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Converge’s Jacob Bannon Interviews Blacklisted

Robby Redcheeks

The name Blacklisted has become synonymous with pushing the envelope in hardcore. Last year’s genre-bending ‘No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me’ put them atop a short list of bands to step far from the paint by numbers breakdowns of many peers. Before the album’s release, the Philadelphia band announced they would not be conducting interviews to let the music speak for itself. But Converge‘s Jacob Bannon got frontman George Hirsch in conversation on the newest Deathwish Records podcast and premiered a new song as well.

That’s not being in a band, that’s paying homage to an era,” Hirsch said, explaining his feelings about the early days of Blacklisted, which where classic hardcore in every way. “I never wanted to do that. I wanted to be in a band and write music and whatever came about, came about.” The band’s big shift musically came on the EP ‘Peace on Earth, War on Stage’ where not only was the sonic footing found, but also the vocalist/lyricist defined as the time he knew he didn’t want to be anywhere else.

The band turned heads on the ’08 album ‘Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God,’ showing not only a level of angst but an outpouring of passion only hinted at previously. Hirsch explains the recording process as one of uncertainty — fearful that the songs were too out there, producer Kurt Ballou stepped in as a voice calming any worries.

The recording of ‘No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me’ — a much more drastic album, drawing thick textures and melodic elements more intertwined with ’90s noise rock — saw the remaining three members not caring what anyone would think. “We kept writing and then we got into the studio and someone was, ‘You can do this. You can do that.’ And we had total free rein to do whatever we wanted. Now whether it was, good or bad as to what people think of us … no one can make that call.”

Bannon interrupted adding, “It’s wholly your own experience in creating something. No audience can tell you and no critic can tell you what you’re doing is right or wrong, or successful or not successful as long as you’re getting something creatively and psychologically out of the process that you wanted to get out of it. That’s it, that’s the only thing that really matters.”

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