Co-released by 9 DIY punk labels, the new split recording from Canada’s FOXMOULDER and Russian/Serbian act EAGLEHASLANDED is just another proof that screamo scene is still pretty much active and hardcore punk in general really doesn’t have any borders. It is my pleasure to give you my double interview with both bands that were so kind to share their thoughts on various subjects and tell us the story of their collaboration.
The FOXMOULDER / EAGLEHASLANDED split is available via Canada’s Zegema Beach Records, Désordre Ordonné, Germany’s Koepfen, Krimskramz, Belgium’s Mosh Potatoes, UK’s Boslevan Records, Russia’s TRVS Records, USA’s Don’t Live Like Me Records, and Romanian label 0331records.
Hi guys! How are you? How are you? How’s the summer been going?
Rohan: The summer is going great! We are all very excited to tour Europe for the first time. FOXMOULDER has always gone through ups and downs – we are on drummer #5 right now! We have had long periods of inactivity, so it’s great to be playing music and hanging out with each other. We’re especially looking forward to being on the road with EAGLEHASLANDED. We still have not met in person but we’ve talked so much that it feels like we’ve known each other forever.
Em: I’m doing great thanks! This summer has been wonderful. Toronto has a very cool energy this time of year. I’m very excited to fly out to Europe in a few weeks.
Stefan: Hey hey! We we are as always pretty busy with lots of stuff. Summer is going very fast as we are one month from beginning of tour.
Ok guys, so let’s make it clear. How did a Russian screamo band manage to get a Canadian scream band to release a collaborative record and join their forces to arrange a massive European tour? What’s the story of this exotic pairing?
Stefan: In a very strange way I guess. We were pretty active with releasing stuff, doing shows and helping a lot of friends. One night friend of ours Milenko ,who was living in Canada, came to me to say that he liked the performance and told me about bands in Toronto and the whole scene. So he mentioned that he has friends who are playing in band FOXMOULDER. I was so surprised that I immediately wrote Em (the singer) that we would be grateful to help them out with European tour and share a record. He was in from the start and we started planning at once. Their excitement and our persistence to play more shows around the world were the main things to give us a chance to share our music with the world.
Em: It was an incredibly small world moment to be honest. My friend Milenko (who performs a solo dance/electronic project called ENSH), is Serbian born but grew up in West Toronto. We’ve been friends for years and a short while back he decided to move to Belgrade to live fulltime. He was visiting here last Summer and asked to catch up, and then proceeded to tell me about how his friend Stefan asked him if he knew us (being from Toronto) and if he could ask us if we’d be willing to come over and share the road with them. I was quite shocked and excited when he told me this, and he went ahead and put me in touch with Stefan. Plans shaped up very easily, and the idea of the split just felt super natural. It’s been a really fun process over the past year, and I’m very grateful to Stefan and Rohan for being so well organized and communicative.
Whenever I get to tell that story, it makes me smile.
Photo: EAGLEHASLANDED by Bojana Laninović.
Awesome! So how did you book this upcoming trek? Was it a struggle to put together so many shows for you guys?
Rohan: Stefan did all the booking, so it was very easy for us!
Stefan: Well it is getting harder this days to book a proper tour in Europe, but when you have friends all around it and people willing to help it wasn’t a big deal. Sometimes it is pretty easy to book in your friends hometown and
Was touring one of the main things that made you want to get started doing a band? What does being on the road mean to you guys?
Rohan: We are all very busy, so we don’t tour as much as we’d all like, but touring is definitely one of the things that makes playing in a band so special. We’ve been able to make friends that live all over North America based on a set of shared interests and ideals rooted in honest expression and DIY. I don’t think there are many things more cathartic than playing to a room filled with people who have never heard your music before but are yelling along by the end of your set. Obviously being on the road has its ups and downs, but you’ll always remember the high points, and the low points usually involve bizarre situations that make good stories!
Photo: FOXMOULDER live, by Yosh Photography.
Do you try to share some important ideas, your thoughts on political and social issues while being on the road? Content-wise, are your bands about certain core messages?
Em: At the base and core of everything I think bands like ours try to do is of course the support of DIY values, and a cooperative rather than competitive mentality. As the person behind the lyrics in our band, I find myself only really capable of exploring personal narrative that relates to my various states of being. Most of the time I use the band as place for me to explore darker places in an attempt to draw a positive from some sometimes deeply troubled states. I write a lot about addiction within my own family, loss and have recently begin to draw more from being more comfortable with my queer and non-standard gender identity. Overall FOXMOULDER has never been about any specific set of beliefs, but we believe strongly in discourse and learning from each other’s perspectives. I am grateful to have band mates that let me explore my thoughts on subjects without always fully understanding them initially. The van has definitely been a place where we have all learned a lot about each other. I am very excited to share those experiences with our new friends in EAGLEHASLANDED.
