Interview with Stephen Hayduk of New Plague

New Plague 2015 EP Cover Art (1)

Hardcore music is about to meet its new epidemic. The new wave of insanity called New Plague will annihilate the masses. This rising band is already catching the attention of new hosts, and when it sinks its teeth further in the flesh it will become unstoppable. New Plague stands out for several qualities; their signature ferocious sound crunches into a somber atmosphere. Each song is brusque but is filled with aggression. The world will experience a whole new brutality with New Plague.

New Plague recently released their debut self-titled E.P. This dismal collection of merciless tracks will only provoke the listener. In short, New Plague is on a mission to force the world to rot. This E.P. is the introduction to this madness. The virus can only grow.

I was able to interview guitarist Stephen Hayduk. In the interview Stephen discusses his role in the band, how the band formed, and what they have planned for the future.

TNF: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

Stephen: My name is Steve and I play guitar in New Plague. I grew up in a shitty town in eastern Long Island right along the transition from central [Long Island] suburbia to eastern [Long Island] bumblefuck farmland. I’ve been playing in metal/hardcore/grind bands since I was a teenager, most of which were absurd and didn’t go anywhere. I have been working as a civil engineer since 2007 (playing music unfortunately doesn’t pay the bills), and currently I’m studying in upstate New York and graduating in May.

TNF: Who are some of your influences?

Stephen: As far as guitarists that I am influenced by, Kurt Ballou and Brian Izzi for sure. They are both huge to me. Musically, I am influenced by all the Deathwish bands like Oathbreaker, Converge, Rise and Fall, etc. I was big into all the Three One G records type bands like The Locust [and] Some Girls and Daughters for quite awhile, and they left some residue on my writing style. Then there’s bands like Curl Up and Die, The Secret, Black Breath, Trap Them, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Russian Circles — all of whom I really respect and admire. Basically anything that has an aggressive and heavy backbone that pushes the envelope with solid musicianship and enough spontaneity and creativity to keep me guessing the first few times I listen to an album is where I draw influence.

TNF: In your words can you describe your band New Plague?

Stephen: I always have a hard time when it comes to describing my band’s music and I really suck at explaining the band’s philosophies, etc. New Plague is basically four dudes who have a general disdain for things who write emotionally driven music. We aim to write tragic and relentless songs that hopefully people can identify with. We don’t have any specific agenda or anything; we just really love doing what we do.

TNF: How did the band form?

Stephen: New Plague formed from the ashes of another band I was in called VOWS. VOWS started back in 2011 with me and three other guys who I had previously either played in bands with before or had played shows with before. We wrote a few E.P.’s and played a bunch of shows and then called it quits. We reformed in 2013 with some new members and a more focused idea and sound and came up with New Plague. Initially, both of the record labels we are currently working with were actually interested in working with VOWS. Both Elliott Grant (Frail Abuse Records, UK) and Daniel Craig (Fly the Light Records, U.S.) have been really awesome and patient with us during the whole transition and everything. We are really grateful to have these guys with us. The E.P. we just released would not have happened without those guys. Basically all of New Plague’s existence has been a shitty long distance thing where we only play while I am back home on Long Island during breaks from school. But that is coming to an end soon and we are all really excited to really push this thing as far as it will go when I move back home to Long Island in May.

TNF: You guys describe yourselves as blackened hardcore. How do you develop your sound in the way it fits this description?

Stephen: My take on blackened hardcore is that it seems to be the genre where the music doesn’t exactly fall into one specific category, so it is just pushed under the title of “blackened hardcore” or “metallic hardcore” for lack of a better term. It basically takes influence from bits and pieces of a bunch of different metal and hardcore styles. We just try to do our own thing and write whatever comes naturally. We don’t really focus on writing to a specific style. I’m sure New Plague will change a lot as we progress. Maybe there will be a new name for the genre at that time.

TNF: In your opinion what’s the metal and hardcore scene like in New York?

Stephen: The hardcore scene on Long Island used to be huge until about ten years ago, give or take. Every week there used to be some touring bands coming through and everybody came out and it was awesome, minus the tough guy bullshit and the fights. Now there are only a few operations like Obnoxious Noise Gigs, East Coast Collective, and the guys at Amityville Music Hall booking decent shows on Long Island and holding it together — thank god for them. The metal and hardcore scene seems to be thriving in Brooklyn though. More times than not I’m driving into Brooklyn to St. Vitus, Acheron or the Music Hall of Williamsburg to go to a show. I can’t really speak for the rest of New York though.

TNF: You recently released your self-titled E.P. What was the process like to create it?

Stephen: Most of the E.P. was written while I was up here at school in Rochester. I have a little home studio in my apartment with an electric drum kit which is where I spend most of my spare time if I’m not working. I spent countless hours in my little studio and wrote upwards of thirty songs in 2013. We ended up shaving that down to seven tracks for recording. Only six songs are on the New Plague E.P., but we recorded a seventh track which we are looking to throw on a compilation or something. I came home for summer break at the end of May 2014 and we worked our asses off putting all the details and final touches on the E.P. We drove down to Baltimore in early August and tracked the album at Developing Nations Studio with Kevin Bernsten. He was really awesome to work with. Kevin is very talented at what he does as an audio engineer, and very patient I might add. He was also an awesome tour guide (apparently not all pizza outside of New York City is complete shit). I think we tracked the E.P. in three or four sessions, split up on weekends throughout August. Then it was shipped out to Audiosiege for Brad Boatwright to work his magic.

TNF: Have you guys played live? If so, discuss your live performance? If not, do you guys have any shows booked?

Stephen: We played a random show in the beginning of last summer, but it was a kind of [an] under-the-radar type of thing. We all had the itch to play live so we did. I’m not really sure what our live performance looks like from the perspective of the audience. All I can say is that we are angry and energetic. We play loud. We haven’t played any shows since then because we have been putting all of our focus on this E.P. that we just released. It’s been quite the process. We do have a few shows booked for this summer already and we plan on booking a bunch more, plus some small northeast weekend tours for late 2015.

TNF: Do you have any other plans for 2015?

Stephen: The rest of this year we are going to focus on getting ourselves out there and playing as many shows as we can, we miss it badly. [And] next winter we plan to hibernate again and write a full length album to release in mid to late 2016.

Headbang or GTFO is currently streaming New Plague’s debut E.P. Check it out here:

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