Interview with Mindset


With their music self-described fast, old school hardcore. Mindset definitely sticks to their roots by playing hardcore the way it was meant to be played—raw, angst-ridden, brash, and unapologetic. Mindset is a band that doesn’t back down. Growing up in Maryland, they’ve been playing straightedge hardcore for the past two years. I got a chance to ask Mindset guitarist, Drug-free Mike, questions about their lifestyle, background, and future aspirations.

Give us some background info on the band.

Mike: Well basically, we are 4 best friends who grew up together in Maryland. We came together after a slew of lineup changes but it seems like the dust has finally settled. You can count on seeing our current lineup for a while.

How long have you been playing?

Mike: The band played its first show a little over 2 years ago.

How would you describe your music?

Mike: I would describe our music as fast, old school hardcore. We definitely try to stay away from newer styles of hardcore and stick to what we like to listen to personally. I think we throw in some early 80's hardcore influence as well.

What's your current lineup?

Lightnin' Ev-Vocals
Drug Free Mike C-Guitar

Name some of your favorite local bands.

Mike: In MD, I really like Bad Habit, Time to Escape (DC) and Coke Bust (DC) are sick, and there are a lot of other bands doing some cool stuff. As far as Philly goes, Great Ceaser’s Ghost has some rad jams, and
Let Down is amazing--by far they are one of my favorite bands as of late. I'm a big fan of Triple Threat and Cut It Out, from Jersey.

What bands have inspired your music?

Mike: Bands that come to mind are Youth of Today, Side By Side, Uniform Choice, Chain of Strength. We're also all big fans of the "Revolution Summer" bands that came out of DC. You may not be able to hear the influence musically but bands like Embrace and Nation of Ulysses certainly play a very large role in the general make up of our creative energy and attitude.

What inspires your lyrics?

Mike: Ev and I usually toss around ideas for songs together. Songs usually come from things we discuss...problems we see in ourselves, and in the world—the current state of the world and humanity.

Tell us a little about what your song ‘Self respect is my anti drug’ means to you?

Mike: It began as a conversation between a few of us Edgemen about how we thought it was silly when people would say things to us like "I don't agree with you, but I really respect your lifestyle". It was usually a drunken kid patronizing the hell out of us and we just thought it was silly. Hopefully this song points out that we aren't doing this for other people's respect and additionally...maybe they should respect themselves enough not to damage their own body! Respect yourself...stop patronizing us!

What’s your song ‘straight forward’ about?

Mike: Well, as the title suggests, it's pretty straight forward. We intend to stay straight, stay young, stay positive, and stay in control of our own lives FOREVER! This lifestyle is not a trend.

How is the hardcore scene in Maryland? How does it compare with the Philly Hardcore scene?

Mike: MD is a funny scene. There are a lot of really good bands out there doing their thing and getting a lot of recognition. It's really put MD, specifically Baltimore on the map as of late. Another interesting point is the Baltimore scene is very connected to the Central PA scene and vice versa. Most shows have a mix of bands and kids from both areas. There are a lot of young kids who have been coming out too, which is great. For me personally, I see this hierarchy: kids who have been around longer and are "on top" so to speak, tend to run what's going on in the scene. Lately though, I feel like there is this whole different group of kids who are on the fringe of the social structure in the scene. For whatever reason (probably don't have North Face jackets) these kids are kind of starting their own thing at the bottom and it's growing. I like to see that.

Have you played in Philly?

Mike: We've only played Philly once and it sucked. There were a bunch of bike punks throwing beer at us and trying to pick fights. A policeman looked up our friend Jilly's skirt and said "Haven't seen that in a while". The show was in a house and was basically a frat party but the kids had Mohawks and safety pins instead of white hats and pastel collared shirts. They were more interested in partying than watching what I thought was a really good line up of bands.

Can you tell your fans a little about your new album and where they can pick it up?

Mike: The best way to pick it up would be come to a show and meet us! We're also working on a 7 inch right now so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Any tours lined up?

Mike: We're planning on doing 2 weeks in the summer.

Interview by Roya Butler