Tuesday, February 5, 2008

One Up interview

IDM: Can you introduce the band? If somebody doesn't know what the One Up was...

Greg: One Up started in early 2002. The members from our first practice until about September of 2004 were myself (Greg) on vocals, Donny Mutt on guitar, Jude Miller on guitar, Brian Cavanaugh on bass, and Ryan “Fidge” Rayburn on drums. Brian parted ways with the band after our summer tour 2004 and instead of getting someone to take his spot, Donny just moved to bass. In retrospect, I’ve often said that the band probably should have stopped after that summer tour once Brian stopped playing with us…but we decided to go on. I mean, we still had fun, but looking back it definitely wasn’t the same. I think the last stuff we recorded shows that pretty well haha.

Donny: We were a Straight Edge band from 2002 till 2005. We released a demo, two E.P.s and a two song 7" single. Our discography is as follows... The Demo (CDR/Tape/7"), Its Time To Believe E.P. (CD), The More Things Change (CD/7"), The Single (7").

IDM: Guys, "It's Time To Belive" record was published by Robby Redcheeks (Dead by 23 Records). You did a reunion gig for RR benefit show. Had you been thinking about a reunion show without RR benefit show as well?

Donny: Actually, Greg was the brains behind getting the One Up reunion show together. He pitched the idea to me and I wanted to do it. It was the original 5 piece line up from the Demo, Its Time To Believe and The More Things Change era of the band. My only stipulations for the show was that it was for a good cause, we practiced enough to make sure we didnt suck and that we didn't get paid. One Up was always about fun and good times. The band was 5 friends getting together and playing music on the weekends. I personally would not have wanted to do a reunion show just to do a reunion. I am very honored that we got to do a show that helped out one of our strongest supporters and friends. One Up would not have had our first record let alone our first show if it wasn't for Mr Cheeks and Dead By 23 Records.

Greg: That’s a tough question. In my head, because of all of the fun I had playing with those guys, I had always pictured how awesome it would be to play again. At the same time, due to the fact that the band was created to advocate a lifestyle (straight edge) that some of the members no longer live by, I just assumed that there would never be a reason for us to play again. Fast forward to late summer of 2007, I’m sitting at my computer late one night when I get the awful news that Robby Red’s mom passed away. Robby was probably one of the earliest supporters of not only One Up, but me becoming a part of hardcore in general. He gave my old band Go Time a huge chance by putting out our 7”, even though no one in the band was necessarily “cool” or was in any other known bands before. I just feel that to me Robby embodies why I still love hardcore to this day, and I figured rather than just give my $15 to get a ticket to his benefit show, I wanted to organize my own as well. I talked to the guys in One Up and we all thought it was a great idea. Another side note is the fact that, since Brian (our original bassist) never really got to play a last show with us, it was a nice way to add closure for him as well. We had a blast and raised over $800 to give to Robby and his family. I can’t complain.

IDM: How did the reunion show get on? Did you enjoy it?

Greg: The reunion was greater than I could have ever imagined. I felt like we played really well and kids seemed to have a really good time. I think that the vibe was so much better than our last show. It didn’t feel like this sad thing, but more of a celebration and showed me how powerful hardcore is, that we can all get together and help out a friend who’s down.

Donny: You don't even know how much I enjoyed the reunion show. We played at this great record store out in Doylsetown, PA called Siren Records. After the show Greg told me that we had the biggest turn out for a straight up hardcore show and the most moshing. I was a little scared that no one would come out to the show and if they did no one would stick around to see us. All my fears were laid to rest once we took the stage and played the intro to It's Time To Believe. The whole night was great and all the bands were really good.

IDM: Who came up with the idea to call it One Up?

Donny: One of Greg's friends named Pat actually named the band. Pat came up with the name when Greg told him that he was starting a band with me. It is a matter of public record that I LOVE old school video games like Nintendo and Super Nintendo. Not so much now as when the band first started though. Pat was like "yo, why don't you name the band ONE UP since Donny is so into Nintendo". Ever since then that was the name and it stuck. Later on we found out that Tim from Mouthpiece/ Hands Tied was originally thinking about calling Hands Tied One Up. Also, I believe (but I could be totally wrong) that Project X thought about using One Up as a possible name before they settled on Project X.

IDM: How would you describe your previous (first demo) and last ONE UP sound (The single 7")? I heard some more and more melody in the latest songs.

Greg: My original vision of the band was just to do this raw, fast, obnoxious straight edge hardcore band. When the idea first started kicking around, it was because Jude Miller and I would talk over instant messager about doing a side project, sort of like a new version of Project X. The demo lyrics were the first lyrics I ever wrote. I stand behind everything I’ve said on every release, but the demo definitely is just a demo to me. It’s a good starting point for One Up but it’s not the be all end all. It’s funny because I had so many people say “man, I loved your demo but everything else you did kinda sucks”. Hahaha. As time went on in the band, you get bored of playing the same song over and over. So we tried something different. At points I think we really succeeded (“The More Things Change” e.p.) and other times we failed (some of those last demos). Ironically, I have talked to a lot of people in recent times who think that our last stuff, the stuff that would’ve been on the LP, was our best material. You can’t win ‘em all I guess.

Donny: I wrote almost all of the music for One Up except for a few songs on Its Time To Believe and The More Things Change. From the start of One Up I always loved Chain of Strength and Floorpunch. I wanted to do a band that could blend those two styles of hardcore together and I feel I did just that on a good amount of One Up material. Greg and I always talked about bands we loved and songs we liked. When I would write a song I would always try and have the music reflect my mood or emotions at the time. In the begining of the band all we wanted to do was straight up fast Straight Edge Hardcore. Turning Point 7", Floorpunch 7" and LP, both Chain of Strength 7"s etc were the soundtrack to my life back then so that all factors into my writting style at that time. Over the years we started to become more and more influenced by bands that were outside the Hardcore realm and it started to creep into the music. More melody and singing was the direction the band started to go in at the time of The More Things Change E.P. That is the record I am most proud of becuase it shows exactly what we could do as a band.

