thing that I was somewhat mystified by was that I noticed that some lyrics are available on Bandcamp and some aren’t and the cover of Disconnect by the Neck reads as ‘from the neck’ on the artwork is there creative reasons for this or for example, personal censorship involved?
Shalin: The album cover art and the title are unfortunately different because simply we screwed up haha. I wish there was a more creative reason but that’s what i believe it was. But I really like “by the neck” as the album name. It makes it sound like a punishment to be absolved of something. Like “you must disconnect by the neck to save yourself”. I will most likely update the cover art for that release in the future if we ever put out physicals but as of now it stays due to laziness.
Andrew: We only have lyrics for the first track from Disconnect by the Neck, it’s a track called Silk Leash. I put the lyrics up for that one just because it’s the name of our band, so having lyrics adds some context to our name, and because the title of the EP comes from the chorus of that song which goes “Tie me in a silk leash, disconnect by the neck”. So that was always supposed to be the title of the EP, Disconnect BY the Neck. So the artwork has the wrong title. I think none of us care enough to correct it to be honest. I’ve actually put together a lyric booklet with all the lyrics from Disconnect along with some images. It may or may not be printed in the future, we’ll see. If there’s enough interest I’ll upload more lyrics to bandcamp. I’m just lazy.
Brendan: Probably just a typo…
(((O))): The name Silk Leash and the eponymous track seem to have a lot to say in reference to sexuality, is this in reference to kinks, abuse or explorations or orientation and roles within sex, i.e sub, dom, top, bottom et cetera?
Shalin: The name Silk Leash does have a lot to do with sexual exploration and actually does somewhat come from a personal story exploring those things. But I would prefer to leave it ambiguous because I really like hearing others interpretations of what they think the name means. I had one person think it had something to due with being forced to wear a tie for a 9-5 job and that was their “silk leash” or another saying they think of silk leash as symbolic for addiction. Like it’s something that controls and constrains you but it gives you a somewhat nice feeling as well. Weird and funny stuff like that. People are really clever when things are left with empty spaces to fill in.
Andrew: Yeah to me it’s about BDSM, power, and control. Violence, strength, and weakness. These are recurring themes in our lyrics.
Brendan: Drummers rarely write lyrics. Unless you’re Neil Peart. Spirit of Radio!
(((O))): The band seems anti-capitalist and anti-establishment and fairly DIY, would you count the American hardcore scene of bands like Minor Threat and later Fugazi as a key influence? Who are your key influences?
Shalin: Key influences would be total abuse and cult ritual for teaching us the value of using feedback/noise for song structure and how it can be very cathartic when power chords and growls aren’t enough.
Andrew: Those guys are inspirations for sure. We actually formed in DC, and I think it’s safe to say the DC DIY punk scene owes its existence to Fugazi and Minor Threat. My biggest influences are Total Abuse, Lowhangers, and Pissed Jeans.
Matt: I think it is impossible to argue that those bands did not lay the groundwork for DIY punk/hc scene. So in some capacity, they are an influence. As far as anti-capitalist and anti-establishment, it seems those themes keep popping up in our lyrics. Personally, I’m not necessarily anti- these things, I’m more frustrated that I’m being forced to comply with capitalism and the establishment simply to exist.
Brendan: DIY because no one else cares at this point? A few of the DC bands are huge to me. Fugazi especially. Other influences include Black Flag, Dinosaur, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and all classic rock. Ha
(((O))): Are any of you in any other bands?
Shalin: I’m a new blood with silk leash my only serious band right now. I do plan to have some other projects in the future but it’s hard to find anyone available in the dmv who has the time or interest.
Matt: I’m in a couple of Baltimore bands that are just getting started.
Brendan: I play guitar and sing in a noisy band called Early American. I play bass in a post punk band with Matt that doesn’t have a name yet.
(((O))): Who are some bands that you’d like to play gigs with as well?
Andrew: I would love to get us on the next Pissed Jeans tour.
Brendan: I’ll play with any band as long as they’re cool.
(((O))): What exactly are you aiming to achieve sonically speaking? Are you working on anything that you’d like to promote right now?
Shalin: Dirty and fucked, I guess, haha. Really just want to keep our sound on a line that respects the use of feedback and I think our new material will be taking a step back from some of the catchier tunes to a little bit more of a slow, stompy, caveman like repetition.
Andrew: Sonically speaking I just want to play loud and fast with lots of feedback and nasty distorted bass. We are working on our third release right now, which we hope will be done soon. We’ve changed our lineup since the last release, with Matt moving from drums to being a frontman, and we have a new drummer, Brendan. So we’re gonna have a pretty different sound than before, and I think people are gonna like it.
Matt: Loud, noisy, and unrelenting. I prefer things to be menacing without being too macho or tough guy. We should have recordings ready in the next few months.
Brendan: I was the last to join. I like the gnarly aspect of the whole band. The way the guitars sound, the deadpan vocal style, the off kilter arrangements…I’d like to keep going on that path. We just recorded six songs that something will happen with soon I guess.
(((O))): What are you guys listening to lately? Do you have any obscure gems for me or friends’ bands you’d like to share with me…and I suppose, the readership?
Shalin: UK band called The Shits, really cool noise rock and Gauge Means Nothing.
Andrew: Check out Lowhangers! Their song “ESCITALOPRAM 10MG TABLETS” was a huge influence on how I did the vocals for ‘Prison’ on Troublesome Thoughts.
Matt: I have been into Loose Nukes, Dark Thoughts, Warthog and Pleasure Leftists lately.
Brendan: As of this moment The Convocation of, and a lotta Floyd. Especially Animals. Their angriest album. Nah no gems to share everyone knows everything these days. There are no more secrets.