Origin: San Diego, California
Genre: Hardcore punk, Grindcore, Powerviolence
Years active: 1994–present
The Locust (1998)
Plague Soundscapes (2003)
New Erections (2007)
The Peel Sessions (2010)
The Locust (1997)
Flight of the Wounded Locust (2001)
Well I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle (2002)
Follow the Flock, Step in Shit (2003)
Safety Second, Body Last (2005)
split with Man Is the Bastard (1995)
split with Jenny Piccolo (1996)
split with Arab on Radar (2000)
split with Melt-Banana (2002)
Molecular Genetics from the Gold Standard Labs (2012)
The Locust is a musical group from San Diego, California, United States known for their unique mix of grindcore speed and aggression, complexity, and new wave weirdness.
Originally a powerviolence band with a strong tendency towards synth-based passages, they have more recently stripped down much of their past sound, but retained the heavy distortion, synthesizers, screamed vocals, and intense stage presence. About the band’s aesthetic, singer/bassist Justin Pearson has said, “I wanted to change the way people perceive music, or maybe just destroy it in general.” The Locust’s music is complex, dynamic and fast-paced, often featuring abrupt and inconsistent time-signature changes. These erratic elements are, according to guitarist Bobby Bray, “a reflection of perhaps how our brains have to function in order to be able to do anything in the Western societies we live in.”
The Locust was formed in 1994 by Justin Pearson, Bobby Bray, Dylan Scharf, Dave Warshaw, and Dave Astor. After a number of personnel changes, they arrived at the current four-piece lineup in 2001. Their music was featured in John Waters’s film Cecil B. Demented. The group has solicited remixes from Bastard Noise, Christoph de Babalon, Kid606, and I Am Spoonbender. The Locust performed at ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror festival on May 4, 2013, at Alexandra Palace in London.
Karam plays an assortment of analog synthesizers, including various Moog models and a patch-panel modular synth. Bray plays a Gibson SG, and Pearson plays a see-through body Dan Armstrong bass made by Ampeg. Serbian plays Ludwig drums with Sabian cymbals.
The Locust have a unique stage presence: costumed in skin-tight, full body nylon suits (which the band refer to as uniforms), they have at times come across to first-time viewers as frightening. The last 5 different suits were designed and made by Ben Warwas. Unlike most bands, which normally have the drums set up behind the other members, the four members of The Locust are usually all positioned in a line at the front of the stage. The group recommends that in order to get the full impact of the music, one should see them live.
The Locust boycotts Clear Channel Communications and refuse to play in any Clear Channel-owned venues. This boycott affected a 2005 tour with Fantômas, as well as another tour with Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They also have a policy of only playing all-ages shows.
The band’s lyrics range from stream-of-consciousness poetry to satirical portrayals of mainstream ideas of sexuality to political commentary and critiques of religion.
The Locust take inspiration from powerviolence (Crossed Out, Dropdead), obscure experimental rock (Art Bears, Renaldo and the Loaf), and death metal.