We are very excited to offer Blow The Scene readers around the world an in-depth split interview with leading Belgium bands Rise and Fall and Oathbreaker as they prepare to embark on a European tour together. This special interview takes place on the eve of the release of Rise and Fall‘s latest full-length, Faith, which is being offered through Deathwish Inc and was recorded at God City Studios with renowned producer/engineer Kurt Ballou (Converge) last year. Today we are joined by Rise and Fall vocalist Bjorn Dossche and Oathbreaker drummer Ivo Debrabandere and vocalist Caro Tanghe. Each member gives his and her own perspective on the forthcoming tour, latest releases, music happenings in Belgium, tour preparations, and the history behind these rising stars in Belgium’s flourishing music scene.
Without further ado, let’s here from Bjork, Ivo, and Caro.
Interview by Joshua T. Cohen.
Rise & Fall with Oathbreaker Interview
Joshua BTS: Greetings! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for Blow The Scene readers around the world! Let’s begin by having you introduce yourselves and declare your onstage weapons of choice with Belgium’s hardcore punk titans Rise and Fall and Oathbreaker.
I’m Bjorn and I sing in Rise And Fall.
I’m Ivo and I play drums in Oathbreaker.
Joshua BTS: It’s been some time since we caught up with both bands and a lot has happened in that time. First, let’s touch on how your forthcoming European tour came together with Rise and Fall, Oathbreaker, and The Secret. How did this tour come to be?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: We’d been planning to tour Europe again in support of the new album, playing a mix of places we’ve been to often and a couple of places we haven’t played in a long time, like Sweden and France. There were a bunch of ideas that were thrown around when it came to the bands we were going to tour with, and Oathbreaker was always going to be included. We’ve played together often throughout the years, but never really got to tour with them so that is happening now and we’re excited about that. We think their new LP Maelstrom is a true rager, plus we have quite a few things in common such as our record label and our hometown, as you probably know. The Secret is a band we’ve been in touch with in the last couple of years, trying to work out a tour together. I first saw them when we played Italy with them in ’07 and they’ve grown tremendously since then. Again, I think we have quite a few things in common with them as well and as a result this tour makes a lot of sense. Basically it’s a tour featuring 3 European bands that have worked hard to get where they’re at and that will be giving it a 110 % every night. I’m guessing people should bring their earplugs.
Ivo – Oathbreaker: I think Lennart and Vincent first started talking about the idea of doing a tour together. Rise And Fall was looking for a tour to support the release of Faith and we were also looking for opportunities to play abroad. At some point, they invited us to join their European tour. I think the tour package turned out really well. Rise And Fall has been going strong for numerous years now, and Faith is without a doubt their best record yet. The Secret have been getting great reviews for their Solve et Coagula album and have been working really hard to get where they are the last couple of years. It’s a great opportunity for us to do this tour, reaching a lot of kids that have never heard or seen us before and going to places we’ve never been.
Joshua BTS: I know Oathbreaker has said Rise and Fall are one of the bands that has helped you in numerous ways, ranging from musical influence to general friendship. Does it excite you even more than usual to be hitting the road with them for an extended period?
Ivo – Oathbreaker: We’re really stoked for this tour. It’s our biggest tour yet, and we’ll get to play a lot of places we’ve never been before and the fact that the tour is together with Rise And Fall only makes it better. For almost ten years now, they’ve been one of the most important Belgian hardcore bands . We’ve also known each other from when we were all still playing in our previous bands, so we all go back quite some years already. We did a weekend back in November together with Ritual and Hessian, which turned out great so I have high hopes for this tour.
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: Definitely. We’ve known each other for a long time. Lennart who plays guitar in Oathbreaker is our age and I’ve seen him do bands for the last 15 + years. Ivo, who drums in Oathbreaker, grew up with our guitarist Cedric in the same seaside town. And when Caro and Gilles were younger Rise And Fall would play shows with their old band and I was always a fan of the passion they had for what they were doing. When their old band morphed into Oathbreaker (with Lennart and Ivo joining the band) we were there to see some of their first shows. People didn’t always get what they were doing, but they hung in there, continued doing their own thing and managed to exceed everyone’s expectations.
Joshua BTS: Do you feel the bands share ideological perspectives when it comes to approaching music and life in general?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: I think our music is inspired by some of the same things that inspire Oathbreaker. We have never sat down and discussed ideologies deeply, but I am pretty confident we share a similar outlook on life and the world around us. Musically we are a band that’s always been drawn to the darker, more menacing side of all things hardcore, punk and metal and that is obviously also true for Oathbreaker.
Ivo – Oathbreaker: Even though musically we each have our own accents, I think we do have a common background. Most of us got into hardcore through the infamous H8000 scene, so that element is definitely present in both bands. On an ideological level, I couldn’t tell you for sure but most of the time I can definitely connect with the visions and ideas portrayed in the music of Rise And Fall.
