Interview: Stuart Paice / Your Demise

22.05.2012

“It’s their demise! This is it! This band is done!” That is the main message coming out from voices of some of the fans which could be heard in reaction to Your Demise’s latest album “The Golden Age”. Yes, the record is different but no, nothing has changed and the combination of punk, hardcore, metal and melodies of this five-piece from England is still explosive. To be honest, if that’s how a band goes down then after what I saw from the boys at the Impericon Festival 2012, I wish such a demise to any band out there. Before the boys smashed it on stage I got the chance to meet band’s guitarist – Stuart Paice and talk to him about a few funny things and some quite serious:

Let me start with a question about your latest release – “The Golden Age”. It is a very good album, yet much changed from your previous record. There is much more of a punk vibe to it, in terms of song structures and melodies. I like it, but so far the response to that change has been let’s say mixed. I guess people who didn’t like it must say that you have softened your sound, where as I say that you have developed it.

Thank you for your nice words. Well we all grew up listening to skate punk bands like NOFX, Pennywise, Offspring, so to some people our new stuff might sound a bit like that, but when we play it live it’s still heavy. As for its reception the thing is there is big breed of teenage kids, especially in the UK, who look for the heaviest stuff they can get, but as for us we just wrote what we wanted to write. There wasn’t any agenda.

I think for a band that kind of attitude – to write what you want to write – is the most important thing. Of course bands play for the audience as well, but the audience does not own the music and isn’t really entitled to decide about the style or direction of band’s music. The band chooses it and then people simply like it or not.

Exactly. Look for example at Hatebreed. They’re allowed to make every record sound the same because they’re Hatebreed, but for us, as much as kids want you to sound the same, a lot of kids want you to change, because they get bored.

Except for the things I’ve mentioned earlier, a different thing in your sound is also your guitar tone. What made you change it this time around?

Well I am a massive gear-head so I’m always on a constant tone quest. I love the tone we had on “Kids we used to be” [Your Demise’s previous record], but now when I listen to it I think it’s a bit too saturated and sounds a bit synthetic. Probably to no one else but me, but it’s very distorted, so this time I was going more for a crunch. I was looking at sound of such bands like Helmet or Quicksand.

Interesting that you mentioned Helmet, because just a few weeks ago I interviewed Helmet’s frontman Page Hamilton.

Oh dude, he’s my hero!

I met him at their “Meantime 20th Anniversary tour” gig in Berlin.

Oh, I was on our tour at that time so I missed that tour!

Oh man, that was a big thing to miss. They played the whole “Meantime” and lots of other stuff, overall 20 songs.

Awesome! I used to watch videos of him playing with David Bowie.

Yes, he played with him 1999. You know, I have a feeling we could talk about Helmet for another 2 hours, but…

(laughs) Ok, we’ll talk about Helmet later.

I realize this one should be addressed more to your vocalist Ed, but as he’s not around I’ll try to ask you. I’m quite impressed with Ed’s vocal range on “The Golden Age”. Did he craft his lines in a way to fit them to your new style?

It sort of just happened really. We wrote the songs and there was a bit of an experiment to what he was going to do but he smashed it. It sounds amazing.

You have quite a range of other voices/guests on the album as well.

We’re all big hip-hop fans as well so we wanted to make the record like a hip-hop mix-tape, where every track has a different person on it. We would have more if we could it, but at some point we realized we already had 4 guests which was already quite a lot of people, so we left it at that.

We’ve already mentioned your previous record “Kids We Used To Be” and referring to its title I’d like to ask you: are you still a kid? Not in terms of age, but in terms your attitude towards life. You know, being open to the surrounding world, curious etc. To me, even with time passing by and getting older, if you manage to keep that small kid in you, I think it makes life more interesting.

It does. Life is a serious thing and of course you should take it seriously, but I think it’s a sad time in your life when you can’t enjoy something, if you can’t have fun. Look at me, I’m 30 years old and I still laugh at fart jokes (laughs).

You’re 30?

Yeah, that’s why I know Helmet (laughs). Oz [Daniel ‘Oz’ Osborne – second guitarist] is 28 and the rest of the guys are24, but in the band we all are so immature. We f**k around all the time.

I think it’s good, it gives a good vibe.

Definitely. There is a time when you should take yourself seriously, but our band was never ever meant to be serious in the first place.

I guess it’s about picking the right moment. When you write or record you’re focused and full on but then you go on the road and just have fun. I guess it’s about both of those aspects and life itself is about balance.

