Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Iron Age / Interview

I was trying to picture an Iron Age show in my mind a while ago when I realised it had been over 8 months since I had seen these Texans crush a live audience. Instantly, I had visions of Jason trying to break through an invisible wall and summoning dark forces while at it, I had visions of the legendary Iron Age tank parked outside the venue reeking of weed, beer and other legal and not so very legal drugs... Most of all though I had visions of Wade in a flannel, putting his left foot on whatever there is available (A monitor? A stray amp maybe?) and riffing it up. So I thought I'd better drop the man a line or two to see what was cooking in Camp Iron Age... Here's what he had to say.

2007 seems to have been a pretty calm year for Iron Age, though you did a bunch of tours and put out the "Burden Of Empire" EP... Did it seem calm to you? What else have you guys been up to?
The year started well, we recorded for the first time since the LP, got a reliable guitar player and went out on our best US tour. Things, however, degenerated rather quickly. Right as we started working out new material I broke my thumb and was out of commission for a couple months, went back on tour at the end of summer in a van that wouldn’t stay running. Got home and spent a few months in Houston every other week to try to get back writing with a new drummer. Finally got a couple songs recorded in November. I wouldn’t call it calm so much as spirit-crushing.

Over the last year or so you've had a few line up changes, Alex joined the band on second guitar around a year ago and Reed quit playing drums after the summer I guess so could you fill me in on who's in Iron Age right now? Rumor has it you've been playing shows with 3 guitarists as well?
Yeah, Alex showed up to his first practice playing every song flawlessly including all those songs we hadn’t played since the record came out. After Reed gayed out, my brother Jared, who played on the first demo and filled in every other time Reed gayed out, started playing drums for us again and will put up with me telling him what to do for three hours three times a week. And then a couple months ago, after parting ways with our old friend Matt Jackson, we recruited my roommate Logan on bass. And then there’s me and Jason.

Regarding that "Burden Of Empire" EP, where exactly did you record it and is the way it sounds the kind of sound you'd envisioned? Kinda like an obscure black metal demo? I seem to remember you guys recorded another song during that session called "Decrease The Peace", right? What happened to that song? Will it ever see the light of day?
We recorded that with this guy Nathan here in Austin who played keyboard in a band with my friend Pat. We just set up amps in his living room and drums in the next room and cranked out drums in two takes and did the rest over the next couple weeks. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best we’ll ever sound, I think Jason sounds crazy on it. We ate a lot of fried Chicken. We recorded an instrumental for the b-side which didn’t make it. A girl we know said it sounded like music you’d hear on the moon. We used to play it live all the time, you’ll probably hear parts of it on the new record.

How many copies of the EP were actually pressed? Do you have any idea how many different covers are in circulation for that?
We pressed 900 of them in total, a couple hundred ended up in other countries. Every time we’d go to Kinko’s to print covers (usually on the way to the show) the original image would get left in the copier and we’d have to get a new image. There are I think a thousand different covers?

"Burden Of Empire" is a lengthy song, how do you go about writing long, epic songs like that while still keeping them interesting? I've always wondered about that, especially since you guys have a lot of "long" songs...
I’m sure some people would say we don’t keep them interesting, but I can’t write short songs, anymore especially. I’ve been trying. There’s a certain level of development and a certain amount of repetition my mind needs to get through for a song to sound finished to me. They usually end up right around 5 minutes. I know "Evil Ways" could’ve been shorter, and that we could cut this here and that there. But I promise we’re not the first band that plays 5 minute long songs.

Is the song length of that track anything to go by for the new material? I'm guessing it is? Also stylistically, how would you say Iron Age has evolved since the "Constant Struggle" LP?
Yeah I guess, the new record’s looking like 8 or so songs running at 50 minutes maybe. I’d call it heavier and maybe darker and I’d say we’re expanding more on the metal that we started playing with on "Constant Struggle".

