For many musicians, “making it” means sold out crowds in arenas all over the country. Ypsilanti thrash-punks, Solitary Subversion, see it differently and have created their debut EP “Document” outside of these expectations. They are seeking success in basements and self run music spaces.
The local veterans are perfectly content with keeping things independent and more with a “do-it-yourself” mentality. “Document” is being entirely self-released, with the release show happening December 1st at the Dragon’s Den, a local basement venue and art house.
“I just know the DIY scene is a more natural fit for us than formal venues,” Alex, Solitary Subversion’s drummer, said, “We’re just trying to connect with people.”
While their approach is formal, the music is a force to be reckoned with. With a combined 40-plus years of experience in writing music and playing live between the four of them, Alec, Rob, Dan, and Kendall have set out to create music that they are not only proud of, but something they feel is truly unique in the current musical landscape.
Solitary Subversion has no interest in fitting itself into a box, taking notes from all kinds of musical directions and backgrounds. Pinning down a specific genre or style has proven difficult for the band. Alec said they kept picking “too many genres” to describe themselves, rattling off progressive rock, thrash metal, math rock, hardcore punk, post hardcore, eventually landing on a Thrash-Punk-Prog description that satisfies them.
Their EP “Document” is an intense listening experience, full of hugely distorted guitars screeching through chugged patterns and dissonant chords, and complex, high energy rhythm patterns. Kendall belts hard and fast over the insanity, pulling everything together into focus. Each song tells a story, full of evocative metaphors and punchy lines, soaring over the intricate rhythm work.
Solitary Subversion is a loud, immediate band, but they as a group do their best to avoid the “hardcore” label. “We avoid macho branding. We play aggressive music, but we don’t embody those ideals,” Alec said, “Just the intensity.”
Creating “Document” was a very calculated process, beginning with guitarist and songwriter, Dan. According to Kendall and Alec, the songs begin with Dan sending the band a finished structure, where Alec gets to “destroy whatever drum parts he wrote in there,” and Kendall adds passages from notebooks full of spoken word.
As the songs came together, Dan’s perfectionism came into play, with every moment being very thought over, leading to clashes between band members. This ultimately led to Rob stepping in as the new bassist after the record was finished. According to Kendall, Rob’s introduction to the band has given things a new life and was a much needed breath of fresh air and new perspective.
The recording process was just as meticulous. Rick Johnson, a longtime friend of Kendall’s, engineered, mixed, and mastered the record at Cold War Studios in Grand Rapids. Between Dan’s meticulousness, Rick’s knowhow, and the centered vision of what the band wanted with “Document”, was the difference between a professional, polished project, and something that sounded amateurish, according to Kendall and Alec.
“The pickiness has been to our benefit,” Kendall said, “The record sounds amazing.” While the creation of “Document” was a long time coming, the band members agree the patience taken was absolutely worth it. The band was started as a challenging project, and they are pleased with the results. They have become more driven than ever and more assured that this is the music they should be making.
“If I wasn’t doing this, I wouldn’t be in a band.” Kendall said. “I hope people notice our growth.”
“Document” comes out on bandcamp December 1st and will be released on other platforms in the near future.
UPDATE: They have released a single to their EP which can be found here: https://solitarysubversion.bandcamp.com/releases