IDM: I mean your lyrics were being changed a lot from time to time. From "Fuck your bullshit fashion show" to emotional lyrics...

Greg: As I was saying earlier, when we started, I just wanted to be this cookie cutter straight edge band. So the lyrics on the demo and first EP definitely are reflective of that. As time went on, I was tired of putting on this “super posi dude” front and started writing about how I was really feeling. I think the lyrics on “The More Things Change” definitely are reflective of a time and a place for me. I have battled with depression and anxiety ever since I could remember and finally was able to put some of those feelings to tape. It was theraputic in a way.

Donny: Lyrics were never my department in One Up. That was always Greg's thing. There were a few lyrics I helped with from time to time. The one line I am still really proud of to this day is "You got to break your addictions before they break you" from the song Welcome To Cancer Country. As for the lyrics turning from more straight forward lyrics like "fuck your bullshit fashion show, X fists and energy is all I know" to something like "Choking, I'm choking on the inside. Try to hide it on the outside" from Meet Me In Montauk which was an unreleased demo song. Again, those are refelections of our growth as not only a band but as people. No one is Posi all the time and it is almost impossible to be happy all the time. Greg wrote the lyrics and I know that he drew from personal experiences in his life for a lot of the lyrics. He could explain the lyrics a lot better than I could thats for sure.

IDM: You worked with a lot of record labels. How did you get in contact with them?

Donny: One Up was always luck and got to work with all of our friends record labels. We started off on our friend Robby Redcheeks' Dead By 23 Records when we released It's Time To Believe. Unfortunately, Robby stoped doing his record label shortly after that. After ITTB we re-released the Demo as a 7" on Bottled Up Records. Bottled Up Records is run by my very good friend Jeff Lasich. Our next releases was The More Things Change which was put out by our friend Bob Mac on Walk All Night Records. Most people know Bob because he was the genius behind the Positive Numbers Fest. I really miss that fest. It was like a hardcore vacation every year up to Wilkes-Barre, PA to hang out with all my friends from all over the US. Anyway, back to your question. Shortly after our CD was released on Walk All Night Records Bob decided to stop doing the label for various reasons (notice a pattern forming here?). Bottled Up Records also released a 7" version of The More Things Change with my handsome mug on the cover. Jeff has always been one of our biggest supporters and he didn't get to see our last show so I was very happy and excited to see him at our reunion show. Our last official release was The Single which was put out on Broken Glass Records by one of Greg's best friends Phil Leone.

Greg: We never did a record with someone we weren’t friends with. That’s the first thing. After the first record on DB23, we kind of wanted to try something different and along came Bob Macc with Walk All Night Records. The label showed a lot of promise in the beginning, and if you think about it…Bob was pretty on the ball. You had Crime In Stereo, who are now pretty big…the first Blacklisted E.P….etc. We wanted to be a part of that lineup so we signed on up. Bob was definitely the most professional dude we dealt with as far as labels go, it sucks that it never took off. We were looking around for labels to put out the LP, but in the meantime we wanted to get some new stuff out there, hence “The Single” on Broken Glass Records. Again, Phil has been a close friend of mine for years so it just made sense to have a record on his label. Since “The More Things Change” never came out on vinyl, our friend Jeff Lasich asked us if he could do a 7” version, so that’s how we got stuff out on Bottled Up. I feel really lucky that we’ve been able to have friends who believed in our band so much that they’d spend their own money to press a record. As much as I wanted so bad for One Up to get on a “bigger” hardcore label with ads in magazines and great distribution, I cannot complain at all about our experience with any of these labels.

IDM: "It' Time To Believe" basically had been planned for vinyl however it was out by CD. Why did you change your mind?

Donny: We always wanted It's Time To Believe to be a 7". We pushed really hard to have it release as a CD first and a 7" later. Unfortunately, the later never came and it was never released on vinyl. Robby may do a limited press as part of a Dead By 23 box set one of these days.

Greg: It’s not even so much that we changed our minds about it, as Robby just wasn’t able to do it at the time. I don’t buy vinyl, so I just assumed that putting it out on CD first was a good idea, and I think I was wrong. At every show we’d have kids ask if we had vinyl and we’d have to tell them no. Oh well.

IDM: Greg, I read you are satisfied with sound of "It's time to believe" but you don't like the vocal sound. Why?

Greg: I just think my voice sucks on it. I’m embarrassed to play it for people and have been since basically the day after it was recorded. I felt like I kind of rushed into doing the vocals and needed to relax a little bit more. As I was saying on our blog, I think I tried way too hard to sound “pissed off and crazy” that I didn’t sing the way was most natural to me, which I ended up doing on the stuff after that record.

IDM: What's the story about your "Boys Just Want To Have Fun" posi press cover? Could you share a few things behind the scenes about this photo?

Donny: Well, I was the one taking the picture. We were at our friend Brooke Duncan's sisters house in I believe Salem, Mass. We played a show in Providence, RI that night with Verse with Phile Leone of Broken Glass Records in tow as our roadie. We drove to Brooke's sisters house to meed up with her and Comeback Kid. Her sister mentioned the hot tub and Phil, Fidge, Brian and Jude all were like "fuck yea!!!!" and ran upstairs. The funniest thing about that picture is the candles. The dudes in Comeback Kid came to the house around this time and were like "ummmmmmm ok. what the fuck is going on???" Jeff used that picture as a Posi Fest cover and I still laugh my ass off every time I see that picture. It just reminds me of just one of the many great times I had with 5 of my friends while playing in One Up.

Greg: Ah, that was a great time. Basically Don’s girlfriend at the time Brooke invited us to stay at her older sisters place in Boston when we were doing a weekend of shows. She had this HUGE house and we stayed there with the guys from Comeback Kid, who were most likely super freaked out by us and our sense of humor. They looked really uncomfortable being around us, which was funny. Anyway, her sister had this huge bathtub and Jude, Fidge, Brian and our friend Phil thought it would be funny to get in their underwear and bathe together. I remembered seeing a write up on that 7” in Town Of Hardcore zine (that dude totally hated us, good zine though) and he made a comment about how he was hoping they “squeezed (my) fat ass into the tub”. That made me sad. Haha. Oh well.

