Artiest: Stick To Your Guns
Geïnterviewde: Jesse Barnett
Interview afgenomen in: Muziekodroom, Hasselt
Label: Sumerian Records / Rude Records
Op zondag 16 oktober speelde Stick To Your Guns in Hasselt een geweldig optreden. Voor het optreden werd er een interview afgenomen met zanger Jesse Barnett. Chris was ook in de kamer en nam ook af en toe deel aan het gesprek.
You have been to Belgium a couple of times, what memories do you have of this country?
Speculaas of course. No seriously, the main consensus for Stick To Your Guns is that Belgium is one of the best places for shows, you know what I mean. Mainly Europa and for his band especially it is Belgium, Germany and Austria. Those countries seem to do really well for us but Belgium is really a country that stands out. Every time we play here it feels like we are playing a home show. Last time we played here we sold out Trix and that is super special for us because the support is great. You know in the United States, I hate being one of those people that hates complaining about where they come from but where I come from there are a lot of things to complain about, you can play a tour one time and it is ok and another time and it is f*ckng awesome. It can be very inconsistent. Here we came the first time and it was bad, the second time it was better and every time is better than the last time. Here there is consistency, people here look at the music seriously while in the United States people look at it as a phase so here people stick around and they keep coming back. If you make a fan over here it is a fan for life and that is awesome.
Were you surprised that the show was sold out and that they relocated it to Hasselt?
Honestly yes and no. I was surprised that is was sold out so fast but as I said, Belgium is so good to us that, I don’t want to say that is what we expected, but we expected it a little bit.
What do you think when you are on stage and you see a crowded room and what are the thoughts on your first shows ever played?
First time we played Belgium was….shouts to Chris, What year was Hell On Earth?
Chris: Euhm 2008 I think.
Jesse: That was the first time we played in Belgium and we played as the first band when the doors opened. We played when the doors were opening. When we were ringing out our first note there was literally not a single person at the venue and as we were playing closer to the ending of our set people were coming in and it was okay but you know it was weird. After that we played Pukkelpop, the trix got sold out so it has gotten better and better and it is crazy because tomorrow we are playing an hour away from here and that show is sold out so we were surprised that so many people wanted to see us and that’s just crazy. I don’t try to question things I just let them be and let them happen.
I also think that the scene is very popular and it has a lot of people that follow it.
Yeah I think that is good, of course there are people that complain about that. I can understand it a little bit, that doesn’t mean that I agree with it. People can say that it is too big or there are scenes that are so small and shitty and that is just the worst but I mean enjoy it while it is here.
Stick To Your Guns released the new EP, how did the fans react to it?
I think in my eyes and probably also for the rest of the guys, way better than we thought. We had a back and forth on doing it because a lot of times an EP gets overlooked. A lot of people don’t take it seriously but we had these songs and we were like should we wait or should we write more songs and we thought it would be a perfect time to release some music to let people know that we are not dead you know. We did it and to see the EP on the billboard charts is crazy and it is not what we expected at all. We were overwhelmed by that and the reactions to the new songs have been great and again they all have something behind it and they were written about specific events that inspired us.
(Meanwhile in the distance we hear some load moans from Josh and Jesse tells him to keep it down. After that Josh comes in to the room telling us that Andrew came out shirtless so it was a normal reaction. After that the interview continues.)
Can you tell us more about the specific events and meanings behind the songs?
Just look at what is happening right now. In the United States we have some f*ckng clowns that are running for president, the race wars that are going on. It is unfortunate that we have this world that is built of picking sides politically, racially, religiously and so many other things. Those things have convinced us that we are not connected to each other as human beings. We are all weak, scared and we are desperate to try to find the meaning and a lot of times we get so desperate and so scared that we grab onto anything. Nationalism is one of those things, we think that our flag will save us or that our holy book or whatever it is that will save us or will fill the void that we have inside us. So we fight and die for these things and we allow these things to turn us into monsters. I am speaking on a general level, not everyone is like that but it is poisonous and I see more bad from it than I see good. That is one of the unfortunate things. The song Universal Language is written by how, especially in America, there are clowns that are taking the spotlight that are saying so many racist things and all those people that he is pointing to as an enemy to the United States are just all people that want to live in peace and live just like us, they don’t want all the pain, they don’t want their children to get bombed by United States drones, they don’t want any of that sh*t. On one side it is me telling people that it is a huge thing in the United States and there are dangerous parts, like you can’t put something on people that have a religion because others of that religion are doing stupid things. It is my way of saying these people want a normal and safe life like you and me want, they might believe in different things and I might disagree with a lot of those things but a lot of it has to do with education. We accept things for one religion and don’t accept it for another I mean Christianity has also bad sides that people don’t want to reckon. So again, beyond all that we should realize there is a problem and we should observe and look at things from other perspectives and there are things like I say these are moral stands but believes can be dangerous. We have opinions but believes are opinions with more effort so we act on those opinions and we have to be careful about that, as the world grows and things change, we as people have to change with it or else we get left behind. You just have to be careful as far as a believe system goes, our believe is something like this is what we believe but believes have to leave room for us to progress
Something different now, the production process, how did that go?
