Musicscan: First when I received your CD I was very impressed by the artwork. Is there
a deeper meaning within the woman and the whole layout?
Himsa: The concept for the art of "Death is Infinite" doesn't have any
hidden meaning. We contacted our old guitar player Aaron Edge who does a
lot of layout and asked him to recreate an image that he had done for us
while he was still in the band. The cover photo is of his wife and the
back is actually a photo I took at an earlier date. We just wanted it to
be dark and a little mysterious, sorry to disappoint.
Musicscan: When I look at the Revelation Records releases nowadays I dont really find
a "harder" band that released a record on Revelation - but HIMSA. So whats
the cause for releasing your MCD on this label among so much EMO and Punk
bands? I think no one would be surprised if you would have moved to another
Himsa: Yeah, we were still under contract at the time. We asked them if
they wanted to put it out and they were a little hesitant, but they decided
to run with it. I'd have to say it's one of the heavier releases Rev has
done, but then you can't forget about Curl Up and Die, Fall Silent, and
Musicscan: We all received the sad news that Botch is definitely dead. Youre all from
the same city, so you hang out with the Botch guys or have to do with them?
What do you think of Botchs split up?
Himsa: Yeah, Botch's last show is June 15 here in Seattle, I know a lot of
people that are flying in for it. I'm sad to see them go as I think they
are great band. Our singer used to manage them and we are all friends with
them. I know many of them will move on to other projects as Dave Knudeson
is already playing in Minus The Bear and Brian has another project as well.
I understand why they are breaking up, it's hard to realize they've been
together for 9 years and people have only really known about them for the
last 2 or 3.
Musicscan: What about the scene in Seattle? I think you and Botch are the only well
known bands from there. Are there some (good) local bands? Is there a big difference to the scene in Florida which everybody is
Himsa: There are many good bands from Seattle that are just starting to get
some recognition. There is a big Posi-scene here and bands like Champion
and Stay Gold are getting well known on a national level. Then there are
more heavy bands like Playing Enemy and Harkonen who are from here, but
seem to be overlooked by many. Needless to say, the scene in Seattle is
rather large. There are many different "mini-scenes" within the hardcore
scene here. A good place to check in is at www.nwhardcore.com. There's a
tight community around that site.
Musicscan: I´m sure you guys have your own standpoint regarding religion in the hardcore scene. Here in
Germany we dont really have that kind of bands - sure we have but not such
big ones like ZAO or something. You even have Christian labels like Solid
State / Tooth & Nail over there. So what do you think about it?
Himsa: Yep, it's pretty crazy, like I said before, there are many sub or
mini scenes here. The Christian scene is actually pretty large as Tooth &
Nail is based here in Seattle. I can't say I support it, but a lot of those
kids are really nice and come out to support a lot of the other bands too.
It's kind of crazy when you see some punk or hardcore kid wearing a shirt
that says "Abortion is Murder" and things of that nature. I guess everyone
is entitled to their (or someone elses) opinion. I kind of have a hard
time with it sometimes because I come from 80's and 90's punk and hardcore
scene and that right-winged view was everything we were against. I don't
play into the politics as much anymore so it's easier for me to accept now
Musicscan: Its not that far from Seattle to Canada. So how is your relation to
Canada? Are you playing there live often?
Himsa: We like to cross the border and get annaly searched as much as
possible. No, just kidding about the anal thing, but it is scary. Canada is
exactly like the US except there are little things that make you feel like
you're on a different planet like cross-walks, packaging, and the people.
Everything is off just a little bit. We like to play in Canada and give the
Canadians as much shit as possible, but in reality, they're some of the
nicest and most sincere people I've met. We've toured the Western part of
Canada and we have had great responses. It's too bad that crossing the
border is such a pain in the ass and that the cities are so far apart
because the kids up there rule. Maybe that's why they rule because few
bands go up there!
