With a new record and European tour coming up, we decided that it was time to do an interview with the mighty Post-Hardcore outfit Boysetsfire. We spoke with the recently re-joined bass player Robert Ehrenbrand, who was kind enough to answer our questions extensively. Make sure to check them out on their upcoming European tour!
Boysetsfire began playing again in 2010 after a break of nearly five years, when did you decide you wanted to record a new album?
“We really underestimated how much we would miss being around each other and playing and creating music together… So when the conversations began about a possible reunion (god, how i hate that word, haha) -let’s call it re-incarnation- we knew that we would never be one of those bands trying to rehash the glory of days gone by, but we knew that after playing together again there would either be new and great music or no more further shows.
The Misery Index: Notes from the Plague Years (2006) was so well received, and is such an important record for us, that we really wanted to either be a real band creating exciting new music or not do it at all. After these really fun and great tours we knew we wanted to see what would come out writing-wise, so it was always clear we would never go down in history as a band thinking their best days were already behind us. In fact, this start feels very powerful, exciting and fresh and this new record is listening proof of that.”
Your new record While A Nation Sleeps… contains your most ‘poppy’ as well as your most heavy and fierce recordings. Could you elaborate on this?
“I agree, this record combines our most melodic and straight forward music, but also our most brutal to date. It is our usual confused mixture of emotional music, but emotional can go in all directions for us, just as with human beings we never are in the same mood all day long. Since our main goal is to have the music and band represent who we are as people, we could never just settle for one type of music, just because that’s what people would like to hear. In our case the audience always had to come to us so to speak, since we always just played what came out of our hearts and it’ll stay that way. We really appreciate everyone jumping into our crazy universe and giving this mixture of ours a chance! It’s just who we are… heavy or not, it will always be intense and real.”
Did the recent album from Nathan (Gray, Boysetsfire’s singer) with I Am Heresy have any influence of the writing for the new Boysetsfire album?
“I love I Am Heresy, I think they are a super powerful band, but I don’t think they influenced our style. People thought Boysetsfire would now start only playing more melodic stuff since Nathan has a heavy outlet with I Am Heresy, but that is definitely not the case if you listen to the new record or our Record Store Day single ‘Bled Dry’.”
In Boysetsfire, you share bass duties with Chris Rakus now, what is the reasoning behind this?
“Well, the band approached me about re-joining and even though I missed them so much I live over here in Germany and the rest of the band is still in the US. So especially for one-off-shows it would’ve been logistically very hard to always fly back and forth, so I sadly had to say no, which broke my heart. But a couple of hours later they called me back and said that Chris (my former bass-tech and one of our best friends) would also join and we could share bass-duties. I was blown away by the amount of thoughtfulness and heart that went into this great and unusual idea. But it says everything about Boysetsfire, it is a gang more so than a professional band.
We stick together and make it work, we both played on the new record and worked very closely together and were in the Studio at the same time, which was so much fun. I love Chris, and he is wonderful and very down to earth. So there are no egos here, just fun and friendship and a deep love for this band. In Europe, I will play all shows this year and Chris takes over the rest, we will see where it goes after this year, but so far we kinda split everything 50/50 and it works out great.”
How long do you think the current Boysetsfire line-up will stand strong?
“Well, the drummer situation is very flexible since Dan (Pelic), who played on the record, is not with us live. We will take a talented and great drummer with us this summer, who plays in other great bands as well. It’ll be fun and amazing to play with him, but he is not ‘officially’ in the band. As for the rest of us I think it’ll be how it is now, we are having too much fun and energy to stop anytime soon. It seems very solid to tell you the truth, we are very excited and happy about this stage in our lives.”
What are your views on the (Post-)Hardcore ‘scene’ of today, and what role does Boysetsfire play in it?
“Well, I can only speak for myself and I don’t really go out much at all, including going to shows… So I don’t know most recent bands, unless we play with them or I have been turned on to them through friends. I do have to say though that the bands we are bringing out with us this summer in Europe and the United States are great bands. I have always really loved Gallows and also Bane, so I am excited about them joining us. I am sure there is tons of great new stuff out there, it’s just that I mostly (when it comes to Hardcore) listen to what I always listened to: Cro-Mags, Shelter etc.
About what role Boysetsfire plays in today’s scene, I honestly couldn’t tell you and I honestly don’t care. I appreciate everyone listening to us or checking us out, disregarding what they look like, where they are from or what other music they are into. I see Boysetsfire as a pool of emotion and intensity, and whoever wants that can come and join us via our records and live. Everyone is welcome, but get ready!”
Could you reveal which songs we can expect in your set list for the upcoming European tour?
“No, but expect a good mix of everything we have ever done. Including some songs we have never played before or haven’t played in a very long time.”
What are you favorite albums of 2013 thus far?
“I never really pay attention to when a record came out so I can’t be sure, but I can tell you that I do love the new Depeche Mode record and I can’t wait for the new Glasvegas album to drop this summer. I love Pop music and those two bands are my favorites.”
Could you recommend any up and coming bands to our readers?
“I Am Heresy, Apologies, I Have None and Paper Arms.”
Boysetsfire’s new record While A Nation Sleeps will be available on June 6 in Europe (End Hits Records) and June 11 in the rest of the world (Bridge Nine Records). Pre-order the album here.
Written by Niels Koster