Connecticut hardcore quartet band Cop discusses the music scene
In the first installment of my series of underground Connecticut bands, I sat down with Dan Manning and Andrew Restrepo of fledgling Connecticut hardcore quartet, Cop.
BR: Being a new and up and coming band on the UConn music scene do you guys feel as if you have to prove yourselves at all?
AR: We don't really focus on proving ourselves, we really just want to play music and have fun with our friends.
DM: Yeah, with any new band you obviously have to put effort forth to get your foot in the door in terms of getting shows and getting people at your shows and whatnot. We've all been, to one degree or another, involved in punk and hardcore music for a good amount of time so it's not something that we are completely foreign to.
BR: Your style of music is particularly brutal and aggressive. How have crowds reacted to your onslaught of sound?
DM: Kids hit each other, but I mean they don't hit each other to hurt each other. It certainly has a cathartic level to it.
AR: There's this whole etiquette behind hardcore scenes, it's not just about hurting everyone around you. It's that adrenaline and that emotion and that energy that gets fostered within you and it makes you want to react. It's a reaction to the music that is being played.
DM: One thing that a lot of people, at least that I've noticed, seem to forget is that there is a sense of community when you're doing it so even when you are pushing someone or bumping into someone or jumping on someone. It's that you know they are going to take care of you, if you fall or hurt yourself. I mean if you fall someone will help you up, no one is legitimately trying to hurt one another, like nobody is throwing fists and punching each other in the face.
BR: I know at your last show some kid went down hard and literally everybody around him immediately stopped and went down to help him.
AR: Yeah, that's exactly what we mean with the hardcore scene being a community.
DM: Which is great because it's aggressive music but you're experiencing the aggression together.
AR: It's not a selfish aspect, so to say.
BR: How would you describe your relationship with music? Where did it all start for you guys?
DM: Let's see, in third grade I played the viola and then from fourth grade to last year I played the trumpet in the symphonic school bands. And then in seventh grade I picked up the bass and then a year or so later I was like, 'I'm gonna teach myself how to play guitar.' But concerning the music I'm into now, The Clash was the first punk band that I was ever really into and then it just took off from there.
AR: I, let's see, since fifth grade I was always into pop punk bands like Blink-182 or Sum 41, bands like those but I never made the effort to learn any music. I took drum lessons when I was in fourth grade but I quit because I didn't want to go to the classes because they were annoying. I taught myself how to play guitar around eighth grade and from then on I've been in garage bands and stuff just progressing from there. And now I'm in a band.
BR: What is your experience like playing show around the UConn area?
DM: There are a few secret DIY venues around UConn, to be left nameless, but in Willimantic there's this venue called Willimantic Records, well I mean it's a record store that they turn into a venue. But before that there was this punk house called The Handsome Woman that used to have a lot of really cool shows but that got shut down for security reasons, I guess the police found a Facebook event one day and they saw that like 60 people were RSVPing, despite the fact that only, like, 10 or 15 people actually showed up. They thought they were shoving like 60 people in this basement and they were like 'This is a fire hazard' so they came over and were like 'You can't be doing this' but then they were like 'We can help you find another venue' but it just never worked out but luckily the guy from Willimantic Records and other people around UConn stepped up which was cool.
BR: I know you have played shows with mellower CT bands like Hanging Hills and MILK. How do you guys like playing with bands like that?
DM: I mean, we'll play any show at all. Honestly, we'll play with folk bands, with, like, weird electronic bands. Just any environment where people will be open to hearing us make weird sounds is more than welcome for us.
AR: We're not gonna be squares about the whole specific genres of music we'll play with, like Dan said, if there's some EDM band or something we'll play with them and both Hanging Hills and MILK are great bands, I just want to say that. But yeah any kind of venue is just meant to have fun with your friends if the music sounds good. Don't subject yourself to only one genre, open your mind.
BR: Would the mellower bands influence your set at all? Like if you were playing with other hardcore bands would you guys try to play extra hard?
DM: I don't know, I mean, I think in a hardcore show the crowd is going to be a little more receptive of it, which is cool.
AR: I feel like that's part of our representation as a band, to always keep a consistent stage presence. Like our singer, Greg Menti, said that his goal is to scare people, so we strive to scare people at every venue, even if it's a hardcore venue. If it's a bunch of hardcore people, we're going to try to scare them, if it's a bunch of people who are more into indie rock or mellower music then we're going to try to scare them, despite what kind of music we assume they're into, we're going to hone our stage presence and try to project that.
BR: It's the consistent emotional reaction that you are trying to get out of the crowd.
DM: Yeah, we're a pretty high energy band, from what I can tell at this point. In a hardcore setting it would be more aggressive with the crowd, like not punching and spitting on people but like, you can shove me when I'm playing guitar, I'll shove you back, but in a mellower setting the focus would be more on having fun.
AR: It's kind of a weird question because we never plan that stuff out. The plan is to be ourselves. Be yourself. Be independent. Be an individual. Just project your stage presence the way you want to, despite whoever is watching.
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