Phorids is about to destroy your stereo system as if it were a concert stage. The hardcore quartet known for its blistering live shows has released a bevy of records, starting with two EPs, the six-song EP S/Tep in 2019, a 2020 single, and a two-track demo on Bandcamp earlier this month, culminating with the yet-to-be-titled album hopefully by early June.
Frontman Brad Barker said the group feels like the new tracks are good, strong songs as a band because in the beginning, the musicians were kind of feeling one another out and getting used to one another’s writing styles and influences.
“I feel like we’re progressing and getting closer to the sound that we had initially envisioned for this band, rather than straying from our roots and becoming overproduced and out of touch,” Barker said. “As for the guys, I think that they’re generally happy with the songs and feel about the same. … I think we’re coming to be what we always knew we could.”
The two demos, recorded DIY-style in drummer Travis Brown’s home studio, reveal the fiery temperament inherent in every Phorid track with a little hat-tip to the ’80s hardcore scene. One of the tracks is a cover of “Heart Attack Man” off the Beastie Boys’ 1994 album Ill Communication, which itself paid tribute to the trio’s punk phase before turning to hip-hop.
For mastering of the new material, Phorids will send it to Rarefaction Mastering in Sacramento, California, and the home of engineer Andrew Byrom, a friend who has mastered all the group’s music thus far.
“Everything I’ve done I’ve had mastered by Andrew,” Brown said. “He’s someone who I also bounce a lot of ideas off of to educate myself.”
Before joining Phorids, Barker sang in local heavy rockers Antirad, and Brown played guitar and sang for the underground garage outfit HEATER. The group is rounded out by Shannon Greer, the former Rome Is Burning guitarist who replied to a Craigslist ad submitted by Barker, and veteran bassist Chris McGill, who’s played in a few groups in his home state of New Jersey. After moving to Fort Worth a few years back, he had also replied to the same Craigslist ad.
The Phorids guys are excited for the album to come out after three solid years of playing local venues like Lola’s Saloon and MASS. McGill said that playing hardcore punk is a way to ignite energy onstage while sharing that energy with the crowd.
Phorids’ material sounds a lot like “first-wave hardcore,” Brown said, and it makes sense since the guys are strongly influenced by groups like The Germs, Dead Kennedys, early Beastie Boys, and Black Flag.
And like the best hardcore bands of yore, Phorids offer a punk take on relatively simple, mundane situations (or people). “Stupid Haircut” is a simple take on a trip to the barbershop while another track is about waiting in line at a record store on Record Store Day.
“Traditionally, I used to have more time to write off a hook and how we lay the different parts and the influence of lyrics from what’s seen out there,” Barker said, adding that he and Greer have written most of the lyrics.
Barker said they don’t try to adopt any stances, just write what they know and feel.
“There’s ugly stuff in our world that people should be angry about, but without a partisan bent on anything, our band doesn’t want to take a solid political stance,” Barker said.
Phorids said they’re still talking about trying to expand their reach but don’t have any big plans on touring too far outside of Texas.
“We would love to tour,” Barker said, “but being that we’re all older guys with good jobs, children, spouses, and responsibilities, it just really makes it hard. I think if the right opportunity presented itself, we would jump on it, but it would have to be significant. We are hoping to do some smaller, maybe three-day-weekend-type tours in the near future, and we’ll probably start off with hitting some of the bigger cities in Texas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio.”
In the next five years, Barker said they’re set to keep writing and progressing as a band and said they would ideally like to have a few more full-lengths under their belt. “We’re at a point now where we’re really hoping to play some bigger shows locally, opening for larger touring acts. We’ll continue to play the smaller shows, which we love, but maybe slightly more focused.”