zaterdag 15 september 2012

Hardcore in its purest form: Interview with Knuckledust

You guys started out in 1996, which means  you stand for sixteen years now strong and you are on your way to become the next Sick Of It All. There are so many bands that stop or replace members. What is the Knuckledust secret of sticking together?

Nicky: We kind of grew up together. We know each other from school, from when we were around eleven. We were friends before we started to play music. We grew up together, we got into music together. We did everything together. We have been a family ever since.

Ray: We were around the same age, into the same stuff. We just played hardcore music, that simple fact was our goal. We never tried to become big, get a label or do famous things. And that is what we still do, we just play music. A lot of band set goals for themselves, they want a major label and if it doesn't hapepen they break up, they reach too high.

Wema: When people that are not in a band look at people that are in band, they think everything is glamourous. But in fact it is a lot of hard work and bullshit you need to take care of. Without a stable base, the band simply falls apart. Forget about getting big. If you love it, do it.

Ray: we wanted to split up for seven or eight times now, we just never did it we really hate each other (laughs)

During all the years you have been involved in the hardcorecscene, have you noticed any evolution or do you have any idea in which direction it is heading right now?

Ray: Here, in this time and age hardcore is more important than ever before because it comes up with the problems that we are all having, it doesn't matter in what part of the world you in. Hardcore has always made a point of speaking about this, that it was hardcore is like in its roots. Over the last years lots of rich people have been involved, with business elements coming into the hardcore scene.
But for the kids that grew up suffering and struggeling of course the music will mean a lot more.
I think it's the best time for hardcore, for the hardcore that says something.

Wema: Unfortunately now the image has become more important than the music.

Ray: The problem in the UK is that the kids' idea of hardcore is not what my idea of hardcore is. If you are into hardcore and you know about hardcore, then it's up to us to educate and tell the kids what hardcore is about. If you watch Kerrang TV, the description of some videos says 'hardcore', but it's not. I'm not going to name bands, but it is simply not hardcore. The kids now say they go to hardcore shows, but they don't because the real hardcore shows remain empty.

The new album ‘Bluff Lies & Alibis’ sounds amazing. What do you think you did different from your previous albums?

Ray: About the last album we were a bit disappointed, because the songwriting and recording all happened very quick. There was just a lot of shouting in combination with a lot of music.
We can say 'Bluff, Lies & Alibis' is different:  We put a lot more hooks in like choruses and we demoted the songs. We wrote the lyrics down and took some parts out. We put more singalongs in the album and parts of the songs that are recognizable. We simply structured the songs in a better way this time.

Wema: We kind of got back to what goes into hardcore in the first place. Lots of bands play what other people like to hear, but 'Bluff, Lies & Alibis' is the outcome of what we wanted to hear.
Another thing that we wanted to come across with this album is that a bunch of people have labeled us as a gangsta tough guy band. If you read our lyrics you will see it has never been about beating someone up, or about how tough we are. It is simply about the shit you see every day.  Also, the lyrics are very honest. If you read the lyrics, you will get to know the person.

Nicky: We also worked with another producer and studio, namely Igor from Born From Pain. He did a really good job on this and this is the best album we ever made. It's a hard album.

Ray: We are a pussy band.

Everybody yells: Whooooooooo (laughing)

Wema:  No, look we are pussies, just in a hard way.

Can we expect Knuckledust brings us another visit this year to promote the album?

Yes, we are coming to Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Rumania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Turkey? You have fans over there?

Wema: We don't know, we've never been there. We'll know when we get there (laughs)
We also never knew we had so many fans in Belgium until we got here.

We really need to go on tour, because the band has been too quiet for the last two years. Some of us had babies and got married. Now that we fixed things at home, we are going on the road again. That is the plan.

‘Bluff, Lies & Alibis’ is your first music video. Did you have fun recording it?

All together: Yeaaaah.

