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An Interview With Missouri Based Hardcore Band Squint

In the fall of 2021, the Missouri based band Squint started working together. Featuring various members from bands like Time and Pressure, New Lives, Soul Craft and Choir Vandals, Squint has a nice palette of sounds ranging from hardcore to alternative and indie rock.

In March 2022, the band made their first post on Instagram introducing the band and their debut single “Ghost,” which is the second track to their April 2022 debut EP Feel It (released via Sunday Drive Records).

Largely influenced by a shared liking of Rites of Spring and Turning Point, Feel It take the sound of melodic-leaning hardcore, but Squint is able to put their own spin on it with fuzzed-out guitars and big riffs—recalling tones heard from bands like Seaweed and Sugar.

If you enjoy bands like Drug Church, Fiddlehead, One Step Closer, and Title Fight, you will enjoy Squint’s EP.

Vocalist Brennen Wilkinson took the time to answer some of my questions in regards to their sound and Feel It EP along with their upcoming performance at Act Like You Know in Tulsa in November. All proceeds from Act Like You Know benefit Oklahomans For Equality.

The band plays Saturday of the festival with bands like Chemical Fix, End Game, Rejection Pact, Take It To Heart, SHIIVA, Prevention, Terminal Nation, Gates To Hell and more.

Squint by Michael Hoeltge

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 introduction to you and the band. Who is Squint? Describe the band in three words.

Thanks so much for the kind words and interest! Hmm, summed up in three? I’m gonna go with Emotion, Energy, and Big-Ass-Riffs.

Squint started jamming early in the fall of 2021, we had all been playing in bands prior that had either just called it quits or were slowing to a halt. Ian and I ran into each other one day and started talking about the idea of getting together, he sent me the riff to “Mantra” and we started building off that. The ball started rolling pretty quick once the spark was lit.

You are signed to Sunday Drive Records. How has it been working with the label? Talk about the relationship you have built, especially being a newer band.

It’s been awesome, Jonathan is an incredible person and so easy to work with. When we were writing the EP, SDR was the label we all had our hopes on. Ian and Dave from Squint were/are both in band that have worked with SDR in the past, and with SDR branching further into sonically “harder” bands, Squint seemed like a perfect fit to us.

Fun little fact: Ian and Dave’s old band (New Lives) was the second release SDR had done, I believe “Feel It” was number 78.

Along with that, there are a ton of amazing artists also signed to the label, who are some of your favorites and recommended songs?

Our label family is so awesome, In the year or so we’ve been a band we’ve already gotten to cross paths with quite a few bands that share the SDR name, here are some of my personal favs:

Utmost – Big Dose

Money – Fuct

Dull Mourning – Rejoice

Strange Joy – Black Hole Love

Feverchild – Witching Hour

Glare – Bloom

Anklebiter – Red Tones

Spark – Pain Not Peace

All Under Heaven – Alley Cat

Still – Faint

Pummel – Headcase

Squint is a newer band made up of members of other Missouri bands (Time and Pressure, New Lives, Soul Craft and Choir Vandals). How does coming from these various other bands influence the sound and style of Squint? How might these different backgrounds impacted you all working together as a band?

We have played in a variety of avenues of music individually, but I think for the most part we each consider ourselves punk/hardcore musicians first. It’s pretty easy to be on the same page despite what our specific influences may be for that reason. Sonically, I don’t think our previous bands tend to bleed over much. I’d say the main impact our previous bands have on Squint would just be that we know what we’re doing this time around. We’ve all been in bands that have done touring cycles, released albums, dropped merch, had vans, etc etc. It’s nice to have the confidence and knowledge we do going in this time around, despite the fact we may have had to learn the hard way in our younger years.

Your first release came out in April and includes 5 songs. Themes of anger, presence, loving, depression, and more are touched upon in the EP. It’s personally one of my favorite EPs of the year. Can you talk a little more about why you decided to talk about these subjects? Is there anything you didn’t get to talk about that you might touch about in a future release?

Squint is a hardcore band, and to me the one unifying theme throughout that vast genre is feeling and emotion. Whether it be bands like Cold as Life or Judge to bands like American Nightmare, pure unapologetic emotion is always present. I guess for this reason, everything I write lyrically is pretty influenced by that, without myself really even realizing it. I’m an extremely critical person of myself and my mind is constantly overthinking and analyzing, I think that comes through in what I write for sure. Squint started at a time in my life when I had just overcome some pretty serious personal issues, and I only overcame them when I finally quit running from my feelings and truly allowed myself to process them, to actually understand myself. I think all these themes were driven home pretty well by the EP name, “Feel It”.

I think my favorite song on the EP is “Homesick,” especially the ending with the lyrics “…but this time I know the road / I know my way home / Home to the love and the warmth / Home to a reminder of what it’s all worth / What it’s all been for.” Would you mind talking about the process of creating this song and what it means to you either as a band or personally?

Sure. “Homesick” was actually written (lyrically) the day after the previous song on the EP, “Dealer Wins”. It’s written as kind of a response to “Dealer Wins” which is a song focused on feelings of anxiety and the dissociation that comes with it. “Homesick” serves as a kind of resolution, a happy ending if you will. As the song starts out, it’s slightly similar to “Dealer Wins” on purpose, kind of trying to convey the old “here we go again” feeling anyone with anxiety knows well. But as the song shifts into a more upbeat and confident riff, so do the lyrics, and our listener finds our main character breaking out of their mental binds. The part at the end you quoted is just kind of a reminder to keep the things that keep you grounded close to your heart and your mind. Whether that’s a picture of your loved one you keep or a tune you hum or whatever, it’s a way back to peace of mind, to home.

Is there anything else you might want to share about the EP right now?

Just that we have been very excited with the response and can’t wait to play those songs out more. We are also keeping the ball rolling and have a new EP coming out in the near future, keep an eye out for 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 on such an amazing festival lineup?

It’s super cool, looking at the lineup it’s so exciting to see so many friends and familiar faces. I’m really excited to see a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a long time. People I met in this past year to people I’ve straight up known for over like 12, all in one room just having a great time. I’m counting down the days.

What are you looking forward to in Tulsa? Any restaurants or stores you’re going to check out?

I’m real into sandwiches, if you know the good sandwich spots and you’re reading this get at me. Honestly I’m kinda surprised I haven’t been scoping out local restaurants yet, I’m usually pretty on that shit. Thanks for the reminder!

What other bands on the lineup are you excited about?

Snuffed, I can’t wait for that set. I’m also super excited to see Strange Joy for the first time. I really like everything Spy has put out, Gridiron will be nuts I know. Definitely excited to see our STL friends in Direct Measure, Split, our buddies in Prevention, the list goes on and on. Oh and Anklebiter!

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

Listen to Snuffed. Thanks for the interview!

Squint’s debut EP Feel It is now available to listen to on all streaming services. Follow the band on Instagram here.

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  1. Pingback: ‘Feel It All Wash Away’ With Squint: An Interview With The St. Louis Based Band – FOR THE PUNKS

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