So a couple of months after the release of your latest effort 'Disgorge Mexico' you guys are coming over to play Europe. Finally! How are you guys anticipating the shows and the tour? Which country are you looking forward to visiting the most?
'Disgorge Mexico' was released in July 2008, and since then we've done tours covering most of the typical cities you play in North America. We're still going to be doing some more regional dates in the provinces of Ontario & Quebec and select US dates once we get back, but we're happy to end our main touring for 'Disgorge Mexico' with a tour in Europe, finally. We really wanted to go there for our 'Stigmata High-Five' album and we probably should of, but we just waited for the right opportunity and it never came. This time around when we got contacted by Doomstar to do a tour with Antigama we jumped on it. I think we would have done any tour of Europe this time around and we all feel that it's long over due, but we're happy to tour with a band we really like. I can't say I'm more excited about any specific city over another one, but my mother's side is from the Czech Republic and I've been there as a kid, so it will be interesting to be back in Prague to play a grindcore show this time around. We have a lot of friends that have toured Europe, so we get a lot of stories about what it's like. But I don't want to have any expectation about the shows themselves, if people that want to see us come out and have a good time, I don't care if it's 200 or 20 people.
What took you so long to come and play this side of the Atlantic?
Like I said, we just waited for the right opportunity. In hind sight we really should have just organized a DIY tour ourselves years ago, but it didn't happen. I just hope this is the start to us going and play Europe on a more regular basis. We're still only covering a small part or Europe, there are many places like the UK and Russia that we'd love to play some day.
In what respects do you expect touring in Europe to be different from touring in Canada and the US?
For one we're going to be touring in the same van with everyone. 16 people crammed in one van is something we never experienced. Trying to organize the gear that we're going to use has been a bit of a headache. We're so used to our own set up, so we're trying to get everything we play in Europe as close as possible so we can put on a solid show and not just a 2nd rate FTF show. Getting all our merch together is also a bitch. Basically, because we have to fly over everything is different for us. As for the shows themselves I have no idea what to expect. We've been told that European hospitality is way better than the US and Canada.
You guys are actually starting out in Holland, any particular reason why? What is the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of Holland?
It's just the way the tour was booked. Doomstar and Dr. Doom are from Holland, so it probably works best for them. When I think of Holland, I think of Pestilence, the colour orange and this FTF fan Robbie that used to write me from there.
I saw that the schedule is going to be pretty intense, how are you going to keep it up?
We've done way worse. The drives in general are much shorter then we're used to on average. We also used to do 2 shows in 1 night sometimes, my band doesn't really like to do that as much anymore, because it is a bit too much but there have been tours that we played more shows than there was days.
And in which city is the DVD going to be filmed? Or are you guys not that kind of band?
If anything is going to be filmed, I really doubt it will end up on a DVD. For one we don't even have a video camera in our band. We did film our CD release show for 'Disgorge Mexico' in our home town and we're actually working on it now for a small DVD release.
Come March 2nd, when the tour is over, what do you hope to have learnt (about yourself, your band, or in general)?
I just hope we have fun.
How has 'Disgorge Mexico' actually been received by the press and public? What's the best and what is the shittiest reaction that you got?
It's really hard for me to know, I don't have any sales numbers or anything, but I was told the first weeks was around double that of the first weeks of 'Stigmata High-Five', which still isn't that much. I know in Canada we got a lot of support from the press here, they seem to like the new album and I'm sure since we're a band that's been around for this long they give us that extra push. In general the reactions I've gotten from people, is that it's our best album to date, which is cool. I don't really look around on the internet or in magazines for what people are saying, it's mostly people that come up and talk to me or interviews, so it makes sense that those people would like it.
Have you got any special tricks up your sleeves for the European crowds?
Afraid not, our trick is to make it the best show possible. We have a way we do things over here that we're used to. So for sound and comfort it can really make a difference. If we can get it as close to that in Europe as possible I'll be happy.
As headliners you will probably have the longest set, how long will your sets be? And have you decided on the set lists yet?
To a band on our level 'headliner' doesn't really mean anything. We pretty much play the same time regardless of the show, maybe even less sometime. We'll usually play for about 30 minutes, if the show is really fun and going well we'll play an extra song or something. We have decided on the set list for the Europe tour and it's mostly songs from 'Disgorge Mexico' with a couple from 'Stigmata High-Five' and our new split with Leng Tch'e. I like to joke that the perfect set length for anyone is 28 minutes, after that it gets boring no matter what.
And does being the headliner mean that you guys have room to play your piece de resistance 'Apathy Is A Karma Killer? (pretty please?)
I'm afraid 'Apathy Is A Karma Killer' isn't in our live set and most likely never will be. That song is almost 10 minutes alone, so that would be 1/3 of our set. We did it once at our CD release show when we played the whole album from beginning to end, but for a lot of the songs on the album that was the only time they'll ever get played live.
What is the one thing that you always bring on tour (apart from your gear) and why?
My I-pod makes the long drives and waits a lot less boring.
What is the secret pre-show ritual that you guys do before every show and what will go wrong when you do not perform this ritual?
Out of everyone I'm the most superstitious, and I really try to make an effort not to be. The main thing is that we'll warm up a lot. Usually for at least the set of the band just before us, we'll try and find a quiet place and just practice to warm up. Often we'll even run a few songs just the guitars and bass acoustic that might be trickier, or that we fucked up the night before. Mel always makes a hot tea before the set. I know if we don't warm up it definitely makes a difference, cause then it's the first few songs of the set that you're using to warm up and that can lead to some nasty hand cramps because you're already more tense on stage.
Recently you guys also did a split effort with the Belgian grind outfit Leng Tch'e. How did you think the split turned out?
I love the songs, but I think the production could have been better. We did it all ourselves, which isn't something we had done in many years for an actual release. But we didn't have the money to go to a real studio to record it and it's something we want to start doing more of. Basically, after we recorded it we kind of put it aside for a while to tour and get ready for our CD release show. We got a deadline to submit our part of the split but had to leave on tour for a month in a short time. So we had to rush the mix and did 'mastering' and finalization of everything in our van while on tour. I think if we would have had more time, we could have made it sound better. But in general it's still ok. We've released way worse sounding things in the past, and I'm still glad we did it. It's a good learning experience. Another shitty part is that the CD ended up with 2 second gaps between our songs that make the flow bad of at least our part.
Why Leng Tch'e? How did you come into contact with them? If you had to give an assessment of Leng Tch'e's music, what would it be?
I knew about them for a good while, but in 2006 we did a tour with them and Beneath The Massacre when they came to Canada. I knew their old singer Isaac a bit from trades we did or something like that, and Jan (guitarist) was somehow involved in releasing a FTF split 7” back in 2002. When we toured together we had a great time, became friends and I think for a while we talked about doing a split together. I have the last 2 albums they did and I think 'Marasmus' is really good, their best full length album to date. I was a bit worried because only 2 people are left from when we toured with them, but I think their new stuff on the split sounds great. We also learned a lot from them live. They sounded great every night and even though watching them they didn't seem very tight, they always pulled it off and destroyed. It was quite the display of grindcore.
What would be the number one reason for people unfamiliar with your music, to still come out and check you guys out live?
We take what we do pretty seriously and I think we do it well. But hey, if you don't really want to come, don't come.
Ok, I think this is just about everything I wanted to know for your upcoming gigs out here. If you have anything to add, please go ahead and take all the space you need. Thank you very much for your time and I will be seeing you at the gig in the (semi-legendary) Dynamo Club in Eindhoven!
Awesome! Thanks for the interview and we look forward to seeing everyone in Eindhoven. Cheers!