Photo: Peter Anderson
Come out to Urban Lounge on Saturday, Oct. 9 to rock out with inventive hardcore from Reviver and unearthly stoner metal from Laughter. Dirty Vespuccis will kick it off 10:00 p.m. Kids seats still just five bucks.
Zach Hatsis - Drums
Andrew Roy Drechsel - Guitar/Vocals
Infinite expanses of sand dunes propagate between two sets of face-to-face mirrors: The vertical lines of an H, and the intersecting lines of an A, both without their usual horizontal dashes. Laughter fills out the space of these abysses with a sonic landscape of ambient, contemplative guitar-work and accentual percussion. It moves to heavy power chords and drum beats that collide with the earth to support a sonorous, droning voice that culminates into a bellow. ‘HA.’
This abstract topography arises from drummer Zach Hatsis’ and guitarist Andrew Roy Drechsel’s stoner metal project, Laughter. “I like the idea of being super desolate, but kind of like this weird reflection that goes on forever,” says Hatsis. Laughter emulates this idea with a sound of fluid dynamics that range from low, down-tempo chugs and tom-strikes, to Roy’s cathartic singing style, to soft plucks that kiss Hatsis’ light taps of the high hat and ride—all with cogency and a symbiotic sense of rhythm. Though many get into heavy music and metal because of an attraction to speed, Laughter plays at a steady and dense pace. Hatsis continues, “I honestly love standing in front of an amplifier when it’s de-tuned guitars and you can hear the fucking noise clipping and cutting through your guts.” As far as the band’s name goes, Laughter looks to reshape the denotation of the word ‘laughter.’ “You hear the name Pink Floyd, and you don’t think of the color pink, or a barber named Floyd.” says Roy, “The music defines the name, not the other way around.”
Hatsis and Roy have played together for five years. The two went to high school with each other, and attribute their friendship emerging from their common liking of Rage Against The Machine. When Roy left Salt Lake for awhile, Hatsis told himself, “I’m gonna learn to play drums so we can start a band when he comes back.” In retrospect, Roy jokingly adds, “I think I told you to learn drums.” The duo has played an assortment of genres, ranging from alternative to math rock, which has refined their talents and cultured them as musicians. Also, Laughter has gone through three bassists, none of whom could quite stick. Hatsis says, “We just wanted to keep playing, but we didn’t want to find another bassist … We’ve been doing it for over a year now.” Not that they need it—being a two-piece works, not only musically, but logistically, as they have no need to worry about flaky people, scheduling and pulling in three-plus directions.
Hatsis and Roy reflect each other in their compositional dialogue—their mutual knack for music theory allows them to extract the sounds from the other to complement what they write. “We have a pretty decent musical vocabulary together,” says Hatsis. Roy caps it off with his deep singing style. He says, “I started singing, and then we released a CD where there was probably ten percent melodic singing and [the rest] was all just like ‘BRAWH, BRAWH, BRAWH!’ And then [I] just started singing again, and now that’s what sounds best to us.” Hatsis chips in, “It’s cool not to necessarily plateau at the beginning of the song, in my opinion.”
Laughter has toured the Northwest, playing in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon. At home, you can often find them at Burt’s, Club Vegas and Urban Lounge. They play with similar acts such as INVDRS, Eagle Twin, Subrosa, Dwellers, IOTA, Bird Eater and Blackhole but, given their musical versatility, like to play with bands in different sub-genres as well: “I honestly think that there’s a shit ton of talent in Salt Lake. There are so many good bands here,” says Hatsis. “It kind of kills me when I go to shows and it’s like, stoner metal, stoner metal, stoner metal, like, all three bands are of the same vein. I really like it when it’s split up.” Roy adds, “Sometimes the bands that are the most different are the most fun to play with because people don’t get worn out on the same genre all night” (which is what to expect when you walk into Urban on Oct. 9: diversity). In any situation, though, Laughter is there to throw down and saw you open. Keep your eye out for a new release from these guys coming sometime in November.
Matt Mascarenas – Vocals / Guitar
Sam Richards – Guitar
Brian Fell – Drums
Chase Griffis – Bass/Guitar
Tom Ball – Bass
Reviver is a palindrome—a group of individuals whose collaboration is greater than the sum of its parts—synergistic. You may have seen fliers for their shows on light posts, in Gandolfo’s by the U or have gotten a mass text telling you about an upcoming show. Since their inception in 2007, Reviver has been on 11 tours, including three full-USA tours. They’ve been in Salt Lake City since June 29 of this year, which is the longest they’ve been home since they started playing. As a band that has proven itself to be a vibrant, hardworking element of Salt Lake’s hardcore scene, vocalist Matt Mascarenas unaffectedly states, “For the most part, it’s just been all of our circle of friends jamming at some time or another.”
Reviver began with Mascarenas, guitarist Sam Richards, guitarist/bassist Chase Griffis and drummer Brian Fell in July of 2007. Since the beginning, the members wanted to make Reviver a full-time band. Richards says, “I’d say a lot of it [was that] we just had the desire to be in a band that was working full time as far as touring a lot. It was something we just wanted to do.” Even through various fifth members and subs filling in, the band has pushed on to play throughout the entire country. With the relatively new Tom Ball on bass, Reviver has lived up to their initial goal.
Drawing from diverse individual influences such as friends, family, Refused, NOFX, Lifelong Tragedy and simply being in the moment at band practice, Reviver pounds out a unified sound while maintaining each musician’s respective and distinct parts. “Usually what happens is we’re all just fucking around in between songs, we’re just playing our own shit, and one of us will do something—and then it’s like, ‘Hey!’ You should do that again.’” Says Mascarenas, “We just kind of let the song write itself.” In their communal atmosphere, each member identifies the aural situation that arises and distinguishes their own musical role. Griffis says, “I just kinda learn what they’re playing note for note, just rip apart what they’re playing … sometimes I’m almost playing lead parts where it stands out.” Their navigation through the others’ parts allows them to bounce off each part to generate a cohesive harmony.
Mascarenas’ vocals provide an apex for Reviver—he alternates between raspy snarls and melodic shouts atop d-beats, buildups, breakdowns and inventive hardcore orchestration. His lyrics deal with themes that are self-referential to the band: He illustrates his and his band mates’ pre-tour anxiousness and on-tour angst. “Most of [Versificator is] based off of where we were, our frustrations of being home, and—of mine—almost feeling stuck.” says Mascarenas’, “Then, Potential Wasteland was a follow-up of kind of being caught between being home and being gone so much. I feel like when I wrote that, the overall vibe of our band [was that] we were all going through a bunch of unfortunate situations.” In his lyrics, Mascarenas uses the term ‘we’ to encompass sentiments that he feels represent each member, but also uses ‘I’ to express ideas with which the others can empathize. Richards maintains, “When his lyrics are actually what he’s going through and what the band’s going through, I can fully relate to everything as if I would have written that.”
Reviver exudes an altruistic vibe within itself where their sole philosophy is “just having fun and playing music,” as Mascarenas puts it, “I feel that, if we were to portray anything, it’s just that we’re just doing what we want, when we want to do it. We toured a lot, and it was never to [be] like, ‘Hey, if we tour a lot, possibly we can get big and be successful’ … We just did because we wanted to.” Whether it’s Griffis and Fell creating enclave projects within the band, or whether it’s the whole band playing with Gaza, The Lionelle or Despite Despair, Reviver acts collectively and amongst friends with self-sustaining energy and fresh hardcore for SLC.
Localized. Saturday, Oct. 9, $5. Come get maimed and slaughtered by Laughter and Reviver, with a vicious whooping by Dirty Vespuccis at 10:00 p.m.