Blindside

author TL date 17/05/07

It's Friday the 11th of May and I'm sitting in a conference room in the Ascot Hotel in Copenhagen. On the other side of the road is Pumpehuset. The reason I'm sitting here is, as explained by the manager of Blindside, that somehow the venues management thought it would be okay to stuff all the people associated with both Blindside and AFI (about 25 people) in the venues' extremely small dressingroom. If you needed another pointer towards the total ignorance of the retarded Danish music business, how's that for you? Fortunately I'm not conducting my first interview of the day in that location, as situated in front of me is a table and situated around the table are the guys from Blindside, and without further ado, let's jump into interviewing them, shall we?

RF.Net: Okay guys, so now we've gotten my introduction over with, so now it's time for you to try and introduce your band and your music to anyone out there who might not have been as fortunate as to have heard of Blindside before.
*all the bandmembers laugh*

Marcus: Hahaha.. I love that question.. Doesn't everyone just love to describe their own sound? Erhmm, I don't know.. We're a rock band and that's the end of it. If you wanna hear our songs you can just listen to them..

*rest of the band laughs*

Marcus: Yeah.. That's it..

RF.Net: Okay, then that'll have to do then! You guys are supporting AFI tonight and later you're returning with 30STM and LP, and then again to play a headline show of your own. So how's the support duty for AFI working out for you so far?
Marcus: It's been good. It's been really cool actually, tonight's our last night though, but it's been really good.

Tomas: Yeah, also because we haven't really been playing in Europe much, so getting to do it has also been really cool.

RF.Net: So far you've released five full length albums. Could you describe your progress over those as seen from the bands' perspective? What kinds of changes did you make along the way, and what motivated you to make them?
Christian: Well the first record was really only supposed to be a demo, but in our heads it was a real album and we did our best to make it worthy of being so, and we were really happy with it at the time. The second record I think came out when we we're touring the states all the time and everyone was calling us rap-core *laughter*.. We we're all like "we're not rap-core dude" and we were listening to a lot of hardcore bands and was inspired to do heavier music as well as working with more complicated songstructures.

Tomas: Then came a long period where we never released anything but we.. sucked?!

Other guys: Yeah, haha, that's so true!

Christian: Yeah, we've seen videos of us from that time and it's like "What were we doing?"

Simon: It was like we were searching but we couldn't really find the direction we were looking for.

Christian: Yeah but clearly we were so bad at playing all the time.

Simon: Let's just skip that whole period and go to the time where we get signed to Elektra and released "Silence" which was more of a bigger production. It was natural progression but it took a while because well, we had to get through this whole period of sucking and searching first. It was natural progression though and it wasn't like we just took a step and said we wanted to be all commercial and whatever, we just tried to make songs differently and in the end that's how it turned out. Actually when we were listening to the songs we wrote the shortest after "A Thought Crushed My Mind" we were ourselves like "Wow, this is different", and I think our goal with the record was to just make something that sounded big and see what we could make of it. Then after that we did "About A Burning Fire" where I think we took a step back from all that and just worked at getting a little bit more character out of every instrument and on the record after that I think we did that even more. Also we were of course maturing as people which affected stuff and especially our lyrics, and I think that every record is really sort of a testament to what was going on with us at the time. I don't think we ever tried to force any particular direction though, it just happens.

Christian: It's always like, when we make a record, we think we know what we're doing but in the end we don't really know until we're in the same room playing it and then we just see how it turns out. And then lyrically we don't even really know until afterwards, it just always seem to have formed a pattern when we're done and then we're all "ooooh" about it.

RF.Net: Okay, I think that about covers it! Actually it's been quite a while since "The Great Depression" was released, so could you tell up what you've been up to since then, and more importantly what you've got planned for the future?
Simon: Well we toured for about a year after the release and then we started writing new stuff. We've been writing since.. November/December last year, and we were actually supposed to have been recording in the states in February, but we fell through due to some record company problems. We still have a lot of material from that, and since we really want to get some of that out, we're releasing an EP on June 18th. It will be called "Black Rose EP"

Christian: I think this EP definetely needed to happen because it doesn't feel like something we just threw out there to keep the fans happy, it was more like that if we were gonna do it, we felt like it had to be able to stand on its own, almost as a record. It's not just something the band just threw together you know, we really put our hearts and souls into these songs and also when we read through the lyrics afterwards it also had kind of a theme to it, so it does kind of feel like another album, even though it's not.

