Beyond the crushing breakdowns and killer crossover riffs, there’s a reason why so many young hardcore fans love DRAIN. The Santa Cruz-based band is all about relatability. “I’m not much of a poet or anything,” vocalist Sammy Ciaramitaro tells Apple Music. “I’m literally just talking about whatever’s going on in my life. It’s like having a diary or something like that. I don’t use words that aren’t in my everyday vocabulary. I’m not pulling out the dictionary to make myself sound smarter. We’re just being real.” As such, Ciaramitaro’s lyrics have little in common with the streetwise hardcore he loves. “I didn’t grow up surrounded by hardcore kids and punk-rock kids,” he says. “I’m a middle-class, privileged suburban white boy. When people find out you went to college, but you just want to live in a van with your friends and play in punk-rock clubs, they think you’re fucking crazy.” Then again, the title of the band’s second album, LIVING PROOF, doubles as their mission statement. “We’re very much a group of people who enjoy the act of living,” Ciaramitaro says. “This whole album—what it stands for, what it means to us, and the story of us as a band and as people—is a testament to that. It also sounded like a dope record name.” Below, he comments on each track. “Run Your Luck” “This is the first song that we wrote when we started doing this new album. It’s about being good to yourself and being good to others for the sake of being good, because it’s the right thing to do. Not for any benefit, not for anything else. And on the same tip, karma never forgets. It will always catch up with those who do wrong to others. It’s a tale as old as time.” “FTS (KYS)” “This is about as close to a straight-edge song as DRAIN will ever write. I’m straight-edge, and this is a song that I wish I had heard when I wasn’t straight-edge. I didn’t grow up straight-edge, but I knew it was the right thing—I just didn’t know how to do it. It was really tough to rewire my brain and learn healthy ways of living, healthy hobbies, and healthy relationships with people. You realize that some relationships you have are only because of drugs or alcohol. It’s hard to break that cycle.” “Devil’s Itch” “I feel like this is my way of rewriting the Suicidal Tendencies track ‘I Feel Your Pain…and I Survive.’ This is my reworking of that concept. The way I go through hardships, I just get through it and focus on the important things. I don’t complain about it or tell every single person I see or post about it on the internet. It’s about handling business.” “Evil Finds Light” “People think this is a positive song, but it’s not. And that’s a lot of this record. I’m not writing stuff to be positive. I just want to write about things that feel real to me. Some days, I feel more optimistic about life and the world, and some days not so much. This one was maybe not so much. I don’t even know what had me so wound up, but I literally just wrote about my day. I woke up stressed out, and that’s the opening line of the song.” “Imposter” “In the year since COVID, we got 10,000 more Instagram followers, but that doesn’t mean shit to me. When we play a show somewhere, and last time there were 100 kids there, and now there’s 600 kids—that actually means something. You can see the growth. People talk about our success, but that feels cringey to me. We still have so much more to do as a band. But any success we’ve had is because we’ve been ourselves. We’re not pretending to be anything else.” “Intermission” (feat. Shakewell) “We noticed with our first album that people start to fade out after five ass-beater songs, so we wanted to do something different this time. Our guitar player also makes hip-hop beats on the side, so we got him to make a beat, and then we transitioned it into us playing. I’m a legit fan of Shakewell, so we asked him to rap on it, and it’s so sick. He touches on some of our song names, but it’s got his own flow. Whenever I hear it, I feel like I listened to a Shake song, but one of my best friends made the beat, and it’s us playing. It’s insane.” “Weight of the World” “I’m a very normal person. I love my family, I love my girlfriend, and I love music. But sometimes the relationship between them isn’t necessarily the easiest. It’s so weird how doing something I love impacts the people I love. When you’re out touring, you do miss a lot of things—weddings, funerals, moments with your family. Sometimes they understand and sometimes they don’t. I just want to balance the scales out and have everyone feel good.” “Watch You Burn” “Sometimes you meet people that are good, and sometimes you meet people you think are bad, but really, they just have a different point of view. And then sometimes you meet someone who is truly bad and dangerous. That’s where I was at when I wrote these lyrics. It was my first time where I really had a run-in like that, and it was a bad situation. Writing this helped me keep my cool, but it was hard because I was writing about something that was five feet away from me. It’s the meanest song I ever wrote, but I tried to make it into something good.” “Good Good Things” “This one is a Descendents cover. Like ‘Intermission,’ it’s something we wanted to do to spice up the record. I know I can’t sing for shit—I can barely yell, but I do it well enough for this band. And I wouldn’t ever consider myself a vocalist. But I wanted to challenge myself and sing clean, and it came out a lot better than I was expecting. And if we can get some kids who’ve never heard of Descendants to check them out, how cool would that be?” “Living Proof” “This is a song that I wish I had heard from another artist when we first started trying to tour. Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies did an interview where he mentioned that people spend a lot of time trying to tell other people what they can’t do—whether it’s through rules or what their opinion is or whatever. But if we spent less time telling people what they can’t do and just focus on what they can do, we’d see a very different world. If people were more supportive of each other, maybe more of us would find our purpose.”

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