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We called it very simply: Knowing. BANE interview

punkrockhardcorefolketc
19 novembre 2008

Voici la version complète de mon entretien avec Aaron Bedard. Une conversation d’une demi-heure qui s’est déroulée environ 3 semaines avant leur passage à Montréal avec Comeback Kid. Pour moi ce gars là est une institution alors je sentais le besoin de rendre ça disponible pour tout le monde. Pour ceux que ça intéresse…

So you’re leaving on tour pretty soon with Comeback kid and a few other bands. What do you expect from these shows? What does Bane expect from bigger tour these days?

Well to be honest we don’t really know what to expect ‘cause we haven’t been to Canada in a couple of years. Maybe three years. Last time we did Canada was with Strung Out. And I think this tour will be to a different crowd. A crowd that is probably more suited to the kids we’re used to playing with. Most of the bands on that bill are hardcore bands. I don’t know, we’re going all over and way out west to play to those small towns in the Plaines and I think the shows in the big cities should be fine. We haven’t been there in a long time and you never really know what’s going to be waiting for you so we’re excited to see. We are pretty good friends with some of the bands on the tour we’re excited to hang out.

Do you have any other plans for Bane? Any plan of doing a record or an EP?

Yeah. We’re going to keep moving. As soon as the last show of the Canadian tour we’re going right to Detroit the very next day to start a full US tour with H2O and Cruel Hands. So we’re doing another 4 weeks and then we come back and it will be winter time and we don’t usually tour in the winter so I think that we will start writing some songs and hopefully have at least a 7’’ ready by the end of the years. If the song writing goes well we may even have a full record.

Do you think you will still collaborate with Equal Vision? ‘Cause you’re pretty much the only hardcore band left on this label right now. Is this something that matters to you?

They’ve been so good to us that it’s hard for me to think of why to go somewhere else. They’ve always supported everything that we’ve try to do. They don’t make us feel marginalized because we’re a hardcore band. ‘Cause obviously we’re the smallest band on their label. Like we’ve never aspired to be some big rock bands and sell tons of records. I think they really appreciated and respected that so it’s hard to want to elsewhere. We haven’t really talked about it that much and I’m not sure that if we came home from these tours and just recorded 4 or 5 songs and decided to put out just a 7’’ if they would even be interested in doing something like that or if it would be even beneficial for them or us so it would be cool if we were only going to do a EP to do it with a smaller label. But we really haven’t gotten to that bridge. We didn’t even start to write songs yet. We’re going to do these tours that we’re excited about and when we come home we’ll see how song writing goes and what we’ll really be able to get to. But we need to get a new record out pretty soon. It’s been way too long.

So you talk about a new record, these two tours but at some points Bane was not really active anymore. Is it a discussion that you had within the band where you said that you would love to see this band be more active?

Exactly. At the beginning of this year we had a real…we were on such a stand still and we had so little plans with our future that we had to make a decision about if we were to continue to do the band at all. We really had to sit and do some soul searching ‘because I was not willing to do it as some sort of part time thing. I needed to either be doing it or not doing it. And it was getting more and more half-half and we were doing less and less and everybody was far more involved in their side projects and in their home lives which is fine. I mean if it was the end of Bane it would have been OK. We had an amazing run. We’ve accomplished we would have ever hoped to accomplish but we still felt like there was more to be done. We still love this band and we’re still…you know we’re very lucky that we can go anywhere we want to play with any bands that we want to play with. You know we’re in a very good position that we’ve worked really hard to get to so it seemed sort of sad to just be just fading out you know. So we sat down and said if we were going to do it or not and we decided «Yeah, we’re going to do it. » Like nobody wanted to see the band end.

You started this band in ’95 and it’s now 2008. How does your vision differ from back then? I think that your lyrics are probably the main thing that made you stand out as an institution in the hardcore scene in the last decade. Do you think your approach to writing the lyrics for this new record will be different this time around?

I think absolutely it will be! But it’s been different between all of the records. I’ve always attacked it from the places where I am in my life. I always have hard times explaining how the lyrics work ‘because it always sounds really pretentious and artsy and I don’t mean it. Honestly, I haven’t been thinking about what I’m going to write about and I don’t tell myself that I have to live up to these big expectations or that these words have to be better than the last one or any of that. I just try not to get my head clouded with any of those outside expectation, even from myself. When these dudes have a song written I just turn the pressure on and just reach inside myself and just write what feels correct to me at that time. Like, when I look back at the lyrics from the Holding This Moment EP, I was in a complete different place. And I can say the same things of all of our records. I’m just sort of honest with myself when writing and hope that people will connect with that and to this point I’ve been very very lucky that people has seems to connect with the sort of way I attack song writing. Honestly I haven’t doing anything but I know that when the time comes I will have things to say because I’m still angry. I don’t fell doll or numbed or like I’ve said everything I had to say. That would be the saddest day for me when I say that I’ve said it all. I don’t feel even near that. There are still things that I want to say about hardcore, friendship and the life that I’ve been leading for these ten years on the road. I feel very excited. I whish that we had a song written tomorrow so that I could start but I usually don’t start until the music is coming together.

