MH Chaos: Anchit and Dave on New Album + The Past, Present and Future of Chicago Hardcore

Being that Resonating is a Chicago-based publication, I’m sure that a band like MH Chaos needs no introduction.

The Chicago hardcore legends-in-the-making released their first demo in 2018, as well as a 2019 split with North Carolina metallic hardcore band Invoke entitled Invoking Chaos, and, finally, a track entitled “My Kind of Hate” on the One Scene Unity Compilation, Volume I.

Next week, MH Chaos will be releasing their self-titled debut full length, on Friday, October 29th. In preparation, they’ve released two singles - the intro track, “Chaos Returns,” as well as “Natural Born Killers,” which features Luke and Shane from the notable veteran Chicago hardcore band, The Killer - a band they had the privilege to play a show with for this past August.

MH Chaos’s influences range from bands like Neglect, The Killer, Terror Ave, Everybody Gets Hurt, and more. The record features 9 tracks of unabatingly heavy hardcore - landing the band’s identity somewhere between the traditionally heavy, beatdown-influenced sound that Chicago hardcore is known for, as well as the classic 90’s NYHC bands that precede them.

MH Chaos are return guests - you may remember the interview I did with guitarist Anchit and drummer Beaver in Resonating Zine #3, a general discussion about hardcore where we discussed the band’s beginnings, past projects, and more.

This time around, guitarist Anchit returns with vocalist Dave to discuss the album in-depth, as well as the band’s Nov. 6th release show, upcoming projects, linking up with From Within and Fast Break! Records, hardcore history, and, ultimately, the future of Chicago hardcore. Check out the full interview below.

(Photo credit: Kyle Bergfors)

AA: Introduce yourself with your name and what you do in the band.

AC: I’m Anchit, I play guitar.

DC: My name is Dave and I am the vocalist.

AA: Last time we spoke for Zine #3, we spent a good amount of time on bands you guys have played in over the years. Have you been working with any of those other bands over the pandemic, or have you been more focused on MH Chaos?

*(To summarize for everyone who missed that interview - MH Chaos features members of bands including, Bitter Thoughts, Peace of Mind, Inferno, Bodybag, Real Talk, Unreckoned, Guts & Glory, Mal Intent, and more recently, Grounds of Execution, Sector, Illusion of Choice, and some other projects they mentioned that haven't come out yet.) 

AC: So, it’s crazy, I think the bands that were mentioned at that time... You know, there were ideas to do them, and those specific bands didn't happen - but I feel like 3 or 4 more did happen that weren’t mentioned. [laughs] I don't know, like, at one point, we were just meeting up with whoever and making music, and I mean... I'm trying to think right now, it's so weird, I feel like there's like 3-4 bands in the works. I don't even know, but I don't know if I should bring up what they are yet, because they're not done. There was a lot of work - not a lot of work, it was all fun, but yeah, we definitely did a couple bands. I feel like one band’s demo will probably be out pretty soon, and, I mean, that’s about it. Sector, we’ve still been doing some stuff, we played a couple shows recently, and we’re recording this weekend, actually - 3 songs, probably gonna be out on From Within Records in some way. That’s about it besides MH.

(Photo credit: Kyle Bergfors)

AA: Aren’t you playing that one show with Bitter Thoughts in California soon?

AC: Yeah! Yeah. We haven’t even practiced yet [laughs], which is crazy. 

AA: I’m stoked that people from outside the area care about Bitter Thoughts! You guys deserve it. 

AC: Thank you! That’s crazy, honestly. Yeah, when they said people wanted to see Bitter Thoughts there, I was like, “What the fuck? Who cares at this point?” [laughs] 

AA: Well, personally, you guys played a good amount of my early shows, so there’s always gonna be a special place in my heart there. [laughs] It’s always fun to see that band do stuff.

AC: Damn, really? That’s sick, though!

AA: You guys told me that you went a more DIY route with recording “My Kind of Hate” for the OSU Compilation. Did you do the same with this record?

AC: We went to a legit studio for this one, but I feel like the process of creating it was still pretty DIY - the mentality of it. The guy we recorded with, Nick Nativo at the nook, he’s a really longtime friend of ours, and he knows us all individually pretty well. 

