It’s day 4 of your recent european tour. How did it turn out so far?
It’s been beyond any of our expectations. We didn’t know what to expect and the shows have been pretty well attended so far, so it’s very flattering. We’ll have a great time.
Many of the shows are selling out. As a result, the shows get less and less personal and it seems plausible that the next tour is going to get even bigger. Are there more barriers on this tour? Do you still avoid playing venues with barriers? What are your thoughts on that matter?
So far there hasn’t been any barriers. I mean these venues are still personal enough. It’s nothing compared to the Rise Against tour - that was in arenas, you know? I don’t think we’ll ever be like that. We’ll always wanna have no barriers, we’ll fight for that. We always prefer the personal experience but we have to find that line between accommodating everybody and making everybody happy and able to get into the show and being safe. I see both sides but we’ll always prefer no barriers.
Before this tour, you have been on the road with AFI. Which experiences did you make? Were those the biggest shows you’ve ever played?
Nothing will compare to Rise Against. Rise Against was arenas. We were playing 14.000 cap places. AFI purposely did a relatively small tour. Most of the shows were like 800 to 1200. All of them were sold out within like 30 seconds, so no one who knew us got tickets. Everyone we played to had no idea who we were. I’m glad that we did it, it was an experience. I’m happy we’re headlining now though. I’m happy we’re playing to kids who know us.
And what are your thoughts on AFI? I supposed you have been listening to them before they got that big of a band. Many fans said they were selling out and it’s obvious that their outputs got softer and softer, how do you see that?
I was actually never an AFI fan. I appreciate who they are and I actually like their new album more than anything they ever did before. I understand a band changing over time, they have been a band for 20 years. You can’t expect them to write the same record. They probably wanna write records that go along with their influences at that time too, so I could never harsh a band for doing what they wanna do.
Can you imagine that Touché Amoré will go in a similar direction? That you change your sound to reach more people?
No, we’ll just continue doing what we wanna do. I mean if it ends up becoming more accessible, that’s just coincidence. This new record is a lot more melodic than our first records, but I think that’s just because we got better playing our instruments.
Do you play any instruments?
Yeah, I play guitar, I can play base, I can play drums. I played guitar in bands before but it was the first time that I sing in a band.
Which reactions have you gotten concerning your newest output “Is Survived By”, especially compared to “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me”?
It’s been received really really well, way beyond anything I would have thought. The third record is a hard record to write, there has been a lot of expectations on it. I was always expecting everyone to say “I love Parting the Sea and their other stuff is okay”, but the fact that they are very accepting “Is Survived By” is a great accomplishment.
Your tour mates are Dad Punchers, which is a side project of your drummer and Self Defense Family. Last time, it was O’Brother and Birds in Row. Do you choose these bands yourself or do you get offers by someone else?
Dad Punchers is Elliot’s thing, he will play with a different band on every tour. Well, we always choose who we tour with unless we’re not headlining. We make decisions like this all the time, I’m a huge Self Defense Family fan and it just makes sense to have Elliot to this.
I’m kind of pissed off that Modern Life is War is only playing one exclusive show in Europe at Groezrock. But overall, I’m very happy they are back. They seem to be doing it because they really want to. How do you see it?
Absolutely. We played with them about a month ago in Iowa and it was amazing. It was a hometown show and they were perfect. It sounded perfect. You can tell they’re doing it cause they wanna do. I love the new album, I think it is awesome. I like it more than the last one. Midnight in America wasn’t for me. They didn’t even play any songs off of it on that show. It was pretty much just “Witness” and the new record and a few songs off “My Love. My Way.”.
What have you got in the works with your label Secret Voice?
I’m going to be putting out a new 7’’ for the band Dangers. They have toured here pretty often. They are fucking great and their new 7’’ is awesome. We’re announcing it probably in a month. It’s four songs.
What can we expect from Hesitation Wounds? How did this kind of “allstar project” come together? Do you take your time for that project besides Touché Amoré? Are there touring plans or anything?
Probably not any touring plans because everybody lives in different parts of the country but we’ll play with American Nightmare the day I get home from this tour. Yeah, it was just a bunch of friends from different bands that were all on tour at the same time and were trying to write songs together.. it was fun.
You seem to want to contribute as much as you can to the hardcore scene. Does that go aside of musical projects, too? Are there any organizations, projects, books or zines that you are involved in, too?
Not necessarily, but I work at a record store when I’m at home, I’m doing a label and two bands, so that takes a lot of time.
