Patience is a virtue and time is gift.
For the Kentucky crew of Knocked Loose, 2019 marked a breakout year in the band's ascending trajectory with the release of the universally lauded A Different Shade of Blue.
The album straddled the immersive, communal ethos of hardcore, with the volatility and heft of metal in a way that saw the band bridge the subcircles and resonate across genre divides. Knocked Loose went from a buzz band to a bonafide powerhouse in what will likely be regarded as a seminal release in the band's still developing storyline.
Underscoring the strength of that 2019 full length, Knocked Loose remained relatively quiet during the pandemic's darkest days and yet still managed to evoke a sense of anticipation of what was to follow when the world opened up again. Last spring, the band would resurface with their Live From the Blue Room stream and the excitement that generated from a streamed performance was like if the last year and half had never interrupted the band's steamroll.
Hitting the ground running, the band rolled out a subsequent live itinerary that saw them fluidly transition from packed intimated venues of their most passionate followers, to massive multi-day mega festivals like Louder Than Life and Knotfest Iowa - in which the band consistently emerged as one of the standouts of the day. Equipped with a brand of artistry and aggression that positions the band ahead of the curve, Knocked Loose took a step back while the world was on pause and still managed to out pace their contemporaries with a catalog that only got better as it marinated.
While fans assumed the band was just riding out the halt in normalcy like the rest of the world, Knocked Loose maintained their proven work ethic quietly by doing what they do best - crafting bold, brilliant, hefty music. Emerging from the layoff, Knocked Loose has delivered a surprise EP with an undeniably ambitious project entitled, A Tear In the Fabric of Life. The six-track effort, produced by revered talent Will Putney, offers the next chapter in Knocked Loose's growing anthology of aggression. Complete with an accompanying stunning animated short film, the extended play builds on the groundswell of A Different Shade of Blue, while allowing the band to explore new creative terrain in archive of heavy.
Detailing the narrative of the project, Knocked Loose frontman Bryan Garris explains,
"It’s a story about extreme grief and the levels a person is willing to go through to get rid of it. The story follows a main character through a traumatic car crash late one night in the woods that leaves his partner deceased, and from there you spiral with him into the depression and guilt that comes with being the cause of something so detrimental. This is the first time we really dove in and tried to create something sonically that evokes a different range of emotions and over all something that introduces tension and anxiety with a massive pay off.
The story is told not only through words but through the music as well, which proved to be our biggest challenge in writing. Lyrically this story ended up being much more personal than we initially intended. We started with the idea to tell a fictional story but throughout the process, I found ways to incorporate real feelings of loss and mourning, as well as anger and self doubt. I’ve always been a very personal writer and this was originally a step away from that, into something more artistic. But in the end, it was just as therapeutic as writing a regular Knocked Loose record, and I think you’ll be able to hear that."
The misconception would be that Knocked Loose used the pandemic to be productive. What A Tear In The Fabric of Life clearly suggests is that the pandemic never derailed the band's focus in consistently pushing the envelope. With the band's most recent six tracks, Knocked Loose has established their importance as contributors to the modern landscape of contemporary heavy music. A Tear In the Fabric of Life - both in style and substance - asserts a new level of output from the band that was never about keeping busy, but raising the bar.
Combined with the animated short film from Magnus Jonsson, the scope of this latest entry wasn't some kind of creative itch - it was methodical show of force - a creative investment that reiterates why Knocked Loose is championed so vehemently.
Bryan Garris further shared the genesis of the important release, the band's continuously rising stock, and how the band knew early on in the pandemic that their next step would be an especially pivotal one.
A Different Shade of Blue is still making Knocked Loose converts - why did you guys decide go the surprise EP route and not the more traditional roll out with a bit more fanfare?
Garris - It was very important for us to take advantage of the down time that last year brought us. We’ve always been on the go, but with everything we had grinding to a halt we wanted to hunker down and focus on something a little more artistic. A project that we believe needed to be consumed all at once. So instead of releasing one single, we wanted them all out. And I think the break really allowed us to focus on that instead of stressing about what comes next and putting that into a traditional album roll out.
Between the band’s livestream Live From the Blue Room and your recent run of shows - how has getting back on a stage and in front of fans impacted your songwriting?
Garris - For me personally it drives most of my inspiration. Nothing is better than feeding off the energy of the crowd and living in that moment together. I definitely take the notes of what works in a live atmosphere and bringing to the writing sessions.
Knocked Loose is the kind of band that reinstates with the hardcore community and the now the metal contingent. What do you feel has been the common denominator that has given the band that kind of broad appeal?
Garris - I like to think of it as two things, one it’s just heavy. No gimmicks or bells and whistles. We’re just heavy, aggressive and in your face and I think that any fan of heavier music can relate to that, and I think people outside of heavy music are fascinated by that. And two, I think we’ve always been level headed, approachable people. We’re out on the road to play sick shows and make friends, and people see then geniality in that and get behind it.
"I AM WITH YOU NOW" - During a time where so much of aggressive music is riddled with angst and hostility, especially coming out of such a turbulent time - a statement like that seems uniquely optimistic. Why did this statement become the tease for the release?
Garris - It’s a lyric hidden through out. A very important part of the story where the character is face to face with a ghost. We wanted to use these lyrics when promoting the record because after a year and a half of sitting at home waiting for things to come back, we’re here and we made it. I am with you now.
When did things get set in motion for this EP and is there any thought to this functioning as a bridge between A Different Shade of Blue and the next KL full length?
Garris - We knew pretty early during lockdown that we needed to get together and start writing. Didn’t know what it was for yet. But we got a cabin deep in the woods of Pigeon Forge and started banging out songs and sculpting the concept.
The band played a tight sweaty chaotic set at venue the size of a big living room in Chain Reaction and the next day played a massive festival stage in Aftershock - how has transition been in going from a band that thrives in no barricade situations to a band that is doing fly outs for mega festivals?
Garris - I love being faced with the challenge of communicating to different crowds. I like that knocked loose can exist and thrive no matter where you put us. And we will continue to grow in whatever direction we choose.
A Tear In the Fabric of Life is currently available via Pure Noise Records - HERE