Interviews

Throughout The Years – Siegen hardcore pack BLOOD BY DAYS bids farewell

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Change is an inevitable part of life that cannot be avoided. Whether artists grow away from something, or they just need to evolve in other projects, it is a part of almost every single act out there (well, maybe except some punk rock dads and hardcore dinosaurs like BAD RELIGION or DANZIG). For well accomplished German hardcore punks BLOOD BY DAYS (first interviewed for IDIOTEQ in 2012) , that road is crossing this year when they bid farewell to their adventurous project that filled their lives with 15 years of creative DIY collaborations, crazy live shows and a couple of worthy records, including their recent LP “Throughout The Years”. Recently we sat down with the band to talk about their decision, their undying love for hardcore and some of the greatest moments in their history.

Throughout The Years“, the farewell album by BLOOD BY DAYS, was recorded, mixed & mastered at Kohlekeller Studio. The record is available in vinyl and CD formats via bloodbydays(dot)bigcartel(dot)com. The band announced a couple of late 2017 and early 2018 shows (see the details at the bottom of this article) and is yet to announce their farewell show next year.

Hey guys! Thanks for joining us! How are you? How’s this summer been treating you so far?

Hey Karol, the last few months were pretty stressful, but now that the new album is out, it feels pretty good – thanks. Except for the shitty weather here I had a great time. But, you know, we’re from a pretty rainy part of Germany, no summer for us this year, I guess.

Ha! Tell me about it. The weather has been progressively getting weirder, that’s a fact.

Call me superstitious, but some would say the rain is a sign of good things to come, haha, and I guess you’re on the verge of a new era, right? How does it feel to bein the middle of this bitter-sweet farewell process?

First proof for being old is that you start complaining about the weather. So that might fit to the whole farewell thing haha. Speaking of a new era, yeah, kind of. Feels weird to think about breaking up after all. You know, we’re a band for nearly 15 years now – at our age that’s like all the way from the first cigarette, falling in love & getting drunk while you’re supposed to be in school to ‘grown up”-things like job, family and kids. Long way to go and a big part of all our lives. This might sound very meaningful and cheesy. I’m aware that for most people we’re just another unimportant band calling it’s quit. That’s totally fine and pretty accurate, too haha. But, yeah, for us it’s something special. Writing and putting out this very last record was hard work, but it felt good. Now we’re excitingly looking forward to the recations and a run of wild shows. No tears or regrets, not yet ;)

By the time you guys formed, German hardcore scene had already experienced a number of different phases in terms of bands forming, and fans being less or more involved. What was your local scene like 15 years ago?

When I first got into this local scene there wasn’t that much going on. For me it was all pretty new, I did not know much about Hardcore being a community. Most people were into Metalcore or Screamo back then and there definitely were some pretty good genre-bands around like SINCE THE DAY or A CASE OF GRENADA. But the one band who changed it all around here were EMBRACED BY HATRED. They came up with their heavy and slightly metallic Beatdown Hardcore, pretty much influenced by german tough guy bands like DRIFT or DEVIL INSIDE. I was into HATEBREED back then, so their music was something I could totally relate to. At the same time a new club opened in our city and became the heart of a growing local scene. We were young and didn’t know shit about Hardcore, but we somehow had a pretty good timing, I guess. In the following years a small, but dedicated scene arose in our area.

Photo by MO LUX IMAGO.

There also was a very strong scene in the Ruhr area, pretty close to Siegen. You know, with Filled With Hate Records, Alveran Records, Pressure Fest and many great bands. It was like the core of German Hardcore and we started going to shows there very often. All of a sudden we were part of this Beatdown movement with bands like FALLBRAWL, IN BLOOD WE TRUST or FROM MY HANDS. The whole social media thing with MySpace started and helped bands and bookers connect. It also got more kids into Hardcore, you know, spreading the word about shows and new bands was much easier. Bands were still doing DIY demos with shitty sound instead of high class productions and people were into it. It was different from today. These times were like a turning point for the scene and it’s progression. Today there’s like a shit load of bands with good recordings, good musicians, merchandise and stuff. And everyone’s connected around the globe. That’s a good thing. But sometimes it feels like an overload for me. Each day a new band, new release, shows everywhere, streaming services like Spotify. Not even this subculture can totally stray from the path of a consumer society, you know. I’m not hating at all, because this provides a lot of possibilities for the artists, kids, labels or zines. And I think Hardcore is still alive and well. But I’m glad I had the chance to get into Hardcore when it felt a bit different. May that’s just my sentimental view though.