A lot of people are struggling with the fact that they are getting older. How do you cope with the concept of mortality?
It’s something that we all have to deal with it and that we all think about. I think all you can do is do your best to prepare. Live life the way you think you should. That’s all you can really do. Just try your best to live that life you wanna be living. Don’t work a job that you hate. Don’t date somebody who treats you like shit. It’s what everyone says: Try to live your life to the fullest.
Can you identify with the current hardcore scene? Especially when we are talking about fans or everyone who is not in a band? A lot of people are turning their backs because there is too many moshing or because their favorite bands have all split up or because they think the crowd sucks.
If you consider yourself a hardcore kid you can always find newer bands that are good. There’s a lot of bands, but you can always find what makes you happy. As long as you still feel like you have it in your system you should participate as much as can – whether it’s starting a band, writing a zine, whatever. I’ve been a hardcore kid for like 15 years. I have a whole scene of friends at home and I still go to shows regularly.
What was the best show you have seen this year?
This is going to be hard, because it is not a hardcore show. I got to see Leonard Cohen this year and it was the best thing ever. I got to see The National this year, too. Hardcore-related, I feel like I haven’t seen anybody new.
Probably the Modern Life is War Show.
It was the Modern Life is War show, thank you for answering my question. Actually we played with United Nations also, in Brooklyn and they were incredible. That’s Jeff from Thursdays’s hardcore band and it’s a monster.
How do you think the future of Touché Amoré might look like? If you ask me, I can’t really imagine you guys in the age of 40. Some people even said that “Is Survived By” has some kind of “Swan Song” character to it. Looking at a lot of hardcore bands, there doesn’t seem to be that much possibilities: Splitting up, going real big without selling out (like Converge perhaps) or going real big with selling out. Concerning what you said about Vans Warped Tour, I don’t suppose you guys to sell out.
It’s funny you mentioned Converge, because basically as band that is like our rolemodel. A lot of times we’ve said “Would Converge do that?” and that’s how we chose things. I feel like we have a good head on our shoulders and we are just going to continue what feels right, that’s all we can do. I don’t see a reason to break up anytime soon but I also can’t look into the future. But I know what you mean, most hardcore bands don’t make it past the third record. Imagining ourselves playing every night at the age of 40 would be weird, but there’s a lot of good bands in their 40ies that are doing it. The singer of Bane is 40, the guys in AFI are almost 40, the guys in Converge are almost 40 so.. it could happen. We’ll see.
Years ago, you played in a band called Thriller. Why did you choose that name, what are your thoughts on that band nowadays and what are the other guys doing right now?
Wow.. I didn’t choose the name. It was our base player Joseph. They were a good learning experience. They are not a band anymore, they broke up many years ago. I played guitar in that band. Three of the guys got married this year. We’re not very close anymore. No one of them is part of a bigger band right now.
You sometimes work in a record store and you’re kind of a record nerd. Would you like to own an own one someday? Or can you imagine other jobs if Touché Amoré wouldn’t be your fulltime-job?
I would love to own a record store, I always thought a lot about that. Apart from that, I’d love to do the label more seriously and I would be doing something with music. If I’m not playing in a band, I’m gonna be doing a label or a store or a distro or a booking agency. I have to be part of this whole thing.
This year is slowly coming to an end. What are your top 5 favorite releases of 2013?
That’s a hard question, I don’t know. Someone asked me the top 3 yesterday. Off the top of my head: The National, Nine Inch Nails, Balance & Composure.. what else is there? Title Fight was last year, right? Yeah, it’s just a 7’’ this year. I would say Self Defense Family’s record but it doesn’t come out until january now. Their new album is fucking awesome. It’s done, it just takes some time for the vinyl to come out. You can probably download it in december. I’m gonna hate myself because I know there’s stuff that I just can’t think of. Power Trip’s new record is a good one, but I can’t listen to the whole thing in full. It’s very reverby, they are trying to sound like the first Metallica album, but that’s how the record sounds like and I know that’s what they were going for so that’s cool. But it’s kind of hard to listen through the entire record. Daylight record is very good. O’ Brother record is good, the Defeater record is cool. There’s a girl who sings under the name Waxahatchee, her record is fucking awesome. That would be on my list. The Chelsea Wolf record is very good. Definitely deafhaven, Sunbather is a great record.
Any last shoutouts or something we should check out that we haven’t talked about?
Thank you to anyone who is coming out to these shows. We haven’t had like a proper headlining tour here, so the fact that people are sticking around and still wanting to come see us play after doing a bunch of support tours is very flattering.