How do you look back on "Constant Struggle" now? What do you consider the album's strong points and weak points? What are some of your fav tracks on it and why?
I think "The Violator" and "Butcher’s Bill" and probably "Evil Ways" are the most defining songs on the record. "Fear Itself" I think is a cute little guy. Looking back, the whole thing is exceptionally strong in that we were a new band of about a year pulling together a lot of different ideas into something that makes sense most of the time. At the same time, Jason wrote "Brainwreck" for a different kind of band and it was the first song we ever played together and doesn’t have anything to do with a song like "Butcher’s Bill". It’s not the most cohesive record stylistically, I know, but as low as the bar was set back then I think we were really ambitious and pulled it together on some level. I haven’t listened to it in a year or two but I know I don’t really like how cleaned-up and gated and dry the recording is. And I’ve always hated that snare drum.

You have a new EP coming in a few months on Painkiller and Dead And Gone Records. What can you tell us about that record? How many songs? What are they called? I heard rumours of a crazy coversong as well?
It’s just a song from the new record called “The Way Is Narrow” with a cover of Flower Travellin’ Band’s “Satori Pt.1” on the b-side. We knew we weren’t gonna have a proper full-length recorded for a while and we’d only released one song since 2006 so we thought everyone would like to hear another one.

I've been listening to "The Way Is Narrow" from said upcoming new EP a bunch. It rules. I get the impression the song has more of anthemic trash metal feel to it compared to earlier songs... What influenced this song specifically? I mean in terms of structure, riffs and overall vibe...
Yeah like I said it has more to do with metal than hardcore I’m sure stylistically. I mean the verse to me is Randy Rhoads and the b part is like maybe a fast Crowbar and the c part is too maybe? I don’t know. And the end is like Slayer harmonies I guess? We just want to sound good.

How important is Texas to Iron Age? Do you think growin' up there as opposed to any of the cities on the east or west coast has made you a different person? How do you think it has affected the band, in terms of sound and attitude?
Man it's hot as fuck here already.

If you had to describe the essence of Iron Age in 5 words, which words would those be?
"Are they still a band?"

If you had to describe every member of Iron Age in 5 words, what would those? Don't forget to include yourself...
Alex - "Hai do u lyke grind?"
Logan - "…is drinking coffee somewhere now."
Jason - "And Craig let’em do it!"
Jared - "Does he care? Probably not."
Clif - "Blank Dogs No Age Spider."
Wade - "I’ll stop talking now, sorry."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blacklisted: Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God / Review

Ever since I picked up a copy of "Our Youth Is Wasted", I have been hooked on Blacklisted. I can't even remember why I picked it up, I guess I kinda felt like I was really going to dig this band. Naming yourself after a Breakdown song is always a strong move. There was something mysterious about Blacklisted, something different. Musically and lyrically, they just made sense to me. Ever since then I have immensely enjoyed every record they've done, even though none of them sound exactly alike... Or maybe exactly because of that? In turn, it makes sense too, as almost every release was written by another songwriter/guitarist/line up. However, the vibe on all those records was always undeniably Blacklisted's. Throughout the years, thanks to the miraculous ways of hardcore, I have gotten to know the people in Blacklisted quite well. I've toured, hung out, eaten Haribo Cherries and watched Down with them, so most likely this is not going to be the most objective review you're going to find on the world wide web, but then again, fuck it. This ain't science, it's punk rock.

With last year's "Peace On Earth, War On Stage" EP having been so well received and turning so many non-believers into believers, the least one can say is that this record was highly anticipated. Unlike during their earlier days, Blacklisted was able to hit the studio with the same people (plus one) that also recorded that EP and again they chose to work with the wizard of Salem, Kurt Ballou... There's not much to be said about that, you really don't have to change a winning team, do you?

I've listened to this record a retarded amount of times already, yet it only took me one listen to be able to tell Dave Walling (Blacklisted bassplayer, unashamed Euro, elf master) that I thought it was awesome but it was going to take me a long time to figure out how to mosh to it. I don't know if I've figured that out already (have I ever?), but one thing I know for sure is that they've managed to structure their second full length album real well. I read an interview with George (Blacklisted singer, hardcore encyclopedia) recently in which he said they tried to make it a real "album". Vinyl style, with an A and a B side and with a lot attention paid to tracklisting. Even though I have the CD version, that clearly worked real well. So let's review this record as if I was reviewing the LP...

"Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God" starts off with 2 absolute ragers; "Stations" and "Touch Test". Perfect way to start off an album, as both songs are short and go straight for the throat. Opening track "Stations" was the first song off the album that I ever heard, when last summer Shawn (Blacklisted drummer, gifted story teller, Ipod dealer) played me an early demo version of it in their van. I was especially impressed with the song's epileptic climax, it reminded me of Glassjaw for some reason. Before you know what hit you, "Touch Test" kicks in. One of my favourite songs off this album, no doubt. "When I throw these fits, you only see what you want to see". Relentless headbanging. I love how it builds up and then breaks down again, to make way for "I Am Weighing Me Down". As dumb as it may sound, I gotta say this song just flat out rocks. It's structured as a pop song, has a chorus that is catchy as hell and a Refused feel to it. I know the whole world will compare it to Nirvana due to the "Hey, Hey, Hey" part, but I dunno about that. I mean, sure Blacklisted loves Nirvana but there's an ancient saying that says that one swallow doesn't make a summer and I'll just leave it at that.

Before a re-recorded version of "Memory Layne" (originally on their "Peace On Earth, War On Stage" EP), the song "Always" is thrown at us. Is it a coincidence that "Always" also is a Floorpunch song? I think not. Either way, this track is another winner, with a flow similar to "I Am Weighing Me Down", though not as catchy 'cause it doesn't have the same type of chorus. It ends with a huge riff that reminds of huge waves crashing. Closing Side A is the somewhat more experimental and drawn out "Circuit Breaker", a song that showcases how much Blacklisted has grown and how willing they are to take risks. Another personal favourite. When the song breaks downs into eerie feedback/noise about halfway through and picks back up with George proclaming "You wear the clothes of a beggar, but underneath you're a thief", that's when you'll see the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

"Matrimony" is another furious, short rager that has some weird later Black Flag styled guitar shredding, an immense Anselmo-esque scream and a few questions to raise about the institution of marriage. Again, perfect song to start off Side B with. "Self Explosive" is cool, but "Burning Monk" is really where it's at. It just doesn't let up. From fast and violent into groovy into Cro-Magnon territory... Hats off. Lyrically, this song features some of my favourite Blacklisted lyrics to date... "There's nothing to do but stand and watch the truth roll it's eyes at the lies as it lies down and dies inside". Read it again if you want to, it's that good.

Next to "Memory Layne", Blacklisted also re-recorded "Canonized" for this album, an absolute favourite of mine so I am not going to complain about that. Every time Bean (Blacklisted riffmaster extra ordinaire, chain smoking vegetarian) starts playing that first riff it feels like the world is going to end. Call me crazy, but that's how it feels. It's weird how short this record seems while there is so much going on, so before you know it, you're listening to "Wish"... A daring, slower song. It's dark and haunting but not in a metal way. I don't even know what to say to describe this song. I don't even have to, since I've gone through pretty much every song on this record and by now you know that I'm more than just a little into it.

As far as the artwork goes, I think the Melissa Farley photography works real well with the content of the album, both sonically and lyrically. Love the cover picture. The CD booklet has a different picture that goes along with every song and again, I think it works real well. Clearly a lot of thought, time and care went into this and it shows. The only thing I'm not so down with is the picture on the outside of the booklet, but that's it. Even if a discman is pretty old school.

I'm glad to see how Blacklisted has managed to expand and renew their sound, without losing track of their essence. Both musically this is a record that took a lot of guts to make, by a band that truly lives and breathes hardcore. Frankly, music this brutally honest and real is becoming a rare breed so if that's what you're into, you need to hear this.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Rhythm To The Madness / Interview

Rhythm To The Madness is a bandname that is so cool that you feel bad when you abbreviate it. So I didn't. It is also one of the bands that has excited and surprised me the most in the last few years. Not only through their words and music but also due to their unconvential approach to doing the band and the unique vibe around it. Even though I have known Stief and Klaas for years, I still feel like I can't completely grasp what Rhythm To The Madness is all about... There's a lot to be said for bands that can keep that sense of mystery and that have the power to inspire in an age where it sometimes seems like hardcore has become a dumb and painfully predictable circus. It took Klaas a while to answer my questions, but the answers were more than worth the wait. Never Think About The Future, It Comes Soon Enough.

