Buggin (fka Buggin Out) is a hardcore band from Chicago formed in 2018. Their sound is a combination of aggressive grooves with playful punk energy.
Their former name Buggin Out was taken from the 1989 film Do The Right Thing and the band is formed by guitarist Peyton Roberts, vocalist Bryanna Bennett and drummer Michael Rasmussen, who all happen to be DePaul students. They rip through brutal two minute jams with relentless, slam-dancing precision while still aiming to keeping hardcore fun. This was definitely made possible as Roberts mentions “We wanted to form a band that’s not a beatdown band, because so much of Chicago is beatdown bands”. For readers who may not familiar, the music genre hardcore it’s a generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock which roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California, Washington D.C.and New York punk rock and early proto-punk such as Bad Brains. It arose as a reaction against not only the predominant hippie cultural climate of the time but also by the sort of societal boredom and lack of innovative and exciting musicality. It is safe to say that is a genre that comes out of the frustration of a new generation finding themselves stuck in a redundant climate. When it comes to the term “beatdown” we want to describe a subgenre of hardcore punk with prominent elements of heavy metal such as aggressive vocals, down-tuned electric guitars, gang vocals, heavy guitar riffs, and heavy breakdowns. The genre emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s with bands such as Killing Time, Madball, and Sheer Terror. The genre is also heavily influenced by thrash metal music and is sometimes influenced by the energy and rhythm of hip-hop. In the mid-late 1990s and early 2000s, many other beatdown bands emerged, such as Hatebreed, Bulldoze, Shai Hulud, and Strife. Beatdown definitely paved the way for metalcore, another subgenre of hardcore with far more heavy metal elements.
The young quartet BUGGIN have quickly made a name for themselves and in early 2021, they joined Flatspot Records ranks with their new two song release Brainfreeze, while the b-side features a rip roaring cover of Beastie Boys’ “Gratitude”.
We’ve had the honor to talk to the amazing vocalist Bryanna Bennett about music and life inspirations, enjoy this exclusive Rarepeace interview!
What was the idea behind the band’s name BUGGIN?
Originally, we went by Buggin Out when we first started which came from the Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing. There’s a character in that movie everyone calls Buggin Out and I thought it’d be a sick name for a fun style of hardcore. It is also a song by A Tribe Called Quest, which wasn’t the main inspiration, but definitely solidified it as a great choice for a band name. Unfortunately, we had some legal trouble with the name being copyrighted by another band and had to shorten it down to Buggin so people would still be able to find us. We tried to fight long and hard to keep the OG name, but it actually still ended up working out much better in our favor than for them to be honest.
What was the factor that brought each member together?
All of us grew up going to and playing shows together when we were in high school around Chicago, Milwaukee, and a few spots in Northwest Indiana so we all knew each other that way at first. I was in a band called Tigress when I was 16 and Brandon played in a few different bands in the area. Michael, Peyton, and I also ended up going to the same college which is when we started this band. We knew Brandon from his previous bands and being around at the same shows so it was pretty natural. Recently we just added our homie Dewey to the band to really fill out the sound and it’s been going great!
Tell us about your background, where are you from?
So I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois just like Peyton, our guitarist. It’s an incredibly boring place outside of the city and I was just glad to find punk and hardcore where I finally started to feel understood beyond what I grew up around. I went to college in the city of Chicago so I could still keep up with my local scene I grew up in and lived there for 5 years, now I live in Philadelphia.
When and how did you begin your journey as a musician?
My mom was a classical musician who grew up playing the flute and my late grandfather was a jazz musician playing saxophone my whole life until he couldn’t anymore, so it’s literally always been around me. I was in the choir at my church and as I got into different styles of music growing up I picked up bass and guitar in middle school. I ended up playing bass in jazz band in high school until I realized I could do hardcore vocals and never looked back from there!
Bryanna Bennett shot by Kat Malo Who are your biggest music influences?
Definitely Turnstile, Trapped Under Ice, the Rival Mob, Bad Brains, and Righteous Jams when it comes to hardcore influences. Outside of that world I’d say Hayley Williams from Paramore she’s always been a huge influence on me just being into music as a kid I’ll love that band forever.
Your favorite track from your most recent project?
Our last single “Brainfreeze” is definitely my favorite just because it shows how far we’ve come developing our sound. We are going to record our LP for Flatspot Records in May and that material along with the other single we’re putting out is definitely the best stuff we have ever written.
What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on tour?
We have only toured a couple times and honestly are pretty boring people, so I don’t think we have any really crazy tour stories unfortunately.
How would your bandmates describe you and your work ethic?
I’d say they probably describe me as dedicated and outspoken which definitely makes sense for me as a vocalist. I always want to push us to the limits of what we can do as a band.
In which countries would you like to tour next?
Honestly, I have never been outside of the country before so anywhere would be cool to me. One place I’d really love to go to though would be Japan. It's always been a dream of mine. Berlin, Germany and even Australia would be super sick too. I'd love to play with Amyl and the Sniffers down under one day.
Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety?
I don’t really try to get rid of my anxiety before playing, but I try to just get all that out while I’m performing. If I’m anxious I just try and turn it into energy to put on a good show.
As the black lead singer of an hardcore band, you must be seen as a rarity sometime. How do you navigate reclaiming your deserved space in a genre that it’s still widely white-dominated?
I think I'm a very outspoken, assertive person in general which has helped me navigate these spaces. I do feel like being outspoken can be frustrating as a black AFAB non binary person. I have noticed I’ll catch more flack for it (never from my bandmates) than any other white dude in a band. Regardless of that and what other people might think of me,I just make sure to stay true to myself always no matter how uncomfortable that might make others feel. You just really have to demand respect and space for yourself and don't get bulldozed by people telling you how you "should'' behave. It's all about being assertive and sticking to that. Hardcore is fully based on being outspoken and assertive, so even if you're in the minority in the scene you should always position yourself so that you know who you are and that you deserve to take up as much as you want and know that no one can take that from you no matter what.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Honestly, just do whatever you want to do. Don’t focus on what’s cool and trendy, but pave your own way. Practice makes perfect, but be sure to have fun with it. Anything can happen and you’re much more capable of getting what you want than you might think.
Check out the ultra gnarly performance by Buggin live at Audiotree.!