Ahead of the UK hardcore fest, headliners Code Orange, Turnstile and more explain why they’re part of a revolution.
As UK hardcore festival outbreak celebrates its 10th event, we talk to headliners code orange, turnstile and more about why today’s scene is the most exciting it’s ever been
January 28, 2018. as the top-tier stars of stage and screen flock to the Grammy awards, that all-too-saccharine, plastic excitement of ‘awards season’ is in full effect. But rushing the red carpet, code orange couldn’t be further from the fancy ballgowns and thousand-dollar haircuts of their surroundings. Guitarist and electronics wizard eric ‘Shade’ Balderose is sporting a leather trench coat, fellow guitarist Dominic landolina is wearing a type o Negative t-shirt, and lead vocalist, drummer and figurehead of the group, Jami morgan, is clad in a purpose-made, jet-black fur coat. their scowls are the antithesis of a hollywood grin. they immediately turn heads and grab headlines across the globe. like everything code orange do, it makes an instant impact.
the Pittsburgh punishers’ appearance at the Grammys capped off a year that’s seen them spearhead a new wave of hardcore. From highprofile awards ceremonies, to stadium shows in support of System of a Down, last year’s Forever LP saw them shrug off the sweaty basement gigs of hardcore’s past. through fusing the energy of those 80s punk origins with the power of metal, code orange and their peers hit upon a winning formula – one that’s also been picked up by turnstile, whose second record,
Time & Space, sees them push hardcore’s boundaries further still. It’s safe to say the scene is evolving rapidly.
this summer, code orange and turnstile top the bill at leeds’ outbreak Festival, a rundown of all that’s exciting in hardcore and beyond. this year marks outbreak’s 10th edition – another landmark moment for an underground genre that’s surging forward, and not bad for a fest that started out from the humblest DIY origins back in 2011. “the first one was in a community centre in Sheffield, and there was a yoga session on before,” laughs festival co-founder Jordan coupland, who was just 14 when he put on the first outbreak. “When we arrived at the venue there were 15-20 women there, all doing yoga. It was so weird.”
With zen-seekers replaced by a swelling moshpit, outbreak’s only grown in stature. Now based in leeds’ canal mills event space, and drawing a 1,000-strong crowd, it’s become an essential pitstop on any discerning heavy music fan’s summer circuit. In 2013, outbreak was responsible for bringing turnstile over to the UK for the first time, and has provided a platform for the likes of terror, Gorilla Biscuits, turning Point, Dead Swans and more, quickly evolving from a showcase of local British talent to a worldwide go-to for hardcore’s finest. eight years in, they’ve built a name for themselves internationally. “It’s always been really cool,” enthuses turnstile frontman Brendan Yates, himself a Baltimore native, born some threeand-a-half thousand miles from outbreak’s leeds home, and yet aware of its impact. “It’s diverse, and there’s a good energy in the room.”
“We have people coming from america, and places like australia, and even Japan,” says Jordan. “So yeah, this is quite a big milestone.”
Though sonically separate, hardcore’s history is inexorably intertwined with metal’s. From newer bands – and code orange tour buddies – like trivium and Gojira, to anthrax, Slipknot and metallica (“…And Justice For All is named after the agnostic Front record!” Jami morgan notes), the momentum that drives metal’s best is fuelled by the passion of the hardcore scene – and often a youth spent at local shows. the two go hand-in-hand when it comes to driving heavy music forward.
“I can’t think of one culturally important metal band that doesn’t have a connection to hardcore,” Jami says. “It’s what makes most of those metal bands as good as they are.”
It’s that crossover potential that saw Jesus Piece guitarist Dave Updike make the jump from black metal obsessive to hardcore head back at the turn of the decade. one of the newer acts on outbreak 2018’s line-up, Jesus Piece’s fusion of black metal atmospherics and frenzied hardcore feels fresh, despite its grimy demeanour – another twist in the hardcore tale that could only occur given the recent leaps the scene’s made.
“We came from all walks of heavier music and I think that’s why what we do works out so well,” Dave says. “We kind of started as a brutal death metal band, super-extreme stuff. But just from our backgrounds and being into hardcore and punk, Jesus Piece is evolving every single day.” Now, they’re prepping a debut album, and readily heaping praise on code orange for setting the scene: “We did a weekender with them and we have nothing but respect for those dudes,” he says. “they’ve always pushed the limits and have definitely opened a lot of doors for bands like us.”
that back-patting, supportive ethos is key to hardcore’s staying power. “Because it’s a closeknit community, and quite unusual, when a fest happens, people make the effort to come to it and everyone knows everyone,” says Jordan. “a lot of stuff happens through word of mouth.”
a tight-knit crowd of fans, bands, promoters and beyond keep things running through thick and thin, while near-iconic individuals like
“YOU CAN SHAPE THIS WORLD HOWEVER YOU WANT” TURNSTILE’S BRENDAN YATES SEES LIMITLESS POTENTIAL IN HARDCORE
the hardcore community is one big, inclusive family
moshing is utbreak. result Well, if the fans can invade the stage, fair’s fair…