Billie has been a part of Wretched Sound since early 2021, but that wasn’t our first introduction. When we first met, she was the singer of Buffalo hardcore aficionados, Wrong the Oppressor, a project that is unfortunately on hiatus at the moment. Currently, she is most active as the founder and key proponent of Transmission Dance Party!
We’ll explore that and more in the following interview, but if you’re at all interested in Billie’s previous work with Wretched Sound, check out our YouTube channel, where you can find the Black Sabbath podcast we did together from early 2021 to early 2022! You can also search for the song “White Lies Matter” by The Quarrel on YouTube to hear a hardcore style collaboration Billie and I did together.
And now following up those shameless plugs, let’s get into our most recent interview with Billie!
1. Talk about your beginnings as a hardcore singer. How did you get started?
I played bass for a couple of years first. The bands I played bass in before I started singing were Final Notice, Solid Ground, and Halfmast.
At one point my fried Brian and I were talking about starting a band. I felt I had a lot to say and I wanted to sing so we ended up starting Lockjaw. Our original line up was Brian on Bass, Aaron (Beerwolf) on guitar, Shane (Skinned/Muddfoot) on drums, & me on vocals. Shane quit shorty before our first show & Pat then stepped in as our drummer and was there until the end. Our first show was also my last show playing bass with Halfmast.
2. How did you come up with the name Wrong the Oppressor?
Our drummer Joe saw it phrased in some book. I really like the sound of if it and most importantly no other bands had that name. It’s a bit wordy but I think it sums up our ideology well.
3. What was the general crowd reception like at the first performances you can recall giving?
It was pretty good for a band no one had ever heard before.
4. Who are your biggest influences as a vocalist? (any genre, go with your gut)
Lyrically I really like the way someone Like Dan O’Mahoney (No For An Answer, 411) got his point across. I always felt he had great lyrics that offered a strong, uncompromising point of view but without being judgmental of others. It is a trait I consistently strive for.
As far as vocal style it depends on the band but I’ve discovered the off key kind of sing-y yelling works best for me. It seems to be common among many melodic hc bands when they first start but most of the singers usually get better at singing. I do not.
5. Over the years, which of your bands were collaborative projects, and which centered around a single person’s songwriting? Which did you find worked better at the time?
Most of bands were more collaborative. I think everyone is more content with the end results if they have a say.
This single person song writing things have occurred with smaller projects that usually end up being recordings only. One person does all the music and I write the lyrics. One was Pale Day with Jay Galvin (Slugfest, Pure Heel) and another with this guy Mike you might have heard of called The Quarrel.
6. Talk about any popular songs or videos you have online that you feel properly express who you are as a hardcore vocalist.
I don’t really know. I know there are a couple of Lockjaw shows on You Tube thanks to our friend Brandon who video tapped us all the time. You also made a couple of cool videos for The Quarrel songs and I really like how that all turned out in general. I’m really proud of the vocals & lyrics on those. You motivated me to approach a topic I did not have the opportunity to yet.
7. Talk about your future plans (recording, shows, etc.), as in anything you’re at liberty to discuss.
There is nothing planned at this time. Wrong The Oppressor is not currently active but still together and no other projects have come my way.
8. Most of our readers are local (Buffalo-Rochester) metalheads. List your “heaviest” songs!
The entire Killshot recording. It was a short lived band after Lockjaw broke up and we tried to remove all hardcore aspects from our sing writing practice. Greg from Blasphemour played drums on it. He was a sick drummer we could not replace. It is on my Bandcamp page.
9. Talk about some of your most memorable performances, both locally and on the road. What made these shows so special?
Closer to the end of Lockjaw every show we played at Mercury Theater was awesome. Everyone went off and a lot of singalongs.
One time Wrong The Oppressor played a basement in Madison, WI and it was insane. It was packed, most of the people there were so drunk and they were all going off. It was an intense, sweaty, and disgusting set. I had so much fun.
10. What’s the best advice you can give someone who is joining or starting a band for the first time?
Don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks. Don’t consider what other people will like. Do what feel right for you even if it doesn’t fit any the perceived norms of the genre you are playing. In the long wrong you will look back with no regrets if you don’t compromise your vision.
To grab a physical copy of our October ’22 issue where you can find this interview and more, click the image below!