Tell me how FYS formed & what it was like growing up in hardcore hotbed Boston
Dan - Well we formed by in high school, myself, Alan, Jake and two other dudes that aren’t in the band anymore, started playing together and I dunno it was kind of like this thing that just came together in about a week.
Alan- Yeah we all kind of knew each other, well we met each other randomly actually, I actually met Dan through my sister because he’s a couple of years older than I am and we just ended up knowing each other when I first got into high school and his friend was my best friend at the time’s older brother and they were all in a band together so we all just came together and found out we all played instruments and we were like lets start a band. I’ve been growing up near Boston was awesome; there were shows all the time it was awesome.
It was Worcester you grew up in right?
Yeah and it was great going to shows all the time when I was a kid. The espresso bar I used to go to all the time where a lot of Boston bands came through and played there and its really cool though because you really get to see people put on different bands each weekend and then sometimes the same bands and its cool because we grew up in a place where the music scene is so important.
What was your hometown like to grow up in? Normal run of the mill good ole American town?
Dan - I went to high school a couple of blocks from my house
Alan - And I lived five minutes away from him, we all kind of grew up around the same area
Dan - Which is nice
Alan – There’s not really too much to do there unless your into sports, or like if you have friends that live around you and you can just do nothing
Dan – or go to the movies, do a sport or go to the gym & go to shows
Did you both do much sports?
Alan & Dan simultaneously – I rode crew
Alan – you know what crew is? it’s like a big rowing boat
Me – Like at the start of good will hunting (set in Boston)
Alan - eight person long boats
Dan – it’s cool because all the straight edge kids in school rode crew. It was kind of a big thing
Me – like a youth crew
Alan – I think they were just there because of the name haha
Who did you see at your first hardcore show and how did the initial that impact upon you?
Dan – uh my first show was Converge, Four Days Rain, Haven, that’s was my first show and it was awesome and its funny because I think I was in seventh grade when I went, I didn’t really expect anything and I’d gone to rock concerts when I was a kid, like Korn, totally different thing you go there and its like kids jumping on top of each other and it was cool because I’d been listening to these bands on my cassette player and my headphones for a while and I had no idea of big bands and small bands, I had no perception, bands I listen to must be crazy. And I was like oh there playing a show at the espresso bar and I didn’t go with anybody, I went alone, and there were only maybe twenty-five people, I was like this is really weird and then when the band started to play everybody started jumping on each other and fucking going crazy. It was insane and I didn’t know what it was. I was pretty much hooked on going to shows from that point on. It was just something I’d never seen before and it was just so cool to feel like you had an inside scoop you know what I mean? There weren’t many people that knew about these bands, it was just kind of cool to know you were one of these select few people who knew about it.
Me - I was interviewed recently for the London Metro newspaper and I sent the reporter to go see Down To Nothing at the London, Underworld, he said it was like a war zone in there and he had actually reported from warzones and the piece he wrote was pretty good.
Bet the shows were special, Ten Yard Fight, Reach For The Sky, In My Eyes it’s like a who’s who of the hardcore scene, we’ve kind of already discussed some of that already, How did seeing those bands inspire you, your both straight edge right?
Dan – A combination of my friend Matt and Strife. Strife is one of the reasons I became straight edge
Me – In This Defiance was the first hardcore album I’d heard, Strife wee one of my reasons for getting into straight edge
Dan- That’s pretty much how I became involved in everything, I heard Strife and didn’t hear Strife and then claim Edge or anything, I heard about straight edge before I thought about it, but right after I heard that record, that was when Matt the kid I was talking to he was like we have to start a band. It was kind of like I wanted to be every band I heard. Like Strife and All Out Was, if you heard all my old bands its just like all those bands J
Were you all in hardcore bands?
Dan - Yeah we all played in random hardcore bands, have you heard of youth attack? Just small bands
Oh so not every Boston band goes on to big things then? Lol Jeez have to remake this question, was it going to these shows, listening to EC, Strife that inspired you to become edge, you’ve kind of just answered that but were your reasons?