Did you ever consider to write something else than songs lyrics?

I’ve written some short stories. I had a short story that came out in a book last year. I’ve written some screen plays. But nothing that has ever been filmed. I’ve always been writing and telling stories in one way or another for all my life. And when Bane ends I think that it will be where I will probably put my focus. Try to become a better writer.

Where does your passion for poker comes from?

I just think that I’ve always been sort of competitive. As far as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed playing games and I’ve always really liked winning. There’s just something about competition that has always been interesting to me ever since I can remember. My father was a gambler and was a poker player so as a young boy that sort of this mystical thing to me you know, this thing that my dad did that I didn’t quite understand. And as I got older and older I sort of figured it out and once I started playing it was just something that really connected with me. You engage in this warfare but it’s really mental. You can destroy your opponent and there’s a defying way of figuring out how well you’ve done based on how much money you’ve made with them. It connected with me on a very deep level and I studied it and I worked really really hard for a long time to really understand the game. It doesn’t hurt; it keeps me from having to work a real job now. I can make enough money playing cards.

Really you’re doing money playing poker.

Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, I haven’t worked a job «job» since 2004. And BANE doesn’t tour enough, like 2 or 3 times a year so…Yeah, poker has been keeping me from having a real job.

Do you play on the Internet?

I play a little bit on the Internet and on the Internet I play for pretty low stakes. It’s a really different game than playing in a live situation with actual people. I make maybe one or two hundred dollars a week playing on the Internet. I really look at the internet as being almost practice. Staying fresh, staying on top of everything and trying out new concepts, new theories. You get to see so many hands. The hands are dealt so quickly. There’s no dealer having to shuffle the cards. Everything happens in the blink of an eye. If you play for a long time you get to see so many hands. In one night of online poker and can see as many situations has one week or even two weeks of playing in a casino so it’s good. It’s a good practice.

When you’re playing against someone for the first time, face to face, and you’ve never met that person before do you think you can learn a lot about how these people are in real life?

I absolutely do. It may sound crazy, and I’ve been wrong sometimes but I’m right most of the time, but as soon as they sit down and you see the way that they carry themselves, they way they’re dressed, the whole vibe that they give up sometimes you can figure out that this person is going to be very cocky, very stubborn, very proud or shy and timid and that this person is going to be able to stand a lot of pressure or to call a very big bet. Sometimes I’m wrong, but as soon as somebody sits down I start trying at least to put together a profile on them. Right away. The way that they do everything slowly adds up and put together the pieces of a puzzle.

Interesting.

A lot of people think that playing poker is about having a poker face or being lucky. But it’s a much deeper game that that. That’s really about understanding people and their tendencies. Finding ways to take advantage of the mistakes that they make you know. Do you play cards or poker?

I’ve played with some of my friends for very little money but I’m just not comfortable and insecure with gambling my money.

I think that’s a good trade for you to have. I’ve always encouraged people not to do it. And I’m always proud of people that can see that in themselves. That money means too much to them to gamble so they can’t stand this up of loosing money. And I just never had that and I think that there’s people that are wired to be gamblers and sort of don’t have that connection with money and then there’s people that truly understand the value of money and all the good things it can provide and think it’s crazy to play around with it. I really respect that. I think it’s great.


BANE in Montreal

In a few songs on different records you’ve wrote lyrics involving guns. On your split 7’’ with Adamantium one of the songs ends up with the sentence «You wonder why I’m so obsessed with guns». So, why are you so obsessed with guns?

Well, I guess the short answer would be that my mother was a very very liberal hippie type who was trying to protect my brother and I from all the little evils and dark corners of the world. To the point of not allowing us to watch simple war movies, western and movies that most young boys are going to be fascinated with. And she just tried so hard to shelter from that world. And obviously I think that she had the best of intentions for us but of course it was going to backfire. The things you insist your loved ones stay away from are the things they are going to be fascinated with. So at the youngest age, as soon as I could start watching violent movies…I don’t know, I can’t really say. I’m not a violent person; I would never own a gun, I can’t really imagine myself shooting somebody or anything like that but there’s something about those man, you know bad man living those extremes lives. That has always fascinated me. As soon as I could start watching movies like The Godfather or Taxi Driver these movies just connected with me on a very real level. I didn’t mean for it to come out so often in my lyrics, it really had to be pointed out to me after a couple of records were out. «Man you really talk about guns a lot». I didn’t intend to do it you know. I’m not trying to be some hard tuff dude because I’m really not. At all. But it’s just something that is constantly in my subconscious because I’ve just been watching these kinds of movies for so many years. My mother’s plan for me completely backfired.

