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Converge Frontman Sees Similarities in Combat Sports, Hardcore

While he isn’t a team sports fanatic, Converge‘s Jake Bannon is certainly a fan of combat sports, like boxing and mixed martial arts. But he’s not a big UFC cheerleader, either. “That’s like the equivalent of the WWE! It’s the WWE of martial arts. They do have premiere fighters in those weight classes, though.”

Bannon is a participant of muay thai boxing, which he trains for six days a week. “It’s eight points of attack and you can go after the knee and elbow, so that’s the big difference there. Striking is more devastating than a punch in the face. It’s not the brutality I like. I don’t like violence at all, but I enjoy combat sports because it’s a person testing themselves against the skill set of another.

“The team sports element has so much strategy, like war, but I like the stripped down, one-on-one quality. I also like playing backgammon. I like Chinese checkers. Football smashes like cars and baseball is too slow. Combat sports are a way out for people. Like music, it can be a way out of places that are not positive and has parallels to punk rock and hardcore.”

Bannon trains hard — as hard as hescreams his lungs out on Converge’s ‘Axe to Fall.’ But like any disciplined person, he does need his days off. “I take Wednesdays and Sundays off. It’s very heavy contact sport, and your body breaks down, so you need to give your body time to rest,” he said.

When he’s not fronting the band or practicing MMA, he runs Deathwish Records, his indie label, which has grown to seven employees. “Deathwish is a busy environment,” he admitted. “We’re all doing something and multi-tasking, like creating artwork, unloading trucks of records. Everyone takes out the garbage. Music in a strange way has become my day job.”

His night job is music, too! “Music is all encompassing,” he said. “I am involved in aspects through hardcore and punk rock. It’s not like I hang out and make a living from just that, from hanging out. It’s a rare place to be and I do appreciate it. No one gets rich in the independent music community. I can pay some, but not all of my bills, so I do other things, such as taking on non-Deathwish clients. I do a variety of things to subsidize my efforts in the label. I love every second of it.”

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