“You’d be better check this band out if you are into bands like TRIAL and TERROR with a positive message”, that’s how Destroy Your World Inc. label described Milan hardcore band TRACES OF YOU back in November, when I last talked with them. Formed in 2006, the band has shared stages with dozens of worldwide hardcore representatives and released their highly-anticipated debut full length “The Last Triumph” in 2010 (I For Us Records). Their second, metal-driven hardcore album “Bleed The Truth” (December 2012) features guest vocals by Martijn of NO TURNING BACK and Alex of STRENGTH APPROACH and is available now via Destroy Your World Inc. and One Voice Asia Records.
Here’s my interview with TRACES OF YOU, summing up their efforts to take the positive message to people all around the world, telling a story of a passionate hardcore band working hard to clear all boundaries. Don’t miss out on these guys!
Their sound reminds of some intense hardcore mixed with bursting metal riffs, all combined with screaming, burning, touching and passionate vocals. Profound and sincere lyrics concentrated on self-evaluation, awakening of spiritual awareness, introspection and deeper look inside the self, distinguish them from your typical metal bands.
Hey! What’s up guys? To start off, please tell me something about your newest precious, the second album “Bleed The Truth”!
Hi, we are good, thanks for asking!
We worked hard on this new album and we are definitely satisfied with it. We have a lot of affection for the songs that we have produced. First of all we want to thank our family label Destroy Your World Inc. for believing in us and for releasing the album in LP format. I believe we have created an interesting album with its own sound, standing apart from the current fads and fashions. We are pleased with the success of the album on all fronts, from the songs that comprise it, the graphics and the production of vinyl. Now we are about to release it in CD digipack format in Asia with two bonus tracks. This will come out in the next few days through One Voice Asia Records. There will also be a release in the coming months in South America thanks to a co-production of labels. And finally, already in process, there will be a limited edition cassette tape of ‘Bleed The Truth’ with Samstrong Records in Indonesia. We hope to succeed in having the album out on every continent!
Are there any changes in your sound? How would you describe the transition since the last record?
We want to have our own style and sound. I believe that TRACES OF YOU are unique for the fact that we put together people who have different experiences and tastes. Basically we’ve always wanted to play hardcore, maybe dirty with good metal. We are very loyal to the 90s hardcore and we try to propose it in our own way, with a balance between hard impact and melody. ‘The Last Triumph,’ our debut album, certainly sounds less hardcore than its successor ‘Bleed The Truth’ in which the songs are much faster, more aggressive and more direct in impact. In the previous record we had perhaps given less space for spontaneity. We dedicated ourselves so much to ‘Bleed The Truth.’ We have treated every single step, from recording to mixing, and then we entrusted the work to the good hands of Carl Saff (RISE AND FALL, BITTER END, COLISEUM) for the mastering.
Hope people will appreciate ‘Bleed The Truth’!
I think they already did, bro!
Tell me more about the writing and recording. How was it?
I’m really attached to all the songs that we have produced and I think all the band members feel the same. I recall with pleasure the emotions arising from the drafting of each song, which took place between periods of both euphoria and dejection due to problems with the line up. In our opinion, many songs that were not even played live or heard with vocals in the rehearsal room turned out to be very good. Being in the studio is a beautiful experience. You get to watch what was once an idea materialize and take shape. Of course doing everything in the “do it yourself” style includes facing unexpected challenges, but we are pleased with the outcome of the hard work we have put forth, especially for having relied on our own forces and the few people who have helped and supported us in general. We recorded ‘Bleed The Truth’ in our small studio thanks to Marco, our guitar player, who has a mobile recording studio. We’re very pleased with the participation of our friends on the album, members of other bands, like Fede, from the Italian band Destrage, a cool guy and great drummer who recorded ‘Bleed The Truth’ since we were without a regular drummer, Alex of STRENGTH APPROACH who appears on the song ‘Come True’, Martijn of NO TURNING BACK who appears on the song ‘Resurrect’, Dome of FACE YOUR ENEMY who has been a great help for the backing vocals and the two drummers who are currently helping us by playing live shows, Pelle and Mark. From our heart we also want to thank Clemente Diglio for the wonderful cover illustration for the album. We will do everything to let it be seen by as many people as possible, everywhere.
