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‘Government Issued’ And Set For Success: An Interview With Rot

Minnesota is known for hockey, beautiful water features, and some of the most brutal and sick hardcore music to hit your ears. And Rot definitely fits the bill. They released the Nothing Changed EP in 2019 and have been cranking out savage tunes ever since. We sat down to chat with them about their origin, their upcoming performance at the Act Like You Know Festival in Tulsa, Oklahoma, happening November 18 to 20.

ROT by Mat Schladen

Take a quick second to introduce the band Rot to us.

Rot is a product of our surroundings plain and simple. We make music that simultaneously reflects how fed up we are with our city’s social and political standings as well as our own interpersonal relationships. There’s no wrong topic for us to touch and we think it’s best that way.

How heavily do current events influence your music?

Current events can absolutely be the fire behind some of our music! I will say at the same time we try to look further than just the event itself and look closer at the people these events affect. We don’t want to be the people chasing ambulances just to see a shocking scene. We want to be the people that look at the bigger picture if and when it’s possible.

What does the word equality mean to you and how do you plan to emulate it within your music?

Equality for Rot will always mean giving someone a fair and equal opportunity to make the most of themselves. We believe that no one should have poorer or less life chances because of the way they were born, where they come from, what they believe or how they live. It also means taking that chance to raise and amplify the voices of those that have not seen equality in their day to day life, but I think that touches more on equity and that’s an entirely different conversation.

The hardcore scene seems to be community based and welcoming to all. What advice would you give to a kid who’s just coming into the scene and is thinking of starting a band?

Dive. In. Head. First. You can’t lose; there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Every musician had to start somewhere and none of us are cool in the first place so what do you have to lose? I would say that a good 50% of people attending shows would like to play in a band at some point. So if you take the extra 30 seconds to introduce yourself to people at these shows it can literally be the difference of finding a bass player or not [laughs].

Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations as individuals?

The 5 of us all listen to vastly different music from pop, rock, Soundcloud rappers, classical, RnB, the list goes on forever. but I would say for this project a few major inspirations have been Stick to Your Guns, Kublai Khan TX, Comeback Kid, Dead and Divine, and Casey Jones.

Getting to be a part of festivals and bigger shows must mean so much to you. What was your biggest motivation for making it happen?

Honestly when we put this band together the main goal was to write openly enough to be able to play with whatever band we wanted and have it make sense. It worked well as we’ve been able to play with such rad and different bands like Scowl, Orthodox, Heavens Die, and Frost Koffin to name a few. I don’t think any of us really thought we would get to play fests as we sit more in the metalcore side of the hardcore/metallic realm. So I think really just being people that are ready to connect with our peers and the love we’ve received through grinding has really been the main forces to help us play these rad fests. S/O Act Like You Know // Snow & Flurry.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Act Like You Know festival this year?

Honestly it’s a huge honor to be asked back for the second year in a row and the first official ALYK. We never figured we were on the radar when we were asked the first time so we kind of choked it up to a fluke. Then when we were asked again this year we were absolutely elated and figured we had a home in Tulsa whenever we could get there. The line up this year is also absolutely bonkers and we can’t wait to see all the talented bands.

What do you miss most about home when you’re on the road?

This one is easy… our pets. We’re all giant softies, I know we play aggressive music but man were soft as toddler shit and we just want to cuddle our animals [laughs].

While on the road, have you been able to visit cool spots? What is something that sticks out to you the most?

We try and do more than sit around when we visit new cities as we don’t want to piss away our opportunity to see the states. It’s a real blessing and we try and soak up every minute of it. The last tour we were on we had a chance to visit a watering hole with a waterfall in North Carolina. It was just a nice remote location and it was a blast further establishing camaraderie with the Guerilla Warfare and Downswing dudes that day. Hard to beat hanging with your friends pretty much anywhere in the world.

What goals have you set for yourself as a band and individuals?

As a band we simply aim to never get lazy, we don’t want to be the band that says “Yeah that’s good enough”. It’s really easy to get even a small following like we have and think okay the hard work is done, people listen to our music. We want to ensure every step we take is not only forward but in the right direction. I guess as people we just want to be “better”. All 5 of us will be the first to say we’re far from stand-up perfect humans, and while we call out the injustice in our city it’s important to call yourself out every now and then to make sure you aren’t just patting yourself on the back in complacency. We just want to be better friends, sons, bandmates, and people to those that spend their time with us.

If you had to share one more thing with us today, what would it be?

We’ve got an EP coming out sometime at the end of this year. We can’t wait to come back to Tulsa and hang with everyone. Follow us to check out our music @weallrot_.

You all kick ass and if anyone tells you different send them our way.

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