vendredi 26 avril 2013
SIck Of It All Interview 2012...
1- Hey Armand, how's it going ? So 2011 is the year of SOIA's 25th anniversary! Your celebrating by touring apparently, and of course the release of your brand new LP 'Non Stop' with the rerecorded SOIA classics. What makes you still go strong in 2011 ? And what can people expect from this new release?
Things are cool, thanks. We just finished up the touring for the year and can now go into creative mode. I’ve started writing new material and we hope to record by fall 2012. “Nonstop” features some re-worked classics, as well as a bunch of songs that we thought should be done over because the original recordings were lame. It’s not like we messed with the arrangements much, we just wanted to give the songs the power they lacked. When we recorded our first album, Lou hadn’t learned what to do with his voice in the studio, and had a hard time projecting any power or attitude. We were also pretty amateuristic as a band, and you can hear how shaky we were back then. We had been talking about doing this for years, but working with Tue Madsen made us realize that we finally found the man who could make those old songs sound the way they should.
2- You guys play rather often in Europe. Is there a bigger following of the band here rather than in the states ? It seems you guys are quite attached to touring here and South America as well. What makes it different than being at home and what do you like about travelling across the borders?
Europe is every hardcore band’s bread and butter. Some bands only exist to tour Europe! The scene is so much stronger than the States, and there’s a certain respect for the genre that doesn’t exist here. Regarding South America, sure, we love playing there, but 5 years passed between our most recent tour and the one before it. Those tours are more rare than you imagine. Overall, travel is really tiring and can be hell, but once we’re settled into each country, we have great experiences.
3- Going back to some troubled times when there was the Wayne Lo case in Massachesetts wearing a SOIA shirt at the moment of the tragedy. How did this affect the band ? Did the puritain american politics take advantage of taking an easy blow at the band ? Can you explain a little bit how the band lived this event?
The most potentially damaging article was in the New York Times, who did a pretty big piece about the incident. They made connections between fascism and SOIA. We wrote a letter to the editor, and they chose to print it, which helped to clear our name. There was some mainstream interest in us, and I did appear on a TV talk show and a national radio show, but the fact that we wanted to distance ourselves from the incident didn’t make for good entertainment, I suppose. They want sensationalism, not rational, positive thought.
4- SOIA at it's beggining seemed to have somewhat of a reputation to have a quite violent following or fans at shows like most NYHC bands ! Has this ever been a problem for yourselves as a band ? Has having a quite macho scene been a handicap over the years ? Have you ever been confronted by these aspects in the past ? Do you think this has kept women in the scene a bit away from shows ? And what is the full purpose behind PMA?
The New York scene itself was mostly responsible for that. There was a lot of violence at the shows in the late eighties, when we were just starting, so it just came with the territory. We also had a few songs about standing up for yourself and fighting, but never glorified it the way some other bands did. The more violence there is at shows, though, the less likely a scene is going to last. Clubs will be less and less willing to do hardcore shows, and for good reason. CBGB’s closed its doors to hardcore after some horrible things happened there, and that affected the scene in a big, negative way. Regarding women, I think it’s the lack of singing and dance beats that limits hardcore’s appeal to them. I have to say, though, we’ve always been lucky that we have a good amount of women at our shows - even up front and singing every word. I feel a sense of validation from it to be honest. PMA is just positive mental attitude - nothing that can only be attributed to hardcore.
5- SOIA has also had a very strong social and political aspect in the lyrics since day one (and all of them are still relevant after all these years) and it still is and probably more these days. Knowing the full crisis the US is going through and more globally how the whole world is tending too. What inspires you in humanity these days to keep it angry?
Keeping it angry is easy. That’s a simple emotion that is constantly stirred by current events. It’s seeing the good in the world and maintaining a sense of hope that becomes more difficult with time. I feel that although I gave into anger more eagerly when I was younger, I also had an idea that I could possibly change the world somehow. There was a youthful optimism that I don’t think I possess as much any more. I’ve always thought people are generally fucked, and they prove it more and more every day.
6- Some years ago the 20th anniversary of the band was also celebrated by the release of a tribute record featuring some of the bands you've been close to or toured with over the years such as Sepultura, Napalm Death, Pennywise, Madball, Ignite, etc... How did you feel about this release when it came out since most of these bands have been very influential in different musical scenes over the years ! Did you have anything to do with the choices of these bands and are you satisfied of how this all came together?
It was very flattering to see the amount of interest from different bands to contribute songs, and especially because so many of them are influencial themselves. We reached out to people we knew and it came together easily. I especially like the tracks that got a boost of melody, like the ones by Rise Against and Ignite.
7- Coming to the name of one of your best records that came out in recent years I think personally 'Death To Tyrants'. Have you been following what has been going on in Northern Africa / Middle East ( Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen) and the spring revolution and the downfall of some of these dictators such as Ben Ali, Moubarak and the recent death of Kaddafi ? How do you feel about this situation and does this inspire you for the future of these countries and people and to another extent to the sudden uprising of occupy the streets protests going on all over the USA against the financial situation going on and the repression the american authorities use upon these protesters lately?
