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While it might seem counterintuitive to make music designed to be uncomfortable, there’s a certain joy to be found in music that just doesn’t sound nice. This maxim has rung true for a long time in D.C., and local noise-punk quartet Birth (Defects) embraces the beauty of ugly music on “Forged,” the B-side from its forthcoming 7″.
“I think when the band sort of really became a thing,” says vocalist Sean Gray, “we thought the most ‘punk’ thing to do is to make the listeners really pay,” in much the same way that D.C. noise-rock band No Trend did in the 1980s. That mentality absolutely shows on “Forged,” as the song hammers just two guitar notes over and over before decaying into feedback in just under two minutes.
Paralleling the cacophonous music, emotional discomfort takes center stage in the lyrics. “I just got out of a situation where there was emotional manipulation going on,” says guitarist Rob Savillo, “so writing the 7″ was about moving past all that stuff and exploring the ideas of emotional control and how to break out of it.”
There’s a moment halfway through the song where the guitars fade away for a few seconds before coming back stronger and louder. For Savillo this moment represents finally breaking away from emotional abuse, while Gray points to how those few seconds of silence threaten to rend the song in two. “The song feels like it’s going to fall apart,” he says.
“I’m really into the idea of wanting to push the listener,” Gray continues. Citing the fact that the band practices at full volume in a small cinderblock room, he points out that “we want to make ourselves uncomfortable when we write this stuff, so I want that to translate to the audience as well.”
Photo by Megan Lloyd