Payasa: Lake County Band Creates Dark, Horror-Influenced Hardcore For the Underrepresented

(Photo credit: Angel Tumalan)

Maybe this is a controversial statement - but, these days, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to find the honest-to-god passion that drew me to hardcore in the first place. With the increasing profitability and instant ability to feel like “a part of something” provided by today’s hardcore landscape, it’s easy to attract folks who might not necessarily be involved because of their love of the genre. 

Thankfully, Lake County hardcore band Payasa are a group of people that has never failed to reignite my belief in what hardcore could be.

Through Payasa’s journey as a band, I’ve watched them take many forms. In the beginning, upon the release of their demo, the group consisted of four fresh faces creating punk-influenced hardcore, focused on expressing their rage with the state of the world. Currently, in the era of The Haze Begins..., the quartet have let more of themselves bleed into their identity as a band, incorporating dark, horror-based imagery, sacreligious overtones, unique riffs, and honest stories about vocalist Brittany Lane’s experiences with religious trauma, mental illness, growing up as a woman of color, and more.

The five of us had this conversation outside the band’s show with Anklebiter at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago, IL, this past April. We discussed topics like the band’s evolution, their beginnings as passionate metalcore fans, Brittany’s experiences with race, her and Casher’s experiences as non-men in the hardcore scene, among many others. 

I loved doing this interview, and I hope you love reading it just as much.

AA: Introduce yourself with your name, what you do in Payasa,  and a fact about yourself.

JK: Hi, I’m Jack, and I play bass. I got no facts.

BL: My name’s Brittany, I do vocals… Lately I’ve been really obsessed with Toddlers & Tiaras, and I do a Southern accent, and her name’s Darlene.

[I ask her to speak as Darlene, and let me tell you... I am not disappointed.]

AC: Hello, I’m Casher, I play drums, and I’m getting really into meditation lately!

XK: Hi, my name is Xander. I play guitar in Payasa. I’m oddly really good at throat singing. Somehow.

[I tell him I’d like to hear it, but I don’t want to put him on the spot. Still, no hesitation, he delivers.]

AA: [gathering myself] Thank you for that.

So... Who played your first hardcore show? What impact did that have on keeping you involved in hardcore?

XK: I think my first actual hardcore lineup though was at Mojoe’s. It was Stick to Your Guns headlining, Counterparts, Hundredth, and [redacted] ... Hmph. [laughs] 

I’ll do another show instead -  The Story So Far, Rotting Out, and Such Gold. So, it wasn’t a full hardcore show, but when Rotting Out plays, it’s a hardcore show. I think that was my first experience with a band like Rotting Out, and stage dives, and the pit and all. I mean, just the vibe of it [had an impact on me]. It was something different, and it was obviously a mixed show, so it stood out a lot when Rotting Out played. I looked into them from there, found more bands, and… yeah!

AC: The first hardcore show I ever saw… I don’t remember who else was on the bill or where it was, but it was probably a Backbone show forever ago. The first hardcore show I really remember that really impacted me was Name Redacted, at SubT. 

After that, I started getting into a lot of friends’ bands. A lot of us worked at Vans growing up, and there were a lot of local hardcore bands that were forming with members from there. I remember Bird Law starting around that time, Forced Impact... and I was brought into the culture that way. Seeing people at those shows very early on and seeing people stage dive and punch each other, I was like “What the fuck is this?” [laughs] 

I wasn’t even sure that I was into the music at first, but watching the crowd was so exciting to me. It was so chaotic. I was like, “I have to keep watching. I have to keep coming to this shit.” Over time, I found more communities that were very inviting and accepting, welcoming of LGBT+ peoples, and a lot of local people and people at work welcomed me in, which was really cool. Shoutout Bird Law. [laughs]

(Photo credit: Angel Tumalan)