DC: He has been with us since day 1, and most of us have known Nick since way before MH was even a thought.

AC: Yeah. We just had time to do a lot of things comfortably, for the most part. but I think overall that mentality was there. We just really wanted to make sure this record was something memorable and impactful for our scene. 

(Photo credit: Kyle Bergfors)

AA: What kinds of things inspired you when writing this album, musically and lyrically? Was anything different this time around compared to your previous releases?

AC: I do write quite a bit of lyrics, but Davey does too - usually, it’s me or Davey writing the lyrics. I would say, for this album, what inspired us is all of our thoughts that have conjured up throughout not doing anything, during whatever was going on for the past year and a half. And, beyond that, this is the first legit record that we have done together, so I think a lot of that boiled up in a way. 

So I think the first song, “Chaos Returns,” is just kind of our mentality that fuckin’ chaos is here, you know? It always comes back in a way. We’re always going to be representing our scene, whoever has a problem with that, or isn’t fuckin’ down with the positive growth of our scene... Fuck you. That’s just kind of our “fuck you” song. 

And “Genocide,” the next song, we kind of wanted to touch on the injustices that have prevailed in the past year and a half, overcoming that - just kind of a song for the oppressed and brown people, how they’ve been treated, how you kind of feel like you might not have a place in this world, but there’s always a way to kind of fuckin’ give yourself power to feel like, “You know what, fuck you, I can do this, I can do that,” no matter who says you can’t. That’s what that song’s about. 

I know Davey'll probably speak on this - we tried to speak on our brother Daniel Bond, we have a song called Bond. He wrote quite a bit of lyrics for that song, and they’re some of my favorite lyrics for the record. I think they're awesome. We got Jon, Serg, and Justin from Sector on it, it hits close to home. And also, another really cool part about that song is that Shane Merrill from The Killer, in one of his first bands, Roundhouse, used the same clip that we used at the beginning of that song - the “Chicago way” clip. They used that in their song, too, way back when - and I had no idea. When I showed him the song, he was like, “Dude, we used this too, we’re bonded forever.” And I told him, “Dude, that’s the fuckin’ coolest shit ever.” [laughs]

AA: Ahh, I love that.

AC: Yeah, so fuckin’ cool. Writing that together [with Dave] was great. I mean, I think we got a similar writing style, very straightforward words, and I think that definitely carried over into the album.

Musically, I think we wanted to be who we started out as, but do it much crazier, more out there, more aggressive, and harder than ever before. We expanded in ways that we haven't tried musically. I think what inspired us when we were writing this album was our experiences playing shows and who we are, the hardcore scene in general, before shit closed down. Even then, that inspired us... And all the bands that we love and admire and all the people we look up to definitely inspired us writing this album.

DC: I would say a lot of our stuff is written to show our frustration with the way certain things are playing out in our lives, and the way it makes your head spin sometimes. The process itself isn’t really any different than what we have been doing. Anchit and I bounce off each other, along with the rest of the band, when it comes to what we believe fits.

(Photo credit: Kyle Bergfors)

AA: You guys have some pretty killer guest spots on this record. How did you end up getting those features together?

AC: By track number, the first person on the record is Malone from Billy Club Sandwich. He’s been a friend of ours from when they played the Rumble. Evan [Fabian, bass] has always had a connection to New York, he suggested having him out on the Rumble, and he hooked that up. When they came out, we all hung out and got pretty close, then at one point - I know we were just fucking around, we always thought we might want him on a song. All of us look up to him. And at one point, we just texted him, like, “Yo, you wanna do a part on a song?” and we had him on “9mm.” We did our parts on it, then were like, “Yo, do your thing, here’s lyrics, if you just wanna go over it, do what you want”... and he did it, did a great job, and added layers to that song that made it unimaginable. We really enjoyed it, it’s really special to us. 

The one after that is “Bond” with Justin, Serg and Jon from Sector. Obviously, you know, those are our boys, our brothers, so that just kind of made sense. 

