Musicscan: October File has always seemed to me to be an underdog band over here on the European mainland, always maintaining a high level of respect from critics and their peers, though never quite attaining the success within the heavy-underground that the band was due. How do you feel about it?
October File: Not massively bothered as success has never been something we ever consciously aimed for. We have always written the music as a biproduct of the time we have spent together as a band and the experiences we have shared in life. I personally thik that if you purposely set out to achieve success you will ultimately sell yourself out and end up writing songs that lack soul and purpose. The world really doesn’t need another long song and October File doesn’t intend on writing one. If we achieve success and more people like our music then that is great, none of us will leave our jobs for music, its far more fun to write about the daily grind of life if you live it!
Musicscan: On the other hand: October File s sound is pretty unique for everyone who ever got in contact with you guys: Is it important to you to create something original every time or would a simple punk rock song do the trick for you if it feels right?
October File: Once again, writing for us is something very personal and we all have completely different tastes. Steve and Matt have known each other for many years and they like a similar range of music from Godflesh/Stranglers/Big Black/gang of four to Mastadon and Ministry/Killing Joke. John is into slightly darker metal and I like L.O.G, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, SYL and bands like Kill Switch. So I am sure you will agree that is quite a mix of influences and definitely not all punk based.
When we lock ourselves in the rehearsal space we play till we get a baseline track then work on it for the next months until it comes out right. The last few years has seen a step away from punk and more towards the heavier range of metal. We have no idea what will come next, heavier faster and more belligerent? Probably!
Musicscan: What moments in the bands history for you sum up the whole experience with October File so far? And what are your expectations for the future?
October File: We have had some fantastic opportunities given to us over the last few years. Having toured with Amen, Fear Factory and Killing Joke it is hard to think of anything better then touring with the most respected peers in their industry and indeed your idols. We played a festival in Slovenia a few years back, and despite it being hotter then hell, it was the most amazing experience. Bands like Meshuggah and In Flames were playing and we shared the main stage with them. All of these things are the most memorable including some complete s**t holes we have played that stay in our heads. Plans for the future are to keep playing, keep recording and tour as much as is comfortable with our day to day lives.
Musicscan: Your releases always cover a lot of bases musically, beside the fact its dark, intense and complex of course, but there's something for everyone within the heavy underground. Were you going for a more "inclusive approach" right from the beginning?
October File: The last few years has seen an amalgamation of influences come together to create what essentially we think is a sound that is hard to label. We are constantly described as punk/metal crossover and more so these days as Metal. I think the bands we play with add to the labels we get for example. “Sounds like Ministry/Killing Joke”. We don’t actually sound much like these bands, it’s a pleasure to be referenced to them of course, but I think it is easier to define us by the bands we have played with then actually figure out our sound. Chances are that once you have finally managed to label us we will evolve our sound again to something else.
Musicscan: Have you been surprised about the fact that listeners from different musical tastes are getting October File? And being active with this outfit: How soon did you guys realize the impact the band had?
October File: It is always a pleasure to hear that some people are surprised they like the music. Sometimes we hear people tell us that they had a very different opinion until they saw us live. Those that read a two line review and formed an opinion of the band before hearing us tend to be the ones that are most surprised. We have more good reviews then bad and people tend to enjoy the live shows.
Musicscan: What sort of evolution has October File gone through that caused Our Souls To You? Did you do something differently by choice?
October File: The evolution of our sound probably came from a mixture of us getting more comfortable at the way we write our songs and our new drummer. We have had a few drummer changes and John really adds the style of hitting that we need. Having a competent drummer that is dedicated to his role in the band is really helpful. We have changed our equipment too, Matt now uses Framus amplification and Steve has recently changed from Warwick to Ampeg. An evolution of sound to the extreme as Steves bass sound sounds like a demolition. As we all get a bit older we also want to try and write a different pace/style of song to keep progressing our sound forwards. We could think of nothing worse then producing album after album of the same sounding songs, that market is very well catered for today!
Musicscan: Some of the heaviest October File parts I have ever heard are on Our Souls To You. Was this in any way intentional or did it just come naturally?
October File: It came naturally I guess, the new gear, the new attitude and bit of touring under our belt has really helped us hone the sound we were always looking for. We have been playing as a band for about 5 years now, perhaps longer, so we are happy that our sound has come to what it is today and we look forward to the next stage.
Musicscan: I know a strong part of the October File sound is about experimentation. Of the albums and songs you guys have recorded, which one do you feel crosses the most borders? What other borders, musically and lyrically speaking, do you guys wanna knock down in the future?
October File: I don’t think there are any tracks that in isolation are cross bordering. If I had to name any I would probably say that “High Octane” from our last album was probably the most diverse. We had Jaz from Killing Joke singing, whilst the music was very fast paced and heavy, his voice coupled with the OF singing really out a blend of sounds. The new album is a different sound for us in all aspects. The tracks are more consistent with each other and tell a better story then perhaps previous albums. This time we have remixed the album, done by Justin B, and offered that as a different sound again.
Musicscan: Musically, and especially lyrically, October File seems like a band fueled by raw emotion which is at the same time connected with a reflected approach. What are the motives behind writing in this style, what reactions are you seeking to evoke in your audience?
October File: We just write songs, no preconceived ideas of what we want to achieve. But what we are looking to achieve if you want us to name something would be an educational experience for the listener. We aim to give the opportunity for the listener to take our songs and form an opinion of them and the content. The topics of our songs requires some thought and opinion. We do not write bland songs about love, honey and rainbows and as a result we write songs about things that feature in our lives daily. We want to evoke thought, we want our listeners to listen to each song and form an opinion, even if it is one that disagrees with what we are saying. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Lyrics are usually the last part to be added when writing a song. The bass and drums usually come first then the guitars. Once the song has settled and we are happy with the pace and structure the vocals get put on top.
Musicscan: With the direction of October File heading a certain way and fans growing with you over the years and releases, do you feel the fans can now relate to what you are feeling or at least understand what you are trying to tell them with your music?
October File: We believe so yes, it appears that through the reviews we have had and the interviews like this one, that our fans are starting to better understand the ethos of October File. We just want to play music and we will not sacrifice anything to do it. We write music on our own terms.
Musicscan: Who came up with the idea of doing the remix CD, and who picked the bands / acts that worked on your tracks? How do you feel about the result – what are the songs you like most?
October File: Firstly we are proud of all the tracks on the album, we took our time writing and producing these tracks and we all felt that having a second mix on the album would offer a completely different perspective . I think it was Steve’s idea initially to work with Justin, but we were all 100% behind him on the decision. We are really happy with the result, now go buy it and have a listen!