Rise and Fall Interview
One of our all-time favorites, Belgium’s Rise and Fall, recently announced tour plans with Nails and Harms Way to kick off in Essen, Germany on Nov 19 as the GREY HEAVENS 2010 EUROPE TOUR. Rise and Fall continue to support their 2009 release on Deathwishinc, Our Circle is Vicious, which is the band’s third full-length release since their inception in 2002. Combining elements of modern d-beat, metal, punk, and hardcore, Rise and Fall continually blur the lines of genre and niche. The band’s sound draws influence from mainstays Tragedy and Converge, coupled with driving drums beats mixed with dense guitar work that often incorporates subtle melodies and haunting minor chords. The music has a definite sense of urgency and with Kurt Ballou of God City Studios (Converge, Trap Them), at the recording helm, you have a perfect storm of musical annihilation for eager eardrums. This dense musical foundation often leaves room for a highly-emotional vocal attack that has collectively helped Rise and Fall achieve a level of success only a handful of their Belgium peers have seen. Rise and Fall have an authenticity to their sound that is often lacking from next-generation hardcore punk and d-beat bands. If you are a fan of Tragedy, From Ashes Rise, and His Hero is Gone – you will dig these guys. Fingers-crossed we get a US tour in the near future.
Blow The Scene Editor, Joshua T. Cohen was able to catch up Rise and Fall vocalist Bjorn Dossche on the eve of the band’s GREY HEAVENS 2010 EUROPE TOUR!Check out this exclusive Rise and Fall interview with the skinny on new songs, the upcoming tour, guilty pleasures, and much more!
Joshua BTS: Greetings! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule as you prepare for the Rise and Fall 2010 Euro Tour! Let’s begin by having you introduce yourself to Blow The Scene readers around the world by stating your name and musical weapon of choice in Rise and Fall.
I am Bjorn and I sing in Rise And Fall.
Joshua BTS: Rise and Fall are kicking off a European tour Friday Nov 19th in Essen Germany with Southern Cali’s Nails and Harm’s Way from Chicago. Can you tell us how this tour developed? Did you hand pick the supporting bands?
Bjorn:We did a lot of touring right after Our Circle Is Vicious came out and had an awesome time on all those tours… However we know that after the ‘touring cycle’ for that record we would have to take things easier with the band since we all have real jobs now and can’t be touring as much as we used to. So basically this upcoming tour is our first one since we toured Europe last February with Trapped Under Ice. Our Circle Is Vicious came out about a year ago and we felt like the time was right do another headlining European tour. We have missed being out on the road and wanted to have a tour that we’d be stoked for ourselves. So we got in touch with both bands to see if they were down to do their first Euro tours with us and everything came together quite easily and naturally. Obviously it helps that both bands are good friends of ours and we have played and hung out with the dudes in those bands on many an occasion. We feel like these are some of the newer bands that we connect with on a musical and personal level so this tour makes a lot of sense in our minds.
Joshua BTS: What should fans expect from this tour? Breaking out any rarities or testing out any new songs?
Bjorn: It’s definitely a solid package. Three bands that will do their very best to play hard and loud. We are playing a setlist that mainly consists out of songs off the last 2 albums plus a brand new rager called ‘Deceiver’.
Joshua BTS: Any stops on the tour you are especially looking forward to? Have you found that crowd reactions tend to shift from country to country as you trek through Europe?
Bjorn: Europe definitely is pretty different from country to country. People up north always seem a bit more standoffish but they are super polite and will take the time to absorb what you’re doing. In the south of Europe shows tend to run late and be a little chaotic with more of a party vibe now and then. I dunno. It’s interesting! Crowd response doesn’t determine if a show was good or not anyway. All we want is for people to pay attention and hopefully if we do well we will make some kind of impact. There are so many bands and so many tours at all times so you can’t afford to get on stage and half ass it.
