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Behind the Noise: Interview with Boston Hardcore Band Move on their Debut Album, Black Radical Love

Edited by Anna Mengani

Photo of Boston Hardcore
Photo by Olivia Slaughter

Move’s debut LP Black Radical Love charts a course for revolution, one track at a time. The album expertly weaves scathing criticism of the imperialist powers oppressing Black Americans with endearing depictions of togetherness, all while urging listeners to get involved and fight injustice. Founded in 2019, Move (or Move BHC) is a Boston hardcore ensemble comprised of vocalist Corey Charpentier, guitarists Nick Hochmuth and Andrew Crumby, bassist Jake MacLean, and drummer Devon Austrie. Using the sounds of hardcore punk with its signature "Boston Bounce” as a backdrop, the band has dedicated itself to disseminating radical Black political thought and fostering a community around these ideals. Following the release of EPs The Demo in 2020 and Freedom Dreams in 2021, Black Radical Love is the band’s third project which was just released on August 11th. Frontman Corey describes the LP as "additional entries in a music-based political journal that have continued to evolve along with [his] own political education.” Even putting aside the impressively detailed radical manifesto laid out by the album’s lyrics, its dynamic hardcore instrumentals layered with pulsating guitar riffs are enough to have you itching to be in the pit.


Though Corey wrote most of the album’s lyrics himself, Black Radical Love is a highly collaborative endeavor featuring a diverse collective of voices. On the album’s opening track 'Double Death,' vocalist Aaron Heard (of metalcore group Jesus Piece) joins the group in expressing unbridled rage towards the extent of police violence weaponized by the state against Black Americans: “Just to shield the police state. They make a monster of you. Put the spin on all that you do. Fucking fabricate. In the name of the blue.” Hardcore and metal legends Kayla Phillips (of Bleed the Pigs) and River Elliot (of Ballista) come together on 'Summer Trend,' one of the album’s lead singles. This standout track poignantly explores the way in which the Black Lives Matter movement was treated as a fad due to social pressure in the summer of 2020, only for people to disengage afterward and neglect the continuing fight for Black liberation.


While the album’s A-sides zero in on the oppressive systems currently in place in our societies, Side B offers an optimistic outlook, looking ahead at “a tomorrow where all people have their needs met to live their best lives,” in Corey’s words. 'For All Not One' features the powerful vocals of Zulu’s Christine Cadette, who alongside Corey, passionately screams “Need to build the space. For all, not one” in between rousing guitar riffs. 'Black Radical Love,' the titular closing track, speaks to the collective love and solidarity that fuels revolutionary movements, aptly stating, “Black radical love, feeds every freedom fighter.” Rounding out the LP are tracks featuring eloquent spoken word pieces from friends who answer the question “What does Black radical love mean to you?”, creating a body of work that truly reflects the many voices of its community. As a whole, Black Radical Love is a carefully crafted album that doubly lends itself to close, introspective listening and raucous mosh pit performances.

 

I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Move vocalist Corey Charpentier before the release of Black Radical Love. We delved into the making of their latest project, their experience performing the album, the intersections of political organizing and music, and more! The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.


Praagna Kashyap: So the band just finished touring in Europe supporting Initiate! How was that experience?


Corey Charpentier: It went way better than we expected it to go, to be honest. We don’t have that much material– we’ve been around since only 2019, so not super long, but the reception was incredible. It was really really affirming to us as a band, like oh okay we’re kinda cool! And fortunately, we went there with some of the greatest people in Initiate, who were phenomenal not only to hang out with but to actually do the tour with when it came to preparation, on-the-go changes, all these different things. And then working with Stronger Booking was awesome, and everyone who helped in that way was really incredible. So it was really awesome, and an experience that I will forever cherish.


PK: And because so much of your music deals with living in an imperialist US state, did you notice any differences in reception while in Europe?


