Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm moving, DO YOU KNOW?

Hi all so you might think I'm not up to much these days. Well you're wrong. I started to collaborate with Pim Said and Done on his site Some Will Never Know.

To check out the latest hardcorepunk news, interviews and reviews I suggest you can and visit Some Will Never Know.

I don't know if I'll keep updating this blog. But for now everything I'll write I'll only post on SWNK.

See you there.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Agnostic Front: 'Everyone thought Lars Ulrich was an asshole'

Damn, it's about time I get off my lazy ass and start posting some more. Interviews with Rise Against and Title Fight are coming up soon. But let's start with Agnostic Front's Mike Gallo who talks about how the dinosaurs of NYHC keep him sane and off the streets.

Victim In Pain is 25 years old. I bet you are influenced by that record. What does Victim In Pain as a record mean to you?
'Well to me VIP is the most important record in nyhc history. It set the standard. You can never capture the raw energy like that again. If Roger and Vinny never got together to do this record, i would be miserable working some bullshit job i hate for the rest of my life. So this record made nyhc what it is as well as giving me a life!'

My Life My Way is the new album title. Is it about living live Agnostic Front-style, and if so how does that lifestyle differ from the life your parents wanted you to live?
'The title fits Agnostic Front and everything we stand for. They always done things on there own terms.

Actualy my parents were musicians so they supported me and still do. Im greatfull to come from such a good family. They always had my back in what i pursued in life as long as it was realistic.'

You were also in On The Rise and released a record through Bridge 9. Now you’re a member of Agnostic Front a band most well known because of Roger Miret and Vinny Stigma. Do you feel you can put as much into this band as you did in On The Rise or are you more bordered know because of AF’s legacy?
'I actually put more into Agnostic Front than i ever did in OTR. That band was my baby. I started it and wrote most of the music. I took that band as far as we could before everyone just stoped getting along. Then it just wasnt fun anymore. So we ended it. Being in AF gives me more to strive for. This band makes me work harder. Its everything i worked so hard for in my life to be. So i never get bored. I helped write the last few records as well as my other band Stigma. in case you didnt know me and Vinnie do that when were not on tour with AF. Roger and Vinnie will always be the face of Agnostic Front. This band is their baby. I just help them keep the legacy alive.'

As one of the younger guys in the band do you keep up with what’s happening in today’s scene and do you tell the old timers in AF all about it?
'I absolutely keep up with whats going on in the scene today. Theres a lot of good new bands i like these days. Wisdom In Chains is my favorite. Also Chosen Ones and check out this band Live Fast Die Fast. I just produced ther new full length cd that will be out in april. Look out for those guys. I always play new music for the guys, but there still involved with the scene too. So just because there older dose not mean they dont know whats up. They started this shit...'

Recently a lot of older bands have started to play again like Supertouch, Sheer Terror etc. How do you feel about that? Do you see yourself only doing shows based on the old records and not writing new songs anymore?
'I see nothing wrong with old bands coming around a playing shows. It brings everyone together again. I think its great. Everyone should take advantage of having that oportunity to keep playing music.

I my self personaly will never stop writting music. Its all i know. But if i were given a chance later on in life to come back a play a few shows with i band i been in before. I would definitly do it as long as i was having a good time. I do understand where your coming from about bands touring on old material, but if people are gonna come out to see them play, why not.How ever I do have much more respect for bands that are still relavent and continue to make records today.'

AF is still seen as a New York Hardcore Band, but of that scene it’s mostly the old bands that are still around like Madball, SOIA and H20. Isn’t there a new generation of bands? Where did the old bands succeed and do the newer bands come short?
'There is definetly a new generation of ny bands still carring on the hardcore spirit. Bands like Backtrack, This Is Hell. I mentioned a few more earlier as well. I dont feel they fall short of anything. There out there working hard as the older bands still are. It all depends on how long they continue to keep it up as a band. Longevity means everything.'

Freddy Madball assisted you guys in the studio. Where there no fights between both brothers?
'No fights at all. Roger and freddy get along great. All we did was laugh and eat! We had a great time in the studio creating this record.'