BL: Mine was the same as Xander. It’s funny, because Xander and I didn’t know each other, and we were both at that show at what was called Mojoe’s - not The Forge, Mojoe’s! It was Stick to Your Guns, Hundredth, Counterparts,  and Terror. If anyone doesn’t know Mojoe’s, there’s two pillars in the middle. I don’t know how they climbed it, but people were just… Flailing off the top, like, “Seeya!” [laughs] I think that was the first show that I saw how fun a hardcore show could be. ‘Cause, before that, I had seen Stick to Your Guns, but I’d see them with, like, more metalcore bands, and this one was a hardcore lineup. I really liked how authentic it felt, you know? After the show, I talked to Jesse [Barnett, STYG vocalist], because I was like, a little 17-year-old… Going, “Oh my god, Jesse, thank you for playing and stuff!” 

I think it impacted me because we had a pretty good conversation about how to make an impact and not just be a showman - like, talk about real stuff in lyrics. And even now, when writing lyrics, I take a lot of inspiration from the Diamond era of Stick to Your Guns, because it talks a lot about mental illness and how to pick yourself up, know that you’re not alone, and that impacted me because music had meaning, as cheesy as that sounds. 

I can’t pinpoint another local show, because, obviously, those made an impact too… It was probably a Backbone show, just because I was friends with those people. I mean, I’m still friends with those people - except for one. [laughs] Anyways! 

I had friends that played in bands, I went to Aloha Falls a lot, Oasis in Grayslake, and then the Borg Ward in Milwaukee. I think my first local show had to be at Aloha Falls. It was cool seeing our friends sing back lyrics to our other friends’ bands, and that’s how I felt like there was a true sense of community. Even if your band sucked, people were going to go off and sing the lyrics and have a good time.

JK: I think mine was in 2011, at the Unity Lodge in Kenosha. I went to a couple shows there that year, and shows there were always crazy. There were always at least 7 bands playing, so I don’t remember who exactly played the first show, but among the bands I remember seeing, there was Sworn In, Kingmaker, Valiant, Monsters, and Warhound, to name a few. 

It was in a church that was rented out on the weekends, so it wasn’t a space to hold music regularly - and, already, that was eye-opening for me, seeing that you could just play live music in random spaces. That was the first time I saw moshing, slam dancing, and everyone was on the same ground level. I remember the first set I ever saw there, me and my buddy just got pushed in the chest by the guitar player as soon as they rung out their first chord. So, already, the tone was set. [laughs] 

But I remember for Warhound’s set, there was a lot of violence, holes in the wall, and fun stuff like that. It set the tone for hardcore for me right away. 

(Photo credit: Molly Kinnuen)

AA: Just out of curiosity - was there a reason you chose the feminine “Payasa” instead of “Payaso” for the band name?

BL: At the time that we formed Payasa, I was really obsessed with clowns, but I chose the feminine form because, at the time,  I felt like there wasn’t a lot of representation in hardcore when it came to feminine energy. ‘Cause, obviously, hardcore - it's supposed to be tough, it's supposed to be angry, but I felt like it was a white man’s anger. And a white man’s anger is completely different from a woman’s… Rage. Not even anger. It’s rage.

And coming from a background where… My mom is darker than me, and when I was growing up, she didn’t know English very well. Growing up with my mom, I saw that she was angry a lot of the time, and at that time, I didn’t know why she was angry. But now, growing up as a woman in a very male-dominated society, I came to understand that anger a lot more. I chose it because I felt like people who feel misrepresented in hardcore - feminine people, children of immigrants, people who are immigrants, any person of color, any trans person, any LGBT+ person that doesn’t feel like a white man’s anger resonates with them - can also be angry, but also in a different way, and in a very specific way.

AA: Brittany - you guys have been a band for quite a while, and over that time you’ve had a pretty strong shift in your sound and vocal style - what inspired you to make that change?

