We had the opportunity to catch up with Mathcore band The 21st Agenda fresh off the release of their new album “Wilt”! This is a unique band from their sound to their DIY musical approach. We move to unpack this and more through the following conversation. Have a look and give the music streams a listen!
We’re here with the chaos filled talents in The 21st Agenda. First and foremost, how the hell are you guys doing?
Doing well! Our newest release is getting heard more and more as time goes on, the new lineup has been working out great and we have a few shows to announce, so all is going well for us!
Now, you’ve been hard at work developing a unique sound for years now and its all built up to this moment… the release of your first full-length “Wilt”! How are you guys feeling about the new record and the response to it so far?
We’re really thrilled with the final product. We feel the songwriting has gotten more concise and true to our vision as a whole. The response to the record has been great so far! We’ve been lucky enough to be shared by some of our favourite blogs with rather kind reviews so that’s always nice. We also threw a small release party with some local friends which was a great time – it seemed everyone was really enjoying the record!
If you had to choose a single track from the record to give the world a good kick in the chest right now, which would you choose?
Gotta say Under No Cross! Some of our punchiest riffs and heavy hitting lyrics to match. One blog called us “Existentialcore” before in facetious reference to our lyrics, I guess this one makes us Athiestcore?
You guys have a unique DIY approach from the ground up. One of the things that struck me most is your guitarist Levi Jones literally making your own instruments through Labyrinth Guitarworks. Was this a conscious decision up front as a part of your work ethic or did it just sort of occur naturally by having a luthier in the band?
The DIY approach of the band has always been about maintaining as much control and artistic influence on the final product as possible. The custom guitars and basses just kind of happened naturally I guess! Levi started Labyrinth Guitarworks as a hobby, but it has become his full time job in recent years. After making the first few Labyrinth prototypes it just made sense for us to retire our trusty Ibanez lineup for fully custom Labyrinth instruments.
Levi actually plays the first ever Labyrinth Guitarworks prototype as his main guitar and Rory got his custom 5 string bass just in time for recording Wilt! Both guitar tracks and the bass on Wilt were tracked with 3 Labyrinth Guitarworks instruments.
Beyond the instruments, you guys also handle the recording and production amongst yourselves. How did you come to strike this balance and how did it translate into the final product?
It just seemed like the right thing to do and we’re really glad we went about it the way we did! Levi had recorded the guitar, bass and vocals for our 2016 EP. Our drummer Nelson had been recording drums for a couple of his other bands so we decided to try that ourselves and are really happy with the dynamic but punchy drum sounds on the recordings. With all that covered, we wanted a bit of outside influence on the record so we got our friend Brett Johnson from Exits to work on the mix with us and do the final master for us. Nelson and Levi have also started offering recording services to a few Alberta bands since working on “Wilt”
Speaking of the work ethic you guys have, it seems all of you have important roles in other bands as well! Can you tell us about all the music you guys make?
Currently our singer Joey plays bass in a hardcore band called Pridlelands (https://pridelandshardcore.bandcamp.com/releases)
Our drummer plays in a jazz fusion band called Red Litmus (https://redlitmus.bandcamp.com/releases), and two indie rock bands called Morewine (https://morewine.bandcamp.com/) and Pike (https://pike780.bandcamp.com/). He also played in TechMetal/Djent band Of Articulate Design (https://ofarticulatedesign.bandcamp.com/)
Our past bassist Rory used to play guitar in a grind band called Sea of Dead Serpents (https://seaofdeadserpents.bandcamp.com/), with Levi on vocals. Rory also plays bass in Calgary hardcore band Fall City Fall (https://fallcityfallmusic.bandcamp.com/)
Our new bassist Keenan and Levi have been working on a new post-hardcore project together that is yet to be named.
Keenan also plays bass in a pop-punk band called Safety Gear (https://www.facebook.com/SafetyGearband/videos/332297754086159/) and a Death Metal band called Wraith Risen (https://wraithrisen.bandcamp.com/releases)
High energy would be an obvious choice to describe The 21st Agenda sound. This has translated well into a live setting for you guys. Do you have any favorite live experiences or entertaining stories to tell from the stage?
One of our favourites has got to be the music video shoot we did in Red Deer earlier this year. Red Deer is a smaller city (which 3 of 4 of us live in) with a really tight scene and it was just a great time with all of our friends and some new faces packed into a small bar going wild for our upcoming video. Another crazy one was on Halloween in 2016 when we did a full cover set of The Chariot, I don’t know if it got quite as crazy in there as an actual The Chariot show but it had to be close, damn was it wild!
Any shows coming up?
August 9th in Calgary with The Convalescence
August 16th in Red Deer with our buddies in Widows Peak
We’ve also got some announcements for September coming up!
Time for a fun round – if you could play at any location in the world, where would you choose?
India or Japan we think 🤔 Who wants us? We would love to tour anywhere honestly! We’ve stuck to western Canada so far but really look forward to touring more of Canada in 2020.
This is a bit of generic question but it’s obvious that you have a wide array of influences as a band. Can you tell us some of your favorites?
The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, A Textbook Tragedy, The Chariot and Botch have to be our favorite bands in the mathcore vein. Past that, we have a lot of musical influences in Jazz, Hip-Hop, Indie Rock and Punk. A lot of lyrical influence for us has come from personal struggles, and a lot is just addressing frustrations with our society and the corruptions within it.
What is the meaning behind your band name – The 21st Agenda?
We thought we would get this question a lot more than we do haha. There is a vast amount of information out there on the subject of Agenda 21, but it’s basically a UN document for sustainable development in the 21st century. While not all bad, some ways it has been implemented have infringed on basic rights. It’s helped put society under more control and surveillance using local tax dollars around the world and we think it’s something people should at least be aware of.
Last question is another fun round – If The 21st Agenda was a sports team, what would your mascot be?
A slice of pizza or a bean sprout. We really like to get pizza delivered to practice or go out for pho.
Those are all the questions we have for today! Before we wrap, do you have any last words for the people out there?
It won’t be a long wait to hear more new tunes from us! We are currently working on a split with our friends in Umi Yokai (https://umiyokai.bandcamp.com/track/flight-15) and Pridelands (https://pridelandshardcore.bandcamp.com/track/gateway-drug-2) It’s all currently being recorded, mixed and mastered by Levi and Nelson. Comes out this fall!