VERSE
This interview was originally done by Pete for Take The Risk online zine. Check out www.TakeTheRisk.net for interviews, reviews, and a bunch more stuff by lots of different hardcore, punk, and indie bands.
First of all my congratulations for your debut full-length “Rebuild”! I definitely think it’s one of the landmark-albums of 2005, so how happy are you with it?

Thank you for your kind words. We are definately happy with how everything turned out. Kyle and Zach have done a great job and are such easy guys to work with. The response we've received since it came out has been absolutely amazing. If it weren't for Rivalry I don't know where we would be right now. We're just still shocked at how much notice people have taken since the record came out. We're just these humble dudes playing music who weren't really expecting all that much, I mean maybe we were hoping for it, but definately not expecting things to be as awesome as they have become.

You seem to be a lot on the road, so is Verse already a full-time band? If not, what do you guys do outside of the band to make a living? Anyone still going to school or college?

We're not a full time band. Someday maybe, who knows what the future holds. Matt and Mike are in college. I'm toying with the idea of maybe going back to school, I'm not quite sure yet. For me I normally have to tour, then try to find a job when I get back home. Most places don't keep you around if you leave for months at a time. Eric and Brian both work as well.

You’re member of the well respected Rivalry Rec. family, so how came the contact to those guys? How much do you enjoy working with them?

I've known Kyle for about 5 years now, so I knew him before he started the label up. He used to be in a band called The Damage Done. He's always been a good friend. Pretty much the story of how we ended up on Rivalry goes as follows: Aram from Champion does a rad label called Anchor Records. He Said he dug the 4 songs EP and that he wanted to put out the next thing we did. Which was definately awesome because I've also been friends with him for quite a while too. He put out my old bands 7" and did a great job with it so we were psyched on that. We had been writing for a while and when the time came to record, we were stuck. We had no money at all. Then this label called New Day Rising called us up and offered to pay for our recording. The problem there was, I didn't know these guys at all. So I was super nervous about doing something with them. We thought about it for a while and talked and came to the conclusion that the record was not gonna come out unless someone could help us pay for recording. We were just too poor. When Kyle heard that we were gonna have to go with NDR instead of Anchor, He stepped in and made us the same offer that NDR did. He is also very good friends with Aram and did not want to take a band away from him or anything, but us deciding that we had to go with NDR made us fair game again haha. So thank God Kyle wanted to work with us. Him and Zach have done such an amazing job with their label. I think they definately have the best label in hardcore and punk right now. Plus it's not a job to them, it's something they love to do. No big business minded bullshit dudes trying to make a buck off of exploiting us or any of the other bands on Rivalry. They put out bands that they like, at their own leisure. We love working with them and there is definately a family type vibe going on w/ Rivalry, and the bands on the label. All of the bands are great, and very cool guys to hang out with.

Verse has a very unique sound, that includes a lot of melody, while still being extremely raw and in-your-face. Am I right with making out kind of an “old school emo”-vibe, let’s say in the vein of Embrace?!

Yeah man, that is my favorite record of all time. I've never heard anyone say that before, but i think there are some elements taken from some of that era of the DC scene. We have a lot of differant influences I guess, but what it all comes down too is that we don't try to write songs to sound like anyone else. We just write music not really with an aim of sounding like another band or emulating another band. We just write what we feel.

The sound of “Rebuild” is pretty powerful, but still unpolished, what I definitely enjoy. If you had the money for a gigantic production, would you make use of it, or is that kind of gloss not appropriate for a band like Verse?

I'm not into super overproduced sounding records. I like some stuff like that, but not much. I love raw sounding recordings. I think Verse needs to be in the middle of those extremes. I think if we had a recording that was super polished, we would not be satisfied with it. If we had the money for it I guess we would try to get the best recording we could get, but definately not go for that overboard polished sound.

Even though there’re a lot of great (diverse) bands around, something seems to be rotten with hardcore right now. If you had the chance to change at least one thing about this community, what would it be?

The violence. The level of ignorance.

In “What This Means” you talk about “fashion-parades” and “empty moves” at shows. I often ask myself, how could it come so far?

I wonder the same thing. It's ok if you want to dress how you want and shit, but sometimes I wonder if that is really who they are. I see so many kids change with the direction of the wind. Whatever becomes cool, they jump on the bandwagon so quick. People start going to shows just to look good and try too impress everyone. 1st off, It's hardcore punk. Not a runway for a fashion show, or some high school bullshit. 2nd, it's not a popularity contest, I know I got into the hardcore and punk scene because I never fit in with othere people's ethics or bullshit materialistic thoughts on how life is. I didn't get into it because I wanted to look cool. 3rd, I don't give a fuck how tough or hard you are. Seriously, none of that shit matters. If you're hard, you're hard. You don't have to go out and prove it to everyone, especially at a show. It seems like a lot of people just try to hurt people at shows and shit, everytime I see that shit. I just think, man, imagine if we could get people to do this kind of shit to people that are really taking away our basic human rights. Or administrations, businesses,and governments that are keeping us oppressed? Damn... just imagine the possibilities.

