By Kiel HumeSan Francisco, CA's Loma Prieta are one of the most exciting hardcore bands to come along in some time. Since 2005, they've managed to defy easy classification ― any label I could attach to them would instantly need qualification. Are they hardcore, screamo, post-hardcore or something else? The truth is they're all of these things taken to their extremes. Perhaps the German "uber" best describes their sound: at once a post-hardcore of transcendence, but also a hardcore taken to its excessive extreme, bringing all of the genre's subcategories together and, ultimately, blowing them up. The closest and best comparison one might make would be to At the Drive-In at their most mature; however, even this would be misleading since Loma Prieta are a significantly heavier band, with a foot more firmly planted in hardcore territory. On I.V., Loma Prieta create a masterpiece of kinetic emotion. This album shows the dynamism of a band redefining a genre; I.V. is a constantly shifting project, seamlessly weaving together melody, pummelling riffs, melancholic contemplation and an unmistakable Bay-area attitude. This album should be essential listening for anyone wondering what the future of hardcore is going to look like.
You guys are from San Francisco, where there's always been a strong community of hardcore and heavy bands. Has being part of a hardcore scene and community helped you guys creatively? Drummer Valeriano Saucedo III:The Bay area hardcore scene certainly does have a rich history that we have all been influenced by in some way. However, I would say that most Loma Prieta songs are created in a vacuum; we aren't really influenced creatively by other hardcore bands. How can anyone create a unique work by [listening to] only bands that are of the same genre? I think people would be surprised to learn that we draw as much from Mohinder and Antioch Arrow as we do from Beach Fossils and ?uestlove.
2012 marks year seven for you guys and you're making some of your best and most original music to date. Is the band where you wanted it to be after this period of time? You know, we never really set out with any goals in mind other than to write music that we are proud of and to tour places we've never been to, so in that sense, yes we are exactly where we wanted the band to be right now. We have always done things on our terms though and around our busy schedules, therefore maybe we aren't as popular as certain buzz bands that hire a booking agent and publicist after cutting a demo. But at the end of the day, we make music that we are really proud of, book all our own shows and can look ourselves in the mirror every night.
I.V. is your first record on Deathwish Inc. Did the move to a new label influence the record at all? No. The record was written and recorded before the idea of Deathwish putting it out even came about.
Much of your previous material was released on your label, Discos Huelga. Do you still work with other bands to release their material or has the label served its purpose by allowing you to release music and build a name for yourself to this point? We definitely still work with other bands. This year we are doing a new Skin Like Iron seven-inch and a twelve-inch by a new Bay Area band called Coma, featuring members of Loma Prieta and Graf Orlock. Although lately it's been difficult to devote as much time to the label as we would like to since we have been on tour now for the last six months. We recently hired a couple of friends to handle mail order while we are away, so that should help out a lot.
Despite being a fantastic genre claiming a lot of truly innovative, heavy bands, the term "screamo" has definitely lost some of its cache in recent years. The band's music clearly started as something close to screamo, but there's been a move towards a kind of "post" sound, whether it's hardcore, punk, screamo or something else. What do you guys think about the state of screamo today and is it a genre you'd identify as part of your roots? Honestly, I have no idea what screamo today is; it seems like a sub genre that no one really takes seriously and even the bands that call themselves screamo say it pretty jokingly. I think when we started the band we were listening to a lot of creative hardcore bands that people later called screamo, but never themselves identified with that label, like Hoover, Shotmaker and Current.
You guys synthesize a lot of diverse influences into something interesting and new, which makes your sound difficult to pin down. How would you describe I.V.? The thing about Loma Prieta is that no genre has ever been off limits for us; we really just write whatever feels right for a particular song. We have all been playing music together for so long now that we really know our roles, in terms of crafting the sound, and can communicate with each other effectively to give the songs a strong sense of cohesion and consistency.
Each member of Loma Prieta plays in other acts, so you obviously all lead very creative lives between your various endeavours. With other projects always on each member's radar, what was the goal for this record and how do you separate the creative vision for Loma Prieta from your other projects? The goal of this record was to write an album that would be more fulfilling to play live; we wanted to do something that would be more viscerally engaging than our previous records. I feel like we came close on Life/Less, but even that record had some songs that are too difficult to play live. Don't get me wrong, I love all of those songs, but it's been so great feeling like we can pick any song off of I.V., put it on a set list and play it just like on the album. In terms of separating the creative vision for the band, it has been easy: Loma have always been our primary focus. It's the band we started from scratch and are really proud of. This band have always been our primary form of expression. As a result, we have always just done our thing without paying attention to genres, critics or trends.
I.V. sees you guys pick up and extend your Trilogy songs into an additional three parts, ending at Trilogy 6. Do you guys think of each record or song as an unfinished project thematically, philosophically or musically? No, we think of each record and song as a complete, finished work. Although we do like to link our songs together, often in threes, this is the first time we've done it across albums.
What's next for Loma Prieta? Lots and lots of touring. 2012, we are doing a full U.S. tour, then Japan, then Europe, then another U.S. tour and then a Spain, Portugal, UK tour. Oh and we've started writing the next LP as well.