Just a couple of months ago Roger also released a new record with the Disasters. Do you think Roger doing both bands makes Agnostic Front more hardcore and not as punk as during the Somethings Gonna Give period?
'At the time they were just a 4 piece band when they came back to unite in the late 90's. Vinny plays more of a punk style hardcore. Later on we added a second guitarist so We can play our full catalog which calls for two guitars. This way we can give our fans from every era of the band what they wanna hear. Roger doing the Disasters gives him the focus to just play more punk stuff.'

This is already the third record on Nuclear Blast a label more known for their metal releases. What makes AF stick with the label? Or are you guys big metalheads?
'We have good relations with NB. The owner marcus is an old fan. He believes in us. Thats the reason why we are still with them. We are all fans of metal. Agnostic front being a hardcore band is just as much as part of the scene as any other metal band. We have thrash roots in our music since the early 80's.'

Ever since AF released it’s first 7”the music scene has changed, can you guys keep up with declining recordsales, are you relaying more on shows and merch for your income?
'Things are definitly not the same with everyone stealling music. So we do have to rely on making money on the road. Everyone thought Lars Ulrich was an asshole for fighting against napster. No he was fighting against what is going on today. He knew it was gonna destroy the music industry. I have to give him credit for that. But we will continue. We just have to work harder..'

How does a typical day of you look like when you’re not on tour or recording and how many days like that do you have in a year?
'Ahahah I have to laugh to cause this is the first really long break we had in a long time. So we been home since december after we finished recording the record in Florida. So I'm out of work and starting to go nuts! I try to keep busy by going to the gym as much as possible. Writting music, I dj at a small bar in the lower east side of manhattan called 3 of cups. So I try to keep my self busy with out causing to much mischief on my time off. I slowed down in past few years. Trying to grow up! Haha its slowly working..'

Is AF still a popular band in the US or is Europe your steady fanbase?
'We still have a good cult folowing that still allows us to tour the States. Europe is definitely where our stronger fan base is from. I think Europeans have a stronger passion for music than people do in the States. But South America takes the cake...'

Friday, April 01, 2011

Reflections Tour wrap up

Whereas I initially planned to be a part of this tour for all ten dates due to circumstances I only ended up attenting the first two shows of the tour and the last one. But hell it was a great time.

Reflections Records turned 15 years old this year. I still remember getting to know Reflections through the magazine they did which eventually grew into a label releasing bands like Reaching Forward, American Nightmare, Modern Life Is War, Paint It Black and No Turning Back to name but a few.

To celebrate this six current bands on the label played ten shows together all over Europe.

The whole thing kicked off in Ibbenburen Germany where a full crowd moved to the likes of Deal With It, Ritual and No Turning Back as you can see here:

The second date was in Mol, Belgium at the same venue where True Colors said goodbye last year. This show was great as well if only for the awesome hangouts behind the distro and the boys of Deal With It singing boisterous songs.

The next couple of days I couldn't attend but I sure as hell didn't want to miss the last show in Den Bosch. Deal With It did an impressive cover of Life Of Agony, Midnight Souls and New Morality both showed why they're the future of European hardcore each with a style of their own and Ritual raged as usual. No Turning Back finished it all off with one last set full of singalongs.

To have such a package of bands go on tour with only great shows... amazing.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Most Precious Blood: 'Hopefully absence makes the heart grow fonder'

Practically out of nowhere touring monsters Most Precious Blood returned with a new record. Guitarplayer Rachel tells all about it.

The bio that came along with 'Do Not Resuscitate' could make a fine script for a movie on it’s own. So what happened with MPB between 2006 and now. Did you guys decide on a short break which took longer and longer?

After 'Merciless' came out in 2005 we pretty much toured nonstop until 2006. Through all that touring, though we sort of felt like we were banging our heads against a wall and things just seemed to be going downhill rather than progressing further. I guess after all this time as a band, we had hit our limit and we all were quite burned out on touring and the whole music business. We decided after the last tour we had planned in Australia and New Zealand that we would take a break.