Joshua BTS: Rise and Fall has a new record coming out this year on Deathwish Inc. You guys must feel more than ready to get out on the road with some new material with it going on three years since you highly regarded release in 2009, Our Circle is Vicious. Will you be working in new tracks on this tour run?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: We’re definitely eager to get out there and tour again. We did a short 3 day trip with Oathbreaker, Ritual and Hessian last year when the Deceiver EP came out and right after recording Faith, we were out on the East Coast with Masakari for a week… But it’s been since late ’10 when we were out with Nails and Harm’s Way in Europe that we’ve actually toured for a longer period. We’re really pleased with how Faith came out and will be playing a whole bunch of songs off that album for sure.
Joshua BTS: Oathbreaker is still riding high off of a very well-regarded debut LP release last year. What can fans expect from your set during this tour run? Breaking out any new material?
Ivo – Oathbreaker: The last couple of week we’ve been mainly working on our set to get it as tight as possible. We’ve also been trying out different set lists the last couple of months, just to see what works best. We’ve also been working on new ideas for songs, so if we get it right we might throw in something new.
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: Like I said, we haven’t been to Sweden in a long time so I am very much looking forward to going there again. All in all though, the routing for this tour looks pretty fuckin’ awesome to me, a little different than most tours we’ve done.
Ivo – Oathbreaker: Nothing in particular really. We’re playing a lot of new places such as Bratislava, Zagreb, Wien and we’re playing some other cities we’ve visited before. I’m insanely looking forward to the entire tour actually.
Joshua BTS: Any plans of heading over to North America together or individually?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: I have no idea. We’d obviously love to get back over there, and if we could do that with Oathbreaker that would rule but there’s no such
plans as of yet.
Ivo – Oathbreaker: For the moment there are no plans. We’ve been talking to some people. We definitely want to play North-America but we’ll have to find a way to make things work.
Joshua BTS: What does your timeline look like for releasing your new album Faith? Did you approach the album with any new recording
techniques or equipment? Anything that has been a challenge to replicate for the live setting and this tour?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: Well, our drummer Wim joined the band around the time our previous album Our Circle Is Vicious came out. We then toured for about 3/4 months straight, which was cool. It became obvious that Wim fit in really well and we soon started jamming and writing new songs. “Deceiver” was the first song we wrote together and we started playing that live pretty soon after, we were already playing it on said tour with Nails & Harm’s Way. Then in the first four months of 2011 we practiced a whole lot, trying out a lot of ideas and writing new songs. In May 2011 we hit the studio with Kurt to record and wrapped up the whole album in about a week. The biggest difference is that this time around we were all on the same page concerning the album and when we began recording the songwriting had been done for 95 %. So that obviously helped a lot. We always go for an honest, raw and live-ish sound so I don’t think anything we did an the album will be hard to replicate live.
Joshua BTS: Per our last conversation, I know some of the members of Oathbreaker are total gear nerds like myself. Have you been playing around with any new toys that you will be showcasing on this tour?
Ivo – Oathbreaker: Well, I’m a drummer so I’m probably the most boring guy in the band when it comes to gear. I think Gilles got himself a new Orange amp and a Fender Precision. Lennart had a guitar made by God City Instruments, so right now he’s figuring out what would be the best way to get it to Europe.
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: Mashed potatos in Sweden.
Ivo – Oathbreaker: I’m looking forward to visiting Stockholm again, beautiful city. And also visiting a slew of countries I’ve never been to before. Caro is especially looking forward to eating real Kötbullar in Sweden (the Swedish meatballs), last time we’ve played there we went to eat in Ikea, terrible idea! And I’m sure Lennart will get his fair share of Vitamalz in Germany.
Joshua BTS: What do tour preparations look like for the bands? What type of planning and organizing do you engage in as the dates come closer? Do you work together on things like sharing equipment, sharing vehicles, places to stay, etc?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: When you’re dealing with smart people things usually work themselves out. So yes, Oathbreaker, The Secret and Rise And Fall worked something out so that we don’t have to drag 3 full backlines all over Europe. It’ll be enough work dragging all the amps and cabs the guitar nerds in all three bands have with them. It’ll be a tour with two vans, which makes the most sense. And since The Secret owns a van, that works out nicely as well. Most of the work is already done and has been done for months now. Some of it was ofcourse taken care of by the great people at Avocado Booking (what’s up Nanouk?), this means choosing a timeframe, booking everything, working out logistics, vans, money etc.
Ivo – Oathbreaker: Tour preparations are mainly making sure we’ve got our merch sorted out, making sure we’ve got enough strings/picks/drumsticks… and packing our individual bags. That alone is challenging enough. We’ve also made arrangements between the three of us to make sure we only have to take on back-line with us. And most of the real logistics have been taken care of by Avocado Bookings, which is always sublimely arranged, so we’re confident that everything will run smoothly. There’s also a tight rehearsing schedule which is not that obvious since we all have our daily occupations. To synchronize the agenda’s with preparations for the new Amen Ra record ahead is not that simple either, but we’ll manage!
