boy sets fire



I think everyone of you knows the fantastic last album by Boy Sets Fire called ‘After the eulogy.’ If you haven’t already checked it out, then you should do so immediately, it’s one of the best records I have heard recently. This was reason enough for me to send the guys some question by mail and here’s what they had to say…

Hi there, who is this answering my questions? What is your role in Boy Sets Fire?

This is Rob, I play hot licks on the bass, and I roll around in broken glass (what a weird hobby… - Stefan).

Let's talk a little bit about the new record first. Are you satisfied with the result of the album? How long did it take to write the songs for the new record and how long did you record?

I love the new record, since I'm new to the band it’s the only one I've recorded on (besides our new euro-single). I did the layout for it to, I love everything from the way the artwork came out to the quality of the production. The songs were written over a two year period between the records. We recorded the record in about 4 weeks.

Who came up with the cover for the new record? Did you choose the artwork or is that something Victory does? Do you talk with them about the layout etc.?

I did the layout and graphic design for the record... I came up with the layout based solely on the title of the record. We have total artistic control over everything band related, that was outlined in our contract with Victory.

I really love the sound of Boy Sets Fire, the way they combine both melodic and hard elements. So Rob, how do you write the songs as they are so different (one half is in the emo vein, the other half is rather new school), does one half of the band write the more melodic songs and the other half of the band writes the more aggressive songs or do you create the music together?

We all come together to create the music...and no one person writes a particular style, all of our musical tastes are so diverse that it comes out in the music. One person might come to practice with a heavy part and another person may have a part that goes with it, and it just clicks, then Nathan will add vocals and it may totally change or dictate the outcome of the song creating a whole new end product.

What do you think, will you concentrate on just melodic or just these aggressive songs in the future or will you continue writing the way you do and will you keep that style?

Our writing has matured to the point where we're actually writing songs that are kind of in that grey area between heavier and more melodic music, our own style... We're getting less and less polar while still keeping the songs diverse.

What are your influences to create the music you play, I guess it's pretty varied?

Stereolab, My Bloody Valentine, De La Soul, Jurassic Five, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Tortoise, Trans Am, Ride, The Smiths (hey Tobi, how do you like that? – Stefan), The Clash, Samiam (yeah! – Stefan), all kinds of stuff.

On your new record one can find addresses of political organizations etc., also on your homepage. So I guess you're very interested in politics, right (I'm smart, am I not)? Do you engage in any organization?

Josh and Nathan are affiliated with the US communist party, but the rest of us aren't bound to one particular organization. We try to be politically active in our communities by attending marches/protests or playing shows for political prisoners like Mumia Abul Jamal.

Jason from Where Fear and Weapons Meet told me that politics and hardcore have nothing to do with each other, do you agree? Don't you think it's only the music that should be important?

Give Jason a kiss for me, and tell him that music and politics have gone hand in hand since the sixties, musicians and artists are often tied to left wing liberal politics, and this comes out through the music, look at Rage against the Machine, The Clash, Struggle, Bob Dylan, Woodie Guthrie, etc., etc. Music is an important aspect of it, and if a band isn't political then awesome... We happen to find it a good vehicle for addressing our political/social/personal viewpoints.

Do you think that bands like Rage against the Machine or Boy Sets Fire can be influential on the listener to make them aware what's going on and is that your intention? Do you think your fans focus on the music or do you think they also try to find out what the lyrics are about?

I know for a fact that Rage against the Machine can have a positive impact on their listeners. I for one was turned onto politics by Rage... Before I listened to them I couldn't give a shit about anything political, if it weren't for them I probably wouldn't be doing this now. I know that a lot of people are totally into it for the music, but for those few that get effected by the politics it’s totally worth it. Based on emails and interactions with kids at shows we know we have made a positive impact politically on kids that are into Boy Sets Fire.

Now to something different, but it seems for many people these are politics, too. What do you think when some people are talking bad about bigger indie labels like Epitaph or Victory, because these people often say these labels would act like majors?

They must not have kids to feed, or rent to pay, or a message that they want as many people as possible to hear.

When I first heard the name Boy Sets Fire I thought about Bad Religions album 'Suffer' where the burning kid is shown on the cover. Did you get the inspiration for your name from that record, haha? What does the name mean for you?

We got it from a book of poems entitled "The boy who set the fire" so we shortened it, and bam there it is. It means the inherent potential within all people for change.

For a lot of people (including myself) the early records of Bad Religion were very influential, concerning the music but also the lyrics. Which bands were influential for you and which band is your favourite band?

I don't have one particular band that I call my favourite, I like so many different bands. Early records that influenced me would be ‘Soar’ by Samiam (great one indeed – Stefan), the first Rage against the Machine, anything by The Clash or The Smiths.

How old are you and what are you doing besides the band? Do you have jobs, do you go to school?

I'm 23, Josh and Nathan are 28, Chad is 25, and Matt is 23. I do graphic/web design when I'm not on tour, I had to drop out of school in order to tour so much. Chad and Josh are carpenters and Matt and Nathan are in between jobs.

How did that Split 7" with Snapcase come to life? Do you like them and their music?

I love Snapcase’s music and they're fun to hang out with, we're going on tour with them after our euro tour, I'm stoked for that...(sounds great – Stefan). Apparently the band FAR was first asked to do the split and couldn't do it, so they asked us.

The same questions for the Split 7" with Shai Hulud, on which you do these Metallica covers. Why did you choose 'Fade to black'? What do you think about Metallica in general and who came up with the idea of covering them? Do you listen to metal bands?

I wasn't in the band at the time, I really don't know how it came about or why that song was chosen. But I love Metallica, and I love metal, I've been listening to metal since I was like 10 years old. I love stuff like Slayer, At the Gates (isn’t this guy just great? At the Gates must be one of the best death metal acts ever – Stefan), Sepultura, early Cave In,

You also did a cover of 'Holiday in Cambodia'. How do you choose a song that you cover? Will there any more covers in the near future and which songs would you like to cover?

We just brainstorm on what stuff we like... I really want to do a Dag Nasty (hooray – Stefan)cover or a Smiths cover... Ummm we'll be doing an Elton John cover of the song ‘Rocket man’ on our European single on Jointheteamplayer Records which should be out soon (I’m curious if that will be as great as the one Me First and the Gimme Gimmes did – Stefan).

Will you tour Europe to promote the new record in the near future (I really hope so!)? With which band would you like to come over and how's the tour with Ann Beretta?

We're leaving Wednesday to come to Europe (Sept 20th). We'll be rockin’ over there for 7 weeks. We're coming by ourselves this time, but I'd love to tour again with Ann Beretta, they're great guys...

Ok, I guess that's it, how did you like this interview and do you have anything to add?

loved it. Nothing to add...must sleep.

(Stefan Münch)