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An Interview With Cleveland, OH Based Hardcore Punk Band Last Gasp

Cleveland, Ohio hardcore punk band Last Gasp will be visting Tulsa, Oklhaoma next month for the Act Like You Know Festival. They will be performing on Sunday along with Strange Joy, Wish You Death, Direct Measure, Scowl, Anklebiter, and others.

If you’re into fast and moshy music – this is the band for you.

I had the chance to ask vocalist Ryan Hardwick a few questions about their recent single “Greetings From Nightmare City” along with living in Cleveland, the festival, other upcoming shows, and music! Read the interview below.

Last Gasp by Aleynah De Leon

Hi! Hope you are doing well. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions! Would love to start off with a quick intro. Who is Last Gasp? Introduce the band to For The Punks and our readers!

Yo! My name is Ryan Hardwick and I sing in Last Gasp. My guy Dave Kuhlman plays guitar and has been around from the start. The newest additions to the band are the rhythm section. Tony Robinson on drums, and My man Joey Kep on the big bass. We play fast moshy hardcore from Cleveland Ohio America.

If you had to describe the band in three words, what would those three words be?

Fast, pissed, PUNK

Back in February you released the song “Greetings From Nightmare City,” can you talk a little about this release? What was the writing/creative process like?

Nightmare City is a song about Cleveland winters. It was originally recorded for a Cleveland compilation that never came to be.

Winters around the Great Lakes are harsh. I wanted to write about the effects growing up in that grey can have on a person. We recorded this track along with a Beastie Boys cover (Halloween drop), and a song called “Sounds Like a You Problem” which should be coming out soon on a Crew Cuts Records comp.

Dave, our guitar player, wrote this heater. I actually had most of the lyrics written-out from quarantine which feels like fucking forever ago. I think that this track was the turn to a more heavier sound for us.

The artwork for the single is super cool as well. It was done by artist John Mayo. What was the process for this artwork and working with John? How does it relate to the song and the lyrics?

Jon is our homie! Unbelievable artist from Canada. He’s done almost all of our stuff. I typically throw him an idea and he knocks it out of the park. This specific design he already had drawn and when we saw it it just made sense. The lyrics “Under a concrete skyline, weighed down by this cold dark place” are pretty synonymous with the image for me. All of Jon’s stuff is great. Definitely check him out!

The end of that song is, “If Cleveland is a coffin / I’ll proudly be the corpse / I rise from the fucking grave / Each and every grey day.” Can you talk about the meaning of these lyrics?

Well that first lyric is a total Last Lights rip off, (Massachusetts is a coffin) I can’t take credit for that but I like to give little nods to bands I admire through my writing. You’ll see that all over my stuff BUT it really just means that I’m proud to be from Cleveland. Through the grey and negative degrees, I stay here and make it my home. I live right by Lake Erie which has a huge effect on my life. I run by the lake all Summer. Hit the beach with my family, and hike around in the winters. I am deeply rooted in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ll die here.

What does being in the Cleveland scene mean to you all as individuals/as a band? What music from Cleveland should we be checking out right now?

Everyone in Last Gasp has been playing in bands for a long time. Cleveland and the Cleveland music scene mean very much to my band and I but it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. The scene here can be cliquey. A lot of these younger bands see things as competition which is wack as fuck to me. Truthfully, I guess it’s always been like that. I’ve been playing in bands for like 20+ years and I guess there’s always been a cool kids table.

That being said I see a lot of young kids that come out to damn near every show and go off for bands. They buy merch and really support and it’s so rad to see. The Cleveland scene is thriving to say the least.

All the DGR bands doing their thing. The punk bands like Heart & Lung, Shitty Neighbors, Noisier bands like Yambag and Woodstock 99 bang. Captive, Wallcreeper, Pillars, Piss Me Off, and the homies Live it Down are all crushing right now. Cleveland punk and hardcore is alive and well. Some of my top mates play in a post metal band called Seeress that are definitely worth checking out too.

There are so many new rad bands in Cleveland. Just look up the DGR roster and you’re bound to find something you love.

Looking into the future, what other music can we expect from you? What goals do you have with your future music, whether that be sound, lyrics, messages, etc.?

Tough question to answer. We just recorded 5 new songs this summer and plan to do some drops with them! 2 of the tracks will come out on a split with the band Bitter Truth from Grand Rapids, MI. We’ll be releasing the other 3 sometime before we tour down to Tulsa as a Fall promo. There may or may not be some big news loaded with that release but time will tell.

As for writing goes, I’m always writing and the bands firing on all cylinders right now. We’re back in the studio in January to record another LP. That’s all in the works, but a goal of mine is to get Last Gasp over to Europe for some dates in 23. We’re so close…

We’ve also been talking to the band School Drugs about a spring tour. Hope that happens because I love that band.

Outside of the Cleveland scene, what are some of your favorite releases of the year?

Truthfully I’ve been pretty bad at keeping up with releases lately but some bands I highly fuck with right now are: Shame, They Hate Change, High-Vis, Yambag, TR/ST, Provoker, Viagra Boys, Berthold City, Long Knife, Fontaines DC, Science Man, Urn, Stiff Richards, The Chisel, Exil, Refused are the greatest band to have ever done it. Just so we’re clear on that…

One of the main reasons for this interview is to highlight your expected performance at the Act Like You Know Festival in Tulsa. How does it feel to be included in this festival?

We’re gassed to be on the fest this year! A lot of friends played last year and we just missed out so for them to keep their word and hook us up this year really shows the character behind this festival. We seriously can’t wait. We’re going to go FUCKING APE.

What are you looking forward to in Tulsa outside of being at the festival? Any restaurants or stores you’re going to check out?

Two of us are vegan and this Chicken and the Wolf place looks pretty spectacular. I’m an old service industry head so I take eating well very seriously. LOL. I’m a total tourist too so I’d love to check out some local landmarks and antique stores. All these years and I’ve never played in Tulsa. Can’t wait!

Some of the photos I have seen from your past performances seem high energy and fun. What can fans expect at the festival in Tulsa or any other upcoming shows?

We play hard. I read Henry Rollins’ memoir “Get in the Van” last year and it’s really motivated me to play hard every single night no matter the turnout. All my heroes in bands were wild frontmen so I try to keep that energy (Iggy, Cedric, Dennis, Stiv, Pelle).

Do you have anything else planned show wise down and back from the festival?

Yes! We’re doing a little jaunt to and from the fest.

November 17th: Cincinnati

November 18th: Nashville

We’ll be hanging at the fest Saturday and playing Sunday.

November 21: Springfield, IL

November 22: we still need some help but pretty sure it’ll be in Indiana.

& Side note, we just ordered a fat stack of hoodies and new shirts. The new designs are so fucking tight. You’re all going to want to buy them.

What other bands on the lineup are you excited about?

The homies in Chemical Fix for sure, Snuffed, Pummel, I’m excited to see Scowl, I haven’t caught them yet. Rejection Pact are the homies. Take it to Heart, finally get to rip one with Direct Measure – that band rules! We won’t be there Friday but I hope everyone goes hard for Slug.

If you had to share one last thing with us, what would that message be?

Punk rock is my life. I’m very grateful that I still get to act like a maniac with my friends. Delete social media and learn to be less uptight. Life is righteous when you stop taking yourself so seriously so go out there and be somebody. Lol, I don’t know… LAST GASP SUNDAY WE’RE GOING 10000 WATCH OUR SET OR DRINK PISS!

Listen to their single “Greetings From Nightmare City” on Bandcamp below!

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