IDM: The lyrics of "The More Things Change" are pretty dark. What inspired these lyrics?

Greg: Like I was saying before, mainly just depression. As cliched as it is to say it now, with bands on MTV who have singers who are “messed up” and “depressed” , I really battle with depression. My mother suffered from it since I was a kid and I guess it just was in my genes. At the point in time when I was writing that record, I had no health insurance so I couldn’t even afford the medication that I was prescribed to take by my doctor, so it just made my state of mind even worse. I remember during recording I slept basically the entire time…the guys had to wake me up to track vocals and then I went right back to sleep. That was not a high point in my life, yet somehow that record is something I’m super proud of because of it.

IDM: After Brian (bass) had been gone Donny started to play on bass guitar. Why didn't you look for a new bassplayer?

Greg: We thought about it, believe me. But anyone who’s been in a band knows how difficult finding a new person can be. Plus we figured it was easier to split up the large amounts of money we received from playing shows and selling merch four ways instead of five (kidding). Honestly, Don is a total “musician” and just wanted to take on another challenge, so we just practiced that way and didn’t miss a beat. I remember we played our first show as a four piece on September 25, 2004 in Chalfont with Let Down and Cold World and then one year later to the day, we played our last show.

Donny: Bass guitar was originally my first instrument that I learned. Later on I learned how to play guitar. We originally wanted to find a bassist to take over bass duties but we couldn't think of anyone in our imediate circle of friends that would fit in and click with us. So since I was a bass player for many years I decided to make the switch. Honestly, the band sounded a million times better with me on guitar and Brian on bass. I may have been a better bassist that Brian, but he was an important part of the One Up sound and with out him we were not nearly as good.

IDM: You had worked on an LP but the sheme fell through because the band had broken up. What was the reason?

Greg: Like all bands, we had this total overreaching concept for the LP. We were going to have like musical interludes and noise track type things in between songs and just have the whole thing flow. We were hoping to have something recorded by the end of 2005. In addition to the songs that we recorded at Atomic to demo, we had a few others floating around at practices, and one that we actually played live and never recorded. Why did we break up? Honestly, it was a bunch of reasons. I think we really wanted to take it to the next level and be a real band, like so many bands out there now. Just play shows and record and play shows and record and so on. But the problem is, for us, we had too many outside obligations and whatnot and it just made it more difficult. I started a new job where I’d be working nights, and it was too much to handle. We strayed too far from the original vision of the band too. There was actually a period of time in early 2005 when we considered just using those new songs and starting a completely “new” band, with a bit more of a rock sound too it. Then one day Don called me up and said he either wants the band to be hardcore or he doesn’t really want to do it. So we kept on going, but after we sent those demos out and had no interest, it just sucked the life out of us. We wanted to do an LP so bad, but at that point we realised we were probably past our prime, so we announced that we were playing a few more shows. I knew for a fact that I wanted our last show to be at the Church, and we got that, so I was happy. Ironically, a few weeks after the band ended, I found out I was going to be a father, so my time would have been extremely limited anyway.

Donny: We decided as a band we needed to get on a bigger label to continue doing this band. For all the fun and good times One Up had over the years they didnt pay the bills. It costs a lot of money to record and properly release and album. Smaller / DIY labels are great when you are starting out but you need a label with distrobution if you want everyone to hear your music. Since no label was interested in us we realized it was time to break up. We just never had the right sound for bigger labels to be interested and we didn't have any cool Xmembers in the band.

IDM: You have some unpublished songs. Would you like them to be out?

Greg: Honestly, no. I mean…I ended up putting them on the Myspace but they were definitely not finished by any means. I WOULDN’T have minded recording the finished versions of those songs along with the one song we played at the last Posi Fest and at our last show. I still have people tell me how much they loved that song. I don’t even think it had a name, but on the last show setlist I just called it “The Sleeper”.

Donny: We have all our recorded material available for free download on Sendspace. We have catagorized links up on our myspace page located at www.myspace.com/theoneup . That is the only place you will hear or see the two unreleased demo songs we have. The were never ment to be released but we figured people might want to hear them. I personally would not want them to ever be released offically because I don't thing they are up to my standards for One Up songs honestly.

IDM: Who were your favourite bands to play with and to see live?

Donny: There were so many friends and bands we played with and hung out with during One Up. Desperate Meassures were always a lot of fun. Striking Distance were great to play with and were all great guys. Worn Thin were all great guys and a lot of fun to hang around with. Dragnet were a barrel of monkeys. There were so many good times playing and hang out I know I am going to forget some.

Greg: I actually had a conversation with Brian about this not too long ago. We were fortunate to play with so many awesome bands, way too many to name. But honestly, if I had to pick ONE band, that I think not only did I just get along with really well but that made awesome music, it would have to be Blue Monday. I loved playing shows with those guys and just hanging out. Those were some truly awesome times.

IDM: One Up played on the YOT and Mouthpiece reunions. Have you got any cool memories about these reunions?

Donny: Yeah, the Youth Of Today shows kinda sucked. It was awesome seeing Youth Of Today and Mouthpiece. Both bands sounded great and got awesome responses, but those were the only bands kids moved for. It was like these two awesome days of music and the only bands kids even cared about were the two bands doing the reunion. It seemed like everyones feet were nailed to the floor untill Mouthpiece and Youth Of Today hit the stage. Don't get me wrong I love YOT and Mouthpiece but I was just really dissapointed in the crowds response at that show.

Greg: I was definitely REALLY siked to be playing that show, although I don’t think it turned out the way I had quite imagined. We played the first night, and the vibe was kinda lame that day. I think the security was bumming kids out because they weren’t allowing stagedives or moshing really…so our set was super tame. The next day was really fun though, even though we didn’t play. YOT played on the floor and kids went insane. Moby was there too.