RF.Net: You're supposed to be a Christian rock band, but then, a lot of bands these days claim to be that, so I'd like to know how much influence your religion really has on your music, like in which ways does it affect what you do?
Marcus: First of all, define Christian rock band..

Tomas: Yeah, haha, what is a Christian rock band to you?

RF.Net Well, I guess it's just a rock band that let's their music be influenced a lot by their faith really..

Christian: Well then we're definetely a Christian rock band.

Marcus: I'ts just like other bands lets themselves be influenced by their political viewpoints or something like that, we just draw inspiration in our religion and that's really all there is to it.

RF.Net From what I've been able to find out, you had some problems after releasing "A Thought Crushed My Mind" and then leaving Solid State Records back in 2000. Supposedly P.O.D. helped you out in some way, and I'd like to know more about what happened, and what kind of relationship you have to P.O.D. now?
Marcus: Well, first of all we were on the same management which is a really small firm, not like a big corporate one. It's not like we talk all the time on the phone, it's just that every time we meet it feels like there's this deep connection and in some ways it feels like they're our big brothers you know. Musically we're very far apart and we are like these dorky white kids while they're like "THE GHETTO BOYS" and we probably shouldn't have anything in common.. But we do..

Simon: What happened back then was that we were just done with the Solid State contract and we wanted to see what else we could do, and then we met them at a festival and apparently they liked our music and wanted to take us on tour and that's how it got together really and through them we got to know their management who became our management.

Marcus: We toured with them before they released their big album actually, what was it called?

Christian: Fundamental Elements.

Marcus: Oh yeah that's it.

RF.Net: Being around for a long while by now, you've gotten to do support duties for a substantial number of bands including the likes of Hoobastank. Which band you've toured with have been your favourite so far?
Christian: Well it's hard to say because we've toured with a lot of bands that play music that we don't necessarily like at all.. Not that we're going to say who those bands are of course *smiles*.. But personally we just really get along. Musically though, I think AFI is probably one of the bands where we just like to be watching them every night. They're a good band and some good people as well.

RF.Net: Since we're getting into a stream of questions about touring, you guys have played some pretty big shows in your career, especially alongside bands of the size of AFI. Now however, you're playing in Pumpehuset which is only a 600-capacity venue. How do you feel about getting back to the roots in this way?
Marcus: Haha.. It's a good preparation for tomorrow when we go to Berlin and play an even smaller stage!

RF.Net: Yeah and for when you return here for stengade30

Marcus: Then we're going ARENA-ROCK!

Christian: Well actually I think this kind of venue is just right. The problem when you get into venues smaller than this, then the gear and the soundsystem usually suck and the stage is too small and stuff, so I think this size is pretty much perfect.

RF.Net: Okay, well now's the time where I ask you to share some crazy tour stories then. Being around for so long there's bound to be some of those!
Christian: Oh we do have them it's just...

Marcus: Well, we crashed our tourbus, that's pretty crazy?

Christian: Hold on, just tell them the story from Spain, that's a good one.

Marcus: Oh yeah we played a show at a bar in Spain behind some pillar or something..

Christian: Yeah we were carrying out stuff in there and we asked the owner of the bare where we were gonna set up and he was like "Oh yes, over there behind the pinball machine"....... We were like "What?! Here!?" because this was in a really really small room.

Marcus: Yeah, so we played the show anyway, and during one of the songs I accidentally hit one of the cymbals with my hand and I cut it right open and it started to bleed. Usually when I hit myself I don't feel it because of the adrenaline, but this time I did feel it and it felt warm. Then I looked down and realized that all the sudden I was all covered in blood and that blood was like.. Squirting from my hand. So during the break I just walked off stage and walked down to the basement and started pouring water on it, being all "AAAHHHH!!!??!" about it..