CC: I think the idea of 'the left' and anti-fascism in Europe has a much different connotation than what we interpret in the USA. They have actually established organizations, established strong positions, people that are actively participating in anti-fascist activities, or actually have properties, or scenarios, or things that are part of an anti-fascist state. So, I think the message was well-received which was cool. For example, the first place we played which was the OCII in Amsterdam, is a DIY, for-the-people venue. But the way it started was squatters actually took over the space, and it was an anarchist collective that was doing the squatting and taking over this property, and so the origins of this venue are in an anarchist ideology and politic. So you see like an anarchist book store, a community kitchen, and the way they run the entire venue is least hierarchical and for the entire community, where they have a dinner beforehand for all the people. And most of the time, whenever we would speak on shit, it was received very well which was cool. And I would also relate towards where we were, like every time we played a show we’d be like ‘Hey! We’re in an imperialist superpower– from the Netherlands, from Belgium, from England, to the U.S., we are the ones who are harbingers of imperialism and we are in the bellies of the beast. So we have to be the ones that are actively fighting against this.' So it was received, I don’t think, much differently, but also because of the fact that the socioeconomic nature and the political landscape are different, they probably felt it a bit more, which was cool.


PK: That venue in Amsterdam seems super cool.


CC: It was so sick. If you’re ever in a band for any reason and you end up having to tour in Europe, or if you’re ever in Amsterdam, and you’re looking for places to go for shows, go to that venue– it was really really cool. It is multiple buildings, not just the venue– it’s like a little commune in the heart of Amsterdam.


PK: That’s great! I wish we had more of that in the U.S. So, the hardcore/punk scene is home to a lot of artists like yourselves who are antifascist, stand up to bigotry, and are justice-oriented, but there are also so many people who straight up aren’t. How do you choose to navigate that within the scene?


CC: The way that I choose to navigate it is essentially, until you’re coming at me in real life, I’m not gonna really believe what the fuck you’re saying. I know there's some people that won’t book our band because of our politics, and I know there’s some people who don’t like us because of our politics and all this shit, but at the same time, I’m not gonna waste my energy towards those people when there’s a tremendous amount of people that fuck with us and fuck with the politics and care about the message. Because that’s who we’re doing this for. Even on our Instagram and stuff, you’ll see people put comments on things, especially if we’re playing a pro-Palestinian benefit show or we put a message out there about that. And I won’t ever comment back as a band. I do think there is that paradox of tolerance– where if you continue to be tolerant of the intolerant, the intolerant is gonna continue to grow and manifest. Unless you’re actually trying to have some sort of dialogue, if you wanna message the band directly and talk about stuff, most of the time, I’m just not even gonna pay attention to it and continue talking about what the fuck we care about. We know hardcore isn’t some post-racial, super anti-fascist community that some people get a weird belief that they are. It very much replicates a lot of the same mainstream culture that happens right in hardcore– there’s still patriarchy, there’s still homophobia, transphobia, there’s still racism, there’s still classism, there’s all these things that are embedded in hardcore. So I don’t really understand when people try to act as if it’s not there. Why are we scared to name these things? If we aren’t willing to name it, we’re never gonna actually begin to combat it. I’m saying the general masses of hardcore sometimes aren’t down to name it. But like you said, there’s always been justice-oriented bands, from Bleed the Pigs, to even Canderia, to Pure Disgust, to G.L.O.S.S– we can even put a Neighborhood Watch in there, Initiate, and Zulu. There’s always been bands that have been talking about this shit, and there’s a reason for it– because it exists within our scene as well. It’s not just us talking about the outside, we know it’s right here at home.


PK: Congrats on your album Black Radical Love that’s coming out tomorrow! You’ve described the album as a continuation of the music-based political journal that began with your 2021 EP Freedom Dreams. How have your politics and values changed since the EP, and how is this reflected in the album?