We did this EP with John Feldmann, we had mixed feelings about that. We had some positive and negative things that we took away from that. I love John as a person but we probably won’t be working again on a record and this time we decided to do things in Toronto with a good buddy of mine, Derek Hoffman and he is an incredibly talented person in so many different ways. I have worked with him on some different projects and I feel very comfortable around him. To work with him in the studio on this project, my main project, was really cool because I am comfortable around him. It is great to go to the studio and to know that you didn’t have to warm up around the people that you are going to work with. The others were like, we don’t really know this guy but we are going to try this out and when the process was over they were like, Derek is f*ckng great. They liked him a lot and I, personally, would like to work with him for the next record. First we are going to lay out all the options but you know I would like to work with him for the next record. We also have another friend Brayden Brown who is also a really talented guy and who worked with us on the record. It’s cool bringing other people in on the record to be able to tell you things. When you write music you are attached to certain ideas and you can’t really see them clearly, you can’t be like this sucks. I am one way or another, or something of mine really sucks or it is really great and it is funny because normally the things that I think suck are the things that others like a lot. It is good to bounce those ideas of to other people that aren’t attached to it emotionally as you are.
You already talked about another record, are there already some plans for it?
Yes, the plan is to release another one next year 2017 maybe fall but as of right now we haven’t booked a studio we really don’t have any songs but we’re talking about it right now. When we know what we want to do we start writing songs.
Do you have plans after this tour?
No not really, we just want to enjoy the rest of the year and be with our families and be with friends and then we come back in spring to Europe but we first have Australia in January.
Do you have pre show rituals?
Jesse: Yeah we actually have one, Chris has introduced one to us. He learned it from monks so monks do a 30 seconds embrace where they hug each other that they use to build trust and what more Chris?
Chris: It allows them to communicate clearly and communicate better with other spiritual beings.
Jesse: So now we give each band member an embrace that lasts between 10 and 30 seconds. First he brought it up and we thought it was hilarious but it is great and we feel connected when we go on stage and it’s cool.
What about the interaction with fans after shows?
I try to, but sometimes I get a little bit overwhelmed because people like to talk to me and I also like to talk to them. They tell me stories about things they have been through and how our music helped them pull through difficult times. Then I am like sh*t these people have been through a lot f*ckng nonsense and bullsh*t beyond anything that I can comprehend. So to hear how the band can assist those people also helps me because sometimes it is easy to take things for granted like our loved ones, having a roof over our heads and having enough food, I also take these things sometimes for granted but hearing those things helps keeping things in perspective for me and helps me realise that the five of us build something bigger than us and that is great. Sometimes there isn’t just enough time or right after a show when I am exhausted I just want to take a shower and sleep. I really like to interact with fans but sometimes it just isn’t an option.
About interviews, do you give a lot of them?
If anybody wants to do an interview I try to accept it, it’s as simple as that. The questions sometimes can get, like this one is a fantastic interview, great questions, great interaction but sometimes the questions get a little bit boring. Email interviews are an example of that, I become a d*ck about that, we get six questions and the first question is ‘What means Stick To Your Guns’, ‘When Did You Start’. I literally send back emails where I said I am not doing this.
So you mean de standard questions where you find the answers on Wikipedia?
Yeah those questions irritate me a lot, I mean I answered the questions a thousand times, the information is out there, just do your homework like you did. You have to put some work in your interview, a little effort is all that is needed for a great interview like this one. You have nothing to worry about.
Well now I have a standard question for you, what is a band memory that you have that cracks you up every time?
Haha nono it is a good question that people don’t ask actually and it is a fun question. Eight years ago we started touring so we have a lot of nice memories but one thing that I will always remember is one about a water park. It is located in Germany and there are a lot of waterslides and we went there and we just go crazy. There is this slide we called the slide of death because it is made out of concrete, it annihilates you get bruises and get scraped up and all those things. You should, obviously, go down one at a time but we get down five at a time. Every time I think of that one it makes me smile and that is a recent one and it is fun because this memory reminds us that we are just people like everyone else and we just want to have fun. Sometimes show after show after show after show after show it is like, f*ck man it gets hectic.
How is it like that, playing some many shows after each other?
Well today was supposed to be a day off but in this kind of music it has always been like this. Oh we have a 30 day tour and it’s 30 shows. There even have been times in Europe where we had a 30 day tour where we played 34 shows where we were playing two shows a day. On this tour there were I think 6 off days and we tried to fill this one because we love Belgium and Belgium loves us and we keep the rest of the days off because a day to relax is always good
If you could tour with any bands you wanted which bands would you choose?
Propaghandi for sure. I love being on tour with Architects and Terror. I love playing shows with them and they will be out for a while with the injury of Scott. I hope I can play a show again with Terror after Scott feels better again. I am wishing him the best, he has a neck surgery.
That is an intense recovery.
Yeah I know, I saw him two weeks ago and he was telling me about it but he seemed very optimistic after all the sh*t that happened to him. He is just resting and enjoying the time off and I hope they will be back touring soon. Maybe just take it easy in the beginning.
That would be the best but taking it easy, that is something that isn’t as easy as you say right now.
You are right, they are like us, they go on a tour for five weeks and should maybe do less like go do a 3 or 2 week tour to just start easy. On the other side it is like you said, I can say those things right now but we both know we won’t take it as easy as we should. You know us to well by now, we also said we tour only three months this year and then we tour for nine.
Thank you for your time and thank you for the interview, have a great show tonight and have fun!
Thanks for the interview it was fun and relaxing, have fun out there!