Strike Back hails from France and is all about angry hardcore played at decent speeds and with a decent weight on it. Ten years after their debut album and they still have not lost it. After two full lengths and couple of Eps, the band has self released their new album called Still Holding On in January. If you read the review I’ve posted some time ago than you know it’s good, if not, make sure you check out this shit. Fans of Madball or Sick Of It All will be happy, fans of My Chemical Dildo might be disappointed.
Strike Back hails from France and is all about angry hardcore played at decent speeds and with a decent weight on it. Ten years after their debut album and they still have not lost it. After two full lengths and couple of Eps, the band has self released their new album called Still Holding On in January. If you read the review I’ve posted some time ago than you know it’s good, if not, make sure you check out this shit. Fans of Madball or Sick Of It All will be happy, fans of My Chemical Dildo might be disappointed.Can you tell us a bit about the history of Strike Back? How things got started and what have you been up to so far?
The band started 10 years ago, on New Year’s Eve 2000. With 3 friends of mine we wanted to play punk hardcore music, something in between Strife / Sick of it all / Madball /Agnostic front etc… a mix of all the bands we loved at that time. The problem was that we weren’t great musicians, we were young and inexperienced, so the beginning was hard and it took a while to find our own style. In 2004 came out our first LP “Straight from the 95”. When I listen to it now, it sounds a bit weird, a mix of punk rock, street punk and hardcore songs but I think it was a decent CD. You know now it’s a collector, very hard to find!
We started playing a few shows around Paris too and basically that’s how things started for us.
In 2007 came out our 2nd LP “Where I Stand”, we got great reviews and many people said it was one of the best hardcore CD ever released in France. We recorded it in a great studio and it really was a step forward for us. We played many shows in France and abroad with this CD and played with many great bands as well (Champion, Ensign, Comeback Kid, Internal affairs, Verse, No Turning back… )
In 2010, after a tour in the UK, all the guys left the band one after the other, I guess after 8 or 9 years in the band some guys wanted to do something else or were pissed with the hardcore scene.
So there was a total change of line up and luckily some new guys joined the band; otherwise it would have been the end of the band I reckon.
We worked hard and after a few months we were ready to record a new CD. Unfortunately our label stopped its activity so we had to do things on our own with a few friends for this one, the recordings, the promo etc… that’s a lot of work as you can imagine. Anyway, this CD is harder than the previous one and more aggressive. I think it’s our best CD, the songs are good, and the lyrics are sincere.
When you listen to this CD you kind of figure out who we are. We’re musicians, and normal people, we love playing music and writing new songs, we‘re not rock stars or hipsters. We spend more time in the studio then in bars or in clubs showing off or on the web spreading bullshit. We don’t try to be people we’re not.
Your album Still Holding On has been out recently. How has the reception been so far for? How long did it take to put the album together?
The CD came out 2 months ago; so far the reviews are very positive. We try to propose to the public something else, more authentic. I guess the youngsters won’t find us cool enough but usually the people who’ve been around for more than 6 months appreciate what we do.
The final line up was set in August 10 and we recorded in December 10. Many songs were written before august 10, with past and present members but we had to rework on everything to do something coherent.
So what can kids expect when they pick up a copy of the disc?
We play down to earth hardcore in the NY vein. There is no technical shit and no fantasy here. If you are into aggressive, sincere and energic hardcore this is for you. We talk about things we know and we deal with everyday there is no bullshit in here.
Which bands influenced Strike Back sound the most?
Each and every member of the band listens to different things, metal, hardcore, punk rock. We have always listed in our influences the same bands: STRIFE / MADBALL / SICK OF IT ALL for instance.
Speaking for myself, I’m not that much into new bands, and I still listen to the same old bands I used to listen to when I was younger: INTEGRITY / MERAUDER / CROWN OF THORNZ / WARZONE and also faster things like 10 YARD FIGHT or IN MY EYES
What are your overall thoughts about the state of the hardcore music and community nowadays? I am asking after reading the lyrics to couple of tracks on the album, like Newbie In This Game or Fuck Your Scene. What inspired these rants?
I think that for many people it’s meaningless. You know we live in a consumption society were image is important and commitment and trust is not. Everything goes very fast now, so it’s easy to move on to something else.
If I look at the old bands some recorded 3 or 5 CDs now it seems that every new band lasts 1 or 2 years and then split, you see what I mean, either they get tired of it or they weren’t that interested in playing music and being part of that. This is why I’m not that interested in the new things cause you never know what is the spirit behind that. I am not saying everybody is like that, but it seems that music, creation, the message, is not that important. Some people have understood it very well, some bands will sell 10 different types of shirts and have only recorded 5 or 6 songs… you know there is something wrong with that, the approach is different.
As I said before I’m not that much into new bands because, you need to know what you’re talking about, I wasn’t born yesterday and I know how things work, so when I meet 18 year old kids who talk shit, about politics, the scene, life etc… I just move on…
I dig the Crashing Down song but I am wondering, how do you guys cope with the new, challenging economic situation facing everyone today? What’s your advice to get ahead but not to get trapped in life´s routine?
Today if you want to survive in this world, you need money… there is no alternative and sometimes you sit on your principles. You know people don’t like to talk about money in the hardcore scene, but people are selling shirts and CDs against money … so for me there is no problem in having a real job and still being part of the hardcore movement. Why? because if you want to talk about society about what’s going wrong, the best thing is to be involved in that and to face it every day. In every job there is some kind of routine, no doubt about that, but if you like what you do and it allows you to do your things afterwards (like music, sports or what so ever) then it’s good.
I guess having a passion and hanging out with good friends sugar the pill
And what is the story behind the Self Respect song? What you think should be done to keep kids away from drugs and fucking up their lives in general?
This song is dedicated to all the people who ruin their everyday life because their too fucked up to move on and to do things. I mean since we were kids people have told us that drug using is shit so why people keep on doing that? I’m not Straight Edge and I enjoy sharing a drink with my friends but in a conscious way because I know that the day after I have things to do and I can’t afford to screw everything up because I got high the night before.
I don’t have a solution to keep kids away from drugs, I guess the inner personality is important, some people are stronger, some are weaker, and it’s easy for someone who has a boring job, no girlfriend, no ambition or dreams to fall in that trap.
France has always had a reputation for having one of the hardest bands in hardcore. What are some of the current bands from your country everyone should check out?
Unfortunately most of the bands we hang out or played with stopped… we had a bunch of great bands here in France. Nowadays there are a few new bands that hit the stage recently and that sound pretty good.
If you are into hardcore music, you can check out: xDIGx or BLACK SPIRALS, if you are into New school hardcore, check out REVIVAL, and if you are more into Punk Rock, check out THE DAVID CARRADINE APOCALYPSE.
What does the future hold for you guys as a band?
We are going to try spreading our name as much as possible. We got some shows coming up, and with the new CD out, we’ll try to play more after this summer. We ‘re also looking for people who could helps us dealing the CD abroad, review it and talk about the band too. We would like to go abroad for a few shows before the end of the year too. We are also going to do our first video clip in May on the song “Self Respect” .So we’ll see what comes up
Do you have any shout outs or anything that you would like to say?
I just want to thank all the people who have supported us since day 1 and all the others. As you can see we’re still around and we’ll keep on doing what we do best.
If you are interested in the band, the music etc… don’t hesitate to get in touch with us too through www.myspace.com/strikeback95 or facebook .
Finally thanks to the people who picked up our last CD too and to you for giving us the chance to appear in your webzine