On March 18, 2012 we talked to THE HARDEST SEASON, an alternative hardcore band from Italy in the vein of AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, DEAD SWANS and GOLD KIDS. Press the play button to hear their debut album “Dawn” and take a read below.
Hey, what’s up guys? Please give us brief history of the band.
Hey guys! Thanks for sharing a little bit of your space on Idioteq for us! We are THE HARDEST SEASON, an hardcore band formed in late 2008. After releasing two DIY EPs, our first full length album, “Dawn”, is now out!
What other music projects have you been involved with? Have any of you guys been in any other bands prior to THE HARDEST SEASON?
We all have been playing for a lifetime. THE HARDEST SEASON merge members from three different bands: DEAD WEIGHTS FALL (r.i.p.), ONLY ONE CHANCE (r.i.p.) and LOCKED IN. We’ve been introduced to each other by a mutual friend and everything started with an e-mail arrangement. Coming from different cities our fear was that we might not be able to give the group a stability, but there was an obvious alchemy between us and we just kept playing without ever questioning that again!
Are you planning to re-issue your 2009 demo some time in the future?
Well, that was our first record and it’s kind of an embryonic work: our sound has clearly gone through lots of changes since then. We’ve been a band now for a short time and we’ve just released our first album, so it’s premature to think about re-issuing our first demo. Maybe time will help making a decision!
How’s Rome hardcore scene looking today? Tell us more about its condition and your involvement in it.
It’s a shame to tell that Rome’s HC scene is in ruins nowadays. It used to be the Italian pride when bands like TO KILL, THE DIFFERENCE and FACE THE FACT were the spinal cord of a great bustle: the kids lived the scene and supported it with passion. Everything has lost its meaning now, there are no more local shows, the only chance to play is being the opening act of some foreign band. We used to put on shows for friends’ bands, but due to the large amount of inconvenience realizing it, now you can do that only with the help of a booking agency. We really miss the old “brotherhood times” and wish everything to come back at its best.
We love this tension you create, mixing special sounds with heavy hardcore tricks. Talk a little bit about your influences.
We always have found a common interest for a dark, brit-alike sound: DEAD SWANS are maybe our biggest influence. Even if classic hardcore impact is held throughout our whole record, we mixed different styles in it, experimenting post hardcore structures and rhythms or post rock musicality. We always kept our eyes wide open to other music genres anyway: indie rock, folk music, electro music… You’ll never know where your inspiration will come from!
You’ve just released your debut full length album via Enjoyment Records. Tell us about the recording process. Was it hard to finally release it?
The recording of Dawn was a stunning experience for us all. Hell Smell recording studio, run by our friend Alex (Jet Market), is the best we could ever wish for the production of our work. The most important thing for us is the impact we create during our live performances so we just tried to give the recording the same feeling of a live show. The mastering was cured by the skilled hands of Carl Saff, from Saff mastering studio in Chicago. He did a perfect work giving us exactly what we were looking for. Despite the promising features of our work, it has been really hard to find someone believing in it. We got in touch with several European labels, but they always pushed for hard compromises. Everything changed when Dale in Enjoyment Records showed up with his offer.
What can we find in the booklet attached to the CD?
The lyrics had to be the focal point of interest in the booklet for the listener because we’d want him to receive our message clearly and let him be part of the stories told in our songs, that’s why we chose to arrange a simple artwork. The two middle pages, instead, feature a photo of our pretty faces. [laughs]
That about vinyl? Any plans to release it on 12’’?
Nothing official, but we’re already thinking about it!
What are some thoughts on dealing with Enjoyment Records? What’s the story of your relationship?
We’re deeply in love with Dale. It’s an honour to work shoulder to shoulder. He cares a lot for every single project he’s handling and he’s probably the best guy you can find in the whole world. He’s been very spontaneous and gave us a very enthusiastic feedback of Dawn, asking us to be part of his label. As we got to know him, it was clear how reliable of a person he is. He’s become more than just a label manager to us, he’s a friend.
