Berlin based multi-style metallic hardcore band SEEK NOTHING recently sat down with IDIOTEQ to discuss their debut EP, various genres of hardcore, the city of Berlin, message in hardcore lyrics, beer and much more. The international pack of 5 will be heading over to the UK this June for a short string of dates with FISSURE OF RIDDLES, starting June 10th, with stops in Hastings, Worthing, Brighton, Bournemouth, Exeter and Bristol. Their smart, thought provoking EP somehow sounds better then more usual offerings of the flood of modern hardcore bands and definitely marks some experimentation with sound. Dive into their tenacious aggression and read my full interview with SEEK NOTHING below.
Hey there guys! Thanks a lot for taking some time with us! How are you? How’s Berlin doing?
Hey! Thanks for talking to us – people usually scream or throw garbage at us – so this is a nice change of pace.
Doing very well, thank you. Although, I forgot my headphones at home today so work is going to be painful.
Berlin is as wonderful as ever. And now the sun is starting to bust out more frequently and people are emerging from their winter cocoons, which means beers outside– life doesn’t get better than that.
Throw garbage? Why would they do that?
Jokes :) That actually never happened. In Seek Nothing riffs and jokes go hand in hand. Although we take our music very seriously – we don’t really take ourselves too seriously. Too many bands do that.
At our last show in Hamburg people actually threw money at us – but that was because Mike (the singer) told them to. We got a good 75 cents.
Haha, nice once. Ok, so with your exceptional interest in beer and only one week before this year’s Warsaw Beer Festival, there’s no other way to start this interview than with a little chit-chat on the golden beverage. The world has adapted to IPAa, APAs and all kinds of craft beers that are literally flooding the market. What’s your take on the new trends in the beer business and what kind of beer do you cherish the most?
Legend has it that ‘Seek Nothing’ means ‘Beer’ in some cultures and we have to live up to the name. We all love beer (although our drummer has a severe Red Bull addiction) and I think that’s why we all landed in Berlin. We have very different tastes in beer in the band which also reflects how different we are from each other – like our tastes in music. Like, Mike is a really big hipster craft beer fan. He brings 5€ bottles of craft beers to practice and sips them slowly – the beer goes well with his sweaters and Clutch tattoo.
I personally like and prefer “less expensive” lager. I’m not into the whole craft beer game – it bores me to pieces. Like yeah, the beer is good but people make such a big deal out of it now. People judge me, but give me a Sterni, a Budweiser, a Fosters or a Skol and I’m happy.
Special shout out to Iron Maidens “Trooper” beer though. That shit is delicious and Iron Maiden rules.
Oh, the only store I spotted it in was a tiny, bloody disgusting grocery and it was too expensive.
Ok buddy, I believe we need to focus on the band, before all the straight edge kids visiting IDIOTEQ put a curse on us.
Please introduce the band to our readers, tell us a bit about your background, previous bands, how you guys formed this band and what were some of the reasons to do so.
It’s well worth the mula :)
Right, the band…
We’re a 5-piece band called SEEK NOTHING consisting of 3 Englishmen, one French/German hybrid and a Swede.
I came to Berlin 3 years ago after finishing my studies. In Sweden I played lead guitar in a metalcore band called INSIDE THE ARTIST’S HEAD. Even though I wrote most of the songs and lyrics, I was never into the “technical” mainstream pop-metalcore sound. I wanted more straight forward hardcore… Anyway… I moved to Berlin and obviously quit the band and was on the prowl to find some people to form a powerviolence band…
One boring day at work I decided to check Craigslist and there I found an ad. Wrote the dude (Dale – our drummer)…we had one rehearsal and then we knew we had a band. Second rehearsal I met Mike (who I actually spotted before at the Berlin Beer Festival. I thought his RINGWORM shirt was sick… but I was confused by his RHCP tattoos…), and the bassist.
I found Gabe (former guitarist of Paris hardcore bands DAYS OF DISCORD and SIX FOOT REVOLVER) at a work party through a mutual friend. It’s funny how music brings people together. Our mutual friend simply said “this is Gabriel… he likes hardcore too” and we instantly started talking about 25 TA LIFE, the brilliance of FOCUSED MINDS and the new BACKTRACK album. He was in the band before I heard him play (he’s way better than I am).