Christian: Yeah and I just stood there, not knowing what was happening and I said something like "Yeah, we're gonna have a short break and then come right back". Then I went to the drumset and saw all the blood and I was like "Yeah, I don't think we're gonna come back afterall so errhhh..." and then I just ran into the basement.

Simon: The thing with the crowd there was that they had this weird tradition that if they liked a band they'd pick the guys up and just run away with them and then put them down somewhere outside the club. It was like being in a soccerteam or something!

Tomas: Yeah usually they'd put you in a park, but there was no park, so they just put us down in random places.

Simon: That's what happened to me and Tomas while all this was going on.

RF.Net: So despite injuring yourself and having to break off the show they still liked you enough to do this to you?

Marcus: Yeah exactly!

Christian: The story doesn't end there though..

Marcus: What? It doesn't?

Christian: No, then we went skinny-dipping in the ocean. And then we drove for twenty-something hours to Austria where we played a show with Marcus having his hand bandaged.. Poorly.. And then we went to sleep in a hippie commune.

Marcus: Oh yeah and I had to sleep in the car because I was alergic to the cats!

Christian: Yeah. And the story ends there.

Tomas: Does it? Didn't you wake up with a naked stone-age man? That was hilarious!

Marcus: That was the miracle tour!

Christian: Yeah that was a real punk rock tour!

Tomas: Yeah two bands and equipment in a nine-seater

Marcus: We hope this qualifies for a good tour-story!

RF.Net: I'd definitely say so yeah!

RF.Net: As mentioned earlier, you're doing two support slots and a headlining show in Denmark within a short period of time. What would be your argument for going to see your headlining show instead of just catching you at one of the support dates, or perhaps seeing you more than one time?
Tomas: We play longer sets!

Christian: Yeah and when you're headlining you come on with a different attitude, and I think the big difference is that it's your own audience, because the audience is really half of or more of the show.

Simon: And the people here are just awesome, we love Copenhagen so much..

Christian: Yeah being here this time I've just been feeling like I wanna move here because I love this place.

RF.Net: What are you listening to in your spare time right now?
Christian: We had a bandparty the other day where we listened to some cool stuff, and we also went to a dance club in Austria that played some cool drum'n bass, called Club Flex, where we were dancing all night and that was kinda cool. Erhmm.. We don't talk about music do we?

Marcus: Well I don't know, no, I guess not.. But I'm still going through my back-catalogue to try and find something..

Christian: I listen a lot to the public radio in Sweden where they don't have music and they really just talk.

Simon: I wanna get the new Mewithoutyou record though..

Christian: Yeah and there was this "Lazy Eyes" song that we were looking for, but I don't really remember who plays it, just that it's a pretty nice song..

Marcus: Oh, and there's a new Queens Of The Stone-Age coming out soon. I just heard about it today.

Christian: Oh yeah, and Wolfmother! That's one of the kinda fresh new bands I like at least..

Marcus: It's just that we don't really listen to that much music..

Simon: No it's not like we check out what's new in the scene, it's more like if something comes up we just grab on to it and listen to it a lot.

RF.Net: Actually, Queens Of The Stone-Age is playing at Roskilde this year, so how about we see you there?
Marcus: Oh, that would be nice..

Christian: Hey are we playing there?

Simon: No, we were supposed to, but that's because we were supposed to have a record out now, and since we didn't I think they wanted to wait till we had.

Marcus: Awh, that sucks..

RF.Net: What is the most admirable band in the music scene today?
Christian: Hard.... Hmm.. *says in a cheesy voice* BLINDSIDE!

RF.Net: Yeah, I hate saying "except for yourself, but somehow I just have to do it every time anyway..

Christian: Hahaha.. Oh dude.. haha.. That was a joke! Explain the readers it was a joke!

Simon: I think my money would be on Mewithoutyou, looking at the last four or five years or so. I've probably missed a lot of what's going on, so I don't really know I guess.. You guys have anything yet?

