In this day and age, we’re constantly bombarded by an onslaught of overwhelming influences from the entertainment industry and the media. It’s inescapable. Standing out from the pack becomes a bold proposition and an even bolder move. That’s where Counterfeit Culture comes in. Not only do the New Jersey quartet—Nick Broglio [vocals], Patrick Robertson [guitar], Elijah Pagan [bass], and Chris Smith [drums]—shake up heavy music, but they also shake up pop culture at large, ripping conventions to shreds with an artful amalgam of intricate metallic musicianship and alternative-inspired melodies. Their 2017 Deathwish EP introduces an infectious ideology.
“The name Counterfeit Culture basically says that we live in a society where TV shows, movies, magazines, and web sites tell us how to dress, how to act, and how to live our lives,” says Patrick. “Society tries to force you to be a certain way. We’re saying that’s wrong, and you can be whoever you want to be and live life however you want.”
The members initially met in 2015 while still in high school. They quickly built a local buzz, performing with top-notch acts such as Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Like Moth To Flames, The Plot In You, Erra, Thy Art Is Murder, Invent, Animate, and much more. In 2017, they worked with producer Ricky Armellino [Currents, This Or The Apocalypse] and mixer Taylor Larson [Periphery, Darkest Hour] on what would become Deathwish.
“We take inspiration from multiple genres,” the guitarist goes on. “Of course, we’re a heavy band, and we’ve got those down-tuned breakdowns. At the same time, there are melodic riffs and singing with layers of vocal harmonies. It’s this mix between alternative and metal.”
The single “Apothecary” illuminates the nuances of that style. Snapping from precise polyrhythmic pummeling into hypnotic harmonies, it consciously speaks up against domestic violence lyrically and in its cinematic music video.
“The lyrics are about pretending to be someone you’re not and trying to sell yourself as someone you’re not,” explains Nick. “The music video tells that story of domestic abuse. We gave it a visual representation. It’s a girl in this abusive relationship, making it seem normal. Obviously, she’s in pain, but she doesn’t show it.”
Elsewhere, “X” tackles the horrors of drug addiction through a tightly woven sonic assault, “Second Soul” examines “the self-destructive death of one’s former self.” The band separates itself from their contemporaries through both the integration of melody and a fashion-conscious image, eschewing the typical “black t-shirt and jeans,” as Patrick puts it.
Drawing inspiration from remaining outsiders since growing up through and through, Deathwish is as real as heavy music gets. “When people hear this EP, I hope they think about how they’re living their lives and open their eyes,” Patrick concludes. “You don’t have to just do things the way your favorite actor does. Take our songs as inspiration to live your life how you want to live.”
“The songs come from an honest place,” Nick leaves off. “They talk about my past. I felt myself change as a person. I want other people to know that change is possible.”