Stay Hungry interview

Stay Hungry started in the summer of 2008 as four veterans in the Swedish hardcore and straight edge scenes teamed up to show the kids what's up. Fast and in your face straight edge hardcore was on the agenda. Stay Hungry has just released new output, "Against the wall", which offers just everything the band is recognized for - powerful music and meaningful lyrics delivered with all the intensity hardcore got to offer!
Search Bloc hails from the city of Cleveland in the great state of Ohio and their sound is fast and pissed off hardcore, totally in vein of One Life Crew or Confront, laced with tight grooves and heavy hitting vocals. Read the interview to know why they're backed by Seventh Dagger and what should we expect to come out of this collaboration in the future.
Could you tell us something about “Against The Wall”? What were you aiming for with this album and are you satisfied with the end result?

I'd say that one aim we had was to make a more focused hardcore record, compared to the 12” on Reflections. That record kind of went in different directions, not knowing where to lay the focus. There's some metal parts in there. Those are gone with the wind on ”Against the wall”, which in my opinion is a true hardcore record from start to finish. We were aiming for a feeling of “positive aggression”, and I think we did a pretty solid job. I am very happy with the outcome.

Lyrically, is there any main focus with the new songs? What do you want people to take from the album?

As I said we were aiming for a positive aggressive feeling. There are a lot of fucked up things going on, so we didn't want to do a LP with overly positive lyrics, sugarcoating all the crap we see. But we also didn't want to be completely pessimistic and negative. I guess the title seems like that, but even that lyric ends with some hope. There are a few songs dealing with hardcore, a few dealing with straight edge topics, a few more political ones, one animal rights track etc, and then it ends with a true posi lyric, “Loose ends”. It's pretty varied. I guess I'd like for people to be angry, but also feel like there's something that can be done.

You new album is widely available on blogs and P2P networks. How do you feel about it as a band when most of the kids today rather download the album off the Internet that support the band and the label?

Is it really? We put up a four track promo ourselves and we will put up the whole album soon. So I guess that kind of answers your question. You know, I used to trade tapes back in the 90s. What's the difference, really? Except for that blogs are less time consuming. I am not in this to sell a certain amount of records. We have done 500 copies of “Against the wall”, and if that's all we'll do, I'm fine with it. I am proud of the record, it's something we've accomplished together, and it will allow us to tour. And having the album on blogs will let a lot of kids know about us. If kids come to the shows and sing along and stage dive, I don't give a fuck if they downloaded mp3s or bought the vinyl. We also have to realize that so far we've only done vinyl, and a lot of kids don't even own record players.

And how do you feel about how Internet is changing hardcore scene? I mean, it’s a great tool for getting information and keeping in touch, but on other hand, you don’t see that many paper fanzines around these days and shit talking is getting out of hand on message boards…

Like everything else it has its pros and cons. I have written about this in Law and Order zine #1. For a band like ours, it has made things a lot easier. I have just finished booking a tour. Without internet, that would've been immensely harder. And sure, there's all the crap on message boards, but fuck it. Let's just feel lucky that forums and stuff like that weren't around when we were fourteen and new in the scene. Because let's face it, we would've made asses of ourselves too from time to time before we learned better. I am obviously a fan of paper zines since I invest a lot of time and energy into Law and Order zine. I wish more kids would be into it, but things are the way they are. All we can do is push ourselves and do something that kids might be into.

Hardcore can have such a great influence on the lifestyle and mindset of its followers. What's the biggest life lesson that you learned from being a part of the scene?

Oh that's a tough one. I mean apart from the lessons I learned from “No thanks” by Uniform Choice, which kind of meant everything to me as a teenager, I dunno. Lessons from the hardcore scene can't be completely cut off from things you experience and go through in life in general. It's all a part of the package somehow. But being a part of hardcore and straight edge for so long definitely made me embrace the fact that I'll always be sort of an outcast. I will never live a normal life. I will always be into doing stuff that others can't understand. I've tried explaining how hardcore and DIY works to co-workers, and it just doesn't come through to them. They keep asking if we get a lot of girls and make money and play in front of large audiences. Like I could give a fuck.

And how do you feel about hardcore becoming more mainstream?

There are different sides to this. In the mid 90s hardcore was BIG in Sweden. Refused could play in every fucking small town and have large turnouts. And that was pretty fucking cool. Nowadays there's a lot less kids. I think hardcore and punk needs to keep a certain level of vigilance to keep out forces that stand opposed to the DIY ethics. But I would also like to see more people at gigs. I mean, it hurts like fuck to stage dive if there's no one there to catch you. I am not really afraid of hardcore becoming more mainstream. Trends come and go, we'll see who gets washed away when the tide retreats.

What part of Sweden you’re from? Tell us about the scene in your area and bands from that area.

Me and Andy live in Gothenburg on the west coast. We have some cool bands here, like Fredag den 13e, Repoman, the might Commitment Crew and several others. The scene is quite divided, though attempts are made to lessen these divisions. We organize shows in a pretty large crew called Gothenburg straight edge. The other three in the band live in Linköping, which is three hours away roughly. This has always been a central point for hardcore shows in Sweden, cause it's located in a good place and has had many influential bands, like Outlast, Nine and Section 8 (the latter came from a village outside the city, but still). There are still fests there a couple of times a year.

I know you cancelled your tour because of the new album. Are there any plans to hit the road now when the record is coming out?

Yeah, when we realized the record wouldn't be out when we were supposed to tour, due to various reasons beyond our control, we had to pull the plug. It sucked so much ass, but it was the right thing to do. We can't take time off from work etc if the LP isn't out. And it sucked cause we desperately wanted to tour with Skull Crusher. Their 12” is incredible. But we have booked a 16 date tour in April 2011. We will be going by ourselves this time around. We'll be playing Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. I have a feeling it's going to be fantastic. It's been pretty easy to book, there are a lot of caring and nice hardcore and straight edge people out there, for sure. It's been a quite humbling experience to book it. It still feels weird that people give a shit about our old asses.

Are there any future plans you would like to share with us before we finish?

Come out to the tour, check out the record. Have a look at Check out the bands on the “We support Swedish hardcore, do you?” sampler CD. Be on the look out for new LPs by Anchor, Undergång and Angers Curse in 2011. Check out Boston Strangler, they did one of the best hardcore songs of 2010, “The truth”. KOTF 2011!