When I got into hardcore I got totally blown away by the heavyness of Born From Pain. I don’t know how many times I played those first two records. In the years that followed I might have drifted away from that sound, but I still know those songs by heart. Che’s voice was a big part in that. It’s been a while now, but it seems like yesterday to me when Ché announced he was leaving Born From Pain, stating he wanted to take a break from it all. While I was preparing for issue #2 of Some Will Never Know he announced a new band. I thought it was a good time to look back on it all… The result, as printed in Some Will Never Know #2 is one of my favorite interviews I ever did. If you didn’t pick up the paper zine, here’s your chance to read this interview. Sit down and relax, because this is a lengthy one.
Hey Ché, how are you doing? How’s the new band doing?
Hey Pim. Things are going great. I just started my new job as an account manager and the band is doing well. We released our debut album in April and started playing shows in May. Life is good right now.
Those last months (in Born From Pain) were hell for me.
Good to hear that Ché! Let’s get this going, and start a couple of years ago… At some point you decided to quit Born From Pain… You stated you weren’t as much into the band as you were before. What made you feel that way? Did the touring wear you down? Or was it too much of the same and were you looking for new things? Could you elaborate on that?
There are a lot of reasons why I quit BFP a couple of years ago. The initial reason why I quit BFP was the fact I wanted to concentrate more on my professional career and personal life. I had been pushing my life forward for years up until that very moment, and did it with a lot of joy. I just got to that point where it was simply enough for me.
Born From Pain started out as a small thing, a hobby which turned into a double fulltime job. I loved the fact we achieved that much with the band. But in the end the achievement itself wasn’t enough for me anymore.
We started BFP in 1997 and immediately started playing shows, we grew from a hobby band playing 50 shows a year during weekends and an occasional tour, to a touring band for most part of the year. We recorded and put out records on a regular basis and it took up so much time it was impossible for me to do anything else besides the band.
I think in 2004, 2005 and 2006 we played 150 – 175 shows a year. There were shows which were awesome, where a lot of kids showed up and going crazy. We played the right festivals. We were a really tight band, we were professionals, we knew what we had to give to the audience. The critics on the albums were good. But still the growth of getting to that next level wasn’t there. Don’t get me wrong, Born From Pain did well, especially for an underground band. But Born From Pain couldn’t pay my bills at the end of each and every single month. We just could not make that next step to financial independence, which was the one thing I needed to get by.
Because of the band I lost jobs, friendships died, relationships ended, I was in constant financial problems and I couldn’t find the time, nor the will to find the time, to finish college. Born From Pain took up so much time, it demanded so much energy. In the end it was impossible for me to give and invest more in the band.
I was pretty unhappy most part of the last years in the band. It mainly had something to do with my financial situation and other priorities in my life. The time on stage could not make up for all the other stuff. At one point I did not even enjoy the time on stage anymore. We played the coolest shows and I was bored. I just did what was asked and that was it. I never showed this to anyone, I only shared this with my closest friends. I thought the kids weren’t the ones to blame for my feelings. So every show I gave it my all, although I wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere.
Eventually I estranged from the band. I did not feel comfortable around the other guys anymore. I think I changed too much in a short period of time, my ideas on life weren’t the same anymore. I lost interest in the other guys, whereas they stayed the same. Which is a good thing for them of course of course, or they maybe grew in a different direction. They had ideas and visions, but those weren’t compatible with mine anymore. This was probably the last drop… Born From Pain wasn’t my band anymore.
I achieved pretty much everything at a young age already, of what I wanted to achieve. Musically that is. I just did not feel like going through the whole process of doing it all again, for the same people, in the same venues. I never saw BFP grow much bigger than past that point, where we were for quite some time.
The negative things started to overshadow the positive things for me. I eventually decided I wasn’t the right guy for that spot in the band anymore. This led to my departure and I have been happy ever since.
I have so many good memories from my time in Born From Pain.
Thanks for being so open. That must have felt really strange indeed. So at one point you decided for yourself you were going to quit the band. And then? How did the rest react?
It was kind of a weird moment. It was one of those life defining moments, you only have a few off, in a lifetime.
I remember the moment I told the guys I wasn’t happy in the band anymore and I was actually thinking about quitting, at our last band meeting with me in it. That did not come as a surprise to them. I told them it wasn’t my final decision, although in hindsight I think it actually already was.
