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In Conversation With Reconciler: ATL Punks Share Their Insights, Inspirations, and Inner Workings

Updated: Mar 7

Reconciler, a three-piece outfit based in Atlanta, has been putting out high-energy punk numbers since the summer of ‘16. They are on the cusp of the release of their sophomore album Art For Our Sake, as well as gearing up for their first tour of Europe and the UK -- it’s a year of firsts for Reconciler, marking their formal return to the stage after lockdown put their plans on hold. Starting strong, they’ve dropped two singles -- "Never Fade Away" and "Shots in the Dark" -- both tracks waste no time, breaking right out into anthemic, pounding rhythms infused with rebellious spirit. After an unfortunate series of technical mishaps, I was finally able to sit down “with” its members (or as close as I could hope to be across state lines) for some good old-fashioned probing questions.


Reconciler Interview -- Kaya Morrison

To kick things off, would you guys like to properly introduce yourselves?


Yeah, I'm Joseph Lazzari, I play guitar and sing in Reconciler. Jay?


[laughs] I was gonna let you say it! I'm Jay Howell, I play the drums and sing a little bit.


This is Derron Nuhfer, I play bass… and yell into the microphone every once in a while too.


Awesome, it's great to meet you. So, you have an LP coming out in February, and it's called Art For Our Sake. Can you let us into the background there -- what inspired your title?


Joseph: It's a jab at “art for art's sake,” which is like a French philosophy that kind of inspired modernism -- capital and modernism -- were you expecting us to get real weird and nerdy like this super fast or not?


I'm always ready.


Jay: I’m not bored.


Joseph: Yeah, so, you know “art for art's sake” is a very long and complicated philosophy, but basically the main point of it is that art doesn't have to be tied to any sort of human emotion or any clear narrative, and our title is kind of refuting that. Art only exists because of the human beings that are involved with it. That's really what it's about.


That's awesome, I like how you worked that philosophical concept right into the title, it seems like you put a lot of thought into it. I listened to the two lead singles off the album, Never Fade Away and Shots in the Dark, and both of them kind of revolve around similar themes of sincerity, truth, and being genuine… Was that an intentional decision?


Joseph: Thematically, no. This record is long. It's got 13 songs on it, and it's a big arching kind of narrative but I think with the first two singles we just talked as a band about how we could reintroduce ourselves to the world -- because we haven't done anything in quite a bit.


Yeah, you had a little forced hiatus during the pandemic, as did the rest of us.


Joseph: Yeah, is that what happens during those?


Generally speaking, yeah. So after that time off, what has it been like getting back into the swing of it -- into writing and performing?


Jay: You know, once you open the valve up things just start flowing like crazy. I think that's what happened with us. I think with not functioning, and not writing, and not playing for such a long period of time -- especially being forced, just like everybody else out there, once the juices got flowing we just couldn't stop. We found a rhythm, found a vibe and we just went with it. Everything happened so quickly, naturally and authentically, and it just felt so great that the three of us just kept going, and we ended up with lots of killer material.


Well, there are a few better ways for a project to go than smoothly.


Jay: [laughs] Well, I’ve been in a couple of bands where everything did not go smoothly, so yeah.


Joseph: At the same time, I feel like everything that could go wrong making a record in the last two years, has.


So, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome throughout the project?


Joseph: Finding a new label was a big challenge that we were able to accomplish very quickly, which is awesome.


Congratulations.


Joseph: Yeah, we I mean we kind of thought this record was finally gonna come out, and then we were sinking in the water, and then we were right back up floating again, which is very nice.


It seems like you guys have gone through quite the journey.


Joseph: Yes, that is a nice way to put it. [laughter]


But that's only that's only been this past year. You've been working on this album for a couple of years, and playing together for eight years total.


Joseph: Almost, yeah.


So, since you first started out as a band, how do you think your sound, your goals, your inspirations -- everything that goes into your music has changed throughout that?


Joseph: Well, I think we've been sort of circling around what our energy is, what that thing that we are when we're [working as] a band is. That machine that we become we all play together. I think we've been circling around what we are supposed to be for some years -- we all bring a lot of different things to the table, and I think with this record, this batch of songs, we really were able to zero in on what that thing is that we're trying to do.