How does today’s digital era affect attendence at live shows and and how thriving is this part of your local community these days?

First of all it’s easier to let people know about a show. And everyone is up to date… about everything… all the time. This social media avdertising and promotion of new bands, shows, parties and whatever leaves kids with about four or five shows to choose between each weekend. It all got really big, I think. Blessing or curse? Not sure! Speaking of our local scene I honestly can’t complain. It still is a get together of dedicated kids and good friends who hang out and have a good time. We’re blessed with a beautiful scene and it’s still growing. Well, of course, the faces change. But that’s how it is. To see how younger kids get involved and are totally excited about the whole Hardcore thing reminds me of myself back then. And I’m glad that there are enough people to carry on the torch.

What do you think it’s about your place that makes it different from other places you’ve visited throughout the years? Are there some specifics and aspects of the scene that you particularly miss when you’re away?

Siegen ain’t that big. And it’s much harder to build a connected scene in a city like Cologne or Berlin. There are like hundreds of clubs and events, much more competition, more subgenres. We only have like one location for heavy music + another Punk Rock venue. That’s it. People know each other. Bookers, venue owners, sound guys, show goers… we’re all basically friends. This creates a certain vibe. It’s special. Sometimes when we played big cities it felt more random.

I’m pretty sure I will remain a vital part of the scene. I have many friends around Germany connected to the HC/Metal & Punk-community, I love going to shows and I will keep on setting up shows with some other dudes here in Siegen. So no dropping out of HC for me, not yet haha! What I will miss is playing live, hanging out with my band mates, rehearsal… you know, all that band-related stuff.

Can you drop us some recommendations of cool venues and spots to check out?

Make sure to catch a show at our homebase, the Vortex Surfer Club in Siegen, if you have the chance. The vibe is brilliant and there are a lot of shows between HC, Metal, Punk, Stoner… whatever! I really love this club and it plays an important part in both my youth/life and our band history. Apart from that it is more about the bookers, I think. If you have dedicated people setting it up, there’s a good chance to have a great show, too.

The show-calendars of Sharp Dart Bookings (Ruhr area), Time Ends (Gießen), the guys at Beteigeuze/Ulm, 57s The Bro Code Commitment (which I am a part of) and Do You Care (Gladbach) are always worth checking it out. Also there are certain festivals or one-dayers each year you should not miss. Check out Return To Strength Fest (Querfurt) or Siegen’s very own Steel City Fest.

Great, thanks! Ok, so let’s get back to BLOD BY DAYS and talk about your recent decision. Why call it quits?

Life happened. Some of us have kids, challenging jobs or grown-up future plans. Adult life sucks sometimes haha… no, seriously… it ain’t easy to keep things going and put the same energy & time into it as we did when we we’re younger. I know, this sounds kind of sad, like we lost the motivation. But that’s not true. In fact this band means the world to us, we grew up with it. And we recognized that some things changed for us. So we chose to give BBD the farewell it deserves rather than to slowly fade out into nothingness. It feels right and breaks my heart at the same time haha.. but hey, here we are with a full album and the intend to play some wild last shows to kiss everyone goodbye!

What kind of sacrifices did you have to make to keep this band alive? Had it taken a toll on you?

I think this sounds a bit too dramatic. When we were younger we hung out in rehearsal rooms one or two times a week, spent all our money on equipment and wasted time and energy on the road instead of going out with friends like most other kids. But this was what we wanted to do. I would never ever complain about it. And we never were a fulltime band, it was always reconcilable with school, jobs and everyday life. I don’t think it ain’t that much of a difference from other ways of self-fulfillment. Some people dedicate themselves to sports, their job or whatever. If you’re passionate about something you have to make certain sacrifices.

