Soon after the premiere of their debut EP on Atomic Action! Records, WHITE JAZZ‘s Bjorn Dossche agreed to reveal a bit more details on his new high energy punk band and recall some of the aspects of his previous group RISE AND FALL, who have achieved a solid magnitude of success in the worldwide hardcore scene. In late 2012, after releasing 4 solid full lengths on Deathwish Inc. and Reflections Records and just at the time their fans were sure they were only getting warmed up, they surprisingly called it a day. A little over 2 years after the “break-up”, Bjorn and his friends are back with a new project called WHITE JAZZ, signed to Atomic Action! Records, delivering one hell of a mixture of fast, chaotic, raw garage punk and bluesy hardcore jams. Luckily enough I had a chance to chat with Bjorn about his motivation for being involved with music, his view on hardcore and both the old and new bands. Read the full interview below.
Hi Bjorn! Thanks so much for taking some time with IDIOTEQ! By the time I posted the coverage on Fuck Kanker Fest in Antwerp, I was really interested in learning more about “the new band featuring members of RISE AND FALL”. Tell me about the origin of WHITE JAZZ and your idea for this project.
On the way back from a show we’d checked out Vince and I were talking and came to the conclusion we missed doing a band together. We’d always injected RAF with a healthy punk influence and felt like it’d be fun to do a band that was pretty straight forward yet pretty wild at the same time. BLACK FLAG definitely was a point of reference. We asked Wim if he was down and he immediately suggested to get Chuck in on guitar. We started practicing in June ’14 I guess and took things from there.
Photo: RISE AND FALL by Thomas Switn Sweertvaegher.
In your RISE AND FALL hiatus announcement in November 2012 you stated “it’s not the end”. How would you rate your chances of resurrecting the band in the nearest future?
Not very high. It’s been close to 3 years since we last played and since then we’ve all been busy with new bands and a whole lot of ‘real life’ things. I personally don’t see the use of getting the band going again. There’s not a lot to add to what we’ve done really. But you never know obviously, that’s why we decided to leave things open ended, without much fuzz or dramatic goodbye shows.
Why call a new band WHITE JAZZ?
Why not, right? We got the name from the James Ellroy novel. I think it’s kind of cool to have a band name that makes people scratch their heads.
How do you view your time in RISE AND FALL and compare it to your new endeavors? Apart from the music, what’s different?
RISE AND FALL was the band that changed everything for me. I’d been in a few bands before but this was the band that did all of the things I’d always wanted to. It took a lot of hard work but we really made that shit work. I am still thankful for the chance RISE AND FALL gave me to write songs, record and tour with some of my best friends, with the help of a whole bunch of quality people throughout the world and a great label like Deathwish to back us.
We were hungry, pissed and extremely focused, with a lot to prove. The band came first and last, it was as simple as that.
Things are different now. We do this band because it’s fun and because it feels good to write some raging hardcore/punk and play a show once in a while. There’s nothing to prove, just a love for what we do.
We were hungry, pissed and extremely focused, with a lot to prove. The band came first and last, it was as simple as that. Things are different now.
What inspired you to hit this particular noisy, bluesy and “slightly out of control” direction?
We wanted to put a new spin on a familiar sound. It really is a combination of Chuck’s wild guitar style and the very spontaneous way we write songs. We try to capture the raw energy that comes with fresh ideas.
Are you currently working on any new tunes with WHITE JAZZ?
We recorded two new songs a few months ago for a split 7″ that will be out later this year. More news on that soon. We haven’t practiced since but plan to write some more songs soon(ish).
How about your partnership with Atomic Action! Records. Will it be a happy marriage?
We teamed with AA! after I had been talking to Jim C. (SWEET JESUS, FUCKING INVINCIBLE, SOUL CONTROL) a bunch about the band, I’d also sent him our very first recordings. He was stoked and mentioned us to Brian and things just worked out from then on. Brian’s been super cool. I like his vibe and the vibe the label has. There’s no contracts or anything really. Next to the ‘Modern Living’ EP we’ll also be doing a split 7″ on AA! in the future. But we’ll work with other labels as well. Take it as it comes.
