Brigata Vendetta might be a new band, but they’re made up of Bay area veterans and play a sound that is sure to please any fan of classic 80s hardcore. The three-piece are launching their debut, This is How Democracy Dies, on February 2nd on Pirate Press Records.
Spring’s D’Arcy Briggs sat down with Brigata Vendetta’s Darrel Wojick to talk about the band, lyric writing, the upcoming American election, and of course, Darrell’s go-to 2am corner store order.
Let’s start from the start: Where did you all meet? I know both you and Mike are coming out of Harrington Saints and Brian from Bum City Saints.
Well, Mike and I have now known each other for decades, playing music together for almost twenty years now too. We only knew Brian from playing gigs with Bum City Saints and of course, we were on the same record label. When our original drummer, Forrest from Harrington Saints, had to bow out, we were lucky Brian was down to join us!
Where did the idea for this project come from?
I had an idea to play more OG hardcore, 80’s style, as that’s one of the main influences I grew up listening to. I had some song ideas and Mike and I would periodically get together to work on them. Harrington Saints were still active at the time, so we didn’t get too much accomplished but I liked what we had done, so when HS broke up, it was logical to jump on this project full time.
The sound is certainly inspired by 80s hardcore, with some nice undertones of Oi! influences – what bands and feelings are you trying to bring out with this project?
Yea I guess it’s hard to fully eliminate the OI! influences, haha. Mainly I’m a Negative Approach fanatic and that’s all the inspiration I needed. But of course other influences, Toxic Reason, Bad Brains, etc. What draws me to this style is the rage that’s filled with raw emotion. The pace of the music, I love fast and loud music as much today as I did when I was younger.
The album was recorded at Sharkbite Studios with Scott McChane. What was that experience like?
We worked with Scott on some late Harrington Saints releases and became fast friends. He is really easy and open to work with. The difficult part was the amount of work in a short time frame. We did the record in twenty hours over one weekend. And Sharkbite is my favourite studio. Very relaxed atmosphere to work in.
I think it’s safe to say this album is equal parts personal and political. From the title, ‘This is How Democracy Dies,’ and album artwork to tracks like ‘1,000 Cuts,’ and ‘Never let you die,’ where have your lyrics been drawn from?
I didn’t set out to have any certain type of lyrical content. I think with what the entire world has been through these last few years, there’s no shortage of topics. I’ve also lost some close friends over these last few years, There was no way I COULDN’T touch on that. I like the personal slant on some of the lyrics and enjoyed making myself get in there and let it out, so to speak.
Given this is an election year for those in the US, what is the general mood like?
Complacent, down beat. I think people are put off by all candidates, but in classic American style, they will stick with the status quo or even vote against their own interests because they are either uninformed or ignorant. Or they just tow a particular party line! Personally, I don’t see any large movement or push like I did in 2020. That was pretty amazing, united against a common enemy, so to speak.
I think fewer people will turn out to vote and they will be voting against someone either way they vote, not really “FOR” anyone or anything. People think Biden is left, which he isn’t and, the Orange Menace, well, at this point that’s just become a cult. The entire Republican party is a cult in my opinion. The way I see it, you vote for a really old moderate or a fascist. Pretty sorry choices in a country as large and wealthy as ours is.
How important is it to have a social message with your music? Some fans often think of 80s hardcore as simply angry and aggressive music without a brain.
It’s important to me, and honestly, I wouldn’t know how to do it any other way. I think it’s also important to have some tongue-in-cheek moments as well. Lighten up a little. Singing about deeply personal issues may make some people feel connected, as they may have experienced something similar….as long as we get stuck in that ” You stabbed me in the baaaacckk!” re-run hahaha.
You’ve been playing live more and more. Who are some of the bands and venues we should check out? Where do we need to go eat?
Not as much as I would like! Seems after the pandemic, there are many shows but even more bands that wanna play! I haven’t seen a bunch of new bands. Ultra Sect on the OI! front, I think is the best thing going.We are releasing our record with some other label mates on the same day and so far I’ve heard some of the new Complicators record and it’s killer. Of course Powerhouse is playing some gigs around the Bay and beyond and that’s always a good thing. Killer lineup now as well.
Best venue in the East Bay at the moment is the Ivy Room, in my opinion, but there are other great ones around too: Golden Bull and Kilowatt in SF. We’re pretty spoiled here.
Uh, I don’t like to eat out anymore haha—eat where you want! Best food would be at my house!
This final question, possibly the most important, originally comes from Cookie Hagendorf: It’s 2 am. You’ve just finished attending or playing a show and you’re in whatever state that might find you in. Nothing is open except the local corner store. You need to get something salty, something sweet, and a drink. What do you get?
Gotta go for the Lunchables on tour! Never lets me down. Otherwise, peanuts, Snickers and a Gatorade!
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