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THE DEPARTED discuss their new album

The Fast and the Furious – that’s how you could call the new album from THE DEPARTED. This Grimsby, UK-based act have just unveiled what is believed to be one of the best and most passionate melodic hardcore albums this year. Titled “Steal The Crown”, the album can really exhilarate your senses, mark my words! And the best thing about it is the fact that it comes from a very hard working band: 6 European tours, over 10 UK treks within the last 4 years, sharing stages with dozens of amazing bands, pursuing their crazy passions with boundless energy, not slowing down at all!

Here’s my interview with the band, discussing their touring experience, the new outing and the band members’ hobbies :) All you need to do to get to know them a little better is scroll down and take a few minutes with us. It’s worth it.

Also, don’t miss out on their new lyric video premiere, coming up on Monday, August 5th. It will be followed by a tour announcement and more spicy news. Ok, enough talkin’, meet THE DEPARTED!

Hey buddies! What’s up? How’s summer in the cold northern lands of England going? ;)

Hey dude, it’s all good, thanks! Summer started off pretty crappy, but we just had the longest, hottest heatwave in the last 7 years… We’re talking 34 degrees, not a cloud in the sky… And 25 degrees at 2am… So summer is FINALLY here!! :D

Nice! So… I’ve just checked out your sexy group photo and realized it was taken here in Poland! Whooaa! When were you here and how on earth I missed it?

Yeah, our first ever show in Poland! The photo was taken in Bielsko-Biala, at the back of the venue where we were playing (Rude Boys Club)… We were on tour back in April, with our good friends and label-mates in ALMOST FAILED. The show was part of a 17-date tour booked for us by Distortion Bookings, and we specifically asked for a Poland show, as we were keen to visit places we had never been before! As it turns out, the show was not very busy at all, but the venue and promoter were really great, and we were looked after very well! We visited Auschwitz the next day, and we can all safely say that our first visit to Poland will never be forgotten!

Was it the only gig in Poland? How was the whole tour anyway?

Yeah, sadly it was the only Polish show. To be honest, we had expected that we would get booked in somewhere like Warsaw or Poznan, where we have heard that there are strong hardcore scenes there, but Bielsko-Biala was great too. As far as we know, nobody in Poland knows who we are, so playing a show with a small turnout was to be expected for us no matter where we played! As for the tour itself, it was definitely one of the best tours we have ever done. ALMOST FAILED were great touring partners, and great friends, and every show we played together was an absolute blast! There were some crazy shows, and some even crazier happenings, but I guess that’s why we do what we do! :)

I’m sure you’ll live through numerous adventures in Poland next time ;)

Comparing to your national gigs, what’s different in touring mainland?

Haha, we can only hope so! :) Well, as I’m sure you’ve heard bands from the UK say before, touring on the mainland is a completely different experience! For us, we are always so impressed with the way shows are dealt with. Promoters are nearly always on time, and shows very rarely get cancelled. Everything just runs so smoothly. And we are always treated very well by everyone. In the last 3 years of touring Europe, we have never been given any trouble or hassle, and we almost always get our guarantee, etc. The way that Euro promoters treat us gives us hope for the punk and hardcore scene. People still understand the way it should be over on the mainland, and I think that’s kinda lost a little bit now, over here in the UK.

And what’s weak? Not everything can be  perfect, right? ;) 

In Europe? Well, the only real downside for us is that there are some long-ass drives sometimes haha! It once took us 18hrs to travel from Gent, BE to Berlin, DE! The whole thing is still a huge adventure for us, even after 3 years of various mainland tours… We’re so grateful that we have had the opportunity to visit all of these countries and play shows!

Yeah, man! It’s been 6 times you’ve done it, right? You sure do like it, huh? Are you planning another run already?

Yeah, the tour with ALMOST FAILED, back in April this year, was our 6th mainland excursion. Before that, we toured Europe with some other really cool bands:
TAKE COURAGE (Chatham, UK)
DONNIE BRASCO (Exeter, UK)
CONSTRAINTS (Toronto, CA)
GIANTS (Essex, UK)

Now that we’ve signed up with M.A.D. Tourbooking, hopefully we will start to see some bigger tours coming through, so we can progress even further, and reach even more new places! We will be heading back over to the mainland in September, for a short run of 5 dates. That’s all the details we can give you right now, we don’t have definites yet! :)

Something tells me you’ll have a new record by then to be played, won’t you?