Joshua BTS: What’s you take on the current music scene in Belgium and in general? Any bands in particular that are really exciting you at the moment? It would seem that the worldwide music community is definitely becoming more accustomed to awesome music coming for your neck of the woods. Does this add any excitement or even pressure when creating new material?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: I have never really felt like being from Belgium put any extra pressure on us. We are our own harshest critics and it’s hard enough dealing with the pressure we put on ourselves. Belgium, no matter how awesome it is, will always be a tiny country that is often overlooked… So, if anything, being from a place like this it gives us the feeling of being an underdog and it probably also makes us feel more connected to bands like Oathbreaker, Amenra, Reproach and other awesome bands from around here. Two of the (newer) bands that have really excited me over the last few months are Hessian and Joshua’s Song. Hessian will be playing our release show this weekend and have a sound all of their own. Apocalyptic, blackened crusty metal that rips and roars. They have a solid 12″ available but I feel like their upcoming record is going to do some serious damage. Joshua’s Song is a band that knows how to write a song and make the little hairs on your neck stand up. They have members of Oathbreaker but the real mastermind in the band is my friend Stief who used to be in Justice & Rhythm To The Madness. Their LP is post hardcore done to perfection and I would urge you find a copy and listen to it on repeat.
Caro – Oathbreaker: I can only agree with Bjorn on both bands, and I would like to add some other bands I also enjoyed listening to the last couple of months that are Belgian as well. For instance The Rott Childs, Wim‘s project with some guys of El Guapo Stuntteam. They released an album last June, Riches Will Come Thy Way: A Musical and I can’t help but think what an unimpaired album this is. It’s an unpredictable assault on your ears and you should definitely try to get a hold of a copy. Also check out Kabul Golf Club, another band that’s been stirring things up lately. They’ve got an EP out right now, called Le Bal Du Rat Mort.
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: Things are looking good. We have a string of shows in Portugal after the tour, some smaller and bigger shows and tests this summer. An awesome week long with long time friends in August as well which will be announced soon. After the summer we hope to play out some more, hopefully do some more touring too. We’ll see.
Ivo – Oathbreaker: After the tour in April, Lennart starts recording with Amen Ra so Oathbreaker won’t be playing as much shows for a while. I think we’ll continue writing new songs, because we’re really eager right now and there’s definitely a lot of inspiration floating around. As we may have mentioned in earlier interviews, songwriting doesn’t come easy for Oathbreaker so we want to make the most of it. In the summer, we’ve already got some shows lined up and other shows are to be confirmed.
Joshua BTS: We would like to thank you for taking time with us today as we very much look forward to keeping up with both bands. Any final thoughts?
Bjorn – Rise and Fall: Thank you for your continued support Joshua. Hello to our American friends, we hope to see you soon. I’ve been listening to Omegas‘ last album called Blasts Of Lunacy a whole lot in the past few weeks…Do yourself a favor and give it a listen too!
Ivo – Oathbreaker: Thanks a lot for the interview and for your continued support. I hope we’ll be able to tour North America at some point, rather sooner than later.
Header images by Stefaan Temmerman and James Seibert
Oathbreaker Images by Stefaan Temmerman
Rise and Fall photos by James Seibert taken from May 13, 2011 Blow The Scene Gallery feat Rise and Fall, Masakari, The Killer, and Wisdom in Chains.
Rise and Fall – “Deceiver”
Rise and Fall – “Hidden Hands” video
[youtube width=”560″ height=”315″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXxehs4kwC8[/youtube]
Oathbreaker – Origin – Video
[youtube width=”560″ height=”315″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxM708FdWVk[/youtube]
Faith Record Release Tour with Rise and Fall, The Secret, and Oathbreaker
30.03.12 Germany – Köln – Werkstatt
31.03.12 Germany – Mannheim – Juz
01.04.12 Germany – Dessau – Beat Club
02.04.12 Sweden – Lund – Hemgarden
03.04.12 Sweden – Stockholm – Kulturhuset
04.04.12 Germany – Hamburg – Hafenklang
05.04.12 Germany – Berlin – Cassiopeia
06.04.12 Poland – Warsaw – Punkt & Radio Luxembourg
07.04.12 Germany – Bischofswerda – East Club
08.04.12 Slovakia – Bratislava – U OČKA
09.04.12 Croatia – Zagreb – AKC Attack
10.04.12 Austria – Wien – Arena
11.04.12 Germany – Würzburg – Cairo
12.04.12 Switzerland – Winterthur – Gaswerk
13.04.12 France – Bordeaux – BT 52
14.04.12 France – Tours – Canadian Cafe
15.04.12 France – Paris – Batofar