CONVERGE HASN'T SLOWED a heartbeat since forming some 20-odd years ago. The band's 2001 masterpiece, Jane Doe, makes Hüsker Dü's Land Speed Record look like a "World's Greatest Dad" mug. The four members split their time between at least a half dozen bands, artistic careers, a recording studio, and a label, and still manage to tour the world about once a year. They can't even slow down onstage; singer Jacob Bannon once brought a pedometer on stage just for kicks. "I put [it] in my shoe before we played... I ran about three miles on stage, in an hour."
Converge's latest album, All We Love We Leave Behind, doubles down on their lifelong commitment to aural violence. Surprises are few and far between, but that's not to say the music isn't a breathless, 40-minute face-rip. "We're still the same band we've always been," Bannon says from his basement studio, putting some finishing touches on a personal painting of the iconic Jane Doe cover. "That feeling I got when I was 14 or 15 years old, that never really changes."
Even if Bannon & Co. create the perfect lizard-brain nourishment for their adolescent selves, they approach it with the work ethic of true lifers. "It's the only livelihood that you have to constantly defend to be lower-middle class," he says. "We like to work, to be out there touring, playing shows to people... We don't take any days off." And defend they do: Their upcoming cross-country tour schedule gives them a one-day break to drive from Arizona to Texas. That day is Halloween.
After 22 years of coping with the tension and release of creating exciting experimental punk, Converge has become a family—a family made up of four of the biggest Converge fans in the world. All We Love We Leave Behind's titular proclamation doesn't come off as a lament; instead, the cry is Bannon coming to terms with his body of work as a fleeting, finite thing. Bannon breaks it down simply: If the band starts to make music that doesn't please them first, "You won't hear from us anymore."