Our longtime friends from Berlin hardcore pack SEEK NOTHING have been active since 2014 and after one demo, 2 EPs and one split release, it is until now that they got enough time to put out a full length album. Bitter-sweetly, “More Evil” (Mark My Words Records) comes as their first and sadly final recording, as the band decided to part their ways and retire the band for the foreseeable future. Today, we’re giving you the full listen of their masterful offering, along with a special commentary from the band, touching on the album, each and every track, and sharing some insights about their journey with SEEK NOTHING. Other bands recommendations included, as usual.
Mike (vocals) commented:
We decided just over a year ago to write, record and produce a record totally by ourselves, which in hindsight was a mental idea but als completely on brand for Seek Nothing. Our bassist Dinos offered to record everything at his recording space which saved us a bunch of money. His patience and nerd skills are unrivaled.
After some discussion we agreed that we would just release it for free, mainly because after 6 years of dealing with labels we just wanted to do it totally DIY. We’re going to release the record on all physical format with Mark My Words Records, London putting it out on CD. The ongoing plan will be to release it on tape and vinyl eventually, probably via crowdfunding but we’re in no rush to be honest. We just want people to hear it!
I also wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Zoe Noble for the amazing album cover, it was so much fun to create and 200% what we had in mind. And to our drummer Nick for not only smashing the drums but also his tireless efforts with all our artwork and online stuff.
In my personal opinion hardcore bands should have a shelf life of around 5 years before retiring.
We did not however want to end our story with a tour and a damp farewell, hence taking so long to make this album the best goodbye we could make it.
There is utterly zero bad blood between the four of us. Seek Nothing has been the only constant in my life for over half a decade! That said we made a conscious decision to play less shows but are now itching to play these songs live and do them justice before we put the band to pasture.
I can’t speak for the other lads but I’m up for leaving the door slightly ajar to doing something in future, be it shows or more recordings. Who knows? But more importantly, who cares?!
We are the caricature of an underground DIY hardcore band. We’ve been doing this band half a decade and over the years we have changed our logo more times than Gunishment and more members than Whitesnake!
But even without a clear goal in mind we kept going because we basically love the music that we play. We always described the music as ‘Not So Bad Hardcore’, which is up for interpretation, but we always got a good response from fans at shows. I think it’s honestly because they don’t know what to fucking think about us! And we like it that way.
For this album we just threw all our musical influences into one pan, added some beatdowns and put it to bake on 666 degrees for about a year. Voila, “More Evil”.
We didn’t evolve much during the years apart myself when I started to tune my guitar with an actual tuner about two years into the existence of the band… But as corny as it sounds, we always stayed true to how we wanted to sound and to be honest we didn’t put too much thought into it. It’s just how it comes out when we start playing and we’re not one bit mad about that.
Over the years we have collectively learnt that patience is a virtue and that you really must work hard as a band and as friends to get shit done. Unfortunately, riffs and lyrics don’t write themselves and the recording process for me definitely isn’t as much fun as playing live. But when you sit there with a finished product it’s totally all worth it.
Personally this album is the best moment of Seek Nothing. We said we would pull together and make our full-length album happen, and we did. And it sounds fucking sick!
So yeah… this moment and probably the time we were driving to Dresden to play a show (with my personal beatdown heroes xViciousx) and we accidently drove to Poland instead without realising it and still made sound check!
Track by track commentary below…
CJ – We played that show in Dresden and on our way to the venue we saw an older gentleman in a crucial fur coat. We all agreed then and there that he was the Emo Bear.
That title was the only thing we had when we started the writing process for the album and it was the first song we finished. It all sort of grew from that dude in the fur coat. I am a huge fan of Cancer Bats so I really wanted a simple and heavy riff which is easy to headbang to – and I think I succeeded in that regard.
Mike – Lyrically this song is about people advertising mental health as a product. It’s very easy to say that you’re listening when in fact most people preach far more than they practice, from my experience.
CJ – This was the first single we released just over a year ago and I’m really proud of this song. I was trying to channel some Malevolence-esque grooves when writing the riff. I just knew it should be really heavy and dirty.