Haha, I see you figured that part out for yourself! :) Yeah, we have just released our latest album, ‘Steal The Crown’, digitally via Acuity. Music, who are a digital-only label, and a sub-label of Let It Burn Records. We will be playing a brand new set, containing a mix of newer album tracks, and some old favourites, as of now. We are so proud of ‘Steal The Crown’, it’s definitely the best thing we have ever written, and for us personally, it shows that we can overcome the adversity and stigma that often comes to hardcore bands when they lose a vocalist with a distinctive voice. We feel that STC is our strongest work yet, and the change in style is a sign of things to come!

What was new in your approach to writing this time?

Well, back in early 2012, we lost our original vocalist, Rob. He felt he had grown apart from the hardcore scene, and what it stood for, so he took the decision to stand down. During the time we were searching for a new frontman, we also lost our long-time bassist, and good mate Razor. At that time, we weren’t sure whether we should carry on searching to replace those guys, or just cut our losses and call it a day… But luckily, we came across Joey Dean (vox) and Phil Hurwood (bass) in March 2012. So this, coupled with the fact that, since our last EP, ‘Remnants’, was released, we had a new guitarist in the shape of Phil Pollard on board too, meant that we had a very different line-up to when the last writing process had occurred! Joey brings a very unique voice, with a very broad range, to the band, and is very good when it comes to clean stuff/harmonising too, so we took the decision as a band that it would be criminally wasteful of us NOT to use his talents to their full extent! So for the first time in the band’s history, we were able to write music that we felt was pushing the boundaries of what we were all capable of. ‘Steal The Crown’ is a very different sound for THE DEPARTED, and we’re hoping that it will be accepted by existing fans of the band, as well as making us plenty of new fans!

Weren’t you tempted to change your name due to those changes?

We had that conversation, sure. But we all agreed that what we were doing was still the same band, in terms of what we stand for, our message, and what we want to achieve, so the name stayed. We felt we had come too far as THE DEPARTED to turn our back on that name and start again. Plus, we think that we are still recognisable as THE DEPARTED, even with the new sound!

You’ve released your 2007’s demo, 2009’s “This Is What We Know” and 2011’s “Remnants” for free. Can we expect this new material to be offered the same way, as well?

We took the decision to put up all of our back-catalogue for free download once a certain amount of time had passed, as we would rather that people have access to our music for free, and hear us, than be restricted by not wanting to pay for our music. We can’t say that will or won’t definitely happen with STC, because this is our first release through a ‘proper’ label, and we haven’t retained the digital rights to the record. We do, however, retain the rights to produce physical copies of the record, either by ourselves, or in partnership with whatever record label we should choose. So we are looking out for a label that wants to release STC on CD or 12″ vinyl!

How do you as an artist find a label that fits your needs?

Well, in the case of Acuity.Music, we had seen them in action when they released the new EP ’11:55′ by our friends in ALMOST FAILED, and we were impressed with what we saw, and the way which they handled things. As we mentioned already, Acuity.Music deals solely with digital releases, and we recognise that, whether we like it or not, digitally-distributed music is the future, so we decided to approach them, as we can see that they are a label which is not afraid to embrace new, emerging technologies and methods for distributing/promoting their artists. The label was a good choice for us as a struggling, self-funded DIY hardcore band too, because there has been no outlay on our behalf, other than the initial cost of recording our album. We can see that Acuity.Music look after their roster very well, and we’re happy to be a part of such a forward-looking label.

Alright, and what about other third-parties you’d like to thank for contributing to this record? What outside people had access to your creative and recording processes?

Well, of course, we need to thank one of our best friends Nathan Smith, who recorded, mixed, mastered and produced the album… Without him, we couldn’t have done this! And our good friends James Dexter (DEMORALISER) and Joe Kenney (PAY NO RESPECT) for lending their voices for guest vocals! Apart from that, Steal The Crown was all our own work, and we are so proud of what we have achieved!

What about the message, guys? You state that you’re supporting the anti fascist, anti sexist and anti racist movement within the punk rock scenem, but it’s not the main subject in your songs, right? Do you try to keep it out of your lyrical sphere, perhaps in order not to become too political?

