Interview mit Barcode


Hello, to start with, please give us some insight on BARCODE as a band.
Barcode dates back to 1995. We've put out 4 full length albums and been on a shitload of compilations, splits and tribute albums.

You consider yourself being Europe’s finest, most respected, most hated, most uncompromising, most controversial… hardcore act. Could you explain this more specifically?
I would like to start out by complementing you on the harsh questions. No, seriously – it reveals that you’ve made a stand and that you have thorough knowledge about the hc scene and are trying to figure out what the hell Barcode is all about. Not all do!

That said, I’m afraid you’re slightly twisting the wording of our bio. We do not claim to be THE finest, THE most respected, etc. What we say is that we’re AMONGST these bands. Clearly, having been around for a decade in this scene we have witnessed a thing or two. Our controversial attitude (controversial in a hc sense, that is) and our straight forward “fuck you” to everybody who wanna dictate the “true hc values” of course pisses off a lot of people. You see, we don’t need that shit.

Fortunately, wherever we go we practically meet nothing but kind and friendly people – be it bands we play with, organizers, audiences, etc.

What in your opinion defines a good hardcore act?
Barcode is a good hardcore act. So are a lot of other bands. We judge a hc act by their music – not by how many whales they’re prepared to save, not by how DIY, how vegan or how true they claim to be. What matters to us is what comes out of the speakers, nothing else!

I am perfectly aware of the fact that a lot of people in the hc scene define hc in a much broader term – a lifestyle not only expressed through music, but through commitment to a basic set of values. And clearly so, because all sub-cultures (or big multi-national corporations for that matter) live by a fixed set of teambuilding codes. This offers the individual the comfort of belonging to a community and establishes a common identity: we/us against the others/those who are not part of our community. Barcode doesn’t need this set of unity values to form an identity. Excuse me if I sound like an old pent-up fart (although, I undoubtedly am in a lot of kids’ eyes) – but we’re grown ups in our 20ies and 30ies and way beyond this juvenile identity-building phase of our lives.

It took you about three years since “Hardcore” to come up with your newest release “Showdown”. What took you so long?
It’s always been like this. I guess that’s just our pace. But of course, the search for a new recording deal also took some time.

Tell us something about your new album “Showdown”. What can your fans expect from the new release, what can those people expect who don’t know BARCODE yet?
Originally, we wanted to entitle the album “Genau my Style”, but Nuclear Blast didn’t think the mixing of German and English would be any good. Still I think this phrase pretty much sums up what Barcode is all about: Hard-edged music with a twist of humour.

In what way do you consider “Showdown” being your personal showdown or what was the intention behind this title?
It’s a blow to whoever takes offence by our attitude, or our mere being around. I’m not gonna drop any names, but we’ve come across a couple of those types I mentioned before – the self-proclaimed “defenders of the faith”. Wherever we meet a hostile attitude from people who think they know better – we treat them with a lyrical drive-by.

Which song on your new Album stands the best for BARCODE in the year 2005. Please explain yourself.
I see the entire album as a whole. I would have a hard time pinpointing a “hit” or “favourite”.

You definitely don’t seem to have problems with pissing off people or judging scenes. What do you intent with a song like “End the War” about the straight edge community?
It is actually our way of saying: WRONG – we do NOT hate sXe as we have wrongly been accused. However ridiculous we may find several of their self-inflicted rules of abstention – well, that’s entirely up to people themselves. If they wanna live this way – fine by us. I’m sure they feel the same about us. What pisses us off is the fraction of the sXe community who feel entitled to preach these values and have the nerve to expect “non-believers” to adopt and share their views.

So we teamed up with Laurits of As We Fight who’s a really good friend of ours – and sXe – and asked if he’d wanna do this battle thing with us presenting two sides of being hc and still being able to have a good time together. If you’ve only read the lyrics without actually having heard the call/response parts of this song I understand why you’ve misinterpreted the lyrics.

You also mention some football team in your lyrics…?
Yeah, the German national team – play like shit but they always win :-)

You left Hardboiled after the expiration of your 3-album deal and signed with Nuclear Blast a worldwide deal. Why did you leave your old label and what made Nuclear Blast the label of your choice?
Things didn't really move any further on Hardboiled so we figured "what the fuck, can't be any worse than what we've experienced over the last 7-8 years, ha ha". At that time we didn't know that NB had just signed Agnostic Front which came at the perfect time for us because with them as labelmates paving the way I'm pretty convinced that by now all media (hc net fanzines as well as big all-styles print publications) will be perfectly aware that Nuclear Blast is the new breeding ground for hc. Moreover, I trust this move is gonna get our music to a wide audience of potential hardcore fans who would never have given Barcode a chance if we had been out on a traditional hc label.

Dr. J seems to have a lot of duties. Being the main songwriter for BARCODE and singing for the death metal combo HATESPHERE. Where are his priorities and how did he finally end up producing your new record?
That question actually hits a sore spot, ‘cuz with his massive touring with HS, clearly his present prorities are on HS. But then again, with several members (myself included) having kids, girlfriends/wives, jobs, etc. – claiming that Jay’s success with HS is the main factor reducing Barcode’s chance to reach the same level success would be disingenuous (although it would be an explanation that lies comfortably close at hand).

What is your opinion on the new, German pope?
Being the head lobbyist of an influential organisation of quite frightening proportions he’ll probably drag the EU bureaucracy even further into medieval reactionary puritanism – quite similar to that of a movement know from a certain hard-edged music sub-cultural genre :-)

What’s on the schedule for BARCODE this year?
We’re doing some weekend shows and a few festivals during the summer and are planning a tour in September. October/November we’re doing the Retaliation Tour.

Thank you very much for your time. Do you have any final comments?
If you have the balls to go by your heart and your inner voice – even though this may include going upstream – eventually, knowing that you never submitted to peer pressure, you will get out on the other side a whole person with your self esteem unharnessed.