The LeSabre

The LeSabre

The LeSabre

Said And Done: an interview with JVK of the hardcore punk band, Giallo

Hardcore: A genre of punk music defined by its speed and intensity, aggressive sound, and DIY ethics.

I sat down with my friend Jake to talk about his band Giallo. Giallo is a hardcore punk band making waves in the underground scene, and for good reason. I’ve seen and played with them many times, and they are by far the most exciting and thrilling band I’ve watched. Their music is violently fast and aggressive. Jake’s vocal style amps the aggression to an even higher level. It is the purest form of raw power in music I’ve ever experienced, and they for sure will be remembered in 20 years. 

What sets apart Giallo from a lot of other bands, besides their phenomenal music, is their lyrical content and aesthetic. Giallo pulls their lyrical themes, imagery, and their name from a genre of Italian horror films called Giallo films. This adds to the aggression and intensity of their music in a way completely unique to them. That being said, I’ll let Jake talk about it. Here’s the interview.

Eliott: Yo! Introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about the projects you’re involved in. 

Jake Van Kempen: I book shows and play in bands in the Twin Cities. I currently play in a hardcore band called Giallo, an 80’s USHC style band called Self Abuse, and a power violence band called Twin Tombs. I also have a dungeon synth project named The Dark Ritual.

E: Your main project, Giallo, is making some pretty cool waves in hardcore punk circles right now. How did Giallo get started? 

JVK: I didn’t like the style of hardcore the bands in our area were playing, so I wanted to start a project that I would be into if I heard someone else playing it.

At one point I was going to record all of the instruments myself and not play shows. I changed my mind pretty quickly and got a full band together. After a handful of lineup changes, we landed on the one we’ve been rocking with and played our first show in June of 2022.


E: What’s the writing process look like? Has it changed much from the first batch of songs?

JVK: Usually, I’ll write the songs at home and bring ‘em to practice. From there everybody will put their own take on them and make it their own. We started writing for our LP in January, and we still do the same process to this day.

E: You guys had Mark McCoy from Charles Bronson and Youth Attack Records do the art for the EP. Will, the guitarist for Orchid, also mixed and mastered it. What was it like getting to work with these people from “legendary” hc bands for your first release? 

JVK: Working with Mark was really cool. He does great art, he’s a big horror movie guy, and is into giallo movies too so he was kinda the perfect guy for the job. I really admire the attention to detail and storytelling in his work, it’s totally unmatched. 

Working with Will is always great too. He’s really dialed in to what hardcore should sound like.

E: Giallo has a lot of horror and slasher imagery. What are some horror/Giallo films that you would recommend, or that had a big influence on your lyrics? 

JVK: Obviously the Dario Argento classics, Phenomena, Tenebrae, Bird With the Crystal Plumage, etc. Some other great Giallo films are Alice, Sweet Alice, Blood and Black Lace, and A Bay of Blood. There’s a couple of lines on the first record that are quotes from Deep Red.

Outside of Giallo, I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter. In the Mouth of Madness, The Thing, and Prince of Darkness are all incredible films.

A shot from the seminal Giallo film “Blood and Black Lace”. No Face Killer – Blood and Black Lace 1964 Film 3854 by Brecht Bug is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

E: Ok, gonna switch it up a bit now. How did you get into hardcore, and what were some of the first records you heard that really stuck out to you? 

JVK: I first found hardcore in high school through bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat, and MDC. Weekend Nachos was also a really big band for me around this time.

No one else in my family was really into music so I’d have to find things on my own or through recommendations from my buddies. There were two friends specifically in high school that would put me on to “real hardcore” and “trve metal” when I was listening to mall metal around that time. I would say the records that stuck with me the most over the years from that time are Damaged and My War.

E: What’s your desert island hardcore album?

JVK: Classic record: Negative Approach, 10 Song EP

Modern record: Total Abuse, 2008 Self Titled

E: What’s one loved hardcore album that you never were able to get into, or feel is overrated? 

JVK: You’re gonna hate me for this but, really any Gorilla Biscuits records. The whole posi thing just doesn’t really stick with me. 

E: Void “Side B” or Negative Approach “Tied Down”? 

JVK: As much as I love NA, Side B is the better record of the two.

E: Any upcoming news for any of your projects that people should know about? 

JVK: Self Abuse is going to be recording a demo tape and playing a few shows. Twin Tombs will be doing a 7” of the songs from the 4-way split we did and hopefully playing a few shows, we’ve got one on the books as of now. I’ve also got a lot of new Dark Ritual material that I’m hoping to put out this year too. I don’t know if that project will ever perform live, we’ll see.

E: I’m all outta questions, so feel free to recommend, shout out, decry, or rant about whatever and whoever you feel like! 

JVK: Start a band

Thank you JVK for the interview. Go check out Giallo.


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About the Contributor
Eliott Dingman
Eliott Dingman, Journalist
Grade: Junior Hobbies: Playing music, watching movies, going to concerts Favorite Song: Down By Law by Madball Favorite Movie: La Haine Favorite Season: Fall