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PREMIERE: Contemplate the Arrogance of Mankind with Head Wound City's 'Born to Burn'

Frontman Jordan Blilie talks the supergroup's new single and making hardcore in 2016.

by Andrea Domanick
Mar 28 2016, 4:40pm


Photo courtesy Head Wound City

If you've finally recovered from the discordant brain melt that was Head Wound City's comeback single "Scraper," fear not—the LA/San Diego hardcore supergroup is here to scramble your eardrums anew with their ruthless new single, "Born to Burn." The band, comprised of Blood Brothers’ Jordan Blilie and Cody Votolato, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, and Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian of The Locust, are inching closer to their much-anticipated debut LP, A New Wave of Violence, which bows May 13 on VICE Records and arrives 11 years after the group's self-titled ten-minute EP.

We recently sat down with frontman Blilie for the latest episode of Noisey on Beats 1 to talk the new record, the band's aversion to irony, and making hardcore in 2016. Read on for a glimpse of what he had to say, and listen to the premiere of "Born to Burn" exclusively on Noisey below.

NOISEY: What's the story behind the first single, "Scraper"?
Jordan Blilie: We were on our way to our rehearsal space, and we had stopped to get coffee, and right next to the coffee shop was a dance studio, and the class was dancing in basically the pattern of the drums that you hear on the track. Nick recorded it and Gabe built his beat around that. So it was this very fortuitous coincidence that we happened to be passing this dance studio on our way to practice. It came together from what I remember, super quick. We were joking that it sort of reminds us of a cross between PiL and Pantera. You know, where it has this very rhythmic sense to it, and then it just drops into this riff that's very caveman. When we did all of the music with [producer] Ross [Robinson], I hadn't written any of the lyrics yet. I wanted to take what they recorded and then have some time afterwards, so I didn't really have anything in mind lyrically until Nick was doing his guitar tracks. In the first verses, you'll hear he's kind of making this feedback accents, and one of them, it just had this gnarly metal-on-metal tone to it that sounded like scraping. Hence, "Scraper." And then I just knew that's where I wanted the song title to be and then I just worked backwards from there.

How did "Born to Burn" come together?
JB: "Born to Burn" was one of the first songs that we wrote. It all felt like very immediate, like all the parts just kind of snapped into place. I think it started with Cody riff, and him and Gabe just working out a basic structure, and everyone adding in as they would play along. Lyrically, I was just kind of thinking about the arrogance of mankind, and what we do to this planet, what we do to each other. "Born to Burn" just seemed like a very apt way to express it.

What does making hardcore in 2016 mean to you?
JB: Me and Cody and Johnny and Morgan, we started the Blood Brothers, and then I did that for like, you know, a decade. And so it's been this huge part of my life. With this band, it had been awhile since I'd made a hardcore record. I'd really wanted something that the 15 year old me would love and the 34 year old me would love. And so that's kind of what my goal was, at least what I hoped we would achieve when we did this new Head Wound City record. When we recorded, it was one of the most fun recording experiences I've ever had. If you Google "a new wave of violence," it's just sort of pages and pages and pages of news headlines and pieces of news that would fit that descriptions, and it seemed very fitting for all the themes I had been writing about with all the lyrics, and it seemed very fitting as a statement for where we're at as a society and sort of, if you were to look at right here, right now, what is it that you would see?

Pre-order A New Wave of Violence here.

HEAD WOUND CITY ON TOUR:

3/28 – Oakland, CA; Oakland Metro
3/30 – Los Angeles, CA; The Satellite
3/31 – San Diego, CA; The Casbah
4/2 – Santa Ana, CA; Constellation Room @ The Observatory
5/14 – Nashville, TN; Exit/In*
5/15 – Columbus, OH; Ace of Cups*
5/17 – Pittsburgh, PA; Mr. Smalls Theatre*
5/18 – Cleveland, OH; Grog Shop*
5/19 – Chicago, IL; 1st Ward at Chop Shop
5/20 – Madison, WI; High Noon Saloon*
5/21 – Minneapolis, MN; Fine Line Music Cafe*
5/22 – Winnipeg, MB; WECC*
5/24 – Calgary, AB; Commonwealth Bar & Stage*
5/25 – Edmonton, AB; Starlite Room*
5/27 – Vancouver, BC; Imperial Vancouver*
5/28 – Portland, OR; Wonder Ballroom*
*w/ Savages

Andrea Domanick is the West Coast Editor of Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.