Exclusive Interview: Stripped's Optimistic Hardcore

Updated: Sep 15

SLO county-based hardcore act recently pulled off a livestream release show on Mar. 18th for their album, A Reaction to Misery in Life.

(From Left to Right: Eric, Trenton, Sterling, Jesse)

Overall, the stream was a successful response to the oncoming onslaught of uncertainty that now surrounds us.

The group, consisting of vocalist Sterling Snow, bassist Jesse Moreno, drummer Eric Sobel, and guitarist Trenton Carrol, formed about a year ago once the band known as Genocide Jack decided to call it quits. Although half the group lives out in SLO while Sterling and Trenton live in Santa Maria, they've been able to setup consistent practice time and fine tune their live set. The member's newfound sound is a bit heavier than previous endeavors, but it's been well received. Playing fast-paced shows with local heavy hitters like Burlesque and Idle Tongues has helped them gain a notable presence in the scene. Circle pits are guaranteed.

After about a year of ripping up the local DIY scene, Stripped has unleashed a new batch of high intensity hardcore. Recorded by Nolan Perry out in Santa Margarita, this album is their first release on wax. In celebration of the project, the group decided to host a record release show; however, it isn't always easy to set up DIY shows in the area. The ever-approaching threat of Covid-19 only added to the already stressful endeavor of hosting a gig, yet the boys came through with a full on livestream performance.

We had the opportunity to catch up with the group once they finished up the stream.

Here's what they had to say:

Q: (Spenser) So how’d the stream go?

A: (Sterling) It’s over now, it went well. We had it make it exclusively live streamed, so it was just the five of us with Chris from Idle Tongues doing sound and his set. Jesse had to drive home after our set, so it’s just Eric our drummer, Trenton the guitarist, and me. This has definitely been an experiment, but I think we pulled it off despite technical difficulties. It would’ve been nice to have a few more people to help out, but I think we did well with our five man crew. 

Q: (Spenser) How does it feel to finally release your own record at this point?

A: (Sterling) I mean I’m the kind of guy to not know until it hits me, but I imagine I’ll feel pretty relieved. It’s been a battle trying to get this thing released or at least have the release party. Knowing what just happened at Stage 9 where the owner just burned everyone that volunteered there and axed all the DIY shows. We were lucky enough to salvage the show and move it to a house in SLO, but then the virus started getting worse. Almost every other day there’d be limits and restrictions on what we were trying to do, but I mean I’m grateful we could still do the live stream that people could enjoy from their rooms. 

Q: (Spenser) How did you go about producing and releasing that record?

A: (Trenton) Well, we went with Nolan Perry which if you’re familiar, he did the latest Pancho & the Wizards record. I think he also did the latest Dudeo Perez and Coffin’s first EP as well. How did you find Nolan? I don’t remember.

(Sterling) um, we had mutual friends.

(Trenton) He also recorded The Mighty Fine and they’re like a local pop punk band from like a few years ago. He did their whole revival album. Every other year they might do a reunion. We originally tried booking a spot in Lompoc, but the guy was like, “I don’t do heavy music or punk at all”. 

(Sterling) Yeah, Nolan said this was his first “heavy band” to do which is why it was definitely a long process of going back and forth between our mixes and stuff, but he really pulled through. I mean the studio’s cool, but it’s all the way in Santa Margarita out in the boonies.

So it’s like an hour drive at least to get out in the middle of nowhere.

It kind of lends to the recording process being isolated and not distracted by what’s going on in the world, but you’re kind of out of luck If you’re trying to meet up to fix stuff. Overall, I’d say it was a pleasure working with Nolan. He was very excited. He saw us as almost a challenge to see if he could actually produce and record a heavy band. 

Q: (Danny) So you’ve been playing punk on the Central Coast, do you think it’s been a positive or negative journey? 

A: (Sterling) Overall, it’s been a positive, but as of late it’s been a struggle. I think we’re gradually making small gains. I like to think that when struggle or conflict presents itself, there’s an opportunity to turn something negative into something positive. Hopefully after what’s happened with Stage 9 and to some extent the CoronaVirus, we can be more supportive of each other over the Internet since we can’t physically be together yet.

Having an online presence as a community would be helpful. I think what’s going to happen for the DIY scene will be very interesting. Assuming we’re still on lockdown, quarantine at our homes, it’d be nice seeing more people live streaming band practices or shows like we did. I know Code Orange pulled off a huge production a couple days ago with Hate5Six, so I’m curious to what the future holds. I’m very excited. 

(Trenton) I hope I see a lot of new bands popping up after this. 

(Sterling) Yeah, all that pent up frustration.