Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mindsnare Interview

Here's an interview I did with Melder for issue 5 of TheSharpEndZine. Was reprinted in an issue of Sick Of Goodbyes too I think? Right Chris? Anyway, read on...

You guys have just put out your new 7” through established Aussie records label Short Fuse Records. How has the record been received? Did you manage to get rid of all of them?

We only just got as it took so long to get here but in a few weeks we have already got over 400 out there so that’s cool. Feedback so far has been good,  As time goes on you get closer to being that band that should have called it quits….Maybe the next record?

Why the decision to do a wax only release? With the current popularity of hardcore in this country currently do you think that alot of your younger fan base may be of the more CD buying nature?

Well I am sure if the CD kids want it they can download a rip or whatever. This record was always going to be on a 7”, it’s been in the works for at least 8 years. Back then vinyl was pretty common.

Do you worry about alienating that group in this respect?

I never really think about that. If kids hate us because 4 songs aren’t available on a CD then good on them. They should probably hate us because our songs are shitty, not the format it’s delivered on.

As I said Short Fuse helped you put out the release. The label has been responsible for numerous notable Aussie bands in the past including Arms Reach and AVO. How did the hook up with the label come about?

We have been friends with Clint for years and he offered it to us a long time ago, its our fault that it took so long…he was really patient with us…props to him. Mind you, putting any record out and dealing with any band is a bit of a fuckaround.

Why not just use Trial And Error to do the wax?

I don’t like putting out our records. We always try to do them with someone else as it’s two lots of people working on an album and we just like doing things on different labels. I always do Mindsnare records when the other labels are done with it. I like putting out other people’s records, that stokes me more.

Early orders of the record were also available with a limited edition skate deck. I haven’t seen the board. What was the  idea behind it?

I wanted to do something different and over the top. I thought a skateboard with the limited vinyl would be cool so we had the limited records made to look like a wheel. We got fucked around by the board manufacturer so we have now had to get them made in the States. If you try to keep the money in Australia and do the right thing you get fucked over. The result is a better board though so if people want to skate them they are getting a better deal, they are being done in the same factory as Black Label and Element.

Who handled the art work for the deck, where did you get them made and how many were produced?

There’s a 100 boards and the art was done by Andy Bloodstains. He also did the artwork for our Bootleg cd, he’s a long time friend of the band and can often be found up the front of the Melbourne shows on turps.

The record is available in colours etc. In Australia currently if you want to have a record pressed in colour it has to be done overseas, black is all that can be done here at the moment. Where did you have the record pressed?

Somewhere in the UK…no idea where as that was on Clints end. Coloured vinyl is huge at the moment, I go through stages of buying it or refusing to buy it. It doesn’t sound as good as black. Can I hear the difference? Probably not…I am just full of shit. I had a huge argument with the merch guy for Battery in Germany once as I refused to take a coloured LP from him.

The 7” was originally supposed to be available for sale on the Ringworm tour that you guys recently took part in but alas it wasn't ready yet. What happened there?

Usual long winded ‘we got fucked around because of vinyl’ story but we took preorders and anyone that went for it got a patch that was limited to those people. I guess that’s something..right?

Speaking of the Ringworm tour, what was it like? How was it playing every night with such hardcore legends?

It was a blast, we had a lot in common with them as well as the Dead Walk. Some people got their noses out of joint at some of the shows because of some peoples attitudes…fucking weak cunts. This is hardcore not a fucking love in, what the fuck did they expect at a Ringworm show.

Mindsnare also just more recently took part in a country wide tour with American legend thrash metal band Kreator. What was that tour like? How did it contrast to the Ringworm tour?

Completely different, I didn’t even talk to them, they weren’t really around but that’s cool. Those guys have been doing it for so long they don’t need to get punished and make small talk with us. Not to mention the Euro’s have a dry outlook anyway and we are all about having a good time. The shows were hard work but we knew that going in and we are not the band that wants to sit in our comfort zone…it’s good to cop a bit of shit every now and again…character building. Sydney turned out to be the strongest for us which is a bit of a turnaround for a city that turned it’s back  on us ten years ago.

Even though you may not have a big a fan base as a band like Parkway I think it’s safe to say that Mindsnare is currently Australia's best and most established hardcore band. Would you think it’s safe to say such a thing?

Nah not at all. There’s probably 10 bands out there that sell more records than we do and are way more popular. We wouldn’t want to be as big as Parkway as we don’t have the time to put in, not to mention they are a better band. There’s a lot of bands blowing up now and that’s a good thing, a lot of people that are backing them will be gone in a couple of years but some will hang around and that’s cool. I’m stoked for the Parkway guys. 

You guys probably have one of the longest running current histories within the scene. How has the Australian scene changed since the earlier days?

I think it has it’s ups and downs. All in all, the scene is a lot stronger these days and the shows are well attended. I saw a lot of good shit years ago and things that could never be replicated but from where I am standing there are some really good bands making really good records…We have really stepped up and not only caught up to the rest of the world in song writing and production but  we are getting to the point where some of our bands will be setting some world standards.

