Fall Silent are along with Curl up and Die the latest signing on Revelation Records. The first release by these guys from Reno, Nevada, is a compilation of old stuff that is either out of print or that was only released on vinyl. Their music can be described as… but hey, why not checking out the review for that record? Here’s an interview with Levi, singer in Fall Silent…
Hey Levi, any introduction to start this interview off with?
Hello, my name is Levi and I am the singer of Fall Silent. I will be answering all the questions for this interview as best that I can. If you are looking for the most intelligent answers or clever answers then you will not find them here. I am more a compassionate and aware entertainer than a social commentator. Most of what I say is bullshit, but it is bullshit rooted in a solid foundation (hehe – Stefan). Bear with me, and I will apologize in advance for any boredom you may experience due to my answers (okay – Stefan).
When I first took a look at the cover of "Six years in the desert" I thought that you guys must be either very much into western movies or have a good sense of humour. Which assumption is true? What's your favourite western movie and actor (maybe John Wayne)?
The photographs that make up the artwork for the CD were taken in a town called Bodie. It is a ghost town in the middle of Nevada. We live in Nevada and we are very fond of the desolation and mystery surrounding ghost towns. We are also attracted to the subtle beauty of the desert in which we live so we wanted to share that with the hardcore world. We did not do the artwork to be funny and we are not in to western movies. We wanted to pay homage to our place of residence and to try not to be so damn typical with our artwork.
Most HC albums look exactly the same and we hate most hardcore bands so we didn't want to be like them. I will do everything in my power to not be associated with 90% of the bands out there because it would be a major embarrassment for me and I would want to quit Fall Silent and slit my throat.
If I had to pick my favorite western, then it would be "Shane."
Another thing I soon noticed concerning the booklet was that phrase in the thanks list, I mean the lines where you thank Jesus Christ (the exact words are: “And most of all we send our deepest gratitude, devotion, and love to Our Savior, Our Lord, the one and only Jesus Christ. For without his guidance we would not have been able to get out of bed to write these songs. Amen.”). Is that a joke or are you really into this Christian stuff? Who came up with the idea of putting that "thank you" into the booklet?
I was the one who put that thanks list in the booklet. I was hoping that most people would notice that and talk about it, as you have done. I wanted to see if people really read thanks lists and if it made any difference in their opinion of the band. My experiment has shown that most people do read the thanks lists and take them very seriously. I have done many interviews with zines such as this and within the first 3 questions people bring up the "Jesus thing" in the thanks lists. You are no different. You are just like the rest of them. So that means that most people care more about what the CD looks like and who is in the thanks list than what is actually on the CD. They even look at those things before they read the lyrics. It is fucking stupid. We are a band first, and we must suck because no one cares about the music (That’s not quite right in my opinion. Of course I read thanks lists, because I think it’s fun and interesting, but if I don’t like the band’s music, then the thanks list can change this. And of course it’s the other way round, too. I don’t give a damn if the thanks list is stupid if I am into the music. Maybe some other zines don’t care about the music, but with my zine that#s not the case – Stefan).
We are now tagged by a lot of zines and people as a Christian HC band. People are fucking stupid. The thank was a joke and an example of extreme sarcasm. I just thought that we were a part of a scene that was smart enough to catch that, but I was wrong.
How did that Compilation on Revelation come to reality in the first place? Did the Revelation guys approach you to compile all your old songs or how did that happen?
When we got signed to Revelation Records we were just about ready to break up as a band. We had only 3 members out of a 5 member group and things weren't looking good. We didn't have any new material so it would have been at least a year from the time we got signed before we had anything new out on Revelation. I didn't want to be signed to Rev and have nothing out for a year. That wouldn't be any fun at all. At the time we had 17 songs worth of material that was out of print and not available to anyone for a reasonable price. They were spread out on a bunch of different releases so unless your a Reno kid or a really big fan then you wouldn't hear a lot of that material. I thought that it would be cool to put all that stuff on one CD with a really hot re-master as an introduction to Revelation and to get our name out there a little more. Not that many people have heard of us in our nearly 7 years of existence so we thought that the new CD would be nice for some of our listeners. The compilation was all my idea.
Your future songs/records will be released on Revelation, too, right?
Yes, our next 2 full length albums will be released on the label.
Why did you choose Revelation (Because of your Christian background? Haha – Stefan)?
Because they called us and asked us to be on the label and they are the only label that has ever done that to Fall Silent. They were the first label to ever call me and ask if they could put our records out. I can't afford to put out our records on our own anymore and they can. It is quite simple really.
Are there any clauses in your contract that allow you to do (split) 7"s on other labels?