Joshua BTS: Rise and Fall have been active since 2002 in what started as a side project with members of The Deal and Kingpin. Since then, Rise and Fall has become the main musical focus of all members. You have gone on to release a 7″ E.P. and three full-length albums. With each album, starting with Hellmouth (2004), followed by Into Oblivion (2005) and your most recent effort Our Circle Is Vicious (2009), we see more and more bands adopting elements of your sound. Rise and Fall is often imitated but never duplicated. How does this emulation by your musical peers affect the way you approach the writing of new material? Does it add an element of stress to try and stay ahead of the game?
Bjorn: You did your homework! I don’t know how emulated we are really. Obviously we have noticed that we have had some kind of influence on bands but that can only be seen as a compliment. What counts though is inspiring people to do their own thing – which is what we have always tried to do. We all have our influences and sometimes you wear them on your sleeve proudly but in the end you can only be one band and that is your own. So through the years we have definitely evolved musically and lyrically but never because we wanted to stay ahead of ‘the competition’ or whatever… We try to write the best songs we can and what comes out comes out. We are definitely our own harshest critics though so anything that sounds rehashed or weak doesn’t make the cut in order to be sure we deliver the best record we possibly can at the time of writing.
Joshua BTS: It seems Rise and Fall has found a happy home with Deathwishinc and Kurt Ballou at God City Recording Studios. From Kurt’s mixing work on Into Oblivion through your latest full-length, Our Circle Is Vicious, you really crafted an indefinable niche within the hardcore world. How did you come to hook up with Deathwishinc and Ballou and should fans expect a continued working relationship?
Bjorn: We met Jake [Bannon] and Converge through touring and playing shows together. At one point while we were writing Into Oblivion in 2005 Deathwish expressed interest in releasing the record. When they heard the finished end result with Kurt’s mixing they were excited enough to release that record and since then we haven’t looked back. They are an awesome label to work with – they always put the bands first and help us out wherever and whenever they can. Same goes for Kurt… After Into Oblivion we were so stoked on his work that we wanted to do the whole thing with him for Our Circle Is Vicious… Recording, mixing and having him chip in here and there with some ideas. We love the way that record came out so yes – expect a continued working relationship with both the label and the studio!
Joshua BTS: Any new releases in the works?
Bjorn: We have been writing new material for the past couple of months and I think we have 4/5 songs that are done or nearly done. We are planning on getting on an airplane to record with Kurt Ballou sometime in the spring of 2011.
Joshua BTS: It’s often said that Rise and Fall have become one of the most successful hardcore bands from Belgium. “Success” can be a rather arbitrary
description. How has the underground success of Rise and Fall affected your daily lives? Ready to leave the day jobs behind?
Bjorn: Success is a very, very relative thing. We feel like we have done well so far and we have reached a lot of the goals we wanted to reach. This band will never be a full time job and we will never be big. All we could ever ask for is to be a band that is respected by their peers and that can tour and record comfortably knowing that a bunch of people care.
Joshua BTS: Any odd touring habits on the road? We’ve heard of bands shattin’ out of van windows to other who smack each other with Gatoraide bottles full
of piss to relieve stress. How does Rise and Fall rank in the oddities category on the road?
Bjorn: We are pretty much a bunch of ‘chilled out entertainers’ (copyright Ricky Gervais). We chill in the van. We read, talk, sleep and watch movies. Sorry to disappoint you.
Joshua BTS: Lyrically, Rise and Fall tend to stick with inner-personal themes that are often open-ended, leaving much room for interpretation amongst listeners. Unlike a lot of punk and hardcore bands, you guys tend to stay away from political themes. Is this a conscious decision? Are there any aspects of politics that really have your attention right now? Any political or grassroots organizations that have your support?
Bjorn: I would never feel right telling people how to think or act or live their lives. All I try to do is communicate and express myself. Writing lyrics and singing these songs is a therapeutic thing for me. It is a way to help me cope with life’s struggles. I am not depressed, insane or a megalomaniac. I am just a person trying to get through this life and I hope people can relate to what I write. That been said there are definitely some songs that deal with some of the problems that our societies face but I try to leave those open ended too. We are not a political band at all but definitely lean towards the progressive, open minded part of the political spectrum.
