Pole* was quite famous in the (German) Hardcore scene a couple of years back playing heavy, crushing new school hardcore. Their former bass player Thorsten Mang ran Pateline Records and put out Inside View Magazine. But during the last two years it was rather quiet concerning the musical activities of Pole*. The reason was a simple one: Pole* had split up. But this April they played a furious reunion show in Karlsruhe, Germany, with the three founding members Karsten (vocals), Denis (guitar) and Pat (drums) and two new guys. A couple of months later Karsten sent me their latest three track promo EP which is a really, really strong release. So I decided to do an interview with Karsten and ask him about the past, present and future of Pole*...
Hey Karsten, how are you doing at the moment? What would you do now when you wouldn't answer my questions?
I feel fine thank you. Maybe I would read a good book or kiss my girlfriend.
Let's talk a little bit about the latest news in Pole* which is probably the 3 track Promo EP I guess. As it is labeled as a promo, am I right that it isn't available for the masses but for zines, labels only? Why don't you sell it at shows, because this EP is so damn good, Pole* fans would love it!!
Alright, we thought about selling the EP, but there are only just three songs. We are looking forward to find a label to sign us so we can bring out a full length. We are really frustrated with that fact, that our new stuff is not out yet. That's a sad thing. But we will carry on.
I like the songs on the EP even more than your old stuff (well, the old songs were excellent, too), so I'm very eager to hearing a full length by Pole*. When will your new album come out? Did you already write songs for it? Maybe you even recorded some of them?
We did only home recording to get the best out of the songs and to improve our rehearsal. To be honest I don't know when the new stuff is coming out. We are not signed yet. So we are working to get a contract with a label. We already got at least 14 new songs and we feel pretty confident with them we all think it's the best pole* stuff we ever did. More aggressive, still our own style not copying other bands, and lyrically we have grown up.
How many songs will find their way on the album and are you in touch with some labels to release that one? I think Pole* has still a very good name in the underground and your new songs are very strong, so I could imagine that some labels might be interested?!
I think we like to record 12-14 songs. To be honest we got some offers but it didn't fit. We don't want to bring out our stuff on a label which we don't feel comfortable with. So it's better for us to write new stuff and play some shows.
Your previous records were released on We Bite, Pateline and even Lifeforce. What about those labels? By the way: is Pateline still around? I haven't heard from them for a long time, so I'm wondering...
Pateline is dead. We are through with We Bite which wasn't satisfying at all, there's no need for us to do our dirty laundry in public, so I just want to say we are through with them. And Lifeforce is more in the hardcore mainstream thing- death metal. So I guess it's hard to find a label that dares to sign us. Nowadays labels rather sign another Slayer copy than putting their trust in bands doing their own style. I think thatís a shame, and it makes it even harder for bands which are practicing their own style.
Which label would be your absolute favourite to release an album by Pole*? Any label out there that you're completely into?
I donít know, maybe Europa Records, they brought out "Hui Buh das Schlossgespenst" and some other cool stuff for Kids. I'm just kidding, there are so many cool labels. There is no favourite. O.k. wait, maybe Cargo Rec. They are putting out great bands.
Are you sure yet where you will record the new album? I mean the sound of the Promo EP is great, so why not recording the LP in this studio?
Yeah we like to record at Lemys Wonderworld Studio. He is a great guy. It's important for me to like the guy behind the recording machines. That makes it a lot easier for the band.
You said in the info you sent me along with Promo that Pole* took a break for 1,5 years, what were the reasons for that break? I heard that you actually split up and played your first reunion show this year in Karlsruhe, is that right?
Yeah that's right, we thought Karlsruhe is the right place, because it started all here. So the show was pretty cool, I liked the location. Erdbeermund- great (Yeah, the show was killer - Stefan). The reasons for breaking up were very simple, Thorsten moved to Berlin, it was a big loss, we couldn't replace him. And I felt burned out for several reasons. Too much of everything needed a break and a good therapist to get back on track again.
What about the current line up of Pole*, is it finally stable? I heard you already have a new bass player, so is the new line up of Pole* finally ready to conquer the world?
Yeah we are definitely stable. I think we got the best stuff we ever got. And it even fits personally. I know Dan and Pat for almost 10 Years. And it's like a family. And even the new guys the fit in perfectly. We are definitely ready to bomb the bastards.
Talking about old members (hopefully that's not too boring for you, but I love to know everything about my fave bands, hehe): Oli from Ambrose played on your first EP "180 degrees", and if I'm right he had to quit after or during the recording sessions because of tinnitus? Did you ever think about getting him as the new/old second guitarist when Pole* found together again?
No we never thought about that, because Oli is into completely different music. He is one of the best and most creative guitar players I ever worked with. But I think we separated musically and personally.
And another "old member question": Your former bass player Thorsten Mang (who was along with you, your guitarist Denis and your drummer Patrick one of the founding members of Pole* and who also ran Pateline in the past) brought the straight edge philosophy to the band. So what about sXe now? I guess you're no longer labeling Pole* as a sXe band? Is that because you are no longer sXe or just because you don't want to label yourself or the band any longer as such?
Personally I think straight edge is an interesting attitude. As a band we moved on, we don't need such a label anymore, because sometimes it's just limiting you in different ways.
What do you personally think about sXe nowadays? I mean I am 27 years old and sXe for about five years now, but I often have the impression that there are all those people saying "True till death" etc., being very outspoken about sXe, but soon after I wonder where they are. What's your opinion about that?
Action walks and Bullshit talks. There's too much talking in the hardcore scene. I really like those 17 year old kids talking about the old times. It makes me feel funny. I have seen so many people come and go. But it's not about what you are, it's just about the impression you make when you're done with the scene, and there are only less people which leave a positive impression at all. I am tired of so many things in the hardcore scene. There are people which are so weak, that they need the scene to get a positive response. They need people that tell them how cool they are. I never cared about stuff like that. To be honest I don't even give a fuck if some guy is telling me that our music ain't cool. I just keep on rocking, keep on going. Just for myself and the guys in the band. Times are over when I needed to explain myself. I have seen to many things in the scene to know it's just about who is more vegan or straight edge, who has got more tattoos or piercings. I don't give a fuck about that. Sometimes the kids in the scene just behave like "my house, my wife, my car". Thatīs kind of funny to me.
I read on your website that you recorded three songs in 1999 in order to get a deal with a bigger label. Will those songs make it on your new album and do you play these songs live? Or do you think these three songs don't represent Pole* these days?
We never thought about that.
I'm sure one of the most memorable things with Pole* was the tour with Refused and Damnation A.D. in Sweden, right? Do you think you can achieve such a popular level you had back then once again?
Sure we will. Do you doubt that?
By the way, did you think back then that Refused would become so big and influential later? And what about their singer Denis, I wonder if he had such a political attitude back then as he now has with The International Noise Conspiracy ;-)
Refused was always an impressive band in many ways. Musically and lyrically. I don't know what Denis is doing or thinking now. I don't know him and I think he doesn't know me either. Hope he is still on the right track.
What are you guys doing besides playing in Pole*?
Working, eating, sleeping, doing workout, studying, getting bored about bad metal hardcore cover bands. So Denis is studying to get a teacher. Pat is studying. Kroma is studying. Don Martin is working as a physiotherapist.
Ok, I guess that's all for the moment. Did you like this interview and do you have anything to add? Thanks for taking the time answering my questions!
I enjoyed it. Thanks for giving us a chance to represent us. Keep on rocking.