What were you guys listening to when you were writing and recording these songs?
We mainly listen to hardcore, old and new, even during the writing and the recording of our albums. We always listen to bands like THIS IS HELL, 108, HAVE HEART, TERROR, MADBALL, SHELTER, EARTH CRISIS, UNBROKEN, SPIRIT OF YOUTH, ONE KING DOWN, CRUEL HAND, NO TURNING BACK, TRUE COLORS, ALL FOR NOTHING, FOR THE GLORY, SAI NAM, DEVIL IN ME, WOLFxDOWN, and STRENGTH APPROACH, to name a few…sometimes we listen to some IN FLAMES albums :)
Can you tell us a bit about the concept and the message behind this release?
‘Bleed The Truth’ is linked to the concept of sacrifice and dedication, first of all in the process of purification of our own hearts, as that is what gives us access to the Truth. So, we must work hard, ‘bleeding,’ understood as a “crank it down” to achieve it on our own. We must fight to defeat obscure and apparently tempting ideas (the snake), misconceptions, bad educations and false models. We must reject the culture of nothingness to live for real. The Truth is revealed to those who strive to harmonize the deepest and most profound instances of our vast, inner world with the outer world, through sacrifice, introspection and constant commitment (discipline) in purifying our hearts and our lives. This is what it is to be an expert in the art of living. Happiness then, what we all yearn for, is closely related to the Truth. We cannot be satisfied and fulfilled if we are ignorant about who we really are, about our true nature. Happiness does not come from the things that are external to us. ‘Bleed The Truth’ means that we must realize our true nature, which, as far as I’m concerned, is spiritual. Every activity that we perform in the world should be used to understand this reality, this truth. It is through this understanding that we awaken love, compassion, empathy, and the desire to do good for others, etc. There is not enough interest in this Truth, for this kind of awareness in the world, and that is why selfishness, greed, envy, and the tendency to cheat are prevailing. It is a trend that we have, unfortunately, made into a habit. So we want to encourage people to participate without speaking strictly about religion, without trying to convert anyone. We want to take advantage of the opportunity to help better the lives of those we come in contact with, to share the universal principles of truth and love, dormant in all of our hearts and the essence of our true nature. The scene illustrated on the cover of ‘Bleed The Truth’ represents our constant struggle with the worst version of ourselves, with our lower consciousness, with our unhealthy tendencies and with the constraints that bind and enslave us to this world. The snake also represents the poison of this world and its part devoted to abomination. The illustration is the work of our talented friend and tattoo artist, Clemente Diglio.
What inspired your lyrics this time?
I like bands who have lyrics concentrated on self-evaluation, awakening of spiritual awareness and introspection. I spent my life reading and loving the message of Krishnacore bands like SHELTER and 108, bands with positive and spiritual messages. I appreciate so much the bands who speak about straight edge and respect to all living creatures, animals included. I am inspired by the hardcore genre which develops spiritual themes and I seek almost the same message in every band I listen to. I really like some of the lyrics of SOUL CONTROL, SAI NAM, THIS IS HELL and HAVE HEART to name a few, even TERROR and NO TURNING BACK for my most passionate. I try, however, to be as personal as possible, subtle in my lyrics and not always resorting to the usual and now well-known hardcore slogans. Ray Cappo is definitely my favorite song-writer!
How did you hook up with Destroy Your World Inc. for this outing?
I knew that Alex and Domenico had in mind the idea of starting a new hardcore label in order to contribute to the growth of the hardcore movement worldwide and promote some bands that they deem valid. We recognized them as being solid and valid as well. It only took a short time to go from ideas to facts. I barely had time to inquire from them to see if they could be interested in producing our new album when I saw they had already programmed their three upcoming releases. We quickly gave them ‘Bleed The Truth’ to listen to and they liked it and believed in us and produced it as a second release of the label, after FOR THE GLORY.
