Pressure Cracks, Jason Butler’s New Hardcore Band, Get Raw As Hell On Their New EP
In many ways, Pressure Cracks feels like a much-needed product of the times. The band, fronted by Jason Aalon Butler of FEVER 333 and featuring former members of west coasters Scars Of Tomorrow, play a brand of hardcore that feels inherently urgent, spat out in anger rather than presented within a typical structure. While guitarist Dan Bieranowski and Kevin Fifield create dissonant, joint-twisting riffs full of tangible discontent, Jason shrieks with genuine panic and rancor, the resulting sound smacking of the anxiety and frustration that seems to soak every waking hour of the modern day.
While the band’s other projects can be heard on their new EP, This Is Called Survival, it’s clear from the get-go that Pressure Cracks is more than an experiment for its makers. The album is lean in its momentum, without a scrap of over-indulgence on its concrete skeleton as it blasts full speed ahead. Tracks such as opener Like Father Like None and the unhinged Shhh show off the band’s reactionary fury in excellent form, making the listener want to kick over the nearest table and screaming into the street with a fist raised overhead.
Before listening to our exclusive stream of Pressure Cracks’ new EP, we reached out to Jason to learn a bit more about the project.
Tell us about how Pressure Cracks came together. What informed your sound, and drove you guys to form the band?
Honestly, Dan, who is one of our guitarists and my longtime friend, sent me some instrumentals to these sick aughts-era Southern California hardcore-styled joints, and I immediately took to them. Those joints came with an offer to sing atop of the instrumentals and form a band with him and three other local homies from our scene that were also in bands I loved growing up. So, with great pleasure, I accepted that offer and I jumped into a studio that was run and engineered by another one of my oldest homies – who actually recorded me in his bedroom for the first letlive. LP in 2002, and was in two of my favorite bands from home – for a day and wrote and recorded my contribution to that first EP that you have grown to love and mosh to today.
Is there something you can do or explore with Pressure Cracks that you can’t, or don’t want to, with FEVER 333?
I think they should be allowed to have their own identities and, in my opinion, I think that’s the inherent nature or having ‘separate’ artistic projects. I try to be as deliberate as possible when performing in each respective project and utilizing them differently. I certainly tend to employ a more whimsical style of metaphor in Pressure Cracks and a more immediately critical style of metaphor and writing style in FEVER 333. For me, they are both outlets that I utilize for all issues I deem worthy of artistic breath and allow the issues to fan out between them.
What are you most excited for fans to hear on This Is Called Survival?
That southern California is still pissed.
Is there a running concept behind the EP, or a central theme?
I fell even deeper in love with my son as I have had more time with him since he was born and he has unknowingly forced me to face myself as well as the world around me because that is the world he will inherit. He will also incur my debts. With this in mind, as I wrote the literature for this EP I tried to discuss survival as a sometimes arduous process that is well worth the beauty of its success. That, by my estimation, is life as I know it. The acceptance of the struggle so you can look back once you’ve overcome these challenges and see their worth in a relative light.
Do you plan to tour with Pressure Cracks? That seems difficult, given how busy you seem with FEVER 333.
I would love to tour with this project. I think it would be an amazing time, and also, for me specifically, a really great way to splint my touring experience into another perspective given the nature of the band and the type of tour it would call for. Essentially, I’d love to do a fun-ass van tour with my homies and see what happens.
It’s interesting to hear a straight-up furious hardcore record in 2020. Do you prefer your hardcore progressive, or with that straight-for-the-throat old-school vibe? Where do you see the genre heading in the coming year(s)?
If I’m being honest, I think it all serves a purpose. I believe it all has to come from somewhere to get anywhere. I love the visceral nature of the old school and adore the challenges and risks taken in progressive hardcore and in all art in general.
And if I’m being really honest… I believe true alternative music will hold a steady course within a fervent subcultural section of the world and will continue to inspire people well beyond the lines it has drawn for itself and whether it wants to or not, hardcore/punk/etc. will continue to precipitate things it never knew it could; the geniuses, the risk taking game changers, the compassionate ones but it will also, at times, breed the things it never thought it would as well as the things we believe it never wanted to; the “sell outs”, the “conformists”, the ones who aren’t now so they never were, the “others” etc. and eventually it will have to ask itself why so many of these fellow humans it has chosen to condemn were essentially fostered by the community and take a moment to look at itself in a confronting manner and realize its own responsibility in an undesired outcome. See where it went wrong and how it can do better. Then extend that grace it has given to itself time and time again to those it once ostracized so we can truly be better as a culture that believes itself to be progressive and equal in its opportunity to participate. Taking risks on fallible creatures in order to cultivate a better, bigger picture for us all? That’s punk.
Listen to our exclusive advance stream of Pressure Cracks’ This Is Called Survival EP below:
Pressure Cracks’ This Is Called Survival EP comes out tomorrow, January 10, on War Against Records, and is available for preorder.
Catch the band live at one of their upcoming West Coast shows at the dates below:
18 San Diego, CA – Space
19 Fullerton, CA – Programme
20 Los Angeles, CA – 1720 (with Curl Up And Die)
21 Ventura, CA – The Garage (with Curl Up And Die)
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