Interviews

Being Your Own Boss – an interview with hardcore band DIE MY DEMON

DIE MY DEMON band
Soon after the recent vinyl release of their latest EP “Same World Different Eyes” (Demons Run Amok Entertainment), Dendermonde/Gent based hardcore band DIE MY DEMON sat down with IDIOTEQ to talk about their story, local hardcore scene, the band’s revival and the life influence of running a hardcore band. Scroll down to see the full conversation.

Same World Different Eyes 7″ (Demons Run Amok) is a follow up to the record’s CD version, released last year on Filled With Hate Records. DIE MY DEMON started back in 1999, released one EP, a split with 50 CALIBER, a re-release of their previous tracks, debut full length called “Smell The Rat” (Genet Records)  and disbanded in 2006. After a couple of reunion shows after 2008, the band got together again to perform at the groundbreaking reunion show in April 2014, which resulted in a new record the next year. “Same World Different Eyes” 7″ (Demons Run Amok) is a follow up to the record’s CD version, released in 2015 on Filled With Hate Records. DIE MY DEMON bring in an old school mix of groovy, mid-tempo and pissed hardcore that rolls with fire power.

Hey guys! Thanks a lot for taking some time with us. How are you? How’s Belgium? How was Ieperfest? Please drop us a short review of this year’s edition of the festival.

Christophe: We’re doing good, enjoying the last days of a typical Belgian summer, with a lot of rain and only a couple of days really good weather. Belgium is as it always was and probably always will be, a rather good country to live in, a lot of opportunities for everybody, but don’t ask too many questions about the way things are being done here because that will quickly make you a frustrated person. Which is a good thing for song writing of course.

Music wise we’re spoiled because most of the touring bands play shows here and we have also a small ongoing underground scene.

The Ieperfest was great again (like always), I’ve only went for one day (Saturday) but saw a lot of great bands like CocAINE PISS, H2O, BISHOP’S GREEN, UK SUBS, CRO-MAGS, ATARI TEENAGE RIOT and the almighty Jello Biafra. I also bought a lot of old and new records, had good hangouts and we all ate the good (vegan) food, that’s pretty much what the Ieperfest’s all about :)

What other local fests would you recommend for someone who loves the atmosphere of ieperfest and Fluff Fest?

Christophe: In Belgium Ieperfest is a rather unique fest with its very own atmosphere and ideals. We also have Groezrock but that’s a bigger festival nowadays, however I still enjoy it every year again. If you like rock and roll mixed up with some punk bands and rockabilly Sjock festival is also a recommendation.

Speaking of shows, what are your touring plans? Can we expect some live gigs from die my demon later this year and beyond?

Christophe: We have a couple of shows coming up in Belgium, France, Germany and Holland. In France we’ll normally do a weekender with 3 shows. A longer and bigger tour is not yet on the agenda at the moment. But we certainly wouldn’t mind in planning one in the (near) future.

How has your idea of touring changed over the years? Compared to your early days from 1999 and early 00s, what’s different?

Christophe: DIE MY DEMON never was much of a touring band. I think the longest one we did was 3 or 4 days in the UK, so that’s not much of a real tour.

We did play a lot of shows outside of Belgium, but it was always for 1 or 2 shows. Sometimes we drove like 10 to 12 hours to play a show, stayed for the night and drove back home the next day. Extreme road tripping experience..

Back in the days we slept very easily on floors or in the van. Nowadays (especially) our backs and spines prefer a little more comfort like a bed or we take a camper to play “long drive” shows.

DIE MY DEMON live

Photo by Lightbox Revelation.

10 years have passed since your final show. Do you remember that time, that feeling?

Christophe: I remember the last DIE MY DEMON show in 2006 as a good one, it was in our local favourite pub in Dendermonde, where normally the average headcount is 50 to 100 people, but then it was packed with more than 300 people. There were singalongs, stagedives, bodies crawling everywhere,.. it was a great hardcore show!

What caused the break-up?

Christophe: We had other things to do in life. We wanted to play in other bands, make some other music. Simply said, it was time to take a break. Everyone was involved in other bands like JERUSALEM THE BLACK and CROSSED THE LINE.

DIE MY DEMON last show

What made you want to come back and keep it running? Also, what’s the current lineup of the band?

Christophe: The current line-up is the same one as the 2004-2006 line-up, it’s Ali on drums, Serge on vocals, Dennis on guitar and Christophe on bass. In 2014 we came back quite unexpectedly; Pier (our former roadie) organized a local show and asked us (6 months in advance) if we were interested in doing a reunion show. We went for it, started rehearsing and almost automatically we were writing new songs. I guess it was time again to revive DIE MY DEMON!