Is One Voice Records taking care about spreading it only in Asia? Tell us about your cooperation.
One Voice Asia Records is our label in Asia. We will release ‘Bleed The Truth’ there in CD digipack with two bonus tracks. O.V.A.R. worked hard for our first Asian tour that will start in June. I want to thank every single person involved in the One Voice Crew, first of all Anis, they are great in doing everything with heart and soul.
What about Value Driven Records? How did you form a relationship with them?
Value Driven is our own label that I brought to life in 2008. The first release was our debut CD ‘The last Triumph’ in 2010, co-produced with I For Us Records from Belgium. TRACES OF YOU is almost 100% DIY. Recordings (we have our own studio), artwork for the albums, designs for merchandise, booking,…we personally take care of everything with the help of some friends. Each of us can invest his passion and talent in our band; there’s always so much to do to keep a band alive and for sure, we prefer to depend less and less on others. The best results are achieved when people are dedicated and devoted to what they do.
What other ways of distribution will you be using to spread it?
We put ‘Bleed The Truth’ out also in digital download and it is available on our Bandcamp page, also as Value Driven Records in our official store hosted on Limited Run.
What cool merch items have you produced to support the new record?
At the moment for the new record, we have a new t-shirt with the album theme, the fight between the tiger and the snake, in black and white, with ‘Bleed The Truth’ written on a red strip and ‘Living Hardcore’ beneath that. We are preparing some new graphics for the upcoming Asian tour. For us, merchandise is just a way to survive, money to fund out activities.
Will there be a music video for one of the new songs?
Yes, we are thinking about filming videos for two songs from the album. For sure one of them will be ‘Resurrect,’ the one we did with Martijn from NO TURNING BACK. I hope to have him in it somehow. I think we will also film ‘Hope In Pain.’ We took some footage recently during out tour in Germany and France and we will also try to film during the upcoming Asian Tour.
Do you have some leftovers from the sessions? Can we expect a new 7″ or a split in the coming months?
No, we don’t have any leftovers from the Bleed The Truth’s sessions. We recorded all the songs we wrote but we have an idea to make another release soon, maybe a 7” or an EP, we’ll see. We’d like to shorten the time between one release and another, and if we don’t have problems with the line up we are generally very productive in song writing.
What’s the story behind ‘Back On The Map Vol.1’ compilation?
Alex and Domenico from Destroy Your World Inc. wanted to make a compilation to present worldwide some of the most active and valid bands from Italy. They wanted to have a CD sampler to promote these bands around the world. We took part in this compilation with the song ‘Come True.’
Ok, let’s talk touring for a while. How was your Russian run? I’ve heard a lot of crazy stories about Russian hardcore kids :)
Crazy stories for sure :)!
Many people tried to help us out in the organization of it. We tried to figure out how to recover a bad situation that we had with a fake promoter who made us loose time and energies with a lot of bullshit that damaged us. It’s very strange because people looked for us, contacted us, raised our enthusiasm and excitement and then disappeared as we watched everything fall apart like castles of sand. Sincerely, I can’t understand such behavior! It’s better to know well the people we work with…This person in particular doesn’t know anything about supporting HC bands and certainly nothing about values like honesty, loyalty and friendship. He disappeared letting us down with some confirmed dates… I know this bad experience happened also to other bands with fake promoters, some bands even more known than us. So what we can we do? There are many ridiculous people around the world but there are also great people. We hope to recognize them for what they are and pray to never have these problems again. We still hope to play in Russia soon with the help of the cool people that already tried to make it happen and who are supporting us there.
What’s your current touring schedule? What have you got planned?
