Interview with The Last Stand vocalist Michael Scondotto | By Janelle Jones
When speaking with The Last Stand frontman Michael Scondotto, one thing is certainly clear: the man is passionate about New York Hardcore. It’s clear that passion is in the hearts of the rest of the band as well, as they kick off their latest record—the dynamic, unrelenting EP, This Is Real, out via Irish Voodoo Records—with the compelling title track, which showcases their masterful grasp of the genre. “This Is Real” conveys the fact that though the Brooklyn-based band may not constantly play shows, “when we do play, we take it very seriously,” their frontman says, “and we take hardcore seriously and our love of it and our dedication. [We dedicate] a huge chunk of our lives to it, seriously.”
The Last Stand began in 2010, bringing together old friends from two NYHC bands who started in the ‘90s, Inhuman and Shutdown. Scondotto—singer of the long-running Inhuman—recounts how he was contacted by the instrumentalists of the now-defunct Shutdown, bassist Dion De Nardo, drummer Jimmy McCormack, and guitarist Steve Della Croce. The guys had been working on some new material and got in touch with Scondotto about fronting the band.
The vocalist was instantly intrigued. “I look at those guys as my younger brothers,” Scondotto says with a laugh. In fact, Shutdown’s vocalist was Scondotto’s actual brother, Mark Scondotto. “I’ve known them all for so long, and going back to 1998, I spent a month in a van across the country with those guys when Inhuman and Shutdown did a U.S. tour,” he continues, “and I knew them three years before that.”
The idea of being in a band with old friends was enticing, but so was the fact that the material they showed him was pretty great. “They were really energetic hardcore songs, real NYHC. I feel like what we do is quite different from a lot of what other people are doing,” he explains. “Everybody’s very metal, not really playing what I consider to be actual hardcore music.”
The songs on This Is Real could have come from almost any era of hardcore, and Scondotto concurs. “It’s timeless,” he says. “Really good NYHC, to me, is timeless.” He feels the band have a sound that mixes inspiration from the ‘80s, ‘90s, and modern-day. “We’re a modern NYHC band,” he asserts.
In the past, The Last Stand have primarily played the Northeast U.S., but with this new record, they hope to get out more, possibly hitting California, where Irish Voodoo Records is based. “We’re gonna make an effort to get out there and play a lot more shows,” Scondotto promises. “Just tie it into the theme of the record, This Is Real.” Through this record, playing more shows, and covering more territory, the band want to show that they’re “proud to be a NYHC band. We like spreading the gospel of NYHC,” the frontman says.
The vinyl version of the EP consists of four new songs, while the CD and digital versions tack on two worthy covers: Gorilla Biscuits’ “Big Mouth” and Youth Of Today’s “Choose to Be.” Scondotto says they went the EP route rather than making a full-length because they wanted to have four truly great songs as opposed to an LP on which not every song is a killer track. Plus, he adds, “With today’s horrible attention span, things get lost in the shuffle. I think EPs are great.”
This one comes about four years after their previous release, 2013’s The Time Is Now. Scondotto insists, “We made a promise to ourselves that the next one will be [ready for release] sooner, and we’re already working on some new songs.”