We didn’t set a time limit on this break but we figured when the time was right, we would start up again. We all sort of went our separate ways at this point. I moved to Baltimore in 2007 to attend graduate school, Matt got married and moved back home to Atlanta to pursue photography, Rob got married and became a personal trainer, Colin got married and got a government job, and Justin got very active in politics and fundraising.

We played 2 shows the following year and finally decided to start writing for a new record. The record took about a year to write because none of use was in the same state. We didn’t want to play a show at that point until we had something new to offer so even though we probably would have been ready to play a year ago, we didn’t see the point without having the new record for sale.

So a break that probably would have lasted maybe 3 years, ended up lasting close to 5.But hopefully its true that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Already in 2009 fans thought ‘DNR’ was recorded. So are you now releasing a two year old record? Why wait for such a long time to release it?

DNR was recorded from the end of 2008 to the beginning of 2009. We were hoping it would have been ready to come out in the summer OF 2009. Unfortunately due to money issues as well as delays on our part with artwork, the record just kept getting pushed further and further and back. We finally just had to set a deadline and be like, if this stuff isn’t in it’s never going to come out. We felt that the record was still a good representation of us though, even though at this point it is a couple years old. Unfortunately with all the anticipation and delays for it to come out, the expectations for the record seem a lot higher and we hope people are not disappointed.

Between ‘Mercilless’ and ‘DNR’ a lot has happened within the music scene and globally. Is MPB ready to be a band in the age of bandcamp and twitter or are you guys just planning to do what you’ve done ever since starting the band: playing as many tight shows as possible?

It’s insane how much has changed with the music scene. We sort of feel like we were frozen in time for awhile and woke back up like 20 years later and have to navigate a new planet. We do have band Twitter, Facebook and Myspace accounts although I’m not sure we’re on bandcamp.
It’s still crazy to me that CDs have become somewhat obsolete in such a short period of time but at the same time it’s awesome that vinyl has really made a comeback. I was a big vinyl collector when I was younger.

I think its funny though that these days when you put out vinyl, people expect a free digital download with it. In the “old days” if you wanted a portable version of a record, you had to either buy it in another format or record it on a cassette!

I think that people don’t put as much thought into record artwork these days because so many people will never hold it in their hands and will only see it on a screen. But for us, we’re stubborn and really wanted to have our record out on CD and vinyl and to play a record release show, etc.. like how we’ve always done.

Are you going to tour as much as in the past or are you going to take things more slowly?

None of us are in a position anymore to tour like we used to. We all have full time jobs that we aren’t willing to give up permanently. We are just going to do things on our own terms. When we want to play some shows, we’ll book them or if we’re offered some and we want to play them, we’ll do it.

Some of the MPB members started their own label Morsecode recordings. Record sales are declining, isn’t doing a label a dangerous business to do nowadays?

I started MorseCode Recordings with my boyfriend. He approached me with the idea first and I didn’t think it was such a great idea because of how poorly the record business is doing. However, he convinced me that if things are done a bit differently there are ways for a label to survive.

Plus it’s given me a chance to put out the vinyl version of DNR. It’s a nice feeling having complete control over what you are putting out. It’s also been a good way for me to learn exactly what the record business is like these days.

While not being active with MPB did you go out and see other bands play these last few years? Which newer bands are you into.

It’s funny because there have been so many of the bands I loved when I was younger getting back together now that the majority of the shows I’ve been to, have been bands that I haven’t seen in forever. It’s great because it makes me feels young!

However there are a couple newer bands that I’ve seen that I do really like – Incendiary from NY are great, Torch Bearer from New Jersey and The May 4th Massacre from Delaware whose record we are putting out next month.

I read about an Indecision dvd coming up. What’s going to be on that one?

