Defeater is a band recognized not only for their obvious musical talent, but also for their social awareness and environmental activism in a musical landscape plagued with insincerity and complacency. The Massachusetts-based band formed two years ago with the premise of utilizing a musical platform for good; whether it be starting an environmentally conscious company or writing albums about oppression and equal rights. With one full-length release under their belt (2008’s Travels) and an EP on the horizon (Lost Ground, in stores November 17, 2009), Defeater is once again releasing a musically precise and genre-bending album that will redefine the term “forward-thinking music”.
In early 2008, Defeater got together and teamed up with Topshelf Records to release their debut full-length titled Travels. Printed on 100% recycled materials, Travels was the first conceptual (and environmentally-friendly) piece from the band, unique in that each song read as a narrative chapter from a novel while creating an embellished piece of fiction set in post WWII America in a broken home. The release of Travels caught the attention of fans, labels, and press alike with Punknews.org hailing it as "a new artistic peak for hardcore." With unrelenting buzz and critical acclaim surrounding the band, Defeater and Bridge Nine Records partnered up to re-release Travels all over the world in September of 2008. This re-release saw the band touring across the United States with the likes of Energy and End of a Year, across Europe with Comeback Kid, and throughout the UK with labelmates Polar Bear Club and Ruiner. Guitarist Jay Maas said, “The biggest highlight for us touring on Travels was meeting people around the country and world that have really connected with our music and/or lyrics. It’s weird how every now and then you can affect and impact a little pocket of people without knowing it. It’s a great surprise when that happens.”
Fast forward to 2009 and Defeater geared up to write and record their second conceptual release titled Lost Ground. A six song double 7", this EP was written in a similar narrative style to Travels following a man's journey from enlisting in the military to post-war life (the same man that listeners were introduced to on track 6 of Travels: “Prophet in Plain Clothes”). The writing process took several months, but “the refining and changing of songs and structures continues until the very last moment of recording. Nothing is ever done”, said Maas. The band spent the latter end of the summer tucked away at Getaway Recording Studio with producer/Defeater guitarist Jay Maas recording the new album. Maas commented on pulling double duty on the record as guitarist and producer by saying, "It's nice to be behind an idea all the way from it starting in your mind to actually shaping the way it will be heard as a final product, at the same time there is a certain level of hair loss due to the overwhelming level of stress I tend to put upon myself. Recently a friend of mine went shopping for a belt and she complained that no matter where she looked she couldn't find one because she already invented the belt she wanted in her head. Recording your own record is a lot like that. When the snare doesn't sound exactly liked I thought it would when I dreamed up the record for the last year I have to do everything I can to sleep at night."
The members of Defeater oftentimes work in various capacities around the band, as Maas is a hardcore impresario/producer of high profile bands such as Bane, Verse, Shipwreck and his own band at his self-operated Getaway Recording Studio, while drummer Andy Reitz is co-owner of a company called Greenvans. Greenvans is a van rental company that operates a fleet of Ford diesel vans converted to run on waste vegetable oil and bio-diesel. Each van is tour ready with a trailer included in the rental fee, specifically designed to appeal to touring bands. By renting a veggie oil powered van from Greenvans, a band saves thousands of dollars in fuel costs, not to mention the planet. When touring the country, Defeater travels in a Greenvan, ensuring that they always do their part. This will absolutely be the case as the band tours the world in support of the Lost Ground EP.
Lost Ground contains six new songs written in an anecdotal style following the homeless man from "Prophet In Plain Clothes" off of Travels. Lyrics were once again written by vocalist Derek Archambault and Lost Ground tells"…the story of how he [the character from ‘Prophet’] came to end up on that street corner. Lost Ground looks into the difference between how different races could all go to war fighting and dying for this country yet not all be treated with equal rights as citizens upon their return, and what kind of effects that inequality can have on a an honest person," said Maas. This story-like approach to lyrics is another attribute of Defeater that sets them apart from many of their contemporaries. While incredibly introspective, Defeater’s lyrics don’t necessarily touch on lyrical standards and clichés like lost love or heartbreak. Maas went on to say, “I don't feel like our lyrics are less introspective than anyone else’s, it's just the words are reflective of people that aren't us. There are a lot of our personality and experience laced inside of our characters but what I really like is the ability to write a compelling story that is full of emotional honesty yet retains total creative freedom.”
A much more melodic and dynamic album than previous efforts, Lost Ground is set to a volatile soundtrack of hardcore fury, punk melody, and metal technicality while the band explores some cleaner and bigger-sounding dynamics. Defeater has a lot to live up to on this EP since their debut received such stunning praise as “the perfect definition of modern hardcore” by Lambgoat.com and “…emotive hard hitting hardcore that crashes you like waves during a typhoon” by ScenePointBlank. And the Lost Ground EP does more than live up to Travels; it transcends it. Look for Lost Ground in stores on November 17th from Bridge Nine Records and catch Defeater at CMJ Music Marathon on October 22nd and on tour across the United States thereafter and throughout 2010.