You guys consider hardcore to be a non-violent movement, what is highly appreciated. Unfortunately, many bands don’t have the balls to speak out against crap like Boston Beatdown, since it “represents the oh-so-crucial dangerous side of hardcore”. Do they only fear to lose some scene-points?

Basically, I don't give a shit. Do what you want. That doesn't mean I'm going to agree with it. Or support it. I know some dudes in FSU and they are really the nicest dudes. I know sometimes youhave to fight, and it sucks man. I wish it didn't go down that way, but sometimes you have too. But that is in the outside world. Not the underground. I still feel that hardcore and punk is a non violent movement. That is my personal opinion, others may not have the same and I understand that. That will never keep me from feeling the way I feel though. I grew up through a lot of rough times man, and I found that going to hardcore shows was an escape from all of that. I would sneak out of my group home to go to shows, knowing that when I got back, I might get thrown in jail for a week haha. It just kills me to think that someone who has not had to deal with half of the shit I have dealt with in my life, can go to a show and act like a hardass and treat it like it's a place to beat the shit out of people, when for others, like me.. it has always been a safer place for me to go to. A place where I could escape allthe shit I had to deal with at home and in my life.I'm not worried about losing scene points at all, I don't think I have any to begin with.

Please tell us a bit more about the lyrics of “Painting Pictures”!

the story of the song and how I was inspired to write it is really sad, so I don't normally even talk about it or let people in on it. But I will today.Here is the story about how the song came about: My Grandmother passed away, We buried her next to my Father. 2 weeks later My Uncle died. we buried him next to my Father as well. As you could imagine I was losing it, I was so fucked up over it. I hadn't cried about my Dad in so long. The whole mystery behind his death and everthing, which I will not get into, left me with no closure at all. So I'm really fucked up about that, still am to this day. As soon as I got home that day from my Uncle's funeral, I sat down in front of a window in my house. I must have cried for 2 hours and sat in the same place. This line popped into my head right then when I started to break out of it. the sun was going down in back of me in that window, so that's where "the sun is setting on my back" comes from. Then I just went with it from there.I Just poured my emotions out onto that piece of paper. That is where the song came from. Hopefully you can have a better understanding of what the song is now.

I think there are still a lot of great bands around in hardcore right now, so what are your current favorites? Any favorite bands to play with or bands from Providence/RI, that we should know?

There are great bands around right now, bands that I am totally excited about.My favorite current bands are Have Heart, Guns Up, Allegiance, More To Pride, Charge, Triple Threat,The Promise, Another Breath, How We Are, Learn, Lights Out,Get Killed, Shipwreck, Champion, Internal Affairs, SinkingShips, Make Move, The Phys, Killing The Dream, Go It Alone, Mental, Youth Attack, Outbreak, Wrong Side, there are a million I could keep naming off. I like a lot of current bands. AS far as bands to play with goes, Have Heart, Guns Up, Charge, The Promise, Any Rivalry band, Blue Monday, Any band from Providence. Providence has a very mixed scene, I love it. Bands to check out are Get Killed, Learn, Shred The Past, Dropdead, A.D.J., Daughters, Short Fast Dead, The Body, All Those Opposed, The Nightmare Continues.

I recently had the pleasure to see 7 Seconds and Unearth sharing the stage and it was just awesome. Do you enjoy the new musical diversity the hardcore/punk scene has to offer today?

Yes I do. I love all sorts of differant music. I don't know what Unearth sounds like though haha, but I'm sure it was cool. Maybe that will give me some motivation to check them out now. Mixed shows I think can be a very good thing. If done right.

I know you like the layout/design-thing, so which artworks/booklets impressed you the most over the last few years?

My friend Tyler, I love his artwork. We're both graffitti writers, but the way he incorporates it into his art is amazing. his website is www.sintaxera.com. I'm not really digging a whole lot of layouts lately to be honest. The work that my friend Jeremy W. does is amazing as well. Just as far as illustration goes they are both amazing at what they do. Jeremy's site is www.monstersindisguise.com.

To come to an end, what are the future plans of Verse? Any things you want to achieve on a personal level?

We're coming out to Europe soon, Hopefully after that we can just keep doing tours and working on the next LP for Rivalry. I already have most of the next record written lyrically and it's called "From anger and rage". It's just basically dealing with the frustration we face everyday in this world from people trying to keep us down and control us. People giving us a bad name etc. On a personal level, I just want to educate myself more on what goes on in this world for real. Not what the biased media tells us is going on. I just really want to dig deep into our history as human beings and all the horrible things we have done to eachother and the horrible things that still go on in the present day world.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, take care.

Thanks for taking the time, dude!

 

 

 

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