Musicscan: As everybody knows you did a big South East Asia tour in 2000. Its not
very common for HC bands touring there. Nearly like Germany Heaven Shall
Burn did a tour in Brazil this year. What impressions did you get there and
how is the scene over there? Do U think that you would maybe do such
a "exotic" tour again?
Himsa: Touring Asia was a once in a lifetime experience and I won't say
that we'll never go back, but I don't see it happening any time soon. Much
like Canadians, bands don't go there and the kids love everything they can
get, but more! We were the first US hardcore band to ever play in places
like Indonesia, Thailand, and parts of China. The hospitality was enormous,
but at the same time, got to be a little overbearing as kids were hanging
out all the time and asking us a million questions. We flew, bussed, took
trains, boats, mopeds, taxis, ox carts, and walked to all our shows. I lost
like 20 pounds and we all came back exhausted. It was a lot of work, but
the experiences were amazing!
Musicscan: You are touring Europe in fall this year. What are your expectations
Himsa: We will conquer Europe this fall and we will take no prisoners. I'm
really excited to come over there and play as I've never personally toured
there before. It's always been one of my life-long goals with a band. So
I'm extremely excited and I'm so happy that Ivonne from Avocado Booking is
helping us. We'll be over for 5 weeks and hope to play everywhere we can
get. A few of us are staying after the tour for a couple weeks and plan to
revisit some friends that we haven't seen for far too long.
Musicscan: What are the main influences for your music. It is very structured and
complex like I think. Do you guys listen to similar stuff a lot?
Himsa: We all listen to all metal from Sweden. That will be very apparent
when you hear the new LP. We also like Bleeding Through which we just
finished some touring with and Lamb of God, who smoke all metal bands
living and dead.
Musicscan: How do you create your songs? Are all members involved in writing them or
are always the same guys writing the songs?
Himsa: The guitarists Sammi and Kirby do the writing. They both grew up
listening to a lot of Iron Maiden and other hair bands. They come up with
all of it and I just sit and type emails to people who ask us questions. We
all have pretty defined rolls in the band despite some of the members being
new blood (Sammi and Tim).
Musicscan: How come that you got so much changes in your lineup during the years so
far? What are the former HIMSA members doing now? Are they still making
music in other bands?
Himsa: A couple of the past members have gone on to form The 6 Minute
Heartstop, The November Group, and Cepheid. The past members had different
reasons for leaving the band, but a lot of it had to deal with making Himsa
a full time band. I'm always into touring and that wasn't something that
the other members were into or wanted to do at the time. Johnny and I
worked hard to get the line-up solid to be able to pursue this full force
and it has been picking up moment faster than I imagined it would since!
Musicscan: Everybody knows about the vegan / Straight Edge movement within the hardcore scene(s)
nowadays.So what does straight edge or veganism mean to you?
Himsa: Straight Edge is something that is so personal to me that I don't
care to tell anyone about it or share it with anyone. It's a lifestyle that
I keep to myself and share only with others who want to know about it or
that can relate to it on another level. You'd get a different answer from
each person in the band on that subject, same with veganism. I practiced it
for 7 years and I don't anymore. Veganism means you don't wear, eat or use
animal products. I switched back to a vegetarian diet a year ago because of
health problems. I realized that you really need to pay attention to the
nutritional elements of being a vegan and that was never my reason for
being vegan. I lived strictly with the Vegan title for 7 years. I don't
subscribe to the Vegan life-syle anymore, but my heart goes out to those
that still do.
Musicscan: What will be the nearest future for HIMSA? Are there already any plans for
the time after the European tour and the upcoming full length?
Himsa: We decided to hold off on recording the full length until after the
Euro tour. We did this so that we would be fully ready to support it when
it comes out in winter of 2003. We plan to tour as much as possible next
year because we think our new record will be damn good and we want people
to hear it.
Musicscan: OK, thats t for now. Any last words?
Himsa: Thanks for your interest in Himsa. Please feel free to contact us
through www.himsa.org. I'm pretty good about getting back to people and I love to talk to all the
crazy Euro kids over there!