HARDFACED, a Macedonian hardcore band founded in 2004, are celebrating 9 years of their existence on Balkan hardcore-metal scene by working on their third album and planning some live dates to support it.
I sat down with Dimitar Saveski, who’s also running Diehard Booking/Records, to learn more about their local scene and find out what his band is cooking for the coming months. What we have here, I believe, is a nice wrap-up of HARDFACED 2012/2013. Judge it for yourself.
Hey! Good to have you here, man. I’m stoked to have the opportunity to learn more about another local hardcore scene that is probably so much different than the one here in Warsaw.
First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do? [smiles]
Thank you for the opportunity my friend. Not so many people are familiar with the scene here in Macedonia, so it’s my pleasure to say few words about it.
My name is Dime, I’m a vocalist of HARDFACED and I’m part of Diehard bookings & records. We are doing shows here for many years, releasing our band’s records and stuff like that. So last year with three friends of mine that are also into the scene, we decided to do it official and we called it “Diehard bookings & records”.
Great! You’ve recently posted about you 9th anniversary as a band. How cool is that, man? Why did you start it in the first place? Tell us about your beginnings.
That’s right man, 9 years. Time flies… Me and my friend Klimo started this band in high school, in the late 2003, highly influenced by the hardcore punk music in that period. We came from a very small town called Ohrid, located the south west of Macedonia. We were just а bunch of friends, playing the music that we loved. After few line up changes in the following two years, the band was joined by two new guitar players who brought more metal influenced sound to the band. Through 2006-2007, we recorded and self-released our first record “More Than Hate” which was accompanied by great reactions in the Balkan hardcore-metal scene and brought the band one step above. The record was completely sold out and re-released by “Years Of Pain records” from Bulgaria, followed by promo shows around the Balkans.
Yeah, but it wasn’t your only release, right? Now you’re working on your third record, so where did you lose the second one?
That’s right. Before going into studio for the recording of the second album our drummer left us. That took time… Also, all the band members had to move to our capital Skopje due to our universities. Our second record “Show Them What They Fear” was finally released in January 2011. It was followed by Macedonian and Balkan tour in the next few months. Also we appeared on some of the great festivals such as Exit and we toured in almost every country on the Balkans.
Currently we’re actively working on our third record and the songs are almost finished. It will be recorded and released during the 2013. We want to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the band with a new record and European tour.
How would you compare those 2 treks? Was the second one similar for you to your early days of touring? Any special places you remembered?
Previous tours were mostly weekend tours, 4-5 days maximum. Last tour can be called a real tour. We had 14 concerts in a row in 7 countries. It was an amazing experience for us. We have played for the first time in Romania and the shows were totally crazy. Greece was also very good. Bulgaria and Serbia were excellent as always. I can’t leave out the welcome show in Skopje where we’ve played on a promo show of our brothers SMUT. That show was completely crazy!!!
So I guess there are no plans for the next one yet? When will you be hitting the road again? Any single shows before the next album perhaps?
We’re planning our euro tour for autumn 2013. Until then only weekend shows and some festivals around. For now there’s nothing confirmed. We’re looking forward to play as much as possible.
Touring it‘s hard for us because we all must work something else for a living. We‘re six persons band and it‘s almost impossible to take free days at the same time. But as I said, we‘re giving the best to play everywhere we can as much as possible.
Are you looking forward to playing some places in particular? What festivals do you have in mind?
First we wanna visit some places like Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia and some places that we didn’t have a chance to visit in the previous years. Euro tour also, probably in September-October. If someone is interested for a show feel free to contact us.
Does it change anything for you as a member of a touring band and a booking crew at the same time? I mean, you’re doing so many gigs out there, you must have so many contacts you can use for your band now, right?
Hmm, maybe. We do shows, we play shows, it’s normal to make contacts. Some of them have helped HARDFACED, some of them don’t. I’ve never considered making shows as some favour that must be returned. Most of the bands that came here are the bands that we love or bands that are our friends for years. We’ve never conditioned them that they must make a concert for us in return. But, it happened few times when I needed some help for a shows. I wrote to several people that played here and they never responded to my messages.
Are you hitting the road alone this time?
Still thinking about that. But probably alone.
Ok, let’s talk about the new stuff. How does it differ from your previous efforts? Are you satisfied with the songs you’ve already written so far?
Most of the songs from our last record had been written between 2006-08. Line up changes and universities forced us to delay the record for some time. Currently we’re finishing with the new album. It will sound like a cliche, but this is the best songs we’ve been written so far. The approach of making songs have changed. We’ve paid a lot of attention to our lyrics and arrangements. If everything’s according to the plan, the album will be out this year.
Have you been playing those songs live?
Yes, one of them. We’ve played on the last tour. The reaction of the people was great. We gonna play more of them live on our next shows. We want to see the reaction of the people.
