I've spoken to a lot of people about the state of Orlando punk. Although ORL classics like Wet Nurse and hardcore new-comers Flamethrower push the culture forward, the consensus is that it's not quite as abundant as it once was -- whether you agree with that or not, you have to admit that the loss of Vivian K., False Punk, GAG, Butterqueen, etc. were upsetting.
But there's one group that absolutely will not stop. Since forming in 2011, Tight Genes has cycled through many different characters, always being a vehicle for Noah LaChance and Kayo Roguez. Tragically, two of those past members have since passed, one in a drug overdose and the other in a motorcycle accident. And throughout all this hardship, they've pushed forward releasing their latest seven-inch Prison Wallet in late February. I sat down at three of the four (Eddie appears via cellphone) punks in the current iteration of Tight Genes at the band's animal-filled house. Enjoy.
matthew warhol: How long have you guys been in this incarnation of the band?
Noah LaChance: The band has been together now for five years, quite a history. [Kayo] and I are both original members, but I started the band with my friend Owen. And uh, he was in and out of rehab and was in jail for a while, so it kind of stunted stuff. Before any of that happen, we released album that was put out by Goodbye Boozy, an Italian record label.
matthew warhol: What year was that?
Noah LaChance: 2011. So that was about six years ago.
Alexis Simon: Wow.
Noah LaChance: Then Pat joined the band. Owen ended up coming down and stayed with us for a while. He ended up passing away from a drug overdose. Then Pat continued the band with us; then unfortunately, he ended-up dying in a motorcycle accident.
Alexis Simon: That’s why I’m in the band. It’s kind of bittersweet.
Noah LaChance: Eddie had also been in the band for a while. He was our bassist. And after all this happened and I decided to continue the band — it was a tough decision, two people who are incredibly essential…
matthew warhol: That’s an incredibly hard thing to go through. I can’t imagine that.
Noah LaChance: But the first seven-inch we had were songs that I recorded and demoed myself for a while. I showed my friend Owen and he was like, “We need to make this a thing.” From that moment, I felt that this was my outlet from whatever I’m feeling. All the lyrics are really satirical. We have a lot of songs about movies. I have one about Predator, Big Trouble, Little China.
matthew warhol: How have they changed throughout the everything the band has gone through?
Noah LaChance: That happened a while ago … that was like two or three years ago?
Alexis Simon: Owen was like three years. Pat was like two years.
Noah LaChance: When we started we wrote slower, poppier stuff. It’s changed with Eddie on guitar and Alexis on bass.
matthew warhol: Was that in Orlando?
Noah LaChance: Yeah.
matthew warhol: Who else was coming up in that time?
Kayo Roguez: Golden Pelicans.
Noah LaChance: Wet Nurse was around in that time.
Alexis Simon: Odd Movers.
Noah LaChance: Pat had a band around that time called Sexcapades.
matthew warhol: That’s a lot of names. I guess this is a two part question because two things are going through my mind — because I’m stoned — so like, answer these in whatever order you want to, but how has Orlando punk changed and how has the music also changed, having gone through all that other stuff?
Noah LaChance: For the most part, even though it’s a punk scene at its core, it’s always been pretty open to a lot of things. I don’t know if you see this button. This is Todd. He’s a part of Tam Tam and The Sandwich Man — they were around back then.
Alexis Simon: They still play random shows.
Kayo Roguez: They’re in hiding.
Noah LaChance: Thee Wilt Chamberlin has been around.
Kayo Roguez: I don’t know if they’re a band anymore.
matthew warhol: To me, False Punk was a huge loss. So that’s the thing I was thinking. There’s not as many as there used to be.
Noah LaChance: But even then, that was only like two years ago. And like five years ago, there was a good rise in popularity. Before this band started, Kayo and I were in a band called Lazy Boys — when he was like 16. Even if it was smaller, everyone had a band at the time. There was a lot more going on musically, and I feel like that’s way cooler, to have everyone actively pursuing music in some shape or form then even there being an active scene of a bunch of people. I’d rather everyone be playing music so you see everyone’s creative juices flowing. It was cool when there was a bunch more bands going on.
matthew warhol: You cherish it a little bit more. Alexis, when exactly did you join the band and was it already a little more sparse?
Alexis Simon: I don’t know, I guess I haven’t been around as much. When I moved to Orlando, I lived near UCF. And I liked punk music, but I never knew of anything going on. I think the first show I went to was a Lazy Boys show. But I was in a random goth band. As far as the scene goes, there’s always something whether it’s raw punk or grindcore or the opposite side of the spectrum. There’s always something happening and Orlando is accepting enough where you have a bunch of different genres mixing.
matthew warhol: I mean the show next Sunday, the bands are kind of like that. Stuyedeyed are a little more psychedelic. Sonic Graffiti are a little more rock n roll.