IDM: What was the best show that you have played and why?

Donny: I would have to say our 1st and 3rd Posi Fest shows. Obviously, those shows we got a great response from the crowd and they were a lot of fun. The first Posi Fest was great because we were a new band and kids were just getting into us. We did two Carry On covers because I played bass for Carry On the year before that they played Posi Fest. Kids went absolutely apeshit and it was amazing. The 3rd time we played Posi Fest was when it was in that big warehouse. The stage and PA was great. Kids were going off and it was just a great vibe.

Jude Miller - Pic: Lisa Hrichison

IDM: Played Turning Point (Behind This Wall) cover in 2004 was awesome. It was one of the best cover i have ever heard. What was the feedback from the kids?

Greg: I love Turning Point, and at our first couple of shows, we played “To Lose” (from the demo and first 7”) in our sets. As we evolved, so did our cover choices so we decided to learn a later era TP song. I freaking love that song, and it was fun to play AND kids went nuts during it (most of the time). But, on the same hand, us doing all kinds of covers also became a thorn in my side because at every show we’d have kids yelling for all of these different covers, but not our own songs. I’m all for a good cover song, but I’d honestly rather see a band play one of their songs that I’m into, rather than someone else’s.

Donny: Much like the Carry On covers we did at our first Posi Fest, kids would NOT stop asking us to play that song. I dont remember how many shows we played that song at but it just got really annoying to have kids come up and ask us to play someone elses music. I mean, it is one thing to have some one ask "hey, are you playing My List tonight? That is my favorite song." I mean, if we weren't playing that song in our set that night we would make it a point to play it because someone asked for it. But to answer your question kids LOVED it. We played that song at Sink With Cali fest on our summer tour in 2004. Behind This Wall is an awesome song and it was a lot of fun to play it live. We did think about playing it at the reunion show but we all decided to just stick to our songs. I am glad we didn't do any cover at the reunion show aside from the Leeway intro as a segway into another of our songs.

IDM: I am working on a Memorial Day interview for this blog. Do you like post Turning Point bands? What do you think about Memorial Day?

Greg: I heard the Memorial Day demo on the computer before. I’m into it. I defintely think that Skip was ahead of his time, both vocally and lyrically. I never met Skip, but I was really upset when he passed away. I think he was an extremely talented individual, who just happened to have a lot of problems. I wish he could’ve overcome them. It’s sad.

IDM: Have you ever been thinking about European tour?

Donny: That was honestly my biggest dream. Before we decided to break up we were planning on doing a 7 day Canadian tour which would have been a huge step for us, but unfortunately that never happened. A European tour would have been my holy grail to be honest.

Greg: We wanted to, but it just never could come together. I have never been out of the United States…I did all of the traveling I’ve ever done in my life because of One Up. As a child my family didn’t really travel much, so my first time even out of the eastern time zone was on tour with One Up. That’s one of my two regrets with the band. One is that we didn’t do an LP, and two is that we didn’t go to Europe.

IDM: The most think the more famous hardcore band live on music. They can't imagine you have to despair things. I read in the last Start Today fanzine Jim Hesketh sold his record collection in order to go to the European Tour. Have you ever had to do something similar for the One Up?

Greg: I have never been a person that has much money, so tour was always really tough for me. One year I left my house with $40 and a trashbag full of old hardcore shirts. I sold almost all of them at Posi Numbers fest, and although I made a lot of money, I lost some great shirts. I don’t even want to mention what shirts they were or I’ll honestly make myself really upset. Not to mention the fact that I STILL had to borrow money from Brian before we got home because I spent it all.

Donny: I sold my entire record collection to Jeff Lasich (Bottled Up Records / Start Today Fanzine) so I could raise money to get an appartment. It wasn't for One Up but it was during the time One Up was a band.

IDM: Lots of kids haven't known Donny Mutt is your nick name. Any funny story?

Donny: Oh, everyone thinks Donny Mutt is my real name. People meet my parents for the first time and are like "hello Mrs Mutt" to my mom. It's pretty funny.

IDM: Cut The Tension is one of the most personal sound for me. It was very cheerful. Are you still interested in making a new hardcore fanzine once again?

Donny: I am done with doing a print fanzine. It was the most fun thing I have ever done but it is extremely time consuming if you want to do it right. Not to mention it costs a lot of money. I miss the time of my life where I was doing the zine. It was honestly my favorite time in hardcore both musically and presonally. A LOT of great memories.

Greg Polard - Pic: Brian Froustet

IDM: Greg, you started a hardcore blog last months. I know you basically had been thinking about printed zine...

Greg: I love zine’s. I love reading interviews with bands, record reviews…that kinda stuff. I have wanted to do a print zine for a long time but honestly I do not have the time or money to devote to it. I love hardcore so much but as I’ve grown older, my responsibilities have also grown. Neon Knights is my way of utilizing the resources I have (time late at night, and a computer) and staying involved in hardcore. I’m still waiting on an interview with Chaka from Orange 9mm/Burn and am working on one with Franz Stahl from Scream/Wool and also George from Blacklisted. I do it whenever I have a free moment. It’s very fun for me.

IDM: Donny, you are playing in the Crumbler. What's the story about this band?

Donny: Crumbler is a band that was started by One Up's roadie Larry. He had been wanting to do a punk/hardcore band for years and even jammed with Jude after a One Up practice once when we were still a band. Eventually, after One Up broke up me and Larry got together to start writting songs for Crumbler. We originally were going to do the band with John Sharkey of ClockCleaner but he is way to busy. We settled on a line up of Larry (Vocals), Me (Guitar), Jude from One Up (Guitar), Klint (One Up roadie now playing with Reign Supreme / Bass) and Jon on drums. We recorded a demo and a 7" titled Dirty Weeks. The 7" is up on sendspace for free download somewhere. I don't know the link off the top of my head.

IDM: I saw a video where you were playing in the Blacklisted...