BL: Mostly because I didn’t know how to do it at the time. When we first started out, I was like, “I’m just gonna yell!” And I think it’s no surprise that I’m into music other than hardcore too - I grew up a scene kid - so I love a good bleh. [laughs] I’ve also been super into nu-metal, ’ve been listening to a lot of deathcore, and I really like how gritty it sounds. I’ve been practicing a lot, especially during Covid. We obviously weren’t practicing a lot, but the band has instruments that they can practice and get better at - I can’t play an instrument, unfortunately. But I was like, “Okay, I can improve my vocals and bring something different and practice a lot.” 

I’d look up - as cheesy as it sounds - different YouTube videos on how to scream. I would look at other vocalists that had a gritty sound. I really wanted something different, and the way our writing was going was much darker. I didn’t feel like my vocals on the demo would match really well with how the music sounds now, so I wanted to adapt with them, and not stay behind.

(Photo credit: Angel Tumalan)

AA: What kind of things influence Payasa’s sound?

JK: As Brittany said earlier, we’re all OG scene kids, so we like breakdowns. We came from breakdowns…

AA: … And from breakdowns we will be delivered. [laughs]

JK: [laughing] We just really like big moments, I think, in any kind of heavy music. I think we try to achieve those with our music, whether it’s a more punk-leaning song, or a heavier song. Lately, we’ve been inspired by a lot more heavy music. When we were starting out, we didn’t really know what we wanted at first, and we wrote some faster songs, but lately I think we’ve been trying to write more interesting breakdowns when it comes to tempo and groove. We really like to write groovy parts as much as we can, but still really hard-hitting. We all listen to a lot of different things that inspire us.

XK: Early on, and even now, Turnstile was always an inspiration. Candy is a big influence, because they’re just kinda weird, and they have a lot of cool parts. I feel like, when writing in the past, I was definitely listening to a lot of Candy. [laughs] I would say Meshuggah, I know Casher was gonna say that. It’s more of an influence for Casher, Meshuggah is more of a recent thing for me. But it definitely comes out with the weird time signature stuff that we do, or weird riffs and breakdowns. Just heavy stuff.

AC: We all kind of have our own tastes, and there’s a lot of crossover between us and expansion in our taste outside of hardcore. A lot of us love shoegaze, a lot of us love darkwave, a lot of us love mathcore, nu-metal, prog-rock… I feel like it’s kind of all of our individual tastes coming together to create the amalgamation of whatever the hell Payasa is.

(Photo credit: Angel Tumalan)

AA: I’m going to ask you a few questions about your most recent EP, even though it’s not quite as new now… Because, surprise, I originally wrote these questions to interview you about it a year ago! [laughs]

BL: [laughs] Oh my god! And it’s the year anniversary!

AA: [laughs] I know! I saw it earlier and was like, “Oh, that’s perfect!!”

BL: [whispering into the mic] It’s meant to be… It’s meant to be!!

AA: Lyrically, what are some of the things that inspired you on The Haze Begins...?

BL: A lot of it was about struggling with my mental health. Between the years of 2018-2020, it was real rough. I got diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression - the wonderful mental illness cocktail that is - and at the time, I wasn’t a healthy person, mentally or physically. 

Specifically, “Haze” is about whenever I would go into a manic episode, panic attack, anxiety attack - whatever. I felt like there was this kind of haze over me. It’s kind of an out-of-body experience... I wrote a lot about dissociating wherever I had those episodes.

“Blue Skies” is a happier song, I would say. I was going through trying to figure out how to cope with all my mental illness stuff, and I was getting into meditation a lot. I remember one of the guided meditations I was listening to was like, “Your brain is a sky. These clouds that go past your sky are your intrusive thoughts, and it’s going to pass by. These intrusive thoughts are going to pass by, they’re all just clouds.” And so, I wrote “Blue Skies” about trying to get to that blue sky and how sometimes it feels hopeless, but you’ll get there eventually.

