New York/UK hardcore heavyweights Stray From The Path might well have created their heaviest work yet. Tom Williams (guitar) talks us through ‘Euthanasia’.
The first piece Craig [Reynolds] and I wrote musically for 'Euthanasia'. Craig hit me with that drum beat, and I literally straight up just hit open string with a low octave on it, and it sounded so mean and perfect. It sets the tone for what the record will sound like sonically. Lyrically, 'Needful Things' is about how capitalism is a system that does not and has never worked for people. For it to "work" means that it must exploit people and destroy our planet. There needs to be a drastic systemic change, and people will either be "in" or "in the way". This song is for Kenny.
MAY YOU LIVE FOREVER
"The circle gets smaller as the days grow older" encapsulates the meaning behind this song. Over the past few years, it is more apparent than ever that there have been instances where you know someone's political standpoints, and they oppose your own. That used to be a thing that you overlook because someone is cool or nice, "agree to disagree", but at this point, an opposing stance can mean it affects people's well-being. If you're against it, oppose it.
The third instalment to our 'Badge and a Bullet' trilogy; something that I didn't even really want to do because it's been done before. But with the state of law enforcement in this cursed country, and when I heard the lyric "part 3 cause fuck 1 2", we had to do it. You can see the progression from 'Badge 1' where it was, "Hey, this is wrong, cops can't do this! Not ALL cops!" to 'Badge 2', where it's like, "Hey this is bad. People are dying. A 12-year-old kid was shot and nothing happened," to 'Badge 3' where no words are minced. Fuck them all. Defund the police. Abolish the police.
Over the pandemic, we are watching billionaires make trillions of dollars, and you're seeing the American working class lose their ass. You are watching politicians flee their states when their plumbing infrastructures and heating infrastructures fail, and head to tropical beaches while people froze to death. You are watching oil companies jack the prices of gas up to record highs for no reason at all, and they made hundreds of billions of dollars in a fucking quarter. These people should be met with the Guillotine. Plain and simple.
It took me almost my entire life to realise how fucked up and predatory the US Military is with recruiting. Talking to some of my friends in Canada, I mentioned casually, "Yeah, like when the military would come to your school to get you to sign up," and they went, "...what? That is fucking insane." It hit me right then and there how insane that is. What's even crazier is that Schools are threatened with losing additional funding if they decline inviting the US Military recruiters to their school. It's like working with the mob. Writing this song was inspired by my friend Jordan Uhl, who took a harmless troll job on the US Military e-sports team (lol) that made him discover that they were using Twitch to try and recruit more kids to join. It's disgusting, and most people who are signed up through a recruiter are lied to.
BREAD & ROSES
If you know Stray, you know that since we first met in 2008 and throughout our whole career, Jesse Barnett is family. A person that walks the walk, and someone everybody should look up to as an example of direct action to help people in need. We had this idea for the song, and there aren't many people that are more qualified for it than him. In addition to his voice being the perfect fit for the vibe, we wanted to do something that helps boost his efforts and supports his mutual aid projects in the Los Angeles community. We did a special All Power Books vinyl variant of our new album, where all of the profit from these sales go directly to people in need. A lot of time, it is hard to feel confident where your money goes, but we've seen directly where this money goes with our own eyes, and you can also see by following them at @allpowerbooks and @apfreeclinic.
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN
Musically, this song is the most bizarre and fun. It's like 'We Didn't Start The Fire' by Billy Joel meets RATM meets Royal Blood. This song is literally self-explanatory. We are literally naming off people who are scum of the Earth, and in the song, it talks about them getting what they deserved.
SALT IN YOUR SPIT
Civilians love to run from hard conversations. People like to omit politics from their lives. But they don't realise that their children's school love to be political, their landlords love to be political, their city councils love to be political… and they are all trying to use it against you. You need to discuss these things with your community and not run from it.
This was actually written about a neighbour of mine who put some Christian propaganda on my property, suggesting that I needed "Jesus" in my life. I've never even met this person before because they never left their house. After that happened, I went over to his house and asked him if he thought I needed Jesus? He said he thought I did. I said, "What is my first name?" And he had no idea. He turtle-shelled so hard, and that was it. "I'll lend you no sugar, only salt for the slugs."
Our apocalyptic ending to 'Euthanasia'. The end of the song is to represent the ending of our planet as we know it. Right before they hit that "button" to shed the Earth's population like a snake sheds its skin. Right then and there, you look at the people around you, and you can't help but think, "as the fires encase the sky, I am reminded one last time, we could have gone in grace together, we could have thrived, we could have shined." People have been pit against each other since the dawn of "civilisation". And it's all done in the name of capitalism. It destroyed communities, it destroyed the environment, and it will be the cause of the end of the world one day, all in the name of something that doesn't even exist: the economy. Put the world out of its fucking misery.
Taken from the October issue of Upset. Stray From The Path's album 'Euthanasia' is out 9th September.
Featuring The Wonder Years, Parkway Drive, Death Cab For Cutie and more.