New Jersey trio Parch cranks out some bitter, noise rock-littered hardcore/punk that occasionally even teeters on the brink of a grinding, garage-rockened black metal vibe. As the group prepares to issue its debut six-song cassette through Sineater Records this Friday, stream my personal favorite track from the EP—the darkly pounding "Mount Misery"—below, followed by some additional insight from guitarist Nick Hertzberg and vocalist Billy Applegate…
Typically I would dig around and do more of my own research, but we're throwing this together quickly, so I'll ask the standard fare question of how did Parch come together, and how does this outfit differ from the members' previous efforts with bands such as Basket, These Branches, and Too Late?
Nick: We've all known each other for years and years. Our past bands have all played shows together, shared bandmates, and we have many of the same friends. We started talking about putting Parch together about a year ago at a show we all attended (and some of us played) in Atlantic City. We had the idea to call the band "Miilk" and make it a weirdo punk project. From that chat, I started writing demos (the first being what became "Mount Misery"), but our other projects and commitments took over the majority of our time… so they were put on the back burner. Very soon after, Billy started doing vocals for Basket—which Chris Hordis, our drummer, was already involved in. That band then changed their name and got about 90% of an album done before calling it quits. Toward the end of that band, I started sending Chris a ton of demos (we scrapped about seven other songs) and we began jamming, fleshing out what would become the Parch "sound."
I would say Parch differs from our past projects because we are all older now and have some experience doing this music thing. The aforementioned bands were all long-running projects for us, and we learned many lessons as a result. I think we are collectively letting this one flow a little more naturally. Not over-thinking things. Playing what we want and when we want to.
This track, "Mount Misery," closes out the EP, but was the first song written for Parch. More so than its predecessors, "Mount Misery" adds in a bit of a pounding Darkthrone vibe to your bitter, noise rock-littered hardcore/punk aesthetic. What can you share about this particular piece?
Nick: By writing this song first, I was attempting to set the precedent of what would come from this project. I wanted "Mount Misery" to be depressive and heavy, yet maintain a bit of melody and catchiness, because that's just how I write and what I like to hear. As a bit of a gearhead, I also wanted my guitar rig to play into the sound and style, too. I wanted a simple setup: Sunn head, Marshall cab, Les Paul, and no effects pedals—which I use very often in my other projects. Overall, I knew it would be a "darkened hardcore" type of sound, but we all listen to so many types of music and various bands that subconsciously influence the final product. Because of that, there is a bit of change in style from song to song on this album that I think keeps it fresh and interesting, which I always strive for.
What about the lyrical direction of the material? Can that be discussed at all?
Billy: Mount Misery is this old Christian camp in the pine barrens. It's tons and tons of dirt roads in the woods. I'm not Christian… so I don't go there for that. It's dark and calming in those woods. The song is pretty much the non-rap version of the "mom's spaghetti" song from Eminem.
Sineater Records is a great underground label that I'm familiar with through cool releases from Vermapyre, Vegas, By the Spirits, etc. How did you hook up with Sineater for the cassette release of your EP?
Billy: Lopez is half of Sineater Records. He is a sick dude and I have known him forever. The guy only wears Integrity shirts. I showed him the songs and asked if he would be down to release them. His reaction was better than I thought it would be, and it went from there. This weekend is his birthday and we're gonna hit some trampoline place.
Nick, you also appear to stay busy with a wealth of output through your own Deplorable Sounds label. Talk about some of the other music that you're involved with through that outlet…
Nick: I started Deplorable Sounds in 2013 to be an outlet for all of my solo and side project material that was going to be one-offs or too frequent to try to pitch to record labels. I've made every release free to download and have been putting out super-limited editions of cassettes as often as I can as well. I just released a new solo album under the N.E. Hertzberg moniker called Enough Rope that I am trying to push right now. The label Analog Cowboy Records in Denver put it out on tape for me. It is all ambient and minimalist electronics, very different from the Parch material. I'm looking to play a few gigs in support of that and put out a few new releases in the coming months on Deplorable Sounds. These future releases include—but aren't limited to—a more "harsh noise" take on my N.E. Hertzberg project, a politically-charged hardcore band called Reconstitute with my friend Shawn from the band Above the Moon, and much more.
This week will see the release of your debut cassette as well as the band's live debut. What's next for Parch?
Nick: We've already started writing new material that we will hopefully release by the end of the year. We're actually opening our set on Friday with a brand new song, so we will see how that goes. We are looking to play out some gigs here and there, but due to work and geography (we all live about an hour apart from each other), we probably won't be doing any major touring anytime soon. We're also looking for a permanent bass player. Our friend Antwonn (of Basket) is filling in this show, but we are looking for someone to play full-time with us.
Billy: Get loose and weird.