“The Haunting of Birch Street” was about my religious trauma. I think that’s my proudest lyrical moment, because I really like the imagery in horror movies. I was really inspired by The Exorcist, Evil Dead - possession movies. I basically wrote it as the demon that’s overtaking this person, [portraying them as] the good person, trying to show them that this is the truth - but the church is trying to exorcize the truth out of this person. It’s basically roles being reversed in that song, with a lot of biblical imagery.

Album art

AA: Some folks might not know this - but you’re the model on the EP cover! What kind of ideas did you discuss when coming up with concepts for the artwork?

BL: Shoutout to Lis, @gothikagrief… We did that shoot in an hour or two, and we have so much art from that. We still haven’t used everything, but we plan on using more - they’re so amazing and talented.

JK: We were already familiar with their work, and we were just really into what they were putting out already, so we trusted them to put out something that we know will look good. We kinda gave them our trust with it. Brittany used to do a lot of horror makeup, so with her expertise in that, and Lis’s vision for putting together really great photos… We knew that it would turn out really well, and it did. We used some props, fake blood, brought some chains…

AA: Was Sof (@sicknailsbysof) the one to give you the funky claws?

BL: [cringing and inhaling] … Actually, the nails were press-ons from Walmart! They weren’t even my real nails. Sof, if you see this, listen to me… I put those press-on nails from Walmart over the nails you gave me, and I am so sorry. I am so sorry, my queen. I’m exposing myself right now, this has been on my conscience forever! But, y’know what, I will say - I was due for a fill, and the press-ons were temporary. I love you so much [kissy noises] … Anyway! [laughing] 

I think it was overall inspired by horror movies. We wanted spooky vibes, very sacreligious vibes… I just was really into a lot of possession moves at the time, and I wanted… That.

AA: You guys have been growing in popularity pretty steadily, especially since the pandemic ended. You’ve gotten to play with bands like Misery Signals and Scowl, and, in general, your shows have only gotten crazier and crazier. How has it felt to experience that progression?

XK: After Covid, there was a huge jump. A lot of younger kids started coming to shows, and it’s so hard to think back on what our first show after Covid was, or what… It was here?

AA: Oh yeah! With Ozone.

(Photo credit: Angel Tumalan)

AC: I think after Covid lingered for a bit, there was a big tonal shift within all of us. Things started to clear up a little bit, and we started getting back together. It was a little unspoken, but we were all sort of there in the basement, and we were just like: “This is it.” There was this sort of fire behind us, where, like - now that we’re able to get out back into the world, this is what we wanna do, and I don’t know if we’re gonna get another chance at it. Everything is so fragile, more than I think we had ever imagined. Everything changed. And I think the scene did, around us, as well. We wanted to come out, bring it, and do what we love, and I think everybody else wanted to get out there too, and experience some cool shit and support a scene that might not always be around.

XK: I think it has a lot to do with the people we met too. We met a lot of cool people after Covid. I think one of the first shows post-Covid was at JJ’s, Prevention played, and meeting them and starting to play in Springfield definitely contributed to our growth as a band. All those kids in Springfield are crazy. Obviously, shoutout to Springfield Hardcore, Prevention, and all those bands. Drew, Bee, Evan, Liam, and everybody. 

BL: I also think it’s all because of the people we met after Covid. It’s just really nice that we feel like we have people supporting us and putting on cool shows. Shoutout to Springfield, but also Milwaukee - JJ, Tom, Michael… They always hook it up with really cool shows. And the people here - Nick [NMZ] really helps us out, Kickstand, Shane from Empire… It feels very cool. To this day, when people are singing the lyrics back and know exactly when certain parts hit… It makes me giggle. It’s so nice.

AA: Oh, it would make me so shy.

BL: Dude! Yesterday, in Springfield, people were going insane. All these kids were singing back our lyrics, it was really nice.

AA: What would you like to see more of in hardcore in the future?

AC: Queer representation. More queer representation.

