Earlier this week, I got the chance to talk with A Hard Knock Life and ask them about new music, music making, and much more! Read below for some answers from our LA Devotees (lol. Did you get my Panic! reference?)
Please introduce yourself and tell us your role in the band.
Patrick: Hi, I'm Patrick, I share songwriting duties with Doody and Austin. I also handle guitars for the group.
Doody: Doody Diavol (DD). I am the founder and lead singer of AHKL
Austin: Hey, I'm Austin and I'm the drummer for AHKL. As of Octoberr 2016, I have helped write our music as well.
Perfect, nice to meet everyone! Where do you guys find inspiration for your music?
Patrick: I know for me, I find inspiration in almost anything. Whether it be a certain song that gets me going, or it could just depend on my mood. Usually when I'm by myself, I come up with my better ideas! In fact, I thought of the idea for our newest single Calm and Brush while sitting in traffic one day- haha.
Doody: The first EP, "One In a Million", had been very nu-metal(core)/rap-metal vibe to it, as oppose to the followup EP "A Million To One", which consisted more of a pop-punk/easycore/metalcore vibe. Both EPs pretty much define what AHKL's foundation was built on. I grew up with Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Eminem, P.O.D, and I always wanted to sound as dark and heavy as Korn does in their songs, hence the low tuning. The first EP was me paying homage and making a point that Nu-Metal is what made me the musician I am today and if we put a song here and there with rapping, don't be surprised. During high school I was introduced to and fell in love with bands like Escape The Fate, A Day To Remember, Four Years Strong, and As I Lay Dying. At first I hated the screaming - haha - but I eventually grew to love it and so the second EP reflects the inspiration from those bands.
Austin: I can get inspired by anything - movies or books. It can be anything at any given time. . .its very random!
What is the hardest part and your favorite part about being in a band?
Patrick: The hardest part has to be the sacrifice. You're always sacrificing something to chase a dream. You take a lot of time away from family and friends but, at the same time, its very rewarding in the end. My favorite part has to be when somebody tells me our music has affected their life in a positive way. We write from the heart and to know somebody else that shares the emotion you use in your songwriting, its just an incredible feeling!
Doody: The hardest part is being married with children on a musician budget. It's incredibly tough to juggle both. For me, music is a luxury. If life makes me choose between music and family, I have to stop with the band and handle my responsibilities, I don't make a killing at my regular job, and I'd be lying if I said i was unfamiliar with musicians depression. I see other bands in the scene touring and get sad because I can't afford to do that. I can't just walk off on my beautiful daughters and my wife depends on me. So yeah. But my favorite part of being in a band, at the moment, is having two, young, like minded, understanding fellows who are just as hungry as I am. Music runs and burns like gasoline in our veins. We want it so bad that no matter how deep life wants to drag us down, we will hold on, get up, and continue to chase our dreams. We only fail if we give up - and that's not and option!
Austin: The hardest part is probably just being so far away from my family. I moved to LA about two years ago and I'm always missing them as well as my friends back home. My favorite part is just the types of opportunity it can bring to your life. I absolutely love touring. It's just like a little vacation for me. I get to see our country and play drums every night, all while meeting some very good people.
On that note, I stalked your Instagram and noticed you guys played some some shows earlier this year. How is the local scene in LA?
Patrick: The local LA scene is amazing, All of the bands here are killing it! Always lots of support from friends and fans and we're very glad to call if home!
Doody: All I can say is I have a mental list of a few people who know about us in the scene that I've been digging our music purely because they love it, and those that don't because maybe we just ain't cool enough for them or because their friends don't like us, they won't. But, overall, the LA scene is packed with many great artists and bands I'm sure. I have my eyes on a few. I'm the type to share posts of creatives I support.
Austin: Well, I'm pretty new to LA, so i haven't had the opportunity to chop it up with many bands out here. But from what I've collected, so far everyone has been very welcoming and kind. . . there are some fucking amazing bands out here.
