A lot of people think that “-core” genres–such as hardcore, metalcore, deathcore, mallcore, and the ever-popular polkacore–are easy to do. Just take any subgenre of actual metal–usually death, black, or thrash metal–and dumb it way down, right? Well, not quite. If you want to form your own “-core” band, there’s a few crucial steps you’ll need to follow.
By far the most important aspect of your hardcore band will be its image. Be sure that your band’s myspace has a big photo at the top of you and your bandmates looking tough, angry, and generally disagreeable. This will let all the “scene” kids know that your band is aggressive. It is absolutely essential for everybody to wear all black, preferably with some random chains dangling off your outfits. And tattoos. A minimum of three per person. Most importantly, though, don’t ever, ever smile. Look really serious, like you might be thinking about killing the photographer. For best results, do a photo shoot on a day when everyone in the band has severe constipation.
The second most important thing is for your band to be a disruptive and unruly bunch. Ideally, you’ll want to be banned from playing certain venues because of your reputation as “troublemakers.” If at least one of the band members is an alcoholic, even better. If you’ve never been a miscreant before and aren’t sure what to do, just adhere to the following steps whenever you’re backstage, on a tour bus, or in a hotel:
1) Drink heavily
2) Break something
For more information, consult Unearth’s Guide to Disorderly and Incredibly Stupid Behavior.
As we speak, researchers at Bell Labs are trying to figure out a way to avoid this rather pesky and annoying part of the process. But until they do, you’ll eventually have to get around to making some actual music. Don’t worry, it won’t be too hard, and a lot of the ideas here really go into supplementing your “image” (see above). Nonetheless, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
Vocals—One of the major findings of Jane Goodall’s work was that most species of lower primates consider cleanly sung vocals to be a sign of weakness and submission. It is more than likely that both you and your fans operate at about the same intelligence level as most species of lower primates, so the same rules apply. But unlike real, better metal bands, which tend toward a special guttural growling technique, your vocalist should actually physically scream. The angrier the better. Remember, your band is “tough” and “aggressive.”
Guitar—Have a standard, six string electric guitar handy? Good. Go ahead and tune it to a drop D if it isn’t already. Now try playing a few different power chords. More than likely, they will all sound different. In hardcore, this is never a good thing. To fix that, go ahead and tune everything down a couple of whole steps and try again. If your chords still sound reasonably distinct, tune down some more and repeat. The goal here is to get to a point where everything you play sounds like a mess of overly distorted sludge.
Drums—This is where all of you’re band’s talent will reside, because you’re gonna need some really good double bass pedal work. Because in every song you’re band does, you’ll have to have that double bass pedal going as fast as possible all the time (and believe me, this is waaay harder than it sounds). Basically, every second of every song should cry out “See? We’re totally heavy! Our drummer uses a double bass pedal. Doesn’t that mean we’re a real metal band? Please? Doesn’t anyone believe us?” Needless to say, when you get to the engineering process, the bass drum should be the loudest thing in the mix.
Bass—As we speak, those aforementioned Bell Lab researchers are still working to determine what a hardcore bass player actually does. More than likely this instrument will get completely edited out of the final mix.
Finally, and this is by far the most important thing, fill your songs with “sick” breakdowns! The objective of a breakdown is to get really really simplistic under the guise of being “brutal.” A breakdown starts with a simple three to six syllable phrase which will be reiterated over and over, so make sure you’ve got a good one. At the same time, the tempo should decelerate to something in the “unbearably sluggish” range, and keep getting slower from there. It might help to practice by trying to play in time with an old lady trying to walk up the stairs. And remember to have your vocalist keep spouting out that same three to six syllable phrase at regular intervals. If all goes well, the crowd should be too busy moshing to actually listen to your music.
Well, there you go! Pretty simple, isn’t it? Follow these steps and Trustkill will be calling you in no time.