The album is called “More Evil” and personally I always thought some of our songs sounded a little too happy. So for this song I took a lot of inspiration from Venom – especially In ‘League With Satan’ and blackened-beatdown heroes Horned. Every time I play this song my strings take a proper beating, because you just cannot play this song hard enough without making evil faces. Have I mentioned that I’m really proud of this song?!
Mike – I just really, really like the film Candyman.
Mike – This song is about how we judge people online and the difference between that and our interactions in real life. I’m generally fascinated by hypocrisy inand that struggle with “grey areas”.
CJ – After tuning my guitar at practice I started playing a lick similar to the one you can hear in the beginning of the song. I think I was just playing something bluesy and the riff just kinda stuck!
It’s not your typical hardcore-riff I would say but I feel like modern bands (Turnstile, Fury, Higher Powe) are reintroducing the sound of bands like Snapcase, Quicksand, Shelter, One King Down etc, so there is now a lot more acceptance of what hardcore can sound like in 2020. At the end of the day, we’re cool with also not being labelled as a traditional hardcore band. You can’t put Seek Nothing in a box! Anyway, the song has a lot of different stages but we were keen on not losing the main riff so we decided to have it coming back in the end because it’s a pretty sick riff if I do say so myself.
CJ – According to the band, this is the best song we have ever written. Mike and I scribbled down some lyric ideas during a drunken night in our friend Matt’s kitchen. It was supposed to be a marriage between the rage of Minor Threat and how some people determine what is and what isn’t black metal, I think. They’re all just a bunch of posers anyway. So we decided to write a song about it! It’s fast, it’s heavy – but most importantly it will soon be on tape.
Mike – I think anyone that has played or organized shows will relate to at least some of these lyrics. As a side note I was really adamant that this record flowed, almost as concept in fact, so that you felt like you were hearing one piece of music. So getting that to work with these ten songs was a bit of a struggle but also probably my favourite part of the overall process.
Set In Stone
Mike – This might probably be my favourite ever Seek Nothing song? I guess I’m kind of the “groove boy” in the band so this ticked a bunch of boxes. Lyrically I wanted to express about again not everything is black and white. I feel like a lot of things we worry about are not that terrible in the grand scheme of things. Take what is going on now for instance, yeah sure it sucks to stuck inside, but for the majority of people it’s no way near a bigger sacrifice than say medical staff who are literally risking their lives every single day! Perspective is important.
CJ – Now this is a perfect example of how we like to mix genres into one pot. I probably just finished listening to Odd Fellows Rest by Crowbar and that’s how this song got started.
I get bored pretty quickly playing slow stuff so I added some flavour to it by adding some hardcore grooves, some Chariot-esque parts and ending with something that would make Lord Ahriman proud. It’s funny because when we start writing a song, we never really know where we are going to end up. There is no plan; we paint with a broad palette of colors and a wide variety of brushes and when it’s done we just know it. I don’t think I will ever understand the process, it is quite the headscratcher.
Am I On This?
CJ – During the recording process of the album I was never quite sure if I had recorded certain songs (because I wasn’t really paying attention…) – so I kept asking Dinos (our bassist/producer) “Am I on this?” and I said it so much we decided to name the song after that. The song has nothing to do with that though, I think it’s just a nice anecdote.
Mike – I am an awfully indifferent human being and I’m always questioning where that comes from. So this sort of a tribute to people who do care and fight the good fight, because they’re infinitely better people than I am.
CJ – This song was written in one sitting, it just kind of came out naturally. It has a way more hardcore feel to it and I feel utterly no remorse stealing a part from For Whom The Bell Tolls. Guess which part and you win a cookie.
No Other Regrets
Mike – This song is for people that say life is short when it is fact horrendously long (if you’re lucky) and we shouldn’t make excuses for that. I personally won’t be worrying about all the stupid shit I did when I’m on my deathbed, but hey what do I know?
CJ – This was one of those songs that needed a lot of love to be completed. Our old bassist came up with the riff structure and I loved it because it was very thrashy and heavy. We haven’t had too much thrash in our songs. They’re usually just straight up trash.