Alan – I mean I was really young when I decided to become straight edge, I was introduced to new music and I said before his friend that was my best friends at the time older brother um, I was going over my friends house at the time and his older brother was straight edge and he was showing me all kinds of new music and it was just very intriguing to me and at the time I was already feeling like I wasn’t fitting in I wasn’t the cool kid at school. When I first heard about it, it felt like something that I could relate too, and it just kind of stuck ever since. I’ve always felt like I was more a part of something special rather than just fitting in with the crowd with the crowd. It felt like me, and it made me feel like I was trying to be something that I wasn’t it just felt like me you know?
Me - I become straight edge in 2000, basically I heard a BBC documentary interviewing all the edge singers of the time, people like Sweet Pete that now plays on my website and it introduced me to so many new bands and it went from there.
What was it that appealed to you about straight edge, you’ve kind of answered how it appealed then but how does that represent and resonate today or has that changed over time?
Dan – Back when I first claimed edge it was very much more of a yea I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs and I don’t smoke and I don’t do any of that stuff and now its kind of more me being straight edge is more like a part of me. I’ve grown up and I can’t just picture living any other way, it is a part of my life now. It’s not really like it feels like I choose to be edge, its not conscious any more its just something solid, embedded in my subconscious.
Alan – when I first heard about it, it was more like maybe just because I was rebelling at the time, but when I first heard about I was like ‘I’m straight edge’ and id meet people who weren’t straight edge and it would be weird? You know, but that faded away so fast and then I realised that wasn’t what it was about and that became something that progressed, me being straight edge I realised was a personal choice.
Any one can do what they like to do as long as it is something they believe in, I wouldn’t ever put someone down for their beliefs, I just hope that people wouldn’t do the same to me.
Youth Crew or Metalcore, Beyond The Sixth Seal or The First Step?
Dan – youth crew, growing up that was definitely. Metalcore is more like an after thought; well what do you consider metalcore, because what I consider metalcore
Me- The first album’s I heard was ‘Imprint’ by VOD and Strife’s ‘In This Defiance’
Dan- My definition of metalcore is a little different, cause in my brain youth crew and metalcore are two polar opposites
Me- What about bands like BTSS or Converge
Dan- Bands like Converge I’d just straight call them a thrash band but like Strife I would just consider a later generation of hardcore band, obviously not youth crew but still, the things that make strife more metal to me are their cleaner songs rather than their heavier parts
Me- I listen to everything, I was rocking out to Less Than Jake before I came in for this, I grew up on Nirvana and Sublime
Alan – Oh yeah sublime, us two especially really listen to everything
Me- Listening to LTJ’s ‘Hello Rockview’ or ‘Borders & Boundaries’ is like listening to my youth all over again!
Is it like a conscious band decision to all grow beards or is it an unspoken laziness that forms your image?
Dan – It’s an unspoken laziness.
Alan – Everyone always thinks it’s this gimmick
Dan- It started because we couldn’t shave very much (on tour) so it’s easier to just not shave and then once I had a beard
Alan- it’s like you shave it off and you’re colder
Me- Trying to convince my girlfriend Rachel growing a beard is a good idea
Dan – You just gotta do it!
(Two weeks later I did and it was ace love love love beards)
Alan- It just keeps you so much warmer through the winter, I never realised that until one winter I shaved it off before work, I walked outside and my face felt FREEZING, it was NUTS!
Do you think it’s cool when kids get FYS tattoos and how do’s that make you feel?
Dan – I think its crazy (in a good way)
Alan – I think it’s cool that we’ve created something that kids are fired up about to put on their body for the rest of their life
Dan – Its kind of crazy some of the time with some of the lyrics that we just thought up in my parents basement, kids are getting tattooed on their chests, we wrote it because it men’t something to us
Alan- Its cool that people can relate to it whether it be how we felt about to what we were writing or whether they relate to it in their own way, that’s part of the reason we started writing music so people could get into it and enjoy it. The fact that it’s working is a good thing!
Que me talking randomly about all my straight edge tattoos after one of the guys asks me, we end up chatting about Have Heart there last show which I would have gone to had my passport not run out and then old hc bands reforming…
Dan – What’s funny about a lot of the older hardcore bands getting back together is the fact that there are still awesome and completely relevant because they have the novelty of being some of the first ones to do it, you go and you see them now and your like this band really sucks, bad, I mean I love the records they have some kind of awesome charm about them but you go see them now and the music is not that good.
Alan- Reach The Sky however was great.