Revelation will let us do anything we want, including splits with other bands on other labels. Splits are pretty fucking stupid though.
I guess you also wrote some new material, didn't you? In which direction do these new songs go? Any major differences from the previous stuff?
The newer stuff is pretty much the same as all the other stuff in that it is pissed, loud, and full of energy. There are a lot of differences in how we are going about attaining those qualities mentioned above. Our new guitar player is bringing in a lot of things to the band that we haven't had in a long time. Namely, melody. The stuff we are writing now is much faster than the stuff we have done in the past. It is catchier, and it has more human emotion than all of the other stuff we have done besides the last 7". The tricks are clever as are the lyrics. We have gotten better with every release and the next full length will follow suit. High Energy is the best way to describe our latest stuff.
Where will you record the new songs and who will produce them?
We will record the new record at The Hangar in Sacramento, California.
Can you give me a release date?
Sometime in February or early March of 2002.
What will it be, a full length or an EP?
It will be at least a 10 song full length.
And what about the title, did you pick one yet and can you give me some song titles?
The title of the album is "Drunken Violence." Some song titles are: Aphrodisiac, Missed High-five, Flowers For Whores, Devotion, Jagged Edges, On Forward On, Seven Ply's.
Which evolution did Fall Silent make during the very early days of the band in your opinion?
We really sucked when we started and over the years we got better at playing our instruments and now we don't suck as bad. I have gotten a little better at writing lyrics and our songs have more direction. We can stick to a theme or vibe in our songs now and we have learned the tricks that make stupid white kids excited in mosh pits. We have learned how to survive on tour without going crazy and we have learned how to lead normal home lives while doing a punk band full time. We are older and with age comes experience. That is true evolution.
Over the years you added a second guitarist and changed bass players. What were the reasons for these changes and do you believe that this line up is stable?
The guitarists and bass players have left the band for a number of reasons:
1. They have lost interest in playing metal.
2. They were afraid of getting beat up because of my lyrics and because I get beat up for my lyrics.
3. They had a mommy or a daddy telling them that Fall Silent was a hobby and it is not to interfere with a "real" life and a career and if it did then they needed to quit.
4. They had a wife or girlfriend telling them the same thing as in reason #3.
5. They didn't want to work hard.
and probably the main reason:
6. Because the Watson brothers are too demanding and have very little, to no, people skills.
I don't know if the line-up is stable now. I have always thought the past ones were, but they weren't. Who fucking knows, or cares.
The lyrics for the songs "Looking in" talk quite critical about the whole sXe thing, but I read that some of you guys are sXe. Please explain what these lyrics and sXe in general means to you and the band as a whole.
The lyrics are not critical on sXe specifically, but a sect of sXe called "Hard-line sXe." A lot of people can't read the difference or are too stupid to tell the difference. I am sXe and I have been since 1989. I am not proud of it and I am not ashamed of it. It is a non-issue in my life. It is not something that I even think about until someone like you brings it up. It isn't hard to abstain from drugs if you have never done them. So what is the big deal.
The lyrics are anti-hardline and it is about dealing with things in your past and trying to get away from bad shit you were mixed up in. I was a part of a "Hard%2dline" crew when I was like 15 and 16 and it was funny at the time. I got out of doing that shit and only later did I realize how horrible some of the shit I did was. That was what the song is about. Changing for the better and realizing that fighting about something as silly as who does drugs and who doesn't is ridiculous.
Straight Edge means nothing to Fall Silent. We have never been a sXe band and never will be. We get lumped in to the whole sXe genre of bands because of the music we play, and we all hate it. I would say that being lumped into that group of moron bands is the most embarrassing thing about being in Fall Silent (Hmm – Stefan).
Also in that song the lyrics go "To hear how much we preached." Was that the case and how did this show then?
That line is about me remembering how I used to repeat the rhetoric that the older sXe people spit to me to others. It is about being ashamed of those memories and trying to change. It is about being glad that I did see through all that bullshit before it brain-washed me. It is about stepping out and seeing my old friends and crew act like sheep around their dumb "leader."
For many people (including me) sXe means a lot. I don't think that's bad as long as you don't try to force your views down other people's throats. Do you think that some people might get offended by these lyrics and did you get any negative response so far for this song?
I think about straight edge like you do. It is a very positive thing, but also very personal and it isn't worth talking about. It means a lot to me as well and it kept me from doing a lot of dumb shit when I was a kid. I don't want you to get me wrong. Drugs are for idiots who are insecure and who can't function socially without being under their influence. But a lot of the time sXe is a drug as well.