The Indecision documentary has been in the works for a couple years now. We had so much VHS footage to compile and go through and then all members were interviewed as well as people who were close to the band. It’s the story of the band as well as a representation of what it was like to tour in the days before there was so much technology as a band that had little backing and little in the way of connections. So it will have tons of old VHS footage, lots of live footage, interviews as well as a lot of extra features. We hope to have it out by April.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights - cd/lp

Though there are still new bands around that make me all excited about hardcore, none of them manages to release a record that make me want to listen to only that one record for a week in a row. However great a record may be there are still enough other records I want to hear in a week.

Defeater is probably the exception to that rule. I have to admit that the first time I heard 'Empty Days', I was a bit dissapointed. After the 'Lost Ground' ep I expected the band to come up with ten versions of 'The Red, White and Blues' I guess and they didn't.

'Dear Father' is a song that could have been on the 'Lost Ground' ep but tracks like 'Empty Glass' and 'White Oak Doors' show a band that has progressed from their 'Travels' debut and dare to go further. Some parts of those songs remind me a bit of Touche Amore's 'To The Beat Of A Dead Horse' while other songs give me the same feeling as I had when I first heard American Nightmare's debut 7".

With 'Empty Days' Defeater probably released one of the best records of 2011 and one of those few classics that come around each year. If that's not enough there's also 'Sleepless Nights' four great acoustic songs which are as good as any material by Chuck Ragan or other punkrock singersongwriter hot shots. 'I Don't Mind' is a song that finds a place in your mind and doesn't leave for days.

Defeater might not appeal to everyone who's into classic hardcore, but if you're open to a band that has the courage to step outside the borders I doubt you will find anything better then these Boston boys.

The Outsiders - zine

'Start a band, do a zine, put on shows if you know what I mean.' Those words were written by Ensign spin off band Weapon X years ago and still ring true today.

To me a good hardcore scene has great bands, great shows but also zines. With the rise of internet less and less people seem to be doing zines. I understand why it takes a lot of effort and some money if you want you magazine to come out great. Not everyone has that much time.

The Outsiders is a new zine from Belgium done by some guys from Accept The Change. Issue 1, which I got my hands on at the Defeater show, features in depth interviews with rising stars Touche Amore and Midnight Souls as well as some reviews and columns (of which one is written by me, so yes I'm a bit biased here).

Besides all that the editors also managed to interview True Colors vocalist Packo right before their last show ever. He looks back on his time in True Colors which makes for a great read.

I suggest everyone to get in touch with the editors and get yourself this zine, be inspired and do one of your own.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Defeater + Carpathian + Striking Justice, Eindhoven

Hardcore show number 2 for me this year and one that sold out in presale. Since I helped putting the kids in their pj's I wasn't on time in Eindhoven to see Striking Justice play.

However I was in time to inhale all the smoke that was in the bar. In my opinion it really sucks that lots of people are starting to smoke in venues and bars again. Please keep that shit outside.

Australia's Carpathian released a mediocre record called Isolation some time ago. There's nothing wrong with it, but there's nothing special about it as well. It's Modern Life Is War meets the lyrics of Ian Curtis with a Deathwish touch. Therefore unsurprisingly the band couldn't hold my attention on stage. Yet to see so many Dutch kids go wild was a good thing.

The only band that mattered today though was Defeater. Debut record Travels is an okay record but the Lost Ground ep really opened my eyes. When the acoustic track 'I don't mind' found it's way on the internet I was sold.

Suffice to say expectations were high for this show but Defeater made it real. Opening acoustic and the rushing into songs like 'The Red, White and Blues' and the new song 'Dear Father', causing mayhem on stage with singalongs and stagedives and an overall intense feeling made me enjoy this show a lot. I somehow got the same feeling as I had when watching Touche Amore in Belgium last year. Another newer band setting a new generation of kids in flames with an intelligent approach to hardcore.
(Though it still is kind of strange seeing teenagers singing that they're lying in the trenches of World War 1 etc.)

I picked up the new Defeater record, which surely isn't dissapointing as well.

This is the ending of the Defeater set as taped by Nico Welmer:

Pics by Anne Carolien Kohler. Go here for more pictures.
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