Guilt Trip: “We’re trying to see how far we can push the sound we have”

Backed by Malevolence and with a clear idea of who they are and what they want to achieve, things are on the up for Manchester’s Guilt Trip. And with second album Severance, they’re a band hungry for even more…

Guilt Trip: “We’re trying to see how far we can push the sound we have”
James Hingle
Alex Wilkinson

This summer, Guilt Trip have played some of Europe’s biggest festivals, carving their name into the minds of those who love all things heavy. Playing a unique brand of hardcore that sees them delve into elements of thrash, old-school hardcore and fist-pumping metal, the Manchester quartet are growing at an impressive rate. In fact, guitarist Jak Maden suggests they might have even been “overachieving” compared to where they expected, or hoped, they might be at this stage in their career.

The band’s 2019 debut River Of Lies laid the very foundation for what Guilt Trip are all about: a DIY sound backed by heavy riffs with a sprinkling of grooves. Indeed, their blueprint lives in hardcore, but fast-forward just a few years to now, and they’re entering much bigger leagues with new album Severance. “We’ll probably always be a hardcore band,” begins vocalist Jay Valentine, “but I think we’re just trying to see how far we can push the sound we have.

“We’ve not changed our sound over the years to make it more listenable, in order to achieve this and that,” he adds. “It’s just the music we’ve wanted to play.”

“I think we’ve matured,” considers Jak. “It’s been the natural path to not sound like a traditional hardcore band. A hardcore sound is so broad, and it’s impossible to really say, as there’s so many different sounds within the scene.”

Said scene is bursting with life right now – you only have to cast your eyes over June’s incredible Outbreak Fest line-up to see how eclectic and exciting things are. And yes, while it’s ultimately a style of music, this is also a mindset: one that allows you to be whatever makes you feel free.

This is a concept they embraced when they shared recent Severance single Sweet Dreams, with the aim of “setting ourselves apart from the traditional hardcore aesthetic” and focusing on their own art. Put simply: they want to do things the Guilt Trip way.

“We’re not remotely bothered about what other bands are doing,” says Jay. “I mean, if there’s bands that we like then we want to see them do well, but it’s not something that really crosses our mind when we’re doing our own thing. We focus on what we want to sound like – it’s what we want to do and we’re doing it for us.

“It’s amazing to have people that like us and support us, and we couldn’t do it without them,” the singer stresses. “But at the end of the day, it is our hobby, it’s our livelihood and it’s what we want to do. We’re going to do it the way that we want, regardless of what all the other bands around us are doing.”

A hobby that is seemingly having its just rewards. Coming into their own and with the confidence of a much more experienced band, Guilt Trip get the sense that something is happening here. At the same time, though, having signed to fellow hardcore favourites’ Malevolence’s MLVLTD label for this record, they also feel rejuvenated, and like they’ve gotten a completely fresh start.

“I think we’re all quite terrified or excited at the same time,” smiles Jak. “It feels like the first real album we’ve done and the only one where we’ve got some pressure on our shoulders.”

“Yeah, we feel like we’re kind of starting again,” agrees Jay, “because we’re coming into a slightly different world than we’ve been used to.”

It’s also the first time they’ve felt like they’ve really had the record label experience. That’s thanks in no small part to Malevolence’s efforts and support throughout the process.

“This is the first time I feel like we’ve had the proper label treatment,” explains Jak. “We’ve always been scared of having the control taken away from us by a bigger entity, or being made to do this and that. But it’s nothing like that at all. They’ve given us all the support that we could have asked for, and I don’t think the LP would be as good without them because they’ve put so much into us. Now, we’re trying to give something back, and it’s just made us work little bit harder, and push that little bit more.”

“They’ve been amazing to us,” agrees Jay. “Really, everything good that’s come to us over the last year or so has pretty much been all through them. We’re grateful that they’ve showed their support.”

In a true full-circle moment, Guilt Trip will be supporting Malevolence – along with Sylosis and Justice For The Damned – on their massive tour of the UK and Europe in just a couple of months’ time. And we can guarantee that’ll be a trip worth taking.

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