One day Ingo of Degradation sent me an e-mail asking if I would be interested to include an interview on my site that Manuel Ruppert did for the German OX Magazine. Of course I was interested so here it is. By the way, Manuel did the interview in German, while the translation was done by me.

You guys are around since 1996, so please explain why it took five years to release the first longplayer…

Malte: Yeah, that’s really the most frequent accusation I get to hear at every show: “Where’s the LP?” We released our first 7” on Undertone Records in 1997 which was re-released by Siton Records from Belgium in three different pressings. During that time we started recording songs for an LP, but every now and then we kicked some songs out, some of us were in a different town etc. For the most part we just wanted to pick the best songs for a full length.

What about that different town thing, aren’t you guys all from Münster (Germany)?

Alex: Unfortunately that’s not the case anymore and that’s also the reason why it is so difficult to hold everything together. Meanwhile we all live in different towns, so we can rehearse on weekends only. But then all of us are really excited to meet each other again. That’s always something like a little family meeting.

Did you choose “Homeward Bound” as a title for the record because of that?

Malte: Yeah, right. We all spent half of our lives together, so the title was fitting. To spend my time with people that are really important to me gives me the energy that’s necessary for the hard time.

As far as I know there were many labels were interested in putting out the LP, e.g. Third Party Records from the USA. Why did you choose a smaller label like Competition Records?

Ingo: We know Tim who runs Competition Records for almost ten years now and he supported all our bands (Eyeball, Upright, In Too Deep) always 100%. If we had put out our LP in the US everything would have taken much longer and you have absolutely no control what’s happening with your band. We could do everything the way we wanted to and help Tim’s label, too. If the LP is out it will be distributed in the US and then “Homeward Bound” will be released on an American label I’m pretty sure.

More bands should think that way...

Ingo: That would be a cool thing. People around me that have nothing to do with Hardcore at all always see our records and think that I must earn lots of money with it. But in the end I never made any money with Hardcore and that’s how it should stay. If I want to make some money with a band then I just do a rock band. Sometimes I want to smash a guitar, too. It was the same with the promo single for the new full length. There’s no single Euro left for us.

What about that single that came out in October?

Malte: Not Just Words Records from Holland released our demo that came out in 1999 in an edition of 500 as some kind of promo single for our LP. As the new LP it has a great cover artwork by Florian Bertmer. Anyone who likes Pushead should check out our covers, Florian also worked for Converge or The Locust. As people always ask us at shows when the LP is coming out we wanted to give them something and pressed four unreleased songs on vinyl. Those four songs will be on the LP in new versions.

How far does „Homeward Bound“ differ from the previous singles?

Thorsten: Our music has become a little bit more catchy, many people say that we’d be harder, sounding more like New York. Well, that’s not my opinion actually. We stayed true to our style, fast and very aggressive Hardcore. Of course our music became more varied because we became better musicians than when we were 16 doing only 7 Seconds and Youth Of Today covers. Some solos, some melodies, just more interesting. But not that “wanna-be” creative. We play Hardcore, so there won’t be that much change, others can do that. We recorded our LP in a small studio again, you get a rough sound there and not in a studio that costs 1,500 DM (which are about 750 Euro now by the way ;-) – Stefan). I think we succeeded getting this rough sound. Also Malte’s voice changed a lot since the first single came out.

That’s right, I often hear people criticizing Malte’s voice.

Malte: Well, what can I say? That doesn’t bother me at all. Many people compare my voice to the singer of Brotherhood. He’s doesn’t have that catchy vocals, too.

Ingo: Many people also say that they start liking Degradation after having listened to us a couple of times. The reviews of the first single were basically all positive, even in Heartattack and MMR we got good reviews.

1997 and 1988 was the time of a Youth Crew Revival. There were 800 people at a Hands Tied and Ten Yard Fight show, the shows were big parties and lots of new bands emerged everywhere. But after that things went down fast again and for 2002 I guess that there are not so many new bands, but everyone tries to do his thing. You come from that time, too…

Malte: I see it the same way. In 1997 we had our best time, by far. Really every show was great, we were on tour every weekend, we played in Italy, France, Poland, basically in every fucked up club in Europe. Suddenly it was all over. Rarely shows and almost no motivation to write new songs anymore. In the last time things have changed a bit again and we will definitely contribute that the German Hardcore will become better.

You are talking about the German Hardcore scene. What do you think about this scene? What kind of people come to your shows?

Alex: That’s really something one can argue a lot with us. We are of a different opinion concerning this topic and people look at us from different points of view. We are no Straight Edge band, but some of us are straight edge. Of course we tolerate other people and the reactions at out shows are also very different, punks, straight edge kids as well as “normal” Hardcore people, basically everyone is going off to our music. But we were also thrown beer at because Malte wore a “Drug Free Youth” shirt.

Ingo: I don’t give a fuck about all those PCs. Everyone should just do his thing. Talking bad about people and bands on the internet is really no achievement to be proud of, right? Unfortunately the German Hardcore scene is very divided, everyone does only his thing. I have no clue if this is gonna change in the future.

Thorsten: Lately I found out that there are fewer and fewer bands that mean something to me, lyrically or musically. I don’t know if this is just my personal point of view or if other people are feeling the same. In the past I was inspired by lyrics, but lately there have been scarcely bands that could do this important thing for me. I mean it’s the lyrics that make Hardcore different from other types of music. I think most bands really don’t care about lyrics because the music’s more important to them.

Malte: I think the scene will improve, because the good bands will remain. The scene became smaller, but those people stayed in the scene who really care about it.

Maybe some people have problems with your lyrics?

Throsten: Actually I don’t think so. Our lyrics are very personal and don’t deal with the problems of the Hardcore scene at all, because honestly, I don’t care about it at all. I write about things happening in my life and moving me.

What are your future plans?

Malte: In February the release party for our LP will take place, and then we want to play as much as possible and just have a good cool time. We are planning a European tour in summer. Just get in touch for shows, the new record and shirts. Thanks for the interview!

(Malte Ruppert)

Degradation contact: Malte Terbeck, Rohrkamp 49, 48308 Senden, Germany