Does she realize it now?

Well, she’s passed away but I think we would have had some funny conversations about it. Like I have friends that are like «What are these lyrics dude. You’re always talking about guns». I don’t mean to do it. I’ve set out that I was going to have those extremes violent sort of imageries. It’s just sort of the way it ended up coming out.

My favourite BANE song is I Once Was Blind. In that song you say «Welcome to the day that it opens your eyes so wide». What’s the day that yourself you opened you eyes to a new world? Maybe not a day, but a book that you’ve read or something that made you realized that there’s something out there totally different.

It happened to me at a pretty young age. I would say 17 or 18 when I was just really become obsessed with punk rock and hardcore and had a friend who was older and was really where Rollins was at back then in the ‘80s. And really reading some of his sort of darker more extreme writings. From there we kind of branched off into reading Charles Bukowski, Celine and Dostoevsky and made us realizing that things are fucked up. It was just like all in a sudden this door open and you went inside and you finally saw things the way they really were. That everything was not going to be pretty like it was on TV. It was kind of an empowering thing when you’re young and you’re angry and all fired up and then you feel that you’re given access to this deeper truth about life. That things are fucked up and that people are not going to be honest with you and that you’re sort of on your own and struggling. We called it very simply: Knowing. There were people that knew the deal and there were people that were going through life smiling and swallowing whatever got fed to them you know. That was sort of this badge of honour to know the deal, to know that everything is not bright and shinny and rosy. Now I look back and it has a lot to do with just being obsessed with those writers. Those crazy Europeans extra-sketchy writers and Charles Bukowski and these dudes that were fucking bitter, angry and not going to accept life the way they found it. They expected more of it. Does that make sense? I know it’s kind of a rambling answer but…

It does make sense man…I know that you’re DJing some kind of techno or I don’t know what kind of music it is in some club…

It’s called drum n’ bass. I did my first night here in Boston last week. I’ve been DJing in my bedroom for years just for myself and I’ve always been much too nervous to really do it in front of people. But the years kept going on and on and I became a better DJ and finally it was just time to get the first time out of the way because I’ve been so fucking nervous to do it for so long. I’ve had opportunities and I would come up with excuses not to and I would come up with reasons why I couldn’t do it, like the band have to go on tour and I’m not ready and bla bla bla. But finally the situation came up where I was going to be home and the guy who booked the night wouldn’t let me get out of it. It really forced me to practice hard and to get ready to do it.

How was the night?

It was great man. I could be here talking for 40 minutes to tell you how great it was. It was fucking amazing. Like very addicting to be up there by yourself and just playing songs that are making the whole room dance. It was really cool and I’m going to do it again next Thursday. They said that for an opening DJ they’ve never seen a DJ get such a great reaction. I was playing drum n’ bass and it was a gamble to see because mostly it’s like hip-hop and club songs and some electronic music has like energetic…I don’t know if you’ve ever heard drum n’ bass but it’s really hard hitting aggressive style of techno, so they were either going not to get it at all or they were going to love it. I just lucked out and they were ready to dance hard and it was cool. I mean the place went crazy.

It’s really different of course but what do you find in that music that is not inside hardcore?

Oh obviously there’s no deep emotional connection. Like in a hardcore band I feel deeply connected with most of the kids around me and the people that are singing these lyrics and throwing themselves on stage. Those people are built from like my blood you know. Like for techno it’s just a connection with the music and the rhythm. But really, at the end of the day, I probably could have been up there clapping my hands and the crowd would have dance. There’s just kids that just come to clubs to dance. In hardcore it’s like religious to me. I’m surrounded with four of my best friends in the world and am working toward the same end in making these songs energetic, explosive and fucking screaming our hearts out and there are people that are responding to that. I can’t even explain how of amazing it is to play out and live in BANE at a show far from home and kids are loosing their minds. It’s the best. There’s no comparison between being some DJ and being in a hardcore band.

Playing shows with BANE still amaze you as much as it used to do? Does it comes to a point, especially back then when you were touring much more, where it’s almost redundant. Like you know that kids will want to grab the mic at this part and there will be a huge pill on for that song.

Well, I guess I would be lying if I said that every time it feels as fresh as the first time. On tour sometimes you play 30 shows in a row and maybe there will be some nights where it doesn’t feel as amazing as it was in the past. But then there are still enough nights that come by that are incredible. When things just clicks and you have that extra boost of energy and people around you really came to be excited. I’m telling you the truth when we still get off stage certain nights now and look at each other and we can’t believe it. We’ll be hugging each other after the show saying «Holy shit that was crazy! ». And I think that’s the real miracle to BANE. If there’s anything that is sort of amazing is that we’ve all sort of stayed on the same page. None of us have gotten tired of it; none of us have gotten over it. There’s still something that exist in the live shows that blows us all away and that’s what keeps us going. Because we don’t have to do this anymore. Everybody has or most of the guys are married and have houses or serious relationships. But there’s still something that exist out there that we can’t let go of. And I really think where it lies is on stage when we’re playing.

