Local Hardcore Band Downswing are Moving Mountains

Upstate New York‘s hardcore, punk and metal bands have and always made their mark worldwide. The 80s and 90s created a movement in a revolution for local hard-core starting at VFW or American Legion.   You might have just been in someone’s basement off of Lark Street in Albany, or in some abandoned building against the Hudson River in Troy.  The QE2, Saratoga Winners, and of course Bogies, were breeding grounds for a scene that was well attended and supported. Three decades later local heavy hitters Downswing are throwing sonic knockout punches and are not afraid to explore the writing process and embrace melody. See them open the show on March 26 at Empire Live Albany with Fit For A King, Silent Planet, Hollow Front, and Avoid. We caught up with co-founding member and guitarist Anthony Salvaggio for a one-on-one.

Nippertown:  What was an early musical experience for you?

Salvaggio: So I actually first got into music when I was 7 or 8 years old. I didn’t care for it too much before that, but I remember being at my cousin’s house and he showed me who Eminem was and that was pretty much the first musical artist I ever truly cared about hahaha. For whatever reason, he was the artist that actually made me pay attention to music structure and realize that you can do anything you want in music. My taste only grew larger from there. 

Nippertown: What heavy bands influenced you?

Salvaggio: My brother showed me Slipknot once when I was like 5 years old and I was straight-up terrified of how they looked and the music they played. At this point, he had already played in a few bands and tried to get me into heavier stuff but I just wasn’t into it when I was really young. What really finally put me over was when one of my best childhood friends got me into playing guitar hero. Once I discovered that game I got completely sucked into all things rock and roll which eventually progressed into hardcore and metalcore. Bands like Metallica, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Rage Against The Machine, System of a Down, Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed, All That Remains, Bullet For My Valentine, Unearth, Stick To Your Guns, and Terror just to name a few are the ones who really helped pave the way for me personally. At the end of the day, my brother Harry Walton is my biggest inspiration for bringing me to shows and giving me such an important outlet at such an early age. He’s been my biggest supporter since day one and I could never come up with the right words to thank him enough. 

Nippertown:  Tell us about your first time on stage?

Salvaggio: My first time on stage individually I was actually at a talent show that I did by myself as a guitar player in middle school. I just wrote a handful of metal riffs that I guess kinda made up a song and played it without drums or anything.  People seemed to love it for whatever reason hahaha. I was beyond shocked because I grew up in a town where not too many people were really listening to heavy music so I was just really surprised when I got a loud round of applause at the end. It was an awesome feeling at about 13 years old. But my first time really playing out live in a band was when I was in 8th or 9th grade.  I remember being so nervous that my hands were ice cold hahaha. Played a show in 2009 or 2010 at Valentine’s with an old band of mine called Through Ashes We Fall. If I’m being honest we were pretty damn bad but we had a blast anyway because we were just young kids who really wanted to play. That day made me realize that this was what I really wanted to do.

Nippertown: Shows that you attended that was an influence?

Salvaggio: My brother was the first person who really brought me to shows when I was younger. The first real hardcore show I remember seeing was Terror and Earth Crisis at Northern Lights and I just remember how electric the room was. This was the first time I saw a real mosh pit, stage dives, people grabbing the mic… it was mind-blowing to me just to watch from the side. I wanted to get involved so badly, but I was nervous at first and didn’t want to get hurt because I played three sports a year at the time hahaha. From this point on I kept going to shows with my brother and eventually got into it enough to go to shows without him. I began to meet a ton of local friends in the Albany area like that. Right around this time was when I met my current drummer Nick Manzella and our ex-bass player Brandon Davis. We played in a few bands together over the years and eventually decided to start a hardcore band and just have as much fun as possible with it. In the beginning, the goal was to be a band that mixed as many different vibes as possible just to try and do something outside the box. 

Nippertown: Downswing’s first show?

Salvaggio: Our first show was Souled Out Festival 2017 in Poughkeepsie with so many awesome bands that we looked up to. We got an incredible response that day and people were really digging the high-energy hardcore-ish vibe and the support carried into our shows to come. We were fortunate enough to get on some awesome lineups in our hometown when we first started, including one with Kublai Khan which led us to a good friend of ours Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain. Vincent showed us a lot of love when we were first getting started, even going as far as taking us on a short east coast tour with his band and Left Behind which to this day is probably still my favorite tour we’ve ever done. 

Nipppertown: Other things you would like to talk about?

Salvaggio: I want to address this again because I don’t think it’s been spoken about enough. Our previous guitar player Harrison Seanor has switched his role and is now the vocalist of our band. This kid is super talented, passionate, charismatic, and he brings an incredibly positive attitude to every practice and every show we play. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people think of him when we get on the road more because I think he’s a great addition to our sound overall.

Nippertown: Plans for 2022?

Salvaggio: We have a brand new EP coming out in the coming months which we’ll be following up with a release tour this summer. More details on that announcement are soon to come. Our plan consists of hitting the road as much as possible in the second half of this year and showing everyone that we’re here to stay and not to be underestimated.

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