Just in time for their upcoming European tour this fall, Orange County, California melodic hardcore vets IGNITE are joining us with hardcore supergroup BERTHOLD CITY to talk about being on the road, European hardcore, their new records, favorite new bands, current world affairs, and a lot lot more!
Ignite will be touring on the self-titled album they released this past March, while Berthold City will be showcasing their War Records debut “When Words Are Not Enough”. Catch both bands live at the following dates:
10/26 Berlin, GER – SO36
10/27 Hamburg, GER – Monkeys Club
10/28 Dresden, GER – Reithalle
10/29 Sneek, NET – Het Bolwerk
10/30 Opwijk, BEL – Nosta
10/31 Gottingen, GER – Freihafen
11/01 Osnabruck, GER – Bastard Club
11/02 Aachen, GER – Musikbunker
11/03 Essen, GER – Turock
11/04 Schweinfurt, GER – Stattbahnhof
11/05 Saarbrucken, GER – Garage
11/06 Montpellier, FRA – Secret Place – IGNITE only
11/07 Niort, FRA – Le Camji
11/08 Aarau, SWI – Kiff
11/09 Ferrara, ITA – Blackstar Club
11/10 Zagreb, CRO – Vintage Bar
11/11 Budapest, HUN – A38 Ship
Answers by Andrew Kline of BERTHOLD CITY and War Records, and IGNITE original bassist and founding member Brett Rasmussen.
Hey there guys! How was 2022 for the band so far?
Brett (IGNITE): Well, much better than 2021 or 2020 for sure! Ha! We have toured a lot this year and it has been really good! We played a bunch of Festivals in Europe over the Summer, we just toured across Canada playing shows with Good Riddance, Lagwagon and Authority Zero, back in May we did a US tour and in June we were on the Punk In Drublic Tour In Europe with Nofx, Pennywise and a bunch of other great bands. So far it has been perfect!
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): 2022 has been great. We released our debut LP, When Words Are Not Enough, earlier in the year, and the reception has been great. We hit the East Coast with our friends in Change for a few shows to support the release of our record, and now we are gearing up to play some shows in Europe for then first time ever.
How are your post-COVID vibes? How is the band in this new era?
Brett (IGNITE): It is a new chapter for Ignite and new energy. We really wanted to keep the band alive, play the songs that we wrote and love and make new music together. It feels like the 90’s again to me in the band. It is really fun again and we have a great team in place. We feel like there are still so many people out there who haven’t heard of Ignite yet and we are really looking forward to making more new music over the next years.
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): I think everyone is just grateful that we are still able to make music and play shows. When everything grinded to a halt in early 2020 there was so much uncertainty about what would happen with the future, and it feels good that things are returning to somewhat “normal”… The pandemic was unlike anything any of us have experienced in our lifetimes…
How do you feel about the global geopolitical tensions happening this year? Do you follow this kind of stuff? US-China tensions, war in Ukraine, Russia, etc.?
Brett (IGNITE): Yes, we definitely follow all of this as much as we can. It is really sad to see all of this happening in Ukraine. In 2019, we stayed in Ukraine for a week in-between some festivals and the people, the culture, the art and cuisine there are amazing. It is so sad to see all of this violence and loss. It is heartbreaking. Its 2022, there is no place on this planet where this should be happening.
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): I am personally very anti war and anti imperialism. I feel that most war is unnecessary, and I feel for the innocent people who are displaced or caught up in these war zones.
How many shows have you played this year so far?
Brett (IGNITE): Probably around 100+ shows. It is the most shows that Ignite has played in one year in decades. As I mentioned above, it feels so good to be back out on the road doing what we love. We have our upcoming European dates in Oct/Nov, then we head over to Asia to play in Indonesia and Thailand. So cool.
What are your first associations with Europe? How do you remember your shows here?
Brett (IGNITE): IGNITE started in 1993 and in 1994 we were lucky enough to be asked to come over and tour Europe. There were no expectations of having success, or putting out an album or even touring at that point. We just had the mentality that if you work hard, opportunities will come from that hard work.
After the summer of ’94 went on a 2 month tour with Slapshot and that really opened doors for us and opened our eyes to what the possibilities were with Ignite.
We were amazed at how awesome the hardcore scene was in Europe at that time. We had no idea the shows were going to be as big as they were. It was such a memorable tour.
The 90s were an amazing time because the whole music scene was shifting to a more hard rock based mainstream. In 1991-92 Metallica busted into the mainstream with their black album, the entire Seattle scene exploded onto the radio, metal and punk bands like Social Distortion and Pantera were signed to major labels and their songs were being played on MTV and commercial radio.