BL: More weird stuff, I think. I truly feel like the representation is growing, and the bill that we’re playing today [Subject 2 Change, Chalk, Full Stride, Anklebiter, Payasa] shows the representation that we do have. I want to see that continue to grow, but I also really want to hear very weird stuff. A lot of the bands I like aren’t traditionally hardcore, but they’re hardcore-adjacent and play hardcore shows. I would just like to hear more…

AA: Uniqueness?

BL: Uniqueness, yeah. For sure.

XK: Obviously more diversity, but also more diversity of music genres. I mean, that’s already happening, in a sense, but I think in any big city there’s kind of a divide at a certain point between punk and hardcore, and I think it would be cool to have people be more united, in a sense. It’s a tough subject, because people have their own music tastes - if someone doesn’t wanna hear spinkick music, they just wanna slam dance, that’s okay.

AA: I feel like, in an ideal world, it’s still good to put punks and hardcore kids together so they can make friends and build the community with somewhat like-minded people… But also, they can find new things they like! I didn’t realize for years that I liked more punk-leaning bands, and then I started coming to Chalk shows, and it was a whole new world for me. Sometimes a genre can start to feel kind of stagnant, and that helped me keep an ear out for new stuff again.

AC: There's way more crossover between those two genres and their cultures than I think either of them like to let on sometimes.

JK: Also, more chorus pedals on guitars, please.

AA: This one goes to Casher and Brittany specifically… What advice would you guys give women or nonbinary people that want to start bands, but might be hesitant about it?

BL: Just do it. Even if you think that you suck, just do it. I think the progression of my vocals says a lot. I don’t play instruments, I don’t know a lot about music, but all I knew was that I wanted to start a band and have fun with my friends, and that’s all you should start music for. I’m saying a lot of cheesy stuff today, but I feel like that’s the whole point of starting a band - having really fun music with friends.

[Sara Hintz Springfield HC wanders in]

BL: Here, let me interview you. What’s it like being an angel?

SH: [Southern accent] I don’t know… That fall hurt pretty damn bad. Might have a concussion, I think that’s what broke my nose.


BL: Okay, but that’s such a good point. I would’ve never met Sara if I never started a band. You get to meet really cool people - I wouldn’t have met you if I wasn’t in a band or didn’t go to shows. I say just do it. Write about whatever you want, make the music sound however you want it to sound, somebody will like it, somebody will fuck with it, it will be a good time.

(Photo credit: Shanussy)

AA: Also, you have no idea how much someone is admiring and being inspired by you when you’re just kind of existing. Holly and I were longtime Brittany Lane guest spot fangirls… [laughing] You did a Backbone guest spot at The D forever ago, and we were like, “I have no idea who that girl is, but she’s so fucking cool! I wanna do that!”

BL: No wayyy! [laughing] … But yeah, as you said, someone who’s nonbinary, femme - people are gonna be really stoked about it.

Back to the initial question, you’re gonna have something to say. You need to say something. For example… Anklebiter. That’s a very inspiring band to us, too. The whole reason I wanted to become a vocalist was because of this band Traumaxqueen. I heard them and was like, “I wanna do that. That’s a local band, I wanna do it, it sounds fun.” You can inspire other people to make more music, and we need more representation. Not only in this society, but in this very male-dominated music genre.

XK: And if you never did those guest spots, I think Payasa wouldn’t have been a band. You got out there and did it, you got confident, I saw you do that with Backbone, and I think we were like, “Well, let’s start a band!”

BL: I’m gonna cry. [laughs]

AC: Brittany already really nailed it on the head here… Start a band. Have fun. If you don’t know who to talk to, go to shows, talk to the bands, talk to some of the people, try to do a guest spot, grab the mic, come to a Payasa show and grab the mic.

BL: Talk to us!

AC: Talk to us, we’re not scary. Some of us, like myself, might look a little unapproachable, but we’re really just a bunch of gay twinks, and…

[all laughing]

AC: Look, we’re way friendlier than we let on. We’re probably just as anxious as you are.