Yeah, completely. Without balance you just turn into a bitter person.

Let’s switch now to a quite different topic. I watched a diary clip from your last European tour and saw there that when you were in Poland you visited Auschwitz – the concentration camp. What were your impressions of that place?

Auschwitz was something we got taught at school, something we always knew was there. We’ve been in Poland quite a few times and we’ve never actually been there, so last time we visited your country we made a conscious effort, left the day early on tour to actually go and see it. When we were driving there I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go there and see it, but I’m glad I did. I think it’s something that should be seen. Like what we were just talking, as well as having fun things in life, I think it’s also important to go to see something that serious, something that is so insane for people to comprehend. You need to experience that in your life too, as you said, to bring balance.

I’m not sure how much you saw there but was there any particular place that struck you most?

I think it was the room with all the glasses, but to be honest the whole place was moving. I thought that the building part, where you go to the rooms, was more like a museum, but when we went to the other place, where they used to bring the trains and there is no security so you can walk everywhere, that was really hard.

To me the most striking place was the room filled with prisoners’ hair.

Yes, it’s crazy. We were all very quiet after it, but it was so important to be there. We have XXI century now so on one hand people try to forget it, on the other places like that should be remembered. At least we know that nothing like that will ever happen again.

Well you can’t be sure about that. Look what happened in the Balkans in the 90s. I guess after the second world war everybody thought it would never happen again, but it did, not on the same scale or horrifying scale, but still…

You’re right, it’s true. And if you think about it is still there in the world.

Unfortunately yes.

Your Demise – Europe Tour 2011 (Episode 1)

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Ok, let’s try to keep that balance of ours with a lighter question now.

(laughs) Ok, but it’s all good, I like it. I’ve never been asked that before.

Let’s talk about backstages now. I reckon that backstage is a place that becomes your home for a few hours before and after the show, so I was wondering how much attention you pay to them. For example do you remember cities by the backstages or would you be able to name where was the worst so far?

Oh dude, there is so many (laughs). America has some really really bad backstages, if at all.

If at all? What do you mean, in States there are places where there are none? What do you do before the show then?

Sit in the van (laughs). Or change outside. We’ve been through it all. Europe though has got it down. Mainland Europe is good, because they really care for bands. In England, especially the bigger venues like O2, they care more about getting paying people into the show than space for the band, whether that be stage wise, backstage wise or even parking. But places like this [Stuart points at Agra – we were talking outside – which is unused exhibition hall complex] are amazing. I mean, we’re in a f****g warehouse! (laughs). The backstage here is great, so big.

How do you remember backstages in Poland? Last time you played with Enter Shikari in Warsaw at Stodoła club, how was it?

That was amazing. That is good.

How about other Warsaw’s venue – Radio Luxembourg club [currently Punkt&Radio Luxembourg]? You played there in 2008 when you weren’t as known as now.

That was great too.

Really?! That place is rather small.

Yeah, actually I think there were more people backstage than there were at the show…

(bursts into laugh) Now that was a very good one.

(laughs) So where is there a really bad one? Oh yeah, there is a place in England called High Wycombe and there is an old venue called The Nags Head. It sounds like a pub, but that’s a venue. The backstage is in the roof and obviously it’s got pillars, beams and you literally have to cringe to fit in. There is graffiti everywhere; if someone spills beer they don’t clean it, it’s horrible.

So being in not a very “cosy” place does affect you.

Yes, of course. To the point that if you have dinner, you don’t want to eat there because you worry that the air is going to give your dinner a virus or something (laughs).

Ok, last one. Which of the sentences I’m going to bring up now would you say describes you as a person more: “I don’t understand, but I tolerate” or “I understand, but I do not tolerate”.

Hm, I don’t know how to really take that. A bit of both I think, although it sounds like a cop out. Sometimes I pretend to understand, when I don’t (laughs).

What or who don’t you understand, the people?

People or the fans, especially with the language barrier. I mean it’s great when let’s say a German kid comes up to you and speaks to you in English, even if it’s very broken, but at least they can. I can’t say sh*t in German. So sometimes they come up and say something to me and I automatically go “thank you thank you thank you” and they look at me weird, because apparently they have just asked me what guitars I use but I just keep thanking (laughs).

(laughs) Good one. Ok, thank for your time.

No worries. Cheers

Interviewer: Chris Bienkiewicz

Your Demise – Forget About Me

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