Sunday, April 19, 2009

Interview with Jaaron from Blood In/Blood Out (R.I.P 2008)

Blood In/Blood Out were personally one of my favourite bands around reading this interview you may understand why.
Real hardworking Hardcore and so many bands like this exist for such a short period of time that in the blink of an eye they are gone and they deserve so much more.

Blood In Blood Out have 5 awesome releases under their belt and are quite unknown in Australia. With the release a few months ago of their new 6 track ep “Hopeless And Heartless” on Thornz Records I managed to talk to Jaaron.

Firstly thanks for taking part in the interview.

For those that do not know; How long has Blood In Blood Out been a band?

Well we started off in 2002....but Dave (the bassist), Joe (one of our original guitarists) and myself were in a band together since the late 90's called R.A.D.T. ....RADT was more of a positive kind of a more fun type hardcore band. Along the lines of Stretch Armstrong, Shutdown, Bane, Straight Faced... Shit like that.... we were young and naive then and thought hardcore was this picture perfect thing....well we found out real quick about the trends and trend hoppers and basically a long story short we got old and jaded....and R.A.D.T. just wasn’t cutting it....we needed something fresh....something meaner, something that reflected what we were feeling. so we decided to move on to new and better shit...we got with this kid, Jake, from another local band around here called Hard Ta Kill, and we got this drummer, mark, from basically a punk rock background, and we started jamming to see what kinda mess we could come up with.

Why did you choose the name?
We started off playing under the name Get Even. and we played some shows under that name, until someone told us there was already a band called Get Even in Cleveland (which we later found out there wasn’t...there was actually a band called Dead Even....oh well) so we decided to come up with some new shit...among some of the ideas were You've Been Warned, As Good As Dead, and Talk Is Cheap....Jake threw in Blood In/Blood Out, and said he was sure that no one would have this name....we all agreed it was a good name and that no one would have it and went with it.

Was the name inspired by the film of the same name?
See we had no clue where the name came from at first. Jake told us of the movie then, so we all went out and rented it...turns out it’s a great fuckin movie...and the idea Blood In/Blood Out kinda hit home with all of us. So we went with it.

Listening to Blood In Blood Out I can hear a strong Thrash Metal influence combined with the ferocity of Hardcore it makes for a devastating sound.

How did you find or decide upon the sound you have amidst a sea of bands that sound horribly alike? Well the thing is we all write the music. In some bands just one person, usually the guitarist, writes all the songs and that’s that....well we all have a part in the riffs...and write the shit together at practices.... we were all from different backgrounds (like punk, metal, hardcore, death metal)so lots of influences shine thru.
we all grew up with the Original Headbangers Ball though....Everything from Biohazard to Morbid Angel videos...can't beat that shit...
we all love Thrash metal, hardcore and was easy to get together and jam and write shit with all of the above as influences.
we didn’t set out to be "tuff guy" or "Youth crew" or "Thrash" or whatever the flavor of the week is this week in hardcore...we just wrote songs as they came to or slow or mid paced...its all the same to was about the attitude to us...which seems to be lost in a lot of bands these days...They all care about getting signed and/or being "Tuff" ...fuck half of the new bands out today ...most have that shitty mentality

The new cd’s production is amazing it sounds a lot more open, natural and so much heavier than any of the previous releases whilst still maintaining the core elements of the Blood In Blood Out sound. Was a new studio or producer involved?
Yeah we went to a new studio for this one. Our Friend James, the singer of King of Clubz, highly recommended this studio to us....he showed us the new King Of Clubz cd, which was recorded there, and told us how much they paid....and we were sold on it....we thought it sounded like a major label recording...we couldn’t believe it.
so we went with it....Mercenary Digital Studios...we basically Produced it ourselves with the help of the dude who runs it, Scott Creekmore, who plays drums for the Death Metal band him being a death metal drummer had an amazing drum sound ready for us when we got there....which is my favorite part, drum sound.
Now that we have worked with him, I feel that the next time we are there; it will go that much smoother and sound way better than this release does.