AA: Make sure you say hi to the wife at the merch booth.

BL: The malewife! We have two wives, Court [Jack’s girlfriend] and Christian [Brittany’s fiance]. Say hello to our wives.

AC: Seeing trans and nonbinary representation in hardcore, especially more recently… Even for us, seeing bands like Anklebiter and Ritual Abuse, seeing Gel run rampant on the East Coast… It’s super inspiring, and all those people are super friendly, wonderful people. Go to shows, make friends. We’re here for the same reasons as you, for sure.

BL: Also, what kind of scared me at first is… You don’t have to fit a certain mold. You don’t have to be this tough, masculine person. You can be super feminine, you can dress however you want and act however you want on stage, which hopefully can inspire others.

AC: Hardocre is about authenticity and being your truest self, and whatever that might be, you need to do that and exactly that.

AA: Brittany, that’s an excellent point. I don’t know how common of an experience this is, but I know when I was newer to things I also thought I had to dress to look “tough” to be taken seriously...

BL: Yeah, wear cargo pants… [laughs]

AA: Yeah! Which like, I do genuinely like cargo pants and wear them several times a week… [laughs] But I want to at this point, it’s not a matter of feeling like I have to wear “the hardcore uniform” to get taken seriously. 

And I’m sure this sounds really unheard of to some of the men reading this, but as women, there are definitely everyday situations where we might choose our more masculine clothes to get taken seriously - ones where you probably wouldn’t have to think about something like that - and hardcore can still be one of those places, unfortunately

But yeah! You feel like people aren’t going to take you seriously. Like, maybe I wanted the pink cargos… Maybe I wanted to wear a dress… But you don’t want to get judged by the “this isn’t a fashion show!” crowd.

BL: Exactly. But you should dress however you want. For example, I really like Scowl, how  Kat brings the fits, and it’s skirts and dresses and heels and stuff… After seeing Scowl, that inspired me to dress however the fuck I want, instead of wearing a big hoodie and Dickies.

AA: It does inspire people! Fashion is such a form of self-expression, it’s more than just how you dress. And, at the same time, you shouldn’t feel obligated to dress up and look feminine…

BL: Right! Exactly.

AA: … But you should feel empowered to dress however you want.

BL: Exactly. If that looks like hoodies and Dickies to you, go off. If you want to have a cute little skirt and have a Sailor Moon uniform, do it! 

AA: And that’s the thing, I don’t get to talk to women in bands about women’s issues very often, because I don’t want anyone to feel like I’m doing the “hey, female-fronted band!” thing, but…

BL: It’s something that should be talked about. I think a lot of people are scared to ask me - and Casher - specific questions, because they feel like they’re tokenizing us.

AA: I think there’s a difference between tokenizing and uplifting people when you’re dealing with marginalized identities, and some people are really scared to do the wrong one.

BL: Yeah! Either way, I feel like it should be talked about, for sure.

(Photo credit: Angel Tumalan)

AA: If you could build a dream show for Payasa to play, who would be on it and where would you hold it?

BL: Okay, this is not a dream show, but this is a dream of mine. I want to play Gathering of the Juggalos. [laughs] I feel like we would find… There’s Latino juggalos, and they’re payasos and payasas. I know they’re out there. I want to play Gathering of the Juggalos. I gotta think about the rest of the bands, though.

AA: So it's the Gathering of the Juggalos, and then your lineup. [laughs]

JK: The venue is the Gathering of the Juggalos. [laughs]

BL: Our set’s like Gwar, but instead of the blood being sprayed everywhere, it’s Faygo. [laughs]

AA: Fun fact, I don’t know if this is a commonly known thing, but I had a college professor that also owned a venue, and he told me it’s an industry-known thing that ICP use sugar-free Faygo so it’s easier to clean up. That’s one of my favorite things that I know. [laughs]

AC: No, that’s fascinating! [laughs]

BL: They said… We are watching our health. [laughs]

[We drift off into talking about what bands are included here, and I tell them any artist, living or dead, is fair game. Brittany proposes Cher as an idea, then we all realize Cher is not dead.]

