Bandcamp of the Day & Interview: Hate Club

Hate Club are an Albany-based emo and melodic punk band who express a charming bitterness on their third release Tightly Wound out now via Brace Cove Records.

Their sound consists of an emotive brush of Tigers Jaw-esque guitars, a driving splash of indie-pigmented grooves a la Rilo Kiley, among other influences and inspirations from their lived experiences, presented with just a wink of Third Eye Blind melodicism. It’s a beautiful and bracingly sad record that you can check out via Bandcamp below, and then keep scrolling to read our exclusive interview with the band’s founding members Noah Bondy and Audrey Goodemote:

The following interview was conducted over email on July 28, 2021. It has been edited only slightly for the sake of clarity.

How did you all meet, and why did you decide to start a band?(Noah) Audrey and I met at a coffee shop in Albany called Stacks where a lot of people hang out. Audrey was there with someone I knew so I went over to say hi. We got talking about the Albany music scene and how few women were in it at the time. We talked about how there wasn’t anything that sounded like Adventures or Hop Along in Albany (we also had very similar taste in music). Audrey mentioned that she played guitar and I said we should start a band. At the time I don’t think she thought I was serious, but later in the week we talked about it again and started sending each other lyrics and song ideas.

We worked really fast, and I think we both really loved what we were coming up with. I think that piece is still pretty much the same. After our first eight shows our original drummer moved to Long Island, so we kind of bounced around drummers and had friends fill in until our SXSW tour in 2018. Ian actually found us on Twitter (despite also being from the Albany area) and saved our tour by agreeing to come with us for a month. He’s stuck with us ever since and definitely helped with consistency in our sound. Ian is a classically trained musician which is cool because he’s able to give us a sort of guard rail when we’re trying to figure out a part for a song. It’s really cool to have that in a band.

For Tightly Wound, I asked my friend Nick Koechel from Boston to work with us. He’s been in some really cool bands (I Kill Giants) and is just a great bass player as well as a great friend. He’s also a classically trained, so Audrey and I write the songs, and Ian and Nick help us figure out where to go with the whole band; it’s a really good partnership for us. The Ian/Nick rhythm dynamics are some of the best parts on the record. I think we can safely say it’s our best work so far, and it’s probably a good part due to that. 

Where did the name Hate Club come from?
(Noah) I came up with it while hanging out with some friends. I realized at that moment that some of my friends and myself were always talking shit about someone or something—I said something like, “We always become a hate club when we hang out.” I thought it was a funny term and asked Audrey if we could use it for the band. We didn’t have a name in mind for a while when we first started working together. Hate club was a memorable thing, so we liked it and kept it. 

What is tweemo, and what wave are we on presently? 
(Audrey) That’s funny you’d bring that up! That was a joke we came up with in 2017, I put it on our Twitter bio and it’s followed us around ever since—I guess you could say we’re on third-wave tweemo, since this will be our third release. Originally, I think we joked about tweemo as a genre because we were writing jangly twee stuff that was also kind of emo.

What eras of emo and punk do you most identify with, and why?
Nineties as far as punk and indie stuff—bands like Third Eye Blind, Pavement, Built to Spill, and 2010’s emo stuff for sure—Adventures and Tigers Jaw were always big influences for us. Also some more outlier stuff that has emo influences but isn’t necessarily emo, like Rilo Kiley and Hop Along.

Am I wrong in thinking that love and affection are important themes in your work? That’s at least the impression that I get from the lyrics of “Fake My Death.” 
(Noah) I think for fake my death, it’s a little bit sarcastic; we’re usually writing from a pretty bitter place (not always, but a lot of the time). I would say there are a lot of emotionally charged lyrics, feeling the loss of love or the loss of affection comes up a bit on this record. 

Other than the above-mentioned, what are the major themes and ideas you explore on Tightly Wound
Bitterness and interpersonal dynamics are core themes. We generally enjoy more covert lyricism and tend to write more vague lyrics than specific ones. We did continue our trend of writing lyrics about music scenes on Tightly Wound; they just aren’t as obvious as they have been in the past.

We wrote “Beyond Belief” at our friend’s house and kind of looked around the room for ideas; there was a book that said “2005” on it, and we kind of just used that as something to jump off of in order to convey the emotions we were thinking about. 

“Eat More” seems to be a song about self-care. Why do you think people in the Millennial generation, and now Gen-Z, need so many reminders to take care of themselves and live healthfully?(Audrey) I don’t think that millennials necessarily need more reminders, I think there are just vastly different issues between younger people now and people who were our age 40 or 50 years ago. Feeling “stuck” is a common theme for us, which echoes a lot of our thoughts about how young people operate under the current state of capitalism. Self-care can be a bit of a luxury when you work a full-time job making around minimum wage

Are there ever moments when reminders to “take better care of yourself,” are either unwanted, or detrimental in other ways? 
(Noah) Yeah, I think if they’re in bad faith or out of touch. I think that sometimes advice can fall short when it doesn’t consider context. Reminders like “make sure you get eight hours of sleep”—that’s just not viable for some people, and it’s a little condescending. It’s akin to those people who are like, “If you cut out your morning latte, you can buy a house!” Just completely deranged logic! 

What was the hardest part of your routine or self-care regime to keep up with during the COVID lockdown? 
We all worked food service jobs at the time of the pandemic, and it was difficult for each of us in different ways. We all had a really rough time. People could be so cruel to service workers (and still are). Probably finding time that wasn’t stressful was the hardest part because a lot of the things that make life worth living (hanging out with friends, making music, playing shows) weren’t within reach at the time.

Did you run into any difficulties making Tightly Wound because of the pandemic?
No, we recorded the last weekend of February 2020—so right before everything changed. We got the masters back in May of 2020, but we didn’t even start thinking about shopping the record around for a while. The protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder were more important, and COVID was a big uncertainty. The record wasn’t a priority at that time. We also didn’t want to put the record out and not get to tour on it.

We originally were in a game of email tag with a label who wanted to put the album out for us—that went on for over half a year, and eventually, we just gave up on that label. Brace Cove kind of saved the day for us. Alexis (Politz) put all of this together for us after we half-jokingly tweeted about self-releasing the album.

So, that’s why it’s coming out now and not a year ago! COVID did make it very difficult to practice, though. Half of the band was living in Boston at the time. Before the pandemic, it was very easy to go back and forth for practicing on weekends. We didn’t practice for five or so months during COVID. It was rough; we all had a hard time with that.

What has it been like in Albany as things open back up? Are things back to normal(ish) there?
It’s been really cool. Noah moved back to Albany from Boston during the pandemic. Ian was doing a PHD program at Rutgers and living in New Jersey and also moved back to Albany during the pandemic. It’s been great to have most of us in the same city again. Albany is a really cool community here as far as music goes; we’re happy to be a part of that.

It’s definitely a little different; some venues closed; some restaurants closed; some friends suffered losses. It’s a pretty scenic place; a lot of what people love about Albany is the green areas and the nature spots that are close by—that’s all the same. There’s been a handful of shows this summer; hopefully that will continue into the future without any issues. Albany is an underrated place with an equally underrated music scene.

Get a copy of Tightly Wound from Brace Cove Records here.

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