And that's what sets it apart from everything you’ve done before.


Joseph: Definitely.


When this album comes out -- and it's coming out in about a month, on February 2nd -- what tracks are you most proud of? What are you most excited for everyone to hear?


Joseph: Jay, what about you? What are you most excited for everybody to hear? Probably the two B sides that you really wanted on the record that didn’t make the cut.


Jay: You know, when you were asking about why we picked those two singles -- Joseph has very deep and philosophical reasons for his stuff, and my reasoning was that those two are f*cking bangers, so let's put those out. [laughter] I guess I wanted people to hear those, and I feel like the opening track is a really good example of like the the energy that we’re bringing. Coming right out the gates, guns blazing -- or whatever fun expression you want to use. And then from there, you know, it goes in a few different directions. So it's fun, it's gonna be a full experience.


[unintelligible angry shouting] I’m sorry, there are some people yelling in this lobby right now, but that is a fantastic way to start any album off.


Jay: Are you okay?


Yeah, I'm fine, I'm kind of touring apartments. It’s been a busy week.


Joseph: I just want to say thank you very much for making us all feel very professional right now, because normally I would expect that to be going on on our end of the phone. [laughter] And I'm like, you know what? We are a pro band.

I'm glad I could do that for you guys. I live to serve.


Jay: Thank you.


So, let's say I sit down and listen to your album front to back. What is the number one thing you want me to take away from that experience?


Derron: I think it's all about personal perception and we all look at it with a different lens and all of our own life experiences will taint that lens. But for me, when I listen to it, it's about living life to its fullest. It's too short and it's too good to be true, you know. There are a lot of different topics we touch on throughout this record, and I think -- just for me -- that’s what it sums up.


Joseph: I like that.


I like it too. It sounds like there's a lot of subjectivity that you see in the album.


Joseph: Yeah, I think, well, I'm hesitant to even bring it up, but as the lyricist, this record is essentially a concept album. It's not necessarily a linear narrative with a beginning and a clear ending and moves in a straight line from first song to last song, but it still has an overarching narrative that flows through every song. You know, a lot of people say that people don't listen to full albums anymore. I hope people listen to this as a full album and take it in as that rather than taking it as a collection of 13 independent songs. That they take it as 40 minutes of music all put together.


Derron: I think that we've been able to pull that off. If you don't put the time and effort into doing that, it'll still come off individually or in segments. So, it will be pleasing in different forms.


Well, I for one can't wait to hear the full album.


Derron: How have they not given you the full album yet?


We just get press releases.


Derron: Yeah, I wish we would have known. We would have sent you a streamer of it.


Well, February 2nd, I can get it with all the other peasants.


Derron: We'll send it to you on the 1st.


Well, I fear the sun is about to set on our time together, but I do have one last question for you guys.


Joseph: Sure.


Your album's all done and it's about to come out. Do you have your sights set on anything next -- any gears turning?


Joseph: Well, we are just working on our show schedule for next year. Namely, tying up loose ends with our first tour in Europe and the UK. So, that'll be happening in March. So, that's huge and really exciting for us. We were supposed to go to Europe in May of 2020.


The COVID years.


Joseph: Yeah. So, I think that hurdle is the biggest thing that we're focused on. After that is, I guess, figuring out whatever you do to get the people that give out Grammys to listen to your records. So, if you have the contact email for that, we'd love that.


We'll send it along.


Jay: It would be an honor just to get nominated. [laughter]


Considered, even.


Jay: Yeah, even considered.


Well, I'm sure there are plenty of nominations, award shows, and the like coming up for you guys. Thank you so much for your time today, new Reconciler album out February 2nd, Art for Our Sake. Any parting words?


Joseph: That's it. Please listen to it, however you listen to music. But if you like vinyl, there are four different variants of it spread around, so please consider picking up one of those.


I’ll spread the word.


Jay: Thank you!


Joseph: Good luck with your apartment touring, and be careful in that lobby. ⭑

 

Preorder Art For Our Sake here

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