Donny: Yes, I use to be really good friends with all the members of Blacklisted. Tim Smith (the original bassist) asked me if I could fill in for a couple of shows with Blacklisted while they were in between bassists. He switched over to guitar and they were playing as a 4 piece. I played with them once when they were a 5 piece down in South Caroline which was a really fun trip. I had a lot of good times playing shows with Blacklised while in One Up and as a member of Blacklisted. They asked me to do the band full time as their bassist but at the time I couldnt leave my job.

IDM: Greg, are you gonna start playing in bands again? And if you started a new band, what kind of style would you play?

Greg: I’m definitely planning on playing in a band again. Can it be as serious as One Up? No way. My #1 priority in life at this point in time is being a husband and a father. My son is a year and a half old at the time I write this and I can’t be pulled away from him and my wife for any extended period of time. With that said though, I hate being an “adult” and working a job that I hate, so playing aggressive music is definitely a way for me to rid myself of a lot of that built up anxiety. NO ONE can say that I haven’t tried to do a band since One Up. Don and I were doing something at the end of OU that was a lot heavier, sorta like the Merauder demo with Eddie Sutton singing or something, but that never went past a few practices. Then I tried to jam with a couple friends here at home, but that never could get off the ground either. I don’t want to jinx anything, but for 2008 I am working on a new band with Larry from Crumbler. We’re both very siked on it but it’s in the very early (i.e. not even a single practice yet) stages, but we have a lot of ideas floating around. Be on the lookout for that.


ONE UP blog from myspace:

"Unreleased Demos 2004"
1) Those Are The Precious Moments
2) Meet Me In Montauk

These two songs definitely fall under that "it seemed like a good idea at the time" category. I had just gone through a really bad breakup at the time, put pen to paper and...............came up with some really subpar lyrics. These were the songs where musically we were really trying to push the boundaries of what people expected from One Up. "Those Are The Precious Moments" has some elements that I'm really proud of (I actually like the way the chorus sounds) and some elements that make me want to shrivel up and die (that spoken word part in between the two verses). Again, keep in mind that these were just demos, but still. We ended up added on to the end of this song in our live set, which made it a lot better in my opinion. The way it is here, it just kinda stops after the second chorus. "Meet Me In Montauk" was our attempt at writing a total post hardcore Quicksand meets Burn sorta vibe. Did we pull it off? You can be the judge. Again, the lyrics are a bit subpar, but this song was definitely fun to play live. The song title itself was used by Circa Survive and Bayside, which was also another bumout. I remember Jay Reason telling me that the copy we sent to Stillborn was played and described as "fourth rate Burn" which I took as a compliment. All in all, these ended up being the last songs we ever recorded since we never got to do that LP. We had a few more songs that we never recorded, only one of which was ever played live. I wish I had a tape of that song, because in my opinion it was killer. Jude just took the riff from Failure "Saturday Savior" and sped it up for the intro, and the verses and chorus were just good start/stop melodic hardcore. We played this at Posi Fest that year (2005) and got a lot of compliments. It's a shame we never got to record it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Birds Of A Feather interview

"NEW SONG ONLINE!There's a brand new song online called 'Another Day', This song will appear on the Chapter Five 7" that will be out next week on Commitment Records. Go check it out and more important, leave us comments and let us know what you think of it!"

IDM: You are hardcore veterans. What do you see in hardcore today that motivates you to keep on doing this band?

JP:Still everything that made punk/hardcore what it is. The energy, the aggression, striving for a better place, creating our own reality,brother/sisterhood, trust, a global network, a scene were almost everyone is productive instead of consumptive or destructive.

IDM: Birds Of A Feather. What does it mean for you?

JP: To me it means nothing less than having a great time playing music that I grew up on. The fact that it’s with old dudes makes it even better. The idea of starting a +30 edge band was in my head for a long time. Moving to Amsterdam and meeting up again with people I knew from the past made it eventually all work out.

Bigma: Actually daily life and everything that happens around us. Hardcore became such an important part of my life that I cannot life without it. My newest impulse in hardcore is hanging out with the guys from Outlive and to see how they experience hardcore definitely reminds me of when I was young and doing a band for the first time, playing shows, travelling meeting all these different people.

IDM: After the seven inch Jonas and Pepijn were gone. How did you find each other?

BOAF: Jonas and Pepijn were long time friends of Bigma. After recording the 7"BOAF became a real band with JP on bass and Marc on guitar, together withthe other 3. Marc and Bigma are friends ging back to the mid 80-ies, andJP, a known scenestar, moved just one block away from Bigma, so that waseasy.

When Jonas and Pepijn decided to move into different directions (jobs, children and so forth), we struggled for a while to become a band again. Fortunately we had just bumped into Paul at a BOAF show. At that time we didn't really know who he was and if he could play the drums in a way we would like, and he just turned out to be a great person with great personality and he is a good drummer too! Somehow thinking of who couldfill in our vacancy on guitar (being sXe and over 30) JP, Marc and Bigmaall at the same time thought separately of Jeff, and he seemed to be theperfect match. It is so awesome that he also joined the band, and himjoining BOAF to really made the whole thing come together, musically aswell as personally, and also in our thought on the scene, and sXe.

IDM: Could you say something more about your first seven inch, songs that are on it?

Bigma: The idea for the 7 inch basically came from Peter Hoeren of Crucial Response Records, because he wanted a 7 inch that would come with his fanzine. He wanted me to record some songs from a tape I gave him years ago, but that tape got lost. Around that same time Peter asked me to do some kind of project I came in contact again with Jonas who had some songs ready he wanted to try out. He basically wrote all the music and lyrics. Peter liked it and so those songs became the first BOAF release.

Birds Of A Feather at Menno Bakker Bunt's

IDM: I saw some photos about your studio recording. Do you go to eat to the studio? I am not joking anymore, how was the studio recording? When will it be out?