Joshua BTS: Always like to throw in one for the gear heads.. Rise and Fall continually capture a gigantic sound with each full-length that is interpreted very literally with your live performances. The infusion of subtle melody with pummeling hardcore riffs is seamless. What pieces of equipment would say are the most vital to your sound? Any oddities in your gear list, whether it be with the guitar, bass, or drums?
Bjorn: I am probably the worst person to ask! Cedric has a bunch of crazy pedals and both him and Vince are obsessed with their gear and their sound so that should explain a few things…
Joshua BTS: Any bands out there right now that are really exciting you whether they be up-and-comers or veterans?
Bjorn: Keepers Of The Faith by Terror has been one of my favorite records to come out this year. Love it. Very much looking forward to new material by Trapped Under Ice and Iron Age. That last Harm’s Way 7” rules as well. Union Town was one my favorite Euro bands but they broke up recently. Blind To Faith and The Reactionaries would probably be my favorite European hardcore/punk related bands right now.
Joshua BTS: We often find that musicians are eclectic artists with talents that often reach beyond music. Are the members of Rise and Fall activity pursuing any other artistic endeavors?
Bjorn: Vince – our bass-player – designs all our merch and designs ads and posters as well for the company he works for. Our drummer Wim drums in two other bands and raps in a hilarious project called Fundamentaal. Cedric played in Pink Floyd 35 years ago. I am dreaming of writing a book one day.
Joshua BTS: What’s your guiltiest musical pleasure? While we’re on the topic, what’s your guiltiest pleasure of life in general?
Bjorn: In general – candy. And romcoms. Musically – I hardly ever feel guilty for liking what I like. I do admit that it feels weird when I dig certain Pink! songs…
Joshua BTS:What should fans expect from Rise and Fall as we head into 2011?
Bjorn: A new album featuring a new drummer and a bunch of songs that’ll make you wanna bang your head like it’s 1985.
Interview by Managing Editor, Joshua T. Cohen
CHECK OUT MP3 of “BUILT ON GRAVES” by Rise and Fall featured on Our Circle is Vicious
Download Built on Graves by Rise and Fall (Just Click to stream instantly)
CHECK OUT MP3 of “THE VOID” by Rise and Fall featured on Into Oblivion
Download The Void by Rise and Fall (Just Click to stream instantly)
RISE AND FALL- GREY HEAVENS 2010 EUROPE TOUR
CHECK OUT OUR FULL TOUR PREVIEW – HERE!
19.11.10 Germany – Essen – Cafe Nova
20.11.10 Belgium – Hasselt – Muziekodrome w/Black Breath
21.11.10 UK – Norwich – The Marquee w/Coliseum, Bison BC, Kvelertak
22.11.10 UK – Newport – Le Pub
23.11.10 UK – Manchester – Moho w/Gallows
24.11.10 UK – London – O2 Islington Academy 2
25.11.10 Netherlands – Eindhoven – Dynamo
26.11.10 Germany – Münster – Stadtteilhaus Lorenz-Süd
27.11.10 Germany – Leipzig – Conne Island
28.11.10 Czech Republic – Prague – .007
29.11.10 Austria – Wien – Arena
30.11.10 Germany – München – Feierwerk
01.12.10 Germany – Nürnberg – Kunstverein
02.12.10 Austria – Dornbirn – Schlachthaus
03.12.10 Italy – Mezzago – Bloom
04.12.10 Germany – Stuttgart – Juha West
05.12.10 Germany – Hamburg – Hafenklang
Tags: Bjorn, Blind To Faith, Converge, Deathwishinc, European Tour, Exclusive, Fundamentaal, God City Recording Studios, Grey Heavens Tour, Hardcore, Harms Way, Hellmouth, Interview, Into Oblivion, Iron Age, Jake Bannon, Keepers Of The Faith, Kingpin, Kurt Ballou, Nails, Our Circle Is Vicious, Rise and Fall, Rise and Fall Interview, Terror, The Deal, The Reactionaries, Trapped Under Ice, Union Town, Wim