I have gotten my face punched, my ribs kicked and broken, and my head stomped on by mobs of sXe kids because of that song. I would go as far as saying that people have been stabbed because of that song. I have received death threats and Fall Silent has lost members because of that song. People who want to get offended by the song will get offended. Everyone needs someone or something to hate and talk about. I am that for a lot of people, and a lot of it has to do with the song "Looking In."
Your info sheet says that your guitar sound can be compared to bands like Darkthrone. Well, I only know this band's first three records ("Soulside journey", "A blaze in the northern sky" and "Under a funeral moon"), but I think that they are pretty different to Fall Silent. Would you agree or where do you see similarities between both bands?
I didn't write the info sheet and I have never even heard of a band called "Darkthrone." That name sounds pretty stupid, they should change it to "Dorkthrone" (Hehe – Stefan). The kid who wrote that info sheet and who compared us to them is older and he listens to metal a lot. I don't really care about comparisons but people like to put things in categories, so we had to do some sort of comparison. No one likes to just enjoy music; they need to label it, compare it, and put it in its own little genre suitcase and put it on a shelf. I don't like that, but we have to play the game now that we are on a bigger label.
The info also says that 7 Seconds changed everything for you. In which way? When did you get in touch with their sound in the first place?
That also is in the imagination of the writer of the info sheet. I was the only one really effected by 7 Seconds. I am very inspired by Kevin Second's lyrics, vocal style, and placement. He is from Reno as is the band and that is another reason why I look up to them. I love how honest and sincere his vocals are while still retaining that youthful angst and energy. I have always wanted to be that way in Fall Silent, but I have failed horribly.
I got into 7 Seconds later than most kids. It wasn't until about 1995 or 1996 until I bought "The Crew" and really got in to it. Before then I heard the name a lot, but never was familiar with their music.
On "Six years in the desert" there's a 7 Seconds cover ("Clenched fists, black eyes"). Why did you choose this song and are there more (7 Seconds) cover songs in your live set?
We chose that song because it was easy to learn and it is really fucking good. Plus it says, "Party, Totally Rad, Awesome" and "tubular" in the end. That is too good to pass up.
There are no more 7 Second songs in our set, and we didn't even play ‘Clenched Fists, Black Eyes’ anymore either. It was a one time only thing, as is all our covers. SO DON'T ASK!!!!
What does the title "Six years in the desert" mean?
Reno, Nevada is in a desert. The concept for the new album art was that of the desert. We live in a desert and we thought that it would be cool to make our big label debut sort of a tribute to our home state and town. The photographs throughout the CD are from a ghost town in Nevada called Bodie. Didn't you already ask this question (I was asking if you are western fans – Stefan).
We were a band for about six years before Revelation Records contacted us for some help, and since we live in a desert we decided to name the album the way we did. We got the photo on the back done in an old mining town called Virginia City and I think that it came out pretty good. Revelation did a great job with the package.
As far as I remember, when I was in the US a few years ago, one can visit the Ponderosa Ranch in Reno, right? Do you like Bonanza and who is your favourite Cartwright?
Yes, the set for Bonanza is in Tahoe. That is about a 40 minute drive from my home in Reno. Lake Tahoe is the most beautiful lake in the world (That’s probably true, I also loved it! – Stefan) and I highly recommend anyone in the area to stop in for a visit.
I never watched Bonanza so I don't even know what the fuck it was about. I think it was about bad acting and fucking bullshit. Fucking BULLSHIT!!!!!
Bands that play a similar sound than you do are described as "metal core." Would you say that this comparison is also fitting for Fall Silent or how would you describe your style?
Yeah sure. Whatever. It is like I said before about labels and genres. Everyone needs it and no one can live without it. I would describe our music as powerful. Or at least, that is what I want our music to be described as. Most people would probably describe it as just boring.
What are your future plans concerning touring, recording, etc.?
Well, I told you about our next album earlier. We plan on recording that in August and September of 2001. It will be released in early 2002. Blah, blah, blah. I already said all this shit.
We will tour in the east of America for one month in the early summer of 2002. We will tour the west of America in the spring of 2002, and we will tour Japan and hopefully Australia in late summer 2002. There are no other plans for anything else after that.
I guess we're at the end of the interview. Hopefully you liked it. If I forgot to ask you anything important, feel free to tell the readers now. Thanks for taking the time answering my questions!
You asked about 50 questions so I don't think that you missed anything. I didn't really like doing it, but I am sure that some kids will enjoy it. I hope it was entertaining and educational. I hope everyone has a nice day and I will see you soon.
(Stefan Münch) All pictures taken from www.fallsilent.com