Though this band’s name may appear to reflect carnage and horror, there is a deeper concept underneath. Throughout the lyrics and within the core of their music, Agony Incorporated brings mental health awareness to the forefront and provides listeners a sense of emotional belonging. The intense raw energy during their performance draws immediate attention from the crowd, along with blunt context within their songs. Created from musical collaboration, this group has been local to Northwest Arkansas for almost 2 years. If you didn’t know who Agony Incorporated was, this down-to-earth conversation offers a glimpse of who the band truly is and how they define their art as musicians.
Agony Incorporated consists of: Woodstock (WS) -Vocals Jay "Dot" Biggs (JB) - Guitar/Vocals David Mulcare (DM) - Bass Steve Kim (SK) - Drums
WS: "Both me and Jay [have] PTSD from other things, okay? I got mine from domestic violence. [Jay's] got it from being a soldier and stuff. A lot of the time what we're talking about is how that makes you feel. Ya know? Are you feeling trapped or was there just this moment you remember that you can't get out of your head? [This] is why it's called 'Agony Incorporated'. As much as people with PTSD want the stuff to go away, it's always just going to kick it around in there. It needs a place to go that's healthy, so we put it [into] music." JB: "The name 'Agony Incorporated' basically comes from a group of people who have been through shit in life." DM: "We all have tribulations." JB: "We've all suffered hardship in life, so we just came together." WS: "[A lot of times] they do have to ask [about our name] because I wouldn't want to be accused of being a sadomasochist by any means. [Our songs reflect] our own personal suffering or about someone else's suffering. We have one song that's based on the Rwandan genocide and kind of that imperialism. This is far back stuff. We keep seeing the same things. We come in, we take, we kill all the people, [and] whoever is left is just brutalized and they can't leave. There [is] some conceptual stuff in [our music] too if that makes sense. It doesn't have to be so narrow minded. Suffering is human." SK: "It makes good music." JB: "Both me and Steve are both combat vets. We've both been in the shit. That's where most of the trauma comes from." SK: "I live with it day to day and [Jay] lives with it day to day. The one reason I like our group and music is [that it's] not just an outlet. When you listen to our lyrics, you can relate to a lot of it too. Our song 'The Line' is personally my favorite. Anyone in the band can tell you, 'When you see Steve Kim play that, you know drums might explode.' [It's] because we're hitting and talking about that fucking line right there. Ya know? A lot of people can sense [stuff in] our music. It is really nice 'cause a lot of people, especially nowadays, don't have as much to grasp onto anymore. Unfortunately we are in a decade where we're watching all of our heroes die. That is one thing that incorporates into our name is of the agony. Me, Jay, Woodstock and Dave here all come from different musical backgrounds and we're all very unique. It's funny 'cause I've shared the stage with [Woodstock and Jay] before in other bands. In another group I was in, Woodstock and Jay have been there pretty much since I was concepted at the time." JB: "Yeah, 8 years ago we were all in separate bands playing shows together." WS: "Like often in the same scene. [Some of us] were doing metal. Me and Steve kept running into one another because I was doing alternative/punk and he was doing just straight punk." SK: "Just punk." WS: "[Since] the scenes aren't big enough to hold their own by themselves, you wind up just having this rotation of 6 bands. This one's metal, this one's punk, and this one's… I don't know what that is. So, you wind up seeing the exact same people all the time." SK: "It was definitely all of us. You know? Dave was probably the one who is new to me since I've been in the band when I first met him. Just the way we all jive is one of those things." JB: "It's magical." SK: "You see us separately on the street and you wouldn't tell much of us, but then [when] you get us all on a spotlight it's 'Holy shit! Where the hell did that come from?'" JB: "This band is just really easy and cool to me simply because of the fact that it's easy to work with. [I've] got my bestfriend for almost 10 years and she gets to sing in the band I play in." WS: "It's nice, especially as a female, to not be delegated to the background all the time. I'm not somebody's back-up singer. They trust me to write. When I write, what I really try to do and emphasize [that] my music shouldn't be gendered. A guy should be able to pick up my lyrics, sing it however he wants to sing it and still be able to tell the same story. I don't care if you are male or female. You should be able to relate to this. You should be able to give the story. There's not too much of that. There shouldn't be so much information in the song that it sways it one way or the other." JB: "We're scheduled to start touring as soon as COVID-19 comes down." WS: "One thing I can say about musicians is that we know how to duct tape something and keep rollin'. We will find a way to continue doing shows and continue being safe."
Video Link on Instagram: 2/19/21 at George's Majestic Lounge - Agony Incorporated https://www.instagram.com/p/CLkI_BehS3U/