NARC is the first band that comes to mind when it comes to powerviolence in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are Emma Anderson (Vox), Spencer Anderson (guitar) and Tyler Barrani (drums). Since 2020, they have brought forth a unique ferocity of raw music that is distinctly fast and heavy. Lyrically, NARC are quite poignant with their political commentary. They draw from varying political ideologies to speak out against abuses of power, the oppression of marginalized communities, as well as drawing from experiences in their own lives. When turning this into their live shows they offer a stunning performance that is second to none.
In the last two years, NARC has toured, released albums and tirelessly promoted the Salt Lake punk, hardcore, powerviolence and metal communities. This is manifested by the members of NARC booking shows, supporting fellow acts and playing benefit gigs. They also book and play regularly at Aces High Saloon, in addition to the not-so secret underground venue Your Mom’s House. Among their celebrated shows are the General Violence Conference on April 30, 2022 and raising money for Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
Starting off the 2022 summer in high spirits NARC released their second album A Waste of Good Suffering on June 10, 2022. It was produced by longtime friend Wolf Nunley. It’s a worthy successor to Personifying the Antithesis of American Values. The main difference is it is noticeably heavier, but still contains NARC’s core elements of savage energy.
Now NARC is about to embark on a west coast tour. They are set to play ten dates that include Las Vegas, NV, Portland, OR and Seattle WA. To learn more, I caught up with NARC and asked them about how they formed, music as a tool for radical change, booking shows in Salt Lake City, their new album A Waste of Good Suffering and what readers can expect from their fall tour.
NixBeat: NARC is comprised of members Emma Anderson (Vox), Spencer Anderson (guitar) and Tyler Barrani (drums). What prompted you three to form NARC?
Tyler: I had already been in several bands with Spencer in the past, so we had our musical chemistry locked down. We figured why not cut out the middle man and just write music between the two of us, instead of worrying about trying to find another bassist?
NixBeat: In a SLUG Magazine interview published on September 1, 2021 it was stated that you draw influence from other three-piece, women fronted power violence groups. Who are some of these groups and how do they influence your sound?
Emma: There’s so many awesome hardcore punk/grind/power violence projects fronted by women and non-binary people that inspire us. Punch, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Gouge Away, Shitstormtrooper, Closet Witch, Denial of Life, Snuffed, Generation Decline, of course, our friends in Ribbons…lots of bands we’ve played with or just have been fans of. I’m personally influenced by vocalists that have a really raw sound as opposed to a technically precise one. I love hearing women’s raw anger come through in their vocals.
NixBeat: Your music is very socially conscious. This is evident in tracks like “Blue Lives Splatter” and “Feminine Fuckabilly as Social Currency.” What are you drawing from for these songs?
Spencer: We try to keep the lyrical content of our songs strictly political. We adhere to various radical ideologies but certainly a common theme is abuse of power and oppression of marginalized folks to perpetuate violence. Although many of our songs are influenced by personal experiences with mental health and addiction, we believe those experiences have a direct correlation with our current political climate.
NixBeat: NARC self-released A Waste of Good Suffering on June 10, 2022. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Wolf Nunley. How was it working with Wolf Nunley on this album?
Tyler: Wolf has known us for a while and knew what kind of sound we were going for and how to dial us in. It was a pleasure working with him and I admire his attention to detail. He wasn’t afraid to make suggestions or add input where he felt things were lacking. He really pushed us to be the best version of ourselves in the studio.
Emma: When we heard the work Wolf did recording, mixing, and mastering for his own project, Threar, we were blown away and knew he could make our new songs sound really fuckin heavy.
NixBeat: What are some of the differences you noticed in working on A Waste of Good Suffering in comparison to your first record Personifying the Antithesis of American Values released March 7,2021?
Spencer: For me, the creation of the riffs and general tone of our first album was purely experimental and trying to figure out what we were even trying to do. Tyler and I have been in bands together for the past four years and we wanted to try something different with Emma and NARC. Personifying the Antithesis of American Values was written during quarantine and, to be quite honest, we were just throwing shit at a wall to see what stuck. Our follow-up record, A Waste of Good Suffering, was where we actually really took our time in working on tone and overall feel and really started to understand what our collective conscience was working towards.
Tyler: The main difference for me was that we recorded Waste track by track, whereas we did Personifying live.
NixBeat: What influenced the track “Paradox of Innocence?”