So we ran with the riff and Mike suggested adding a solo to it because he is mad. Now I normally don’t play solos. I never bothered to learn how to play solos, Minor Threat never played solos and neither do I. But this song needed one so I took my very limited knowledge of solos and after three takes my fingers started to hurt and the one that ended up on the record doesn’t sound too bad!
I have no other regrets more than that I never learnt how to play solos.
CJ – I struggled making sense of this song for so long. It’s another riff born out of a jam, which happens a lot in this band. The thing is I tend to play something, Mike shouts “Play that again!” and by that time I have already forgotten it…
A lot of my playing style derives from early to Doomsday Machine-era Arch Enemy. I always was a big fan of Michael Amotts’ picking style and his pull-off techniques. I definitely had him in mind when constructing this song, but since we’re not a metal band (allegedly) I had to sprinkle some hardcore in there of course. This is why the bridge has some God’s Hate influence transitioning into more classic hardcore punk. Again – you can’t put Seek Nothing in a box!
Mike – I wrote this for my close friends who have struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. Those people are my heroes, fuck the Avengers!
Get A Grip
CJ – Mike said “Play a punk riff!”, so I quickly went through my inner Rolodex of punk/crossover influences and all of a sudden we had a punk song! It took a total of 15 minutes. I was aiming for something that sounded as if The Unseen, D.R.I and Napalm Death had a baby.
Mike – We literally needed one more song for the record so I figured let’s just smash some ideas together and that is literally it. This song is either your favourite Seek Nothing song or another example of why you fucking hate us.
CJ – The only Seek Nothing song with drop tuning… yep, we normally play in standard. Dinos (Bass) wrote the majority of this song and according to me it’s the smartest song on the record. So smart in fact that I had to dumb it down with the heaviest beatdown we have ever recorded.
The riffs during the verse are heavily influenced by biker mustaches and Harley Davidson motorcycles. It’s heavy metal but… with a twist?
Mike – This song took the longest to take form because of all the spinning plates involved but I knew from the beginning it had to finish the record. It’s kind of like a medley of Seek Nothings songs: fast riffs, juicy breakdowns, obnoxious lyrics and more than an ounce of sarcasm. If this is the last song we ever record (which I hope it will be) then it’s a bloody good send off.
Oh and a tiny little Easter egg, “More Evil” was kind of the mission statement for the album. Like a hardcore version of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards. Except every solution to a problem was to make it “More Evil”.
Mike – Yeah well we were planning on doing a farewell run of our favourite cities in Germany and beyond but currently we’ll have to see how much the pandemic affects touring/live music etc.
But we will definitely play some more shows in the future, we definitely miss it and think these new songs will go down really well live. I want to celebrate the end of the band, not just dismiss it.
Mike – I don’t think there is a “local hardcore scene” in Berlin anymore sorry. After Stateless Society dissolved most promoters in Berlin don’t even book local bands. In fact support slots for touring bands are normally given to bands from out of town. Fortunately, collectives like Miss The Stars Shows make a point of offering slots to local acts with diverse backgrounds and create an atmosphere which gives a spotlight to more interesting bands and voices. But I strongly feel like more traditional hardcore bands are largely ignored here nowadays, which is a shame and definitely one significant reason why Seek Nothing is hanging up it’s spurs.
CJ – The Coronavirus has obviously a huge impact because it cancelled all shows, which sucks for small and big bands alike. We can just hope that bands will be able to continue to tour and thrive after this pandemic is over. In the meantime, we should all continue to support bands by buying merch, CDs, vinyls etc. It’s more important now than ever! There has been a kind of cool evolution too with bands live-streaming shows. I personally enjoyed Cro–Mags quarantine set and the incredible rehearsal room show by Year Of The Knife filmed by Hate5Six. The couch mosh was intense!
Other bands worth a check
CJ – South Carolina grinders Wvrm just released a new single from their upcoming album Colony Collapse and I cannot be more stoked, because that band rules!
Belgian slammers Scourge also released a new single, Execution Of The Population, from their upcoming album which I am really looking forward to.
Mike – Shout out to Secret Circle, Swoon, I Drew Blank, Sweet Dog Violet, and KNARRE.