When did you get married?

I have not got married. Not me. I’m still running around like I’m 18 but most of the other guys have gotten a little more serious about adult responsibilities. Which obviously needs to get done at some point. I didn’t see a lot of bands that have been around for as long as us and be sort of juggling the responsibilities that many of us are juggling with and it caused the band to break up, to stop. But we’ve been really lucky that all of us are still completely inspired by what takes place when we play. We’re still almost child about it; we still can’t believe how much fun it is and how lucky we are. How blessed we are to be a band that can make a room go so crazy and scream their heads off. Just like let go. It’s a really really nice feeling.

Who’s going to play bass on this tour?

On this tour it’s going to be our friend Stu who used to play with our drummer Bobby in Reach The Sky. He’s a really good friend and bass player and he hasn’t been on the road touring with a hardcore band for a long time so he’s excited to come.

You have a song on the compilation for the 20 years of Sick Of It All. When’s the first time you met these guys and what was your reaction?

The first time I met them…I didn’t met them until I guess it was 2001. There had been two or three times before actually meeting them where they have been trying to get us to go on tour with them and every time something on our hand would fall apart. Something would happen so we couldn’t do the tour. I know one time they wanted us to share a bus with them but it would have been much too expensive for us and it didn’t make sense to spend that much money on a bus. So we ended up just doing our own tour headlining. Things would always fall through. So we finally got to NYC to play a show with them and I remember being backstage after our set because I wanted to talk to Lou, their singer, and explain like «Hey! I know that you guys have been trying to go on the road with us and I just wanted to say that it’s something that we really would like to do» Because we were worried that they were starting to feel that we were not interested in touring with them. I’ve never actually hung out with them; we’ve never played more than one show here and there. I don’t really know those guys at all. But Bobby, our drummer who was in Reach The Sky, he was pretty good friend with them from the RTS days. So I think they came to him about doing the song for the tribute and obviously we were stoked to do it. They’re one of the most important band ever for me.

What inspired the lyrics to Swan Song?

It’s a hard question to answer. I just wanted to write something that was completely different than the rest of the record. It’s always an exercise or a challenge to myself to write something from a perspective that is completely different from what I used to do. More sort of an overview of the way things are instead of me just attacking things from my own crazy, enrage perspective. I just wanted to try to write something that was more broad. And I feel like I’ve actually sort of failed that exercise because in the end I come around to just talking about me and how I fell, like wipe away the tears and it comes back to being pretty much the same tone that I’ve always used. But I just tried and just wanted to write something that was kind of felt apocalyptic and I had no idea that the song was going to turn into the kind of anthem that people like to hear and sing along to. And a lot of that honestly is just credited to Brian McTernan who produced our record. Sort of having a vision for that ending chorus and singing «I will come back for you» like that. When we brought it inside of the studio it didn’t feel like this big sing along type song. He really kind of put it into shape, we kind of restructured the song and now it’s the song we have to play every night. Which is great, thank you. But when I was writing the lyrics I was never…like when I wrote Can We Start Again? I sort of had a feeling that this is going to be special. I didn’t see that coming with Swan Song at all. I was just trying to write something that was really intense and very visual.

I guess I have to ask you if you’re worried to find out who will be your next President when you’ll wake up on November 5.

Yeah I’m really worried. It’s so hard to be optimistic. It’s so hard. Because I really felt four years ago that there was no way that this country could re-elect him. I just felt there was no fucking way, I felt so comfortable and confident that this country would do the right thing, and then to see that. Just how crazy this place really his. How many places in the middle of this country and the religious right way down South that are just not ready for change. For a…you know. Just not ready for change that’s the bottom line. So now things are worst than ever here. It’s an embarrassing place to live. It’s embarrassing to go to Europe or to foreign countries and to be a representative of America is like horrifying. You want to go up to every person you see and explain that «I’m not like that, I don’t believe in war, I don’t believe we’re the most powerful nation in the word». I didn’t vote for him you know. I just like to wear a t-shirt that says «I’m American» but I don’t love America. So I don’t know. You hope that this country will rally together and make some sort of a true change. You hope. I think that Barack Obama is very interesting politician, he’s a great speaker and I hope that he can rally a lot of the people in the inner cities that don’t normally vote and hopefully the people that are just fed up with the way things were in the last 8 years will just give him a chance. Because he can’t, he can’t do any worst, it can’t be worst than it already is. So I’ll vote, everybody that I know will do what we can but we live in a very liberal part of the country where things seem less crazy but when you’re in Alabama or in Atlanta you realize that there’s two very different sides to this country.

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