Olde York is one of the coolest bands hailing from New York City right now with a powerful classic hardcore sound. In anticipation for their upcoming Euro tour, I caught up with the band for an interview to talk a little bit about the latest release, Shallow World, what’s up with NY hardcore right now and some serious politics. Check it out!You released your latest album Shallow World recently and the kid’s reaction to it was pretty dope. Many people seemed to be feeling it. Are you happy with the way it came out and how it was received?
Thanks man! I really appreciate all the kind comments we've been getting from world wide friends talking about how much they enjoyed the album! So thank you for taking your time to check this album out! I am really happy all the positive reactions. Spent many hours, days, months working on this album and couldn't of succeeded this without help from our good friend Mike Dijan.
The music itself is powerful, but lyrically you are discussing some real problems on the album, from ignorant society to racism to other fucked up shit. What is the idea and concept behind Shallow World?
I guess the simplest way to express it is this: Everyday we go through our own lives and most of the time don't really notice the things going on around us, the people we affect and that affect us, etc. We are all guilty of that, you, me, everyone. Some people are better at paying attention then others, but no one is perfect, so eventually we fall into that trap, the trap of the shallow world, where only our immediate concerns exist. So its really about realizing that and trying to make the effort to look beyond, to not be stuck in the shallow world.
In one interview you said the album is darker than Empire State, where did it come from?
I think lyrically it is. Empire State had a lot of "Come on and lets all get together and make something great out of our scene" kind of themes in it. Shallow World is more introspective, and in some ways more cynical. Questioning what this life we are living is. I wouldn't say its straight up negative, gotta keep your PMA, but it definitely explores the darker areas of my own Psyche and I think a lot of people can relate to that, especially in these trying times.
Being in a hardcore band, is it important for you to be able to say some constructive and positive message to your listeners?
I don't really think that being in a hardcore band requires that, I mean look at all the great bands like Sheer Terror who I think most would agree, convey a pretty negative message, but its relevant you know? Things are all rosy and nice. There is a lot be pissed off about these days. But I also don't think that we are that kind of band either. We may talk about some negative stuff, but I think the positivity comes from that even within that there is hope. And that is what I try to get through in the songs. That yeah things may be messed up or confusing, but you have to at least hold out hope that things will get better, otherwise what's the point?
Is there anything you wish people in general paid more attention to in a world around them?
Each other. Like I said, we go through our lives focused so tightly on ourselves we rarely give others, even those close to us, notice. When I commute to and from work everyday on the subway, it amazes me how often, a pregnant or old woman will get on and not one person will offer them their seat, even though its usually some young dudes or something. Or when the doors open, people try to push their way on before anyone has even gotten a chance to get off the train first. These are just small examples, but ones that point out how we are doing a really bad job of taking care of each other. But on a change of note living in NYC is much different then the rest of the world... In a place that always is threaten by "Terrorist Attacks", Crazy Natural Disasters, Blackouts, etc... Yet in some way New Yorkers always in the end help each other out... But on a normal day sometimes its you vs me...
Tell us something about the Hatred You Spread song, which is a rant against the racist attitudes. One would think that racism is not that big issue in America nowadays and the society has progressed in this matter, but what’s the situation like right now?
NYC is a mix of everything, so you don't see blatant racism that much (although at a show in Thompkins Square Park that our friends Yuppicide played this past summer, some nazi dude showed up and started messing with people. He was promptly run out of the park while the cops stood by and watched, ha ha). But other places, like PA, Delaware, Florida, even in New Jersey, there are more blantant signs of racism, more boneheads around. Even though we do have a African American President, there is hatred out for him... And sometimes I believe it isn't politics related... Hear about this Bull Shit going around how many right winged states want to sign a petition to break apart from the Union (America) only because Obama won... Strange country we live in... Never know if this will lead to another Cilvil War... But all in all, look at the Cilvil War historic maps.. Slave States VS Slave-Free states. Then look at the Election State Map of now... See similarities?... History does repeat sadly...
How do you feel about the election results? What are some of the toughest problems America need to face in the upcoming years and in your opinion is Obama the right man for the job?
Ted: I personally voted for Jill Stein and the Green Party, who obviously didn't win, but was glad to have the opportunity to vote for them. I don't know if Obama is the right person or not, but I am pretty convinced that Romney was the WRONG person, so I am happy with the results. There is a lot that needs to be fixed, and whoever is president won’t be able to do a thing unless all the political parties give up their personal agendas and decide ok we have to sit down and figure all this out together. Starting with fixing our fucked up economic system where the greediest get rewarded and the rest of us get screwed.