What bands or artists influence the band?
Well like I said before we are really into Punk, Metal and hardcore...Id have to say bands that are high on our list of influences are Slayer, Biohazard, Sick Of It All, Metallica, Downset, Agnostic Front, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I., M.O.D., Nuclear Assault, Mushmouth, Death Threat, Irate, Powerhouse, Ensign, Ringworm, One Life Crew, Integrity, Buried Alive, Despair, In Cold Blood, 25 ta Life, Killing Time, Backfire...shit like that
id have to say personally though, growing up in New York, that I am influenced by a lot of mid nineties hardcore bands from the upstate New York area...mainly All Out War, Inner Dam, and Beneath The Remains

Lyrically Blood In Blood Out tackle personal and social issues, For those that have not had the opportunity to read the lyrics. Could you explain what drives the band to write them?
I write all the lyrics myself, and I would have to say that my crappy life is the main focus and drive behind all of the lyrics... I mean I write about the hardcore scene from time to time as well, cause shit aint perfect with that I guess I’m saying that I write about shitty aspects of my life...most people deal with there problems and they are done with em, I deal with em by writing about em....and later putting them to a song...
my boss at work was recently reading lyrics in the new he was like "hey man, are you ok? should I be worrying that you are gonna come in and shoot the place up?" and I didn’t understand what he was talking about...then he started quoting some of my lyrics from the new cd....and I had to explain to him, that was a period in my life that was fucked up....and I wrote about doesn’t mean I am miserable and depressed and feeling that way all the time...its just how I was feeling at the time...and writing about it is how I cope and deal with shit.

Could you give us a track by track breakdown of the new ep?
For sure...

Track 1 - NO HOPE - basically this track is saying Fuck Hope...and give up on it...its a pretty personal song...I mean for years it just seems that I hope for the best in every situation just to get shot down in the my outlook now is to assume the worst....and if anything better happens its a bonus....cause always having high hopes and having them crushed just isn’t a way to live for me. I’m tired of the constant letdown in life time and again.

Track 2 - LIFE OF PAIN - this song is basically about how I hold in all my emotions till they explode. This isn’t a very healthy way to go about life, but it’s a hard habit to break....and a lot of men fall into this category anyways. It basically makes shit hurt that much more.
And I’ve had a lot of people in my life die, as have most mom, my aunt, and some friends....and I usually don’t deal with those emotions as these people are taken from my life....and then one day, usually years later...BAM!!!, I’m crying uncontrollably because of a friend that died years ago....and like I said before, I deal with shit by writing down stuff as I go thru it,...and basically this song was a product of one of those emotional explosions

Track 3 - FALLING APART - I just lost my girlfriend, my dog and my place to live, our guitarist just informed me that he was quitting the band (the only thing I love in my life), and I was now living on my bass players couch waking up to his kids asking why I was there ....sometimes a lot of little "nothings" add up when they all happen at once and it feels like a ton of bricks being dropped on you. I basically felt like everything in my life was falling apart....nothing was going right for me at the time...

Track 4 - BETRAYED - this song was actually written before we wrote the cd RESPECT OUR LOYALTY. it was supposed to be on a 7 inch that we actually recorded but never put is about our guitarists cheating ex-girlfriend....She slept with his best friend at the time, among many other dicks that she came in contact with....needless to say she needs to die from AIDS...

Track 5 - BY MYSELF - I wrote this song in the last few months of the shitty relationship I was in....this song is basically me realizing that I will probably be alone forever and die a bitter old man....a song of self realization for me....its basically me admitting that I am a selfish piece of shit also.

Track 6 - US FOR US - this song to me is basically the Punk/Hardcore/Metal-head/Skater anthem for my generation. You walk into a store and everyone walked down the hall in school and people talked shit and called you a dirt bag....
You grew up any one of those things, and you were stared at...looked down upon...and were an outcast to society. It’s not like it is these days, where it’s socially acceptable to be hardcore and a skater and shit like that, those kids are the cool kids now...oh how times have changed.....I wish some of these kids had to go thru the torment we went thru...

On your second full length “Respect Our Loyalty” the last track “Your Hatred Dies With You” really stuck out for me. Aside from the obvious motivation; What made you want to give a verbal kicking to all of the racist scumbags out there?
what can I say....we live in the ass crack of America - Indiana - and there are a lot of KKK and racists out this way....we don’t want that racist shit around...we wrote the song basically to put the message out. People around here could hear our shit and like it just cause its heavy, and we don’t need redneck racist trash around here into our we put some encouraging words in this song to let em know what we're about.

