Punk rock has gone through many evolutions in its sound and overall vibe. But if you’re the type of fan who needs punk to scream out their aggression and thrash their bodies around as a means to overcome frustrations bubbling up inside, then Red Arkade is the band for you.
The four-piece hardcore group based in Jamaica, Queens uses their music to provide themselves and their fans with a taste of true freedom. Their notably energetic and chaotic live shows provide a space for fellow punks from every walk of life to let loose and truly be themselves.
Red Arkade “Livewire”
“Live free—freedom for everybody,” Raskeeno Thompson aka Ziggy Royal, one of the guitarists/vocalists of Red Arkade, tells BTRtoday. “Just live free and be happy—that’s what Red Arkade is all about.”
Though the band admits they’re not specifically a political punk band, they still full-heartedly use their music to convey what they believe in and what they believe punk rock is all about. As Black musicians in a scene presented as predominantly white, these punks have been writing fighting words into their songs even before the recent protests against systemic racism.
“We were frustrated, we had enough, and we were expressing it through the music scene,” Macknair Louis aka Mac, fellow guitarist/vocalist for Red Arkade tells BTRtoday. “Everyone is starting to represent what we are about— equality [is] everything in regards to what the punk community is about, ya know, freedom, expression?”
The two got their start in hip-hop but did not feel it was providing an adequate outlet for the aggressive passion trying to punch its way out of them.
“It’s that aggression, to want to scream and let it all out—there was no genre that was doing that for us,” Louis says. “We all came from hip-hop, but hip-hop didn’t scratch that itch. Punk rock was like, ‘hey, you guys want to scream? You guys don’t sing too pretty?’”
Their last release, the 2018 EP We Don’t Sing Too Pretty, is a reflection of that unabashed presentation of themselves. Classic fast and heavy punk rock riffs with heart-pounding drum beats create a hurricane. The band says “fuck that shit” to anyone tyring to hinder someone from being their true selves and living their life as free as can be.
Hear tracks from We Don’t Sing Too Pretty and their 2016 EP Livewire, plus the full interview with Red Arkade on this week’s episode of The Music Meetup.