Homewrecker are part of a breed of hardcore bands that always seem to be on the road, only stopping to go to work so they can save up the cash to get back out there. On a moment of downtime earlier on in the year for the death metal-influenced hardcore mob, I caught up with Matt Barnum to talk about the band’s origins, saying farewell to Weekend Nachos, life on the road and upcoming music.
Jack: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time out of your day to speak to me. How are you doing?
Matt Barnum (Guitar/Vocals): What’s up Jack! Doing well, and I hope you’re doing the same!
Jack: Firstly, are you named after the Converge song?
Matt: We actually are not named after that song. [Laughs] We get asked that quite a bit, and it does make sense but back when we first started playing shows, we always had wild reactions and mostly played houses. One day a friend of ours was like “dude you should call yourselves Homewrecker” so we did! [Laughs]
Jack: Jane Doe turned fifteen last year, what does this album mean to you?
Matt: So I actually didn’t check out Converge until later, I think around 2010/2011 once someone asked if we were named after the song. Obviously the song I looked up was “Homewrecker” and it was instantly obvious why people would think we named ourselves after it. I would go back every now and then and jam Jane Doe but never gave them the time I should have. Since 2015 I’ve actually grown to like Converge much more after seeing them play live about 10/12 times or so. They write some amazing songs and that mixed with the energy they put into their set every night solidified my opinion of Converge being an awesome and influential band. I didn’t really answer your question, but hope that works. [Laughs]
Jack: How did Homewrecker form?
Matt: In 2008, the 4 of us (Me, Matt Izzi, Ryan Sposito and Brett Spencer) started jamming in Izzi’s basement and it just went from there. It started as weird 4 piece, I would be on vocals, while Ryan was on guitar and halfway through the set there would be a drum and bass interlude, and I would get on guitar and Ryan would do vocals. After a couple years Ryan became the main frontman and we added our friend Eli Yoder on 2nd guitar. More time a LP (Worms & Dirt via A389 Records) later, Ryan, Brett and Eli left the band in 2013. We gained longtime friends Steve Cray and Chris VanGorder to take the slots and released ‘Circle of Death’ in 2014 with Izzi and I both doing vocals rather than replacing Ryan with another frontman. Our current live line up is myself, Matt Izzi (Drums/Vocals), Carson Ward (Guitar) and Ezra Cook (Bass).
Jack: In Homewrecker there is a strong influence of death metal and hardcore, why did you decide to take this direction?
Matt: I grew up on punk music, Izzi grew up on metal. We both found hardcore when we were 16/17 and had several bands before Homewrecker that had a blend of all genres. We both became huge fans of older Cleveland hardcore bands and decided to take some of their influences and mixed them with ours.
Jack: What bands are the main influence?
Matt: Some main influences now are bands like At the Gates, Sepultura, Integrity, Ringworm, Discharge, Tragedy, Death, Grave, Lamb of God, Slayer and Obituary.
Jack: Your last release, Circle of Death, came out in 2014, are you happy with the response?
Matt: Yes we were very happy with the response to it! We were curious how it would go over since we were doing a new approach without a frontman. Also, I have to note that we recently had an EP come out this past October called ‘Extinction By Design’ via Good Fight Music.
Jack: Did you approach the album differently to Worms & Dirt?
Matt: With W&D we didn’t really get to have much group input when it came to writing. With Circle of Death we had a lot more group involvement and we also had that fire going to debut with Izzi and I on vocals. We wanted to kill it.
Jack: Is there a concept to Circle of Death?
Matt: Yup, it’s the concept of modern day life in America. It starts off with a bang like you’re being dropped into life. It takes you on a journey of hatred, drug abuse, corruption, confusion and frustration until it comes to a halt and you’re left with nothing but a slowing heartbeat.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Matt: It was very stressful at first because it was our debut as a four piece. Once we got to Developing Nations in Baltimore all the stress went away and we had a great/easy time recording. It went by really quickly and I wish we took some time to document the process to look back on.
Jack: Why do you release all your albums online for free download?
Matt: That’s funny, I just changed it back from being free to charging again before I read this. We had it free for a while just to let people take advantage of it and maybe more people would check it out knowing that it’s free. It worked out great and feel like it was a good idea!
Jack: In October you toured Europe in support of Weekend Nachos’ final European tour, how did the tour go? Was this your first time in any of the countries you visited?
Matt: The tour was so sick. It was our 3rd time coming to Europe but the first two tours were mostly hardcore/metal shows. This time it had a lot more punk shows and all the shows were wild. It was our first time playing in Slovenia and Czech Republic. We want to try and do at least one or two new countries every time we come to Europe.
Jack: What was it like to play their final show in the US?
Matt: As soon as John asked me if we could play I told him 100% yes no matter what. We knew they would get a good lineup for the shows (they did) and it was two nights of friends from all over the country and a few friends from overseas even came. Both shows went so smoothly and had great reactions for all the bands.
Jack: What will you miss the most about Weekend Nachos?
Matt: I’ll definitely miss their outlook and positive attitude towards hardcore/punk music. They have always been willing to go above and beyond to make sure everything was okay on our end whenever we did shows with them. When they first took us out for some shows in 2011 they evenly split their guarantee with us every night and we were able to use that money to record Worms & Dirt. Each one of them are the nicest, and have the same humor as us so they’ll probably go down forever as our favourite band to tour with.
Jack: A lot of your shows are filmed, do you mind that full sets of yours are being uploaded onto the internet?
Matt: It’s awesome that people want to film us. We don’t post many band promos so the only way people can see what we look like is through live shots. It also lets us see what we should change and improve on with our set.
Jack: What are your plans for 2017?
Matt: We just wrapped up doing some headline shows and supporting Expire on a leg of their final US tour that lasted Feb. 21st to March 10th. After that we play Columbus, OH with Nails, Toxic Holocaust, and Gatecreeper. For the rest of Spring we will work on finishing up our 3rd LP that will be coming out via Good Fight Music. Late May we fly out to the west coast to play Modified Ghost Fest in Vancouver and 71 Grind Fest in Colorado. The rest is still up in the air, we’ve confirmed some summer fest appearances, we are working on coming to Europe again in the Fall and also working on getting to new locations we haven’t been before
Jack: Finally, as a band that is constantly on the road, is it hard to tour with day jobs or do you not have them?
Matt: Izzi and I both have our side hustle going on. We run a horror shirt bootleg shop called Threads From The Crypt that does very well and the other two guys work at two of the best food spots in the Cleveland area: Barrio and Tommy’s, so if you’re ever in the area check it out! Both of those places are very understanding with the touring and one of the guys from Ringworm also works at Barrio. [Laughs]
Jack: Thanks for your time and come back to the UK soon!
Matt: Thanks for hitting us up!