George Douglas Peterson

Happy Release Day, Incendiary!

A discussion with the guitarist of the beloved, rocking ‘product of New York.’

Hardcore is having a massive resurgence. Bands like Knocked Loose are playing to heards of people at Coachella with Billie Elish watching their set. Turnstile is playing Madison Square Garden and on late night TV with Seth Meyers. So many bands are shining a light on this somewhat niche scene. On their fourth album, Incendiary is here to do the same. They’re back after a long wait, and believe us, they’re at their best with the new record Change The Way You Look At Pain.

This is an album that feels inspired. There is not a single throw-away lyric or dull, repeated riff. Every second sounds like a band that is giving their all. It’s the kind of release that makes you want to dial your speakers to max volume and start throwing things. We had the incredible chance to chat with Brian Audley, Incendiary’s guitarist, about that feeling and this album… and more.

Change The Way You Look At Pain is out May 26, how are you feeling? 

I feel really good! It’s our first record in six years actually and we’ve been sitting on the material for a while, so it feels really good to get it out there. 

How long have you been sitting on the material for?

Probably close to about three years now. We really started taking the writing process a little more seriously during the pandemic when we had nothing but time, no shows on the calendar. All the time that we had for the band went into writing, rehearsing, and getting a new record together. We’ve been sitting on the material for about three years since we got started and then we recorded the record last year – in New Jersey actually – with Will Putney. It’s been about a year since we recorded the thing. It feels good to get the songs out there and start sharing about the material. 

That has got to be such a weird feeling, to see fans get excited about something, but for you it’s like, “I wrote that three years ago!”

Kind of, yeah! We’ve always taken a while between releases so we’re used to that by now. It feels really good to start getting some feedback on it, too, because we’ve always kept it pretty close to our chest. Outside of our close friends and stuff there are only a few people outside of our circle that have heard it. We have three singles out now and it’s been nice getting some feedback. 

That’s definitely the way to go. I’ve talked about this with a few other artist interviews I’ve done, like with Pierce the Veil, but it’s better to wait a long time and get a really good record, then to just shit out a record every two years. 

Yeah, totally! And we really only release material when we think we have material that’s worth sharing or has something to say. We don’t really adhere to any type of traditional album cycle or touring cycle or things like that. When we feel good about what we have and have something worth sharing, that’s when we decide to put it out there. 

Absolutely! Us being New Jersey-based you guys being New York-based, we have to talk about recording in New Jersey. We have to talk about that experience. 

Yeah, absolutely! This was actually the second record we’ve done with Will Putney. Will Putney did our last record in 2017 called Thousand Mile Stare. That was our first experience with him. That one was recorded at his old location in Belleville – amazing experience, couldn’t have been happier with how that came out. 

When it came time to do this one again, Will was the first phone call that we made. We wanted to take a bit of a different direction sonically with the production. We love Thousand Mile Stare. We love the way it came out. With the material we had gotten together for this new record, we wanted a more aggressive, raw, abrasive production, so we explained to Will what we were going for. He was on board again. He was confident he could make that record for us and knew what we wanted to do. Now he’s operating out of a studio in Kinnelon, so we spent most nights and weekends in May 2022 in there working on that. [We] really couldn’t be happier with how it came out. It’s a great experience with Will. 

That’s such an interesting thing to hear you say. Obviously hardcore is very gritty and dirty just as a genre, but for you to intentionally hone in on that production be like, “No. We don’t want this to be too polished.” That’s very bold because not a lot of bands go in that direction. 

What you just described was exactly my intention and approach to this. We are a hardcore band on their fourth LP, which is kind of rare territory. I think the expectation could be for a band in that position to be: start getting a little softer, roudner edges, a little more polished, a little more anthemic. From the jump I was very adamant – no, I wanted to defy that expectation and make everything more abrasive, more gritty, more raw, and, honestly, the material we were coming up with was coming out that way. I felt like the production needed to suit that, as well.