If A Hard Knock Life had a spirit animal, what would it be?
Patrick: Haha. That's a good one. I'd have to say it's like a mix of Danny Trejo and Gerard Way. Just enough emotion, just enough bad ass.
Doody: A snail. very slow progress, time consuming progress, but progress nonetheless. The shell represents our strong love, tough dedication, and powerful willingness to carry on purely because we live for music.
Austin: Maybe a hybrid falcon name Emilio with talons made of crystal and the beak of a pterodactyl.
Wow! I would love to meet Emilio! You guys have a solid collection of music out. Do you guys record everything by yourself or work with a producer?
Patrick: We've self produced and used local studios for all of our music minus our newest EP which is set to release in 2018. We went and got some help from our home Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft of Escape The Fate for the new one. He sat down and helped us write the best music we could, and in the end, I feel we have an amazing new record that shows how hard we all worked and pushed ourselves. So, hats off to him for sure.
Doody: Our first two EPs and the sing Like It Was Only Yesterday were recorded with two buddies of mine. I appreciate them greatly for helping me out back then. I literally had no one and they stepped up and (metaphorically speaking) helped me push the boat into the lake. Four our upcoming EP, Patrick, our guitarist, took a chance and messaged Thrasher of Escape The Fate and before you knew it, we were recording at his home. Definitely an incredible achievement to record with Thrasher. From Escape The Fate. At his house. . . for me anyway.
Austin: This upcoming EP is my first recording process with the guys, but we hired Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft from Escape The Fate. He's a good due to work with and really took good care of us
Are all of your instruments record live?
Patrick: We programmed the drums for our first two EPs and everything else was live. For the newest EP, we tracked all guitars, as well as bass, in house with Kevin and really dialed those tones in! We play in a low tuning and he was able to make them pop so clearly compared to our own self recordings. We tracked our drums at Causality Studios in North Hollywood (@causalitystudioes you should them they really are the best) with Ahmad and Nick, They have probably been one of the nicer studios we've ever been in. If you're looking for a place to track, I HIGHLY recommend these guys. They sat and went over every little detail to make sure our records came out sounding crisp and clear and I couldn't be happier with the results.
Doody: Yes, with the exception of drums in Like Yesterday and our first two EPs
Austin: All of the instruments on our new EP are live
If someone had never heard of A Hard Knock Life, what song would you tell them to listen to?
Patrick: That's a tough one, can I choose them all? LOL, I'd probably point them in the direction of of newest single Calm and Brush, it gives a teaser of what's to be expected going forward with AHKL and our genre is ever evolving!
Doody: That's a hard one. I could see me telling them to listen to A Million To One. Strictly because I wrote it short, straight to the point, and it's an intro song with some real lyrics. The first line I scream is "Welcome To My Life".
Austin: I would recommend someone either listned to Dead End because it somewhat somes up everything into one song and its's catchy or calm and Brush, our new single, because we have a new video for it.
And what is one word to describe your new EP?
Patrick: Emotional. We tried to write everything from the heart and really display what we felt represents everything AHKL is about. I don't wanna spoil TOO much but you can expect a lot of new things from us. We're no the same old band anymore. We're evolving and our music is coming with us
Straight to the point! So to top things off here, what does 2018 hold for A Hard Knock Life? Other than the EP, of course.
Patrick: We plan to tour the EP and stay extremely busy this summer We can't really give any info out yet, but, we're gonna be dropping new videos, merch, and a lot of show dates. We wanna see a lot of old faces out there, and hopefully some new ones as well!
Doody: For me, I just hope that life is a little nicer with each of us, especially me. Living on a time clock and stressing out about it ain't necessarily fun. I just wanna' freaking rock with my boys, man!
Kinda like cracking a cold one with your boys? Just kidding. What about Austin?
Austin: Same answer as Mr. Pattycakes.
Alright guys, that's the end of our interview. Thank you so much for doing this with me. I'm looking forward dot new music and whatnot. Hopefully I can see you guys play sometime!
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