Hardcore grip

Halifax hardcore quartet The Hold puts up a united front, always, and puts out a split seven-inch, this weekend. Johnston Farrow grabs on.

photo Darryl James

Although local hardcore band The Hold makes its home on a label whose name symbolizes breaking up, there’s been a lot of marriage going on lately. The Hold’s KC Spidle—who happens to be a co-founder of the local independent label—and bassist Crystal Thili tied the knot on April 5. Ten days later they had a party to celebrate with friends who were more apt than grandma to like The Hold’s style of hardcore punk.

“We renewed our vows at Area 52 with a big party with some Divorce bands—Be Bad played, Gilbert Switzer,” says Divorce Records co-founder Spidle over coffee on a warm spring afternoon. “It was the better wedding in some respects.”

Another marriage of sorts will be celebrated when the label releases State of Nature, a split-seven inch record featuring the aggressive sounds of The Hold and the chaotic thrash of Gilbert Switzer. The two bands share the bill in Hell on Friday night.

“The Hold have this old-school hardcore approach and Gilbert Switzer have this old punk approach and those two genres have diverged over the years,” says Chik White, AKA Darcy Spidle, The Hold’s lead singer and KC’s brother. “This seven-inch is good for that reason. They both come from the same place essentially.”

The Spidle brothers started Divorce in 1999, but it wasn’t until The Hold—which came together in September 2003—released its debut disc Nosebleedassault in 2004 that the label started gaining ground on the east coast. Since then, The Hold has released the full-length Need and a live tour DVD, gaining a dedicated fanbase across the Maritimes.

Over the next few years, the brothers invited other groups that shared their vision, work ethic and exciting live show into the fold. Besides Switzer and The Hold, there’s the psych-punk of Be Bad, Darcy and KC’s other band Attack Mode, and Darcy’s experimental project Shitcook.

“I think it’s bands that are big on performance,” says White of the connections between the groups. “Really energetic, crazy shows. It’s hard to translate that into a record label sometimes. I think that’s where it starts: live energy.

“We really met through music, but we clicked so well,” he adds. “We share ideals as well as far as the DIY approach to music. We’re doing this as a lifestyle instead of a financial goal or something like that.”

Besides day jobs, members of The Hold play in a variety of other projects, most notably rising indie acts Dog Day, for Thili and KC, and Burdocks for drummer Christian Simmons. However, all the members of the band express their desire to keep the group at the top of their priority list.

“For The Hold, it’s a long-term thing,” Spidle says. “It’s not a buzz-hype band. It’s just a band that if we keep going for years and years, we’ll just be a recognized hardcore band. We just want to make a mark.”

Honest and loud, The Hold specializes in hardcore punk the way it was originally created, much like the music made by Black Flag in the early ’80s. White’s lyrics underpin the noise assault from Thili and Spidle with themes of personal and social issues while Simmons’s drumming provides a progressive flair earned from his indie-rock background. The live show—in which the quartet packs as strong an impact as possible within the constraints of minute-long songs—is just as enthralling.

Amongst tour plans for their other bands, The Hold will hit the road in August and open up for heroes NOFX in Dartmouth on the 14th. After hearing stories from friends in other hardcore bands, the group would also like to possibly tour Japan. Until that materializes, The Hold maintains more modest goals, such as releasing another seven- inch vinyl record within the next few months.

“Hardcore has all these connotations that it can be bad and we’d like to steer the band away from that as far what we do,” Darcy says. “We want to promote a genre that is very direct, political and meaningful, that maybe over the years has lost some of that. I feel like it’s the negative gangster rap versus the positive gangster rap. I’d like to be on the positive.”

The Hold/Gilbert Switzer 7-Inch release, April 28 at Hell’s Kitchen, 2037 Gottingen, 10pm, $5, 429-3020

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