INTERVIEW: Bryan Garris of KNOCKED LOOSE talks about the future of his band, tour stories, and the “C” word!
In a world where quality hardcore bands are increasingly difficult to discover, Knocked Loose deliver a premium bounty of face-melting noise that satisfies my personal yearning for something new and exciting. Admittedly, I’m not too keen on the modern hardcore/punk scene, but after all, this subgenre is responsible for getting me invested in independent/underground culture. Because of this I sometimes find myself coming back to reintroduce myself, just to see if there is any sort of remaining connection to my current personal taste.
After plenty of disappointments (in the form of “hardcore” bands) I was delighted to hear Knocked Loose, a remarkable troupe I can honestly say I connect with on not only a “getting back to my roots” level, but on a “whoa, these guys make really great fucking music” level. Need some evidence? Get a load of their song “Separate” from their 2014 album Pop Culture below:
I’ve never met anyone in Knocked Loose, and know very little about these fellas aside from the fact that they’ve previously released a few albums on Little Heart Records. To get better acquainted with KL, I reached out to singer Bryan Garris to get a better grasp on things. Read on as we talk about the future of his band, tour stories, and of course, the “C” word…
Never Nervous: First, tell us about how and when Knocked Loose got it’s start. Is there a fascinating origin story?
Bryan Garris: There’s nothing too fascinating about how Knocked started, just some stuff people may not know. I started playing with Kevin (bass) and Isaac (guitar) in 2011 or 2012 and at the time Jared Barron (Concealer and ex-Greyhaven) played drums for us. We went under the name “Speaker” and were honestly just a Defeater rip off, after that we had Dylan Isaacs drumming under the name “Manipulator” which eventually turned into Knocked Loose after a band in Ohio contacted us letting us know they already had the name “Manipulator” which is weird to think about now, what if we still had that name? Haha.
NN: Does the name “Knocked Loose” have any significance, or was it selected as simply a cool band name?
BG: The name Knocked Loose held no significance at the time of choosing it, we were under a short time limit and needed something fast. But now I would say it hold significance to me because we got the name from my friend Scott Keeling who has become like a brother to me. He’s one of the people I credit for anything that’s happened with the band, he’s helped us more than I can put into words. So looking back on it I’m glad it was someone like him who came up with the name.
NN: As a vocalist in a hardcore band, are there any direct inspirations or influences that you draw from, music-related or not?
BG: I try my hardest to take inspiration from any and everything. Hardcore music and heavy music in general obviously inspires me on a regular basis but it’s the creative people in my life that help me step outside of my box. My girlfriend Taylar is behind a lot of my creative process, she’s always giving me great ideas whether it be for merch designs or other things that she shows me while she’s studying for school.
NN: Adding to that, who or what initially made you want to sing in a hardcore band?
BG: When I started playing music I never wanted to be a vocalist, haha. One year for Christmas I got a guitar and amp and everything I needed to start learning but that went no where fast. Jared Barron was playing music with kids from school and asked me to scream for the band because how hard could it be? I started then, when I was probably 13 or 14 and fell in love with the writing process. I’m a lot better than I was then, or at least I’d like to think that I am. Since then I’ve been in a hand full of bands but none as serious as Knocked Loose.
NN: Lyrically speaking, is there a consistent theme behind the words you write for Knocked Loose, or do you explore a broader range of subjects?
BG: As far as my writing process, I sometimes wish that I was good enough to keep things to a consistent theme but I’m not. I try to write personal lyrics, whether people can relate to them or not isn’t my purpose, I just want to say things I couldn’t normally say. I’ve brought things back up several times, because there are some things I can’t put the right emphasis on the first time around, but nothing stays consistent.
On the new stuff we are writing I’ve tried to step outside of my box, write about things I wouldn’t normally think about, and even try a more metaphorical approach to some songs. I try to keep things very “time and place”, I may not always feel the way I feel when I write a song but it’s always about something that has affected me a lot in that specific time period. Everything I write is super important to me, and I mean every bit of it.
NN: Now that you guys have signed with Pure Noise, what’s the plan going forward? Is there a record on the way?
BG: First, I’d like to say thank you to everyone’s reaction to the Pure Noise announcement. That was a very very important day to me and it was incredible to see so many people supporting it. I cried, no joke, haha. And as far as our future with the label, I’m very excited. Bigger and better things are in the works already. And yes there will be a new record, either a full length or an ep. Regardless, we hit the studio in May and I’m very excited. It honestly can’t come soon enough.
NN: Knocked Loose is on the road a lot, so I figured you’d probably have a good tour story or two, whether it be in the van or on the stage. Care to share one?
BG: Haha yes! I have a ton of stories. It’s hard to pick between them all but I’ll try to narrow it down as best as I can. One that immediately comes to mind is when we were on tour with Vice from NY in January of last year (2015). One day we were following them on the highway, going about 70, and all of the sudden their van starts swerving left and right. We all start freaking out wondering what could be going and eventually their van pulls off onto the side of the road, we pull off in front of them and before we are in park their singer Andrew is out of the van yelling and cussing followed by their guitarist at the time Scotto.
They’re in each other’s face screaming and cussing and we are trying to calm the situation down so we split them up, Dave and Andrew in our van, James and Scotto still in the Vice van. After we had pulled off we found out that the fight was over hot dogs hahaha. Vice had a portable grill or skillet thing they kept in their van powered by a blow torch and would cook each other meals while driving on the highway. Scotto who was in charge of the grill was asking Andrew for condiments over and over and I guess Andrew with his NY temper had enough so he threw a bottle of ketchup at him and the fight started. Scotto threw the grill which rolled into James’ leg while he was driving and the other tried choking each other out hahahaha, I promise I’m not making this up. I have plenty more but I’ll keep it at that since it was a lot longer than I had hoped.
NN: How would you describe the music Knocked Loose makes to my mee-maw?
BG: Great question, but I honestly don’t know. I usually tell people that wouldn’t understand it’s like hard rock but a lot harder, haha. Our drummer PacSun always says “it’s the kind of music where Bryan’s yelling at you the whole time.” And then people understand that they won’t like it.
NN: If you and I were to start an Anal Cunt cover band, what would we call it? My vote is for “Ass Pussy.”
BG: Haha I don’t know really. Probably something not as hard on the ears. My mom would kill me if I said the “C” word.
NN: While I admit that I’m a bit out of touch with modern hardcore, I am being sincere when I say that I’m really drawn to the noise that Knocked Loose makes. Having said that, would you care to recommend a band or two in your particular genre that I’m probably not aware of?
BG: Some bands to recommend that come to mind right off the bat are: Breaking Wheel who is extremely underrated, Nine Eyes, Wvrm, Sons of Southern Darkness which is members of Another Mistake, of course I have to shout out Left Behind and many many more.
NN: Are there any bands in Louisville that you’re particularly into lately?
BG: As far as Louisville goes, I’d have to stick with Nine Eyes and my little brothers band Street Rat. Both great bands on the come up, and I can’t stop listening to both.
NN: Before you go, tell us about the last album you bought. Tell us the band/artist, what record store you purchased it from, and give us a quick overview on how you feel about it.
BG: As far as records go, I’ll say the last two that I bought because my last purchase technically was at a show. But at Midwest Blood Fest I got a copy of Break Away – Face Aggression, which was a band I was greatly looking forward to seeing. And the last record I purchased in store was Better Than A Thousand – Just One which came out in 1997 and I was lucky enough to find it in a record store in Indianapolis. The store is called Luna Music and to my understanding it’s fairly new, but has an incredible selection. I’d highly recommend it if you’re around the area.