Interview with Misgiver drummer Joey Lazillotto | By Hutch
Elmira, N.Y.—as touted by Misgiver’s drummer, Joey Lazillotto—is located directly in the “middle of absolute nowhere.” Two hours from any major city, the remote isolation of Elmira may explain the conditions that forged the dark, strained sounds of Misgiver. The hardcore band blends strains of grind, crust, sludge and all other ugly forms of music, and their new LP, Cruelty of Life, embrace the isolated, cynical trappings of the bleak town that houses two maximum security prisons. “It’s what we’re known for,” Lanzillotto concedes. The album saw light on July 29 via Pennsylvania’s Innerstrength Records.
For most hardcore bands, writing an album is a labor of love, as no material or financial reward will likely come in return. Cruelty of Life is specifically the child of guitarist Paul Lares, who wrote and recorded everything on the album. Lanzillotto praises his friend and bandmate, saying, “He nailed it. He has his own studio in his bedroom. He did everything from start to finish.” That process took the band six months, but it was six months of complete autonomy. “We debated doing it with our usual recording guy, but Paul really wanted to do it on his own,” Lanzillotto adds. “I can’t even imagine how much time Paul put in on this. Now that it’s finished, he is bored as hell. He has nothing to do.”
Lanzillotto expresses gratitude to Misgiver’s former producer, but says Lares wanted a challenge and to own his work. “It was a hard decision to not go with our usual guy, but doing it with Paul gave us the freedom to do whatever we wanted with every little aspect, listening to a song for days,” he says. “We were not pressured to get ‘X amount’ done in a weekend.”
After Misgiver released a song in February, Jason Curnow from Innerstrength Records contacted the band. Worlds collided. As longtime fans of the label, Misgiver quickly jumped onto the roster. With that locked, the band have many plans to promote the record, playing Reduce Fest in Ontario and doing a weekend run for Cruelty of Life’s release week. They also have bigger shows and a fest in Philly to support the record, followed by “heavy touring in fall.”
The only disappointing aspect is the lack of local presence. Lanzillotto divulges that Elmira has three or four local shows per year. “They’re scarce,” he admits. “I have started booking shows in fire halls, a small barroom, but we have no dedicated venue. We have a lot of great bands, but no exposure because we have no hometown platform.” Pehaps Cruelty of Life will be the shift Elmira needs.