CC: So, it really started with The Demo, like The Demo is a political piece of work as well. From 'Ally' to 'Willful Ignorance' to the intro. 'Ally' was definitely a political statement about allyship and what I believed at the time, and that song is a direct example of what I mean by it’s a continuation because we redid that song on Black Radical Love and called it 'Comrade.' Over time, I realized that allyship is a label that we put on people who have independent feelings about things and wanna feel good about a certain marginalized group of people. It’s like, no, we need comrades, we need co-conspirators, we need accomplices that are willing to also take on these struggles alongside our marginalized homies and fight for their freedom. So, I’ve switched the lyrics to what I think that means, so like that’s a very linear example of how that’s happened. And I think also just better understanding, what is imperialism? What is a Black capitalist in the leadership class that is really continuing to disenfranchise us from any sort of power? Like thinking more critically about not just how the state demolishes our bodies on a physical level, but like in 'Double Death,' they do it also spiritually as an emotional smearing campaign to reinforce what the state does and how it operates. So really they’ve all been more continuation of thought that either I have learned through community or different organizations, or different teaching and political education that I’ve gone through. All these songs that I look back upon and even from Freedom Dreams EP to now, and from The Demo to now, I’m like wow these are all little certain pinpoints of what I was thinking at the time, and this is how it’s changed over time, which has been really cool. And with the LP, it’s very explicit. When you read the lyrics, it’s kinda hard to misinterpret what the fuck they’re about. And there’s a reason for that, it’s because I think these are sharp lines, that there isn’t a need to allow for some sort of blurring of it. It’s very like– this is how I feel, this is what’s happening, this is what we’re talking about, and that’s what it is. So that’s really what Move is, the understanding of the lyric content behind it, is that it really is just an entry of where I’m at in my politic and what I’m doing.


PK: That’s awesome, it’s really interesting to see how 'Ally' came to be 'Comrade'. And I think the issues with allyship that you were talking about are an especially prevalent thing within the hardcore scene. Which you kind of allude to in 'Summer Trend' as well, where people will get involved with activism just to feel good about themselves.


CC: It was social pressure, it was just people feeling like, 'oh I have to do this to look good and save face', and that was it. They didn’t have their all into it, no one is doing shit now. I can’t say no one, but unfortunately, a lot of the people who did things in 2020 will probably never do anything again. Like I mentioned before, hardcore is just a mirror of the mainstream culture of America. As it died out in the mainstream culture, it has died out in the mainstream of hardcore, and there are still people fighting, clawing, and continuing to raise that flag. But at the same time, many people have not.


PK: What lessons from political organizing and activism have informed your music-making processes, and vice versa?


CC: Music-making process, not really. So the way that we make music is quite simple. We have Nick Hochmuth who’s our guy, he’s our main guitarist– he was literally the person who came to me back in 2019 like "hey, I have these demos, do you wanna start a band?" He’s an excellent drummer, guitar player, can do the whole damn thing. So he’ll just demo out songs, and then we all just come together and critique them. It is a collective process, but it does start with one independent contributor. But lyrical content is definitely things that I look toward other people whether it’s readings, and I learn best through audiovisual, so a lot of it is different podcasts. I always talk about AirGo, which is an excellent podcast out of Chicago, and they do a series called One Million Experiments, which was started by Mariame Kaba. When we’re talking about abolition and transformative care, one of the main things we’re hit with as people who support it is "Well, what are examples of this happening?" And so Mariame Kaba’s just like, we’re gonna collect a bunch of examples and make a whole entire website, and also, let’s understand that they are ongoing experiments because what we need for care may be different than what the next block needs for care, so let’s keep that in mind. And I’d definitely say the different mutual aid collectives I’ve been a part of have shown me what transformative care is or have changed my perception of what “comrade” means or any of these things. Chrysalis Collective or Warm Up Boston, or a few others that I’ve had conversations with or learned from just by seeing how they operate. And then Black Power Media is one show that I watched a ton of, and they just touch on a bunch of topics every morning, and they have a really good rhetoric and politic that I definitely look to as guidance. I can name my homies– my homie Jindoo who’s awesome, and she has always been one that has like pushed my politics forward which is cool. You have your formal political education that you can do with an organization and struggle with like a class of people which is always extremely critical. But we also understand that it is something that's like community-based, that it doesn't just need to be one org to help impact it, it could be your friends, it could be things that you pay attention to, different orgs you are part of– so that's really who's kind of influenced my politic over time. I haven't like stuck with one political home throughout my years of either participating, or paying attention to, or being politicized– I'm just searching for that one political home to be honest.


