Danish melodic hardcore act ROAD TO MANILA have a new video out for their single “Lifted”. We took this chance to sit down with them and talk about the band, their debut EP and get some exclusive commentary on their 2 official videos and much much more stuff that you could possible be interested about this pack.
Hey! Please shoot us a quick introduction about ROAD TO MANILA. Who are you and where do you come from? [smiles]
Hi Idioteq. We’re a five piece melodic hardcore band called Road to Manila from Fredericia, Denmark.
You have recently released another great video for a song off your “Distance” EP, right? There’s no plot in it really. Similar to “Faults” video, you focus on the band’s appearance. Can you explain that for those who haven’t seen it yet?
Yeah we just released a video for the song “Lifted” from the EP. It’s very similar to the video for “Faults” as it’s shot at the same location and on the same day. It just has a more gloomy vibe to it. The lack of plot really comes down to the fact that we don’t have any kind of budget for doing a video, so we just had to make it as good as we possibly could with no money at all, and we figured that it could easily become too cheesy if we forced a plot into the video. Everything that we do is completely DIY at the moment and the different members of the band have their own platform for working on the visual aspects of the band, i.e. merch, videos, websites, etc.
Great. It turned out very good, so good for you, guys. Are you looking for becoming less DIY and mainstream, like YOUR DEMISE, for instance?
We’d love to have the same recognition as bands like YOUR DEMISE, but not necessarily going mainstream like that. We do what we want, how we want it. We love to do the artwork, videos, etc. ourselves, but at the same time it would be nice to have a record company and booking agents working for us, so that we could focus more on the music. I personally think that the way that a band like THE CHARIOT does it is the way to go as they have complete control over everything that they do, but at the same time have a group of people that work for them.
True. Have you gained some attention from bands you love already?
Not from the bands that we consider to be the main inspiration for us personally, but bands like BEING AS AN OCEAN, NAPOLEON, and SCARRED BY BEAUTY (who are close friends of ours) have responded positively to what we do.
Oh yeah, I thought of NAPOLEON after check out your first video, to be honest. Anyway, I remember some reviews of ROAD TO MANILA and it seems that you had a turn in your music’s stylistics. How do you feel like you’ve developed as a band since you first started playing?
We’ve had so many member changes that it seemed natural to progress into something else every time these changes occurred. We’ve become better at what we do along the way, so I guess that’s the biggest development that we’ve had since the band formed. We probably should have changed the name along the way though, but we kinda liked the name and nobody even knew who we were, so it didn’t really matter to us – although some of the people that have been there from the beginning feel that it’s somewhat frustrating to see that we’ve changed so much since we started the band. Nonetheless, we feel that we’ve finally found our sound, so as long as we can keep this line-up together, we’re going to continue in that direction.
So what original members are still in the band?
Nicolai (vocals, but he played guitar in the band back when they formed) and Niclas (drums) are the only original members that are still in the band. I joined the band in 2010, Jeppe (bass) and Jonas (guitar) joined the band a year later.
About the name you mention in previous answer, what’s the story behind it?
We actually get asked this quite frequently. Our former bass player came up with the name and it had something to do with a war on the Philippines, and that’s all we know. But for us it means something completely different now. “Manila” could be anywhere, really – it’s just a kinda Neverland, and the real meaning is in the road as it is the notion in Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”. In other words; the goal isn’t important, it’s how you get there that means everything.
Do you have any side projects?
Not really. I know our singer, Nicolai, wants to play guitar again, in a more straight-up hardcore band like BACKTRACK, DOWN TO NOTHING, etc., but I don’t think he’s found anybody to play with yet. I’m in the progress of forming a melodic/post-hardcore band in Copenhagen in the style of TOUCHE AMORE, PIANOS BECOME THE TEETH, MODERN LIFE IS WAR, etc., but right now I’ve only talked to a few people about it, so it’s gonna take some time before we release anything.
Nice. Drop me a line as soon as you manage to put something together.
I will. As far as I’m concerned there isn’t really a scene; there’s death metal, which is really big in Denmark, and then there’s all the rest and we all know each other across all the different sub-genres. There’s a really nice local hardcore scene in Fredericia, and then there’s all different kind of things going on in Copenhagen.
No splits and divisions? Hardcore punk united? [smiles]
No not really. There are of course some hardcore/metal/punk/etc. dudes who only listen to some specific sub-genre, but people are mostly open to other genres as well, especially the younger generations. As far as I know there’s only one “group” like that, FAF (friends and family) from Fredericia/Kolding.
What punk-orientated festivals do you have there?
In Fredericia there’s a two day festival called Days of Fury and I think there’s some kind of punk/hardcore festival at Dortheavej 61 too. Besides that there are only smaller events/shows, but no bigger festivals.
Is there something you miss in your local scene, something that you’ve seen abroad?