Ray:  It was our first time doing it so we didn't really know what to expect, but I enjoyed it. The thing is that everybody in the clip is singing and shouting, but nobody heard the song. Those people did really well with the recordings.
We also have some serious parts in the video with an actress called Maya Thomas. She helped us out by acting in the video for free. She punched in the wall, cried, threw paper around. We spent a day shooting those things. She is awesome, man! If anybody needs a real good actress, book her!
The first time we played this song live was at Ieperfest actually. What we had to practise is how to sing, what we did last week. With this 'we've all had enough' part in the song 'Bluff, Lies & Alibis'.

Pierre: We respect everybody that joined us with the recordings, the crowd really worked hard for us. A lot of my friends were there, completely acting crazy. Everybody was acting stupid, like little children. Everybody was laughing, we had a real good time.

 Where was the video recorded?
In the twelve bar, a small bar in London. For those who are interested: Every first weekend of the month they have a hardcore gig going on. The one day a London bands plays, the other day it can be a New York band.

What do you think of Ieperfest? Since you are already familiar with the festival let's say it like this: How does it feel to have been invited to Ieperfest again?

Wema: One word, amazing. In London, to organize something like this for hardcore, that would not happen. And certainly not on this scale. Not even in entire England. A lot of festivals have sponsorships and it all becomes business; they just don't have the true spirit anymore. Ieperfest is coming to a festival and you still have the feeling it's a hardcore show. And it's not only about music: the readings and literature are also amazing. I don't think there is a festival like this anywhere in the world.

Pierre: We have been coming to Belgium before Knuckledust even existed to see festivals and Vort’n Vis shows and bands like Stand Your Ground.
bands play like Rise And Fall.

Ray: The whole Belgium scene has had a lot of influence on the England scene. Congress, Liar and Blackbox did not come to the UK, so we took the ferry and came to see them play here. I remember running in circlepits during Liar when I was a kid.

Wema: when we came back from those shows we were still talking about them after a week. We used to copy the band we saw here as well.

- The band got sick of the drum part you can hear at the very beginning of the song 'Bluff, Lies & Alibis' because the band had to face it 125669889 times during the recordings of the video.
- Knuckledust will play a lot more new songs with the tour they are starting.
- The intro of ‘Bluff, Lies & Alibis’ was made by Wema. If you listen carefully, you can hear his baby daughter crying in the background and someone whispering ‘bluff, lies and alibis’.

Maya Thomas:
Twelve Bar:

donderdag 6 september 2012

Review Knuckledust 'Bluff, Lies & Alibis'

”Too punk for hardcore and too hardcore for punk.” That is what the description says when you visit Knuckledust's Facebook page.
The nice thing about Knuckledust is that the same four people who started the band, still are part of the band. 
This London band started in 1996 and just released their fifth full-length record 'Bluff, Lies & Alibis' (Produced and recorded by Igor Wouters, Born From Pain). 

We waited five long years for another Knuckledust record and finally here it is: Bluffs, Lies & Alibis.
An album worth waiting for, since this is definitely their strongest album until now. 

 Bluff, Lies & Alibis

The intro is intrigating, as you need to hear it several times to know what is going on there.
It might pull you intro a surreal world of echoing, whispering voices saying clearly 'bluff, lies and alibis'
combined with sirenes and some other noises that are hard to call by name.
One of the highlights on the album is 'Facecrook' where posers get burned down without any compassion. 
Then there are some unbeatable rhyming parts in 'Spill The Hate'. 
The strongest song of all is of course 'Bluff, Lies & Alibis' with just that little more melodic touch and nice singalongs.

Since the very beginning of their existence the band promotes simplicity all the way, which is also promoted in the lyrics AND
as they themself always say "Pick up a piece of wood with strings and start making music!"

This London band has given us what we always expected them to bring.
A pure-no-bullshit-&-straight-to-the-point record by a truehearted hardcore band. Knuckledust does the trick with breakdowns, singalongs combined with simplicity which makes the album nice tuned the hardcore way.
From what the new record sounds like you can tell that lots of time and effort are put in to this
and every song has been perfected. Standing 15 years strong, it feels like this band is just being reborn.
A must have for every hardcore fan!

Written by Glenn Heyse