Ride or Die: Speed Aim to Represent Hometown Hardcore at Knotfest Australia

Ride or Die: Speed Aim to Represent Hometown Hardcore at Knotfest Australia

- By Creative Team

Vocalist Jem Siow reflects on the band's meteoric rise in the last two years while looking ahead to their wild card appearance at Knotfest Australia and their upcoming U.S. tour with Knocked Loose.

Photo by James Hartley / Words By Kevin Diers

Just about two years ago, I spoke with Jem Siow - vocalist of Sydney, Australia based hardcore band Speed from his home via Zoom. At the time, he was looking forward to the band’s first time playing the U.S at Sound and Fury Festival.

Fast forward to present day and Speed is one of the most talked about bands in the world of hardcore. The Sound and Fury appearance Siow was anticipating was one of the wildest sets of the weekend. They returned the following year (2023) and received an even crazier reaction.

“Australia hardcore hasn't really been on the map, “ Siow says. “As an Australian band, we have lived within our own parameters of what's possible based on what’s been achieved by our forefathers. And the things that have happened in the last year have completely surpassed any dream or expectation.”

Chatting with me from his home via Zoom once again, Siow looks back on all that’s happened for his band in this short amount of time.

“The easiest way I can say it without any kind of exaggeration is that it has been wholly life changing,” Siow explains. “It’s very, very, very inspiring for ourselves, because all we've ever tried to do is just be authentic to what we love and what we feel passionate about. The success that we've experienced in the last year and a half seems to just be a testament to staying true to your identity and to your values. And somehow, sometimes it's recognized. And sometimes it's felt.”

Speed is gearing up for their first full U.S tour supporting Knocked Loose. Many of the dates have already sold.  On March 21st, 23rd and 24th Speed will take the stage in their home country to play alongside heavy hitters like Pantera, Disturbed and Lamb Of God for Knotfest Australia.

“It's kind of a first opportunity for us to just to branch out a little bit from our own territory, “ Siow says. “Speed has pretty much only ever played hardcore shows in Australia. The only time we've played a support show was with Turnstile last year. So Knotfest is going to be the first time in Australia that we're playing to a broader heavy music audience. It's just a cool opportunity just to kind of fly the flag or hardcore amongst the metal heads.”

While he grew up on metal bands like Lamb of God, Siow isn’t quite sure what to expect from a Speed set at a big metal fest like Knotfest. All he knows is they’re going to keep it genuine and authentic.

“We're just gonna go out there and just go as hard or go harder than the last time,” Siow says.

“We don't really have too many expectations. I think the perception of hardcore where it exists right now in the heavy metal heavy music realm in Australia… it's very different to how it probably would have been five or ten years ago… But now with everything that's happened so quickly in the way that music has just changed, and also the perception of Speed in Australia. It's hard for me to know what to expect. But I also don't really care. All I'm focused on is we're just going to go and do us as we always do. Whatever comes from it is meant to happen.”

There’s no sign of slowing down for Speed – no pun intended. Without dropping any specific details, Siow confirmed the band has finished their first full length album and will be releasing it sometime in 2024. The goals for the band have changed quite a bit since the first time they got together to play. In fact, early on they made a promise that they would never let the band interrupt their normal everyday life. They would never pursue it full time. But considering how much things have changed in the past 18 months, they broke that promise.

“It was undeniable that we had to take this opportunity to like, really do something with it, you know?” Siow says.

Siow is far from braggadocious. His humble way of speaking about the importance of growing up in his scene and the impact that the Australian hardcore community has had on his life is heartfelt and honest. That being said, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the rise of Speed has put his scene on the map more than ever before.

“I guess a lot of people around here have echoed this sentiment to us where they say that Speed has reinvigorated hardcore in Australia”, Siow explains. “It's weird for me to say, ‘Oh, yeah, we did it.’ I truly believe that it is a communal effort. Speed could only do what we've done because in the previous years, there were labels like Last Ride records, and Life Lair Regret Records that were putting their head down and working through the high times and the low times. Without infrastructure like that we wouldn’t be able to exist.”

With all signs leading to more and more success, Speed’s one true goal continues to stay the same.

“Our mission undoubtedly has always been to keep the wheels turning on Australian hardcore, to promote Australian hardcore and to create a thriving infrastructure for Australian hardcore,” Siow says. “Speed as a band has never spent a cent on marketing. We just rely on the organic nature of the passion and the feeling and the community to do what it does. And we're definitely seeing a lot of people kind of tap in and kind of realize the essence of what makes community and what makes music what it is and what it makes it meaningful...So, Australia hardcore is fucking awesome in the moment. It's thriving. We’ve still got some ways to go, but it's in a good place.”


SPEED will perform at Knotfest Australia next month along with Pantera, Lamb of God and many more. Get tickets and info - HERE

SPEED will return to the US as support for Knocked Loose along with Loathe and Show Me the Body. The tour begins in April. A list of dates and cities can be found below. Get tickets - HERE

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