AC: Not sure how well our sounds mesh, I don’t know if it fuckin’ matters - I would love to play with Bad Brains. That would never happen, but it would be such a dream.

BL: Okay. I’m gonna really show my scene era. Iwrestledabearonce, but with the original vocalist - I think her name is Krysta. They’re not a band anymore, but I would love to play with Iwrestledabearonce, fronted by Krysta. Yes. At Gathering of the Juggalos. With Cher. [laughs]

XK: I guess since I named those influences earlier, I can add those… Turnstile, who wouldn’t want to play with Turnstile. Candy. Imagine Turnstile, Meshuggah, Candy... Forced Order, because I just want to see them again…

JK: A bill that all the oldheads would really like. [laughs] Maybe throw a death metal band in there, like Creeping Death.

AC: Or Gatecreeper.

BL: 200 Stab Wounds. You know what? It’s the Gathering of the Juggalos. It’s a whole fest.

AA: You know what’s really sweet? I don’t think anyone’s ever combined their show before. Like, usually when I ask this question, each member does an individual thing, but you guys are collabing.

BL: [laughing] It’s a collaborative effort! Yes! … Also, I would like to say Flyleaf, but Lacey’s a little homophobic, so… Non-homophobic Lacey.

(Photo credit: Angel Tumalan)

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

XK: Just wanna keep writing right now, and hopefully record something that’s longer than an EP. … No promises. [laughs] We’re actively writing right now, future plans… Keep playing shows.

JK: Just trying to get out of the tri-state area.

XK: Yeah! We have aspirations for sure to get out to the East Coast, down South, to the West Coast… But no actual plans. For now, the plan is to write songs.

BL: We don’t wanna wait 4 years again to release music. So… Our goal is to do something by the end of this year. I think that’s a feasible goal, maybe?

AC: I think that’s achievable.

BL: We gotta manifest. 444! But yeah, a lot of dreamin’. [activate Darlene voice] Mama, I’m dreamin’. I’m a staaaar. [laughs] 

… But yeah. We need to discipline ourselves. ‘Cause I’m not gonna lie, our practice goes a lot like this, we get off-track sometimes. We’ll go in, go around and say “What’s new with you?” And then an hour goes by and we’re like, “Oh fuck, we need to write and practice and stuff.” [laughs] I think we’ve been getting better at that.

AA: Anything else you’d like to add?

[Jak S2C wanders in]

[audible exasperated sighs from the group]

BL: Oh my god, this fuckin’ guy… What’s a wrap-up note for the interview?

JW: Um… Happy birthday The Haze Begins…, and shouts out Resonating Zine.

AC: I do have a quick PSA… the Lake County scene has been more quiet than it should be, not a lot of DIY spots right now. If anyone has any leads, message me or Payasa, they’ll direct you to me. If you’re trying to start some shit, hit us up.

BL: Shoutout to any dogs that have passed while doing this interview.

AC: If you have a dog, we wanna pet it. Bring us your dogs.

JK: We would love to see some more shows happening in Lake County, especially since we rep our home county so much and usually just end up hitting Milwaukee, Chicago, and the surrounding areas. So yeah, like Casher said, if there’s any spots you know that you’d like to start something, we would love to try our best to make it happen with you.

BL: Yup! Start a band. Start a band, no matter what. Have a good time. Have fun with your friends.

Thank you again to Brittany, Casher, Jack, and Xander for taking this time to talk to me. I am so happy to exist in a scene where I get to see a band like Payasa regularly - and I’ve especially enjoyed watching them bloom further into themselves over these past few years.

You can keep up with Payasa via the links below:

Instagram | TwitterBandcamp

Listen to The Haze Begins... via Spotify below:


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