Long Island hardcore quintet Detachment discuss their debut album, what it takes to make it as an independent artist, and memories of the D.C. area.
On Oct. 13, Long Island hardcore band Detachment released their debut album, Lack. The 10-track project, which features standout singles “Slug” and “BackBreaker,” delivers an immediate adrenaline rush from the very first blistering note to the last, creating a piercing lens under which to examine issues ranging from mental health to the search for meaning.
Join Alchemical Records as they connect with Detachment to discuss how Lack differs from the band’s previous work, the most important message behind the project, strategies the band uses to make their shows an experience that feels “worth it” for fans, and Detachment’s most memorable moments the D.C. area (one of which involves a guy falling off of a speaker at a festival).
Detachment formed in 2018, and many of its members have known each other for much longer, with several going as far back as high school. Detachment’s lineup consists of Robert Folan on lead vocals, Roberto Rivera and Nicholas Montalvo on guitar, Morgan Blanco on bass, and Benjamin Wyrick on drums.
“I remember spending countless days and nights writing music at 15 with Ben and Roberto, making awful music and playing local showcases, walking around town trying to sell tickets to strangers so we could get on shows,” said vocalist Robert Folan. “That all laid the foundation for where we are now.”
In terms of early influences, Folan says bands like AC/DC, The Ramones, and Green Day were a part of his childhood soundtrack. In middle and high school, he discovered My Chemical Romance and Atreyu, which furthered his interest in hardcore and post-hardcore.
The trio met guitarist Nicholas Montalvo through a local band that rehearsed at Westfall Recording Company in Farmingdale, New York, and the studio has since become a home base for Detachment.
“Anthony [Lopardo] and Ray [Marte] are the best and always make us feel at home and creating the right vibe for making music,” Folan shared. “It’s been extremely instrumental in our development. Whether it’s things like Anthony pushing us to be better songwriters, or just being around the community of local musicians and bands who we can swap stories and advice with, it’s been an unbelievably great relationship. We shout them out every chance we get!”
And “Morgan, we met at Starbucks of all places,” Folan added, referring fondly to Detachment’s bassist.
Detachment’s latest release, Lack, marks the band’s debut full-length album, and listeners are in for a wild ride.
As evidenced by the opening track, “Slug,” the album is aggressive and hard-hitting – at least on the surface. Against the backdrop of blistering guitars, dexterous thundering drums, and a myriad of time signature shifts, Folan screams: “Isolation is a state of mind / And consequently, I feel empty all the time.”
Another song, “Festival of Rats,” includes audio from 1983 sci-fi horror classic, Videodrome: “After all, there is nothing real outside our perception of reality, is there?” And “The Cluster” forces listeners to face the harsh reality: “No one is coming to save us / Feels like the end of the world.”
Underneath the gritty exterior of the album, however, there is something delicate and vulnerable, which adds a layer of complexity to the song collection. I observed that this tension seems to mirror the contrast between lead vocalist Robert Folan’s epic larger-than-life stage presence and his introspective and measured vibe off-stage, and he agreed with my impression.
“Yeah, I hear that a good amount,” Folan laughed. “I don’t think it’s that strange. It would be strange if I was walking down the street screaming and pushing people, but at a show, that’s perfectly normal and a ton of fun.”
“Music is a release or an outlet for expression and emotion, and I try to take full advantage of it and scream every thought I can’t speak and dance around it in ways that would be crazy in the regular world but not at a show,” Folan added. “I probably would have to be in a band forever, or I wouldn’t know what to do with all the things music allows me to let go of in a productive and healthy way.”
“Interlude II,” one of my personal favorites on the album, illustrates the cathartic nature of Detachment’s compositions even when exploring weighty issues like mental health. The track begins with a nostalgic rhythm guitar riff, and then introduces an emotive electric guitar solo. The effect is quite lovely, offering a moment of breathing space to balance the intensity of the songs that came before.
Although Interlude II is the shortest track on Lack, clocking in at under 2 minutes, the song feels like an exodus within the larger narrative of the album. When Folan repeats the line “lost my mind,” audiences cannot help but be moved by the passionate nature of his delivery. And somehow, embedded within the track, there is also a feeling of openness to the possibility of better things to come – like the current state is not the end.
The juxtaposition of opposing themes – darkness and light, despair and hope – steadies Lack like an arc, reflecting the complexity of the human experience in a compelling way.
“If you look at most of the lyrics, they’re kind of depressing or angry,” explained Folan. “I use music to express my negative thoughts and emotions in the most raw and real way I know. That being said, in between the pure emotion lines, there are always silver linings and deeper thoughts hiding.”
“I never want to sound like I’m beating someone over the head with a message, but I’m talking about dealing with mental health issues, alcoholism, feeling like the world is ending but still preserving and trying to build something beautiful anyway.”
For Detachment, Lack represents “a progression” from past to present. “The songs for the most part aren’t totally a surprising sound, but they show huge growth from the EP,” explained Folan. “The benefit of the full-length album is that we get to add more songs that do allow us to show more of a range of genres. So what you will hear are more developed and solid heavy songs. We also are much more knowledgeable about writing soft rock songs, so songs like ‘Basement Days’ or ‘Jameson Fog’, we believe, are a lot more solid than our previous softer songs.”
In support of their new album, Detachment says that audiences can expect “more of everything,” including shows, merch, and music. The five-piece is known for their high-intensity shows that create a one-of-a-kind experience for new and existing fans alike.
“If you are in, or have been in, a local band opening up for a touring band or even playing a showcase with other local bands, you know you want to stand out from the rest and have the fans remember your set even if they’ve never heard of you,” said Folan.
“I always try to work as hard as I physically can on stage. I move as much as I can move and scream as passionately as I can. I’ll jump in the crowd and try to hype up the pit and sometimes even run outside using a wireless mic and try to chase people inside. You also have to think about if your songs pop in a live setting. We’ve had songs that we think are great that we cut from the set if it’s a low energy moment in the crowd.”
Folan shared jokingly that his most recent memories of the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area involve playing a small festival in Maryland, where they saw a guy fall off of the speaker he was standing on (no injuries, thankfully) – and of course, the Long Islander recalls vividly the notorious traffic congestion.
To fellow independent musicians, guitarist Nicholas Montalvo says his best advice is quite simple in theory and more difficult to put into practice: never give up.
“The lessons we’ve learned are to work harder than everyone else and don’t give up when anyone else would give up. If you’ve got goals with music, it’s hard to cut corners. As an independent musician, you have to do a lot of jobs for yourself to earn money to hire people, and we are not rich at all,” Montalvo laughed. “So, it’s about hard work and not giving up even when it seems like the world is telling you to.”
For the latest Detachment news and show announcements, visit www.detachmentband.com.
Cynthia Gross is a freelance writer and award-winning spiritual pop artist based in Maryland. With more than a decade of experience as an executive ghostwriter, she understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.
More to Watch On Nov. 24, rising D.C.-based singer-songwriter Marilyn Hucek released her latest EP, “Love and Loss.” The collection may be Hucek’s most personal
Aria Velz is a director, TikToker, and Lesbian Media Enthusiast based in the D.C. area. On November 2nd, she sat down with me to talk about it all, from her latest production at Olney Theatre Center to the things that lead to her little corner on TikTok.
On October 29th, Olney Theatre Center wrapped its run of Prince Gomolvilas’ ‘The Brothers Paranormal.’ The disconcerting, borderline terrifying production was co-directed by Olney’s Senior Associate Artistic Director, Hallie Gordon, and Velz herself. The show was one of the spookiest times I have had in a theatre in quite some time. It was evident that the show was a well researched labor of love.