As one of the newer bands to be on 333 Wreckords, Oxymorrons have brought a fierce sound to Jason Aalon Butler’s artist collective, expertly blending rap, pop punk, and hardcore and haven proven themselves as worthy with their newest release, Mohawks & Durags. Not only have they been powerhouse grinding during the pandemic, but they secured a support slot for Anti-Flag, currently touring now, and Neck Deep later in the year. They might be flying under the radar, but not for long.
“We just spent the pandemic preparing for this moment,” explains Jafe Paulino. “We’ve rehearsed our asses off, wrote a bunch of new music, invested in ourselves and in our live show, and equipment. To be able to tour, we just wanted to make sure that we were three steps ahead for when the world started to slowly open back up again; we wouldn’t be waiting at the bottom of the list.”
The bottom of the list is sure to become a distant memory for the group that is pushing many different boundaries in the scene. Along with working with Butler, the band collaborated with legend in the scene John Feldmann (Mod Sun, The Used, Blink-182), Zach Jones (Chelsea Grin, Dance Gavin Dance, As It Is) and Marc Orell (Dropkick Murphys) to truly bring together a powerful record.
The crew met up with Butler in LA right before the pandemic hit in February 2020 and recorded a majority of the album, but had to go back in September, during the height of the pandemic, to finish up. What should have been a short visit the second time was a red tape-filled quarantine adventure where the group had to isolate before their flight and after, as well as get tested, before they were deemed clear to go into the studio.
“When you do something that you love, and it’s fun, it is just the extra step you have to take to get there,” shares Ashmy “KI” Bellevue. “No matter what, we’re going to finish the project, no because [we] still make music. It wasn’t as hard or difficult for us to do it.”
“It wasn’t difficult at all,” continues Dave “D” Bellevue. “Other than the long weeks as far as the quarantine, it was very similar to how we would have done it with no pandemic,. “Instead of going out to L.A. and maybe spending a week, you spend two weeks. Then you get some studio, minor inconveniences. But all in all, we’re pivoting and adapting anyway, [which] is something we’re all very good at.”
With the onslaught of uncertainty that the global pandemic painted on the music scene in general, no one knew how it would truly affect the way things normally went. For an up-and-coming band to be forced to work through live music stoppage for well over a year is oftentimes crushing and band-ending, but the crew in Oxymorrons saw the hand given to them, and have made much, much more than the most out of it.
“We kept our bubble very, very compact and super, super safe,” explains drummer Matty Mayz. “We were able to get the most out of it [the pandemic] that we can just like, ‘Hey, listen, as long as we’re all healthy, y’all continue to be safe, you know, go with the CDC guidelines, and we’re gonna be able to continue to do this.’ Again, one of the main things for us is that we were being very proactive opposed to reactive with the dynamic. Make sure we could do everything that we could have wanted.”
Photo Credit: Michael Danners