WORDS: JACK MOBLEY
Counterparts have been the workhorses of hardcore for over ten years. Their relentless work in the studio and on the road is something to behold but it has paid off for the Canadian melodic-hardcore outfit. Brendan Murphy has been reflecting and revealing what the time on the road has done for the band and for him personally. The experiences the band have persevered are testament to their work rate and Murphy has been identifying some of the key moments in their long and enduring tenure thus far. Brendan has revealed, with brutal honesty, the details behind the new album and the current state of bands in the scene.
Murphy’s lyrics are emotionally raw and heart achingly painful at times, which have developed over time. Writing record after record Murphy states that “As a lyricist I just learned better ways to challenge myself and I mean, not to sound like an ass, I just got better at it. I mean, I hope I’m better at writing than I was at 18.” But outlines that the experience over time has been hugely influential, “I’ve dealt with a lot. 10 years between Prophets and this album is definitely more than enough time to grow as a person.” And while the band have been dragged through hell and back, Brendan is still grateful for the lessons learned, “While I would say I was happier back then, I wouldn’t trade where I’m at now.”
“I’ve dealt with a lot. 10 years between Prophets and this album is definitely more than enough time to grow as a person”
The outfit have been unwavering in everything they do, whether in the studio or booking up shows across the world but Brendan looked back on one their defining moments on in the entire band’s career. “I think when we released Hell and Home in 2013 that was the first time I actually felt like there might be a future in this.” Murphy stated, “The response was overwhelmingly positive and working with Will forced us to actually crack down and create the best material we could so not only our fans liked the record, but we did too.” Highlighting that it was a defining moment for the group, “We were truly proud for the first time.”
The band have been welcomed back onto the road having seemingly only just taking a well-earned break but with the release of their album, Nothing Left To Love, only a two years on from their last album and one year since their last EP, the outfit are back are raring to go. Brendan has highlighted there is an extra emphasis on the turnaround if new material and Counterparts always want to be apart of the conversation, “I think there definitely is a pressure to release a lot of music. Specifically in our world.” The world of heavy music the creative forces must push to front in order to get noticed: “I feel like pop-stars and other types of artists can get away with longer periods of time between releases than heavy musicians can. It’s no surprise though, really. It is what it is and you have to adapt accordingly.”
“I think I’m past the point of tricking anyone into liking my band. You’re either in or you’re in the way”
In an age where every band can put their music to front of any social media platform, Brendan unveils his perspective on the oversaturated market that bands currently operate within. Acts can be guilty of over-selling their sound in order to get clicks or in attempt to gain fans but Murphy states, “I love when bands are confident in their material… in fact I feel like if you’re not confident in your material you shouldn’t be releasing it.” But interjects, “That being said, are any of us really going to change the face of heavy music? I think I’m past the point of tricking anyone into liking my band. You’re either in or you’re in the way.” Relating to Counterparts Murphy mentions, “I find this especially true with Counterparts because in my opinion I feel like the style of metal core we play was perfected what… over a decade ago?” But the band continue to draw in fans with the raw and honest method and delivery of their music.
The live shows are intimate no matter the venue holds, the energy is explosive and the performance is frantic. Brendan talks about the experience on stage and his viewpoint as a performer in front of the crowd; “I want people to leave our shows every night feeling like they got their money’s worth, you know?” Their brand of metal core has fans clambering to the front, “kids attending the shows get to scream along with us, obviously. It gives them more of an experience than just standing there and watching us. The only con is that sometimes kids get a little too confident and rip the mic out of my hands and they sound like absolute hell but… you gotta start somewhere right?” Between songs, Brendan’s personality shines in some hilarious quips that flip his lyrics on their head, “Honestly, that’s just me. I guess I never thought that someone coming to a show can see me on stage cracking jokes and having a great time.”