Emma: Paradox of Innocence is about all the black victims of police brutality who were murdered for finding themselves in bad situations or simply just existing, particularly the children and teenagers. In most of those situations, had those victims been white, they would’ve been considered “innocent” and lived to share their experience. Because of their race, so many victims of police brutality were considered “violent” and “threatening” with no basis other than racial stereotyping. The song is about the differences in perception and media treatment of victims and perpetrators along racial lines…how black people are villainized, robbed of their chance to be children and be seen as human beings, by law enforcement and the media. Musically, we just wanted to write something darker and heavier to reflect the content of the song.
NixBeat: Also stated in the SLUG Magazine interview published on September 1st, 2021 it is pointed out that NARC consistently plays benefit shows for community organizations such as the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. What inspires NARC to get involved and play benefit shows for your local community?
Tyler: To give back what’s been given, because we wouldn’t be here if not for the community. We all have to take care of each other and participate in the upkeep of our community, or admit we’re just in love with the idea of it.
Emma: If showing up and playing a set can do anything to help raise funds or awareness for an issue we and our community are passionate about, that’s a rad thing that we want to do as often as we can.
NixBeat: Do you think music can influence change in the community for good and if so, how has it in your community?
Spencer: With minimal exception, music always fosters positive influence in the community. Of course, there are caveats, but overall, and especially in the punk, hardcore, and grind/powerviolence scenes, the effect on the community is intertwined with radical, progressive action. We’ve seen this in SLC. Specifically with the amount of benefit shows, the outreach to the local unsheltered population, and simply the fact that many of the people who play in bands here are also highly involved with radical organizing. There is, more often than not, a pipeline between heavy fuckin music and caring about your community, and making those connections in the music scene makes it easier to get involved.
NixBeat:The three of you are also involved in setting up shows locally. This involvement includes collaborating with Aces High Saloon and the underground venue Your Mom’s House. How did you get involved in booking shows?
Tyler: We all work at Aces High and live at Your Mom’s House…haha
Emma: I got involved in booking through being in NARC and living at Your Mom’s House; Since we’re a contact for our out-of-state friends looking to book shows here, we get hit up pretty frequently about finding venues and local support for touring bands. I recently started helping out with booking at Aces High after bartending there for a while.
NixBeat:What have been some of your favorite shows you’ve booked and why?
Spencer: My personal favorite is gonna have to be General Violence Conference. We had an eclectic mix of local and touring bands and all shit fuckin gnarly. We’re gonna have another GVC April 23rd, 2023 and it shall be grindy. Other than that, The Bimbos from RI, Deconsecration from Seattle, No//Mas from DC, Twompsax from Oakland, Generation Decline from Bremerton, Stinker from LA, Bridge Dweller from LA, the list goes on and on. These are just a few of my favorites and it’s all just based on the energy and positivity these bands brought to the show.
Tyler: GVC was Salt Lake’s first powerviolence/crust/grind fest and I’m immensely proud of the fact that we started it.
Emma: One of the coolest shows we booked at Your Mom’s House was a collaboration with Caio Santos – He booked Sentenced 2 Die with Recidivist and we booked Generation Decline and Azijnpisser with ourselves and Ribbons. It popped the fuck off and it was so cool to have that much death metal and hardcore punk all together in one garage.
NixBeat: Regarding your involvement with Aces High Saloon, how has this new bar changed the music scape of Salt Lake City?
Tyler: Aces High has allowed a space for punk, metal, hardcore, and outlaw country to all share the same stage and collaborate together.
Emma: Aces High fills a niche that needed to be filled in SLC for a long time. It’s become the go-to bar for most of the punks and metalheads we know and it’s allowed that whole community to connect with each other that much more. So many “alternative”, if you will, people know each other now because of Aces. Also, we all bond over damn good vegan food.
NixBeat: On October 20, 2022 NARC embarks on a 11-day tour. You’ll be playing in places like Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle. What can readers expect from your performances?
Tyler: Louder, faster, better.
Emma: Add-in “going ham” to that mix. We’ll also be in Halloween costumes for almost every show. If we get stinky, grumpy, and sick of each other in the midst of it, we’re just gonna get all of that out of our systems during our set. It’s gonna be fun.
Spencer: High energy, loud noises, and a couple of fuckers sendin’ it.
For more about NARC check out their Bandcamp!