One of the best German bands is definitely For The Day. Their latest record "Sofa so good" is a totally great album and everyone into bands like Leatherface, the mighty Jawbreaker or Samiam MUST check this band out. And after these guys answered my questions I came to the conclusion that they are also some of the nicest people around, so I can only ask you to support them!
Hey Karsten, how are you doing? Is the weather in Rockcity Aachen as hot as it is here in the Southern part of Germany at the moment? What would you do right now if you wouldn't answer these questions?
KCR: Actually, I happen to have waited for the first rain in weeks to finally start answering your questions. Sorry about the delay! Unfortunately the reasons for this are not me being the Beach Boy running around outside all day but a shitload of to-dos that force me to sit in front of my computer all the time: university, work and stuff I’d actually like doing if hadn’t have to do all the other stuff, too, like updating our own web site.
As I already mentioned in the introduction I like your latest record "Sofa so good" a lot. I think it's one of the finest records to come out of Germany since a long time, so what do you think about the record now because you recorded it in April 2003 if I'm correct? Do you still like it or would you change anything in retrospect?
KCR: Thank you very much for the kind words about our album! I really appreciate that - not because I’m keen on people tapping on my shoulder, but because I’m such a big fan of our own music. It always makes me happy when somebody else sees how cool this record is, too. I hope I’m not sounding narcistic, but if you don’t like your own music what is the point of making it anyway?! - Having partly answered your question I’m really surprised that I still like the record so much. With the old record that’s a whole different story, I really can’t listen to it because we were so bad back then. Though, I still think it has the better artwork. Our second record in a sleeve as beautiful as the first one would be perfect. I say: Bring back Lena on album #3!
As I said, the album was already recorded in April of 2003, so what happened in the meantime with For The Day? Any cool tour stories you can tell me?
KCR: I’m such a bad story teller if I’m being asked to. Well, we had put a lot of pressure upon ourselves for the album and rehearsed our hairy asses off. So we didn’t do anything serious during summer. We did some cover tunes which was great fun, although we’re pretty bad at it. When the record came out we started again, playing as much as we could - just as we always did. But unfortunately the most of us have been pretty busy with their studies or their jobs, so we couldn’t play so much and - worst of all – couldn’t go on tour again. Well, that’s pretty much the status quo. It’s a pity because we’re not only missing the fun of touring but also our record is not getting the attention that I think it deserved.
Did you already write new songs for the next record and if so, in which direction will they go?
KCR: Yes, we did! We didn’t plan to but we can’t fight it. There are four new songs, that are completely finished and that will be released as a demo CD-R in late autumn. A new album or EP wouldn’t make much sense because, since we couldn’t play so much lately, I guess we wouldn’t find a label to release new stuff anyway. - But we’re not bitter about it, I think we’re just being realistic. The important thing is that our music can be found by kids who might get something out of it. So if anybody can’t afford to buy our album go ahead and burn it or get it from the internet!
"Sofa so good" was recorded by Menno Bakker in Utrecht, so how did you come up with this guy? I mean he's doing quite a few records these days, and I think his productions are in most cases brilliant (yours too), so how was it to work with him?
KCR: Thank you. - Working with him is just perfect for us. He’s a tall, calm Dutch with an excellent sense of humour and who will always be patient even with a Kindergarten like FTD. (So the question should be: How was it for him to work with us?) In the beginning we flipped through our record collections in order to look for really good recordings out of Europe. Menno soon seemed to be the only choice. Sure, we might have got cheaper studios, but we didn’t want to gamble with our one time chance to fix our music on tape. And Menno’s the man: he hears every tiny mistake, he has a Punkrock background and so he knows what a Punk record has to sound like. Plus he knows how to make us work - we did the album and the EP in eight days!
Andreas: His Coffee is very good too, or like he says: “Good enough for a trip ‘round mars.”
I guess you live not too far away from Utrecht, is that correct? So did you live there while recording the album or did you go there in the morning, record and go back in the evening?
KCR: We stayed at a sort of youth hostel, a pretty fucked up place. But it had 24-hour free breakfast and free internet access. Utrecht is a beautiful city. It’s worth going there just for the sakes of seeing it! When we recorded the first album we had messed up the reservations so we had to go on a two-hour drive each morning and each night. That was so damn hard, two weeks with less than five hours of sleep a night! Maybe it’s one of the reasons I have so bad feelings for the first album...
Who came up with the idea of that cool layout? I'm not only talking about all those nice pictures but also about the clever idea of writing down the lyrics on various sheets of paper such as the sleeve of a mc etc.?
