Interview: Comeback Kid

Once more, Comeback Kid came to Europe this year to play a two week run of festivals and club shows. Before their show in my hometown Amersfoort, I got together with singer Andrew Neufeld to talk about touring, the new album and hardcore. Please read the outcome below.

How’s the tour been so far?

It’s been cool. We’re playing smaller towns on this tour mostly and festivals on the weekends. The festivals are really cool and the shows are just super small venues. Sometimes they’ve been really awesome and some have been bunk ones.

You also played Ieperfest in Belgium right?

Yeah that was one of the best festivals we’ve played, it was awesome for us. We played late on the first day and it just was way more than we could expect.

You’ve toured Europe numberous times. What makes it so different from other continents?

For the most time, is seems like European promotors have their shit together. They care about treating the band well, almost taking a band in. I wouldn’t say all the time, but more often than the other continents, they take care of the bands and really focus on trying to make a band feel comfortable on the road. Even from small punk rock venues to big venues, at least they give the band some beer and water, which is more than a lot of other places offer.

As far as the shows, it’s kind of like any other place. In the last five years the touring circuit has grown so much. For example Australia: 10 years ago it was getting a band once in a while, but now every band wants to go to Australia. Touring and live music is going on in a lot more countries now and places are more used to it now.

What continent do you like best?

I don’t really do favorites so much. I like going to different places for different reasons I guess, I like mixing it up. I’d love to live in Europe some time, I spent a lot of time here.

Talking about different places.. Have you ever toured South Africa?

No, we were talking about going there last May actually… The Ghost Inside went there. We were talking about going with them, but it just didn’t work out for us. They ended up going and said it was pretty crazy.

Yeah a friend of mine lives there and runs a webzine [RISE] as well. I saw The Ghost Inside tour coming by and I was just surprised that even there the scene is growing and that SA is getting an interesting place for bands to tour.

Yeah we know a few bands that started to go there, and it’s like.. Once a door’s opened and there’s a crowd to support it… It’s cool. I’d love to go to more east Europe, maybe Isreal. Do some stuff that fewer bands have done. That’d be very cool.

Could you describe a perfect show for me?

Perfect show would be a few hundred to a thousand people crammed in a room, no barricades, maybe some balconies on the side… A nice comfortable stage, no bullshit security, or maybe friends for security… and air conditioning [laughs]. Oh and a bar! That would be a pretty dope show for me. People just getting into the music, stage diving, having fun. I love playing super small venues where our gear is getting kicked over don’t get me wrong but… When I play shows, I mean the AC is just a plus, but sometimes it just feels good to play shows in a comfortable room.

Symptoms & Cures was released in 2010. What were your expectations for that album?

I guess our expectations were just to put out another album, being able to keep on touring and stay a relevant band. To put out music that hasn’t been done yet. I would like to think that we have our own thing going on and we have our own style of hardcore. We bring all our influences and put that on the table when we’re writing songs and I think that creates an interesting mix as far as our genre goes. We look up to bands that keep putting out records that are better and better, like Propagandhi. They’re a good example of a band that are putting a lot of work in every record. They don’t put out a record every one and a half year, but are actually thinking about the songs. It’d say as far as songwriting that’s a band we look up to. We’re just trying to write interesting music and being able to have songs that you can pull off live and that can also make an impact.

You’ve been touring a lot, working on side projects. What’s the next step for CBK?

Basically a bit of a break for touring Europe, because we’ve been here like four times this year [laughs]. After this tour we’ll be touring The States and Canada and after that I’ll probably be working on my other band Sights & Sounds. I sort of gave that a break over the last year, because if was super busy with CBK. So I’m gonna switch focus a little bit. Comeback Kid will still be touring and we’ll be thinking of writing a new record maybe next spring. We have some ideas now and we just have to think of a plot for the new record, so maybe in about a year or something.

Comeback Kid has been around for years. What changes have you witnessed in this scene?

It has gotten a lot more accessible, just because the internet wasn’t what it is now when we first started. Internet has changed the world and has impacted the scene more than anything.

You think it made it easier to even start a band, just because it’s easier to put your music out?

Yeah, because it’s just easier for people to get to know your band. We caught the very beginning of that. There wasn’t stuff like MySpace when we started. Just through message boards we’d spread the word. We’d be surprised when someone from California heard our record.. We’d be like “Holy shit, this guy is from California and he heard our shitty band from Winnipeq, Canada!!” [laughs]. Hardcore has gotten way popular during that time and metal too. And it’s funny that bands that are influenced by hardcore or metal music have gotten massive. And there’s these weird fusions going on that are huge, but I don’t really know much about that.

Though I feel there’s still a lot of DIY promoters and people doing shows the right way. There’s still hope for it I think.

What’s that “right” way to you?

People who are dedicated to the music and are actually doing it for music rather than for personal gain. Or power tripping, you know what I mean…

With all the changes going on, what’s your opinion about the current hardcore scene?

I think my perspective has change a lot from when I was still a kid, I mean I’m 30 years old now. I look towards it a different way. Obviously I’m gonna think that new bands are wack sometimes, but I’m also often blown away by new stuff. I think when you’re younger, you’re more hungry…

What are upcoming bands that you really like, that might do something new?

Well I love Devil In Me [from Portugal, currently on tour with Comeback Kid], I think they’re awesome.

What is hardcore about for you as an individual?

[long silence] …I don’t know if I can put that into words…  I don’t know, I love hardcore music, I love being a good guy to my friends, I love my friends, I love my family, I love going to shows, I love supporting music. I put my heart and soul into this music. What does it mean to you?

Sort of the same I guess… If you go to shows it’s like a family feeling, especially with the smaller shows. If you go to a 1500 capacity venue with a band like Bring Me The Horizon playing… the kids there, mostly 15 year old kids with funny hairstyles, totally miss that vision. But if you go to a 150 capacity show and you’re just there with friends and having a good time, that feeling is what hardcore is about for me. Having a good time with friends, enjoying and supporting good music, supporting friends and their bands.

Yeah or bands that you like and the message they’re portraying .

Exactly, and that’s also what Legends Arising’s about: support whatever you feel is right and support bands with a proper message or bands that are doing something new.

So is there anything you’d like to add?

Not really, I’m just really fortunate to play in bands and do music. I’d never take this for granted. We love playing different kind of shows and I know we come here all the time… We see familiar faces at shows and people who’d come along to shows since 2003. A lot of people have been really supportive, and I’d just like to thank those people. Thanks!

Thank you for your time and enjoy the few last shows on this tour!

All photos are taken by © Jens Quasten •

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