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Boysetsfire

Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Josh Latshaw, am: 30.03.2003 ]

Das neue Boysetsfire Album "Tomorrow Come Today" wird die bisherigen Fans der Band wahrscheinlich in zwei Lager spalten. Den einen wird das neue Album zu glatt und poliert daherkommen und die dazugehörigen Sell-Out Vorwürfe waren ja schon im Vorfeld nicht zu überhören. Die anderen werden die Entwicklung der Band hin zu mehr Massenkompatibilität und Radiofreundlichkeit mitgehen und die Platte als das ansehen, was sie ist: ein gutes, amerikanisches Rockalbum, das sich durchaus in dem ein oder anderen Radiosender in den USA wiederfinden wird. Textlich gehen die Jungs jedoch glücklicherweise keine Kompromisse ein und legen ihre bis dato politischsten und konsequentesten Lyrics vor. Ich sprach mit Gitarrist Josh über Major Labels, Punk und die anstehende Revolution.

 

Musicscan: How would you say is your new album "Tomorrow Come Today" different from your previous releases?

Boysetsfire: The main difference would have to be that we actually had the budget to really work as long as we wanted on the album. From the arrangements to the guitar sound to the lyrics, every aspect of this record was intensely scrutinized. We tried to make the best record we could.

Musicscan: Did you approach it differently? What was it like having a much bigger studio budget?

Boysetsfire: Oh yes. First of all, we were much more relaxed and much more focused. For example on our last record After the Eulogy I personally had three days to do all my guitar tracks. So naturally I was rushed somewhat and maybe did not get exactly what I wanted. On this album we were afforded the chance to play around with textures and sounds. And the songwriting.

Musicscan: Why did you choose Dave Fortman as producer for the album? What impact did he have on the record and what was it like working with him?

Boysetsfire: Working with Dave was a dream come true. Never having worked with a producer before, we were naturally very nervous about doing it for the first time. But it turned into a very good thing for us. Sometimes art needs an outside voice to point out certain things, like 'this part is too long' or ' maybe try this part as an intro' and if it worked, awesome. If it didn't, it didn't and Dave knew it and didn't try to force the issue.

Musicscan: I would say that your new album is by far the most coherent piece of work by Boy Sets Fire. It seems like you focused on that aspect a great deal. Is that true? If yes, how so?

Boysetsfire: Thank you. We did spend a great amount of time on the songwriting of this album. We also demoed the songs on our little home studio two or three times so we got to change everything that we all weren't into 100 percent. But for the most part, the songwriting stayed the same. We stayed very organic and let things happen and let everyone have a voice.

Musicscan: You already seemed to vary styles between songs on previous releases, but this time around you are playing with a lot of different parts and styles within one song? Would you agree? Did this happen on purpose or was this a natural process?

Boysetsfire: I guess so. We love being all over the place musically. I think this happened for a variety of reasons the first being that we love heavy music and we love melodies as well. The second is we get so bored so easily that we have to keep this interesting. But it didn't happen on purpose. Anything we try to do on purpose never works out well.

Musicscan: Are you afraid that people will maybe not accept Boy Sets Fire on a major label? I am sure this thought has crossed your mind many times. What reasons made you sign to a major label?

Boysetsfire: There were many reasons and we did discuss it to death and of course thought about it a great deal. We all have families and responsibilities so the days of travelling for months and coming home owing money were just not possible anymore. We talked to many labels after Victory Records and Wind-Up (our American label) were the nicest and most genuine people. Plus they gave us health insurance, which in America is a huge thing and very expensive. There were times that I had intense pains or illnesses but could not afford health care. And foremost is we feel that we have an obligation to spread our message and music to as many people as possible and hopefully our labels can help us do that.

Musicscan: Do you still feel yourself rooted in the punk community or do you want to reach a different, more diverse audience exploiting the assets of the "devil" so to speak?

Boysetsfire: Punk is part of us. We were raised in the punk community and that is something that we can never distance ourselves from that. We decide who we tour with and we will always bring punk and hardcore bands with us. But we definitely want to reach a broader audience as well, for the simple reason that we have a message we think people need to hear.

Musicscan: Nathan has mentioned that he attempted to write some of his most political lyrics so far. Unfortunately I only got an advance CD without any artwork or lyrics, so I can't talk much about the lyrical content of the album. Please tell me a little bit about which political and social issues you are tackling this time?

Boysetsfire: This album was written and recorded in the era after 9-11 so that has a huge influence on the lyrical content. We live in 'interesting' times and the climate in America is very frightening. "Release the Dogs" is about the erosion of our personal freedoms in the wake of the tragedy and our opinion that the government is using very real grief to enact stifling laws. Terrorism can't destroy American values, we are doing it ourselves, or allowing it to be done. Women's body image is discussed, abusive husbands, workers issues, finding hope in sadness.

Musicscan: Which songs are very close to your heart on the album? What is your favorite song and why?

Boysetsfire: I love playing "Release the Dogs" . From a musician's standpoint, that mix just slays me. I also love the lyrics to that song, especially when it discusses America's foreign policy and its direct correlation to terrorism.

Musicscan: Did you have any saying in what was going to be the first single of the album since "White Wedding Dress" was chosen, one of the poppiest songs on the album?

Boysetsfire: We always have a say. But we also love every song on the record so it is difficult for us to choose so we let the people who do that shit for a living make the decision. We are happy Germany picked "White Wedding Dress".

Musicscan: Since you guys tour so much all through the year, do you still maintain apartments in Delaware? How much time do you usually spend at home?

Boysetsfire: Sometimes a lot of time is spent at home, sometimes not so much. We have four months off before the record comes out so we are relaxing at home.

Musicscan: How do you keep up family ties and relationships? I can imagine it is pretty straining for both sides.

Boysetsfire: It can be hard. We just do the best that we can and make the extra effort to be there for the people that need us when we can.

Musicscan: Have you ever thought about what you are going to do after Boy Sets Fire is no more? Any plans, dreams, hopes?

Boysetsfire: I would like to be a history teacher. This can be a beautiful way to reach the youth and inspire them.

Musicscan: Do you have any plans in terms of shooting a video?

Boysetsfire: No, not yet. We are waiting for the right time.

Musicscan: When can we expect you guys to tour Europe again?

Boysetsfire: We will be back in May.

Musicscan: Favorite record, book, movie?

Boysetsfire: "War" / U2, "It Can Happen Here" / Upton Sinclair, Star Wars

Musicscan: Any last words or comments?

Boysetsfire: I would like to thank everyone in Europe, especially in Germany for all their love and support. Believe me, it is returned.

 
 Links:
  BoySetsFire Site
  Deutsche BoySetsFire Site
 
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