KCR: I’m glad you like it. The idea of pictures of us on a sofa was Tommy’s (Sex sells!), Roland came up with the title and the sheets may have been my idea, at least it’s my hand-writing. We had a hard time working out the concept, due to technical problems and most of all indecision. (I guess if you asked what I hate about FTD I’d answer indecision. It’s an illness that seems to cannot be cured.) (Man, I understand, I'm also one of those guys that never can decide - Stefan) But it was full intention not to write down on the record who took what picture and who wrote what lyric. The record is all FTD, no matter whose particular talent led to what. I like that, maybe gang mentality...
Judging from the pictures in the booklet I have the impression that some members of For The Day are into serious skateboarding (or is it more serious drinking, haha), so who in the bands is a pro skater?
KCR: Roland and Marc are the ones who wouldn’t fall off the board after ten meters of riding straight, Marc has even been doing it since the late 80s, but we’re no pros at all (although some call us bitches, ha ha). But we are having our own FTD Skating Team, so this is our connection to professional skateboarding. Until now we’re endorsing two skaters in our team, maybe more sooner or later. They get our T-shirts and records for free, the usual stuff. That was born out of a Schnapps idea, but since every stupid fucking band nowadays thinks they need a sponsor for themselves, we see it also as a statement, having turned this pathetic game upside down. - Does Eastpak already own the rights on the term “Hardcore”? Fuck that! - Well, drinking, I’m not sure I’m the right one to answer to that: Yes. FTD are drinking for five even though two of us aren’t drinking at all. The boy group principle: One type for every taste, even girls who are into Straight Edge boys... Now speaking of it: I doubt there are any girls who do. (Boooh, my girlfriend likes me (I hope?) even though I'm not drinking. But I didn't tell her when we met, so I wonder if we'd be together if she had known beforehand haha - Stefan)
Marc: What I like about Skateboarding is, that it reminds me a lot of my youth. I mean, when I was 15, 16 years old, all I had to do was going to school and skate afterwards. Life should be like that, school should be cooler, though… Nowadays I skate 3 to 4 times a year, 12-year-olds show me what’s up, I’m not even a cool “old-schooler” anymore. But at least the big Hip-hop-days are over and punk is getting back into skateboarding!
One of your lyrics that I found particularly interesting were those of "Patrick the mule" (along with "28th" one of my favourite songs of the album). Do these lyrics have a fictional or real background and what are they about?
Marc: It is really a sad story about one of my best friends in my hometown. I haven’t seen him for like four years now? I guess he had something like a hang-up on Ecstasy or even LSD? I don’t know… One day he started flipping his mind in a second, telling really strange stories. Maybe he even had ugly sexual experiences in his childhood? Oh yes, Leatherface has a song called “Patrick kills me”, we both liked it!
KCR: I just turned 28! I played to myself on my birthday. “Even grey-haired I will be your fool” - can't wait for my first grey hairs! Punkrockers with grey hairs are cool.
Andreas: I’m still 28 (for two more months).
I was really glad when I read the lyrics to the song "28th" because I felt that I'm not the only one dealing with problems while growing up, falling in love etc. (and I'm already 29!), so I'm asking you with the protagonist of Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" "When will this ever end"?
Andreas: It’s like Nick Hornby’s saying in one of his weaker books “Fever Pitch”. There he is telling about the difference between the late 20’s and the early 30’s in his life. He realizes, that he likes a dinner with friends better than a party, he doesn’t like the feeling of being drunk anymore and most important, he doesn’t want to buy a ticket for the standing places but one for the seated section. That’s the way, I guess, it will end when we’re 30. But I hope, I still like to stand during a football-match when I’m 60.
KCR: I guess it will never end. But our girlfriends sure can be happy we only cheat on them by making mix tapes!
Marc: Each year you get older is the first time. So every year is like a new experience, you yourself never change, it’s the world around you. Sometimes you need to take a breath and reflect on where you’re going, that makes you grow into it, out of yourself! I hope it never ends!
You also borrowed some lyrics from I Spy on the song "Insurance". Why that? Is that band special to you and they inclusion of the lyrics some kind of homage or did you just think the lyrics fitted to the song?
Marc: At first I didn’t have proper lyrics for that song. I liked I Spy, so I tried it for that song when we wrote it. That part fitted perfectly, so I chose stealing it.
KCR: On the other hand I see it as paying tribute to great band. We as a Punk band feel privileged to be part of something that had so much impact on our lives. On our demo we had a song called “Heritage” which was pretty much about this. Actually, there are more allusions to other bands in our lyrics to be found...
Lisse of Nothing in Common contributed some vocals to two songs, so how did that happen? Are you in close contact with this band and will some of your guys be featured on a future Nothing In Common record as well?
