South Florida has a long and storied history of spitting game-changing heavy bands out from its steamy loins. Perhaps it is the inhospitable nature of the area that motivates bands to seek the road and promotes the creation of meaner, darker, and more emotionally charged material. Whatever the case may be, South Florida simply cannot be fucked with in terms of our output of influential and just plain intensely aggressive bands.
If you haven't heard of Palm Beach hardcore band Centuries, it's because the group tends to be married to the road in a way that can only be described as Hetfieldian. But between Centuries' manic self-funded touring, intense sound, and serious work ethic, people have started to take notice. People like Greg Anderson, guitarist for Goatsnake and Sunn 0))), who recently signed them to his taste-making label, Southern Lord Records.
As the buzz builds about the group on an international scale, we caught up with guitarist Vincent Conti to talk Europe and recording the group's debut LP with Kris Hilbert.
New Times: Congrats on signing with Southern Lord! What is it like signing with what is perhaps the premier label putting out heavy music right now?
Vincent Conti: It's still kind of unreal to us. I think once the album is done and out, we'll be able to look at it as what it is, but we feel unbelievably fortunate to have this chance.
How did you get involved with the label?
Honestly, Greg contacted us through email, maybe half a year ago, and basically asked what our plans were, and if we had more music he could get ahold of. So, we mailed him the records we had done until date and some of our plans for touring. At the time -- we were getting ready to leave for Europe -- after a quick email session, he got on the phone with us and suggested we put our a record on Southern Lord.
Can you compare touring in Europe with a hardcore band to touring in the States?
It's completely different! The European shows are much more organized in that the shows that are booked are promoted extremely well. The venues themselves will provide food that evening and the following morning, and you're guaranteed a place to stay.
Any idea why we haven't figured out a similar model stateside?
There is just so much negative stigma there against people that don't support touring bands, that if you do promote a show, these become your responsibilities without a doubt. Also, there is less of a stigma against older people in the scene; a lot of people there start bands into their thirties, and so they've been doing it for a lot longer, so some of these show spaces have been around for a very, very long time whereas here, a lot of the show spaces are pretty helter-skelter.
Are you guys still recording right now?
We finished recording at the end of this last tour, in Greensboro, NC, with Kris Hilbert at Legitimate Business.
Why did the band decide to work with Kris over some of the other major producers of the genre?
When we first played in Greensboro, we met Kris and the Torch Runner dudes, and he was just an amazing guy. We had a lot of great conversations before and after the show, so we had a great impression of him. When the Committed to the Ground LP came out from Torch Runner, it was exactly the sound we would like to have for our band. We felt he had a good grasp on the genre.
How did developing in South Florida helped to shape Centuries as a band?
Being from West Palm, it was kind of a weird place to come up in hardcore and it has changed so much. When I was meeting everyone in Centuries, we were just kids at that time, and we had a strong hardcore scene -- there were shows regularly.
At the time, it was a very heteronormative, hyper-masculine scene with a lot of tension from different groups. It wasn't a comfortable space, but, it was a strong hardcore scene, if you wanted to detach yourself from all of that. Now, there is virtually no hardcore scene in the area, and it's almost been like a complete disconnect for us in the past few years. We feel more closely to Miami and Tampa than we do to West Palm, and we've played two local shows in two years and even those were not in West Palm proper.
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