Where did the name for the band come from?
Well, at first we wanted to call our band “Consequence”, but after a web search we found out that it had been already taken by another Italian band (funny is we once toured along with The Consequence (r.i.p.) and became close friends). We had to brainstorm another name fast because it had to be on the flyer of a gig and The Hardest Season was our pick. It is a reference to the hard and insecure period we were going through. With hindsight, it was a lucky occurrence changing our first name to THIS because it perfectly fits with the dark sounds and atmospheres we evoke.
Has the band done a lot of touring? What places have you guys played?
We’ve played over 50 shows around Italy covering almost all the national area, especially the north of Italy; we toured once Europe hitting Germany, France and Austria.
Where are some of the better places to play shows in Italy?
The best place we ever saw and been in is certainly SGA in Milan, cool spot and cool people! The list goes on with Blogos in Bologna, our familiar venue, Traffic Live Club in Rome, Rock Planet in Cervia, Vidia in Cesena ad many many other.
What are your touring plans for this year?
There are loads of plans for us this year and we really hope that everything will come true. Having just released Dawn, we hope to be soon on the road promoting our music: we’re going to hit Europe this summer and the UK this fall. We’re also very proud and excited to take part in a benefit touring festival named Rock for Oceans, supporting the cause of the animal activist Sea Shepherd organization.
Lyrically, what are some of the topics that you write about? Where do you look towards for inspiration?
Dawn’s lyrics are tied together by a leitmotiv, that is, the suffering. Some of the songs deal with the difficulty living in a place you don’t belong (The storm, Tears Valley sickness blues) or the feeling of bitterness and emptiness you experience when a friend is gone before his time (28 to 10), but most of all the lyrics are inspired by the end of a love story: there’s sorrow (Sleepless, Nightmare of you), the memories from better times (Confessions) and the realization that you can reproach nothing to yourself, after having spent months struggling (Dead Romantic). It’s like putting your everyday life into a song without claiming to issue slogans or messages for the masses; it’s just screaming your feelings out, not to be won by them and we think this could be perceived through the whole record.
Any new bands that you find exciting?
Mmh.. There are a lot of good band making their way to great things, not only concerning the hardcore scene. We would recommend you to check out our friends in YES I SWEAR, RELEASE THE WOLVES, FOR THE END, APERTURE, LENTO, GAZEBO PENGUIN and LANTERN. They’re worth having a look!
Outside of band commitments, what are some of your interests and activities?
We are all artist of a sort. One of the two guitarists, Fabrizio, is attending a Bachelor course to be a professional musician, Riccardo, the other one on six-string, is a photographer, Roberto, the drummer, is a video editor and video maker, the singer, Luca, is a journalist and the bassist, Valerio… well, he just loves reading… he’s probably ending up being jobless and homeless for life! We are HUGE telefilm nerds, but we do love social living and partying hard!
What do you think the economic crisis really is? Do you feel affected by current economic situation in your country?
Even though we’re not quite of a social-committed band, we do care about the existing crisis. It is a worldwide scaled terrible situation, and Italy is not out of that at all (you know, we had quite bad people leading our country) It is heavily burdening mostly young people, their education and their chance to have a place in the world and the chance to make the difference. In fact, it’s not uncommon leaving for a foreign country looking for better places to live and to settle down. As a band we’re suffering from that as well: the lack of money had our tour forcedly cancelled. Quoting the “Occupy Wall Street” movement: We are the 99%.
Thanks for your time. Feel free to share your final thoughts.
Well, thank you all at Idioteq, we really appreciate your work. Hope you guys keep promoting underground music and supporting the scene, that’s such a big thing! Not least, thanks to the readers who got this far in this interview, hope you’ll like our tunes, and maybe even see us live sometimes. One last thing we would like to share is our commitment to a veg(etari)an cruelty-free lifestyle. We invite you to get close to this cause as much as you can because everyone can really make the difference! Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.