What was the story behind your decision to release a new era record “same world different eyes”? What led you to that decision and how was the process?

Christophe: The minute we walked into the practice space to prepare for that one show Dennis immediately started playing new riffs and had a couple ideas for songs we just couldn’t ignore. Most of us didn’t play for like 4 years, but we were convinced very quickly we wanted to go active as a band again.

Because we hadn’t played as DIE MY DEMON in a very long time, we chose to release a 4 song EP in the short run instead of waiting for a full album. We needed to have something in our hands to mark our spot that we were back in the game!

Within a year we had like 6 songs or something. After some demo’s and pre productions we kept 4 songs, went into the studio and recorded the EP.

Axl from Filled With Hate Records immediately wanted to release it as an MCD and after some good talking with Marcel and Rene, Demons Run Amok showed interest in doing the vinyl 7” version, which came out last August. We’re very glad and thankful for the opportunities we got from both FWH as DRA at this point in our existence as a band.

Lyrics wise, was there a concept behind the record? What’s your approach to content in hardcore? How important is that part of running a punk band?

Christophe: Serge wrote all lyrics on the EP. I believe he never wrote such dark lyrics before. He needed to write them to close a chapter in life. It’s a good thing one can do that in a creative way.

Lyrics have always been an important part of a punk/hc song, whether they’re personal, political, ideological or just about having fun. Every state of mind need its own soundtrack and lyrics are part of that whole musical experience.

I’m also a big fan of humor in songs ; in content, as a method to tell a (serious) story or to reduce the anger and frustrations everybody, at some point or another, witnesses in life.

It’s been 12 years since the release of you full length ‘smell the rat’. What’s the timeline for a follow-up?

Ali: Currently we are working on a full CD to be released by Demons Run Amok somewhere in 2017.

Great! be sure to let me know as soon as you put it together and get some details.

DIE MY DEMON logo

Back to the big picture of things, how do you feel your local and global hardcore scene changed since late 90s?

Ali: I would say: a lot of new good bands, a lot of old bands that started again and a lot more girls in the scene, a lot more than in the past and they’re all sexy (or is that me getting old…) The more things change, the more they stay the same…I still love the hc scene but there remain also things in it which I hate…but that’s life, it is what it is and we’ll try to make the best out of it.

Do you believe it’s good for the punk community to be fully incorporated into modern digitalized world? How do you see the impact of modern technologies, new music distributions models, internet and mobile solutions on hardcore punk and independent art coommunities in general?

Christophe: I think it’s a good thing as the punk and hardcore community always had a strong DIY spirit. Anyone can put their work or music on the internet themselves and are able to get their message through without help from a third party like a promoter/label/… That’s really helpful for a DIY community. It’s very easy to reach a great amount of people through for ex. social media. Every band is just a mouse click away. But of course when I like a band

I always buy the album because nothing beats the sound of a good ol’ record player installation! Digital music is good to discover, analogue is there to stay!

How do you keep motivated to keep it going and seek for more broadening of your experience with this band?

Ali: Everything about this band is magic to me. It’s magic when a drum fill fits perfectly onto a guitar riff. It’s magic to go to a place, play a show and see a bunch of girls and guys go crazy on our music. I got so many friends in the scene from all over the globe. Last week at the Ieperfest a 23 year old guy stepped up to me and told me he really looked up to my band, he even once ran away from home to watch a DIE MY DEMON show…is that enough motivation for you? Making a new album from scratch is like an adventure, a project we share ‘til the release. And when you finally get this record into your hands, it’s a real reward for all the efforts you’ve put into it…I’ll keep this going till I drop cause it’s fucking beautiful !!!

Have your experiences touring and running bands influenced you as a person?

Christophe: The way I see it, starting a band and playing music is a vocation. You’re hooked on the music, you need it, you want to experience it to the fullest, play your music on a stage in front of an audience – all this forms you into the person you are! And of course be an active part of an underground music scene, a counter culture, will influence you as a person. You learn to take things in hand, don’t depend on other people, always try to do things your own way. 2/4th of our band work as an independent, I guess this whole being your own boss thing and no need for authority comes from somewhere.

Ok guys, thanks so much for the update and your time. Do you have anything else you would like to share with us?

Christophe: Enjoy good music, every day! Whether it’s active, passive or both..

Try to think for yourself from time to time and dare to step out of your comfort zone once in a while, it will make life more interesting in the long run.

If we’re playing a show in your neighborhood, come and say hi, we’re maybe a little bit older, but we don’t smell like old people yet!

Thanks guys! The last words are yours!

Christophe: Thank you IDIOTEQ for the interest in our band! Thank you highly esteemed reader for reading this one down until the end! See ya in the pit!

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