After a small tour with NO TURNING BACK and STRENGTH APPROACH here in Italy, four shows, we played some shows in Germany and France. At the moment it seems very difficult to play around Europe but I don’t want to think that there’s space only for the same bands. It is already a great result if people reply to your messages and emails not answering that everything is booked till 2020. Actually we are focused on Asia, we are very excited to visit Asia for the first time. One Voice Asia Records worked on our tour there for June/July, 15 shows. We’ll take part at the 17th anniversary of the label in Bangkok and we’ll visit many countries and cities. We will also put Nepal on the map. We are the very first European band to come there. Hope everything will work out good. Stay tuned for more tour reports.
And how’s Milan scene these days? Do you have a lot of gigs coming up? How has your local scene evolved since you first got involved?
I don’t know what to say concerning this now. Perhaps we experienced the best times of this in other periods, not only concerning Milan, but also in general for Italy. For sure, there is not a scene like I mean, for attitude and for support of the bands. There are some people who want to do things properly and give their heart to build a scene and something of value, but most of them are superficial and not so focused on this, it becomes boring soon for them. There are many bands, some interesting and valid, you can recognize them, but I think they are quite soft. Few bands are serious for me, few carry out their project in a good manner during the time and so few really leave their mark. It ‘s easy to run into people who play in a band as the ultimate pastime. We know that where there is no real effort and sacrifice, there will be no concrete results, considering also that it is already difficult to obtain something great, even when you give your best. In Italy there’s no culture, interest and support for hardcore music, in my opinion, like in other countries like Germany, for example. When we play in Germany we feel real support and hospitality, and people have a desire to see what you have put out. They want to see if you are for real. Here in Italy we are also subjected to the invasion of popular bands, especially American, and we lack support for the local bands and situations that favor the development of a good hardcore scene. But the problem is primarily in the people who play in a band. It’s absurd for me to see how there are people who prefer to form and be part of five or six ridiculous bands that won’t amount to anything rather than bring out just one solid and valid project during the time with the purpose to work hard for something, reach good results and live great moments with a great band…to really leave their mark. There are a lot of superficial and poor people around who have to invest their time better. For me, this is not what it means to play music. TRACES OF YOU want to persist, we want to give ourselves and leave our mark. We are going through our seventh year of our existence. We have released two full-length albums. The biggest hindrance in us putting out our best has been having trouble with the line up, with people who do not have not performing in a band as a priority. If you want to do things seriously, you have to go together with those who do things seriously, recognize them and work hard everyday for your band. For us a great example of this in Italy is Strength Approach…one of the very few Italian bands who are leaving their mark in the worldwide hardcore scene. We are not focused on Italy at the moment due to these circumstances. We are just trying to work hard to gain our place in the European hardcore scene and represent it worldwide. We want to play everywhere on the planet. Actually, we are still a band that has to emerge, even if we do already have a discrete fan base around the world. Our debut album ‘The Last Triumph’ got a good response and helped to put our name out, and Bleed The Truth is another step ahead. We want to go on working hard.
Amazing, thanks for sharing these thoughts!
What else? What’s next for TRACES OF YOU in the coming months?
Actually we are working to release ‘Bleed The Truth’ in South America, prepare ourselves for the next dates and tour and trying to be stable in the line up. Friends are helping us out in this. We want to play as much as possible, everywhere and release another new record very soon.
What’s your stance on piracy? Does it help bands?
For me piracy is OK since we are a band that has to emerge. So for us there’s no problem if one of our albums is spread in that way to make people talk about us and our music. For sure we hope that if someone loves TRACES OF YOU that they will buy the album. This is one of the ways to support us like buying our merch and booking us shows…just trying to survive!
What’s been the highlight of this year personally?
Play as much as possible everywhere, be part of the great European hardcore scene and represent it worldwide. We are working hard for this. Everything is focused on touring around the world…we have no interesting project related to Italy. As I said before, this summer we’ll visit Asia for a tour of two weeks, we hope to visit soon South America, USA and Australia. Also Europe, and then come back to the UK and hit Russia…we are working to make everything happen.
Thanks for the interview, guys! Have a good one! Add anything you want.
Thank you Idioteq from our heart for giving us space here to talk about TRACES OF YOU, our project and music.