*Long pause*

Marcus: Christian, are you there?

Christian: ............ I'm thinking............ No.......... I can't think of anything. How about you Marcus, cmon, you have all this music you always listen to?

Marcus: Yeah but most of it's really old.. I like a lot of drum'n bass, but that doesn't really answer the question though.

RF.Net: Looking at the music business of today, what would you say is the most encouraging thing about being in a band, and on the other hand, what's the most discouraging?
Simon: I think the most discouraging thing would probably be being on a record label.. Like on a major label.. The encouraging thing.. I don't know.. A lot of things are happening and we're very excited about it. The whole thing is just really shaky right now and you've really gotta find new ways to do things these days. Like the new EP we're releasing it in Scandinavia in the normal way, but in the states we're also releasing it on the internet. Kinda just being apart of things right now.. We're not on a label right now, so we're pretty good.

Christian: Yeah I think it's a very exciting time to be in a band right now, and a lot of bands have been complaining way too much, including ourselves. Everyone's so "ohh, poor us" about downloading and everything, but when you look at it, everything is actually very exciting right now with things being turned upside down and people asking if we really need labels anymore. It's a good time for people who can think out of the box really.

Tomas: It's really hard for a band to survive though, because you really have to find other ways to for instance sell merch and do webstores and stuff like that. It's just very different right now from what it was four years ago or so, but yeah you know, we're excited.

RF.Net: Earlier you talked about having toured a lot in the states and not so much back here, but being from Sweden how does it feel to get your initial breakthrough state-side and not in Europe?
Simon: It's definetely weird, and it becomes even more weird when you meet people from Sweden, because they're all like "yeah it would be so cool to go to the states" and we're over there all the time.. It basically happened that we got this license deal, that if we made a record, then we could go on tour, and we just went for that chance. It was crazy, but it still felt natural, even though we were progressing over there while things back in Sweden kind of stood still for us. We started really getting connections and building our fanbase over there, and we just didn't feel there was any reason to start working back here when things were so open to us in the states.

Christian: Yeah, if we'd done it we wouldn't have had anything to go on because back then we were just another punk-rock band, and we didn't have a label backing us here. In the states we had a label, not a big one, but they still did their thing and helped us put ourselves out there. We wanted to go to Europe, but at the time there was really no point.

Marcus: Eventually we did come over here and did that really punk-rock tour we told you about though.

Christian: Yes that was because we simply said that now we'd do it, even though people were like "What are you doing? You have nothing to go on?".

Simon: That definetely helped though, and so has this tour, so we hope that in the future we'll be able to tour both places really.

RF.Net: Last question is about illegal filesharing. Many people involved with music discuss the subject of downloading music illegally off the internet, and we at Rockfreaks.net are trying to get the bands to voice their opinion. So what's yours?
Marcus: Well what you do when you download music from a band that's on a label is, that basically you don't steal money from the band because they don't get the money anyway. Or some do, but not that many.

Tomas: I think that if you wanna support a band, then go buy their music. If you don't like it then you'll probably download it, but even if you want to support your band you can buy the tshirt instead and even if you download the music you can still go see the shows, which is usually better things to do, seeing as otherwise the money doesn't really go to the band.

Simon: Yeah I think that in the beginning we were against it, but things are just changing so much, and I think it's just like a shift in generations where people start to think that music is free and you should just go get it really.

Christian: Yeah in a few years nobody will even think about it. People will be like "Yeah of course you download it".

Marcus: Yeah and then on the record it'll say like "SPONSORED BY BUD LIGHT"

*all laugh*

Christian: What a nightmare, but that's the way it's going..

Marcus: Yeah really, if downloading doesn't stop now, debuts will be only PR.

Christian: Music is always gonna be the main thing for all the bands of course, that's our art you know, but if you look at it from a business standpoint it's gonna be more about marketing.

Tomas: Yeah I definetely think though, that if you like a band, please support them, but if you download, I don't really have a problem with it.

RF.Net: Okay, all that's left is to say thanks for the interview then. Looking forward to the show tonight.

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