Hey guys. How have you been up to now?
Hey Diana, we just said goodbye to Mark, our former bass player, and we put a lot of time on getting ready to do this tour with Boy Tillekens. Everybody’s feeling really positive about the new options we have, knowing that we can focus on the band even more and it’s so good to have Boy on board, even though we’re really going to miss Mark.
We’re working on some brand new material that we’re going to try to release on 10”. When we get back home, we’ll start recording a demo for the new release and we’ll be hitting the studio around January and February to work on the ‘real’ thing.
Did the public receive the new album in a positive way so far?
Yeah! I must say that it really exceeded our expectations. I get a real kick every time we hit Europe when I see kids singing along and feeling that people all around the world are sharing a same kind of mind set. It’s something that worries you as an adolescent and it’s good to know some folks are dealing with the same kind of burden on subjects like politics, human behavior and youthful doubt. The Verve Crusade lifted the band to a completely new level. To me personally, it created a fresh outlook on ways to express myself.
What inspired you for the last album? Any specific events that occurred in your life? I consider the name “Verve Crusade” a powerful one. From where did you get the idea?
Well, the themes around “the Verve Crusade” deal with matters that can be split in political and personal issues, but those two are, without a doubt, always intertwined. I noticed a certain discontent within myself and others manifesting itself in feeling too ‘small’ or inadequate to handle with large political problems. To me, the way the democracy works right now in western countries, and our influence in it, has an effect on the political representatives of ‘the people’, although influenced by external factors such as the media. But it doesn’t take in account the impact of economic interests of unelected stakeholders and it somehow symbolizes the belief that politics and business aren’t related, which in my opinion is completely and utterly false. The impact of corporate industries and international financial institutions is of such worldly value that it feels wrong to be neglected and ignored in the way we handle the division of powers at the moment. Knowing that non-democratic institutions -including the church- can have such an devastating impact in the outcome of e.g. wars and national policies it comes natural to me that we should reconsider the term ‘democracy’. “The Verve Crusade” symbolizes the intellectual struggle we must have to be of any value in fighting this injustice. We shouldn’t be struck down by the size of the machine, we should sabotage or reform its sprockets, because it is only the sum of its parts.
Which songs do you like to sing the most on stage? Which are your favorite ones from all This Routine is Hell albums?
I still get a bang out of playing “Crossed Fingers” for its slow paced rhythm and its sheer power. “Hear. See. Speak?” because of its lyrics and its speed in the first parts. I really love “the Weight of Defeat” and “the Desperate Sway”, the former in light of the tempo-dynamics and the latter because of the groove and the ‘heart’ I can put in it on stage.
Tell me some bands or people that you admire the most and why.
Admiring is a big word on its own, but I can say that I take inspiration from people like Ian Mckaye and Paint it Black’s Dan Yemin. For me, it’s always admirable if someone has the guts to speak up and be a critic whilst not resorting to stereotyping or polarizing the situation. Nuance, empathy, and the power of an open mind are attributes everyone could take a liking too, I guess.
I saw that you have a mini tour now. Any plans for the New Year’s Eve?
Yeah, I’m typing this thing while sitting in a bar, I’m looking at Boris in front of me cutting our new stickers (D.I.Y!) and Bram getting ready to do the soundcheck. It’s good to be out on the road again. We’ve had some trouble finding the right time with Mark, but last week we planned just about the first half of 2011 and it includes a lot of weekend tours to the U.K, Portugal, Scandinavia and Austria. Plus, we’re planning to hit the U.S in April and May and do a big European tour in the summer. Everybody’s really eager to put a lot of effort in our new material and hit the studio again. We’re hoping to finish up the new release before the U.S. tour, but there’s nothing concrete planned yet.
Tell me a funny experience that occurred on tour.
Yesterday we heard about our show in Trento tomorrow being canceled, that really sucked but the reason was funny, in a way. The flyer had a cross on it made from dicks and it said “If you don’t show up, you’re a catholic” The venue happened to be named “the White Maria” and there was a journalist that got word of the show. The guy wrote a story on it that got published in a local newspaper and the authorities that were subsidizing the venue got pissed off and decided they had to cancel the show. Luckily the promoters managed to arrange something, although it’s in another venue and there’s probably not going to be any other bands playing. But yeah, flyers with dicks on it, always a killer.
Do you have any goals concerning the band that you haven’t achieved yet?
Definitely, I can’t imagine a band progressing if they don’t have a set of goals. Like I said, we’re planning to hit the U.S next year and we really want to focus on getting our music out there, not just Europe. It would be wonderful if we could get the chance to visit Russia and Japan but that’s mostly just hopes and dreams for now, but how boring would life be without hopes and wishes?
What plans do you have for the future? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Still singing in This Routine is Hell?
Damn, I’m 21 for christ’s sake. I don’t even know what I’ll have for breakfast tomorrow. But yeah, I fucking love doing this thing right now, and working on music in general. I feel the band has a good way of dealing with personal issues among the members so I don’t see This Routine is Hell falling apart anytime soon. It’s just very vital that everyone has the chance to express every concern they have and that they are listened to. And keeping a good balance between studying and touring is really critical as well. In 10 years? I don’t know if I would still have the energy and youthfulness I have now for This Routine is Hell. But I can’t imagine myself not being occupied by music or lyrics in a creative way.
Thank you very much for the interview. Hope to see you again soon in Romania. If you want to add a few words, please do.
Thank you too, Eastern Europe can be a bitch to get to, you guys should build more highways! But we had such a good time so I’m sure we’ll be back one day!
Diana (MPTY ZINE) vs. This Routine Is Hell – december 2010