EXPECTATIONS is a melodic hardcore punk band from Sofia, Bulgaria. After releasing their debut self-titled album in the end of March, they are back with a new EP. We recently caught up with them to talk about it, their recent European touring, being robbed and a lot more. Check it out.
So, gentlemen. You have a new record coming out. How has the idea of an EP come into your mind? So soon after your debut full length? Aren’t you happy with the feedback you received after putting it out? [smiles]
It was actually the awesome feedback that made us hit the studio just few months after we released our full-length. The great feedback from both reviewers and listeners made us consider doing a real European tour. So we were definitely in need of new songs. That’s why we immediately arranged another recording session at Next Dog Studio, Romania with our main dawg Mr. Marius Costache, who turned our debut into a record we were really proud with. This proved to be quite a smart move as during our ‘Vultures Become Eagles Tour’ the people were interested in both our releases and we had new songs which made us even more excited to play each night for about two weeks. Quite a cool fact is that ‘Carrylove’, the last piece in our EP was basically finished just hours before we reached the studio. And according to everyone it is among the best Expectations’ songs.
Great! How was this September run? How did you like Poland? [smiles] Any special places and/or people you placed in your heart on that trek?
Poland was amazing. It was really tiring for me, because I was the only driver for the tour, and as you all know – Poland is huge country with close to 0 km highways.. and we had to drive all the way from Budapest to Warsaw to play a great show, then go back to Krakow and the third day back to Poznan. Totally worth it though. We all enjoyed Krakow as a city and the show itself. Blindman melodies booked us there in a really small venue Kawiarnia Naukowa (I think the venue was supposed to close down forever after our show) and it was just us and our tour mates EAGLEHASLANDED. Around 40-50 people showed up which made the venue look like it’s totally packed. The sound was awesome and everybody had fun. We met very cool people and the best dog of the tour – amazing pitbull Furiya. Hopefully we will be back there soon. Our favorite from Poland, however was Poznan. We played Rozbrat squat. Sandra booked the show – we played along with Fight them all. We had delicious food, a lot of kids came to the show (more than 100) and it was really amazing. The community there, the atmosphere – every little detail about Poznan made us feel like home. So basically Poland rules big time.
Wow. Good to hear that. Oh, and it’s not true about the highways! [laughs] There’s about 7300 km of highways and expressways in Poland! Ok, I know, it’s not too much for such a big country [smiles].
What about the rest of the tour? Any memorable shows or crazy stories from the road?
Romania was totally insane. Our first show of the tour after Sofia was maybe the best show we ever played – it was in Brasov. Then in Sibiu it was also so packed and intense (and again it was just us and EHL) – it’s amazing when totally unknown band plays a show abroad and people singalong. Last time we played in Cluj-Napoca it was the same. So those facts make Romania one of the best places for hardcore bands to go and play. People definitely appreciate what bands do. Prague was interesting – we got robbed there and it seems most of the bands on tour have the same experience about that city. But other than that it was lovely intimate show at Cafe Na Pul Cesty. We had two shows with Cvlt of Grace (HU) and one with Minus Tree (IT) – amazing bands which deserve people’s attention. Honestly there wasn’t a show we could call “bad”. Maybe Wiener Neustadt (Austria) wasn’t as everybody expected it to be but don’t get me wrong – our promoter Steffi did great job for which we are grateful. Perfect organization, delicious meals, etc.. just we weren’t in a mood due to our van being robbed the previous day and we didn’t have that energy we usually have live.
When you’re on tour you realize how small the world is – we met close friends everywhere – Hungary, Austria, Prague, etc. We even met Last Hope from Sofia (our first show of the tour was with them) on a random gas station in Hungary. We stopped there to get some coffee and take a shower and 5 minutes later they stopped next to us without knowing it’s us. They were on their way to Germany to tour with Yuppicide.
Countless stories we have.
Any sad moments? I’ve heard you got robbed!
Yeah, we had one day off on that tour. We played Prague, than had day off in Prague and then a show in Wiener Neustadt. We had people sleeping in the van every night – no exceptions. Van was parked in Vinohrady district which tends to be secure and quiet place. It was left alone for two-three hours from 19:00 to 22:00 and when we went back to it we found it with two windows broken and two guitars, drum hardware, personal bag and a blanket missing.