Blake: I voted for Obama... Sadly all presidents are just puppets on a string, but I think he is the man for this job to heal up the economy problems and other nations hatred towards us from the Bush era... As a person who works in various countries all around the world, I see how much more respect America gets for being open to try a new style of presidency. And as a country who is 120% dependent on other nations imports to america, we must heal this again... Also for example having a more conservative president wont focus on the issues at home only strategic problems overseas - (as what we saw during Bush). As I work in Brazil more and more, it affects me to what is the foreign policy over there as Brazil grows stronger by the hour. Especially when many tourist an millionaires come to America just to spend their money on US soil... This only helps America grow...
How much of an influence was the tradition of New York hardcore scene on your attitude and music? What in your opinion makes the scene over there so unique?
I spent my formative high school & college years listening to and playing hardcore so it has a huge influence on me. I think that its the energy and raw power of it that makes it unique, but to say NYHC is unique in and of itself I don't think is fair, its only unique in the same way that hardcore from Boston or Washington DC or LA or Philly is unique. Its all hardcore with their own individual regional touches, but we're all talking the same language. Though by far NYC is one of the most influential and for the late 80s had really the best bands around... As living in NYC is very influential from everyday things...
New York is a melting pot of different styles and cultures, where in your opinion does NYHC fit into the musical landscape of NYC? Can it still be considered underground or is it recognized by mainstream audiences?
Of course NYC has a wide range of styles and influences on its cultural tapestry, but as far as hardcore goes, its still very much an underground thing, I would say even moreso now. For a lot of the rest of the world's scenes I think NY has this almost mythical aura about it, from the heyday when so many great bands were playing and there were decent shows weekly or even more often, and most importantly, the audience was super excited and into it. But nowadays, its really not like that anymore. Unless its like the Revfest or the Black and Blue Bowl or something along those lines, you don't see the big crowds anymore. Not that there aren't great bands now, there are, justice the enthusiasm for shows seems to have died out a lot (and I mean a lot). Many of what made bands like SOIA, Agnostic Front, Madball, etc so popular were the energy at the shows, not just from the bands, but the audience. But things aren't like that anymore. Think about it, if you are some kid and you hear about all these great shows from the 80's and 90's so you go to a show and there are maybe 20 kids there standing around just listening to some bands how likely are they going to keep coming to more shows. Part of this is because lack of venues that allow all ages shows in the city. There are a few small venues that allow all ages and they can get a decently packed show at it, because lets face it hardcore is music of the youth. And outside the city things are better too I feel. Its just tough in NYC.
With so many classic hardcore bands around in NYC, it must be pretty easy to get involved. Do you see many new faces going to shows and keeping the scene alive over there?
As I said in the previous question, its not really like that in NYC. Most of the classic bands sadly dont live in the NYC area any more...The meat of the scene in NYC are local unsigned bands, playing local shows. Its not you are going to some show at Trashbar in Williamsburg and see the guys from SOIA hanging out. Its out there to get involved in if you want, but if you are under 21 there are fewer and fewer places to go see bands. But when there are, like a few small bars in Queens that don't care to check for ID, then the kids that show up are really enthusiastic, and that is great to see that nowadays.
The NYC as a city has changed a lot since Age Of Quarrel or United Blood were first released. Do you think it had any impact on the hardcore scene and the music?
Of course, just to start with the lack of proper venues since places like CBGBs, Coney Island High, and Pyramid shut down (or stopped doing hardcore shows). The cleaning up of NYC also included those bothersome punk rock kids that were always hanging out, so now we have hipsters everywhere instead. And the music and culture suffers for it.
What are some newer bands from over there we should check out?
Well some of these are newer band and some are local bands that we play with that aren't real new but probably new to you guys. Said Nam ( Mike Dijan, Justice from trapped under ice, and our bass player Mike's new band), Caught In A Trap (their drummer Jay also plays for Yuppicide), Reason To Fight (good friends from Rhode Island), Abject, to name a few.
I know a lot of people in Europe are anticipating your upcoming tour. Can you tell us something about it?
Its gonna be fun! We had a great time on our last tour for Empire State! And this one will be longer! Don't have a lot of details yet, but if you know Booker's or venues tell 'em you want us there and to hit up us or M.A.D. Tourbooking!
Before we wrap it up, what are the future plans for the band?
Would love to see and play for different parts of the world... Many more Euro tours, South American tour in the works, Also in Talks with our friends in the Aggressive Dogs about doing a Japan tour... Then write and record new tracks... Then party time all over again!
Ok, thanks for the interview! Any last words?
Thanks for taking the time to interview and read this! Please (if you haven't yet) Check out our new album Shallow World on WTF Records and soon to be on Spook records in Poland for the new Shallow World 12" Vinyl! But otherwise see you in Europe this cold winter!!