… who have, on the other hand, always been into lyrics about having fun, picking up girls etc., right Stefan? ;)
Stefan: Spreading the music that you do is the main thing in having a band. We existed for 6 months and the first thing we did was to go on tour. We printed couple of t-shirt s and just went on a 14 days trip. On the road means that we are in constant progress because we are meeting new people, sharing new ideas on how things should run in this world and giving each other a support even if you are a guest at someone place. I am always grateful for some small talk and happy smiling faces at the show. Good and positive vibrations of every city is all that we ask. Most of friendships I made on the road and we are still supporting each other.
Messages are in our lyrics are the personal attack on everyone, we write on personal issues and society that hold us down with our visions and ideas of having a normal life and descent relationships with people. Our life plot is pretty twisted and as I said once “hate your friends ,hate them to death because there are no friends here, only stabbers at the back waiting for you to lay down and give up, so they could slaughter you and time is up”.
On the road means that we are in constant progress because we are meeting new people, sharing new ideas on how things should run in this world and giving each other a support even if you are a guest at someone place.
To what extent are you politically involved or aware in local or national politics?
Stefan: People on Balkans and Russia (where we experienced all of that) are pretty much primitive when it comes to some political or national problem. I am aware that most of the people here are mindless because all those wars and tragedies which hit Balkans for example are still on the same level where hatred and nationalism which is now so called patriotism are feeding their brains. There is no unity where all we can get along except people that are involved in antifascist movement. Most of my friends are from different parts of Yugoslavia which are now separated, but we young people don’t care about those things and continue to work on our future together, involving music in it.
Rohan: While I don’t think FOXMOULDER is a political band, we are all politically motivated. I think in North America especially, screamo is rooted more in personal experience than politics. We don’t necessarily share the same beliefs but we are all open minded and share a commitment to discourse and progressive causes like environmentalism and social justice. Canada has had 10 years of a terrible conservative government and an upcoming election so I think we are all pretty excited at the possibility of change here.
Photo: EAGLEHASLANDED live.
How strong and vital are your local scenes? Also, considering screamo or raw post hardcore subgenres as an underground and anomalous sort of thing, is there a lot of bands playing this type of music in your area?
Stefan: Well no. I got really frustrated about that because it is not about screamo. It is always about some new thing that has no understanding here because people in music just stopped to evolve. There a lot of misunderstandings and the main problem is a fear of unknown. Most of the people say oh I don’t like it. Did they tried to understand and little bit consider that is time to change the boundaries in music? I think not, they are too lazy to do a research on any kind of movement and what does it mean or supposed to represent as a DIY underground anomalous thing which is not for everyone but still it is strong enough to survive.
Rohan: I think our local scene ebbs and flows but is overall pretty strong. Toronto is a big and vibrant place and there’s lots of stuff here. We used to live in a house where was did shows (RIP Skramden Yards) and I think that is missing but there are always lots of cool venues, great bands and new faces in the Toronto scene. It’s definitely one of my favourite things about this city.
Photo: FOXMOULDER by Riley Taylor.
There is a fair number of DIY labels cooperating in your split project. What is the role of independent labels and collectives in in punk’s artistic and development these days and what good examples of local distributors would you like to bring to the reader’s attention?
Rohan: I think labels are incredibly important in the DIY scene. If it wasn’t for some select individuals who love music and bands and records so much that they are willing to spend a ton of money with the hope of eventually making it back, we wouldn’t be able to put out music on physical formats. The two labels that come to mind first are Zegema Beach Records and Middle-Man Records. Dave and Shawn, who run the labels, are pretty much at the centre of anything screamo that happens in Canada or the Eastern US.
Stefan: I think the main role is the support of music that you like and the people that you are helping out to expand it and share it with the world. For example the people that we met on tour were our age and they were very perspective with running a label. So they made a collective which organize promote and help the bands to release their record. The label was called Shivery Productions and they had a pretty good run working on things they like. Now some of them made new labels which are pretty good also . It is krimskramz and Tadzio Records. They are very good friends of us so I think it starts from some connection with people and wish to help each other.
Alright guys, so what’s coming up next for your band and other creative projects?
Stefan: For our band I can’t tell, we planned several more tours and experimenting with new sound which evolves from song to song.
Rohan: We all went into this tour with the assumption that we would end FOXMOULDER after this tour. We have been a band for a long time, gone through a lot of band members and this seemed like a logical high point to end on. But….. we’ve been practicing and playing and realizing how much fun we are all having playing together. Our future is still quite open, but we do have plans for at least a couple of local shows when we get back.
Darren, Travis and I also play in another band, RESPIRE. It’s a very ambitious project: we’ve been together for over 2 years and are finally recording our debut LP. We have a very diverse set of influences including Post-Rock, Screamo, and Black Metal, and our songs are quite varied. We have 6 members, and are including instruments like trumpet, viola, grand piano, harpsichord and glockenspiel on our record, which we are really excited to put out. Expect to see it online and available through Zegema Beach Records and more later this year!
Great! Can’t wait to hear that!
Ok guys, so thanks a lot for the interview and feel free to wrap it up with your final words. Thanks!
Rohan: Thanks for having us Karol, keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight!
Stefan: Thank you so much for a nice talk and I wish you all the best in your work. Thanks to you our tour and future friendship will have now a proper shape of all the things that we stand and fight for. Cheers