And more specifically, how has Melbourne changed?

It hasn’t a lot. It has always been stronger than other city’s across the board, There has always been pockets of this and that blowing up here and there like Adelaide All Ages and such but Melbourne has been the most consistent. It’s a hard town for bands as well as we have always had an ‘arms crossed’ thing happening here that you don’t see in other states. People will come out to check the band out but you don’t get instant love and recognition and that’s a good thing. Bands have to earn that shit or they are just another piece of shit hype band. Stronghold kept coming back and making it happen, the last show I saw of theirs at the Arthouse was amazing. They kept working at it and got the reward, there was a lot of hype around them and they lived up to it, there are bands out there that definitely don’t live up to the hype.

Where do you see the Aussie hardcore scene going n the next 3 years? Do you see the popularity continuing or do you see it dissipating a bit?

I hope it drops a little and we shed some of the fashion kids. By saying that I don’t mean what people are actually wearing, I mean kids that are living their ‘Hardcore Phase’, There are a lot of good bands coming up not to mention in the next two years we are going to see bands like PWD, IKTPQ and Carpathian all releasing new albums so it’s going to be interesting to see if everyone keeps selling more than 10,000 copies. On the other end of the hardcore scale there are a lot of bands that completely opposite to those bands and it’ll be good to see them sticking it out and even more popping up. Hardcore has got pretty glitzy and it’s good to see with it’s rise that there are bands and people who still embrace the counter culture with lyrics or zines and such. Where does Mindsnare fit in with all this…not really sure?

The internet: is it a good thing or bad thing? How do you think it has helped hardcore in the last 5 years?

It’s a good thing. People can get their message out there, it’s a lot easier for bands to be heard overseas and find music that would have been a lot harder to  find. It has helped it blow up to proportions that were not even imaginable 10 years ago here, some would argue that isn’t a good thing and may be right. There is a lot of shit talking going on but that happened back in the day as well, it’s just back then people would actually say it to each other and fight instead of hiding behind ‘it’s only the internet’

I know you guys don’t have a myspace or anything like that. What do you think of the internet giant?

I think it’s awesome, it definitely puts bands in control of being heard and self promoted. It’s good for people that want to get fingered as well. I’m not looking to finger anyone so I may sign Mindsnare up…we’ll see.

I’ll assume that Mindsnare isn’t a full time job, what do you guys have to get up to to pay the bills?

While the band does earn money when we actually play, we just spend it on rehearsal, storage, studio time(hardly ever), flights and things like that. It’s been a long time since we split any money as there always seems to be a bill to pay. We never have to put money in which is a pretty good position to be in. There are a lot of bands that actually earn money from all of this and don’t work but they spend their money on similar things as well only on a grander scale. There is also a shitload of bands that don’t break even on a tour even after it has been well attended once you factor everything in.

And with full time work and members participating in other bands etc doy uo gusy have trouble making time for the band? Is Mindsnare still after this time your number one priority?

Well it is and it isn’t. When you have been doing it for as long as us you just tend to do whatever the fuck you want. We only do things that everyone wants to do, if someone is against something then we don’t bother. We wouldn’t be a band if we did things for our ‘career’. We do this for the same reason we have always done this. It’s pretty weird that people still find us valid and worth their time, at the same time I completely understand anyone writing us off that has just gotten into hardcore as we don’t really fit the myspace mould and what they have been sold on what hardcore is.

The current line up includes such a diverse back ground with members coming from such a contrast of legendary Aussie bands like grinders Bloodduster to punk long runners Frenzal Rhomb. Do you think having such a contrasting line up helps the band create good tunes?

Well Beltsy writes all the music and pretty much has it all mapped out in his head. It’s never set in stone and we all have input but it usually works out that he knows best. It wasn’t until we dragged Gordy in from Frenzal that what Beltsy wanted could be realised and that really opened the band up and saw Matt really stepping it up a notch. Some people would argue that the older stuff is better. I wouldn’t agree as I think it sounds dated but fuck but if a band is lucky enough for people to care one way or another then you must have done something right.

So with the new 7” out now and tours duties for the year complete, what is next for Mindsnare? Any idea of when a new full length could be on the cards?

We have almost finished writing the new record which will probably be out June ’07. We have no idea of the title or anything but it is coming along well and hopefully people will like it. If I can bothered doing a myspace we will have some demo tracks up by the end of the year.

Words for the Aussie scene? Thanks etc?

Keep downloading. Fuck bands and labels that cry about ‘loss of income’, if you like something you have downloaded then go and see the band live. You can still buy the album or a shirt and have the band see your money and support or at least some a couple of dollars from the door price. Downloading lets people check out albums to see if they like them. Sure you are gonna loose some sale but if you band is any good then you will also gain them and shows will become bigger. I think the internet is a great leveller and ensures that good bands do get heard and have a better chance. Shows have become a lot bigger with downloading and at the end of the day music should be live.