Hardcore titans Defeater open up about finding new purpose and raw power on their new self-titled album
Massachusetts hardcore types Defeater bring new meaning to the word 'intensity'.
Their music is powerful, punishing and unrelenting hardcore, driven by an overarching lyrical concept.
Each LP has followed the story of a working-class New Jersey family in the Post-World War II Era, trying desperately to survive. Along the way, that story has taken in alcoholism, drug addiction, PTSD, loss of faith and murder. Every Defeater record is a journey in pain and power, but it's totally captivating to listen to.
The latest chapter in that story arrives this week in the shape of their new self-titled album.
As the album drops, we spoke to vocalist Derek Archambault about how they made it and why they've never worked harder...
When did you start work on the album?
"We all met up in western Massachusetts in April 2017 for a weekend to start on the record. We had been trading ideas for a couple of months prior so we had some good loose blueprints to work with."
Did you have a goal of how you wanted to move on from what you did on Abandoned?
“Abandoned was pretty rushed in the writing and recording process, like all our other albums, so we purposefully took time away from touring to just have fun writing songs together as a full band. Every member contributed to every song on the record and it shows; as we all pull from pretty varied influence to contribute to Defeater’s overall sound.
You did the album with Will Yip, what did he bring to the process? Why did you decide to work with him?
"Will pushed us during the tracking of this album harder than any other we’ve made as a band, or in any band, we’ve been in prior. He has an ability to get the absolute best takes from an individual while simultaneously lifting them up emotionally and on the other hand making them sweat blood. We love the way Will’s records sound and the bands he works with so it felt like a great fit."
This is your first album without Jason Maas and your first album as a four, what effect did that have on the writing and recording process?
"We are still a five-piece band; our friend Adam Crowe has been playing with us since early 2016. The writing process was the most productive, cohesive, constructive and fulfilling it ever has been in the band."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to it?
"That is something for the listener to figure out. The overarching story is there, this album is just a new piece to the puzzle."
When did you decide that the album was going to be self-titled? Were any other titles in contention?
"I had a couple of other titles in the mix but the record being self-titled felt much more appropriate. We all feel this is the most “Defeater” sounding record in years."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We have a few short tours announced and a couple more in the works."
When will we see you back in the UK?
"Not sure yet, but we just did Outbreak Fest in Leeds last weekend and it was incredible! We love the UK and will be back as soon as possible."
Defeater's self-titled album is out now in hmv stores. Photography by Ryan Mackfall.