Interview: Constrict's Anthonie Gonzalez on New EP "No Eden," SCHC and More

(Photo credit: Josh Vega)

A couple weeks back, Los Angeles band Constrict put out their debut with Flatspot records - a 6-song EP entitled No Eden. The EP hits the listener over the head with its intensity and strong metallic influences. Living up to their self-coined label, “Los Angeles Negative Hardcore,” this is hardcore for those who embrace their hate, anger, and misanthropy with open arms.

Stay tuned to read vocalist Anthonie Gonzalez answer a few questions on some band history, what went into creating No Eden, the Southern California hardcore scene, and more.

Who played Anthonie’s first hardcore show, and what impact did that have on keeping him involved? Well, it was quite the first experience. “My first ever hardcore show was Throwdown and It Dies Today at the Troubadour in West Hollywood,” he shared. “I’d then end up finding a venue about 15 minutes from my house called the Cobalt Cafe in Canoga Park, CA and tried to attend every hardcore show there that I could.”

Lyrically, Anthonie explains he was inspired by the acceptance of the bad in the world, so to speak. “I’m trying to reflect on every negative aspect of humanity - in a way, finding solace in it,” he explains. As far as what inspired the band musically, the band is cited to take inspiration from bands like Arkangel, Death Threat, and Kickback. Expanding on his specific musical thought process, Gonzalez explains, “I wanted something that glues us and the listener together. Something challenging. A healthy blend of technicality, hard hitting, yet simplistic.” 

Album art

Constrict shares members with several notable (and fantastic) California bands, including God’s Hate, Vamachara, and the now-defunct Forced Order, to name a few. Gonzalez shared a bit about what makes the creative process different between Constrict and God’s Hate, which happens to be his other gig.

“It’s a much different animal from God’s Hate. Writing with Constrict, I feel like I could reach out of the box a little bit and try and do something I’m not hearing at the moment from other bands. No Eden was a lot about redefining ourselves and our sound, and there was much more freedom on the creative side. I’m glad both bands are different animals, because if both bands had the same process, I’d blow my brains out.”

After some research, I gathered that  this was largely a project Gonzalez started on his own that ended up expanding into a full band. Gonzalez explained what made him want to start something he could have more control over.

“Well, when my other band Skinfather decided to call it quits, I still had the itch to write music. The initial demos were one-man recordings but, in order to bring it to life, I knew reaching out to other people was a necessity, even though that meant giving up some creative control.” However, make no mistake, he was happy to relinquish it in the end - “I’m very proud of who we became as a band.”

(Photo credit: Gabe Becerra)

On the topic of which track is his favorite on No Eden, Gonzalez answered with the track “Bliss of Power,” which starts as a faster track and descends into a heavy, sludgy, riff-filled breakdown, which is well-suited to back Gonzalez’s words. “It’s short, sweet, and to the point,” Gonzalez says. “Plus, I really like the lyrics I wrote, because it was based on [the] serial killer mentality of feeling power after murdering their victim and feeling superior to everyone else.”

No Eden marks a lot of firsts for the band: the first release with their current lineup, and their first release on Flatspot Records. Regarding working with them on putting this record out, Gonzalez was quick to answer positively. “It’s truly been great. They believe in us and our music, and they work hard pushing it out there for people to listen. They’ve been letting us kinda do our own thing and supporting us since day one.”

As far as their roots, Constrict doesn’t exactly come from a tiny, under-the-radar area - they proudly rep the Southern California hardcore scene, with Gonzalez gushing, “Southern California has the coolest scene in the world.”

How does he feel about the scene as a whole? “We are very spoiled with shows. Which is great, but I feel like people can pick and choose what shows they go to. I feel like you should go harder for the local bands in your area, as well as the touring bands. Like, wouldn’t you want to go off for your home team no matter what? Could be just me, but I feel like that shit is important. That's how I feel at the moment. That can always change.”

While most bands’ plans are in flux right now, Gonzalez remains positive. “We’re all really looking forward to beginning the writing process once again. We’ve had to cancel a few shows and can’t wait to get back on stage eventually once this blows over.” 

Any last words? “Thanks to Flatspot Records and all of our friends that support us. Shout out to God’s Hate, Dprive, Vamachara, Drain, Section H8, Hands of God, Hangman, King Nine, and Kickback.”

Thank you again to Anthonie for doing this interview! You can find the band elsewhere by following the links below:

Additionally, you can check out No Eden on Bandcamp below:


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