Shane and Luke from The Killer, we kind of just asked them, “Hey, if you guys wanna get on a track, we’d be honored to have you guys on” The song was called “Natural Born Killers,” which made sense, so we just kind of had them come to our band practice spot instead of the studio because, with schedules, it was kind of hard to link up. [laughs] So, we recorded it kind of DIY. I mean, going back to DIY - there was definitely some DIY shit. We recorded some of the vocals at our spot, but it was very minimal. Fuckin’ awesome. 

This is probably the funniest, goofiest part, but one day, I was fucking around with Patric from Queensway, and - I don’t know, he just hit me up like, “Yo dog, let me get a phone vox.” And I was like, “What the fuck is a phone vox?” He's like, “Yo, I’mma record something on my phone, and I'll send it to you.” And I was like, “Shit, dude, that could actually be pretty cool.” [laughs] So, I started thinking of shit he could say to add, and was just like, add this. So he sent the part - “To choose between good and evil, the choice will never be yours,” for “Natural Born Killers,” and he just literally recorded it on his phone [laughs] I brought it to our studio guy, and he was just like, “Man, this kind of sounds like shit.” [laughs] He worked it out and it sounds dope, but it was just kind of a funny addition. Shoutout Patric from Queensway!

AA: What’s your favorite track off the new album? 

AC: For me, it’s probably “Natural Born Killers,” Just having Shane and Luke on it, definitely one of my favorites I've put together.

DC: 9mm.

AA: How did you start working with Fast Break! and From Within?

AC: Right after we played FYA, Joe went up to Dave and asked if we wanted to do a record with him in some way. We all talked later, and we were all down. Then I connected with Joe later after FYA, and we kinda discussed... He kept working with us in a way, we said we were gonna do an album, and we just kept talking throughout the pandemic and just kind of worked out shit, and eventually connected with Fast Break! because he works with then. 

I met Carter [From Within Records] at FYA as well, so it pretty much all kind of started at FYA. About a month or two after FYA, he helped put out the Sector EP that came out around then, and he hit me up shortly after, and was like, “Hey, I heard MH is doing a record. Is that coming out on vinyl?” Fast Break! was originally gonna do a CD, so Carter asked to do a vinyl, and we were like, “Fuck yeah!” So yeah - we were all just kind of working together, and it’s awesome. Fast Break!, From Within, Carter, Joe, MH, Daze, Nuclear Family Records - we’re  just really appreciative of everybody fuckin’ helpin’ us out.

AA: Your first show back was in Pennsylvania with Madball, and you’ve played some other huge shows since, with bands like Three Knee Deep, The Killer, and Knocked Loose. How does it feel to get back into it?

DC: It feels good. Stressful at times, but overall, it's cool to see the hardcore community kinda getting back to normal. I personally have been nothing but nerves before all the shows we’ve played so far. Took a couple to get back to being comfortable again.

AC: It feels great... To feel normal again, just to be done with work and get ready for a show. Even though it's tiring, it just feels good. Like, you know... that feeling of going to work, or school, or whatever the fuck it is, the next day after going to a show - I'm sure you know what I'm sayin’. It just keeps you going, right? Fuck, it feels good.

Playing those shows was pretty unimaginable - I didn't think that would happen, so I'm very grateful. It was cool to play the Metro and shit like that, but it was [also] cool to just play a hardcore show with all those people. Just felt like one of those shows. Really enjoyed it. All the shows have been sick, just seeing different scenes too has probably been the best part of it... Seeing people go off and shit in different places, seeing different bands, it’s been awesome.

AA: What are some places with cool scenes you’ve played recently?

AC: Long island, I really enjoyed. That shit was sick, the people there mosh hard, they’re really supportive of the bands out there, really nice and welcoming and shit. That was one of my favorite shows we played. 

Flyer for the  Chicago release show

AA: You’re going to be playing an awesome release show in November with Section H8, Queensway, One On One, Desmadre, and Sector. How did you go about choosing the bands on that show?

