Mindless on Fastcore, Livin' Lo-Fi, and the Austin Punk Scene

Punk has always been about refusal. The Bowery art-scum, L.A.-glam burnouts, and British street punks that collectively defined the OG wave were all rejecting the cornball excesses (and masturbatory guitar solos) of the ever-inflating Age of Arena Rock.

Hardcore, in turn, kicked punk's cartoonish packaging to the curb, opting instead for a rigid, minimal formalism based on speed and song structures. These latent stylistics became more pronounced as time went on, eventually culminating in the tough-guy jamboree ballet that was/is Youth Crew.

Well, every good genre turn deserves a response-genre, and fastcore is the punk variant that brings hardcore back to its simple roots. And Miami gets a dose next Tuesday courtesy of Austin punks Mindless.

Crossfade shot the group's vocalist Faiza Kracheni some questions to get her thoughts on playing fast and simple in 2011.

Crossfade: Who, what, where, when, why is Mindless?

Mindless: Yo, I'm Faiza Kracheni, the vocalist of Mindless. Bryan Taylor plays guitar, Eric Hassell plays bass, and Ariel Golan on drums.

In researching the band, I kept coming across the term "fastcore." What are some formal distinctions between fastcore and regular old hardcore?

I feel the same way about the term "fastcore" as I do "power violence": it's overly used. Any band that uses blast beats or is faster than mid tempo hardcore is automatically labeled one of the two. To me, these terms (and bands that fall into it) existed in a time period I unfortunately was too young to be apart of.

Some of your album art -- the cover for your cassette on Financial Ruin, for example -- invokes a cryptic, semi-occult aesthetic that seems to be a popular trope in contemporary hardcore. How does this imagery relate to the band's music?

My influences for Mindless's artwork stem from my interests and lyrical content, completely. Using images I find from books and manipulating them on copy machines and handwriting my lyrics is something I choose to do because it feels more personal than using a computer program like Photoshop. It's the same reason I choose to shoot video on Super 8 vs. DV. No erasing. As far as the manipulation and aesthetic, I like the releases to flow together. If you look at my old band Faithealer [with Bryan], our LP Bound & Chained has a very distinct style in the same vein as well.

How would you describe the Austin hardcore scene?

It has definitely grown insanely within the past five years. I remember being 16 and knowing or at least knowing of every person in every hardcore/punk in Austin. Now, every day, there's a new band with new people! Austin as a city itself has changed and grown a lot over the past few years. So with that, the hardcore community has grown much larger. It's pretty fucking amazing if you ask me. The only downfall is always being broken from all the damn shows!

How frequently are you forced to discuss Mindless Self Indulgence?

[Laughs] Surprisingly, it hasn't come up.

Drugged Conscience presents Chest Pain and Mindless with Destructive Bodies and No Children. Tuesday, July 26. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and there's a $5 cover. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

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