For me personally not a single day went by without thinking about shows, new songs or whatever. No matter what importance this band had to anyone else, for me it meant everything. It’s been there in my heart and mind all the time. It helped me a lot in troubled times to forget about the bullshit and sorrows around. It’s been some kind of positive outlet. I’m grateful for that. But sometimes I almost felt driven, there always was some kind of restlessness about it. I am now aware that some relationships I had, had to suffer from my band-duties and my perseverance about it. Regardless of how cheesy it may sound, to bring this band to an end and to let go, feels like a part of growing up. It’s sad, but it somehow feels relieving.I think, that again is just what life is like

… and 10 years ago it seemed just unthinkable, impossible, right? Haha.

Was there something you wanted to accomplish with BLOOD BY DAYS, but never did?

Yep, you’re right. That’s progress, I guess.

Nothing particular. Playing a bigger festival and more shows in foreign countries maybe. We once had the offer to play a tour in Russia, but it didn’t work out due to time/job issues. Despite all our motivation we weren’t the most determined band, at least not all the time – we had several line up changes and there were times we weren’t able to play or practise due to personal reasons. Some things were pretty chaotic… almost fifteen years and only two demo EPs, one split EP + two albums… we could have done better haha… but all in all I’m cool with the little we achieved.

So what was the most rewarding thing you experienced as a band?

Way too much. The most rewarding thing might be the support & love you get from all these people attending your shows. And we certainly had a lot of wild shows with awesome audiences. There were other special moments, of course. Like the first label deals, the invitation to Filled With Hate Records Fest, the first shows outside of our home area / outside of Germany or the first tour.

And the most tricky or difficult one?

The biggest & dumbest fuck up ever happened at our tour with Reborn To Conquer in 2013. We were in Austria and ready to leave for the next show after a stop at a gas station. Well, somehow we managed to choose the wrong fuel….jackpot! We were stuck in Austria with a van that needed to be checked, cleaned and repaired urgently but the next car repair shop opened two days later. Fortunately our friends in United Blood & Burn The Traitor gave us shelter for the night. We left the van at the garage, travelled home by Train (like 12 hours) and had to cancel a show plus played two shows without one of our guitarists who had to pick up the train in Austria again. Yeah, that happened and it’s pretty embarassing. But we somehow managed it and it’s a good story to tell haha

Haha, nice!

As older members of the community, do you find it harder to relate to the punk scene and its ideals?

Depends on what ‘ideals’ we’re talking about. That’s hard to define. Of course, it is and always will be about a certain state of mind, about freedom, respect towards others and a kind of desire to be independent and stray from expectations and standards society sets. But for me this whole subculture thing is also about finding yourself. The thin line between individualism and being part of something when you grow up. I’m really open minded about what this means to the individual. If your idea of Punk is to drop out of society, that’s fine for me. If you choose to have a good job, get married, raise some kids, build a house and live a comfortable, suburban live – go for it. Chase your dreams, take risks – or just don’t, if you don’t want to. That’s up to you. The most important thing for me is to have respect and to be understanding about other people’s choices and lifestyles. Sometimes it feels like there’s too much elitist and hardline-bullshit in our scene.

Ok, so finally, what’s up next for you guys? Do you already have some new projects secured?

No idea, man. Right now we just wanna play some more shows and have a huge farewell party in early 2018. There might be new projects in the future, we’ll see! Marco (Bass) plays guitar in a Punk Rock band called FOR HEADS DOWN, I’m drumming for a Doom-Metal band named WOLVES CARRY MY NAME. So I think both of us will be putting more focus on these projects.

Great, thanks so much for your time and sharing all your thoughts. Cheers from Warsaw and take care!

Thank you, Karol! Keep up the good work with IDIOTEQ!

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+ a January 5th show at Chemiefabrik in Dresden, Germany, alongside UNITED AND STRONG, HOPES, SOULBREAKER and VARAN.
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