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Harmful If Swallowed had to make a decision long ago: With the rise of electronic instruments, would they stick to their guns and keep playing their punk-pop songs on guitar?
While the popular trend has been to go into electronic sounds and trade guitars for computers, the musicians in Harmful If Swallowed have remained true to their rock and roll roots.
Greg Martin, the singer-guitarist, Carlos Nieto the singer-bassist and drummer Jay Pinfold will always keep their rebellious ideologies and their big sound. The songs, like “Forever” and “Sleepless” are upbeat and fun. They’re peppered with verses that prove Harmful If Swallowed will never cave in to the pressure of mainstream sounds.
You guys just released a brand new EP, Sleepless. For those just discovering you, what made you decide on the moniker Harmful if Swallowed?
All: It was the most punk rock name we could think of back in high school and it stuck.
What do you enjoy most about Los Angeles and its music scene?
Greg: I love the competitiveness of it and if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
Carlos: Selling tickets to play clubs at 8PM on a Wednesday night…NOT.
Jay: Getting to play legendary clubs that great bands have played at.
What has it been like working on and bringing the Sleepless EP to fruition?
Greg: Sleepless has been a project in the making. We spent 3 years polishing and recreating our craft and if you listen to this EP, you’ll hear all the work that went into it.
Carlos: Lots of work, re-writes and collaboration between all of us, but fun!
Jay: It was fun, positive and inspiring.
You guys are currently on tour. What songs are you looking forward to playing live the most?
Greg: Sleepless and Forever.
Carlos: Blame, In Trust and Forever.
Jay: All of them!
What musicians are you currently listening to?
Greg: Bruno Mars and Linkin Park.
Carlos: Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Lupe Fiasco and lots of Visual Kei.
Jay: Strung Out, Alterbridge and Seether.
What is the inspiration behind the new EP?
Greg: Having lived through the material personally, I feel this is the best way I can express my life through music.
Carlos: Making a solid sounding EP.
Jay: Relating to a lot of the songs in my personal life.
There is a music video for your single “Blame.” Tell us about shooting it and the story behind it.
Greg: Shooting it came easy to all of us, we all worked together like pros to finish it in a timely manner. The cast and crew were amazing. I have never worked with so many professional people at one time.
Carlos: We did it all ourselves on a shoestring budget in one day, not bad for DIY.
Jay: Process was smooth and we met a lot of great nice people.
What’s next for Harmful If Swallowed?
Greg: Getting through this tour without murdering one another.
Carlos: More music, more music, more music.
Jay: Hopefully touring more and building our brand.