Despite Despair will release their debut full-length album, GEIST, in late summer 2016, and continue carrying the torch of Provo hardcore. Vocalist Brett Barrett and bassist Kai Cox created, developed and recorded the new album and each part. The band also includes drummer Nic Kartchner, guitarist Derek Ballard and guitarist Mac Lewis. GEIST is a bludgeoning opus that directly addresses politics, witchcraft, mental illness and existentialism.

Despite Despair were founded and formed in 2008 by Barrett and the band’s original drummer, Trevor Espinoza. “When we first discovered the Provo scene, Provo was so open-minded and creative,” says Barrett. “I got into heavy music through the local scene.” Cox recalls that every show had a great message and people trying to make the world a better place by way of trying to address complicated issues in their lyrics.

“We were a really positive band before, and this upcoming record is one of the most bitter, emotionally naked and honest things I’ve ever done,” says Barrett. “Our breakup [with previous band members] was a massive catalyst for exactly what we wanted to do.” GEIST was an escape, approached in an entirely different way than what they had been doing previously. “I didn’t want to write songs that took us six months to write,” says Barrett. With this record, they were all about taking a step back and making the album cohesive.

Taking two years in the making, GEIST was recorded in basements and garages. Barrett and Cox wanted to create a hardcore album that was straightforward, honest and angry, keeping in mind their anthem: “Yes, the world is hard, but despite despair I stay inspired.”

After sitting on the record for two years, they released a single the day before they played this year’s Crucialfest at the Art Garden. “It was great fun and people received us very well. We woke up with massive headbang-overs,” says Barrett.

Keep your eyes peeled for the release of Despite Despair’s debut full-length album, GEIST. They will tour the West Coast in October. You can listen to their music at despitedespair.bandcamp.com and catch their next show July 3 at the Beehive Social Club.


Thanks for listening to SLUG Mag Soundwaves.

  • This podcast was created by SLUG Magazine and produced by Angela H. Brown and Secily Saunders
  • Associate Producers: Alexander Ortega, Joshua Joye, John Ford, Kathy Zhou
  • Executive Producer: Angela H. Brown
  • Background music by Despite Despair
  • Soundwaves logo and art design by Nicholas Dowd
  • Technical design by Kate Colgan
  • Photo: Megan Kennedy

SLUG Magazine’s mission is to provide an honest journalistic alternative to mainstream coverage of arts, music, events and lifestyle. SLUG adds value to lifestyle through community engagement. Available in print and digitally on SLUGmag.com.