Monday, 19 October 2009
Following on from my recent post about Famine and Frustration, I checked out Hurry Up! records and got in touch with Matteo, the owner and founder. I was really interested in the HUP policy for signing bands but he told me it is as simple as usually liking the bands first, following them for a while, catching them live and talking to them in person. They are looking for good people who are down to tour. They usually sign more bands in Europe because it is easier for a band to tour, reasoning that the more you tour the more you have chances to sell records and other merch. There seems no limit to the origin or identity of the bands as long as they meet these criteria and HUP know people all around the world that help out with this.
I have this notion that hardcore is a global community that is above and beyond national identity and that bands will be welcomed regardless of origin but Matteo thinks I'm probably being a bit too idealistic. His opinion is that U.S. bands are supported well in Europe when they tour or when they release something compared to a European band. European HC probably won't sell many copies in the U.S. and will also possibly struggle to get dates closer to home too although countries like Germany, Poland, Czech Rep are way more open to support touring bands. He sees that people tend to follow more of what happens overseas than what happens here. Of course, there are more bands in the U.S. and some quality as well, but he believes that doesn't mean that the European ones should be less considered. Saying that though, La Crisi from Milan are a band worth checking out from the HUP roster. They have enjoyed two U.S. tours where it is reported that the kids were keen to check out a HC band that doesn't sing in English.
Matteo sees that Dublin is one of the best places to play HC in Europe and this is a response echoed by lots of touring bands. The scene is not too big but it's honest and supporting. Both he and his wife love the city because people have been very friendly and the kids are interested in what Hurry Up do.
Matteo has been working with B9 for the last 4 years, he's the guy who takes care of the web stuff, but originally he is from a very small town in the north of Italy close to Milan. His mindset was totally different from everybody around him so he travelled whenever he could to see and play in bands, which is what he loved the most. He said he couldn't have lived any other way. His first punk record ever was Smash by Offspring and then he started to get more interested in more melodic stuff like NOFX, Rancid and Ramones and then HC: Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits, YOT. The first band he saw live that left him shocked was H2O back on their first Euro tour. The show where he got into knowing what Straight Edge was a Better Than A Thousand show on their Value Driven tour. Some months later he became SxE and vegetarian. He has played in a bunch of bands, Mach 5 and Purification in Italy, Overstate in Brazil and has filled in for Bane and Shipwreck A.D. on bass. He now plays in a Irish band called Forced Out.
Friday, 16 October 2009
So Have Heart are playing their last gig in their homestate on Edge Day. They are the Joe Calzaghe of hardcore. They've done it all, undefeated and undiminished. Their light shines just as brightly now as when they first started out but the story of their journey has given them weight and meaning. They are steadfast in their principles and have maintained their dignity throughout, never compromising but instead have let their work ethic speak in volumes. Joe loyally stayed with Enzo and I can only imagine there must have been charlatans and kingmakers at every turn. In the same way, Have Heart have never lost their focus despite being rightly lauded as hardcore greats. They appear to have never taken their mission lightly. They have communicated their worldview with passion and integrity and have been an inspiration to their generation. Having given hardcore a new standard, both emotionally and musically, they have now stepped down. In our communities we must galvanise and raise our new visionaries up.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Le Pub, Newport
5th October 2009
Famine are a band well capable of carving a path all of their own with a well crafted melodic sound and a lead singer that has a vocal style that is full of character and range. And you can feel their rich history in every note. It is no surprise to see that they have played with Have Heart and Verse (as Forging Friendships, who were the same line up) and they really do have the potential to fill the gap that these bands have left. I hope this comes across as high praise because these are big shoes to fill! They have a well connected record company for support (Hurry Up! ex Bridge 9 staff, I'm told) and I can see no limit to where Famine might go. The guitar sound is carefully worked, sometimes hanging and then it pulses.
Their tour with Frustration has taken in shows right across the continent and they have played packed venues (although the van broke down and they didn't quite make it to Croatia!). They have received kindness wherever they have travelled. Ian and Neal (vocals in both bands) told me that the scene in Poland (especially Poznan) is brilliant and it was interesting to hear that a Polish friend, who is working in Dublin, sorted out two of their three gigs. I'd not thought that migrant workers may have a part to play in adding to our scene here in South Wales! The more the merrier, hc is a global community after all! They tell me that the Dublin scene is strong with lots of young bands putting on a variety of gigs and then there are always the visitors to support. I see from flyers that Betrayed and Agnostic Front have played recently, Madball soon. Galway city is another option but it seems that Belfast is offering little at the moment.
Famine will now return home and write new material since a few tracks on their CD are older songs. Huge possibilities, the promise of it all is mind blowing. Frustration, on the other hand, are only nine months old and have already travelled so far. They already show an accomplished melodic style that paints a broad picture. They have a 7 inch to promote on their return to Ireland and I bet their friends will hardly recognise them! They will have grown no doubt and be a stronger band for this trip. Along with Famine I can see a Dublin sound emerging with passionate lyrics of city life to the sound of those power chords hanging in the air just waiting for the breakdown! I can see droves of us from South Wales on the ferry as soon as possible.