PK: Your upcoming album includes many exciting collaborations with tracks that feature Aaron Heard of Jesus Piece, Christine Cadette of Zulu, Kayla Phillips of Bleed the Pigs, and River Elliot of Ballista. How have your collaborators inspired you and influenced your work?


CC: So a lot of the times, I kinda am just like "Hey, I have this part, here's the lyrics for it would you be down to do it? The only person who I was like 'yo, can you write lyrics for this section?" was Aaron Heard on 'Double Death.' Everything else I wrote for people and just like came together to put on it. I feel like in hardcore we have a lot of masc voices all the time, and Move is masc-fronted, so I want to make sure that there is a wide demographic of Black people on this. So not just cishet Black men, I wanted all my homies from different backgrounds to be featured on it, and all of them sound insane. Like River has one of the sickest voices of all time, and so just from listening to and being a fan of Ballista, I was like ‘yo River, would you be down to be on the record’, and she luckily was super down for it. And then similarly with Christine— Christine is phenomenal not only behind the kit but her vocals are— you hear them on Zulu, it defines the record and it makes an impact. And then with Kayla, I've always been a fan of not only what Kayla has done with Bleed the Pigs but once again, she’s another politicized body that has been around for much longer than I have. And also the way she sounds on Bleed the Pigs is just like– I don't know she sounds like a fucking demon or something so I was like ‘yes, please be on this.’ And so it was really me just like fangirling over all my friends and just being like "Hey, would you be down to be on this record?" Each track that they're on, it defines the track. With 'Summer Trend,' having a song in which we all feel the same way about those lyrics, that was really important to me— it's like "Hey, this isn't just me feeling like this, we’re feeling this." This is a collective feeling.


PK: You guys are from Boston, and I live in Boston as well, so I was wondering how your experiences living in the city have influenced your outlook and your music?


CC: Our music has what I’d say is the 'Boston Bounce’ in hardcore. Nick writes a lot of music that’s like what he’s an active fan of, so he’s always liked bands like Mind Eraser and Righteous Jams. So you hear what I define as the ‘Boston Bounce’ in the music, that even in the hard parts there’s still that rhythmic feeling to it. Musically, we definitely try to play hardcore that we see as Boston hardcore. And a lot of what I’m writing about is also what I’m approximate too. So you know, in 'House of Cards,' where I’m literally talking about people in fucking Boston and what the fuck they do, that’s kind of a distinct piece right there. A lot of the lyrical content is impacted by my community and also what I’m learning from them. So, I’m learning from people in Boston, and so I’m writing about things that are happening around us. I had got some of my friends to be like "Hey, I wrote these lyrics, how do you feel about them?" So I think that everything that we do still encompasses Boston, that’s why we’ll never not rep Boston. We feel like we are a Boston hardcore band. Unfortunately, we don’t play in Boston often, we don’t get asked too often. So if you’re a promoter reading this, hit Move up– we like playing in Boston.


PK: Side note, my friend Stefan Thev is playing with you guys at The Middle East in December opening for Bad Rabbits, and I’m so excited for that!


CC: Hell yeah, I love The Middle East! We’re playing with the Bad Rabbits, it’s gonna be crazy, and shoutout to Stefan.


PK: I think The Middle East is getting bought out? Which sucks, it’s crazy.


CC: I believe 2024 year-end it’s supposed to close. Or that was the rumor. They did sell the property and they’re gonna redevelop it (gentrify it). There are such limited DIY spots in Boston, which sucks. That’s something that New York has, or Philly has, over a spot like Boston. I think another thing is that Boston is a bit more hierarchical with booking, but hopefully, there will be more spots that pop up. One thing I always wanna remind people too is that, there’s more to Boston hardcore punk and alternative music than Brighton, Allston, and Cambridge. Like, why aren’t we looking at spots in Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Mattapan? We know why, because it’s like primarily white kids coming from these areas to go to these shows. There are other areas to tap into.


PK: What do you think are some of the biggest issues currently facing Boston? I know you speak a lot about the housing issues on 'House of Cards.'