KCR: At first we had played a weekend with them, then did an entire tour together and this way we got close friends. With bands it’s exactly the same as with people: To the most of them you can’t relate but sometimes you meet some that you instantly fall in love with. That’s been the case with Nothing In Common, but also with D.H. or The Hi*Tops. With the latter we had a fantastic mini-tour on Christmas. Basically, we’d like to tour with these bands all the time! Concerning the recordings I have to add that I like the idea of guest features on records, just the way it is common in Hip Hop. On the first album Holger from Pale sang on one of our songs, which turned out pretty good, too, I think. At a local festival we had guest vocals by Bud Spenca from Settle The Score for example. I hope we can get Micha from The Hi*Tops for the next record.
Marc: The good guys of N.I.C. invited me to sing a part of the song “Growing Up an Giving In” on their second album. So it was a kind of exchange between good friends, or the same gang. I even think it made the song a little better, ha ha…
Andreas: Cologne isn’t that far from Aachen, so sometimes we hang around together, it’s always funny. I really like the sense of humor of the NIC-Boys and there music is awesome too.
I heard that a limited vinyl edition of "Sofa so good" was also planned, what can you tell me about that? Did it already come out and if so, on which label? And, most important, is it still available?
KCR: There is a vinyl edition which came out at the same time as the CD, also on Rockstar. It’s still available. Unfortunately the label wouldn’t want to pay for some copies in coloured vinyl so there’s no limited edition. But it comes in a gatefold-cover, has much more photos in it than the CD and all copies are hand-numbered. Maybe you fell victim to Rockstar’s advertising strategy of saying “limited to 1000 copies” as if these would ever be sold! It’s a shame because CDs suck so bad and there’s so few kids buying vinyl anymore.
I think that the time for German bands playing Punk Rock is pretty good at the moment, because more and more kids are not only listening to US bands but also to German acts. I mean bands like the Donots or the Beatsteaks can be seen on music television a lot and sell lots of records, so would you agree that the acceptance for German bands has increased?
KCR: Statistically you may be right, but to me personally their acceptance hasn’t increased, they’re plastic. In fact this is something I do not worry about at all. If I want to listen to good music I don’t care if they’re from Sweden, Germany or the US. I don’t see why I should listen to bad German bands just because they’re German. Some kids take the (great) idea of supporting your local scene on a wrong level. I talked to people who only want to support bands with German lyrics. This is the same approach as the Académie Française, who invent French words for every new word there is, like “ordinateur” instead of “computer”. In France they even have a certain minimum percentage of air play reserved for music with French lyrics. This isn’t too far from nationalism on a cultural level, I think. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favourite bands are German (i.e. EA80, Oma Hans, Eaves...) but not because they’re German. I don’t care about the TV issue either. What impresses me much more is a couple of hundred kids showing up at a Yage show in a squat!
What about doing a video with For The Day? Lately I saw a clip by Sommerset on the TV, so I'm asking myself if shooting one would be an option for your band as well?
KCR: I guess it might happen but it is not very likely to. We have a couple of friends who are making movies and TV stuff, so if anyone of them approached us, maybe. But let me answer with a question: What for? The time and money we’d spend on making a movie can better be used for writing new songs, playing shows or just hanging out together. No one wants to see FTD on TV, in the first place ourselves. We’re a band, not actors or models. Although we look like models.
Sometimes For The Day are being compared to bands like Hot Water Music and Jawbreaker, and often bands don't like certain comparisons, so here's your chance to describe For The Day in your own words (I'm nice, am I not?):
KCR: That’s cool, these are two bands we all like and that we can’t deny had a strong impact on our music. With Leatherface, Samiam and All the party’s complete! We see ourselves as a Punkrock or a Hardcore band (considering HC a part of Punkrock) and “Emo” should always stay a musical label. We can’t stand “Emo” as an attitude because it is so empty and stupid. That’s why we created the term “Emo Oi!” which actually is complete nonsense but indicates the ground we’re standing on. We’re the Sheer Terror of Emo, the ugly and proud. - There was a point when I was really fed up with the HWM comparison. There were so many reviews of our first album that treated us as if we only wanted to sound exactly like this one band, but obviously failed at it. Even though I like HWM it made me furious! Just because these 20-year-old fanzine douche bags only knew one single Emo band that had balls! Otherwise they’d had a wider range of bands to compare us to, like Pegboy, Hüsker Dü, Dag Nasty or whatever.
I think we're at the end of the interview. Did you like it and do you have anything to add?
KCR: Thanks for the great interview, it was really fun to answer. Sorry for me rambling too much (No way, it was perfect! I hate it when bands come up with answers that are shorter than the actual question - Stefan). One more thing: Marc is having his 30th birthday next month. He’s becoming a Golden Girl of Punkrock. From now on each year one of us is turning 30. I’m just curious what we’ll sound like when we’re all in our thirties, or even our forties!
Marc: Hey KC! I’m becoming 29 for the second time, I’ll be 29 the fourth time when you get 30!!! Thanks a lot for this nice interview, more people should be, and stay, like you! (Thanks for the kind words! - Stefan)