Not only are Cody, Jason, Jery, RJ, and Scott dedicated to Life Long Tragedy, but also to the bay area's hardcore scene. No matter where a show is in the bay area, you can always count on the staff of Life Long Tragedy being in attendance. Five stand up dudes that rule and deserve your attention because their music happens to rule. Life Long Tragedy has been around for nearly three years and has never had an interview before so right about fucking time it happened. This transcript is the third incarnation of the interview, as the first two versions failed. Comets of truth, wisdom, and hella chill times are about to slay down on your computer screen, so rejoice.
ScenePointBlank: What's your name and what do you do?
RJ: My name is RJ Phillips, and I play guitar.
Scott: I'm Scott Phillips. I sing and write all the words. Also, Cody plays bass, Jason plays drums, and Jery is our other guitar player.
ScenePointBlank: What does Life Long Tragedy mean?
Scott: Well, I guess nothing too specific. One could interpret it in their own way. We needed a name and it sounded useable at the time. You have to keep in mind that we started this band when I was a freshman in high school. I know it's not a "cool" name or whatever, but seriously, who gives a fuck? A name is a name and if you can't get over it than don't listen to us. It doesn't matter to me. Our songs should be able to speak for what we're about.
RJ: Exactly, nothing specific. Like Scott said we were all 14-16 years old when we started the band, it sounded like a cool name at the time. Now I would interpret it as just doing something meaningful with your life. I don't really like it, but at this point a change would be pointless. Fuck a name.
ScenePointBlank: How did recording your new LP go?
RJ: As always, the recording process for us is pretty frustrating. Luckily we work with an amazing engineer who has no trouble saying that we completely suck, or we have to do another take, or whatever. That is so important. Once everything starts coming together though we have a blast in the studio, it's a lot of fun. We're complete morons anyways and in the studio we're no different. We goof off, we have a good time, but when it comes down to it we put a lot of effort into what we are doing. I really believe that we put absolutely everything we had into this record and hopefully you can tell when listen to it. I'm really proud of this record and what we did and how much we have grown in the past year. This recording definitely captures that.
Scott: Recording is one of those things that you cannot wait to do, then when it's actually taking place, you just think to yourself "FUCK. ARE WE DONE YET?" It can definitely be a pain in the ass and stressful, but the end result is well worth it. It really is an indescribable feeling having the finished product in your hands, knowing that all the bullshit that we go through to make this happen has paid off. It's satisfying and relieving at the same time. As for this record, this is the first time I could say that I am truly proud of how this all came together and turned out. It surpasses our previous efforts by miles, and it shows. We've all grown as musicians; I know I've grown lyrically and vocally. Hopefully kids will give this record an honest chance and won't blow it off. And if they do, oh well... The response from the few friends that have heard it has been nothing but positive. That alone gives me the motivation to want to keep doing this band and sticking at it.
ScenePointBlank: How is it going to be released?
RJ: We still need to make some final changes to it, but once those are completed we'll be shopping it to every label. I really hope someone will pick it up and be able to support us. I'm really confident in this record and in this band. We're getting to the point now where in a year we could be doing this full time, and if we make that decision, we'll need a lot of support. At this point we can't afford to put out the record ourselves and still have enough money to tour, etc. However we will get it out this fall with or without anyone else's support, though that would be a great thing to have.
Scott: At this point I really don't care how it gets out, as long as it does get out. I am confident enough in this record to know that someone will want to push it and support us. And if not, it's important to not give up and keep going. Obviously, to have an awesome label backing us would be a lot of help, but I won't get discouraged if that doesn't happen. I just really want kids to be able to hear our record, whether we put it out ourselves, or someone else does. That is what's important to me. We'll see what happens and hopefully this thing will be out really soon.
ScenePointBlank: What were you listening to when the new album was written?
RJ: Everything, the album was written over the course of almost a year. However the majority of the songs were written in the last eight months. As far as hardcore goes, the only real mainstays in my playlist are The Path of Resistance, Unbroken, and Hoods. I listen to a lot of really awful bands. Though hardcore is my true love as far as music goes, it's certainly not all I listen to or draw influence from.
Scott: Our influences are definitely not limited to just hardcore. I love all of those shitty pop punk bands. I love a lot of indie rock garbage and more mellow stuff. So to answer the question, pretty much everything. I would hate to get burned out on something I loved by only listening to hardcore, or anything else for that matter. So many different styles of music inspire me. There are lots of incredible bands right now outside of the hardcore scene that blow me away. Jery, on the other hand, was listening to Mac Mall and At the Gates when this record was being written. That's it.
RJ: I heard all Cody listens to is Cut the Shit and DRI.
ScenePointBlank: Any funny stories about/involving Zack Ohren?
RJ: Zack Ohren is an incredible human being. Ask him about his girlfriend's boobs, or the Nintendo that "Japs Out".
Scott: Fuck, I wish I knew where to start. Zack Ohren is an amazing dude. There is always nonstop laughter when we're in that studio. If you know us, then you know that we're all sarcastic idiots, so putting us in that sweaty room for 8 hour days can get out of control sometimes. Who can forget him delaying These Days' recording time to school us all on Pilot Wings, or some other bullshit Nintendo game? That definitely stands out as one of my favorites. But there are so many more great stories that have came out of recording with Zack. If you are in a band, record with that dude. He is the best. Bottom line.
ScenePointBlank: What are the overall themes, lyrically, of the new album?
Scott: The record is called "Destined for Anything". From that title hopefully one could get an impression of what might be a main "theme" in my lyrics. I am only 17 years old, and I know that I've still got a lot to learn about this world and the people inside it. Growing up in a shitty town like this, there are a lot of uncertainties constantly surrounding us, whether it's our future, not knowing what the fuck is going on, or just being straight up unsure of ourselves. I don't know where I am going in life, but I know where I am right now, and I know what is important to me right now. This record is about embracing the things in life that mean something to you, seeing through the shit that this world will throw at you, and living your life for yourself, to the fullest extent. I hate this town, but I love my friends, I love hardcore, and I couldn't imagine life any other way. I'm going to stop myself there before I start rambling, but I'm proud of the lyrics on this record. It's always a great feeling when kids sing along, so hopefully when this record drops, kids will learn the words.
ScenePointBlank: Any upcoming tours?
RJ: We are doing a west coast tour at the end of June, and an east coast tour in early August.
ScenePointBlank: And if so, who with?
RJ: The west coast dates are with our friends from Florida in On Our Own (www.perfectvictim.com), as well as Down To Nothing and Kids Like Us. They are all great bands and we are really excited to get the opportunity to play with them, as well as play some new cities. This will be our first time playing So Cal and the Northwest. We are taking Charles Edge's parents' mini van and there is going to be tons of shady shit going down. Holy shit. The east coast dates are with our friends in Time for Living and These Days. I can't wait for that tour, it is going to be insane. I should also mention we are playing four CA shows in July with Crime in Stereo and a new Nor Cal band called Set Your Goals, which should be a blast.