When you see clips of other smaller bands performing in other countries and from what I’ve heard from other bands that we’ve talked to; there’s a lot more going on in other parts of Europe in this genre and people actually go to these shows. Bigger bands like LIFERUINER, HUNDREDTH, COUNTERPARTS, HEART IN HAND, etc. have all toured Europe, but they almost never come to Denmark to play shows because there really isn’t a big audience for this genre, and I personally think that’s a shame.
Maybe it’s because of the lack of initiatives and booking crews, huh? Or too much of everything else except melodic hardcore? [smiles] Naah, I’m just guessing, because sometimes I like to think that’s exactly what’s going on here in Warsaw. Too many concerts and spoiled kids and not too much dedicated people ready to book a show or simply attend one. Anyway, Eastern parts of Europe are still amazing and hyped about many DIY bands that would never fill a venue in Western Europe.
I’ve heard good things about Eastern Europe on that front, some of our good friends had their first European tour in those parts, and they mentioned that it was some of the best shows they played, whereas the shows they played in the UK were in almost empty venues every time, even when they played with fairly well known local acts. I think it’s really about the lack of interest in the genre as the more aggressive types of metal is always thriving in Denmark, especially death metal and other types of metal.
So where have you been touring with ROADS TO MANILA so far?
So far we’ve only had the chance of doing weekend tours in Denmark and a couple of shows in Germany, but we’re working hard on getting as many shows as we possibly can for 2013.
Can you reveal some details for us?
Nothing is confirmed yet, but we’ll definitely play some more shows in Germany, so there’s a big chance that we’ll play some shows in the neighboring countries as well. But hopefully we’ll get to tour a lot more in 2013.
Are you already planning to release a follow-up to “Distance” EP?
Yeah we’re already writing new material for our first full length, but it’s gonna take some time before that comes out. We just released the EP a couple of months ago, so now we want to promote it as much as possible.
Do you something written already?
We have 2-3 songs that are almost done, but we’re still working on them, and we have a lot of riffs and ideas that we haven’t used yet. I think that the song “Faults” will also be rerecorded for the full length, but we haven’t decided on that yet.
What are some of the goals you set for the next outing?
Outing? We just want to outdo ourselves every time we do something new, and if people want to listen to it and support what we do in any way that’s just a big bonus for us. We’d love to do what we do professionally, but not at any price, we still have a lot of integrity to uphold.
Is there a timetable for this release in your mind?
Hopefully it will be released in a years time by a decent major record label [smiles].
Major record label? It thought you are hoping to stay independent [smiles]. What label would you like to be tapped by?
[laughs] I was trying to make a joke.. But it would be nice to have your music widely accessible by a lot of people, without the label trying to compromise your vision, but I guess that’s really not how it works at all :) I don’t know really; Epitaph, Mediaskare, etc. would be awesome. Deathwish is also a great label, imo, but I don’t that this style of music would fit with their profile.
Oh yeah, but you white t-shirt with the long lyric would fit Deathwish just fine, I guess [smiles]. Why so pessimistic? [smiles] Is it that bad with our world?
Thanks? Am I being too pessimistic? I’ve always seen myself as a positive individual, haha. But yeah, there’s a lot of things wrong with our world, unfortunately.
Is there a particular thing that you had in mind putting this lyric together?
You mean the white shirt lyrics? It’s a really old shirt, I think our former bass player came up with those words. It’s fairly simple; everything you know, or have been told, is a lie. The lyrics on the new material is a bit more positive, but still a little dark at times.
Yup. You recently recommended a new band called RUINED, featuring members of AS WE FIGHT, THE PSYKE PROJECT and LAST MILE. Do you have some more cool local bands we should check out?
SCARRED BY BEAUTY, COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS, NEW DISCOLOUR, SPINKICK, WECANWALKONWATERTOO, LOST ELEGANCE, THE KANDIDATE, INVISIUS, PANACEA, BY THE PATIENT are all good friends of ours, so go check these bands out! (sorry if I forgot anybody).
What were some of the most important musical events for you in 2012? I mean bands, new albums, shows, publications, break-ups, deaths, etc.
Hmm.. UNDEROATH, KEROUAC, THE CARRIER, DEAD SWANS, etc. called it quits, which was pretty devastating. I got to see TOUCHÉ AMORÉ, THE CHARIOT, CONVERGE, ARCHITECTS, THE GHOST INSIDE, etc. live. New albums by CODE ORANGE KIDS and THE CHARIOT were amazing. I probably forgot something obvious.
Did you have a chance to see THE CARRIER at one of their farewell gigs in Europe?
No unfortunately I didn’t go to any of those shows.
That’s a pity, it was very nice, but sad at the same time.
Ok, what are you guys looking forward to in 2013 as a band?
Is there anything that I might have left out that you would like me to clarify?
Hopefully we’ll play a lot of shows around Europe and the UK in 2013, and then we’ll record/release our first full length at the end of 2013.
No I think that’s it.
Yeah, I harassed you enough, right? [smiles]
Thanks for the chat and have a great year!