By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Havoc Faction, a Los Angeles based rock project, are fresh off the reissue of their ‘Welcome To The Fight’ EP, which came out Jan. 20, 2020.
The EP revolves around the story of Backdraft, the main character who deals with perseverance, internal conflict and the idea that one can stand up for what they believe in to positively affect the world.
Havoc Faction’s music is influenced by the likes of Starset, Thrice and Thirty Seconds To Mars and mixes various rock elements. The latest reissue explores synths and electronic.
The Music Bugle recently had the chance to talk to member Kyle Rutchland about the reissue and other recent happenings.
Music Bugle – How would you describe the rock scene in LA at the moment?
Kyle Rutchland – All but nonexistent! (Laughs) It’s kind of hanging on for dear life honestly, but things like EmoNite LA and Karaoke Time Machine have honestly done a lot for the scene here and has reignited interest in seeing pop-punk/emo/post-hardcore bands, but a lot of the main venues here like The Roxy, The Whiskey and The Satellite make it hard to actually put on shows and very difficult for local bands to gain any success. There are luckily other smaller venues like The Moroccan Lounge, Amplyfi, Molly Malone’s and even The Viper Room who do what they can. What LA is missing is a non-pay-to-play, all-ages home venue for the scene/local bands and fans to gather at, like what Chain Reaction was for Orange County in the early 2000’s, but I feel a resurgence for the rock scene here is well on its way.
Music Bugle – What inspired you to want to reissue the ‘Welcome To The Fight’ EP?
Kyle Rutchland – When I originally released it with my previous lineup, we didn’t really have a big marketing budget or the connections that I have now, so when it came to renew my distribution payment on Tunecore to keep the EP up on streaming services, I decided to hold off and work on giving these songs the release that it deserves, so I wanted to make it special like adding bonus songs, altering the album art color and making better promo material. I think that makes this release much more special.
Music Bugle – When did you decide to release “Dark Passenger” as a single? Why that particular song?
Kyle Rutchland – After we recorded the EP, I felt like “Dark Passenger” is the song that showcases the band the best. The song is very dynamic, it’s heavy, it’s soft, it’s powerful and I think it’s relatable. I wanted to write an anthemic song that you can sing and scream along to, so I felt that should be the song that represents the band first.
Music Bugle – What is the backstory of the Havoc Faction name itself?
Kyle Rutchland – After the breakup of my pop-punk band, Green Light Theory, I knew I wanted to start a concept band. When I came to the conclusion that specifically it was going to be a sci-fi/vigilante concept, I knew I had to have a really original name. I also like to have names that are easy to find when searching the internet for it. I got inspiration from comic book groups like X-Men, The Avengers, Doom Patrol, etc. and wanted something that sounds like it was a group of vigilantes in a post-apocalyptic world and i just felt “Havoc Faction” screams that.
Music Bugle – What are your future plans for the rest of 2020?
Kyle Rutchland – After the release of this EP, I’m also releasing a Thrice Tribute Compilation through my brand Living Album Art. The Comp features 11 bands (including HF) covering our favorite Thrice songs. We covered “Firebreather” and I’m really excited to release that along with the music video for it in February. After that, I’ll be working on writing our next single with my new lineup while prepping to play lots of shows. I’m hoping to finally take this band on the road this year, at least to the Midwest or up and down the West Coast.
Music Bugle – In your opinion, what is your biggest frustration with the music industry today?
Kyle Rutchland – Oh boy, this could be a very long-winded answer! (Laughs) but I’ll condense. I think the biggest issue with the industry is that there are more artists than ever, however, we still hear the same bullshit songs everywhere or it’s the same bands/artists on festivals or tours. Rock radio has been playing more trendy pop songs than actually playing rock or promoting up-and-coming bands who deserve more exposure. There used to be so much more variety in mainstream music. I miss discovering good bands all the time. I’m also tired of all these artists who just sound the same. Same tones, same song structures. There’s not a lot of originality today. I think people are scared to do something different and be authentic. People are craving that more than ever – to hear something different, something authentic, so I’m hoping that changes in this new decade, more variety in the music that is heavily promoted. Also, Pay-to-Play venues are cancerous.
Music Bugle – Choose one – physical CD or digital stream. Which do you prefer?
Kyle Rutchland – I’ll always be partial to CDs. I enjoy the booklets with the artwork that coincide with the music. Having that visual aid to look through while listening to the music will always bring more significance or meaning to the music. Streaming was almost inevitable, because there’s so much music out there now, to keep up with it all is almost impossible especially if we had to buy CDs like we used to in order to listen to it, but for artists that I absolutely love like Starset, who put effort into their physical copies, I’ll always purchase them.
Music Bugle – To you, what is your most meaningful song/set of lyrics?
Kyle Rutchland – “My Human Condition” is definitely my most personal song. The song tells the story of a fallen hero, finding the will to pick himself back up after losing a fight. Everyone has experienced defeat at some point, but how we handle it is what makes us who we are. We can all use a reminder that the strength to carry on after defeat is always within us, we just have to tap into it. I correlate my story as Backdraft in the world of Havoc Faction with my real life story as Kyle Rutchland the musician, so that song is very personal because it represents my struggle with carrying on as a musician no matter how many times I’m beaten down.
Music Bugle – Which has been your most memorable show played?
Kyle Rutchland – I’d have to say it would be the ‘Welcome To The Fight’ Release Show back in August of 2018. I had to have surgery on my appendix like, nine days before the show. I was really stressed out because I could barely walk or talk after. I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to perform, but I luckily recovered just in time to sing/scream and even be able jump into the pit during our set. We also had a killer line up: Dusk, Takers Leavers, Crash Overcast, all are bands in the SoCal scene who are killing it. The show was at Molly Malone’s in West Los Angeles. The venue was filled to the brim and I think we played one of the best sets that we played as a band. The crowd response was unreal. I think it was that night that people acknowledged that HF is Something special and is here to stay.
Music Bugle – What’s something people should know about Havoc Faction that they might not already?
Kyle Rutchland – There are actually fans of HF in other states who are cosplaying as Backdraft (my character) at conventions and such and I just find that to be the coolest thing. I hope to see more and more people cosplaying as us as the band continues on.