Karl Buechner / Earth Crisis, Freya, Path of Resistance

2010/01/04

Earth Crisis logo

”This is more than a mentality or lifestyle, it’s a commitment to separate ourselves from things that involve cruelty to animals”

Under en alldeles vanlig aprilkväll under förra året gästade bandet Freya, med tillhörande smått legendariska frontfiguren Karl Buechner, Köpenhamns i särklass bästa scen – Loppen. Jag har alltid föreställt mig Karl, (EARTH CRISIS-KARL FFS!!) som en såndär stor bulldozer som kör över folk, biffig, självsäker och allt det där. Döm av min förvåning när jag får möta en liten, knubbig, blyg och timid snubbe (gubbe kanske är ett mer korrekt ordval). Han vart i alla fall ganska lustig att prata med och resultatet av vår lilla pratstund hittar du nedan. Glöm inte att kolla upp nya Earth Crisis-skivan. Smått briljant, en aning komiskt och helt klart lyssningsbart. Länkar till Myspace och Spotify hittar du längst ner. Let the roundups begin!

How did you get in to hardcore music from the start?
My cousin who was a couple of years older than myself played bass in a band called Crucifixion of Christ and I got in to skateboarding when I was around 12 or 13 years old. At the time, if you’d open up a Thrasher magazine they’d do different band profiles, like on Verbal Assault or the Cro-Mags. Through my cousin I started to listen to bands like Youth Brigade, 7 Seconds and Minor Threat and from there it just progressedTell me about starting your first band. 

Why and when did you feel like ”Maan, I want to start a band and we’re going to sound like this and sing about that…”?
I loved the energy of hardcore. Basically, we would listen to that music to get ourselves amped up to skate. I had a big half pipe in my yard and some of the other guys had ramps too. One guy had a one in his bar, another guy had one in his garage. We took it very seriously and that was pretty much the soundtrack of our youth. As we started to get a little older we started picking up instruments ourselves. I played bass in my very first band called Mainforce Patrol and we were influenced by the bands we were listening to the most like Conflict but the music I identified with most was obviously the straight edge bands and I recognized myself as a part of that at age 16. I never at any point experimented with drugs, alcohol, smoking or promiscuity. I saw examples that other people had set that those types of behaviours and activities would lead to problems.
Was the straight edge thing something big in the skate scene where you grew up or was it something that you picked up yourself?
It wasn’t big in the scene but it was a part of it to an extent. 

Do you remember the first song you wrote with Earth Crisis?
Earth Crisis actually started in 1989 again with myself originally playing bass. We tried out DJ who ended up doing vocals for Path of Resistance, and it was me and Jesse Buckley on drums and John Mosman, the singer from a straight edge band from Utica, New York on guitar. We played a couple of shows but that line-up fell apart. I kept the idea live and kept writing songs and eventually joined up with Mike Riccardi, Scott and Bulldog. We started playing together in 1991 and the ‘All Out War’ 7″ came out in 1992 and I had obviously taken over the vocals. So I think our first song was All Out War. We did have a couple of offers from record labels but we chose to go with a friend’s label called Conviction Records for that 7″. 

At what point did you feel that Earth Crisis became a full time band? Did you have to quit school/work to make time for the band at that point?
Earth Crisis became a full time touring band in 1993. In the summer we went out and recorded the ‘Firestorm’ 7″ at Mars in Cleveland. After that we did the All Out War tour and we went as far north as North Dakota and as far south as Florida and as far west as New Mexico. That was a pretty exstensive tour for a band as green as we were at the time. 

How supportive were your parents when it all started to move for you guys? Were there ever any conflicts with your parents wanting to keep you in school?
There were some conflicts because we were all pretty young. I think that some of our parents were surprised to see how far we were going on our own as far as travelling went. But they were supportive, they recognized straight edge for what it is which is a positive thing. They could see that it was having an effect and that people were appreciating the band so they were all very supportive. Once our van broke down in a snowstorm in Conneticut and Scott’s mother came and rescued us and when Scott got arrested on a summer tour his mom came and bailed him out, so yeah, they were helping us out. 

Looking back at the hardcore scene that you grew up with and the hardcore scene of today, where do you see the biggest differences?
I think that things are very fractionalized now whereas in the past there was more diversity and sound. There were more interesting and challenging ideas being put forth by bands. You could go see the Cro-Mags, Shelter or 108 who were promoting their Krishna beliefs or you could go see a band like Believer or the Bad Brains singing about Christianity or you could see bands from the more skinhead side of things like Agnostic Front or Warzone. Hardcore was a marketplace for different ideas, different solutions and approaches to life and I thought it was very interesting. It was amazing too to think that bands that we had been going to see and supporting and singing along to when we were in high school, we were now sharing the stage with. It was an incredible time. I’m not saying that there aren’t bands that aren’t creative now, there definitely are. But I think it’s weird how within one scene there can be like three scenes. There’ll be the punk scene, the straight edge scene and then a more of a posi core scene and they don’t support eachother’s shows necessarily and I think that’s bizzare. It’s a very clique type mentality that I think is a waste.During the past years we’ve seen mainstream bands adopting hardcore elements in to their music and looks.
Do you see this “behaviour” as something that eventually will de-politizise hardcore music?
I think if you look at some of the Seventh Dagger bands or Catalyst bands there are plenty of very political bands but I think since there are some many nowadays that different scenes are fractionlized some people might be missing out on things that they would otherwise appreciate. I think that labels like Seventh Dagger and Catalyst are doing a good job at keeping that alive. 