So, what was the basic idea behind the band when Stief and you started it?
Basically, there was no specific idea behind the band. When I was on tour with Justice & Cold World, Stief and I started talking about how we both wanted to do a band in this style. He wrote some riffs, I wrote some lyrics, and we went from there.
After that tour Stief went to Michiel and recorded the riffs to what would become both demo songs and sent the recordings to me. I adjusted the lyrics to those songs, Stief did a little jam session on these riffs with Daan, and we went into a demo studio to record "Till Your Well Runs Dry" and "Through The Mind’s Eye". Initially we had no plans with the recordings but we liked ‘em so much I figured I’d have some tapes pressed and just sell ‘em on tour with Justice.

Was there a certain attitude you wanted the band to have, a certain message you wanted to convey?
Like I said, we never sat down and planned things out with this band. But I guess by just going into the studio without label support or even without the intention to play out live, we showed an attitude that said: fuck it all, we just want to make good music and get things done.
I don’t really have a certain message to convey, I just want to talk about what is important to me personally and what I thinks matters most.

Is Rhythm To The Madness the band that you think hardcore was lacking when you decided to get going?
Nah, Rhythm To The Madness is just the band the two of us wanted to do, I really don’t care what music others want to hear. Personally I think Blacklisted is the band hardcore lacked, musically and definitely attitude-wise as well: the way those guys handle their band should be an example for every starting band. Their work ethic, their love for Hardcore, they way they keep going regardless of whatever setbacks cross their path. As a band and as people Blacklisted portrays what Hardcore is all about to me.
Obviously Hardcore can still use a band like Straight Ahead though, but we got the 12” and the videos so I guess we’re good for now...

While it ain't hard to tell some of the bands that have influenced your sound, I would also say that you could evolve in various directions and are not bound to any specific style... Was this something you set out to achieve? How do you think you will develop musically?
I guess in some way this was intentional: by not making up a game-plan and thus not laying any restrictions upon ourselves, we created the possibility to go any direction we feel like. We didn’t start out to sound like this or that band, and we didn’t start out to play the world. What everything comes down to with Rhythm To The Madness, is that we had no expectations whatsoever and thus have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Concerning musical development, I think we can go wherever we want. And we will. The songs we are currently writing are definitely as hard as the EP songs, but they will be more balanced out.

Rhythm To The Madness is Stief and you. What are the pros of doing this band as a 2 man operation and what are the cons?
The biggest pro is definitely that we can do exactly whatever we want and how we want it. We don’t have other band-members to consult about music, shirt-designs or artwork. Also, even though we prefer to play out in our studio line-up, we can play with whomever we want and not be a scab band.
The only con I can think of right now is that it’s a hassle confirming shows with this band, but lately we have 3 drummers and 2 bass-players that know the songs so it’s getting easier...

I guess Sike and Daan will be in the band for live shows and recordings as long as they're down to be in it? You also had Cedric playing second guitar at a show a while back, do you feel like Rhythm To The Madness would sound best live as a 5-piece?
Yeah, like you said Rhythm To The Madness is just Stief and me, but Sike and Daan obviously are the perfect rhythm section for this band. We try to play as many shows with them on bass and drums, and we definitely need them in the studio. Cedric is playing second guitar for us whenever he can, and I definitely think we sound better as a 5-piece. I hate how the sound collapses when 4-piece bands have guitar solos in their songs. Plus – and you know this – Cete has a great guitar sound and looks fucking hard on stage.