Bjorn, regarding your time spent in bands, what would you say would be the secret of having longevity in the punk scene? What makes you enter into new projects and how do you still stay driven and motivated?
I guess it’s the result of a bunch of things. Having people like Vince, Wim and Chuck around me that are roughly the same age, but are still down to rage. Putting on a BAD BRAINS record on the regular also helps.
Through time hardcore/punk has become something that is part of who I am. It has given and taught me a lot of things. That’s just how it is. At the same time I don’t want to be that older and jaded know it all that desperately clings to the spotlight. This band is not going to “get big” and I don’t need to do this for anyone but me. If 13 people care, that’s cool. I just enjoy writing and hanging with the rest of the guys and getting up on stage once in a while.
Seeing a great hardcore/punk band tear it up live, picking up a new record and digging into the music and lyrics are still things that get me excited. There’s a ton of great bands out there doing their thing and this community will continue to evolve and grow. I have enjoyed being part of the process, will continue to do my thing but don’t mind making room for younger generations.
There’s a ton of great bands out there doing their thing and this community will continue to evolve and grow. I have enjoyed being part of the process, will continue to do my thing but don’t mind making room for younger generations.
How do you view the changes in the punk scene since you first started out? How do you feel the digital era affect how young kids get involve in offline communication and world around us now?
When I started going to shows in ’95 things were obviously different, as I’m sure they were very different in ’85 as well. I feel like the 90’s definitely were a time when bands started to break big outside of our scene and a more business type of approach was adopted, for better or worse.
Through time hardcore and punk as terms have lost pretty much all meaning. You and I may have an idea of what it is, but a 16 year old kid might see things very differently. I always liked the variety in sound between bands, which hardcore has always had, even in the early 80’s. Now though we are at a point where a “hardcore” band could literally sound like anything.
The digital age has definitely made communication easier and accessibility higher, to a degree where people just get super lazy and don’t really make any effort at all and nearly all mystery is gone. So it is definitely a double edged sword.
The digital age has definitely made communication easier and accessibility higher, to a degree where people just get super lazy and don’t really make any effort at all and nearly all mystery is gone.
Alright Bjorn, so what else? What are your plans this holiday season?
Let me think. We have a bunch of cool shows coming up this summer. We’re playing a fest with SLOWDIVE and HELMET tomorrow and a cool little gig with SWEET JESUS in August.
Other than that I’ll be working, enjoying the holidays with family and friends and going to a couple of shows.
Oh yeah, SWEET JESUS. Do you miss HAVE HEART? Or is this type of hardcore energy not your thing?
Well, considering RISE AND FALL toured with them in the States and in Europe I think I’ve seen my share of HAVE HEART shows. They were an incredible band that always struck me as smart and sincere. I witnessed a bunch of unforgettable sets and spent a lot of time with those dudes. It’s awesome to see that most of them are doing new things now. They had a great run and ended things in style.
Are there some new inordinately inspiring bands that we should keep our eyes peeled for this year?
There’s a bunch of exciting bands I can recommend. Definitely. SUPERGENIUS features Vince and Wim along with two other dudes that have been doing bands since forever. Their 12″ came out a few weeks back and is pretty fuckin’ cool. If you enjoy the mid 90’s Revelation and Dischord catalogue you’ll most probably dig them. Another band I really enjoy is RICHIE DAGGER from Holland, they have been flying under the radar somehow but have a new LP coming out later this year. Ex-members of RESTLESS YOUTH so you know it’s cool. I also believe OMEGAS from Canada are working on a new record. Their first LP was a favorite of mine.
Ok Bjorn, thanks so much for your time. The last words are yours. Cheers!
Thank you Karol for your interest in White Jazz. Keep an eye out for our 7″ and the upcoming split 7″.