Great. I wish you the best of luck with this one. Or let me rephrase it, fuck luck, I hope the material will defend itself and you won’t need any luck [laughs].
Tell us more about this booking of yours. When and why did you start it?
Thank you man [smiles]. It will sound like a cliché, but these are the best songs we’ve done so far. We are very excited about recording and can’t wait until people got to hear.
About the booking, we are into doing shows since 2004, from the beginnings of the band, we always do shows for us and our friends from abroad. Also, our very good friends from the band SMUT are doing shows for a long time. It the beginning of 2012 was formed Diehard Booking by me, my band mate Klimo, together with Bage and Gorgi from the band SMUT. We joined the forces and started inviting bands such as TERROR, DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR, TAKE OFFENSE, NO TURNING BACK, BORN FROM PAIN… etc.
Our main goal is stronger and larger hardcore scene that will be mandatory destination for all touring bands. Before 2012, hardcore bands who have visited Macedonia were able to be count on one hand.
In the end of 2012 one more decision has been made. We turned Diehard into label and very soon we’re releasing our first record, the debut album of one of the best Macedonia trash metal bands, FURION.
Wow! Amazing, dude. Are hardcore and metal bands close to one another where you live?
Yes they are. Specifically in this example, FURION are our good friends, the band that has always supported the hardcore scene and they’ll have the honor to be the first Diehard band on our label. The scene here is small, and there is no point from going into any divisions and styles.
How many shows do you have out there on average? How would you describe the audience and kids’ engagement at concerts?
We’ve done two festivals, few shows, booked tour for HARDFACED. 2012 was full of shows in Macedonia. Not only us, but also our friends from other bookings invited a lot of bands previous year, especially from the metal scene. Attendance ranges from 200-500 people, depends from the show, sometimes more.
Only the bands that played here felt the energy. People here are thirsty for concerts, because they don’t see bands as often compared to western European countries.
That’s really A LOT, I’d say [smiles]. What’s missing in your local scene? What’s there that you’ve observed somewhere else and you’d love to add in your area?
CLUBS! The main problem here in Skopje. We have available only one club that fits 500 people and one venue that fits 1000 people. So here comes the problem when you have bands that have 200 people on the show, it looks empty inside the club. Nothing else at this moment. We got very good bands and kids with passion. A lot of young kids on the shows lately. We’re really happy about it.
What were some of the best gigs you ever organized?
I’ll never forget one of the first shows we’ve ever made. Summer 2005, HARDFACED, SMUT and LAST HOPE played in front of 500 people in our home town Ohrid. I’ll pick the shows with our brothers SMUT, LAST HOPE, VENDETTA, DEADRISE… and last year’s shows with BORN FROM PAIN, TERROR, DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR,, NO TURNING BACK…
Amazing. I remember VENDETTA playing at one of the hip-hop vs hardcore shows in Warsaw. They shared the Progresja Club stage with SKARHEAD, DANNY DIABLO and his NYC crew, MOLESTA EWENEMENT and DEATH ROW. The show was sick.
So, did you have any shows that followed this theme, merging different styles, not only hardcore and metal?
There are tho bands VENDETTA [smiles], you’re talking about Italian, and I was saying about Bulgarian VENDETTA, but no problem, both are very good.
All of the shows that we’ve done so far are from Hardcore-metal style. We’ve already talked about this with the guys and in the future we gonna do different genres. We shouldn’t be limited about the styles.
[laughs] You got me, man! My bad. Anyway, I highly recommend parties like this. Lots of fun.
Do you have any zines out there? Tell us more about non-music activity around hardcore in Macedonia.
Unfortunately no. There were some zines but they stopped few years ago. Everything shifted to the internet. There are few e-zines and blogs that post some news about the scene and several radio shows that support us.
Now that you have some plans and a strong album to put out, what are your plans for the future of HARDFACED? Please, sum it up for us.
Our first video with the footage from the tour is coming out next month. This spring we gonna record one single for a compilation, you’ll be notified on time. As I stated earlier, weekend shows, some festivals, recording full length and big tour probably in the autumn. That’s the plan for this year. I hope we will succeed against all obligations that we have out-of-band.
Great! Thanks so much. Well, is there anything else that you’d like to expound upon?
Thank you my friend, for giving me the opportunity to say few words about HARDFACED and the Macedonian hardcore scene. I think we’ve said enough. If someone is interested keep visiting HARDFACED and Diehard Booking‘s facebook pages and stay in touch with everything we do. Maybe we’ll playing near your place, so come and support the show. Keep supporting your local scene, go to the shows, by records and merchandise. We’re not living from this, we do this cause we love the music and the spirit of hardcore movement. Stay positive!
That’s right, Sir! PMA! Thanks a bunch! Many thanks of the interview and best regards from Warsaw!