- by Tom Dumarey
We caught up with bassist Dave Fenton from Dragged In, a Toronto hardcore outfit featuring current and former members of Brutal Youth, End Program and Deadmouth. They just released their debut full-length, aptly titled ‘LP I,’ which comes straight at you with a crushing blend of hardcore punk, stoner metal, and thrash riffs slathered in ranch.
PRT: How did Dragged In come together?
Dave: Well...about 5 years or so ago Marty and I had dissolved Deadmouth after things ran their course. At that point in time, we had Bruce filling in on drums. I had known Bruce since I was about 14 or so, when we played in a hardcore band called the Fheds. We had a good history of playing together and Bruce was the drummer for a great hardcore band out of Toronto called End Program who had recently parted ways. We were all looking for something to do musically.
Anyway, we kept jamming and had some good riffs coming together. The more we played and developed that rapport together, the tighter it became, as it should. Bruce saw Patty at Pouzza Fest in Montreal that year where he was playing with his band Brutal Youth. Bruce said he had a band coming together and that we needed a singer. Patty said yes, likely just to end the conversation, not realizing that he had one foot in the grave already. A few weeks later, Marty saw Patty at a friend’s house and brought it up and Patty said he would come to a jam.
The next week, he didn’t show up. The week after that, he didn’t show up again. Three weeks later, he finally showed up. We really liked the sound. Patty likes to play it off like he wasn’t into it, but it’s been 5 years and counting, and three releases and he hasn’t sent us back so there’s that.
We recorded our first EP ourselves with Patty doing most of the tracking (yet another example he’s into it). We had Cox, who played guitar in End Program with Bruce, mix the first EP. He heard the tunes and said he really dug it and we asked him to join. That’s essentially how we all came together.
PRT: You released two EPs back in 2016, but it took you up until now to release your debut full-length. Simply a matter of busy schedules with some of you also playing in Brutal Youth and Deadmouth?
Dave: As mentioned above, Deadmouth ended before Dragged In came to be. Brutal Youth has kept Patty busy at times, and has had him miss one date where we opened for Dag Nasty. But for the most part we have become pretty good at working around others’ projects. Between the first two EPs and this release, we have played a bunch of shows and been fortunate to have some incredible opening spots.
Another facet of the delay is that there’s been a lot of life that has happened in between the EPs and the full length for each of us. Injuries, kids, other personal shit; too much to really go into detail about. Adding on top of that the fact that we are doing this independently and with the limited resources of an independent band. We wanted the full length to be of a certain level of quality which costs money for studio time and people to work on it. So we tracked the drums which ate up our savings, then we gigged to fund the next round, and the next round and so forth. The writing and production took a lot of time, but it was due mostly to a lack of resources, and wanting to get it to a place we were happy with which we feel we did. We hope everyone is as stoked on it as we are and it was worth the wait.
PRT: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard of hardcore, stoner rock and thrash?
Dave: We are a mash up of the many different styles that we all listen to. There’s fast riffs, mid-tempo songs, some really slow and sinister sounding riffs. It’s all quite varied. Many people have compared us to Dag Nasty which at times is failry accurate, although unintentional. It’s melodic, heavy in spots, dirty in other spots, and the lyrical content is generally about overcoming adversity, believing in yourself, and powering through hard times, just like the current state of affairs.
PRT: ‘LP I’ is out now... seems like a bit of a bummer moment to be releasing an album now. Are you already making plans to make up for lost time?
Dave: I guess in one sense it is a bit of a bummer because we miss playing and would love to be out doing that right now. On the other side, I think it’s a unique time to release a record because there’s literally a captive audience dying for something new to do. I think the message itself is uplifting and the music is energizing so it hopefully can become something people might turn to to get pumped to overcome these times.
As for what happens next...we are trying to plan as best as we can to make up for the lost time. We have a run of shows lined up supporting the Candian dates for Sick Of It All and Agnostic Front. These were supposed to happen this past weekend and have since been moved to the end of August. We also had some plans to do a bunch of dates in the fall which may be up in the air. There’s a lot of unknown right now but we are focused on adapting and reacting to whatever comes up.
PRT: How different is a day in the lives of the members of Dragged In right now compared to before Covid-19?
Dave: The main change thus far has been not working, and not jamming. I’m still working full-time but from home, so I’ve been trying to write a lot at night so I’m not staring at a computer screen for 18 hours a day. Marty is still working full-time. We are both pretty fortunate to be honest. Patty is playing video games and watching wrestling. So not much has changed aside from not going to work before those things take place. Cox has been off work, but he just had a kid so he’s been enjoying staying home and being awake for all of that. Bruce has been trying to stay in shape for drumming by running and playing on a practice kit at home.
PRT: Let’s get down to the real question at hand... what’s with the obsession with ranch dressing?
Dave: I think calling it an obsession is slightly unfair, it’s really more a way of life. It’s not so much we choose ranch as it has chosen us. It’s like being straight-edge but by refusing to use other salad dressings.