SEEK NOTHING has gone through more bassists than there are dudes with Carhartt beanies at a DESOLATED show… They had to quit, couldn’t handle the music bla bla bla… so many reasons.
Me and my girlfriend went to see NAPALM DEATH at legendary SO36 in Berlin. Blasting through the PA, after the show, I heard a BLACK SABBATH song… me and my girl just couldn’t figure out which song it was… I saw a dude sitting down and I asked him… “It’s ‘BLACK SABBATH’ by BLACK SABBATH”, he said. My next question was “Dude, do you play bass?”… He did. And he’s fucking amazing at it. Anthony joined the band shortly after and made us sound better than we ever did. He says he only joined the band because of our shirt (that I wore at the DEATH show) which says ‘Not So Bad Hardcore” on the back… I kinda believe him.
So SEEK NOTHING consists of Gabe (guitar), Dale (drums), Mike (vox), Anthony (bass) and CJ (guitar). We all have very different music tastes and backgrounds, which I think you can hear in our music. Gabe says he only likes hardcore (but he totally have French rap on his iPod), Dale is into punk, Mike is a lil’ emo kid who also loves brutal metal, Anthony likes the groovy heavy shit and HATEBREED and I’m into everything from Dolly Parton to MAYHEM, but mostly I listen to hardcore (the new WOLFDOWN record on REPEAT).
Our genre is super ill-defined. We’ve been called ‘metallic hardcore’, dark hardcore, hardcore, shit etc… We’re definitely not a straight forward hardcore band because our lyrics, imagery and the fact that I like to smuggle in some black metal riffs in the mix… We simply call it ‘Not So Bad Hardcore’ and people can make up their own minds.
How was this viewed in Berlin?
I think you should be careful as a band when using certain imagery and symbols. The misuse of political and/or religious symbols in metal / hardcore has been around for ages.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do or sing about – but the music speaks a different language.
This is one of the reasons to why we’re not a political band. The agenda of the band sometimes take away the focus from the music.
I don’t really know how it’s viewed in Berlin… There’s a strong political presence here but regarding that – I haven’t heard anything. I’m just pissed that I missed their show at SO36 earlier this year.
What was it like growing up in Berlin and how did it inspire this band?
None of us grew up in Berlin.
I grew up in Sweden and partially Belgium. The way that inspired the band is that I’m very fond of Scandinavian metal – especially black metal and Belgian beers :)
Haha, nice one. What attracted you to the city then?
Anything goes in Berlin. You can go down in your pyjamas to the kiosk to get some snacks after a hard night of partying and nobody raises an eyebrow, you become friends with your local Döner guys, you can go to a show every day of the week, you can drink openly, the young pulse of the city, nobody cares how much you party, the fact that it’s not totally gentrified yet, people are chill, all the fantastic squats (where we get to play a lot), the vibe, the history… I dunno… it’s hard to explain. I’ve never been to a city that is quite like Berlin.
Oh and there are no uniforms. In many capital cities you see people who all look the same. If you walk down the street and you see 200 people – every single one of them will have their own style – and nobody gives a shit. :) Berlin is a haven for individuality, I reckon.
Also like… Berlin seems to be the outcast of capital cities. Like the kid who has had a lot of problems and isn’t quite as fancy or nice as other kids – but everyone seems to love him.
Are there any cool local spots or independent art / music projects you’d like to share with future Berlin visitors?
Try to catch a show at Rauchhaus, Bunte Kuh, K19, Tiefgrund, Tommyhaus, ZGK/Scharni38 and like Cortina Bob’s (and endless more).. Really cool places and the people are great. We’ve played some of them and they serve the best vegan food around :) And they are all really “central”.
If you want to support underground music – you go to these places – pay a fiver at the door and have loads of fun.
Thanks! OK, so let’s go back to SEEK NOTHING. Please share some thoughts on what you have learned through running this band?
