quinta-feira, 17 de outubro de 2013

Interview with Rowan Oak



Hey good people, I was searching for new music at bandcamp, and found this very awesome Germany band. So I asked them an interview, and the guitarist/vocalist Flo, was kind enough to answer it:


You can check their bandcamp here : rowanoakms.bandcamp.com
And their facebook here: facebook.com/westerngracems
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1.Did you already find a way to get back?

Flo: Hah, good question! Actually, the song is about losing touch with the people you grew up with and trying to keep up old friendships. And if you try hard enough, there’s always a way. So yeah, we did find that way, although it gets harder and harder to do so. 

2.I will tell you. The first time I listen to your song at bandcamp, Hate Grenade, it gave me the same kind of sensation when I listened to Texas Is The Reason, I totally wanted to hear more things. Am I right, is really Texas Is The Reason one of your influences? And talking about influences, how do you create music without coping the bands you listen to?

Flo: Yes, finally someone who got it exactly right, haha. Texas Is The Reason is definitely one of my favourite bands, and I’m so glad I got to see them on their last tour this year. But, as you already point out, it’s hard to be influenced by bands and not just copy their sound, especially since the whole 90s Midwest Emo thing has a very defined sound dynamic, quiet versus loud, singing versus shouting and screaming and so on. We just try to write music that we like, first and foremost. If people dig it and can live with the fact that we probably sound like we’re living twenty years in the past, that’s cool!

3.Do you guys gig a lot? How are the shows of emo/punk scene Iin Germany? 

Flo: We’ve done a couple of smaller tours and played our fair share of shows, yeah – though I’d like to play more, but time is always a big problem, since we live in four different cities and we all got jobs or university stuff to take care of. But the opportunities to play shows are definitely there. The punk scene is very tight knit and well-organzied in Germany. For example, Münster, where we practice and I live, has become a sort of hot spot for good punk and hardcore shows over the last two or three years. Nowadays, bands from the DIY spectrum think about playing in Münster rather than Cologne or Hamburg when they plan European tours, which definitely says something about the impact of DIY scenes in smaller German cities.

4. Until last year, I didn’t know many emo bands from Europe. So, when I heard Basement I was kind of blown and I immediately started searching European emo bands. Can you please tell us how do you see the European emo bands and recommend us some really good bands?

Flo: Slowly but steadily there’s a resurgence of the whole emo thing in Europe, although it was never really gone. There’s a couple of bands you could check out, Sport from France or Gnarwolves from the UK, for example. If you like really slow stuff, you should check out a band from Austria called Rika, they’re very melancholy and mellow. Also, coincidentally, the band we share our rehearsal room with, called Käfer K, plays 90s emo influenced indiepunk. You’d have to understand German though to really get the most out of the music. If you don’t mind checking out bands that no longer exist, definitely listen to Reno Kid, which aren’t called the German Mineral for nothing, and Dear Diary, also from Germany. One of the most promising European bands in emo / post-hardcore right now are, in my opinion, Crash Of Rhinos. They just released their second album, Knots, which is just brilliant if you like music in the vein of Small Brown Bike or Knapsack. 

5.What are the things you learnt being in a band that you would never learn in a bureaucratic crap job?

Flo: One thing we definitely learned: you can’t take it for granted if good stuff happens to you, you always need to appreciate the efforts people put into things. Also, it’s incredible what you can accomplish when you really put your heart into it. There are so many venues struggling against the local government, and the people running them still spend all of their free time creating a safe space for people to party in, despite all the adversity, which is totally amazing. So, you definitely learn something about how far enthusiasm and friendship can go. 

6.What are the band’s next plans?

Flo: Right now, we’re demoing songs for our next EP, which we’ll record in November at our friend Jochen’s studio. It’ll probably be four songs, and we’re looking at a vinyl or cassette release, keeping it oldschool. We’ll also probably take a break from playing shows until next year, since I’m in the last stages of studying and our drummer has recently moved to Hamburg. With the new record under our belt, we’ll most likely hit the road again early next year.

7.There are some albums that change our perception about music and about life. Can you please tell us what is the album that mostly changed you?


Flo: This might make me sound like a total geek, but the album that really changed how I listened to music was In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth by Coheed & Cambria, released in 2003. Before that, I never really listened to guitar based music. Coheed really opened up this world of storytelling via song for me, and although they changed their sound pretty much after that album, they still remain one of my favourite bands of all time. I really like the fact that they tell this crazy SciFi story on the one hand, but also enable you to interpret the songs on a personal level. That’s, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects in music.

8.The Hate Grenade lyrics have a kind of contrasted feeling, but so real and so intense. How the lyrics are created in your musical process?

Flo: Thanks man, it’s great to hear that our songs connect with people. Our lyrics are basically about things that happened to me or stuff that bothers me. Relationships, failed and successful, the value of friendship, growing up, stuff like that. Mostly it starts out with a single line or a rhyme that’s stuck in my head, and I’ll write the lyrics around that. 

9.And how the whole instrumental part is created?

Flo: Ah, sadly, we’re not that unique in our approach, I fear. We actually mostly start out with the instrumental part. Usually, either Phil, our second guitar player, or me bring some riff to practice, and we just keep jamming on that until we find something that sticks. This has worked pretty well so far, and as long as the ideas for guitar parts keep coming, should also work well for the future.

9.What do you do to making a living at your town and how do you see the level of priority that the band has in your life right now?

Flo: Our drummer will take up teaching next year, our bass player is studying and working part time as a bartender – classic band job, right? -, our other guitar player is also working part time and I’m currently juggling my job at a music magazine and university. Since we all live in different cities, it’s hard to keep the band going at a professional level. But we still have fun, hang out a lot, play all the shows we can get and always write new music. So while the band isn’t our top priority at the moment, we’re definitely keeping busy.

10.Talking about older emo bands. Which ones you would like to reform for seeing a live performance?

Flo: Oh man, that would be a pretty long list, so I’ll just focus on the most important ones. One of my favourite emo bands, Gameface, has actually just reunited. I hope they’ll come over to Europe to play some shows. Also, I’d probably sell half of what I own to get Mineral back together, they really were one of the most important and influential band to come out of the whole 90s emo thing.

11.What was the music you used to listen when you were a kid? Does it, somehow, influence at you recent music?

Flo: Strangely enough, I grew up on conscious hip hop, stuff like A Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples, Mos Def and the likes, I never really was one for guitar music until I moved away from home a couple of years ago. The other guys in the band have more of a punk background. Lagwagon, Millencolin, Good Riddance, all the important 90s skatepunk bands. Funnily enough, that doesn’t influence our music at all, although we actually have been told we sound like a mix of The Get Up Kids and Lagwagon once, haha
11.Thank you so much. Tell anything, it’s the last question. Make jokes, send kiss to your relatives, save the world, etc.

Flo: Thank you for giving us the chance to make our nonsense heard, man! But, time for seriousness now: if you care about music, go out to shows, buy the records directly from the artist, if possible, and try to support your local scene in any way you can. I promise, if you partake and help create something meaningful, you’ll be a happier person in the long run. And remember: always be excellent to each other, people!

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