Ok, so I understand that apart from the new EP you’re gearing up to book some dates again, right? [smiles]
As I said on the last tour we had two shows in Serbia with Minus Tree (Italy). Heinz from Shivery Productions (Wurzburg, Germany) was traveling with them. He liked us a lot and he told us he’ll be happy to set up a show for us in Wurzburg if we’re going on tour again sometime in the future. So we did – after taking a little rest we decided it’s time to book our next tour. Heinz was also nice enough to offer help for the other dates in Germany and even help out with good contacts for countries like France, Austria, Italy. So our next tour should be something like – Bulgaria – Serbia – Hungary – Austria – Germany – Switzerland – Italy – Greece. But of course everything can be changed (and probably will be) on the fly. That being said I will need some help booking all the dates. Here’s our tour schedule – Please anyone interested in having us on that tour – send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep in mind my other project – DIY booking collective For The Kids can always return the favor by booking a show in Sofia.
Ok. Let’s go back to the new EP for a while. How do you remember the recording process?
If I’m to sum it up with just one word it would be impulsive. As explained above when we headed to Bucharest we had barely finished our last song. And the other three we had played live three times tops. So we had an idea what our material was like, but everything else was decided on the moment. Having a bit more different songs we went for a slightly different sound, more rough and primal, but I guess more clear and direct as an idea. Being in Next Dog was again lots of fun, but this time we had to be really quick. We had a weekend for making this EP. Playing and recording four hardcore punk songs is not rocket science, but time is usually a drag. Oh, and your sound engineer has to sleep at some point. So it was intense and challenging as we are not doing this every day. But hopefully will do it again soon.
Are you planning to release a video in support of the EP? Would it be so bloody dark as “Goodbye Today”? [smiles]
We have some sexy ideas about filming one of the songs from the EP. Nothing specific yet, just cool plots. Some of us, however, are not really positive about having more videos at all even though it is a really good way to reach more people. We’ll see what happens.
Where did the idea for “Goodbye Today” clip come from?
‘Goodbye Today’ is among the simplest songs we have ever created, both music and lyrics-wise. It is direct and clear as a message, but it’s developing in specific pace which leaves a lot of space for personal interpretation. This accumulates an immense emotional charge in the piece. And whatever idea you were able to follow in our video, I guess it’s the result of the impact the song had on the director Boris Nikolov-Brodnik. He took the song and created whatever he felt to. You can’t put such a process in any directions, that’s why we didn’t intervene at all. And the result is better than anything we might had come up with, as it offers a completely different look on our music.
Ok, let’ talk generally now. How has this band changed you as a person?
Well, I don’t know if the band changed me (or any of us) as a person. I think the band is more like a reflection of what I am. Of what we all are. Of course our daily routine has changed after we started the band – we went abroad (twice) to record songs, we went on two tours so far and planning the next one. We do our things in life, but we synchronize everything with the bands plans. So it’s more like my decision making routine has changed, not my personality.
Do you wear EXPECTATIONS’ tees? [smiles]
Once I spilled my coffee while working and it happened I have all the EXPECTATIONS merchandise in my car so I got one shirt… I wear it when I sleep and practice.
Cool, I’m just trying to map and assess you guys and find out how big if your faith in EXPECTATIONS. Where do you see yourself with this band in a few years?
Maybe in few years EXPECTATIONS will be gone. However, some of us will surely remain active in other projects (as there are already a lot of them going on). But we’re still here and our current goal is to tour as much as possible. After our next European tour we want to try booking Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, maybe even Asia. We want to put out more music (hopefully on a vinyl). We can’t imagine treating Expectations as if we’re trying to save a sinking ship, so whenever we lose our current motivation and emotions we’ll be over.
Have you been touring Russia, Belarus or Ukraine before?
Nope. Never. We already have lots of feedback coming from that part of the world. We want to play there so bad.
My friends at THE LOWEST brought amazing memories from their Eastern European trek (check out some of the materials at this location). There was an amazing hype around them there while Polish kids along with the Western audience seem to be a bit more bored. Sometimes it’s really hard to move a group of lazy asses at a hardcore punk gig over here. I’ve heard a lot of good words about the places you’re heading to.
Thanks for the feedback. We hope we will have our own memories of touring Russia and the rest. Some of us played in a band called START TODAY. Back in the days we were supposed to release a split CD with a band from Ukraine called BREAD’N”BATTERY (later called STILL) but it never went out due to both bands disbanded before we release the CD. Anyways we gained a lot of friends all over Ukraine and Russia that we still keep close to us. Some of them might help reaching our goal [smiles].
Great. So what else, gentlemen? Would you like to add anything else?
Thanks for your time and support. Both our releases are available for donation download here.
Check our facebook page for upcoming events and general plans.
Eat carrots and oranges and always clean after your dog.
See you on the road.