The Heavy Sound of Supergroup Less Art was Inspired by Shakespeare

The seeds of post-hardcore sewn in the ‘90s were firmly planted in the soil of Less Art before they were even a band. After playing and touring for the better part of two or more decades, this all-star group of explosive musicians created by drummer Riley Breckenridge of Thrice his returned from recent hibernation to pay their respects to the bands that molded them. Joined by his brother and Thrice bassist Ed, the two join up with members John Howell and Ian Miller of Kowloon Walled City and vocalist Mike Minnick of Curl Up and Die to produce a guttural, sludgy sound that evolved from a joke baseball themed band called Puig Destroyer into a new force of nature that’s both green and ferocious. Their debut album Strangled Light is out on July 28.

OC Weekly: You’ve described your band as “Post Hardcore by Post Youths”. How do you look at the genre that originally inspired you now at this stage in your career starting a new band?

Riley Breckenridge: All of us in the band have been in bands in some form for over 15 years at least. We’ve been around a lot land played different kinds of shows but at the core of Less Art is an appreciation for the bands that built hardcore and post hardcore, bands like Quicksand and Snapcase and Drive Like Jehu and Embrace and Cave In. So this is our chance to pay respects to those bands, drawing influence from those bands and put a spin on it in our own way taking little bits and pieces of what we do with our other bands.

What’s it like to tackle a new band at this stage in your career with Thrice?

It’s exciting and it’s a lot of work. We’re on a really small label, with not much of a promotional budget so it’s a lot of hustling just like Thrice did in the late ‘90s. But instead of making demo tapes and flyering shows, there’s a lot of social media stuff and song streaming and teasers. It’s a lotta work but it’s a different kind of work so that’s exciting. Musically it gives me a chance to scratch an itch that I don’t get to scratch with Thrice all that often. I listen to a lot of super sludgy, super heavy, brutal music. So having the opportunity to play it in a live setting with people I admire is really fun.

How has the writing process changed between you and your brother/bassist Ed?
The reason this is unique is he’s playing guitar in Less Art instead of bass and I’m playing with a different bass player for the first time ever. So it’s been cool to learn how to play with a different bass player and have the rhythm take shape and still play off what my brother does on guitar. Ed’s brain has always worked in a bizarre way creatively, he writes a lot of weird stuff that I love. Having him get the opportunity to use that on a different instrument has been interesting.

How do you balance a new band with an existing band and a family?
I definitely could’ve picked a better time to do a side project. There’s not a lot of time to be creative. The main priority aside from family is Thrice. But there are windows where I can work on Less Art stuff. Right now Thrice has a pretty long break from the road and we’re working on a new record so I have time to work on the Less Art stuff, it’s a fun challenge but also really difficult.

Talk about your name which was inspired by Shakespeare basically described as “more substance, less rhetoric”?
I think that’s a the ethos of this band. There’s no bullshit involved. There’s no bullshit in Thrice either, but for this project we’re just writing music and playing songs. We’re not out to do anything else but have a good time.

Less Art performs with Aeges and The New Pacific at The Constellation Room on Aug. 6. For details click here.

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