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Interview: The Bearer

10 July 2022

Intense and furious, The Bearer comes at you in full force, bringing to mind bands like Converge and Trap Them. Based out of Austin TX, this fierce threesome rages with heavy and ferocious riffs, pounding drums, with complex time changes and vocals with the same intensity as the music. This is hardcore punk the way it was meant to be played – in your face, heavy as hell and unapologetic. Just when you think a track is sticking to a template, something unexpected happens, keeping it interesting but never taking away from the overall attack of the music.

I was pleased to get a chance to speak with drummer/vocalist Colton Siegmund about the new record Chained to a Tree (available on vinyl via link below), which covers topics ranging from organized religion, gentrification and the effects of capitalism:

For anyone who may be hearing about your band for the first time, can you tell us how long you’ve been around, a bit about how your sound developed, and past and upcoming releases?

We’ve been a band since 2016, we formed out of ashes of a previous project that myself and our guitar player, Michael were in together. We wanted an outlet for the heavier, more chaotic, yet more structured songs we were writing. We all have very different music tastes but have a few that we all agree on and I think that is what formed our sound and keeps it interesting for us and those who choose to listen. In 2016 we released our debut Self-Titled EP, the year after that we released a 7” EP entitled “Fiction”, in 2018 we released a four song EP entitled “Adapt | Adjust” and in 2020 we released a single called “Drowned In The Baptistry” which was the first release with the current line-up and myself writing and recording the vocals.

You’ve talked about billionaires taking over your hometown of Austin TX in recent years. Are there positive effects of this, or only negative?

As someone who has lived just outside of the city for most of my life and still does, there are positives for me. Things are getting closer to me as far as entertainment, decent grocery stores, etc… For the folks who live in the city though, I don’t see many positives. Sure there are a multitude of new restaurants, stores, experiences but those come at the expense of the Austin staples being pushed out, the native residents no longer being able to afford the cost of living and crime rates rising due to the vast divide in wealth.

So do you think it is fair to say the “positives” or perhaps “conveniences” of this gentrification do not outweigh the negative impact of the expanding inequality?

Correct, a few conveniences for me don’t make up for the tough times a lot of my friends are going through who are still trying to make it in the city. Plus, other than the convenience, I live out in the country for a reason, I don’t like things getting closer to me in the long run.

How do you see the city changing in the next 10 years?

Austin is small. I don’t know that the city itself can grow much more. We’ve seen the suburbs booming for the last 10 years and showing no signs of slowing. At some point it’s all gotta fall apart like it always does, this will just be a lot bigger fall than we’ve seen around here before. The biggest thing for us is the entertainment district. All of our favorite venues haves closed down in the past 5 years. There are some that have taken their place but they are scattered and few. It’s a lot harder for a small hardcore band to book a show here now than it was pre-Covid. I can see things moving out of Austin proper to a more affordable place to run a small DIY venue.

You’ve said that The Bearer’s “main message is that every human being deserves respect, to be cared for and represented.” What are some steps to be taken toward this goal?

On a personal level I think just listening to people is the first step. Yes there are people with very terrible outlooks and opinions that I disagree with but I find most of the time if you hear people out you have a lot more in common than you would initially think. Most people are fed up with the same things, just have different approaches on how to fix them, On a government level, UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE. It is ridiculous that in one of the wealthiest countries in the world that people cannot afford to get the care they need.

Your single “Let It Burn” deals with Colton’s experience of feeling betrayed by organized religion. Was that an isolated experience, specific to one church, or do you think it is the nature of all religions to exploit people?

I don’t have a problem with religion at all. If there is something that gives people hope and a purpose and doesn’t hurt themselves or anyone around them, then I give my full support. What I do have a problem with is when money, numbers, and “saving” people gets involved. Religion is and should be a personal thing. Something you can share with people you care about and when asked about but not something that should be packaged and sold and should absolutely have no place in government.

How specifically do you feel you were betrayed by organized religion?

When I was a teenager I was forced to cut some very special and important people out of my life if I wanted to stay in the role I was in because I wasn’t allowed to have personal relationships with females when I was a “leader” in the church. The damage that has done to both those people and myself still exists today and is something I truly regret and wish I hadn’t fallen for.

You mention the importance of separation of church and state, yet there are many people in this country that have started to outright reject these founding principles and claim we are a Christian nation. And these are the people that refuse to provide Universal Healthcare, which one would think, if they knew scripture, specifically the new testament; would be a Christian goal.

Absolutely agree. I feel a lot of the modern christian church outright rejects the most important part of scripture and picks and chooses the things that make them feel good and give them power over others.

Colton, as a drummer who sings, who are the greatest singing drummers of all time?

The main inspiration for me growing up was Aaron Gillespie of Underoath. These days I’m not a huge fan of his drumming style but I don’t think I would be where I am today without his influence. Outside of our scene there are the greats like Phill Collins and Dave Grohl but I was never super into drummers who sang. I just ended up here by accident! Ha!

Check out Chained to a Tree, the incredible and intense new album by The Bearer:

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