Musicscan: Thinking about the American Dream – How do you explain the idea of the “famous American Dream” to someone living over here in Europe? And what can be said about the reasons and the evidence for the dying American Dream in this regard?
Agnostic Front: What I am trying to say is that the way things are going in these days we are loosing values and goals toward that "Freedom" that we believe and dream in… The word freedom is loosing faith and as a veteran punk rocker I need to address these issue at least bring it to the attention of those that want to listen. It is the higher up political figures who have no respect for us or care for us to seek the American dream of freedom and liberty. We are heading more towards a police state! That was why I immigrated to America as a child from Cuba with my mom seeking that Liberty, Justice and Freedom!
Musicscan: If the American Dream really died what is or can be the basis for the American society in the future? What's left for people fighting for a better future?
Agnostic Front: Like I said above the way things are going is towards a police state with full government control taking away most or eventually if allowed, all our freedom of speech! It may seem far fetch but as an American I want to exercise that constitution I took an oath too for citizenship or the same constitution that fellow Americans where born into. It is our constitutional right! Every once in a while the government ignores the constitution and tries passes, some times they pass, legislation laws violating our rights! We must stay alert to all this to fight those legislations!
Musicscan: How do you stay motivated and positive in an environment of dying dreams, police violence and monopoly capitalism? Listening to your new album i wouldn't say you gave up and capitulated…
Agnostic Front: I like to stay positive and most importantly safe in my surroundings. I am alert of how easy things can get out of hand and how easy it is to simply get provoked by enforcement. Basically we have little rights when it comes to that. If they want they can legally kill us and get away with it! You've seen it, I've seen it so staying safe is important! The corporate greed that is destroying the country is relentless and they only care about themselves with no importance to myself, my family. I am aware of that too. I grew up during the Reagan years. I grew up as a rebellion teen speaking out for our rights! I have been talking about this since our 1st and classic single United Blood. I just chose to ask question and question authority. I believe in what I see with my own eyes and with this cyber world these atrocities of blatant unprovoked police violence and government scandals are too easily accessible. They can't hide it that easy any more.
Musicscan: The American Dream Died sounds pretty aggressive, angry and spontaneous: how long did it take to write the songs and to record them?
Agnostic Front: These songs came really out of pure outrage of what is current and very happening today! Simple, If you are living life with your eyes clearly open then you can see the truth but if you wish to follow like sheep then you will be led to the slaughter house some day. Wake the fuck up people!
Musicscan: Is there something like a "central song" that could stand for the message of the record as a whole - maybe A Wise Man or Just Like Yesterday? Or is it the title track?
Agnostic Front: The tittle track definitely sums up a lot but the 1 song that really, really ties it in strong is the Intro with all the information I put in from interesting quotes that I feel are very honest and true.
Musicscan: What stands out in your mind about the chemistry of the recording of your new album? How did Freddy Cricien contribute to the overall sound and feel of the album?
Agnostic Front: The chemistry was strong and when we added Craig Silverman to our line-up it felt more on our edge with the right attitude and anger! We knew we where ready then! I like to separate these 2 sessions on our new record like this. We have a few songs that we worked super hard on with my brother Freddy to feel right, frankly, most of it 90% of it was solid as a rock! Then we have what we call the CBGB's Matinee session which is the crazy old school chaotic songs which came into play writing them in Arizona with my good friend Rich Labbate (Insted, The Alligators). We have a side band called The Alligators that we have been releasing these super energized blast songs with so I gave 1 a try on our last album, My Life My Way called That's Life and people loved it! Specially live so I got together with Rich and wrote these killer 8 songs! Figure it would give a nice old school anger to it! My other friend and fellow ex Roger Miret and The Disasters drummer JP Otto helped out on the drums then we where ready to present the songs to the band! They loved it! And Rich went as far as being in the studio with us grabbing that perfect vibe for the songs! So he did also come in the mix as another ear for production! Freddy worked the other 8 songs eventually all 16 really hard even after mastering when we went back to do more vocals and Matt Henderson guitars on A Wise Man! Freddy is a great Producer and on point!
Musicscan: Speaking about the feeling of community as you experience it with AF: Do you feel that the sense of unity in hardcore/punk is still as strong as it was -let's say - a decade ago? With having guest appearances by Freddy Cricien, Toby Morse and Lou Koller it seems that the NY scene is as strong and united as ever. What does it mean for you to have them on your new album?
Agnostic Front: Yes I feel it! You know every once in a while things wash up and quality gets lost with quantity but there are still people who care and I focus on them and the new kids that want to be a part of this great community! Hardcore is very family orientated. Like family, sometimes it can be dysfunctional, other it can be super strong! I keep my family genuine because I portray myself how I want others to portray me. So I say join me and your in a good place. Fool me and you are not welcome fool me twice and that you will regret.
Musicscan: Hardcore/punk has always been an underground genre, but there has been a surge of more mainstream orientated bands and big success for some of them over the years. How would you classify the state of hardcore right now compared to its early days? Where do you think is it going? Do you feel hardcore/punk is losing its edge by having more and more bands with no real political or social stance these days?
Agnostic Front: Well I spoke about this in the last question. You know politics are a touchy subject. We usually touch on it here and there and depending on the times is how far we go with it. It happens to be that the times are fucked! And it's time to voice that anger. Politics, specially social politics are and have always been a hardcore way of life if you are living it. The music always had the message we just chose to stay a little more on the social side speaking about oppression and overcoming it! We stand true to the game.
Musicscan: Some bands claim to not be interested in the hardcore scene as such anymore beside they play hardcore. You always stick to that scene. But regarding all those stupid trends and the fact, that hardcore has become some kind of a stylish scene for some parts, is it hard to still believe in the things you once did and established?
Agnostic Front: I live my life and I walk the line. I am as genuine and as it gets. I have my theories some you may agree with, some you may not but that is what I always loved about punk! It is about being yourself and expanding your knowledge from other who have similar thoughts and goals! Express yourself, be yourself. That's where I don't wish to fit into any categories or styles. I am me. I still believe in those beliefs I held so strong and I value that passion and pride in this longevity as a band and person. I say this, stay true to yourself first, then to your peers and that will hold great value as a person.