It’s been nearly five years since we first stepped into that cramped garage to play our first set as an exhibit in a local art show, and thinking about those early days filled with insane stories (which I could probably write a decent length indecent language filled blog post about) is what makes this so hard to say: Skumboyz is done. We didn’t really break up, but rather just fizzled out; at this point It’d be fair to say that we’re on a permanent hiatus. It feels like with the past two years or so of scheduling conflicts we’ve been on a hiatus for a while, but I think the truth is finally hitting us now. I honestly don’t see much of anything on the horizon for Skumboyz when it comes to shows or future releases. We self-released a solid album and its two singles, got a tape release of that album put out by Vinyl Conflict Records, played some killer shows including opening up for D.R.I. (who are one of my favorite bands), and best of all we didn’t end on bad terms. So unless the DC legends themselves, Bust Off, do their own reunion show and want us to hop on like we’re washed-up dad-rock bands plastering our names on every piece of merch possible (what I’m saying is we need to become the next KISS), there’s probably nothing more for us out there as Skumboyz.
This moment is bittersweet, because although this rather long chapter of my life is ending, a new one is really just beginning. From the ashes rises something new: Toxitolerant. This new band features my Skumboyz bandmates of Julian and Sage reprising their role of guitar and drums respectively; I’ll be playing bass still (and doing some other stuff too), but Julian’s sister Giselle will be fronting this new project and bringing that Riot Grrrl vibe. This new band will not be Skumboyz 2: Electric Boogaloo. No doubt that we will share a similar sound, simply because that metal-influenced hardcore punk sound is what Julian and I write, but we’ve been consciously making decisions to incorporate new more experimental influences into our writing, like electronics, dissonance, and whatnot.
But I wouldn’t be making this announcement without something to show for it. So here’s our first demo, creatively named Demo 2020.
The Guitar, Bass, and most Vocal tracks were all recorded in various bathrooms (gotta get them acoustics) using equipment I bought before quarantine and had wanted to use sooner, but waiting gave us more time to clean up the songs. The Drum tracks and the backing Vocal tracks were recorded in our practice space, which doesn’t have the same acoustics as a bathroom, but most bathrooms are too small for a drum set. The tracks are still pretty sloppy because we have yet to play a show (since nowhere is booking, and who knows if they ever will again) and really get things working live, and I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to audio engineering, but it’s a demo and for recording it ourselves it sounds pretty decent. When we actually feel ready to record a real album, things will be a lot more smooth, and someone who knows what they’re doing will record it.
The first five tracks are definitely more of that traditional punk sound (so a sloppy recording works!), and I used Audacity to record and mix them, but the sixth track is where I really tried to experiment with more electronic-based sounds. For that track, I used LMMS to compose a quick song, and then using Audacity I slowed and distorted it, and layered a few samples from outtakes of the tracks we recorded (which were also slowed down and distorted). By the way, I’ve also been getting into more Throbbing Gristle recently.