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Knocked Loose's Bryan Garris Knotfest Australia 2023 Interview

23 March 2023 | 3:15 pm | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

"I've been reflecting a lot in my personal time, thinking about just how far it's come, all the things that have changed throughout, and how much my life has changed because of Knocked Loose.”

(Pic by Perri Leigh)

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Knocked Loose are bruised and bloodied when they open the pit with their brutal soundscapes that fall somewhere between hardcore punk and metalcore music.

Since their formation in 2013 - vocalist Bryan Garris has been playing with members of Knocked Loose since 2011 or 2012 - the band have released two albums, 2016’s Laugh Tracks and 2019’s A Different Shade Of Blue via Pure Noise Records. 

They have also put out four EPs, including Pop Culture (2014), a split with Damaged Goods a year later, Mistakes Like Fractures (2019), and most recently, the brilliant A Tear In The Fabric Of Life EP in 2021. 

With their second album released in August 2019, Knocked Loose were ready to ride the momentum they had steadily built - before the album even came out, they were playing headline shows with The Acacia Strain, Harm’s Way, Sanction and Higher Power. Later that year, they toured alongside Stick To Your Guns, Rotting Out, Candy and SeeYouSpaceCowboy.

The momentum didn’t stop there–in October 2021, they opened for Gojira alongside New Zealand’s Alien Weaponry on a massive US tour. No pandemic was going to permanently stop one of the hottest hardcore bands going right now.

A Tear In The Fabric Of Life arrived as a surprise release. The Kentucky quintet made an EP about grief and isolation accompanied by a short, animated film created by Swedish filmmaker Magnus Jonsson

It’s their most dynamic and contained offering to date and a balancing act: a mid-length EP with grand ambitions and scope, one full of new sonic elements and a cohesive aesthetic that hangs onto Knocked Loose’s trademark anthemic delivery.

The band have toured consistently since its release. After their Australian visit at the inaugural Knotfest Australia and two sideshows at the Colonial Hotel in Melbourne and Brisbane’s Princess Theatre, they’ll be hitting the stages of prestigious festivals such as Coachella, Bonnaroo, Welcome To Rockville and Bloodstock, to name a few. 

We were lucky enough to catch up with Garris prior to Knotfest Australia, and if it’s possible, we’ve become even more excited to see them in the upcoming week.

Garris is softly spoken–a far cry from his frenzied performances on record and stages. When we begin our chat, he shares that he’s gotten a new couch for his house, getting little things organised before travelling across the world for Australia’s latest, most exciting metal music festival.

“It's a huge honour; we've been fortunate enough to play at Knotfest Iowa, which I think was their [Slipknot’s] first time playing Iowa in quite some time,” Garris says. That event was a big deal to the masked metallers and longtime maggots throughout Iowa, “And it was awesome to play a small part in that. 

"At the time, and still, maybe to this day, that was the biggest festival that we've ever played,” the Knocked Loose vocalist continues. “The way that they have it set up with just two stages gives you the opportunity to play in front of the entire crowd, no matter what. Whereas, sometimes [at other festivals], the stages get pretty hectic, and you can be tucked off somewhere on the side, and people don't always make it out there. 

“But Knotfest allowed you to just pivot back and forth between the two main stages, and it was an amazing experience. So when we got the opportunity to bring it to Australia, we were immediately down and just super excited. It's been so long since we've been to Australia that being able to come back on such a massive scale is super exciting. We couldn't be more ready to get back there.”

Indeed, Knocked Loose haven’t performed in Australia since January 2020, just months before live music would shut down for the better part of two years. The US hardcore outfit performed an epic set at UNIFY Festival and a run of sideshows promoting A Different Shade Of Blue.

When the world essentially stopped, and everybody was stuck inside, Bryan Garris, Isaac Hale (lead guitar, backing vocals), Kevin Otten (bass), drummer Kevin “Pacsun” Kaine and rhythm guitarist Nicko Calderon didn’t know what to do with themselves (as a lot of people didn’t, Garris assures), the vocalist admits.

“We just got together and started writing, and we kind of shifted our focus on something that was a little bit more artistically driven, rather than just us getting together writing songs,” Garris states. 

Knocked Loose were up for a challenge that interested the five-piece on individual personal levels. “It just gave us the time to really zoom in on that specific project, something that I could see us putting off had we been in a regular touring year.”

The break ended up being somewhat positive for the Kentucky outfit; they sound as energised and Garris as guttural as ever on A Tear In The Fabric Of Life

“It ended up being extremely rewarding. It was honestly something that we didn't know how people would receive it, like; we knew we were confident that the songs were strong, but the overall concept and the short film that came with it were darker and weirder than our past stuff,” he adds. 

“We were nervous that maybe it would go over people's heads, but the fans received it extremely well, and it made us excited for future projects because now we know we can take those kinds of risks, and it still pays off because of the support system that we have.”

Having only been a band for a decade, Knocked Loose have achieved great success and featured on some killer lineups, with every new experience lending to their insurmountable growth.

“[The band has] definitely [grown] more than I felt like any of us thought it would. We didn't start the band thinking that we would make any sort of career out of it; we just wanted to get away and see how much we could get away with,” Garris shares. 

They had smaller goals at the beginning: “We wanted to travel and play as many shows as possible, and it just snowballed into this thing that it is now and is still kind of snowballing.

“And I feel like, every day or every month, or whatever it may be, when something Knocked Loose comes up, it’s such a surprise in a very positive way,” he adds. Just a few days before our chat, Knocked Loose received a plaque in the mail commemorating that they had sold over 100,000 copies of Laugh Tracks.

Garris is clearly moved by the achievement and shares, “That was a pretty emotional day for all of us because that was something that we never thought we would see, and it's been amazing. 

"This year [2023] is our 10th birthday," the vocalist exclaims. "We officially played our first show ten years ago. So I've been reflecting a lot in my personal time, thinking about just how far it's come, all the things that have changed throughout, and how much my life has changed because of Knocked Loose.”

Knocked Loose are performing at Knotfest Australia in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane from 24-26 March.