INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY JOE FITZPATRICK
Though they have only been together for a little longer than a year, the members of REALITY CHECK are quickly becoming one of the most popular hardcore bands in the Northern Virginia region. Though the area is not as inundated with hardcore bands as more populated areas in Southern Virginia, the band is hoping that will change soon. I had the chance to visit their band practice to talk to the band, which consists of the guitarists Frank and Jeremy, their vocalist Keenan, their fill-in drummer Andy (not actually in the band), and their bassist Brandon. We talked about how fans have been responding to their music, what people can expect from their new record, and some of the most underrated bands in the Virginia hardcore scene.
Earlier this year you released your debut demo. What has the response been to it in the local hardcore scene?
Frank: I haven’t heard much, but people seem to like it. It makes my friends want to punch other people in the face.
Jeremy: Yeah, it’s fun to watch my friends beat up each other. At least they have heard it (laughs).
Andy: I lost part of my tooth at the show we played with AGITATOR in Winchester.
Frank: Were you hurt during just our band’s set?
Andy: No, I was hurt during every band (laughs).
Why did you decide to name your band REALITY CHECK?
Jeremy: It’s from XZIBIT lyrics (laughs).
Frank: It’s not from the WARHOUND album. Everyone thinks we used it because of that.
Andy: We stole it from this band from New York, and now we got beef with them (laughs).
I know you all have played in other bands before this, but why do you feel like this band has been more successful?
Frank: All my old bands suck (laughs).
Jeremy: We got the right people, and more people show up to support us.
Brandon: Some people have even told me that they come out to shows just to see us play.
Frank: I just found out today that our buddy Matty Breen lost his virginity while wearing a REALITY CHECK shirt (laughs).
Andy: This band sucks, and I’m not in the band (laughs).
What can fans expect from your upcoming record?
Frank: Heaviness and better sounding songs.
Jeremy: A lot faster stuff too.
Frank: I am really proud of what we have written so far. We have five new songs that we are going to release on a 7 inch.
Brandon: Does the intro count as a song?
Keenan: Well four and a half songs (laughs).
What is your favorite song to play live, and why?
Jeremy: “Time Erased” is really fun to play.
Frank: I really like “Day After Day” mainly because everyone moshes so hard for the riff and then stops when the drum part comes in (laughs). They’re like, ‘Aww yeah! That riff!’ and then nothing. It’s really funny to me.
Brandon: I really like “Day After Day” too because I can relate to it.
What is “Day After Day” about?
Brandon: It’s about putting in the hours to get by and to pay your bills.
Keenan: But no matter how much you work, you are still broke.
Do you have any plans to tour in 2014?
Frank: I would love to.
Brandon: Fingers crossed.
Jeremy: Yeah that would be cool, but I think we would want to do weekend tours and start slow.
Frank: I just want to play Pennsylvania, especially in York and Philly. AGITATOR, MENACE, ROCK BOTTOM, and BENCHPRESS have all offered to put us on shows up there, but there hasn’t been much follow through with that. Hopefully we can set something up soon.
What are your thoughts on the local hardcore scene?
Jeremy: There are bands everywhere, but you may have to travel to see them.
Frank: There isn’t much of a Nova hardcore scene.
Brandon: Also, bands in other cities don’t get as much recognition as bands in bigger areas like Richmond or Virginia Beach.
Frank: We usually have to travel at least an hour to go play shows, but Hank Haus in Winchester is the shit!
Jeremy: Yeah, also Roanoke is cool, and no one should overlook it. Touring bands have to be invited out to play there because it’s not somewhere they would normally stop, but it’s a great scene and everyone there is really cool.
Frank: All the venues there are DIY, but it’s tight, and we have never seen one fight at a show there. Everyone is there for the music and to have fun.
Who are some underrated bands from Virginia that you guys think more people need to hear?
Jeremy: TIEBREAKER and TRUE WORTH.
Andy: RANDOM HOLIDAY!
Keenan: WAR BORN has a new record coming out soon. WIRETAP has new shit coming out too.
Frank: STRANGLEHOLD from Virginia Beach is underrated only because they are young, but their music is tight as shit.
Keenan: Also, IN SEARCH OF REASON. They are a metalcore band, and their drummer has filled in for us many times.
Do you guys have any upcoming shows?
Frank: This Saturday [November 2nd], we are playing with EARTH CRISIS at Café 611 in Frederick, MD. Come out and punch somebody in the face (laughs).
For more updates on REALITY CHECK and their upcoming record, follow them on Twitter, “like” their Facebook page, and listen to their demo on Bandcamp.