VERSE

This interview originally appeared in AMP Magazine (www.AmpMagazine.com) and was conducted by Kirby Unrest.

Name/age/band duties?

Sean, 25, vocals, and at times other things.

So when did you guys begin, who else is in the band, where are you from and what made you want to be a part of Verse?

We're from Providence RI. We started in January-ish 03. We are currently going through some member changes unfortunately. We would have loved to have kept the original line up, but sometimes people have to move on, and sometimes that involves leaving something you love behind. Which I feel is definitely the case with us. I guess we never thought we would become at all as busy as we have become. So I think instead of holding the band back, some of us just would rather let go, and let the band do as much as we can. Before the band became an official band, it was really just a side project. We weren't trying to do anything super serious. We just wanted to get together and jam and see what came of it. We ended up writing a few songs with me on the drums, and then I asked if I could switch to vocals since things had just fallen apart with WFTF. So we ended up doing that. Then we officially became a legit band. I guess at this point, what makes me want to be a part of Verse is knowing that I can express myself and tell the world where I'm coming from. I can speak my mind about anything I want, and really get out all the emotions I need to get out. I've been writing constantly since I was like 12. So for me to actually at this point in my life, have people who can hear what I have to say, and maybe be able to relate to it at all, means so much to me. So that is what truly makes me want to be a part of this band.

I really dig the band name; it’s simple but powerful, and so much better than all the “bleeding autumn ashes from the red December skies” monikers you hear, or the ever popular posi/old school names that either involve a song title from a long gone band, the word “youth” or something equally atrocious and overused, etc. Why did you pick the name Verse and what does it mean to you?

I'm gonna say everything you just said sums up why the name Verse stuck. It's a word that I feel is powerful, and it can be interpreted different ways. It is a word that describes writing music /songs. It is associated with music, and that is what we do. We write music.

Since the beginning of Verse, the ex members of What Feeds the Fire tag has been pretty prominent. What are your feelings on the legacy of WFTF and how do you view those interested in Verse solely because it has former WFTF dudes?

I guess it helped us out quite a bit being ex members or whatever, but we never really advertised ourselves as an ex- members of band. Other people did that, which is totally fine. It gave us a push in the beginning and made people want to check us out. The time I spent being in WFTF was great. It was amazing learning experience for me. It may have left some what of a sour taste in my mouth at the end, but over all it was a great time for me. The one thing that I hear people say sometimes that really just kind of makes me wonder why they were actually into WFTF, is when people say how they like WFTF over Verse. That is fine to feel that way. I don't really see it myself, but it is totally fine with me. The thing that I don't get is the argument that seems to clinch it that goes something like this.." I like Verse a lot, but I still like WFTF more, man that intro was so awesome". I've never been a person who was into gimmicks. I felt that that was a gimmick. It was fun I will admit, but what it really came down to is that was just the name of the band over a heavy part. Nothing more than that. No lyrical content, no direction, no substance. People will disagree with me on this I'm sure of it, and again that is fine. If there were one thing I could take away from the legacy of that band, it would be that. I'm very happy that people that were into WFTF, got down with Verse.

Along the same lines, how do you think the two bands differ and/or what qualities do they share?

I think Verse has more of a progressive sound musically and lyrically. We're not nailed down to any certain type of writing. I think we have a lot more writing and creative freedom in Verse to approach writing however we want. Where as WFTF seemed to be more so stuck to one formula. I know lyrically I have definitely matured since then. I feel I can actually express myself exactly how I want to now, and I'm not afraid to get personal or hold back one bit.

What other groups have the members of Verse been involved with? Anyone currently affiliated with a side project?

We've all been in a bunch of other bands, nothing that really came of anything or went anywhere. Just more like local have fun kind of projects. Brian is in a band called Rampage. They are definitely getting some recognition. They are a great band, so it's well deserved.

Lyrics are a beloved aspect of Verse. Do you pen them all, or are other members involved? What thoughts/messages do you wish to convey with your words?