Your new album just crazy rocks so hard and some of my favourite 90’s songs are one there, Roll To Me, Fly & Ironic especially the way you’ve remodelled them, it’s almost like a hearing new songs altogether. How did the permissions all come along, did you have to ask each individual band if it was cool?
Alan- we didn’t really deal with it, it was more the label, but we did hear that the only two we were waiting on was Nirvana and Reach The Sky. RTS was to do with label stuff
(Me - que Crowd chant Tony Brummels a right proper mug)
Nirvana though we had to wait because they had to get permission from everyone from within the band to hear it and to approve it. To think that Dave Grohl listened to it…
Dan - They have to physically hear the cover and approve it
Alan – Dave Grohl digs it J
Both Dan & Alan try and pronounce Kris Nevosolic (or however you spell the dumbass bass players stupidly complicated and unpronounceable last name)
What was it like recording with Buddy and J.R. from Less Than Jake?
Dan- It’s actually weird we didn’t record with them but what we did…
Me- See there was me becoming partially excited
Dan- They have their own studio in Florida, we got in contact with them then sent them the songs and they had families and didn’t want to come all the way to New York
Was it cool when you first got signed and has that novelty now worn off? Is it difficult staying humble with all the fans and fame ;-)
Alan – were not big time and were not rock stars
Dan – plus in this day and age with the internet you can just go online and see a million people bad mouthing you, so its not difficult to stay humble. Being signed to a record label was a huge deal and still is a huge deal to us, Rob and the label just did unbelievable things for us and we wouldn’t be where we are now without that one guy Rob.
They mention touring with New Found Glory last year and I chip in the fact that I’ve always wanted to chat with Chad and that Shai Hulud are bloody immense
Alan – Us too, we love Shai Hulud and we did the Easy Core tour in the States and the two Florida shows and New Found Glory played a Shai Hulud song with Chad singing and me and Dan playing guitar, it was AWESOME
Dan – It has to be one of the highlights
Alan – as stupid as it sounds it was literally a dream come true, it was cool
Favourite bands to tour with (aside from NFG haha)
Dan – Set Your Goals, Starting Line, The Avalanche, This Is Hell, we’ve been very lucky because we haven’t toured with any bands that have sucked
Alan- we’ve been very lucky, pretty much every band we’ve toured with we’ve become great friends with, even bands we would think we would necessarily hit it off with like Steel train totally different music, what if there weird guys and they were some of the best
Alan – Not really were pretty boring
Me- That’s just Rubbish!
Dan – were not the party animals so we just watch a movie
Alan- were the edge kids the boring guys
Me- Sit in the corner and sip water right?
Dan – were just boring.
What do you think of straight edge and hardcore growing popularity, I ask this because you guys have probably been involved with hardcore as long as I have, ten years and seeing someone like CM Punk in the WWE with straight edge tattooed across his chest and X’d up fists…I walked into my local supermarket the other day and actually bought a 12” inch figure of him all X’d up a nearly peed a little when I saw it, that was a great day! Its like how did that happen!
Alan- It’s funny that he’s straight edge because I feel like its died out more than it has grown more popular, every one I know that used to be straight edge is not any more other than Dan.
Dan – In high school it became the cool thing to be straight edge, especially like where we were from because everybody was edge and its true maybe everybody I know from school bar four kids are no longer edge any more, I mean I hated it that they were all edge in high school and now I’m out of it it just re-affirms my belief that it’s not something that everybody can do, it takes like a lot of dedication and a lot of will power and conviction. When they started breaking it just made it special again.
Me – That’s a new take on edge breaking haha, there is a good valid point there
Alan- definitely and when my close friends started breaking edge again it just points out that it’s your own belief it doesn’t matter who do’s what.
Alan – The only people I hang out with that are straight edge are Dan, our tour manager and our merch guy. That’s pretty much it.
How have both scenes changed both the posi and negi over the past decade? Myspace makes it a lot easier to release music into the world and be heard but it also churns out a lot of crap.