JP: Yeah, we love to eat, especially when we are recording. Our favorite foodis the "rorschach-breakfast-sandwich"; a vegan baguette with hass-avocado,tomato and pepper. Yummy. We went into the studio twice – we recorded a 13song demo in one afternoon at Studio Climax and from there on we movedtowards our latest recordings, which we did at Bunt’s studio with MennoBakker. We recorded 18 songs. In January 2008 we will release a 7" withfive new songs on Commitment records. Finally we get to cooperate withEurope’s oldest and trendsetting straight edge label, which is somethingthat both the label and the band really appreciate. The opening song“Another Day” will also be featured on our upcoming LP “The Past ThePresent”, the other four songs (“Between Two Worlds”, “Goodness”, “Growth”en “Reclaiming Freewill”) are exclusive for the Commitment release. Werecorded our version of the song “Wise Up” from Bold for a Bold tribute CDthat will be released by Embrace records from Malaysia. This record willbe available from January 2008, and it will also be available through us.

IDM: I heard about an European straight edge book. Is it connected with the new LP?

JP: Well, our upcoming LP/CD “The Past The Present” will be released worldwideon five different labels, and it will include the book “The Past ThePresent 1982-2007 a history of European Straight Edge”. We are writing thebook right now, which is a hell of a job. It will be focused around theDutch sXe, in particular Lärm, ManLiftingBanner, Mainstrike and theCrivits, and it will also cotain personal stories how sXe started inEurope and why, how it is different from the usa sXe in it’s origins,thoughts on sXe in general. We are not claiming to write THE history ofEuropean sXe, it is OUR history. It will not be a “book”, but an insertlike with those old Dead Kennedys LP’s, a 48 or 52 page 12” x 12” book.

IDM: I guess mean the design is very important for you. Awesome covers, great draws, lots of merch stuffs. Can the great look of stuffs help the band?

JP: Unfortunately yes. I mean, if a record looks eye appealing by just the looks/ lay out people might be more interested in buying a record than when it looks all shitty. Of course this is not the right way to approach people buying a record but that’s just how it goes while it doesn’t say anything about the music. Of course we want every single record, merch and whatever else to look as good as possible. Aside form being edge that’s ‘our aim’ :)

IDM: You have strong straight edge message. What do you think it's important to put an x on your hand when you are on stage?

JP: It’s good that you bring this up because we should make it a golden rule to X up every time when we go on stage. I guess straight edge turned into something personal for me during the years because I can’t recall the last time I was X-ed up and went to a show before we started playing out with BOAF. Even with BOAF we don’t X up for every show – don’t ask me why, we should!

IDM: How was the concert with Gorilla Biscuits in September?

JP: We really liked it. It was fun to meet all those nice people again, likeLuke and Alex who we didn’t meet again since the early 90-ies. It was justfun to hang out, meeting old time friends. Discussing what life brought usso far and were we are now. Besides that it was just a show at a largevenue with crappy sound for us, and no one really came for the openingact, but everyone came to see GB.

UTRECHT/HOLLAND/07-01 © tamara k

IDM: You made 40 limited vinyls for the Crucial Show. Why could I also get a copy months later?

JP: Well, we made different designs for the covers, which is basically justit, a different cover. Peter did that for all the covers of the records ofthe bands playing at the Crucial Response Showcase. Meaning there was a lot of different merch anyhow. We made 40 7”s and not all were sold, so we could either destroy them or keep them and sell them to whoever is interested. We decided to choose the last option, hence you can still get them. The “Our Aim” 7” is sold as a package with the Voice Of A Generation fanzine, which makes it anexpensive buy if you are just interested in either the fanzine or the 7”.So adding some special feature seemed nice to us too! Also we are happy toannounce that the vinyl is almost sold out!

IDM: You guys are all over 30. How and when did you get into hardcore? What was your first hardcore show like?

Bigma: The First time I heard punk music was around 1977 and I was only 6 years old. My older brother got never mind the Bollocks from the Sex Pistols after that he got Kiss records and stuff like that. So at a very young age I got introduced to loud music. I guess I was around 11 or 12 that I seriously got interested in the music and went to buy my very first own album Punks not dead from the exploited and from there on I got into UK Subs. I guess I was 14 years old meeting up with some Skinheads who where in my town through some Youth detention and they introduced me to oi! Music witch I got stuck with till I was 16 years old and got introduced to Hardcore. I got tapes from a friend of mine with 7 seconds, uniform choice, youth of today, gang green, minor threat, etc.
My first show I ever went to was the Toy Dolls I guess around 1984. My first hardcore show was 3 years later with WCF and Cry of terror.
That was when I got hooked with hardcore, the energy, the message it was just great and I fell in love.
Marc got into hardcore somewhere around 1981. At the time he was 14, and he and his classmate Bart (of BTD fame) were both discovering punk. Through some older schoolmates they discovered the Dead Kennedys, GBH, Discharge, Exploited, Crass, Cockney Rejects and so on. After going to his first show (with Larm somewhere early 1982 in de Tagrijn in Hilversum) Marc discovered the DIY-world of punk and hardcore. Realising that you could be in a band by yourself, book your own shows and make your own fanzine was in the pre-computer-era a major eye-opener. Also that first show was a blast with four local bands, including the forementioned Larm, and also realising that Menno, the singer of Larm, was "one of us", a guy that lived in the adjacent town, that we - being the few punks around - hung out with. And just seeing everyone from our area with mohawks, crazy clothing, weird dances and so on was awesome.
JP was heavily into skateboarding and new wave bands. Through a friend he got a self recorded tape with one side of new wave bands like the sisters of mercy, red lorry yellow lorry and such and on the other side he recorded punk and hardcore bands like CCM, Discarge, Minorthreat, Dead Kennedies etc. Through reading magazines like Thrasher JP got more involved with punkrock and hardcore and one day the Gorilla Biscuits album ended on my desk. In particular the song ‘cats and dogs’ caught my attention and from that point on I think I became more and more into straight edge. My first hardcore show definitely a local one because in the beginning he thought it was a waste to travel to go see bands play. “I’d rather ride my skateboard.” Aside from that, he was depending on public transportation, was a student and didn’t work a job at that time so it was hard to get to places.
Paul got into Skateboarding when he was 12 and trough all the skateboard videos soon I was into punkrock and started playing for fun with friends. After a short period of time i more and more got into Hardcore, mainly SOIA and Madball and from there it just evolved and after many years i ended up here.I just loved going to shows and i still do, I like it a lot because of meeting new people.. i actually don’t remember what my first show was..
Jeff ended up into the hardcore scene through the metal/crossover scene somewhere round 1985, first going as much as possible to shows from Slayer/Metallica/Kreator/Testament/Anthrax going to S.O.D./D.R.I./Excel/Suicidal T. and skateboarding ofcourse and Y.O.T. etc. ;-), And at that stage in 1987 began to play myself in crivits as a co-founder and setting up/helping out with shows in Rotterdam like Crumbsuckers/Napalm Death/Ludichrist to name a few and tried to get Y.O.T. for Rotterdam but sadly enough it did not take place, but I’m glad I managed to see them beginning 1989 when the European tour took off and later on G.B..