That makes perfect sense. When you write a really raw song and sometimes polish it too much, it can take some of the emotion out. It’s great to hear in the songwriting process you knew what these songs were from the get-go. 

Definitely. It was very intentional… and some of it wasn’t. We just turn around like, “Damn. This is pretty bleak stuff we have here.” I don’t want to say this is a pandemic record, but it was definitely written during the pandemic and a lot of those [stressors] and factors were present in all of our lives while we were writing this stuff. In some way it’s cool to have something that documented where we were all at during those three years and have a piece of art that documents that. We can reflect on what we were going through and where we were at during the pandemic. 

Even tracks like “Lie of Liberty” and “Rats In The Cellar,” I hear that ominous overtone. I hear what you’re saying.

I love to hear that! I love to hear the intention we had when writing it is connecting and landing that way with people. 

Going into a new direction, I want to ask about playing Adjacent Fest this year in Atlantic City. Very exciting, there are a few hardcore bands on the bill, but overall it’s got a lot of pop punk and emo bands. How’s it going to be to play to that demographic? Because you guys are very heavy and pummeling. 

It’s definitely not our first experience being in that position. It’s a position I like and feel very comfortable in. I always like to stand out in a bill and I think being a heavier and more extreme band on a bill is a good way to stand out. Obviously the audience that Adjacent brings is a bigger audience than Incendiary would probably have the chance to play in front of on our own. That’s one of the things I’m most grateful for about the position Incendiary is in. We get offers for such a range of different shows. We’ve got something like Adjacent Fest with pop punk bands [like] Blink-182 and then we can play shows with Terror and Knocked Loose and heavier bands that just have such a range. I’m grateful we can do all of it and it all makes sense. 

You know what I describe it as? Good music genuinely just can’t be put in a genre. I get why people like to label things and I know why genres exist, but at the end of the day… good music is good music. It doesn’t matter if you’re opening for Blink or opening for Knocked Loose. Both of those times it works and it’ll be a good show. 

Yeah, I agree. I think that’s pretty well said and I think if you’re writing something that’s sincere and connects with people, people that are there for live music, it’s going to connect with them in some way or another. 

Especially in that hardcore scene, it’s all about connections. You being from New York, where hardcore was born, raised, and bred – that’s the scene right there. Tell me a little bit about what it’s like to be a band in that area where it’s known. 

For sure! We’re from Long Island, specifically, which had kind of its own hardcore scene. It’s one that I’m proud of and raised me and my tastes. Long Island hardcore was always in the shadow of the prestigious New York hardcore scene and came up with its own thing and its own sound. That’s the stuff that was really available to me and really tangible to me. Seeing people that looked like me, dressed like me, were from the same towns I was from and hanging out in, doing things, writing music that was connecting with me… That’s the stuff that really resonated most and really made this whole thing very tangible. The most specific example I can give is seeing a band like Vision of Disorder in that old New York hardcore documentary. They are the guys mowing their lawns at their parents house in the documentary. “Oh my God! That looks just like what I do on the weekends here. I could do something like this!”

That’s amazingly well put. I know I was a little late to the bandwagon, but last year was the first time I saw Incendiary – when you guys opened for Glassjaw. I remember I went, only knew Glassjaw at the time, and saw that the pit at Starland Ballroom was opening up for you and thinking, “I have to check this band out. This is insane!”

That was cool! New Jersey has always been good to us, really since the beginning. It makes sense; we’re so close and everything. Outside of our hometown in Long Island, we played many, many memorable shows in Jersey. Even now when we get opportunities to play bigger venues like Starland Ballroom, it’s really cool to see how many people are still rocking with us there.

I have to ask, and you don’t have to answer, but favorite New Jersey venue? Do you have one? You’ve played here so many times. 

Yeah, I have an answer, but I’m not sure how prestigious it might be to anyone else. We played a lot of shows at The Warren American Legion which is just a VFW Hall in Warren, New Jersey. One of our good friends, Pat, who runs a label called RTF Records, he booked us a lot there. We had a ton of super memorable shows and memorable friends that we still have kept in touch with today. It really all started there.