There is an old adage about having your whole lifetime to write your debut record, but imagine being able to finally pour yourself into a collection of tracks to share with the world only to then be forced to sit on it... and wait.
Such is the frustrating reality for metallic hardcore outfit, Capra. First convening in 2016, the band was the personal effort of occasional collaborators guitarist Tyler Harper and drummer Jeremy Randazzo. As the story goes, Harper's aim in delving into the project was the direct result of emerging from a 90-day stretch in rehab. Itching to work out his personal angst through music, Harper find an ally in Randazzo, and the foundation for Capra began to cement.
After the standard growing pains of any new endeavor, the final incarnation of the band quickly resulted with the addition of bassist Ben Paramore and vocalist Crow Lotus. Confidence with the personnel, the band was able to tap into a cohesive chemistry early on that all seemed to coalesce around the notion of working through personal strife in song.
Candidly using their music as a platform to openly share and work through their inner demons and emotional struggles, Capra's sonic stamp was one that coupled an urgent sense of hostility, with a sincere sense of anguish. Packaged with a sound that tapped into the hardcore and punk ethos of the late 90s and early 2000s, there was a familiarity that piqued the audience's collective interest, but a substance apart from style that keep them coming back for more.
Energized and eager to share their brand to a much broader base, the band entered the studio in 2019 to record the 11-track confessional that resulted in their debut, In Transmission, then, were forced to keep that lightning bottled. It was training for a fight that never happened. It was prepping a speech with no pulpit. Capra was armed with the kind of fiery debut that was sure to bowl over the world of aggressive music, but were forced to practice patience as a virtue and pause.
Despite the frustration of having to hold off, Capra used the time to tend to the finishing touches of their introduction and remained confident that when the time was right, the world would know their name. As the slow trickle of singles began to surface, tracks like "Torture Ship" and "The Locust Preacher" functioned as direct hits - resonating with an audience receptive to band's blend of stylistic aggression... And the anticipation swelled.
After years of cutting their teeth on small stages and working to refine their sound, followed by months and months of waiting to finally share the culmination of that investment, the band is now staring down an April 23rd debut date. Underscoring the band's resilience and the enduring quality of their brand, the music and the message that make the fabric of Capra is an especially durable one.
The band's guitarist Tyler Harper shared some of his time to discuss how the band's In Transmission is the kind of introduction that was tough to holster, but remains confident is worth the wait.
Capra has talked about how this is intended to sound like a passion project. With having to sit on this record for so long, how has that passion changed?
Harper - Our passion and drive has only intensified. We never stopped writing and we never stopped working hard. It was such a weird time where everyone was collectively watching the world crumble. I think the hardest part was knowing that our music could help others during that time and not being able to do anything about it. We’re getting to a point where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we believe that now, more than ever, is a perfect time to finally release this album.
With how personal this record is and how the project really resulted from a very turbulent time in your lives, is it like opening old wounds in listening to these songs again?
Harper - Absolutely - but that’s a huge part of being a musician. These songs stem from so many different emotions that we’ve felt over the years and when we hit the stage, we channel that same aggression and energy. We want our fans to feel a piece of us that we were once afraid to show the world. There’s so many people struggling internally that never say a word and we’re here to scream those emotions right back at them - letting them know that it’s ok to let it out.
Do you feel like you need to have real trauma, real hurt to make authentically angry music like this?
Harper - It definitely makes it a lot easier to express your true self through music when you’ve felt life powerfully kick your ass. I would imagine that there are tons of bands and artists out there that have never truly felt pain and are writing aggressive, angry albums but there’s a level of authenticity and realness that can be easily heard in songs written by someone that has the scars.
Your hardcore pedigree shines on this LP but there are elements of other heavy styles of music that diverge from a traditional hardcore record. What it an intentional effort to bring different accents to the table or were these just songs that evolved naturally?
Harper - A little of both! Each song is its own ride. We definitely had the goal to blend as many sounds and influences that we could on one album but the songs also developed naturally. I still joke to this day about who wrote “The Locust Preacher” because it kind of just wrote itself. We all come from different musical backgrounds but we also share a ton of influences that ring heavier in our sound. Every new song starts as an idea of what we want to do but then we let it form its own identity, take its course, and dictate when it’s finished.
Courtney from Spiritbox, Lauren from Sharptooth, Emma from Dying Wish - it feels like there is a sea change in the culture of heavy music and women really are at the forefront of that. Where do you feel like Capra exists in that regard?
Harper - We hope we’re standing tall on top of that mountain of power right along with them, but we still have a lot of work to do. The world needed more women in heavy music and it’s such an amazing thing to see happening. We’re grateful to be amongst some of the best in the game and it’s an honor to show how powerful women are every day.
To be called metallic hardcore at one point meant not metal enough for the metalheads and not core enough for the hardcore fans.Do you feel like the gatekeeper culture is becoming less of an obstacle for the new generation of heavy artists?
Harper - I’ve never been a huge fan of labeling and subgenres, but I do think gatekeeper culture needs to kick rocks. What’s the point of only liking one specific type of music? I think Metallic Hardcore fits our sound quite well. We’re not full-on metal and we’re not just a hardcore band. Our music is a blend of every heavy genre and I think we offer something for everyone.
Given how unprecedented the last year has been, do you feel like the climate is especially right for heavy, angry music?
Harper - There’s so much frustration and uncertainty right now that it’s the perfect time for heavy, angry music. It’s the soundtrack of the times. Despite the circumstances, it’s incredible that we’re experiencing this together, as a planet, and can take ourselves to a better place through music - which is why we’re so excited to release this album when people need it the most.
Not being able to tour in support of such an important release is a very unique problem to have. How does the band plan to celebrate such a milestone with In Transmission?
Harper - It’s certainly the most upsetting aspect of this release and we’ll definitely find a way to celebrate in our own way. Maybe we’ll load up the van, drive around for a few hours, carry our gear up and down a flight of stairs, and then load it back up.
'In Transmission' from Capra arrives April 23rd via Black Light Media and can be pre-ordered - HERE