Interview: Kevin Baker of The Hope Conspiracy Talks ‘Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception’

The Hope Conspiracy are making one of the most thunderous comebacks in hardcore history. Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception, the Boston band’s first full-length in nearly two decades, out now via Deathwish Inc., smacks harder both musically and lyrically than their previous releases.

The quartet has always put forth a bellow of vitriol from album to album, and vocalist Kevin Baker is leading the charge on the 10 new anthems. “We are very excited. It didn’t seem like it was ever going to happen, honestly,” exclaims the boisterous frontman about the long-awaited follow-up to Death Knows Your Name (2006). Baker’s had to balance extreme patience with a brimming sense of urgency regarding the triumphant release, stating, “It has been finished for about a year now, so having it finally come out is a relief since we are not getting any younger.”

The band’s enthusiasm behind unleashing Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception is warranted mainly due to its focus on the cruciality of the moment we’re in as a civilization. “The greatest lie people keep believing is that we live in a democracy. This is an oligarchy,” the lead vocalist declares, inadvertently elaborating on the group’s name and album title. “Welcome to late-stage capitalism,” he cynically notes.“By allowing the elites and billionaires to divide us and subdivide us; by allowing them to make us hate one another instead of finding common ground and holding them accountable for their war crimes and the theft of our institutions.”

Not without hope, the open-hearted singer offers thoughts on how we the people can still resist a coming downfall, advising us to “Stop believing the propaganda. Stop listening to people who are being paid to sew division and chaos.” Baker recognizes that a chaotic world is a beneficial one for those who wish to rule.

“The West is Dead,” an anthemic track off the new album, symbolizes the outcome of such disarray and disharmony amongst the masses. If the Western world truly were to fall, Baker envisions what kind of society should take its place, “One where profits don’t take precedence over people. I can’t speak for anyone else in the band, but I truly have zero faith in any elected officials. They don’t represent the people in this country.”

He harkens back to the task at hand, expressing thoughts on politics and how to avoid the collapse of our nation. “If you are putting those stupid signs on your front lawn or bumper stickers on your car, then you are part of the problem. If there is ever a way for a true populist movement to break into the system, there might be a glimmer of hope, but I’m not sure if it is possible anymore or ever was.” Baker slightly reserves high expectations about a populist movement realistically forming, scoffing, “Those types of leaders tend to get their heads blown off unfortunately.”

“Of a Dying Nation,” another provocative ditty off the full-length, sets the apocalyptic mood more through its music than lyrical content. The song’s riffs are beautifully disturbing. Commenting on what inspired these moving riffs, Baker cites, “Fear, loathing, mezcal, mushrooms and Killing Joke.”

Helping to make Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception garner its well-deserved attention is God City Studio engineers Kurt Ballou and Zach Weeks. “Kurt and Zach were very open to our ideas and what we were aiming to accomplish,” Baker begins on the duo, “Going into the studio, there was a slight sense of panic of what the end result was going to be, but this is the first time I can remember listening to something I took part in recording and feeling 100% happy with the finished product,” laughing, “I would give God City Studio a five-star Yelp review.”

Tools of Oppression/Rule By Deception is out on Friday and you can pre-order it from Deathwish. Follow The Hope Conspiracy on Instagram for future updates.

Photo courtesy of The Hope Conspiracy

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