Please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Stephen St. Germain and I sing for The First Step.
Why did you guys split up for a while and what was the reason to get back together? How have been the reactions of the crowd so far?
Honestly, we just needed a break from the band and the pressure/expectations that people put on you when you are in a band and that you put on yourself. Its really easy when you are in a band to get into that touring/ playing weekends routine where you are telling yourself we have to do this and for us that meant just playing shows and not really focusing on putting our heads into them or making sure they were memorable. Dont get me wrong, I can honestly say our hearts have been in it every time we have play, which is one thing I love about this band and these guys. Plus, for TFS its no secret that we are playing a style of hardcore that has been done before with our own original twist I know but our focus has always been the ideas that we put forth in our lyrics, cause if the lyrics arent coming from your heart then you truly are just rehashing, as all the critics would put it. When we wrote the demo and then later the seven inch we knew exactly what we wanted to sing about but over time it was one of those things were we found ourselves scratching our heads and saying weve really said everything that we set out to say. So we really just needed some time to revaluate the band and its future. Plus, we were all at hard points in our lives, I just graduated college, Aaron was working in D.C. and Izzy had a full time job and we all just needed some time to focus on other stuff in our life. I personally took that time to concentrate more on getting a good teaching job, focusing on my Buddhist practices, hit the gym etc. But after some time had past we all realized that TFS was something that we wanted to do and wanted in our lives and we really learned from our past mistakes and look at the band in a new way. We arent as rushed to do things because we just want to do what makes sense to us and really make everything we do valiant. These days we love what the band is about even more and when we play its the best feeling in the world but we also see the value in taking time concentrate on other areas of our lives that we care about because this only make the time we come together more special and we are all more relaxed, focused and growing as individuals. The shows have been really good though, especially at the first show in Virginia Beach, kids just went sick! It really feels great to be back playing shows again though. We all really missed it.
Have you changed the line-up since the split?
When we broke up Andy (bass) said that for him that was it, if we ever got back together he didnt want to do it. We love Andy but we didnt feel that same way. So he is not in the band anymore. Currently, Greg Bacon from Stand and Fight has been filling in when we do tours. We dont have a permanent bass player which is not really something that concerns us. Weve got several different people who are great friends, bass players and go off on stage who can fill in.
Whats up next for the band? Are you working on new songs? What can we expect?
What we are working on next is recording an LP for Livewire Records. Right now we have 6 news songs totally done and are working on another six for the LP. We are also going to rerecord two cuts off our demo for the LP. The new songs are awesome, they are in the same vein as our previous material but when you record an LP you have the time to write some songs that are a little different than your previous stuff so we have written a couple songs with some different influences popping up, nothing non-hardcore though. One song is more Minor Threat, we have one slow jam ala-Youth Crew (the song) and another song that people have said sounds like CIV. Trust me, this LP will shred when it comes out. The lyrics are something we have spent a lot of time on and really express how we feel on a bunch of different topics.
Which bands are main influences lyric and music wise for The First Step?
Musically, TFS is just influenced by powerful, straight edge hardcore. I mean it probably doesnt come as much of a surprise but Youth of Today, Insted, UC, DYS and Minor Threat are some of the bands that we all love the most. We have never really wanted to progress musically as a band, just play hardcore the way we always thought it sounded best. People have really criticized us for that sometimes but what I think that they dont understand is that the only type of progression that we want is lyrical progression for ourselves and even for others. To us, hardcore music is awesome, but the only thing that sets it apart from any other form of aggressive, loud music has always been what the people in those bands have been shouting over that music. For the longest time people didnt seem afraid to really search themselves and try and explain what they really thought or felt about something. Times have changed somewhat cause today it seems that so many bands just want to hide behind complex metaphors or dark imagery and use words to paint an image. I dont think this is wrong, cause its just self expression but to me hardcore looses something when people arent communicating clearly. All that being said, the inspiration from lyrics usually comes from conversation we have from one another that is a big one. NOT DONE
Talking about the lyrics, they are very positive and about the Straight Edge. Expect The Higher Taste which is about animal rights. In which way affect animal rights you guys as a band and each of you personally?
Everyone in TFS is a vegetarian so living a cruelty-free life is something we all really believe in. Basically the way we see it is that in this day and age, living in most urbanized societies we each have the choice whether or not we eat meat because we have other options available to us. On top of that we as a society believe that killing someone is wrong and to us (and a lot of other people) if you believe killing is wrong yet you consume animals for food then you are (or the demand you create is) killing something, society has just adopted the idea that the right to life applies only to human beings. A lot of people realize that they are just one person in a world of billions so it can seem like personal actions dont have much of an effect on the world as a whole but by making the choice to stop eating meat and killing animals you are benefiting and making a real difference in your own life and in the world around you. You are showing that you can think of someone other than yourself and something else than just pleasing yourself by any means necessary. Being vegetarian is probably the most important choice I have ever made in my life but even though it is right for me and has no negatives to it, I respect people across the board even if they dont choose to give up the beef.
What are the most important (hardcore) records for you?
Some of the most inspiring records for me personally are all of the Youth of Today records, Uniform Choice Screaming for Change and the Minor Threat records, just to name a few. The music and the lyrics to each of these records just has such intensity and sincerity that when you listen to it you can just feel it in each note or each word. The ideas that these bands championed really helped me at a young age question the world around me and begin to look at everything in new ways and consider new ways of thinking and living.
What do you and the other band members do for a living?
Well the three of all have full time jobs but we do our best to make time for the band. Aaron does accounting work for this company in Washington D.C. that has ties to the US Government, Izzy works at a pet store and I teach middle school special education.
What do you think about the upcoming president elections? Do you believe George Bush will be voted again?
I havent been following the current race as much as I would like so I am not terribly informed as to the stances that all the canadates have taken on each issue. Will Bush be elected again? I really hope not. Anyone who picks a war with another country and there by puts peoples lives at stake so he can push his own agenda which doesnt seem to have the best interest of American truly at heart, in my opinion doesnt need to be president. Especially not again. I think politicians really do have the ability to change the social, political and economic makeup of our country and the world for the better but I think very few choose to do this.
You guys planning a European tour with Stand & Fight and Damage Control this summer. Can you already give as a little preview and some details?
We are working on a tour of Europe and Scandinavia for this summer with Damage Control and Stand and Fight. At the moment I dont have any details except that it will be 3-4 weeks and we will be playing England, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain and maybe Portugal. It will be a killer tour though cause I think that Damage Control and Stand and Fight are two of the best hardcore bands, period, around at the moment and to tour Europe with those band will just be the trip of a lifetime for us.
Thanks for the interview, any last comment to our readers?
Thanks for the interview! We will be playing all of the European continent this summer w/ Damage Control and Stand and Fight July 28th-August 22.