ALL OR NOTHING HC
photos Justice Howard
All or Nothing HC is a female fronted hardcore political punk band hailing from California. Schooled on early punk, hardcore and straight-edge, All or Nothing HC bring intensity and energy that blends the prior scenes, to add their own sound to that musical history. Their “do it yourself” ethos birthed both On the Rag ‘Zine and On the Rag Records. They have supported other DIY labels by co-releasing music on both Rodent Popsicle Records (Boston, U.S.) and Emancypunx Records (Poland). The have toured the U.S. numerous times. Having released a split cd and vinyl with Naked Aggression, they completed another tour of Europe this past summer. I caught up with them to find out more about the split, the tour and the future.
SG: For those who have yet to hear about All or Nothing HC, briefly catch them up on what they have been missing.
All or Nothing HC: We play hardcore punk in the vein of Sick of It All, The Refused, Black Flag, and the Nerve Agents with a little sprinkle of Crass and 45 Grave for good measure. We have nine releases and have toured several times. We believe that a punk/hardcore show should be interactive. You are not just an audience member, but you are a very important part of the show. We want people to leave our shows not only entertained but empowered also. The punk and hardcore world is big but small, so once you are a part of it…you are a part of a family.
SG: Who would you say are your influences are?
All or Nothing HC: Here are our musical influences, as we can think of, in no particular order: Minor Threat, Sick of It All, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, CRASS, Vice Squad, 45 Grave, Circle Jerks, The Dickies, Poison Idea, Toxic Narcotic, MDC, Conflict, Nerve Agents, Ramones, The Avengers, Bags, Bad Religion, Cause for Alarm, Youth of Today, 7 Seconds, Uniform Choice, The Cramps, D.I., D.O.A., Bikini Kill, Gorilla Biscuits, Misfits, Los Crudos, Youth Brigade, Naked Aggression, Good Riddance and many more…
SG: Describe an All or Nothing HC show.
All or Nothing HC: Intense, entertaining, empowering, challenging; band on the stage-band in the pit; audience in the pit-audience on the stage; blurred line between band and fans; we are in the fans’ faces-fans are in our faces. After every show we feel drained like we have nothing left to give. That is how we want the crowd to feel too. We want to do for the crowd what the bands did for us when we were teens…inspire them.
SG: Tell us about your new split with Naked Aggression.
All or Nothing HC: It is called “Bring Me the Head Of…” We are very proud of this split. We have known Naked Aggression for a long time and are not only friends with them but fans of them also. It is really something we should have done a long time ago. There are sixteen new songs, eight from each band. Our songs were recorded, mixed and mastered by Paul Miner. The artwork is amazing and done by Boston’s Amy Toxic. Both Kirsten and I are public educators and union representatives, so this shows in our lyrics.
SG: Tell us about the two labels that you put it out on and how that came about.
All or Nothing HC: We put the cd version out on our own label, On the Rag Records (in which I only put out female fronted bands). This cd has the original artwork by Amy Toxic. The vinyl version was put out by Emancypunx Records in Poland and has a different version of the artwork. Jenni is this amazing feminist and organizer in Europe. Her label Emancypunx and On the Rag are very similar in that we both only put out female fronted bands. We had co-released our first seven-inch with Emancypunx and were more than happy to be involved with her again. I just emailed her and asked her if she wanted to do the vinyl. She is a huge Naked Aggression fan too, so she was very happy to do it.
SG: What are some of your songs on the split about?
All or Nothing HC: “Line in the Sand” is about the left not cowering down to the right and people taking up what Adbusters.org calls “Carnivalesque Rebellion;” “Control the Inside Out” is call to people to control their pain by focusing on the “inside” and in other ways than cutting, fighting, throwing their food up, or similar actions that cause them to act out against themselves. “Living a Nightmare” is my ode to horror and a wake up call for people. I have been watching horror since I was five years old and my babysitter let me watch Karen Black in the “Trilogy of Terror.” Movie horror is easier to stomach than real life. “Death with Dignity” was written after my dad died and is dedicated to him and Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
SG: Where are some of your favorite places to play shows?
All or Nothing HC: We have some great memories of playing shows at: Showcase Theatre (Corona, CA), Back to the Grind (Riverside, CA), Troubadour (LA, CA), Glasshouse (Pomona, CA), 924 Gilman (Berkeley, CA), The Vault (Temecula, CA), ABC No Rio (NY), CBGBs (NY), basements all over the U.S. and squats and small clubs all over Europe.
SG: Speaking of Europe, you toured there this summer. Where did you tour, and what are some of your favorite shows from the tour?
All or Nothing HC: This European tour took us to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, and France. All the venues in all the countries were very hospitable. Everyone treated us very well. Playing Kopi, in Berlin, is always unbelievable. The shows in Poland are always super crazy. The fest in Copenhagen was incredible. The Soapbox in France was super fun. To be quite honest, all the shows were amazing. It is so wonderful to be able to meet punks from all around the world and share music, conversation, food and lodging with them. Even if you can’t always speak the same language, you feel connected because you share the punk/hardcore scene together.
SG: What is next for All or Nothing HC?
All or Nothing HC: While we were in Europe, we were able to play with this excellent French hardcore band called, Conflict Maestria. When we returned from Europe they contacted us and asked if we would be interested in doing a split record with them. Obviously, we said yes in a heartbeat. We are currently writing new songs for that split. In 2012, we will release the new split, work on a new full length, and play locally and nationally. We are also helping to plan the event and will be a part of the fourth annual Ladyfest IE in the summer of 2012.
SG: How can people contact the band?
All or Nothing HC: Thank you for interviewing us! Everyone can contact us through these various addresses: