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Agressief, uiterst nauwgezet, hartstochtelijk en rechtschapen; het zijn de kenmerken waarop Pro-Pain al vijftien jaar voortstuwt en ook op hun nieuwe cd 'Age Of Tyranny, The Tenth Crusade' is dat niet anders. Met het lustrum voor ogen sprak ik met Gary Meskil, oprichter, frontman en bassist van deze hardcore veteranen.

Door: Patrick | Archiveer onder punk / hardcore

band imageOverall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs at 'Age Of Tyranny, The Tenth Crusade'? What about the CD are you most proud of?
I'm very pleased with our new album "Age Of Tyranny/The Tenth Crusade". I'm most proud of the concept, lyrics, and broad range of musical styles. I think it's our most "well rounded" effort to date.

The sound at 'Age Of Tyranny, The Tenth Crusade' is, yet again, raw, aggressive, pounding and passionate, which makes it unequivocal Pro-pain. Is it something as a second nature for you to stick to this musical formula or is it something which has to be searched for during the creative process? What were the goals you had in mind when you started to record 'Age Of Tyranny, The Tenth Crusade'?
I think that our fans look for a certain amount of aggression and passion when it comes to our music and production. Trying to maintain those types of qualities has become formula for us, but on the same note, we try and introduce a fresh perspective and newer influences and ideas each time (although sometimes subtle). The main goal that we had going into the recording of "Age Of Tyranny/The Tenth Crusade" was that we wanted it to be unique and different from what we had done before. I think we have achieved that goal through the concept, and also by the spontaneous and collective way that the songs were written and arranged.

How long in the studio did it take to produce this album to your liking and looking back in retrospect, would there have been anything that you or the band would have changed now that it's completed? How was the time in the studio for you? Did it, besides working hard, also bring some fun and laughter?
We began the writing and arrangement process in June 2006. The drums were recorded in July, and the rest of the album was recorded throughout the rest of the year. It was not one continuous recording session though. I don't think there is anything that I would change in terms of production. Any "imperfections" are just part of the album. As for having fun in the studio: Yes, we do have quite a few laughs during the course of each project.

You take quite a stand in your lyrics; it is a protest against the current American president George W. Bush, along with his 'War on Terror' and the Republican agenda. Looking to lyrics of, f.e., 'All For King George' and 'Live Free (Or Die Trying)' you must be quite worried about the mentality of a huge part of Americans/mankind these days. Should people consider this album as a call up to resistance against the current policy by Bush?
Well, I certainly blame many more parties other than just GWB for the current state of the world. I think it's naive to blame one man for the world's problems. Anyway, I think that the average person should be more politically aware and pro-active. Yet, ignorance is bliss. "Age Of Tyranny/The Tenth Crusade" certainly has the potential to enlighten people as to a certain amount of current affairs and political sentiment, but it is also genre limited. If I really wanted to get a political "rise" out of people, I would go into politics.

Is it enough for you when people listen to your lyrics and shriek them along or are you also trying to get a message across?
We are not attempting to get any particular message across to our listeners. Our lyrics are just an artistic outlet for self expression. However, if someone can make a positive connection with our lyrics, then great!

Gary is quoted in the biography as "This is about as close as we've come to creating a full-fledged concept album, in that its content never veers from what is generally being implied by the broader album title(s)." Did you already had in mind to make a sort of concept album out of it before the writing or is this something that just came out of it? Does 'Age Of Tyranny, The Tenth Crusade' being a concept album, make it a better album? Why (not)?
Well, I wouldn't call it a full fledged concept album, but it is close. All of the lyrical content on "Age Of Tyranny/The Tenth Crusade" falls under the same political umbrella. Our other albums have more of a lyrical mixture of songs ranging from those that are more political in nature to those that are purely personal.

Is, even after all these years, the tension still building when an album is about to be released?
Yeah. To quote the late great Frank Zappa: "The torture never stops".

The new album has been well received by magazines. Do you care about positive response magazines or your fans? Why (not)?
Yes and no. It's always a nice ego boost to read a good review, and it's always a downer to read something negative. Fortunately, there are many more positive reviews than negative one's (20:1 ratio). In the end, it doesn't have much of an influence on us or our music. If we cared that much about what other people think, we wouldn't have even started Pro-Pain in the first place.

How will Pro-pain and 'Age Of Tyranny, The Tenth Crusade' be able to stand out between the enormous amount of great releases and bands in an almost satiated market? I mean: there seems to be a kind of defined metal/hardcore sound around. Don't you worry we are going to get a series of derivative bands? And how do you avoid sounding like other bands?
The market is certainly saturated, and the cream does not always rise to the top. Many bands sound very much alike these days, but I think that Pro-Pain have developed our own signature sound throughout the years, and that is one of the things that sets us apart from the rest. Pro-Pain are anything but stereotypical, and that's what our fans like about us. In my opinion, we are a very "down to earth" band.

From half April till early May you will be touring Europe. What can we expect from this 'Pro-pain 15 Year Anniversary Tour'? Can you give us a preview of what you are going to do during the new tour? Will your show contain a lot of songs from the new album or will it be an overview of your entire career?
The first run will be 25 gigs throughout Europe from April 12 - May 8. Countries included are: Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Czech., Slovakia, Hungary, and Croatia. We will certainly play some new songs from "Age Of Tyranny", although I'm not exactly sure which ones we will be playing at this moment. I would assume that all of our studio albums will be somewhat represented at all of the upcoming concerts.

How do you feel about the internet as a medium to share music? Is it not frustrating to see that, although your album was not been released yet, it was already on sites to download a month before its' official release?
The record industry has changed a lot since the beginning of "file sharing". It is getting increasingly difficult for artists to survive it all (professionally speaking). We have had to make quite a few adjustments in order to make up for the lost income due to the downloading of our albums and songs. So, it is frustrating to a point, but we will survive.

Are there any other happenings or things going on with the band or you personally that you would like me to let people know about? Any rumours about the band you want to get rid off?
I'm not aware of any juicy Pro-Pain rumours at this time. If there are any, I can only assume that they are all 100% true (ha-ha).

Thanks for taking the time and I am looking forward to your reply. All the best with Pro-pain and hopefully see you out on the road soon!
Thank you very much for this interview! We hope to see you during the tour! For tour dates and more info. log onto visit us at myspace at Patrick!

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