I know that in a lot of ways you think of Rhythm To The Madness as a "metal" band, although I would say it is the type of metal that only real hardcore kids could come up with. What aspect of metal - and exactly what kind of "metal" - is it that you find so appealing that you want to apply it to your band?
I know I sometimes say that jokingly but I don’t really see Rhythm To The Madness as a metal band. What I mean by that is that we don’t limit ourselves to Hardcore: not musically and not visually. I usually say that just to make sure people can’t pigeonhole our band as we can draw influences wherever we want.
Honestly there’s not too much in metal that I find appealing, except for the music. I sometimes like the visual aspects of old metal shirts and records but generally speaking I’m not drawn to the subjects they sing about or the imagery they try to create.
As for the kind of metal I like, I’m mostly into the Bay Area Thrash bands: Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Death Angel, Metallica, Possessed, that kind of stuff, and of course I like the East Coast bands too: Nuclear Assault, Overkill, Anthrax, the usual I guess. I obviously like Mötorhead too. I also love Carcass, I never got into their older, more grind stuff, but I think "Heartwork" is sheer perfection. For months I’ve been running an hour everyday with "Heartwork" on the iPod, I ran my sharpest times listening to that album!

The attention to little details such as the barcodes on your demo and 7" (what's up with those anyway?) and the Slayer style credits to whom plays the guitar solos, I guess are part of this whole idea?
I don’t know, I just always strive for perfection which is why I’m always worrying and stressing about little details. That’s also why I’m almost never completely happy with anything I do or ever have done. Concerning the solo-credits, I love "Heartwork" and that’s the first album where I noticed these solo credits and thought it was pretty cool. You know: medical handbook lyrics, medical handbook lyrics, lead Steer, lead Amott, lead Steer, medical handbook lyrics, medical handbook lyrics. Pretty cool huh? "Angry With The Sun" also has this kind of credits and I thought that was pretty cool when I was younger.

Lyrically, you dig deeper than most these days and manage to come up with coherent, well written and outspoken lyrics. Clearly, a lot of time and thought goes into that part of the band... How would you describe the way you go about writing lyrics?
Well as clichéd as it may sound to me Hardcore is still more than music and I think that this is mainly shown in the way we handle our bands, but also in the lyrics. I still read the lyrics to every record I purchase and if I think the lyrics are weak, the music will have to be twice as good to convince me.
So yes, I put a lot of time and thought into my lyrics, and I appreciate that you think they’re coherent and well written, thank you.
But to answer your question, I don’t really have a consistent way I go about writing lyrics. Most of the time I write down some ideas to work them into a lyric, put them away for a couple of weeks to let ‘em ripe. Then when I read them again, I end up throwing away most of it, only using what I still think is good enough. I repeat this process until I’m completely happy with them or actually most of the time until a deadline is reached. Without deadlines I would keep on changing my lyrics forever.
However, sometimes I work the other way around, for example Stief sent me a rough recording of the riffs and song-structure of what would become "Deliverance From Suffering". I received his email at work, set the volume as quiet as possible cause people walk into my office, and listened to the song while I instantly started writing the words to it.