Alexis Simon: It’s cool that everyone is coming out. Not just musicians, people coming out to shows are open to listening to different stuff. Not everyone likes Tight Genes, but more people like them than I would expect, usually.
Noah LaChance: The thing I think makes Orlando unique, and is a part of why I’ve stayed here so long, is Uncle Lou’s.
Alexis Simon: I love Lou.
Noah LaChance: That guy has let me do so much shit in his bar. One time, I had someone jump on my back and ended up falling backwards and breaking a mirror, and he was cool with it. When I first started going to shows there, he’d always have his headphones on, be watching the sports game. He didn’t really pay attention. Now, you go and he knows everybody by name. He’s a character of Orlando. You got to love that. He’s let us do whatever we want. We’ve thrown Valentine’s Day shows …
matthew warhol: Was that the Tittie Thyme one?
Alexis Simon: We love Lou.
matthew warhol: By the way, what up zine community? Shout out Tittie Thyme. So then going to the other side of things, which is the question I asked before we divulged into that, how has the music changed too? Losing two people but continuing on, that has to change a person and that has to change the music.
Noah LaChance: Before we go into that I want to say one thing. One of the biggest losses, was The Space. It was so DIY. And we’d respect the place. Everyone kept it nice and didn’t steal anything. That was a big part of our band and what allowed us to connect to people from Jacksonville and Savannah. We were able to like, bring them down, have a keg, charge people five bucks, make 100 bucks to pay this band.
matthew warhol: And how were those shows?
Noah LaChance: Oh, they were awesome. It was like a house show.
Alexis Simon: Insane. It was so hot.
matthew warhol: And no one cared.
Alexis Simon: Carrying all the equipment up all those stairs.
Kayo Roguez: We could be there however late we wanted.
Noah LaChance: But to answer your question, and Kayo has a lot of input with this too, what is cool is that with Eddie being in the band, we’ve gone in a harder direction.
Kayo Roguez: We’ve always had a revolving door of people, in and out.
Noah LaChance: In the beginning, especially with my friend being in and out of rehab, a lot of songs were kind of stagnant. All together, we have three seven-inches so far. We have two on the way. One that is recorded and just needs to be mastered. And the other that we worked on just this weekend. Our latest seven-inch Prison Wallet …
Kayo Roguez: … is the first where I’ve played drums.
Alexis Simon: Even though you were the original drummer.
Noah LaChance: This is the first one with this lineup. And some of the songs are from previous lineups, but some our newer. “Bathroom Baby” is a poppier song that Eddie wrote. We’ve been able to flourish a lot more with this lineup, without everyone’s other interests, whatever they may be.
matthew warhol: It’s more focused?
Noah LaChance: Definitely is.
Alexis Simon: But the music is darker, especially after Pat passed.
Noah LaChance: There are a few songs that are a reference to them.
matthew warhol: Is it darker even outside of the lyrics?
Alexis Simon: I’d definitely say some of the songs are darker. But I definitely think that we’ve gotten more aggressive. I think the tone of the instruments has gotten more … I don’t know how to explain it.
Noah LaChance: But a lot of our lyrics are still satirical. Like I was saying, we have a song about Predator, the greatest piece of American cinema.
matthew warhol: Real quick, what are your favorite movies?
Noah LaChance: Predator. Big Trouble In Little China. Rambo. Besides that, I’m really into Wes Anderson. Of course, another one of my favorite is Mad Max.
Kayo Roguez: I like Alien.
matthew warhol: Do you guys like Alien Vs Predator. Did your friendship join on that movie?
Noah LaChance: Didn’t AVP end up cross-breeding?
Kayo Roguez: I actually did like the movie, though.
matthew warhol: Anyway, what are your favorite movies?
Alexis Simon: Mine are kind of different, I guess. My favorite movie is Magnolia. Anything that Paul Thomas Anderson directed. My first tattoo when I turned 18 references Magnolia.
matthew warhol: So how do movies make it into music?
Noah LaChance: Really, with action movies, they’re all satirical. They’re all phony. So it’s easy to write a cheesy song about cheesy material. It’s a time in cinema that will never be replicated.
matthew warhol: So like, I don’t know if this is getting too deep, but what’s satirical about your music?
Noah LaChance: Some of it. Our first seven-inch is called Cop Again. It was about turning tricks for heroin and going out. It was also a reference to a Mummies song because it was about stabbing a dude and taking his wallet behind a laundry mat. So the next song “Rats,” is about thinking rats are all throughout your house and that someone is recording you. It’s about paranoia, which, when you’re a heroin addict is something you feel.
Alexis Simon: I feel like he writes satirical songs about things that are really serious in his life to almost like, as a way to reflect on it that may not be as negative.