Big Laugh is no laughing matter. What started as a side project roughly a year ago has now become a top priority. Featuring members of Beggar, Forced Impact, Mister, and Gangstalker, Big Laugh is composed of people from nearly every quality local hardcore band in recent years. Their blistering fast hardcore seamlessly pivots to a New York hardcore style groove. Adept songwriting, not to mention their road dog status, has pushed their profile past Wisconsin’s borders and into the sights of audiences across the U.S. as well as Canada.
In these crazy COVID times, Big Laugh’s debut EP, Manic Revision, is set to be released by Richmond, Virginia’s 11PM Records. In advance of that forthcoming release, guitarist Zach Moffet graciously fielded questions.
Milwaukee Record: What have you guys been up to during the quarantine? Are you practicing? Writing on your own?
Zach Moffet: Mostly been utilizing my time at work screwing around on creating art, recording personal projects, jamming records, and playing video games. Leo [McClutchy] has been out of town since everything started, and since I still work, I do my best to self-quarantine. Also, [we have] no space to practice at the moment, anyways. I have been slowly working on new stuff for the band though. I’m excited to show them to the boys.
MR: Was the band meant to be a full-time thing right away or was it meant as a Mister side project?
ZM: At first, I don’t think we knew what we wanted, as we were all busy with other projects and bands at the time. Mostly, we just wanted another band for the local scene that is sorta lacking the style of hardcore we like. After some dropped shows and practices, we realized the potential and chemistry between us, and it just clicked that we should just hunker down and make this band a priority because we really do love each other and just feed into each other’s energy when we play. I’d like to think we are a full-time band, but we all make sure to give ourselves room for other projects and bands we involve ourselves with.
MR: Did you have an idea for what you were going for, soundwise?
ZM: At first, especially on the demo, the more youth crew and late ’80s ABC No Rio sound was the general direction, like Uniform Choice, Youth Of Today, and Citizen’s Arrest. Once I joined and started bringing stuff to the table, we branched out and just kind of pulled a little bit from everywhere. Speed sort of got replaced with pure intensity, but never taking a backseat. Bands that influenced us the greatest on the new EP are bands like Judge, Burn, Inside Out, and Sepultura, honestly.
MR: The 7-inch is coming out on 11PM Records. How did you get hooked up with them?
ZM: It was honestly just by the younger dudes in the band having recently toured and just networking a bunch. We were incredibly fortunate to have our demo released by a label based out of Florida called Invisible Audio, and when it was received well, I just dared McClutchy to ask Pat over at 11PM if they wanted to release it. Pat, being the ultimate defender of hardcore, said yeah and we recorded the EP about three or so months after the demo dropped. Both aforementioned labels were so solid in helping us and we are really glad we have these people in our corner.
MR: Where was the record recorded?
ZM: We recorded with Matt Russell in his studio Altered States in Chicago. Matty has recorded my bands the past few years and he’s a very solid engineer. He was good at pushing and helping us out while we were there, and has a knack for just actually giving a shit about what he does and how things are presented on the recording. Highly recommended.
MR: How has touring affected your band? It seems like you’re touring often. Do you think hitting the road gave your band a jump start?
ZM: We all have somewhat different personalities, but touring is great and the most painfully addicting thing about this band. Luckily, we all have toured fairly extensively before, so it was nothing new, really. From the very start, we have been a very energetic live band because we were living and breathing this for months, and so when we started playing out of town to different scenes, our intense chaos was infectious and people just took to it. Our first real tour, apart from a weekend with Gangstalker, was all Canadian dates, so I think playing out certainly helped us off to a great start.
MR: Name some bands that you feel have a kindred spirit to Big Laugh.
ZM: Assuming you mean contemporary bands, the outfits that I like to think of are just the solid homies, Armor, End On End, Bib, Splitting Heads, and all the Chicago bands, really.
MR: What are your post-quarantine plans? Are you going to tour on the 7-inch?
ZM: When and if we can ever get back in the saddle, we definitely plan on making up for the four-plus tours that fell through. For now, all we can do is sit and wait.