Cool! Ehhm, that’s a tough one… We’re all running the band in some ways, some more than others. But we’re a really democratic band I’d say. Everyone’s point is valid and we all listen to each other. Egos can fuck off. I’ve learned to listen to what people want and not just going my own way. If the dudes would’ve let me go we’d probably be playing black metal-infused-beatdown-violence-core. :D
I think it’s important to smile too. Like in my last band I was always told by the singer that I should stop smiling on stage because it didn’t look hardcore enough. I’m in a band to have fun, party and play the music I love with my friends. Of course I take the band seriously but you should never forget why you’re doing it.
Also running a band is hard work. Nothing comes for free and you really have to work hard to make everything work.
Also that organization is key. Mike is really good at that – he creates all types of Google Docs and handles the money.
Oh, what I’ve learned (or more like – I didn’t pay attention to before) is everything that goes down behind the scenes. The promoters, the people who cook food for us on the road, the people printing flyers, spreads our music, buys the t-shirts, letting us sleep on their floors, taking our picture and take care of our graphic design. I got nothing but respect for those people.
Are there any personal connection between the themes of your tracks and your life? Do your lyrics reflect your personality or are rather making a statement about the world in general?
This would be a better question for our singer. So far he’s written all the lyrics. They’re definitely not your typical hardcore lyrics as they tend to be more angsty and dark. We all share the responsibility to give the riffs a name – a title, if you will and Mike usually creates something to that.
The lyrics don’t necessarily reflect my personality – or anyone in the band really, I guess. They are more cryptical and pseudo-poetic statements about the world in general. Vanity, hardcore, brain ghosts, thoughts, anger, love (?)… I dunno… The author should probably comment on that… I just riff.
Do you look at hardcore punk like a musical rebellious endeavor rather than an outlet for your message?
In the sense that we don’t have a political / religious / lifestyle agenda – yes. We’re not Christian, we’re not politically active, we’re not straight edge – we’re a perfect embodiment of our name, SEEK NOTHING.
Do we have a message? Yes – be vigilant and aware of what’s happening around you – and chicken nuggets.
I don’t know if you can call SEEK NOTHING a musical rebellious endeavor though :D
Haha, ok guys, so you have a string of shows lined up for this Summer. Can you tell us more about your trip to the UK, how you organized it and what bands are you teaming up with to make it happen?
Yeah that’s gonna be exciting! Basically it’s Ant (bass) who made this happen. We are working with Origin Agency in the UK, who Ant already knew from helping to organise Mammothfest, which is the only South Eastern UK rock/metal festival, for last two years running. Origin Agency have helped book us dates as support for UK progressive metal band FISSURE OF RIDDLES. That’s all the info really!
We’re all really excited and I’m looking forward to just hitting up cities in the UK I’ve never been before and drinking cider. I won’t go home before I’ve had at least one proper Sunday roast.
As 3 outta 5 members are from the UK it made sense to hit that place up for a first tour :)
Are there any particular records, festivals or shows you’re looking forward to this year?
Oh yeah! There are always great bands playing here but I look forward seeing Expire and also catching WEEKEND NACHOS last show. Oh, and MUNICIPAL WASTE and CATTLE DECAPITATION. I’m also fucking hoping that the Brazilian hardcore band WORST will come to Berlin on their FIRST European tour. Fucking LOVE that band. If they won’t come to Berlin, I’ll have to come to them. (Check them out!!)
Otherwise I look forward to hearing the new album by Washington grinders THE DRIP. Last album was insane. I really hope The Banner will release something new soon-ish. Probably way more releases I’m looking forward to, but I cannot think of any right now .
Really excited for the great 1st of May festival here in Berlin…where the whole city turns into a giant party with free shows with amazing bands. Last year TURNSTILE played and the year before that, CRO-MAGS, TERROR AND WOLF DOWN and loads more…. This year TERROR is coming back with BURN and BORN FROM PAIN.. really looking forward to BORN FROM PAIN. “In Love With The End” is still one of the most aggressive albums to this day. :)
Ok, thanks a lot for the brief introductory to the band and your thoughts! Anything you’d like to add before we say goodbye?
Well, thank YOU for taking the time to do this with me.
Hmm… We hope to play way more shows in the future and also start working on a split EP. So please buy our EP, our merch and book us so we have enough money to record, tour, buy beer and print new merch.
Seek Nothing – Not So Bad hardcore forever.
Thanks so much! Cheers from Warsaw!