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An Interview With Hardcore Punk Band Restraining Order 

I’ve been a fan of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts band Restraining Order since their 2019 album This World Is Too Much (released via Triple B Records). Four years later, they are back with a brand new album Locked In Time (also via Triple B Records).

Photo by Darren Nanos

This World Is Too Much is an iconic hardcore record, in my eyes/ears, not only for tracks like “Something For The Youth,” and “What Will You Do” but for their album artwork. It’s an amazing black and white jumping image that is easy to remember.

Earlier this year, at a show of theirs in Syracuse, New York, they made one of the first announcements of a new 2023 album (I think it was one of the first, at least). A month or two before this Syracuse show, they released a new single “Fight Back,” which, just like the 2019 album, sounded equally as great.

On July 21, 2023, their new album Locked In Time was released. The album is essentially the sequel to the first record, starting off with “Addicted – Reprise,” which follows the last track off of This World Is Too Much. The writing and recording process for Locked In Time was expansive, too, beginning in fall 2019 and completed in late 2022. At the surface, Locked in Time is very much a hardcore record, but it also dabbles with garage, psychedelia and other classic rock influences.

Will Hirst, the drummer of Restraining Order, took some time to answer my questions about their recent album Locked In Time, shows, Flyover Festival performance, and so much more!

If you aren’t already familiar, get familiar with Restraining Order. Locked In Time is one of the best hardcore/punk albums of 2023 and we are very happy that the record was released, even though the time to create it was expansive.

Continue reading below for the interview!

Album Artwork by Callum Rooney

Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Introduce Restraining Order to our readers! If you had to describe the band in three words, what would those three words be?

Hey thanks for having us! My name is Will and I play drums in Restraining Order. The band is based out of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. Three words to describe the band: Rock and Fucking Roll.

You played Syracuse back in January. I think this was one of the first “announcements” of Locked In Time. I was stoked to hear the news! Now, the album has been out for a few weeks now, how does it feel?

We feel relieved to have it out. Most of these songs were written back in 2020, we started tracking it in 2022 and even when we had the masters in hand (Nov 2022?), it took about another 9 months until the release date.

This World Is Too Much might be one of my favorite hardcore records. Not only was 2019 such a big year for hardcore releases (Magnitude, Wild Side, Point Of Contact, Never Ending Game, and more), the Restraining Order record feels timeless. I think others might say the same. Did you feel as if there was some sort of pressure for coming into writing Locked In Time or no?

Firstly, thank you for the kind words. We felt confident with the batch of songs we wrote for the new record so no real pressure on the writing end; however, we did feel a little pressure getting it out in a timely manner since it took us a long time to get in the studio to record. Hopefully there won’t be a four year gap between now and our next record.

Opening up Locked In Time with “Addicted – Reprise” connects the record to your previous release but still offers a feeling of newness. What new things were focused on in this album in terms of writing style, inspirations, topics, etc.?

We try to sequence records in a cinematic manner and starting the new record with the ending of the old record felt like an obvious way to show that this was kinda like the sequel to the first record. Locked In Time for the most part isn’t too different from the first record, there’s plenty of fast songs, we just doubled down on the rock songs, with a little more classic rock/garage influence added to the sound.

The artwork for the album is a statement, especially with the contrast of the black and yellow colors. Can you talk about the process for creating this artwork with Callum Rooney and how it may (or may not) connect with the theme of the album?

Working with Callum on the art was awesome. He’s not really from the punk/hardcore world so we were a little out of his wheelhouse, but I think that overall makes it a unique aesthetic choice for us. He had done some really cool concert posters that I found online and after our original artist couldn’t meet our deadline we felt he was the perfect artist to suit the more “rock” vibe of the record. I think the art fits the theme of the record. It’s a face melting in space along an astral plane. It’s fucking sick.

If anyone thought we were going to do another black and white/live shot for a record cover, they were sadly mistaken.

You released Locked In Time via Triple B Records, just like This World Is Too Much. How does it feel to be part of this label? What are some other bands on the roster you love?

Triple B is the greatest hardcore label in the world. There is truly something for every hardcore fan on the label. It’s a pretty big family of bands. Magnitude, Dead Heat, The Fight, Warfare, No Pressure, Sunami, C4, Mindforce, Division Of Mind are just a few that come to mind. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time on the road with most of those bands.

Restraining Order always seems to be playing shows and I’ve been able to see you perform multiple times, enjoying it each time! How have some of the recent shows been going, especially the record release shows? Share a fun memory that you have!

Recent shows have been great. It’s been awesome being able to play new songs on the road. The record release shows were cool, especially being able to play Western Mass again. It had been about 2 years since we played home and it was incredible to see how awesome the scene is now.

This interview is also in support of your upcoming performance at Flyover in Tulsa. We are super excited for it! How does it feel to be included on such an amazing lineup?

We’re very stoked to be on this year. They curated a really special lineup that I think represents the diversity and quality of current hardcore in 2023.

Have you ever played in Tulsa before? What are you excited to explore outside of the fest (any specific restaurants, shops, etc.)?

This will be our first show in Tulsa and our first show in Oklahoma in general. As a fan of the Outsiders (the book and the movie) I would like to check out the Outsiders museum. I’ve also heard from a reliable source (Lumpy) that there’s good coffee in Tulsa, so I’d like to try that for myself.

What bands on the 2023 lineup are you excited about?

Hoping to catch Spine, En Love, Rabbit, Candy Apple, Raw Breed, Public Opinion, Urn. We unfortunately have to jet after the first day to start a tour in California so we won’t be able to hang the whole weekend.

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

I want to see bands make records that they would listen to themselves. While I’m happy to see Hardcore grow and have a larger audience, it’s only a matter of time before the music gets watered down and turned into AI generated matter. We may already be there. Please make good music. I’m tired of shit.

Watch a recent performance of Restraining Order by Feet First Productions.

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