What would you like listeners to take from a Blood In Blood Out release?
honestly I like when they can relate to the lyrics in there own life....I know I’m not the only one goin thru fucked up shit in my life...and some kids don’t have good parenting and act out a lot due to that, and there only outlet is music if they hear that the fat piece of shit singer in BIBO lost his mom at an early age and struggles to cope with the loss ...and they are goin thru the same shit in there life and don’t know how to deal either, then maybe that helps them realize they aren’t alone in the world with there problems...that someone else feels the same way...I love when someone comes up to me at a show or I get an email telling me that they can totally relate to what I’m saying to there life and how the song helps them cope with there issues...that is seriously the best feeling ever.
my friend John is a heroin addict, and called me one night to tell me that our new cd has helped him thru tuff times in his struggle to over come his addiction...and he was thanking me....its was seriously the best feeling ever that my words could help in such a manner...
but as far as the music goes....I want people to realize that we aren’t trend hopper assholes....we play what we want...we don’t do flavor of the week shit...we stay true to our roots....we aren’t playing music to make it big or become popular, we play music to vent our frustrations of everyday life....we are everyday joes that punch a clock at a factory, and drink beer and play hardcore metal and punk on the weekends.

Is there a particular reason why? After two full lengths under Spook City Records that you changed labels and released an ep instead of a 3rd full length?

Well Shawn Spook City is a wonderful person....and has never done anything wrong to or for us. As a matter of fact he and his wife have gone above and beyond all our expectations. It’s just that he wasn’t gonna be doin the label anymore. But he offered to do our next release still (which was gonna be Hopeless and Heartless) but we thought he was only doing it as a favor and we saw that he didn’t really wanna do the label anymore, so we decided to move on to something new. We ultimately decided to put out the cd ourselves. and we contacted James from King of Clubz to help us out with the European end of the distro....and he came up with the idea to rehash his old label, Thornz Records, and put out the new BIBO cd....and we agreed and that’s what be honest, this release has seen us at our laziest....we used to be heavily involved in Promoting ourselves...we are a total DIY band....but this release we just got lazy, and haven’t done half as much as we did with the last 2 full lengths...its a shame cause we really love the songs we have on this cd....but its not gonna see half the places the last 2 saw.

When not playing in Blood In Blood Out what does each band member do?

Dave and I work at a Steel manufacturing plant where we make Steel framed building components. Dave has a wife and 2 kids also.
Mark and his dad own a family Pub he is always busy with that when not doing the band. Rich has worked at UPS for the last 20 years and he plays in another band called Any Given Second. We all have little side bands that we work on from time to time as well.

I understand that one of your guitarists has chosen to quit Blood In Blood Out, What would be the reason behind the decision? Will you be taking on a new 2nd Guitarist? Or continuing on as a 4 piece? Well that’s hard to say right now. We kinda decided to go as a four piece for now cause we don’t wanna deal with the whole getting a new guitarist process. But as far as Steve....well he quit cause of personal issues...he just couldn’t do what we were doin as a band, like the traveling and practices...and what not.
Steve is a good dude and a good guitarist....he's a family man it turns out though we aren’t doin much of BI/BO anymore anyways after his departure. Shit is just hard these days with everyone busy with there own lives. So I think we are taking some time off for now.
Don’t know what the future holds for BI/BO...but we'll see soon enough. Like I said Rich is doin Any Given Second and us other members are tryin to get some side shit goin right now....
the future of BI/BO is up in the air...

Finally any last words? check out the myspace from time to time....we'll try to have band updates on what’s good and shit and what’s goin on with us and our status....that’s about all I can say for now. and thanks so much for the interview brother.

Unfortunately shortly after this interview Blood In/Blood Out called it a day you can still get the new and old cds from Spook City Records

Interview with Danny from North Side Kings

In October 2008, I had the oppotunity to interview Danny from NSK love 'em or hate 'em
to me they are fun, in your face and often controversial... But always entertaining:

North Side Kings have just released their 4th Full length “Suburban Royalty” on one of Europes longest running Punk & Hardcore labels Iscream Records.
The crew from NSK are far from shy when it comes to speaking their mind and have in my opinion produced the most fun and entertaining hardcore I have heard in a long time.

I speak with vocalist/guitarist Danny about all things NSK.

For the people at home who do not know much about NSK could you give a brief history of the band? How long ago did NSK form?

Did all members start off in the Mob 40s?