It all depends, because the most important thing about ousting a dictator is what comes next. There’s always a danger that these countries could fall into civil war or ethnic conflicts. Democracy in the Muslim world is a difficult undertaking, because the religion itself is designed to be governing. Somehow, there’s going have to be a separation of mosque and state in these countries for democracy to ever gain a foothold, but that idea is inherently Western and won’t be embraced by many. I suppose Turkey is the best role model for all of them to follow. In America, protest is something we need to see more often. During the Bush years, I was surprised at the lack of protests. It’s very refreshing to see Americans taking to the streets again.
8- You have a song in memory of the CBGB's in 'Month of Sunday's'. It seems as that place along with ABC NO RIO were ( and still is for the later of the two ) the spinal back of the whole HC / Punk scene in NY! How did that place inspire you ? Is another space like that club in NYC ever going to rise up again ? And on a further note how was it to go from there to such fests as Hellfest, Groezrock, and all the big summer festivals ? Do you miss those intimate shows of the past?
We’re constantly going back and forth between small clubs and big festivals. CB’s was a pretty big club. It used to hold 500-600 people. Nowadays, there are a lot of scenes in America where a good hardcore show consists of 100-150 people. CB’s meant a lot for the scene and the community, but for some reason, I wasn’t in love with the place. I didn’t think the staff treated bands well enough, or gave hardcore the respect it deserved. It had great sound and atmosphere, but being treated well for selling the place out was asking too much, know what I mean?
9- I'm sure you've been following as well the end of the military occupation of the US in Irak. Obama has promised to bring back all the american troops home before the end of 2011! What do you think about the foreign politics of the US these days ? How does this affect the band and maybe your lyrics?
The song “Good Cop” is about Obama. A leader who supposedly represents hope and change, but is in it for all the same reasons as the guy who came before. I still can’t believe we invaded Iraq. The war was sold to the American public as a retaliation for 9/11, which made zero sense and the rest of the world seemed to realize it. I look at Iraq the same way I look at the recession: two miserable situations that the Bush administration created and Obama inherited. Regarding our foreign policy, I think it operates only with corporate interests in mind, not the American people.
10- You've gone through quite a few records labels over the years ( Revelation, Relativity, Elektra, Fat Wreck and on to Century Media ). Have you kept good memories of working with all these different labels ? It also seems that you're pretty open minded towards labels that have different genres. Has this helped you reach out to other crowds over the years ? Was putting out 'Scratch The Surface' or 'Built To Last' on major labels a good move after reflexion and experience ? And will we ever see your full discography back again out on vinyl?
Each label brought it’s own specialty to the table and we benefitted from it in one way or another. Our major experience was strange, because when we released “Scratch the Surface,” the U.S. office was terrible and Europe did a great job. Just three years later, it was the opposite for “Built to Last.” It all depends on who’s working in what office at what time, and how much they understand what to do with a hardcore band. Marketing us in the right way is tricky.
11- Your sound over the years has changed for a quite heavier aspect of things since your start while still keeping the original urgence of a raw NYHC outlet. As a couple other bands which your close to as AGNOSTIC FRONT or MADBALL that have survived all these years! Being over 40 years old and still going strong, do you still have alot of friends around from the start ? And how can a band stick together without killing each other after all these years :-)?
Mostly, we catch up with our old friends at NYC shows. Everybody has grown apart since the CB’s days, because of family or careers, but still love the music and like to catch up here and there. All four SOIA members were friends in high school, years before we were in a band together, and I think that has helped our longevity. It definitely helps in our understanding of each other.
12- Going back to the remix of 'Just Look Around' with House of Pains music and Everlast doing a featuring, has SOIA ever felt tight to the underground Hip Hop mouvement ? Knowing some interesting artists such as KRS ONE, and ILL BILL, La Coka Nostra, Immortal Technique from NY have similar politics and now that Freddy from Madball raps as well, will we ever see another Hip Hop alliance for the band in the future?
We’ve never been tight with the hip hop scene - we’ve just been fans of the music. The fact that we had KRS ONE on the first album and on “Nonstop” is awesome because we’re fans of the man and his message. We’ll see what the future holds, but for now, I think we’re going to concentrate on what we do best!
13- Alright, can you please talk to us about your upcoming projects and give us your last words for SEDITION mag ? And I'd like to thankk you for your time and energy you put into this interview, cheers...
Thanks for the interview. Like I said earlier, we hope to record by next fall, so there’s a chance we’ll have a new album out by late fall 2012 or early 2013. Keep an eye out for us during festival season, because we’ve already booked Graspop in Belgium and Wacken in Germany. Those should be some memorable shows!