Furthermore, could you tell me what the two songs, "Soul Doubt" and "Deliverance From Suffering", on the new 7" deal with? I believe "Soul Doubt" is somewhat of a plea for a richer spiritual life rather than an empty one filled with material gain, or am I wrong?
In a nutshell, that is what "Soul Doubt" is about indeed. In the first Rhythm To The Madness song I wrote ("Through The Mind’s Eye") I mentioned the words "material ages". In retrospect I figured those were the kind of hollow words used by bands that desperately want to be "a band with a message". I kind of regretted using those words in such a superficial way and therefore decided to elaborate on it by writing "Soul Doubt".
It was a very hard lyric for me to write. I really wanted to write about this topic because it’s something that has been occupying me all my life, but I didn’t want to come off too clever, if you know what I mean? It was hard to write about the subject of material gain without sounding too holier-than-thou, considering I’m far from enlightened myself.
I’m glad that you understand what "Soul Doubt" is about, because we are kinda on the same level on this but that only makes it harder to explain it to others of course. The song is indeed about a richer spiritual life without too much emphasis on material gain, it’s a balance I’ve been struggling to find all my life. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with material gain per se, what matters is the way you prioritise these superficial things in your life. I see no wrong in surrounding yourself with objects that you feel good around: you create a positive environment for yourself, a shelter in which you feel good, a refuge that allows you to recharge your batteries once in a while. I don’t think you can enrich your spiritual life on batteries running low. For some of us these material objects may be records, high tech electronics, books or whatever… As long as people maintain their balance and don’t lose focus of what really matters in the end, I don’t think there’s something wrong with a certain level of material gain.
The song "Deliverance From Suffering" is somewhat harder to explain because we actually just put it on the EP as B-Side song and it’s totally taken out of context. We originally just wanted to do a one sided vinyl single, but Powered Records wanted us to record some B-Side songs, so we decided to put "Deliverance From Suffering" on the EP too.
What I mean by that song being taken out of its context, is that "Deliverance From Suffering" is the prequel to a song that we will record for our upcoming LP. That song is called "Into Tranquillity", of which a stripped down instrumental version (called "Intro Tranquillity") can be found on our EP. The lyrics to both songs will explain themselves once put together, so I won’t give away too much, but allow me to just explain the second part of both verses: "Chewed by the jaws of life - Soul survivors of struggle and strife - An award of sorrow drawing near -
Fear its coming but it’s already here".
We claim to control our own lives, yet we are being lived: we don’t live our lives, our lives live us. We don’t make our own choices, we are influenced and affected by the choices of others: we are being chewed by the jaws of life. To grow into our own strong (or weak) personalities, we (our souls) have been through so much struggle and strife; some people’s struggles more intense than others when compared but equally important in the growth of the person. We constantly try to shake off whatever molds society casts us into and whatever molds we cast others into, yet at the same time we feel uncomfortable when we don’t fit in. It’s a struggle with ourselves more than anything… Obviously it’s more a process than a downright struggle. This struggle is something we prepare for all our lives, it’s something that we foresee in the future: we tell ourselves it’s going to happen one day but for now we’ll just keep avoiding it... Well, the process is right now and it’s portrayed in every decision we make and every word we say. It’s not something that happens or is going to happen, it’s something that IS.
The only way attain a state tranquillity is by delivering ourselves from all suffering. Do people really want to read this?

You've been doing bands for a number of years now, yet I feel as if this is the first time you've truly found yourself, lyrically and vocally. What do you think? How does Rhythm To The Madness differ from the bands you were in before? Were there any mistakes you made in the past you wanted to avoid this time around?
I gotta say I agree with you: I indeed truly found myself for the first time.
I think there’s two huge differences between Rhythm To The Madness and any past bands that I did, the most important being growth, which I guess is quite logical as I was 15 years old when I first started doing bands, and I’m 25 years old now.
The other difference between Rhythm To The Madness and any of my past bands is that I always tried to form a band with people I was friends with, therefore resulting (and I’ve said this before) in a compromise between the four or five members that form it. You are always limited by eachother’s musical taste, technical skills and musical creativity, no matter how well you get along.
With Rhythm To The Madness, I wanted this band to have the sound and image that I had in mind, without having to compromise with anybody. Stief is the only person (as a friend and as a musician) that is on the exact same level as me concerning Rhythm To The Madness, so that’s why I didn’t want to bring anybody else in. And that’s why I think I – as you describe it - truly found myself with this band.

Now that the 7" has been out for a while, do you still listen to it once in a while? Is there anything that you think could've been better?
Yeah I still listen to it sometimes, there’s a lot of things I think could’ve been better, but like I said: I always strive for, but never get near, perfection so I’m never completely happy with anything I do. To be able to answer your question I just listened to the single again and I gotta say, considering the fact that we wrote those songs on the Justice/Blacklisted tour, with Stief playing acoustic guitar, Daan drumming on his lap and me whispering the lyrics, I think everything came out quite well.

A few months back you did a short UK tour with Cold World. How did those shows go? Do you feel as if the crowd that would come out to see Cold World would also be the type of crowd that would dig Rhythm To The Madness? How does being on tour with your own band compare to being the road dawg for Justice or True Colors f.i.?
Keeping in mind those shows were actually some of the first real Rhythm To The Madness shows, I think that they went pretty good. It took us a couple of shows to really feel eachother on stage, especially since we played with a stand-in drummer on that tour, but I think everything worked out fine. I don’t know if the Cold World fans dug us but we got a fair amount of response, even though our record had only just come out at the time and hadn’t gotten around by then.
I love being a road dog! In 2007 I think I must’ve spent a total of 8 weeks on the road with Justice, and I loved every minute of it. As a road dog the only things to worry about are "Do I have enough change when selling merch?" and "When can I try and catch some sleep with all these overnight drives?".
It had been a while since I'd gone out on the road with a band of my own, and I gotta say I had forgotten the stress, pressure and effort that comes along with it. Luckily I had a carefully selected Road Crew of Soul Survivors put together, consisting out of experienced coremen that more than earned their stripes out on the road. So I didn’t have to stress too much and all worked out fine.

