Manners: A New Generation of Connecticut Hardcore

Photo Credit: Derek Morse

Manners is an exciting new band presenting to the world a brave new generation of Connecticut hardcore.  The band has played coveted slots of both the Vans Warped Tour and the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival as well as their own inspiring shows on the East Coast. 

Manners is now signed to MorseCode Recordings, a label founded by music video director / producer Derek A. Morse and Rachel Rosen of Indecision and Most Precious Blood.  Their latest release is entitled Apparitions & Escapism, and it’s definitely well worth seeking out!

Here is an interview we conducted with Manners‘ front man Chris Hague to find out more about this compelling new band on the rise…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Manners, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Chris Hague and I do vocals for Manners. We’ve been together a little over two years now.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Who are some of the local bands you could recommend?
We are based out of New Haven, Connecticut and the scene down here is actually really diverse. There is a huge hardcore scene and at the same time there is a pretty massive indie scene. Its crazy here because some shows we’ll be playing a basement with some punk bands and then we’re playing a hall show with some hardcore bands and then there are other shows where every band is a different genre. Its nice to have that diversity. A few bands everyone should check out from our area are Forsaken, Hostage Calm, Hate Your Guts, Progress, Night Owls and Wolves at Bay. Those bands are killing it right now and have been.

How did you wind up signing to MorseCode Recordings?
Derek Morse approached us about a year ago and wanted to put out a full length for us. At the time we weren’t anywhere close to having enough material for a full length, so we told him no and just kept on working. He was pretty persistent and at the time we didn’t have either of the two e.p.s pressed so he suggested we combine them both and make one 12’’ out of it. We talked it over and he was really supportive of letting us do our own thing so we signed on for the record and ever since it’s been great.

Is there any story or concept behind the title Apparitions & Escapism?
Escapism was our first e.p. and it had no linear plot but it generally played into common themes about modern life like anxiety, death, sex, etc. It was recorded pretty quick and we didn’t have any substantial gear or experience at the time in the way of recording a record together so we revisited it to get a record we were proud of while giving back to our original fans. Apparitions is a concept album about a kid who falls in love with a ghost and when he realizes he cant be with her in the mortal world he kills himself to be with her. However, instead of ending up with her, he is sent to hell and he has to come to terms with his mistake.

Select two songs from the album and what inspired the lyrics?
HOMECOMINGHomecoming is one of my favorite songs lyrically because I feel like it encapsulates everything about the struggle of overcoming that innate panic one feels when they deal with death and the anxiety that a lot of us have in this modern life we live. At the time of writing Escapism, I was struggling with the death of my mother. I was 19 and it had happened a few months earlier. One of my best friends Kevin was also struggling with managing a pretty severe anxiety disorder. I thought of his struggle and my struggle and I think it just came to me that we had to change, sort of a “move a muscle change a thought” idea. I thought if I wrote a song like this, it might push me to take my own advice and I also thought it was a good way of getting across to him specifically that he wasn’t alone. This mixture proved to create a pretty raw and heartfelt song that focuses on the positive aspect of anxiety rather than the negative one.

STIGMATA- Despite being a part of the concept album (the last song) Stigmata was the first song I ever wrote for the album and it was before I even thought of the concept. It was and still is just a song about living with the consequences of your actions as seen through the eyes of a permanent resident of Hell. I actually got a lot of my inspiration for this song and the rest of the album from reading The Amityville Horror. It’s the scariest fucking book I’ve ever read. Whether it’s real or not, I don’t care, but it is horrifying.

What was your experience like playing at the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival this year?
It was a complete honor. We played the same stage as Shipwreck and Bane, two bands I grew up listening to. It was wild. The amount of people that were there, and even crazier the amount of people I didn’t know who bought our merch and sang along to our songs was just mind-blowing. A huge thanks to Scott Lee, Nick Holman and the Crimson Management crew for getting us onto NEMHF, we are so appreciative of it.

How did you wind up on Warped Tour in 2011 and what was that experience like?
Scott Lee helped us get a spot on Warped and it was crazy. We played alongside our friends in Lions Lions and The Greenery, not to mention getting to go around and see a bunch of bands I love. It was hot as hell but otherwise it was fantastic.

What could one expect from a live Manners show?
We have always been known for our live shows. We tend to lose ourselves in it, especially Ian (our guitarist) and Mike (our bassist).  They’re all over the place. There are so many times that Mike has almost taken my head off swinging his bass around. Once he sprained our guitarist Jay’s knee and he had to play with a limp for the rest of the weekend we were out on. Otherwise we tend to try and get everyone singing along. I always really appreciate the help and when there are kids stage diving everywhere and singing along it gets pretty nuts.

Since some of the tracks on Apparitions & Escapism are re-recordings of older songs, how close is Manners to releasing an all new collection of tunes?
We are all so busy it’s hard to tell when this will happen but we are trying our hardest to get some time to write. Once we get the songs written, it will go really fast.

Has Manners ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
We have not but I think we all agree when I say that a trip out west would be amazing. California in my opinion is the most diverse state in so many ways. Music, geography, lifestyles.. It’s crazy. We definitely want to make it out there, hopefully someday it will happen.

What’s up next for Manners? Any touring coming up?
We were just out on a 10 day tour down to West Virginia and back. With some of our members still in College it will be hard to plan any sort of substantial tour anytime soon, but all things considered we would like to eventually go back out and see the rest of the Country.

Any final words of wisdom?
There was a great guy in from our area named Mitch Dubey. He was tragically killed about 2 years ago and I had the pleasure of playing at his house once. Although I didn’t know him very well, his passing had a big effect on me and the rest of the guys in the band. He used to have this saying “Fuck off all nerds,” and by that I have come to understand that he was referring to people who would judge other people who were just like them at shows based on superficial shit and who would spend more time texting and worrying about bullshit rather than living in the moment at shows and being there for the music which is what it is all about. Fuck Off All Nerds.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thanks very much for your time too!

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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