For the sake of brevity, if one wishes to know the most about Have a Nice Life in the shortest amount of time they only need take a quick read of the Enemies List (the bands’ record label, run independently by the members themselves) ‘About Us’ page from its website, along with its accompanying manifesto.
A standout paragraph reads: “We believe in all of the following: complete self-autonomy, cooperation towards shared goals, contradictions, home recording, home distribution, idealistic capitalism, creating art as if no one else existed, the necessity of doing Awesome and Intense things with your life, being prolific, and not letting anyone ignore us, no matter what”.
And avoiding the possibility of being subject to anybody’s ignorance is precisely what Have a Nice Life achieves, sonically at least. Aside from having a stern guerrilla approach to handling operations in their corner of the music industry, a synonymous ethic can be detected in the very delivery of the compositions themselves: the music often resembles an intersection of the styles of melodic post-punk, drone, shoegaze and industrial rock. And like such characteristics would indicate, Have a Nice Life are no exception to the construct of amplified and dissonant, yet often dizzying milieu.
Now, really, I guess I could be accused of cheating on this one, what with Have a Nice Life having actually been a productive musical unit since the release of their debut LP, Deathconsciousness, back in 2008. In fact, the Connecticut duo documented their first signs of activity way back in the year 2000 when they announced the birth of the Have a Nice Life name. However no official studio output was known of until the release of Deathconsciousness eight years later. And whilst that album remains extolled by those journalists whom were fortunate enough to stumble upon its path of arrival, for the most part it slipped by relatively unnoticed – a disadvantage, one might say, of operating your label in near total isolation. Yet it’s precisely that same stripped-down, primitive nature that renders Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga’s efforts legitimate.
Out of sight are the cheating, lousily emphatic PR teams and their deceiving instructions to consider every artist, no matter the merit, “ones to watch”. Gone are the greedy mainstream media ready to transform the next record into an overrated brand the moment its label flashes some extra cash, and before any critic can even stutter an opinion on the contents.
In the case of Have a Nice Life these matters simply aren’t allowed to exist. The music is trained to speak without pretence, and in return their efforts see them granted only the purest of opinions on their work.
Take note of such trails and we may just save our self-autonomy after all.
Have a Nice Life release their second LP, The Unnatural World, on February 4th via Enemies List/The Flenser.