IDM: I really like lots of old Dutch bands. Agent Orange (i think both of them, the Dutch and the American Agent Orange were cool), WinterswijkChaos Front, Pure Hate. What about these bands? Any cool Dutch bands from this period to mention? Do you have any interesting story about this early period?

JP: To start with interesting current bands, in Marc's opinion Holland always had it's fair share of great bands, from BGK to Pandemonium, from Deadlock to Funeral Oration. Nowadays really interesting bands are Outlive, The Tenement Kids, The Straight A's, FFF, Frightning Fiction, The Works, The Shining, Gewapend Beton, Heros and Zeros, De Bakfietsboys, Staathaat, Seein Red, Iron Cage, Smash The Statues and probably some the we forgot. As far as the early days are concerned, there are tons of interesting stories. But the issue is not to tell these stories over and over again how cool it was in the old days, but rather to make it happen again nowadays, so that everyone, also being young kids getting into punk and hardcore, can experience that same sense of freedom and exitement we had back in the early 80-ies. In that respect a lot has changed over the years, from mail to email, from local to global, from sending tape compilations to straightforward faster then realtime mp3 downloads. But still the excitement over going out to a good show, seeing bands explore musical boundaries, be part of a creative and productive scene, that's what counts. BTW the good stories are either tourstories with silly jokes, or good fights we had. We were all young, goofy kids out there having a good time. Okay, one story although I am probably mixing up dates and place and people; I think it was at the Amsterdam squat "Emma" - which is nowadays a really attractive location for hip, urban companies, but back then it was deserted docklands - somewhere in 1985 or 1986. We used to go there a lot to see bands like Larm, Negazione, DOA but also Frightwig, Atilla the hun etc etc. At some show there were people who got into a medium sized fight, I think it was the regular Amsterdam punk/hc crowd fighting with skinheads. Jos from Larm/Seein Red fame jumped in between shouting out loud "stop fighting, aren't we all communists", which indeed stopped the orginal fight but as far as I recall the anger was directed towards him and he had to be saved because nobody wanted to be called a communist. Mmm, in retrospect maybe not such a cool story, but at the time it was funny.

Bigma: What I remember the most is the enormous freedom we had in that time and how different it was from today, but I guess that has something to do with age. In the mid eighties there was not club or anything in my town where hardcore bands could play so we had to squad something. So we build our own club. We went on pillage tours around town to get wood to build the stage and bar. Good luck there was a friend who was learning for electrician so he could handle that part. It was amazing to have a building where you could do whatever you want. Imaging; the building was so big that we had practicing rooms for bands, we had a skate ramp in there, we had this stage, a huge space to hang out to watch tv and do whatever we wanted. there where people living there who had rooms you would pay a lot of money for. I remember getting drinks for the first gig we organist. It was Saturday morning and my old pal Marcel “geraakt” took the “bakfiets” to go to the supermarket to get beer, cola, juices and a few bottles of cheap wine. What a sight that must have been; driving through they city centre with me sitting on this huge pile of drinks. The main point however was to maintain this building and keeping the enthusiast spirit we had in the beginning. After a year or so the alcohol and drugs abusive started to taking it’s toll. It was kind of funny to be the only straight edge kid in this Sodom and Gomorrah. It help me to strength my convictions that I was on the right path if I really wanted to make a change. Another thing I remember how I went every month through Maximum rock ‘n’ roll to see if there was any new band or release and if you found something interesting going to the post office getting some dollars and send them to order your stuff. I had this list above my bed with all the stuff I order and when I ordered it and when I got my stuff. I’m still waiting for my schism shirts, workshed ep’s and some other stuff.

Bigma in 1989

IDM: What's the story about the Chi Chi club? As far as i know it was a legendary Dutch club.

Marc: Well, I've been there just maybe two or three times, because it was like 200 kilometers from my hometown. I remember basically the festivals that, I think, were only one day festivals, but always with a great line-up and a lot of drunk German punks. The Chi chi club was one of those famous "headquarters" of the punk-scene in those days, making it possible to tour, to hang out, to see bands, to exchange ideas, just like places as Kippenhok in Amersfoort, WNC in Groningen, Emma, Wijers and Van Hall all in Amsterdam, Bauplatz in Venlo and many many others. Those places were so important for all of us.
Bigma: The Chi Chi club was a place where we travelled to if we wanted to see the more “bigger” bands. We went there by train or we rented a van stuffed it with people and that was always a big adventure.But I’ve seen so many cool shows there: MDC, SNFU, Lärm, Heresy, WCF and a lot more I can’t remember. It was a place where I finally met some fellow Straight Edge kids but most of them have been gone and forgotten already for a long time.

IDM: Marc, you played in the BTD, Betray. What are the short history of these bands?