Earth Crisis re-united. Why now? When and how did you decide that the time was ”right” now?
I think first we should address why Earth Crisis concluded at the beginning of 2000. We had all worked on the band since we were teenagers. By the time we had reached 2000-2001 we were all adults, we were married and were starting families. Scott and Dennis, the drummer and guitarist, were planning to move to California with their wives. I had a son, Bulldog had a son, Eric was getting ready to get married to his longtime girlfriend, so things were changing. Earth Crisis had always been a full time touring band so we thought that we should conclude it and bring Path of Resistance back and work on that whenever we had a chance. Within a year and a half of Earth Crisis’s original ending we had new Path of Resistance songs and we were on stage headlining festivals. Scott and Dennis in California started Isolated and Bulldog, Eric and myself started Freya. Freya has done European tours, we’ve had videos on MTV, been on radio in the States. We’re working on our fourth album now so I think we’ve accomplished a lot between that point and now. 

A few years ago two of Scott’s younger brothers who were teenagers said to Scott, ”-How about bringing Earth Crisis back? We never got a chance to see it because we were like 11 years old at the beginning of the new millenium”. We had been getting offers for years to play shows and we felt, ”-Why not?”. So we played the Maryland Metal Fest with Tyrant, Too Pure to Die and Have Heart and it was amazing to see guys in their 30’s coming out supporting the band as well as guys in their young teens who grew up listening to us. When we played that show it all felt very very natural and we always figured that we at some point would bring Earth Crisis back after our children had grown up and we were free to be on tour full time again. 

What has really allowed us to do the band again is technology. Bulldog lives in North Carolina, Dennis lives in Buffalo, Scott lives in California, we’re all scattered throughout the US now. Scott has his own recording studio and so does Eric, so they composed songs and emailed things back and forth and then worked out beats with drum machines. We put the album together over the course of two years and we went in and recorded it last november. It’s called ‘To the Death’ and it’s coming out on Century Media here in April 2009 in Europe and in May in the US. We did a US tour last year, we went to South America, we played some festivals in Europe. 

This year (2009) we are going to do a lot to promote the album. We’re going to play throughout Europe and the US and we’re going to Japan as well. It’s a full force vegan straight edge album. Musically I would say it’s a mixture of ‘Destroy the Machines’ and ‘Breed the Killers’ and lyrically it’s very much akin to ‘Destroy the Machines’. 

Did you find each other on a musical level after the 7 year hiatus? Has the song writing process changed during these years?
We worked on Path of Resistance straight through that time. The Path has played festivals in the US from coast to coast and we’ve also been over to Europe too so nothing was really all that different.
So you were actually never apart during those years?
No, not at all. We had been working on getting Path of Resistance and Freya ready six months before Earth Crisis originally broke up.

Almost 7 years after your breakup you have a new record coming out with Earth Crisis. There’s obviously been a shift in generations of people listening to hardcore music. How do you want ‘To the Death’ to be received by people who are not familiar with your older stuff?
For some people this probably will be their first Earth Crisis record. Most of our albums have very specific themes. ‘Destroy the Machines’ is about promoting veganism and environmentalism and describing the sacrifices people in Earth Liberation Front or Animal Liberation Front made over the years in regards to endangering their own freedom so that the world and animals could be saved from people who would destroy or exploit them for financial gain. ‘Gomorrah’s Season Ends’ is more about freedom struggles whereas ‘Breed the Killers’ and ‘Slither’ are looking in to the future and try to offer solutions to different problems and showing worst case scenario examples of what could happen to the natural world or humanity if the greed is allowed to go on unchecked. This new album, ‘To the Death’, is a mixture of all those different things. The title comes from a line of one of the songs that says ”Vegan for life, vegan to the death”. Meaning that this is more than a mentality or lifestyle, it’s a commitment to separate ourselves from things that involve cruelty to animals. 

Dividing your time between Freya and Earth Crisis, how do you get time and most important how do you get inspiration to handle the vocal duties in two bands at the same time?
I have been busy with writing over the last three years. We wrote the Earth Crisis album, I wrote an album with a new band I started called Vehement Serenade which has Jamin from Sworn Enemy on it, Mike Couls from Agents of Man and Merauder, Pauli and Eddie from Sub Zero. That full length is done and is coming out on my record label Krom Records, hopefully in the end of this year. So it’s Vehement Serenade, Earth Crisis and we’re in the process now of finishing music for the next Freya album. So between doing the bands and working on the label, it has definitely kept me out of trouble. 

When writing lyrics in general, how do you decide what band to use them in? Do you have different topics and ideas to go with both bands?
Vehement Serenade is more personal and a lot of those songs are a vent for my anger or a way to experiment musically. Earth Crisis is very much, as always, focused on promoting our vegan straight edge beliefs. Lyrically the Freya songs are very diverse one from the next in the sense that we can have a song like ‘All hail the end’ about indians in Central and South America viewing the future or songs about norse mythology. Anything can be touched on with that band. Some of the songs are about spirituality as well. 

Do you want to talk about why you guys left Victory Records and signed with Century Media?
It’s very early in the relationship to be able to say much about Century Media but so far we’ve heard a lot more yes:es than no:s whereas with Victory it was like 99% no at anything requested. I’m glad that Earth Crisis is on a label that seems a little more appreciative and knock on wood, it’ll work! 

Alright, that pretty much covers what I wanted to ask you. Thanks Karl!
Thank you Johan! 

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2 svar to “Karl Buechner / Earth Crisis, Freya, Path of Resistance”

  1. henriik said

    top!

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