Luke was from the Mob 40's. We started in 2000 and Luke (Who was still in the Mob 40's when he sang a track on our first record) joined in 2001. But he is the only one from that band.

Over the years NSKs sound has changed from what I would consider a Street Punk/Hardcore crossover to the tighter Thrash Metal influenced sound heard on the last two cds. Why is that? Different drummers bring a different influence I guess. Plus when writing the last two records I was going through some rough stuff internally. It just made us write heavier stuff I guess.

NSK has covered many bands Anti-Nowhere League, Social Distortion to name a few. Are the bands you covered with the exception of “Home Of The Brave” on the split with UKHC legends Stampin’ Ground (R.I.P) a direct influence in your music?
Oh yea – I listen to a lot of old thrash and hardcore so that stuff is imbedded in my mind when it comes to writing!

I had heard tracks from “Suburban Royalty” in 2006; 2 years before its actual release.

Was there a reason for the delay with the cd coming out in 2008?
Label stuff, plus I closed my business. Like I said, these last few years had me making some major changes in my life and shit just went on hold! Tom had another kid; shit non of us are in our twenties anymore! Life can sure fuck with you!

Did it have anything to do with the departure from Thorp Records?
There was never a “departure” with Thorp. He is still a very good friend of mine and always will be. It was just time for a change and I Scream was the change we needed.

Why did you choose Iscream over Thorp this time?
Fresh starts always make things more exciting. We landed a great partnership with I Scream and are very excited to do more records with them.

Puerto Rican Myke guests on the new full length on “Hustle Don’t Stop” & “Nice Girls Finish Last” How did that collaboration come about?
Shit, you would think me and that crazy dude grew up together since we were little kids the way we get along! I always thought Myke was a master at his craft. Me and him hit it off instantly a few years back. After talking about doing something together I got him some music and he wrote the lyrics in literally twenty minutes! He is amazing! We started a new band called The Co-Defendants together – keep an eye out for it!

Danny you have probably answered this question too many times to count but few people in Australia would know much about it but I can sum up the question with one name…

Danzig? What happened? Is there a rematch planned?
He is a poser. He won’t fight me again. I’m no tough guy but I have so much hatred towards him I would rip his guts out with my bare hands if we ever met again. He doesn’t stand a chance.

Can you elaborate on why you “wanna kill all the Street Trash”?
It’s a movie – check it out!!!! One of the coolest 80’s horror flicks that everyone forgot about. It’s called Street Trash and the song is about the film! You need to see it if you haven’t!

All my time involved in hardcore I have believed that it is music for the working class, For people that do live or have lived hard and whilst time does change; I am needless to say disappointed by most bands that claim to be Hardcore. What is your opinion on the state of Hardcore today?
Listen, music is a business and for the bands that are successful at what they are doing, whether I say it sucks or not, if they can make a living more power to them. I don’t really listen to a lot of new stuff, I am still rocking Age of Quarrel like I was as a teenager. Even the new records I buy are from older bands that are still doing stuff like Madball or Murphy’s Law. I am out of the loop. As for bands being fashionable or working more on their image than the music; it shows and everyone with half a brain knows.

Could you tell me about the site When did you start working on it?
The site is owned by me and my partner Brandon. Its been up for a year and a half now. Horror movies, articles, reviews, interviews, a monthly gore girl – its definitely interesting to say the least! I am a huge horror fan and it’s always been a passion of mine to write about monster stuff. Oh and exploitation/blaxploitation stuff. If you check out the site, sign up on the message board we are always giving away cool shit!

I grew up listening to all the great Thrash Metal & Crossover bands of the mid to late 80’s to early 90’s and was amazed that you have chosen to cover Among The Living originally by Anthrax on the new cd. Why is that? Did you consider covering anything else?
We plan on doing a whole cover album eventually. We love playing covers. At our CD release party we covered Skagheads by The Business as well as The Anti-Nowhere League track For You and Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation! Among The Living was one of my favorite records as a kid and that opening riff is super hard. Plus I love The Stand. We have some stuff in line for a cover record from Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, to Carnivore and The Day-Glo Abortions. It will be a fun record!

Any last words?
We appreciate everyone’s kind words about the new CD. The reaction towards it has been amazing. Spread the word to your friends about us!

You can pick up North Side Kings latest full length "Suburban Royalty" from Iscream Records and Interpunk