CC: Yeah, housing is a massive issue in Boston. I think the way that they treat our houseless community on Melnea Cass Blvd. and Mass Ave, that’s another huge issue that’s been ongoing for years, and we’re seeing the effect of the lack of affordable available housing in Massachusetts. And we’re also witnessing how the mayor and the state do not give a fuck about our houseless population there. Right now, there is a free calls amendment taking place that Court Watch Massachussetts has been posting about— we’re trying to get free calls available for people in prison to be in contact with their loved ones, family, and community outside the bars, which really should be something that’s free for all people on the inside globally. That’s just an example of the for-profit prison industrial complex that sucks. Obviously, we know of a lot of racial segregation that happens in the city– for example, why isn’t there a train line from Roxbury to the Seaport? Making things like that more accessible, like what the fuck is going on with the T? That’s another thing. That’s something that impacts a tremendous amount of working-class people, so shit like that.


PK: Your music is intended to be a call to action for listeners– after people listen to your record Black Radical Love, what do you hope they gain from that? What are some things we can all do to better serve our communities and fight injustice?


CC: I hope every motherfucker listens to this album and then goes ‘damn, bro, I need to tap back in.' Even 'Summer Trend' is like a slight call-in to myself being like "Hey, are you as tapped in as you were during these months?" Really making sure that we’re actually doing the work, so going outside of feeling good about this record and taking that motivation, that visceral reaction that you have, and going and checking out a political org to join. Fucking unionize your job! Find a mutual aid that’s on your block. There isn’t a mutual aid? Start one! Like do something to help progress this idea of revolution and transformative care because we’ll only be the ones to free ourselves. Especially for any white people listening to the record, but even for Black people too– I need us to continue doing the shit like we have been doing. Unfortunately, we’re always gonna have to do it until we’re all free. But for every white person that listens to that record– do some research. Like who is Fannie Lou Hamer? Let’s do some research on what are the Black Panthers actually saying in '1,000,000 Experiments?' Who are these things that are speaking and what can we dive into? We put resources in our Linkree so go check out the resources that are there. I just want people to act. That’s really what I care most about. I want people to do things, I want people to feel energized. Find a political organization, start a political organization, do whatever it takes to continue to fight for our freedom that we rightly deserve, and have been led astray from.


PK: Is there anything else you’d like to add that we haven’t gotten to talk about yet?


CC: No, I have nothing else. Shoutout to everyone who helped out with the record. Shoutout to Charlie Abend, who produced, and recorded, the whole nine. And Tower Farm Studios and Billerica. If you think our record sounds sick and you’re like damn, who did that shit? That’s who fucking did it. So go check that dude out. Shoutout to Arthur Rizk who mastered it, he also mastered Freedom Dreams so it was cool to have him do it again. Shoutout to Sam, Triple B Records for putting out an LP with us. Shoutout to both Comfortable Dude and Reg Mason who did the production on the record, they did the beats behind the speeches and added an element to this record that made it feel a lot more cohesive. Big ups to Lili, Deja, Obi, Martin, Simmy, and one unknown voice that we’re still trying to search for. Annelise, for your words that are really adding a certain element to the record that people aren’t expecting. And really ensuring that there is an emotional reaction to this, not just rage. But like really taking time to sit with their words. Also big ups to Balaram, River, Kayla, Christine, and Aaron for being down to do guest spots on it because the record would not have sounded as cool without them. Shoutout to the Black Boston community, and shoutout to Mithsuca Berry who did our artwork for the second time which was beautiful. Shoutout to Drew, who’s also from Black Boston community who did the layout. Shoutout to OJ who took our pictures. So like shoutout to Black Boston in general for literally being the ones that brought the artwork of this record. The video that we put out, the teaser video, those are all n****s from Boston. We constantly try to make sure people understand where the fuck we’re at. Big shoutout to the band in general from Crumby to Devon, shoutout Jake, and shoutout to Nick. Shoutout to Chanelle who helped so much with my flows on the record. Shoutout to Blue who helped out with some pieces of Black Radical Love. So shoutout to all those folks, shoutout to the Brown Table forever, and shoutout to every n**** in hardcore that actually pays us mind. So, that’s all I have!


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