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Interview von: Nis mit Derek, am: 12.05.2002 ]

Durchgeknallt, wirr, komplex und gleichzeitig genial - So lassen sich Himsa aus Seattle wohl passend definieren. Die letzte MCD auf Relvelation Records ist ja "nur" ein Vorgeschmack auf das demnächst erscheinende Full Length. Das Teil kickt ganz schön und ich bin sicher wir können uns da auf was gefasst machen! Grund genug für uns mal genauer nachzuhaken bei den Jungs. Bassist Derek (der ein echt lustiger Zeitgenosse zu sein scheint) stand mir Rede und Antwort. Aber lest selbst:


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 don’t really find a "harder" band that released a record on Revelation - but HIMSA. So what’s 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 label.

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 Drowningman too.

Musicscan: We all received the sad news that Botch is definitely dead. You’re all from the same city, so you hang out with the Botch guys or have to do with them? What do you think of Botch’s 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 talking about?

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 don’t 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 else’s) 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 I guess.

Musicscan: It’s 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. It’s 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 regarding Europe?

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, that’s 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!

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