I take care of the lyrics. There was one song that I really wanted to share with my best friend who was going through an incredibly trying time in her life. With the "rebuild" Lp I wanted to write a few songs that had to deal with some of the hard times I had been through in my life. I feel that is a part of rebuilding and definitely tied into the whole theme of the record. One of those songs was "saying goodbye". My friend was losing her Mom, and I know how hard it is to watch someone that is so close to you wither away and leave you forever right before your eyes. I really wanted her to write about how it was making her feel; I already had a few lines written because I was going through a very similar thing with my Uncle Frank at the time. I wanted it to just be straight forward and not super hard to understand or relate to. I had the lines "you're leaving me, and I don't know why. All I know is that I'm saying goodbye." I sent that to her and told her to just go with it, just write whatever you feel. Get it all out. I think it was good for both of us to work on that song together, it definitely helped me through a tough time just being able to talk to each other about what was going on, and how fucked up we were over losing our loved ones. I love her so much and I'm so glad she played a part in that song with us. The only thing I wish to convey with my words is for some people to be able to relate, or at least spark something inside of them to open their minds a little bit. I know I’m not going to be able to please everyone, but that's fine. Not everyone is going to see eye to eye with things I have to say, but I'm not going to stop expressing myself in the way that I do. It just wouldn't be me to write about issues that are just to please everyone. I don't want to single anyone out, but at the same time I don't want to have to hold back anything that I'm feeling.

You came out to the West Coast in Jan for a few weeks with Have Heart and Guns Up! How did that tour ago and what are your current plans for the road?

That tour was such a good time. Those bands are our best friends to begin with, so it was like going on tour with all of your favorite people to hang out with. Our friends in Youth Attack also went out with us for the beginning part of the tour and went home after the Daytona show. There were some minor set backs with the tour, but over all it was just a great time. As far as our current plans go, we're doing a weekend in Canada with our friends, The Promise. There's this band playing that I'm pretty excited to check out called Lion of Judah, so it should be a fun weekend. After that just some scattered shows till June. Then we're hopefully going to go out with Blue Monday from June 1st - June 14th. They have a new record coming out soon and they are awesome dudes to hang out with. So hopefully they can make it out here for that. Either way, we will be doing a tour around that time, concentrating on the Midwest area. We haven't been out that way at all yet, so we're due. After that we're going out to Europe with Another Breath. I can't even tell you how excited we are for that. I'm still in awe that by writing music and playing in a band, you can do these amazing things like tour, put out records, and meet such cool people in the process. We're just so lucky to be able to do all of this.

Do you have a full time drummer or are you still using fill ins?

We just recently decided that we're going to need a new drummer. We love Mike but it is really hard for us to be a band with out him being able to commit as much as he would like to, and as much as we would like him to. So we had to come to a decision to get a new drummer, it was nothing personal whatsoever. Mike is an awesome dude, and still a friend to all of us. Our new drummer is Shawn. He plays drums in another band from our hometown called Learn. He is up for anything, anytime, and is 100% committed. That is what we really need in a drummer. We're very glad that he is in the band now. Makes things run much smoother knowing that we don't have to find anyone to fill in for us anymore.

During your tour in Summer 04, your van/trailer were vandalized and most of your gear/equipment/merch/cash was stolen. How has the recovery process been, and did police ever locate the guilty parties?

Recovery process has been slow. It's really hard to get back on your feet after that much shit goes wrong all at once. Luckily there were a lot of people willing to help us out. We never asked for a thing, but just out of the kindness of their hearts people came together and helped us out. Friends put on a couple benefit shows for us, other kids who we never even met before helped us out. It was just awesome to know that people actually cared about us in some little way. I would do the same for anyone else who needed help, so it's nice to see that returned. If it weren't for all of them, I don't know if we would have still been a band. The guilty parties were never found. Who knows, maybe they needed the money more than us. But if they didn't, I know they will get what is coming to them sooner or later.

What led you guys to sign with Rivalry, a relatively new label, as opposed to someone more established?

Anything Kyle does, he does well. He has been a good friend over the years. So when he approached us I knew he would do a good job with our record, and he has. As far as other more established labels.. That is cool and all, sometimes you have to worry about distro and all of that, and if you are gonna get help on the road. But Rivalry Takes care of all of that too. They’re not in it to make money off of anyone, they just want to break even and put out good records that they themselves like. I think Kyle and Zach do a great job with their label. and I'm glad that we could grow with them and be a part of what they're doing.

