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Finding Peace in Dying Wish’s Darkness

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Every once in a while a band comes my way in the most serendipitous fashion possible. Dying Wish came via recommendation from a friend new to the Portland, Oregon area. Following a few listens of their debut Finding Peace in the Darkness, released under the name Trust Issues, I fell for their uncompromising, bone-crunching brand of hardcore.

During the span of this interview exchange, Dying Wish released their 2018 demo, the first release under their new moniker. The demo’s three tracks show the band pushing themselves into from heavy territory into the oft-unvisited realms of joyous, unflinching violence. Dying Wish is mean as fuck, but thankfully Emma and Pedro, their vocalist and guitarist, respectively, were a delight to speak with.

How did Dying Wish come into being? Where any of you a part of other previous or current projects?

Emma: Jeff, Pedro and I all grew up together. We went to metal shows and shared interest in various “Warped Tour bands” in middle school and as we got older we all got into the hardcore scene together. In 2016, I had been wanting to get more involved in the scene and start a band. At the time the only people I felt comfortable playing music with in Portland was Jeff and Pedro. They had both played in another NW metalcore band called Funerals.

Was there clear intent that went into forming Dying Wish, a mission or goal, if you will?

Emma: I would actually say we had the opposite of a mission or goal in mind. We literally had zero idea what were doing when we started. I guess you could say we are all pretty embarrassed about our demo and that motivated us to change our sound that developed into Finding Peace in the Darkness. Even still we are trying to find a balance between all of our ideas and polish our sound, which explains why we changed the band name to Dying Wish.

With the first official Dying Wish release now available, what inspirations contributed into these three songs?

Emma: Deciding on the new band name was not easy, especially because we wanted something that was going to encompass our future progression (we felt that the name Trust Issues was not a fair indicator of our style and purpose). We tossed around ideas for a month and Dying Wish was one of the first that we always came back to. We’re all very happy with the change and the reaction to it.

As a band we are constantly trying to outdo ourselves, and that was the main source of inspiration for these new songs. We’re all fairly young still and with each release we are learning. I think the current status of hardcore and the bands that are thriving are inspiring us as well. We’re watching how hard bands like Year Of The Knife and Sanction are working, and they absolutely deserve all the payoff. Those bands are a couple examples of musicians who have amazing drive and they motivate us to work harder.

You released your debut as Trust Issues, Finding Peace in the Darkness, last May and its four songs pack a wallop. One of its standout qualities are the lyrics. If you would, please expand on the EP’s themes.

Emma: Had a lot of people reaching out to me once they heard “Suffering” from the EP and asking if I was okay [laughs]. I have been in an ongoing fight with anxiety since I could remember. I even have had the same recurring nightmares since I was in grade school. “Suffering” is a song that I wrote when I was at a breaking point. It was inspired by an actual suicide note I had starting writing to my mom. I’m so thankful to have music and connect with people who tell me they relate to that song and how I’m feeling, even if it’s just a handful of people. “Cursed” and “Abandoned” are both written about people I hate. I cut them off for different reasons and never had a chance to tell them to their face how badly they had hurt me and others around them. Those songs are basically my way of telling them to fuck off.

Of the three tracks from the new Dying Wish, which is your favorite and why?

Emma: I think we can all agree that “Mercenary Consequence” is our favorite song on the new release. Lyrically and musically it’s the best thing we’ve ever put out.

Are there any specific artists that have influenced your music, in addition to any writers or writings that have influenced your lyricism?

Pedro: In the beginning, Jeff and I really wanted to make something that sounded like Hatebreed, Integrity, and even Earth Crisis. Like we said before, at the time we were still trying to find our sound and trying to perfect our instruments as well. It took awhile before we honestly knew what we were doing (still kind of don’t, to be honest) but our influences and ideas changed the more we played shows, toured, and wrote music. Personally, bands like Eighteen Visions, AFI, Martyr A.D. really impact my writing both musically and lyrically. I’m also a really big nerd when It comes to mid 2000s metalcore bands that would sometimes have music videos on MTV. It Dies Today, As I Lay Dying, Bleeding Through are all bands we all fuck with.

Who did the dark, alluring cover art? Was the final piece intended to accentuate the music itself so well?

Emma: Our friend Gio Gutierrez drew our cover art that was inspired by a photo we had seen on a blog somewhere, but we felt that It would be more appropriate if It was illustrated. It was absolutely intended to fit the music. We wanted a mildly haunting visual that also reflects the sensitivity of the lyrics.

Are there any current and past artists you’d like to play a show or tour with?

Emma: We’ve been lucky enough to play with some of my wishlist bands so far. Vamachara, Year of the Knife, Terror, Vatican, Mortality Rate. I’d be ecstatic to play with any of these bands again in the future. My dream tour would be with Walls of Jericho.

Pedro: I would love to play shows with Vein from Massachusetts or Three Knee Deep from Florida. As far as past artists go, it would be insane to play a show with Kickback but that’s just my wishful thinking.

What were your favorite releases of 2017? What have you been enjoying so far this year?

Emma: My favorite hardcore releases of 2017 were The Infringement of God’s Plan by Sanction, Ache of Eternity by Vatican, Consumed to Ashes by Cast In Blood, Never Had A Choice by Freedom, and Ultimate Disease by Year of the Knife. I spend just as much time listening to hip-hop and R&B as I do listening to hardcore. I recommend everyone give Saturation II and III by Brockhampton a listen if you haven’t yet. My favorite release of the year so far is Despondent by Vamachara.

Pedro: Like Emma said, we listen to a lot of different genres besides hardcore but a few releases that really blew me away last year were Path to Amnesty by xServitudex, The Acrobat by Death of Lovers, and The Demonstration by Drab Majesty. This year so far I can’t stop listening to Despondent by Vamachara and the new Twitching Tongues release Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred. Watchdogs also released an EP called Sanguinary this year that is one of the hardest things to come out of Richmond. Last thing, keep an eye out for Tourniquet from New Jersey.

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