Alan – It’s a lot harder for people to take you seriously because like you said anyone and their mom can create a band and put it up on myspace, everybody has demos, the ways that it used to be people hand making demo’s with hand drawn art work
Me- Tape Cassettes
Alan – there’s almost no point in trying anymore, the internet is like a plus and a curse because we definitely would not be where we are today without it but then again if we had done what we’ve done without the internet we would be much more successful and rich haha
Dan- That’s one thing we were talking about the other day how cool it would be if the internet just suddenly crashed and was gone
Alan – and then we decided that if we could find say the world heard quarters of the internet we would just go in (Dan inter-jecting at the same time as both band members become one symbiotic being and chirp up) JUST BURN IT DOWN
Dan – No more internet hahahahahaha
Alan – cause it would suck not to be able to search for stuff on google but you could just like go buy a set of encyclopaedia’s, buy some stamps because you don’t have email, they have all these social networking sites but if anything it makes people be way more anti-social, people add a bunch of people of myspace
Dan – everything is just ass-backwards you got people who are like yeah man I got a thousands friends and were like oh alright then go call one up, nope you can’t call anybody up because its completely ridiculous
I always ask about the crews and especially being from Boston, you all have the social infrastructure where you have things like ghettos, crack dens and all sorts of fun stuff like that but what is that all about? And what is going on with your economy haha sort it out!
Alan – were not involved with crews, we have friends who are
Me at the same time both FSU (Friends Stand United and Courage Crew) do positive things like kick out the neo-nazi idiots that infiltrate the early 90’s shows and also work security at hardcore events
Dan- They pretty much run Boston. Like any big gathering or organisation of kids is going to get a bad mouth by like the media, like straight edge is a gang what are you kidding me? Its like if you go into Salt Lake City (home of the first documented murder committed by two straight edge kid who was set upon by a Latino gang in their neighbourhood and defended themselves) with a shirt that says straight edge cops will like stop you.
Alan - I have an old friend who had three X’s tattooed on his lip who’s just joined the army and someone else told him you cannot show that to anyone else higher up, they’ll kick you out because straight edge is a gang and that’s just ridiculous to me. It basically started as groups of friends who did a good thing by getting rid of the racism, trying to clean up the scene and make it a positive thing
Dan – All the people I know from both of those crews are great dudes, awesome, they’ve helped us out amazingly.
Me- Almost like a complete misunderstanding, violence happens everywhere and if you look at statistics for violent acts committed by people under the intoxicated influence it far far far outweighs any thing a bunch of straight edge kids could do
Alan – any particular person could commit a crime, you know do something that’s against the law but the second that person is part of an organisation, the whole group gets labelled.
Dan – It’s all down to misunderstandings, we all grew up within the scene and when you get people that are involved in politics or peoples parents who see kids at a show jumping on top of each other and their all like OMG there trying to kill each other this is fucking crazy, people just don’t understanding and in the long run I think people just need to stick to what they know and leave every body else alone.
Me – Kind of like America and Iraq haha lets not go there as silence descends
Hardcore is a lifestyle like hip-hop discuss...I got lazy with the questions apparently
Dan – Every genre of music I think, kids who listen to it they have a lifestyle, a dress your friends usually listen to the same type of music you listen to, you just surround yourself with it and it becomes a part of you.
Can any of you back flip?
Dan – I cannot. I’m way to big to even try!
Alan – No way I can’t even touch my toes
Me- I was hoping for a Bad Brains style back flip at the end of your set, rubbish haha
Dan – we can barely jump
Alan – we pogo a lot & I got a bum knee (Alan sounded so fucking Boston there fucking hilarious)
Most crucial hardcore bands of all time?
Alan – As far as im concerned Strife are right up there, Reach The Sky, Black Flag, Minor Threat and yea I feel like this could be just an on going list, Converge, Integrity, every record Converge has done they continually re-invent themselves and its still cool, just sound great. Personally im more of an early converge fan but I still love the newer stuff too. Bane because there from our hometown, Worcester, every kid that was from our home town are close to them.
Me- Aaron from Bane formed Bane after he started off in Converge
Dan – The Hope Conspiracy and American Nightmare
Alan – All those bands rule, AN are probably one of my all time favourites
Me - speaking of AN I didn’t get good vibes from them and The Hope Con stayed round my house when they played locally but you guys are like the nicest nicest Boston band ive ever met, there normally grumpy! Nate from Converge though is awesome he stayed round mine when he was touring with his other band Doomriders, so good.
The End – Hoods Up!