Another thing I've noticed is how you don't say much during your live set. You stick to saying the band's name and mentioning the song titles. No thank you's or explanations. Is there any reasoning behind this?
There’s no reasoning behind this really, it’s just that I’m not much of a talkative person. It’s hard enough for me to verbally put together a meaningful and coherent sentence, let alone when it’s not in my mother tongue. Plus I figure if people really want to know what I've got to say, they’ll read the lyrics or come up to me and ask. Or do an interview.
And the people I am grateful to, they know that as I thank them in person. If you’re looking for a shoutout through a PA-system, you picked the wrong show. And the wrong band.

Please share with me your insights and ideas on the following:
Force Of Words Zine - when's the next issue?
At one point I had the fourth issue almost completely finished but in the end decided to throw it all away. However a new fourth issue is in the works and will be released as Complex Man Fanzine #4, out on January 1st 2012.

Mic stand - blessing or curse?
Those things are set out to self-destruct all the time! "We need another mic stand up here okay?!".

"Crush The Demoniac" - most violent song ever?
Obviously my "powersong" when running!

Kindred "File 01" - you're moshing?
Definitely. Packo and I listened to this record on a True Colors weekend-trip the other week, good times. I still vividly remember the first time I heard this album: December '96, I was in boarding school and I came home for Christmas Holidays. I arrived at my parents’ house and a package from Good Life Recordings was waiting for me. I opened it up and found the Kindred CD and a "Proud To Be Drug Free" sweater inside. I immediately put on the CD on my parents’ stereo and before I knew it I threw on my new hoodie and started moshing in the living room. Ofcourse only minutes later my mom came in and saw me moshing (well, you know... "moshing"), normally I would’ve been embarrassed but that time I didn’t care because this record was so good I knew my mom would understand…

Geert Hollanders - fav. quotes?
He actually sent me the best text message the other day, just plain coolness in like 8 words. Too bad it’s not meant for publication, so I’ll go for this: "Hardcore shows zijn geen kiekenkot!". Or when we were on a weekend trip with Loud And Clear and some girlfriends came along: "I feel like we’re on a schooltrip". Or the other day when Flip and I were talking about how much we like Guns 'N' Roses "Appetite For Destruction": "To avoid all that weirdo shit is exactly why I got into Hardcore”. So much good stuff, but most of it needs to be kept within the inner circle... "Dutje doen op de zetel hé man".

Last of all, what records/bands have excited you lately? Anything else you want to add?
I’ve been more than excited about the new True Colors and Justice records, both bands have taken European Hardcore to a new level in the past and continue to do so with their new records. I also listened to the new Blacklisted LP three times in a row when running the other day, can’t wait to hold that one in my hands. Also can’t wait for the new Cold World LP to drop! It’s been out for a while now, but I’m still listening to the Bitter End LP a lot. I heard some songs of the new Reactionaries record yesterday and that sounds amazing, be on the lookout for their 12” to drop on Deranged Records! Other than those I pretty much stuck to my regulars lately: a steady diet of Rollins Band. Oh and the Invasion LP (from Spain) is fucking great too, but that record is probably way too hard for people that have an internet connection so I guess your readers can’t handle it.
Nothing much to add, I wanna apologise for taking ages to complete this interview but my life’s been hectic as you know. Shout outs to Powered Records, Stadsomvaart 134, and obviously to all the Soul Survivors: Stief, Sike, Daan, Cete, Geert, Peers, Flip The Switch, den Backtrack, Gert SSDshirt, Erik Tilburg, Jeffrey, Hingie, Packo, Jigs and of course you Bjorn!

Rhythm To The Madness – March 25th 17h02