Marc: Somewhere in 1980 I discovered punk. As I said with the question about how we came into the hardcore-scene, when I discovered this whole idea about DIY, and the fuck-you attitude, the whole anti-stardom-idea of punk, I wanted to participate, in all aspects, in writing letters, booking shows, making flyers, doing fanzines and so on. And ofcourse I wanted to be in a band. So these older punkrockers from the highschool that I was attending were in a hippy-punk-experimental band called VLA. Not that they were going anywhere, but their practice-space was a good place to hang out, and my friend Bart started to play drums for them. Somehow they stopped and Wim, one of their trumpet players and Bart wanted to start a new band, a real punkband. They asked Marco to play guitar and I just jumped the bandwagon – I bought a bass for 30 euros and was in. Fortunately Marco was a real good guitar player who wrote great songs, Bart wrote good lyrics, I was writing and participating in the scene, and before we knew it (also thru our local heroes Larm) we were playing all over (being 17 years old people had to drive us up to all our shows, or we would go by train, sleep or hang out on the street, caught a train back home at 6 am and then went to bed or to school if it was a weekday. So we played shows, were asked for comp-tapes and made a record (a split 12” with 3 other bands).When BTD stopped I really wanted to continue playing in a band more in my line of thinking, so a bit less “fun”, a bit more political and sXe. With Marco of BTD on drums, and Casper, the last singer of BTD on vocals we started Betray, together with Paul and Boris of State Of The Nation, also a band from our hometown. Betray only played 7 shows, the most of them on our UK tour with Nations On Fire. Betray recorded two 7”s, the songs of the never-released “ancient history” can be downloaded from: http://www.xs4all.nl/~hanou/betray/

IDM: JP, Value of Strength is your baby. Please talk about your fanzine.Your tenth coming out in this summer. Is there any changes between the first and the last issues? Fave zines?

JP: I think it wouldn’t be good think if there wasn’t a differente between issue 1 and issue 10 of Value Of Strength. I’m pretty sure that my English got way better during the time so that’s a remarkable difference. I started out the zine just by myself because in the area that I grew up a lot of kids were doing zines and that somehow got me really into doing my own zine. Nowdays there’s 5 people helping me out with the zine. Things changed a lot during the years, for example I’m no longer able to review all records by myself. My goal is to keep the zine going and I somehow still have good hope to start putting it out on a regular base in the future. Another thing I really wold like to see different is that I can only focus on lay out and design and not all the other garbage that comes to it. But since everyone who’s involved in Value Of Strength is working a full time job and works on the zine during spare time I don’t really see this change in the near future. Currently we also started working on a website were we want to keep the review section up to date, re-release interviews from the past and put up a photogallery with pics I’ve been taking at show the past +17 years. So yeah, we’re quite busy with the zine. My fave zines during the years are (in no particular order) Anti Matter, Second Nature, Rumpshaker, Tirade, Stormtrooper, Refuse and a bunch more.

IDM: Jeff, you played in the Crivits from 1987. Make the Crivits more popular by some sentences because lots of kids haven't known yet what the Crivits was!

Jeff: What shall I say?(I don’t like to think/speak to much about it but let me tell you this) Crivits started in 1987 as a bunch of really close friends and close friends around it and ended in 2003 while in the last years some band members left and where replaced.
We put out some great releases and songs, which I’m still proud off but, still at this point, I’m really disappointed in the meaning of friendship because of things that happened over the years within Crivits with some band members and I find it still hard to let someone close to me again because of avoiding a diapointment in close friendships again.Hopefully some nice years with the B.O.A.F. guys is going to take place and perhaps some of the scars will edge off.(sorry about the emo talk ;-))

IDM: Marc, you were working at Revelation Europe. Where had you met Jordan Cooper?

Marc: I ordered some stuff from Rev Recs, which was returned to them because there was some address mix-up. Jordan put that in a Rev ad in MRR in February 1989, something like “from the following 8 people their orders came back in, please get in touch” and that listed my name. Because of that as, on the YOT tour I spoke with Jordan, I think in Aalst, Belgium, who seemed to be a nice guy. Somehow YOT ended up staying a week at my place (although Jordan and Ray were at the Krsna temple a lot of the time), and I just decided to go the USA that summer to visit Revelation, Dischord and MRR. Some crazy idea without a bigger plan, I just went over and ended up staying and travelling with Jordan and working at Rev for 2 months or so, actually going all over and meeting all those people from Roa (Justice League) to Tim Yohannon, COS etc etcetera. After that I just started Rev Europe, basically to take some work out of Jordan’s hands and to improve the distribution of Rev here in Europe.

IDM: Green Day takes to hardcore guys (Timmy Chunks - Token Entry). Marc, if i can remember it you have a story with them.

Marc: At the time I was booking tours, at least I did the dutch leg of the European tours, that were booked by Christy and Mary Jane of Lookout Europe. Also because tours usually started or ended in Amsterdam because of Schiphol-airport, bands stayed at my place for a week or so. Like Supertouch, Sons Of Ishmael, Born Against, Rorschach and so on. With some bands they either stayed longer or we had more fun. Green Day did 3 or 4 shows, and hung out in Amsterdam. We had fun, I played guitar with them on one of the shows, we kept in touch for while. On their recent tour I only spoke to them briefly, I guess life changes when you reach that kind of celebrity-status.

IDM: Big, What was the Colt Turkey band and Colt Turkey fanzine? What's your fave joke band?

Bigma: The colt turkey fanzine was the creation of Michiel and Burt alert. I had nothing to do with that. They only put out 1 issue although there where ideas for issue number two, like a project X interview that Michiel did after the first GB tour when walter stayed with him.The band was Burts idea to do something with this Colt turkey character for one more time. I’m basically not that much into joke bands but I could appreciate Crucial Youth.

IDM: What about the effects that internet had on hardcore in the last few years? Don't you feel that we lost touch of some things like talking face to face, writing letters... (to substitute talking face to face for email,to substitute mail order for paypal etc.)

BOAF: We think that internet is a good way to keep in touch. F.i. for Paul personally it’s just great to be able to reach people in such an easy way and it's absolutely great to finally meet people for real at a show after writing for a long time first. “I think there are positive and negative sides to it but that's just up to you, how you deal with everything.”

IDM: Thank you for your time guys.

JP: I'm impressed with your research. I love it when people take the time to getto the roots! Thanks!