In 1993 Green Day and The Offspring release a couple of the biggest punk albums of all time…that catapulted the punk scene and labels like Epitaph, Fat Wreck, Victory, Vagrant, Roadrunner etc to become powerhouse indie labels.
Rock Festivals all over the world, especially in Europe, started wanting punk/metal/hardcore bands to play their festivals.
Mainstream magazines started giving these bands notice as well. It was the perfect time to be in a hardcore band.
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): My first shows in Europe were in 1995 when Strife toured with Sick of it All.
Europe has always had an amazing and supportive scene, and I still meet people on tour who saw us on the first time we were there.
How do you compare European hardcore to your local scene & hardcore community?
Brett (IGNITE): When we started IGNITE, the scene in the US or in California seemed very DIY and then when we got to Europe it seemed that it was much more widespread, and you would see hardcore bands in proper big music magazines rather than just fanzines at home. It seemed to be more in the mainstream media in Europe.
Then in the 2000’s the US caught up to Europe and the HC scene was everywhere in the press.
As far as the community itself, I think it is the same everywhere really. Same energy, same connectivity with the bands and fans. That really is the glue I think for this scene, the connectivity between the bands and fans…its a bond.
Give us some of your favorite places in Europe.
Brett (IGNITE): Everywhere. Literally there are so many amazing places in Europe it is too hard to narrow down.
We always like to play near the coast in the summer so we can get to the beach and relax. We have been so many countries, from Portugal to Russia to Finland to Greece and everywhere in-between.
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): There are so many amazing places in Europe, and so many cities and countries where we have great friends. If I had to pick one, I would say Prague… Not only is 007 one of my favorite all time venues, but the city is just so beautiful as well.
Looking at this upcoming itinerary, there’s one question that pops up: why so many German shows? Why wouldn’t you hit the road and visit more countries? What was the key?
Brett (IGNITE): We do play a lot of shows in Germany, but this upcoming tour we are hitting 10 different countries.
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): Ignite reached out and asked us if wanted to play a portion of their upcoming European tour and we agreed. I think a few of their other dates were a bit trickier with additional flights and what not, so they were only able to bring a support band on a handful of dates.
Of course we jumped at the opportunity. Ignite are old friends of ours and a great band, so it will be a lot of fun do play these shows with them. Hopefully this tour creates a demand for Berthold City to come back, and we can return to play all of the countries and cities that we missed this time around.
Ok, so give us your favorite European artists (non-hardcore too).
Brett (IGNITE): Beatsteaks, Refused, Donots, Talco, No Fun At All, Satanic Surfers, No Turning Back, Devil In Me…there are so many and that is just a few from our scene!
The European scene is a powerhouse!!
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): There are so many great European bands both from the past and present. If I had to pick one it would have to be Risk It! From Germany.
Not only are they a great band that is supportive of their scene, but they are great friends as well. Collectively, the members of Risk It play in many bands, run a label (Farewell Records), book shows, runs a distro (Merchpit), and book a fest (Bringing It Down Fest). This is the epitome of hardcore and every scene would benefit from a hard working band like them!
Ok, so let’s talk about the reception of your new album .How do you see the new release promotion process in the current digital era and how do you compare it to the older days when less digital tools where available?
Brett (IGNITE): It’s totally different, but I think it is way better now! The industry itself has changed dramatically over the last 25 years with the advances in technology. I love the fact that people all over the world can stream your music.
We see all the different countries around the world where our songs are being listened to and its crazy. We have only played concerts in 50 countries and on Spotify alone there are 130 countries where people are listening to IGNITE. Also, you are your own promotion company! Social media has changed everything.
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): The reception to the new album has been great. The first pressing sold out almost immediately, and we just got the second press. We are all just really excited to play these songs live, and a lot of our set on this tour will consist of songs from the new record.
Alright, so what are some of the best new acts from your local scene? Give us some of the well known and off the radar recommendations for our readers.
Brett (IGNITE): Orange County is a special place that has a long history of important bands. One thing about our local scene right now that I really want to share with you is that we have a special venue that allows young, up and coming bands a really great place to play.
The venue is called Programme Skate Shop. It is a place where bands can play shows for up to 100-120 people and it has an amazing vibe there.
Andrew (BERTHOLD CITY): Some of my favorite current local bands are: Repeat Offender, Entry, Bent Blue, Firestarter, In Time, Torena, Take It To Heart, Major Pain, Shiiva, and more!
Check them all out because they all deserve your support.
Awesome. Lastly, feel free to share your free thoughts and anything you’d like to send out there.
Brett (IGNITE): We are so stoked with our new album and to be back on the road touring. It was a lot of hard work definitely, but when we finished the recording process it felt like we had something special and the response to the album has been amazing.
Thank you so much!
Thanks for the support, and we hope to see you at a show.