In some of our older material, I think the message was clear, along with other subjects of elitism, discrimination, oppression, unnecessary and unsanctioned wars, etc. And in certain songs on Steal The Crown, the undertones are there, I think. But lyrically, for the most part, Steal The Crown deals heavily with the subjects of antitheism, the damage which we can see organised religion has done to, and continues to wreak on our world, and the way in which the churches, governments, corporations, politicians and businesses of today seek to undermine our basic humanity by forcing us to live in a certain way. Its message is one of hope, really. That it’s not too late for us to take the metaphorical crown of our own humanity back from those who have stolen it from us in the shape of eroded civil rights and liberties. We have no problem with having a political stance in our music, especially considering the amount of bullshit we see daily coming from the powers that be, from the media puppets, the banks, the clergy and the politicians. It has to stop. And yes, we are 100% behind anti-racism, anti-fascism, anti-homophobia, anti-sexism and any other anti-discrimination movement. Over our time touring the mainland, we have heard many stories of how neo-nazism is still a problem, and it was a real shock to us at first. In the UK, it is largely perceived as a joke now, people just don’t realise how badly it still affects some places in Europe.

Is your local area free of the scum?

For the most part, yes. There are obviously a handful of small-minded, uneducated idiots around, as there are in most places, but there is no real ‘movement’ as such. Unless you count the morons in the EDL (English Defence League) and the BNP (British National Party), but they are pretty much seen as comedy by the general public. After all, in this day and age, how ANYONE can consider one human being of lesser worth than another, solely based on the colour of their skin, is absolutely BEYOND us.

Damn right. All this crap seem to come up when people don’t have any ideas for channeling their energy and emotions. I’ve heard you have no trouble in finding a hobby, huh? :) A competent boxer, a talented darts and football player, a Japanese sports cars lover, a cognitive behavioral therapist and a film buff? Come on! ;) Tell me more about your passions :)

Agreed. And when the public are fed lies and misinformation by the less-than-savoury agenda of the mainstream media, sadly, it often results in bouts of racism, or discrimination against some form of minority. Fuck the mainstream media. Find your own truths.

As for our hobbies and passions… I can only speak in detail for myself (Dave H), but sure! I am the aforementioned Japanese sports car enthusiast, which comes from my love of most things Japanese/Asian (I started off at an early age, after seeing Akira shown on late night TV once, which sparked off my obsession). I currently own a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5 GSR (bit of a mouthful, haha!), and she is my baby! I’ve owned 3 Evolutions in total now, and before that, I drove a Nissan 200SX (S13) and a Nissan 200SX (S14a). I like to modify my cars, and also to take them down to the local racetrack, when time and money allow for it! I am also heavily into computers and video games in general (my day job is working in IT), so I’m a bit of a geek there! When it comes to the others, I can tell you that yes, Joey (vox) was a proficient youth boxer, who fought in tournaments in his younger years. He also has a passion for karaoke singing… If there’s a microphone, you will find him there! Jack (drums) is an experienced footballer, having played for Grimsby Town FC Youth Team in the past, as well as still playing for local league teams today, and he also practices his darts game either at home, or in our local club. Pollard (guitar) loves to spend his time practicing his guitar-playing, and coming up with new riffs for the band. He also is the king of drunken socialising! Hurwood (bass) is a cognitive behavioural therapist in his day job, and has a real talent for helping those who are in a time of need. He is easily the most compassionate band member!

Damn, what the heck are doing running this band then?! ;) What does this band provide you?

For all of us, we believe in this band, and its message. It gives us a few things… It gives us the chance to make ourselves heard, for people to see our point in a way that, otherwise, they may miss it. It gives us the opportunity to travel, to see places and meet people that we wouldn’t have done, without it. It gives us a break from our daily lives, from our 9-5 routine, and hopefully, eventually it will allow us to live outside of the borders and boundaries that society expects us to fit into.

So having another trip being planned to promote your new album and this beautiful English weather you mentioned before :), you probably you are probably not planning on taking any vacations now, huh?

Well hey, a vacation is always nice haha! :) But no, all of our holiday time from work is pretty much used up in planning for tours for the rest of 2013… We are hoping that we can do some bigger, longer tours in 2014, that reach a wider audience, and let us visit countries which we haven’t had the chance to yet, such as Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, Lithuania, etc!

Nice! Hope you’ll get there, man!

Ok, so what else is going on at your end, buddies? Any final words before you leave and forget about IDIOTEQ? ;)

Let’s see… We have a brand new lyric video for our track ‘All For Nothing’, which is due to be released any day now… And we are working on a new music video for our next single release. Apart from that, we will concentrate on our touring plans, and also start to look at writing a new EP!

For our final words, we’d firstly like to thank IDIOTEQ for listening to us, and giving us a platform to share our views. We’d also like to thank all of our friends, old and new, who we have made through this band, and we look forward to seeing you all at a show!!

Great! Don’t hesitate to drop me a line as soon as it comes up. Thanks for your time, buddies!

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