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Straight Edge Interview Project: Luna, 23, Inland Empire California , She/They

In this interview, Cynthia Luna, vocalist of the hardcore band Brack and an in-home autism therapist, shares her experience navigating sobriety within the hardcore scene. From her musical passions to personal challenges and growth, Cynthia sheds light on the power of straight edge and the supportive fabric of the hardcore scene.

Tell us about yourself!

I’m the vocalist of the band Brack. I wrote a full EP for the project myself and had the help of my friend Brad Racine in the recording process. (My band : @brackhc or ).

For work, I am an in-home autism therapist. I work with young kids who struggle mostly with emotional regulation and communication. I help the kids and their families understand and learn better ways to navigate autism or learn to be better support for their child.

A hobby of mine is I like to do makeup. I’m mostly known for doing looks based on hardcore album art, but I also love doing Halloween/cosplay makeup. ( shared on @moltencherub on ig/tiktok)

What are you listening to these days?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Twitching Tongues recently, Rest in Peace Cayle Sain. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Initiate, Firestarter, Angel Du$t, and End It. I think End It has to be one of my current favorite bands. My all-time favorite hardcore band has to be Trapped Under Ice. Outside of hardcore though I love Ashnikko, Ariana Grande, Queen, Elton John, and Theo Katzman.

What’s your straight edge story?

I knew about straight edge when I was in high school and I was a partier at the time so I thought it was stupid. But then I grew up drinking and smoking weed a lot, daily at certain points, and realized I needed to stop or something bad could happen. My family struggles with a lineage of addiction, so when I saw my brother struggling with alcohol as bad as he was, I realized I didn’t want to do the same to myself or to my family or friends.

When I turned 21 I was fully sober and believed I was straight edge but didn’t know anything about the serious commitment that it is and one day when I was 22 I broke my sobriety from pressure from a guy I was dating at the time. A few months later I decided that Straight Edge was exactly what I needed, not a half-assed version of it either. I needed to go straight edge and keep that promise. That was about 10 months ago. I made the decision to be sober and straight edge on March 1st, 2023 and I haven’t turned back since.

How do you define straight edge?

This is a good question for me because at the time I was sober I was saying I was straight edge. but it is so different for me now. For me, being sober is a choice to not drink, a choice to not do drugs, a choice to better yourself. at this point, for me, I see straight edge as necessary.

I see it as the reason I can keep relationships and friendships. the reason I can wake up and experience life, the reason I can make music, make art. straight edge is not a choice for me it is necessary for me to be able to be happy and survive. what keeps me committed is knowing I could very well not be here on this earth had I not made this decision.

True or False: “If you’re not now, you never were”? 

I am straight edge now. I think the important thing for people to think about is straight edge is for themselves and not the people around them. It’s not a gimmick, it’s not a trend, it’s not for “clout” or whatever people are going to say. Straight edge is for me. I have strength because of the community for sure, but if someone breaks and “comes back” I feel like it’s all about how they behave during it all.

I know people who broke and were upset with themselves and were contemplating “Am I sober? or am I edge? Or do I just need to work on moderation?” I’ve seen people break and the first thing they do is post about getting blackout at a bar or how high they got. With that being said, some people may be having a sobriety struggle where they do not know what they need for their life and they are still working it out, and some people seem to not have a care for edge in the first place.

I myself broke, but sobriety was always on my mind after I had the one drink that ended a yearlong sober streak. when I was first claiming edge, I treated it as temporary, as if I knew “This will end at some point I just don’t know when I’ll choose that” versus now, I don’t think about inevitably breaking, I think about all my sober milestones and how far I’ve come and the successes I’ve had purely because I’m still straight edge

Over the past decade or so individuals in recovery have stumbled upon straight edge, and it has spoken to them.  Do you feel that the straight edge community has been, and should be welcoming to those in recovery? 

Of course, I think we should welcome people in recovery. What I can say is that people in recovery and people who are straight edge are some of the strongest groups of people I know. even if someone is not straight edge and they just want to cut out drinking or smoking , even just one thing, having a community of people can help and that’s what it’s all about. It’s how we survive.

A great friend of mine is hanging out with more sober people and I get to see them more often and see them for who they are because they’re no longer drinking or doing cocaine and I know part of it is because of the support that I and other sober/edge friends have been able to give to them.

I love supporting people on their journeys of sobriety, it’s not easy to be sober when you have been an addict before and that’s what I feel needs to be shared between the communities of those in recovery and straight edge people. some straight-edge people HAVEN’T been edge their whole lives, and some have dealt with addiction. in my opinion, that’s the best support someone in recovery could have.

Have you ever felt that your gender has influenced your experience in the straight edge and/or hardcore scene?

In short, yes. Being a femme in hardcore is difficult in so many ways. A lot of men don’t seem to take me seriously as a musician, but once they get in a studio with me they know I’m about it. Unfortunately, a lot of guys wouldn’t even give me the time of day when I was looking for other bandmates. I have been to shows where men use it as an opportunity to degrade you and act like you know nothing about the community or the scene.

I’ve luckily had so much support from women and non-binary people in the scene though. I feel like most femmes in hardcore have each other’s backs and are so supportive. The other day I was thinking how cool it is how the femmes in hardcore do so much. There are not only awesome women/femmes in bands like Kat from Scowl , Crystal from Initiate, Christina from Gouge Away, Byanna from Buggin, and myself. there are also photographers like Kat Nijmeddin , another straight edge vegan person. There are bookers, promoters, merch designers, engineers, and managers, that are all femmes and it really strengthens the scene in a way I feel men don’t see or realize.

Do you feel that the straight edge movement/scene is inclusive?

I feel like straight edge is inclusive. it doesn’t matter your gender, sexual orientation, age, weight, height, religion, race, ethnicity, legal status, or anything. The only thing the straight edge community truly cares about is that you are true to yourself and the community you are a good person and you spread love and positivity to those around you.

The only changes I feel that could be made are the number of people who feel that you can’t claim edge if you aren’t sure. people need to be able to work things out for themselves and see what decisions work best for them.

Has being straight edge had an impact on your relationships?

All I can say is it has helped tremendously. I keep friendships, I keep my family relationships, and I communicate well. I’m not fighting with people over what I don’t remember saying. I’m not arguing about hiding alcohol. I’m not driving home drunk, drunk calling, or texting people. I’m happy. the people around me appreciate my sobriety/ straight edge. my life has changed for the better for sure. 

There’s an ongoing debate on whether one can be straight edge without being a part of the music scene, what are your thoughts on this?

I feel like the term straight edge stems from hardcore. That’s another thing I have about the whole sober versus straight edge thing. I feel people in hardcore are straight edge, and people who are not in the scene are sober. but that’s just me. I’ve met people who have never touched a drop of alcohol or smoked anything in their lives and are in the scene and just don’t claim. Whatever you want to call yourself I will respect, but for me personally being straight edge has hardcore music at its core.

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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