AC: Really just, like, friends and shit. We wanted friends’ bands on it, bands we admired and really like currently. I think these are all good current bands that we really enjoy. Sector’s on it - I just really have a lot of love for Jon, Serg, and Justin, I could care less about me playing that show. I just want them to play and be there, it’s moreso for them. Desmadre from California, those are our boys, this is their first show. I think a lot of people are gonna enjoy them. Really fun music and cool shit. One On One, this is gonna be their second show - we all love all the bands that Greenfield Mike and that group of people have been in, like Ten of Swords - we all look up to those bands. So, it just makes sense to have them on. They’re a really unique band. I think more people should recognize how good they are. Queensway, I don't have to say anything. They speak for themselves. It’s gonna be legendary. Them playing Cobra is gonna be fuckin crazy, and they’re really good people. Section H8, fuckin’ love those guys, and they put out an incredible record. It just made sense. I think they're a very cool current band that needs to play Chicago.

AA: What’s something you hope to see more of in Chicago hardcore in the future? 

AC: I would like to see the scene continue. I think it's doing a great job as is. I just want people to continue to merge and check out other avenues of the genre and bring it all together. That kind of mixed shit is cool. I'd like to see faster bands on harder bands’ shows, and vice versa. I think that’ll happen.

DC: I’d like to see more people outside of bands showcasing their talents and interests. Too often, the focus is always on the bands, and not enough on the people that make up the community. Without them, we’d just be recording artists obsessed with how our songs are doing on some stupid chart. The last thing I worry about is the number of clicks we get.

AA: In my opinion, Chicago hardcore doesn’t get the same amount of historical documentation as some other scenes do. What are some essential Chicago hardcore bands or records you think everyone should check out?

AC: Convicted - Unconquered is a really good one. It's got members of Harm's Way in it. Some of the hardest shit to come out of Chicago, probably. Expired Youth, they’re really good, a fast band - punk, hardcore, youth crew-inspired. That was a really good band. Black and Blue, more of a not-well-known band, I think. They had a really good demo. They did shows for 2-3 years. Cyborg - I really enjoy that band. They were, like, a powerviolence band. Jon from Weekend Nachos was in it, a three piece, really cool band. Roundhouse, Shane's band. I think you can find it on youtube. Synnecrosis was Luke's first band, you can also find that on youtube. Very death metal-inspired, darker hardcore. No Zodiac - Soulless demo is really hard. It’s fast, but it’s hard, so it’s a really good combination. I think those are some good ones to check out, for sure. 

DC: Den of Daggers.

Album art

AA: Where are some places you’d like to play in the upcoming year?

AC: Out of the ones that aren't scheduled yet, maybe New York city, Brooklyn. I wanna play in Philly, never done that, just outside of it. Germany, Europe. I would definitely like to play there with MH. Japan - some shit like that would be sick.

DC: Personally, I’d like to take a trip to Germany and Mexico to see all our people out that way. It would be a dream to finally link up after over a decade.

AA: What are some of your favorite records that have come out in the past year?

AC: I enjoyed the Momentum record that just came out, the Never Ending Game record, the Section H8 record, the Dead Heat record, I enjoyed Off the Tracks... Definitely gonna miss so many. [laughs] Anything that From Within, Daze, Streets of Hate... There’s so much good shit.

AA: Any future plans you’d like to talk about?

AC: There's plans to go overseas, nothing too planned besides that. We’ll maybe do some kind of tour in the US the next year - I don’t know what it’ll be, but we’ll just fuckin’ keep playing shows and shit on this record. 

(Photo credit: Kyle Bergfors)

AA: Any last words or shoutouts?

AC: Yeah! Um, shoutout to you, to Resonating. Just awesome, so cool to have you doing this, someone from our scene to do this - it’s really cool and very nice, this is awesome. 

And shoutout Daze, From Within, Fast Break!, Joe Hardcore, Shane Merrill. That’ll be the main one, Shane. Shane and Joe. ... Carter Holmes... Richie Krutch... Bob FYA... That’s the shoutouts. Thank you.

DC: Huge thank you to everyone that has been a part of our journey. Without y’all, none of this would mean a thing.

I want to thank Anchit and Dave both again for all their support, as well as their patience in getting this interview together!

Make sure you keep up with MH Chaos via their links below:

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Bandcamp

Preorders via From Within | Preorders via Fast Break!

You can listen to MH Chaos’s self-titled album, streaming everywhere, on Friday, October 27th.

In the meantime, check out the single “Chaos Returns” below:

Chicago Hardcore forever.


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