What is your opinion on “Fashioncore?” I ask this because I find it interesting how a lot of kids are quick to attack those who wear $300 jeans and mascara, but will themselves pay thousands for test presses, X watches and vintage dunks. Personally, I don’t really care what people want to spend their money on, so it doesn’t matter much to me; I’m just not down with the hypocrisy of such individuals. So I’m curious as to what you think.

When it all comes down to it, it doesn't matter what you wear. There should be no rules, no uniform. Record collecting is one thing, I understand that. I am not a record collector, but I do understand why people like to collect them. Dunks are lame and Nike sucks. Just my opinion. If you're into that sort of thing its fine, go for it. It's just not what I'm into. As far as "fashioncore" goes, I don't even know where it came from. If people want to spend money on pointless things like that then fine. I'm just not into people thinking that they are hardcore because they are wearing skin tight jeans, tight as fuck t-shirt, and a white belt. Or on the other hand think they are all of a sudden super hard because they got a Cro Mags t shirt off of ebay and a fresh new pair of Nike dunks..I just don't understand it. There are actually kids who think there is like, this set uniform, like you have o go out and buy certain clothes because you want to be a part of something. I don't understand that mentality. While I might not agree with going so overboard on the fashion thing, it's a choice that people have. What it all comes down to is I think there is a point that some people get too. A point where they are just trying way too hard. It's just petty shit that doesn't matter at all. Where what you like, just be yourself. If you're haggard, be haggard. If you're punk, be punk. Just don't do it because you think that's what you have to do to fit in. I don't think there should be any set of rules. The only thing that I think people should be more open to is the history of hardcore and punk, and where all of this started. I'm always learning new things to this day. I think that is very important.

Another one that really irks me is kids who relentlessly attack anyone who uses the words “faggot” and/or “gay”(pejorative use on the latter) but have no problem with throwing around a term like “bitch.” Again, it’s the hypocritical element that bothers me far more than the actual words. Any thoughts?

I really think you have to be careful with how you word things. I've definitely used those words before. I will also say I can't stand those words, and most of the time when people use them, myself included, it sounds really stupid. I always try to be careful to not offend people with those words. It all depends on how you're saying these things. If you're using it to actually be a bigot and trying to offend another person, just on the fact that they are gay or of a different race/color/creed etc. Then that is something that really bothers me. I have no tolerance for that. That is now, and will always be tricky subject matter. There are always going to be people who will take offense to it if they hear it used in a non-threatening way, and those who won't even care at all.

Alright, that’s probably enough political/social discussion for this interview. So, what are your favorite ways to kill time in the van? I heard that you guys have dance parties.

Reading, listening to music, sleeping, or dance parties. Us and Have Heart were doing about 80 mph on the highway. Ryan put on some weird techno music and turned it up loud as hell. Next thing I know, its pitch black in the van, and then the lights start flickering on and off. Half of us have no shirts on, and we're just diving on top of each other dancing like a bunch of fucking weirdoes. I don't know what got into us, but it was out of control. I don't know if that will ever happen again. If it did I feel it might cheapen the original van dance party. Maybe we could do one for charity sometime.

Best roadside/tourist attraction you’ve been to?

Chucky's house. His family was the best.

Pretty much every East Coast band I’ve ever met ends up becoming obsessed with some West Coast eatery when they come here. In N Out, Del Taco, and a few others seem to be the most popular. Do you have any places you love out on the Left Coast?

I love that place Pokey's in San Diego. Best burrito's I've ever had. In N Out and Del Taco can suck it. I don't understand the fascination with those places.

How is the scene in Rhode Island? My ex-g/f never stops talking about it. Any new bands kids should know about?

It's a cool vibe here. Not too much pretentiousness, a lot of different types of kids come out to shows. It's very diverse here, and that is something I love about our city. My favorite current band from this area is Learn. They're gonna have a 7" coming out soon on Bottled Up Records. They hooked me up with a copy of the songs that are gonna be on it and they are so good. I can't wait to see what happens once that 7" comes out. I'm sure that they are gonna get out there a lot more once that drops. There are other bands here that I'm really into. Get Killed, All Those Opposed, Dropdead, Those are the ones that stick out the most as far as what I'm into.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you anyone who has given us a chance. It means the world. Also thank you for your time if you read this interview.

 

 

 

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