While Loyle Carner brought an emotional message to the Main Stage, the US hardcore giants tore up the Festival Republic stage on the opening day of the festival — proving to Reading punters how they left such a lasting impression at their recent US festival appearances.
Before they took to the stage, however, frontman Bryan Garris caught up with NME backstage, and gave us an insight into the UK artist that the band can’t get enough of, and his anticipation to see the response from mainstream crowds.
NME: Welcome to Reading! How are you feeling?
“I’m feeling good! Yeah, excited. I’m very happy to be here.”
You’ve had so many shows already throughout 2023. How are you holding up?
“I feel like we thrive [by] just staying busy, you know? So it feels good to be here. We’re towards the end, we’ve been here for probably almost a month now. We have today and tomorrow and then we go home for a couple days, but it feels good. I’m Excited.”
How are crowds in the UK compared to the crowds across the pond?
“Oh, that’s an interesting question. I think something that I’m starting to notice a huge difference is that the sing-alongs here feel louder. Maybe America’s gotta step its game up.”
Knocked loose mother fucker pic.twitter.com/qNHNc93Rvb
— i sleep in a racing car, do you? (@bingxpot) August 25, 2023
Speaking of US audiences, we have to discuss your crowd at Coachella. What was that like for you to have that huge viral moment, especially from a crowd that isn’t your traditional fan base?
“It was awesome. We didn’t know what to expect going into that. We were very excited for it but definitely had the feeling that it could have not gone well. But we were just excited to be there and excited to say that we did it.
“Then on top of that, it went so well and it’s been an exciting thing for us — we’ll still be riding off that excitement for the rest of the year. We’re very very fortunate that we were able to be a part of that.”
What is it like for you to play Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza – all these huge mainstream gigs?
“It’s awesome. I feel like, for us, the goal has always been to step outside of our comfort zone and put ourselves in an atmosphere where we might not fit in the most. You have a lot to gain from that and a lot to benefit from bringing people over to your side.
“Being able to play those festivals has been a learning experience because there’s a whole new set of nerves that come with it… Playing festivals like that, you truly have no idea. It could go either way.”
With you playing to a mainstream audience, that doesn’t that your music is becoming more mainstream. Your latest tracks are some of your most intense work to date. Why is it important to you to keep that heaviness going?
“It is very important for us to remain an extreme band and a heavy band, and I feel like that’s the only thing that us as individuals have always agreed on.
“We can’t sacrifice the aggression and just heaviness, because that’s what we all love. And when it comes to getting these mainstream opportunities, it was never a conversation of ‘Oh, we have to combat that with heaviness, or we have to combat that with darkness… We kept doing what is natural to us. So it’s interesting to see our heaviest stuff be put in a mainstream light.”
You’ve toured and appeared on stage with some huge names, including Gojira and 30 Seconds to Mars. Have you taken anything from working with these artists?
“It’s been very exciting. We’ve gotten the opportunity to do a lot of things. We got to [play alongside] Gojira and Bring Me the Horizon, and we even did [shows with] $uicideboy$ where we were the only band on the entire bill.
“So it’s been cool to learn how to communicate to those different crowds and to navigate those different rooms and try to. Give them their best version of Knocked Loose to make sure they go home talking about us and go home thinking about us. I think that in a lot of ways, it’s really worked and really helped us.”
What new artists have you noticed at the minute who are helping to revive the metalcore scene?
“I was just talking to a friend about this, I have to go with Loathe from the UK. Big fan of that band. Everybody in my band loves that band. And we’ve been hoping to cross paths with them for a long time. That’s in heavy rotation for me lately.
“We try to draw inspiration from any and everything. We try not to keep it under the umbrella of heavy music. I specifically have gotten a lot of influence from country music and like where I’m from geographically.. things that I’ve never really noticed play a part in who I am until recently.
“That’s been really interesting to explore.”
So how would you say growing up in Kentucky played a role in that?
“I grew up around a lot of country music, but I also was lucky enough to grow up around any and all kinds of music.
“I come from a very musical family, so I always had that influence [and] freedom to explore my own kinds of music. In a lot of ways, being from Kentucky gave me and the rest of my band a very specific drive and attitude to get out there and do it, and do it as much as we can, which is kind of why we’re such a busy band.”
For people at Reading & Leeds who haven’t come across many metal genres before, why should they go and watch your set? What is it that gets these massive responses everywhere you go?
“It’s an exciting thing to witness whether you like it or not! The adrenaline in the room is very contagious. I think that worst-case scenario, people watch and you still walk away with a good story.
“The energy and the adrenaline and the atmosphere is very freeing and rewarding. I think that’s why these people just walking by the tent want to like pop in and see what it’s about but then they end up finding themselves having fun.”
We’ve only just seen these two new singles [‘Deep In The Willow’ and ‘Everything Is Quiet Now’], but tell us, are there any more plans for new music?
“I can’t give too much away, but we are working, we are working very hard — That’s all I can say. Whatever comes next will be heavy.”
Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, interviews, photos and more from Reading & Leeds 2023.
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