Ahead of their summer tour, Brooklyn punks Pyrex chatted with us about the screeching buzzsaw propulsion of their self-titled debut on Total Punk Records and the sonic chemistry of the Brooklyn punk scene.
Erupting onto the New York City punk scene with their debut 7" last year, Brooklyn trio Pyrex returned last month with their highly-anticipated self-titled debut LP on the always reliable Total Punk Records. Jam-packed with dystopic and nihilistic themes, the debut album is raw and unfiltered, ripping with paint peeling riffs and furious rhythms that pound with a primitive garage punk intensity. "Touch" strikes scuzz punk glory with its chaotic buzzsaw propulsion, while "Lizard Teeth" grinds with hyper-speed guitar eruptions, hard-driving rhythms, and biting vocals. Our man Sims Hardin (aka Bono) wrote on the hype sticker "Sounds like a mix between a lost KBD artifact and an Eastern European post-punk unknown," and we couldn't agree more.
Ahead of their summer tour, we chatted with Pyrex guitarist-vocalist Joe Hardwick, bassist Graham Arbon Elrich, and drummer Steven Fisher about the screeching buzzsaw propulsion of their self-titled debut and the sonic chemistry of Brooklyn punk scene.
Paperface Zine: Take me through the origins of Pyrex. How did the three of you meet and decide to form a band? Also what other bands do you play in or is part of the Pyrex EU? Joe Hardwick: Graham and I met in Atlanta where we both grew up when I was 19 or 20 and when I moved to NYC in 2018 we reconnected. I started demos for the initial Pyrex tracks about a year later with our good friend Ian making drum machine beats along with Graham on bass. Shortly afterward, we asked Fisher to jam with us on drums and convinced him to commit to being in the band after a few practices. The rest is history. There is only Pyrex. /\
Graham Arbon Elrich: I met Joe when I was 18 and he was like 20 at one of his house shows in West Atlanta. Wild thing from San Francisco played. Fisher has lived in New York the longest. We formed over Covid.
Steven Fisher: Graham and I crossed paths while bartending in the same neighborhood many years ago and I was introduced to Joe a little more recently in a bar by a beautiful Persian woman. The rest is history. I play in the Wilful Boys, Big Kiss, Co. Inc, and I just put a new record out with a band called During.
PZ: There's been some buzz about you guys since the early singles. How have you all grown musically together as Pyrex? What's the chemistry been like?
JH: We've honed in a tougher, more concise sound than when we started but still draw from a wide variety of influences.
GAE: We got lucky coming out of Covid while people were show-deprived. The fact that people were drooling over not being in their apartments and could see music was helpful for any early buzz. Natural sonic chemistry, mind, body, soul. Our tools fit well in our box. Although there's a language barrier, we somehow make it work.
SF: Joe came into the project with some really solid ideas, which morphed into the first couple of singles, and even some of the album tracks. From there, I think we've gotten into a good rhythm of writing more together, keeping that same vibe, but with a little more of Grinput.
PZ: What has it been like having the self-titled debut out for the last month? How are you feeling right now about it all? The hype is real!
JH: Feels good. Buy the record.
GAE: Glad it’s finally out. It's made up of early songs and I'm very happy how it all came together in the studio. They've been a regular part of our set for a minute.
SF: We're really happy with how it all came out and it's a bit rewarding to see it be so well received. Also, shout out to Allison Lukens for wanting to start Filth Pot Records and getting our first 7" out. She was tremulously supportive in helping us in our early days.
PZ: Before this tour, you played some shows last month to celebrate the album's release. How did those go?
JH: Release show was killer. Great bands great times. Buy the record.
GAE: Nate K had us on his show Burn it Down! on WFMU which was a real cool time. Record release was a great too and it was very nice to see friends. Everyone was home in bed by 11:30 p.m. and no one was hungover on Wednesday. Thanks secret shopper, terror eyes, and success.
SF: The launch was a great night. It was good to be around friends, and a nice surprise to see a lot of unfamiliar faces too.
PZ: Talk about how this record came together now. What was the vision when going into the making of it and when and where did you record it?
JH: We recorded the album with Ian Rose at The Daisy Chain studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was a long process with lots of re-tracking, but once we finally got it done, I think we were all pretty happy that we made sure we got everything right.
GAE: Live, dark, loud, big. Almost two summers ago at this point. It was recorded juuuuust nestled right under the bosom of the BQE by Ian at The Daisy Chain.
SF: I see it as a bit of a collection of early ideas and the first few collective writing efforts. It's a solid snapshot of the beginnings of Pyrex.
PZ: What was it like touching up the tracks "Touch" and "Conditioner" for the album compared to the versions from the debut 7"?
JH: The original singles were recorded late at night in our practice space at the Tequila Sweat Lodge in the summer of 2020 with Chirstian Gordy. These new versions were recorded in a proper studio, also late at night.
SF: I think all songs evolve as you continue to play them, so when we revisited recording them, it didn't feel too different. I guess we were just a little more in tune with each other and the songs then, so they came out slightly revamped.
PZ: Tell me now about the single "Viper," which you released last summer. That's probably your fastest and most intense sounding track.
SF: "Viper" was written after all the songs on the LP and was very much a warm up jam at practice that immediately turned into a song kind of situation. I think it's more of a reflection of where we're going. We actually recorded that song after the LP was written and recorded. It'll be on a 7" later this year we're releasing through Under The Gun Records.
PZ: How did that insane video for "Neptune" come about?
JH: The concept for the video came from the inspiration for the song, which was the Neptune Hotel here in Brooklyn. It's a spooky old hotel that from the outside looks like a place where bad things may have happened before. I noticed it for the first time in a car coming back from the airport with Graham and I remember saying to him, "I think murders happen there," so when we decided to do the video, the concept seemed pretty obvious to us. After a few brainstorming sessions with Eva Tusquets and David Cleeland, our amazing directors, we came up with the story and ran with it. We rented a hotel room and got it shot in a day. It was fast and loose, but it came out better than we could have expected.
PZ: What's the current Brooklyn punk scene like? Who are some other bands we should check out?
JH: Mirage, 80hd, and Thing come to mind.
GAE: New York's scene is strong. Thing is a favorite. Taz, UV-TV, and Phantasia. Lotion are great too.
SF: It's solid. There's a lot of people doing a lot of work and that's resulting in heaps of great shows and great bands, which is a nice change from the pandemic lull. We just played with Success, who are great. I've got a lot of time for Savage Pleasure, and they're not active right now, but everyone should listen to Foster Care who also did a release with Total Punk a while back.
PZ: You got a summer tour coming up tomorrow with the first show at the Slash Run in Washington D.C.. What are you looking forward to on the tour?
JH: Kicking ass.
GAE: Not being at work. Smoking weed in new places and new faces.
SF: Seeing old friends, making some new ones, and playing at The Cave.
PZ: Aside from the upcoming tour, what else is on the horizon for Pyrex?
JH: World domination and imminent destruction. Also new music. /\
GAE: Cease and desist letters, Two 7"s later this year on Under The Gun Records and Die Slaughterhaus Records, and then a West Coast tour in September.
SF: We're also getting into writing the next record.
Pyrex is out now on Total Punk Records. Stream it below and be sure to check out the upcoming summer tour dates.