We here at V13 are rarely excited about a debut record to the point that we want to immediately follow up with the band, but after reviewing Crime As Theatre by Richmond, Virginia’s Armagideon Time earlier this month, we just had to chase them down for some answers about what prompted such a remarkable debut. And they did not disappoint. Read on for some insight from members BlackLiq (vocals), Jesse Mowery (guitar), and Andy Kohler (drums) into what is steadily becoming one of the most exciting new names in hardcore today.

What inspired the creation of this band and this album?

Andy Kohler: “Jesse and I got together wanting to play some angry, From Ashes Rise-style hardcore/d-beat to blow off some steam. It sounded good so we added Shaun, Taimir and eventually BlackLiq. That’s pretty much it. Just trying to play fast and sound pissed…”

Jesse Mowery: “Musically, it’s inspired by bands like His Hero Is Gone, Martyrdod, From Ashes Rise, Neurosis, etc., and emotionally fueled by loss, anxiety, and the crushing burden of everyday life. The ep consists of the first 5 songs we wrote in the order they were created.”

BlackLiq: “Andy was a big help in getting me to sit down and know that I could do this. Eventually, I wrote the lyrics to 4 out the 5 songs in the same week then presented them to the band, having never performed or rehearsed any of them beforehand. Then we just built from there.”

What are the most important aspects of this style of music to you?

Jesse: “In the grand scheme of punk/diy centric music creating your own voice is one of the best ways to contribute to the musical continuum.”

Andy: “Authenticity, raw power and working-class politics. Genuine, passionate anger combined with blistering speed.”

Does this style of music and its associated community feel dangerous to outsiders? Is that an important aspect of this music? “Should” hardcore maintain a sense of danger?

Andy: “Possibly. It depends on what you mean by danger. Crowd-killing is superficial and churlish so not in that sense. We do hope it seems dangerous to the capitalist, white supremacist ruling class and all of its sympathizers.”

BlackLiq: “You can’t learn the truth about a community or the values of its people from the outside looking in.”

Jesse: “I feel like a lot of the stigma against music with harsh vocals has decreased immensely due to nu-metal and NWOAHM reaching the mainstream, Dethklok, and anime intros. Many still think of it as being angry, ignoring the nuances within anger or that any emotion can be extreme.”

What are the key themes you wanted to talk about on this album? Do you feel you got to cover them sufficiently, given the format and run time?

BlackLiq: “My roots are rhymes. I’m a HipHop artist, so my thought process going into this was that ‘this’ is not ‘that.’ It couldn’t be. Yet it still had to connect to those roots and not just be an extension. It was great to have the opportunity to really fall into something new and so uncomfortable. The opportunity to write about themes or experiences bigger than the exclusively personal ones I usually write about was great. These songs are about me just as much as they are about us, and I wanted the listener to feel included too. To know that if they aren’t one of them, they are one of us. When it was done it felt right, that doesn’t happen that often.”

This album is consistently getting flagged and taken down on social media for its album art; how do you feel about this move given the current political landscape? What do you have to say to those who may be reporting the album art in the first place?

Andy: “Anyone who clutches their pearls at our artwork can go fuck themselves, plain and simple. Anyone reporting it is really telling on themselves and I hope the sight of it ruins their day.”

BlackLiq: “I wish every time we got flagged we got to have a conversation with the person flagging us so that we could see that we have something in common besides our differences. The upside is that the artwork is creating those conversations, people are finding out that what’s happening to us on social media is a real thing. I’m always open to a DM or a comment discussion, especially if we don’t agree with each other about something. Either way, we won’t stop.”

Artwork for the album ‘Crime As Theatre’ by Armagideon Time

In terms of inspiration, who has had the most prominent impact on you, either politically, morally or musically?

Andy: “As our name might suggest, the Clash are a huge inspiration. Joe Strummer helped get me into leftist politics as a teenager and changed the trajectory of my life. Also, the Chattanooga punk scene of the early ’00s shaped my idea of what the DIY community looks like.”

Jesse: “For me, personally, in all 3 categories, probably Fugazi.”

BlackLiq: “When you’re real you’re reality, and that transcends any genre or medium. Oh, and Fox News, of course, fuck them.”

What are the things/people/artists that people should be paying more attention to right now?

Jesse:Prisoner.”

Andy: “I’m going to see Sleaford Mods tomorrow. They’re great. I saw Crossspitter a few days ago and they were unbelievable. Trophy Hunt from NYC are a force to be reckoned with. I’m sure there are more that I’m forgetting right now.”

BlackLiq: “The value they have and can add to their community. Put your damn phone down.”

Where do you see the band going next?

Andy: “Hopefully, we can get to work on a full length as soon as possible. Definitely hope to do plenty of touring soon.”

BlackLiq: “More. There will be more.”

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