When Words Are Not Enough – an interview with LA straight edge band BERTHOLD CITY

5 mins read

Los Angeles-based Straight Edge band BERTHOLD CITY have unleashed their long-awaited debut full-length, When Words Are Not Enough. Formed in 2017 by vocalist Andrew Kline (Strife, WORLD BE FREE,) BERTHOLD CITY’s line-up is rounded out by guitarist Dennis McDonald (Internal Affairs,) drummer Adam Galindo (Abrasian, XOne ChoiceX,) bassist John “Eightclip” Jenkins (Allegiance,) and guitarist Dave Itow (A18, The Mistake.)

The band released a three-song demo in July of 2017 and quickly followed it up with the release of both the Moment of Truth & What Time Takes 7-inch EP’s. Since their formation, BERTHOLD CITY hit the ground running and completed short tours on both the East & West Coasts with TERROR, Regulate, Fireburn, Change, Scowl, KILL YOUR IDOLS, and more. Locally, they have shared the stage with bands such as Sick of it All, Judge, Shelter, Agnostic Front, Youth of Today, DARE, DRAIN, and Take Offense, among others.

With 12 foundational tracks of hard-hitting, anthemic Hardcore, When Words Are Not Enough will without a doubt solidify BERTHOLD CITY into the forefront of modern Hardcore. The album was recorded and mixed at Jet to Mars Studio by Nick Jett (TERROR,) mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, JESUS PIECE, God’s Hate,) completed with cover art and design by Jeremy Dean, and features a guest appearance from Jason Mazzola (Count Me Out) on “Left with Nothing.”

Kline’s label, WAR Records, recently released When Words Are Not Enough in a multitude of formats and exclusive variants. We recently got a chance to speak with Andrew Kline himself, via email, about the creation of When Words Are Not Enough and what WAR Records have in store for us next. The interview below has been lightly edited for general clarity.

Who are the members of BERTHOLD CITY and what role does each play in the band?

BERTHOLD CITY is: Andrew Kline (vocals,) Adam Galindo (drums,) John [Eightclip] Jenkins (bass,) Dennis McDonald (guitar,) [and Dave] Itow (guitar.)

What musical projects may people know each of you from previously?

I currently still play in both Strife & WORLD BE FREE. Adam, also, plays drums in Abrasion, One Choice, and Twist of Cain. John previously sang for Allegiance. Dennis played guitar in Internal Affairs. Itow played bass in The Mistake & A18.

When and how did BERTHOLD CITY initially form?

We released our demo in July of 2017. I’m always writing songs… I had a handful of songs that were more straight-forward, stripped down, and a bit of a different style than either of my other bands. In a similar fashion to the recording of the Judge NY Crew 7-inch, I got together with Adam and we spent a day in the studio fleshing out the songs and tracking the drums for the demo. I played bass and all the guitars on the recording and, then, went back a few months later started tracking the vocals. I have never sung in a band before, so I really didn’t know what to expect… We did the vocals for “Left for Dead” first and Aaron [Jamili] (who recorded the demo) and I were both really happy with how they came out. After that, I would head down to the studio every week or so and finish another song. From there, I reached out to a few friends and started putting the line-up together. After playing a bunch of shows, releasing two 7-inches, and appearing on a few different compilations, we finally released our first full-length LP, [When Words Are Not Enough]!

BERTHOLD CITY 2022, by Greg Flack-
BERTHOLD CITY 2022, by Greg Flack

What did the writing, recording, production, etc. processes behind When Words Are Not Enough entail? Were these processes affected at all by COVID-19 related restrictions?

We were definitely limited based on The Pandemic, but I knew I wanted to use the time to write and record an album. I started by just writing riffs and song ideas and recording them on my phone. Demos for two of the songs were made by recording guitars at my house and, then, FaceTiming Adam to discuss before he tracked his drums at his house. I knew Nick [Jett] was going to be producing and he has a studio very close to me. We spent a week or so jamming at his studio and working on the arrangements for the songs. This was still pretty early on in The Pandemic, so we definitely wanted to limit the amount of people that were involved. Once all the songs were demoed, we were set to record. Adam came down and knocked out the drums in one day… the guitars and bass took about a day each and, then, I spent a lot of time focusing on my vocals.

Aside from the members of the band, was anyone else involved in the overall creative processes behind When Words Are Not Enough?

The album was produced, engineered, and mixed by Nick Jett and, then, mastered by Brad Boatright. Nick is a great producer and was an integral part of the recording process.

How would you say BERTHOLD CITY’S sound has changed and evolved since your earliest releases, Moment of Truth & What Time Takes from 2018-19?

I like to think that the LP builds upon the sound we created on our first few releases. We wanted to push in a few directions without [losing] the sounds that defines us. There are songs that are more melodic, songs that are more Punk-influenced, songs that are heavier, and songs that are faster… but I feel like the album is very cohesive and an interesting listen from start finish.

BERTHOLD CITY 2022, by Greg Flack
BERTHOLD CITY 2022, by Greg Flack

What would you cite as some of your greatest sources of inspiration and influence while creating When Words Are Not Enough?

We all just love Hardcore… You can hear influences ranging from classics, like Youth of Today, Bold, Judge, Turning Point, Straight Ahead, and Agnostic Front to the some of the “revival” bands from the 2000’s, like Carry On, Count Me Out, etc.

What is the significance behind the album cover image and how does it tie into the album title or themes heard across When Words Are Not Enough?

The record was designed by our good friend, Jeremy Dean. He has designed all the artwork for the band since we started. I sent him the songs and let him do his things… He wanted to push the boundaries a bit and go for something a bit less “obvious” and a little more artistic. I think he did an amazing job and I really love the artwork for the new record.

How did you guys go about picking the various colors and styles for the vinyl variants of When Words Are Not Enough?

We released a few different versions for the record. WAR [Records] has been doing an exclusive Glow-In-The-Dark vinyl pressing with a Japanese OBI strip on a number of releases the last few years… This is usually the most limited pressing and typically sells out immediately. Coretex [Records] in Berlin is a big partner of the label and the link to do a gold vinyl exclusive… They got 150 copies on gold and we partnered with Programme [Skate & Sound] as the exclusive retailer of the gold version in The US. The other versions were made to compliment the artwork of the record. [MERCHPIT.COM] in Europe had a green in clear exclusive pressing of 200 that looks incredible… The WAR Records exclusive was an orange lava and the final version is an incredible tri-color pressing [on] white green, orange, and black [vinyl] that looks like camo!

BERTHOLD CITY When Words Are Not Enough variants
BERTHOLD CITY When Words Are Not Enough variants

What is the significance or meaning behind the band name BERTHOLD CITY?

Berthold City is, actually, the name of a font used by bands, like SSD, Chain of Strength, Gorilla Biscuits, and many more. I wanted a name that was rooted in Hardcore, but was a bit different and, maybe, a bit less obvious.

BERTHOLD CITY 2022, by Greg Flack
BERTHOLD CITY 2022, by Greg Flack

Are there any upcoming BERTHOLD CITY shows you might wanna plug within this space?

We are currently working on an East Coast tour in May with our friends in Change that has yet-to-be-announced, as well as a record release show, probably, in June,

What’s planned next for BERTHOLD CITY, any of your other projects, and/or WAR Records?

We just want to play as much as we can. The reception of the new record has been great and we just want to get out and play these songs live! As far as WAR [Records] is concerned, we have upcoming [releases] from Enact, Bent Blue, Fixation, and Abstain.

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