That was right before we went on tour with Napalm Death in Europe and to be honest I think I did not give it a real chance looking back on the whole situation. I did not hang out with the others anymore while being on tour. I think I made it hard for myself, because I needed more reasons not to go on with the band.
We always fixed our problems within the band. So we agreed upon the fact I was going to be in the band until the headline tour with First Blood. Those last months were hell for me. I knew I was out, but wasn’t out of the band. I still had a responsibility towards them, and towards the crowd, although I wanted to do something else. It must have been hard for the other guys in the band as well, since they did not have a solution for the problem (I basically created).
How did the guys react? For the most part I think they were disappointed. That is how it felt. I disappointed them by quitting. For me it was the only logical thing to do though. I would have been an unhappy person if I would have continued being in the band. Maybe if I told the guys earlier something could have been done, things could have been changed. I know I was disappointed when people left BFP in the past as well. On the other hand my decision did not come as a surprise, it gave them closure. In that closure they found relief I guess. Relief in finding a solution to fix this problem. I wasn’t much fun to hang around with anymore. I obviously wanted to go in a different direction. They felt that as well. The atmosphere within just wasn’t right with me around anymore.
Sounds depressing. Glad you find your own way now man. Something else… In the statement, you put out when you left BFP, you said you were going to keep on doing music, but more on a hobby base, more in the background. And now there’s the new band. Signed by Metal Blade right from the beginning… What happened?
There were definitely some depressing moments, however that made me the person who I am today even more. Looking back on the whole thing I’m glad I made this decision. They’re happy and still going and I’m happy with my life and doing what I want to do.
After I quit I concentrated on other stuff, far away from my Born From Pain past. I had a show OD. I went out more. Met with friends. Went from one job to the other. I was just enjoying life. I visited shows every once in a while and saw old friends I knew from the scene. That was more than enough for me. I didn’t miss out on anything.
I still remember the moment where I said to myself: “it’s time to do something creative again”. “On my terms. Something professional, but not as high profile as BFP.” I think it was 2 weeks later when Simon sent me an email simply asking: “Ché, still want to do something musically with me, like we always talked about?”… He sent me 2 songs and I knew I had to be in this thing. We started looking for the right people. We found them, started practicing and we recorded the record. We had a lot of interest from labels at an early stage already. Metal Blade was the label which gave us the best feeling. So we signed to them and here we are now.
Arma Gathas will never be a full time thing. We all have different priorities. That’s why we have to plan everything. We just can’t play 100 shows a year, or go on tour all the time. I don’t have enough off days for one. The only shows we play are the shows we can play. If that means supporting a band in front of 400 kids or headlining a show in front of 75 people and getting more money, I will chose the support show. I’m not in it for the money, I just want to enjoy being on stage again, with a couple of my best friends and do (what I think) I do best.
I totally know what you mean. Sounds you’re having lots of fun again. You kinda already answered my next question, it’s more low-profile, but maybe there’s more to it: What’s the difference between both bands?
The biggest difference is the frequency of playing and practicing. I’m looking forward to playing a show again. I’m looking forward to our rehearsals. I love seeing the guys in the band and to practice for 6 hours straight. It’s not really low profile, because we still get to do the bigger things. We are the ones deciding, no one else. We’re in a pretty good position, with all the creative freedom we want, and get as well.
When I started BFP I was really very inexperienced, and always wanted to do everything right. Now many years later, I am more experienced. I know better how life works. I know what people expect, I know how to live up to expectations more. We’re all pretty much veterans when it comes to making music in successful bands. We take this experience and use it for the band. BFP on the other hand was a hobby, which turned into a double full time job, made out of mostly inexperienced people, especially when we started the band.
When I get on stage with Arma Gathas I feel like a young kid again, like the early BFP years. But with more experience and bigger “I don’t care what you think about me, I do what I want to do” attitude.
We don’t want to make money with the band. We just want to do what we love most. Play music on a high level on our terms and conditions.
I never understood the whole religion thing when I was young.
I can totally hear you’re excited about it all. Awesome. Let’s get back at BFP again for a sec. How was it to see them grow during those years? Was it all good, or were there things you didn’t like about it?
Do you mean the growth after I left, or the growth during my time in the band?
I have to admit I do not follow BFP. After I left the band, I never looked back actually. I look at their tour dates every once in a while and that’s about it. I have no idea whether BFP is a bigger band now, than they were when I was still fronting them.
The growth when I was still in the band was weird. We had been playing in front of the same old faces for years and years. You have to keep in mind that in the late 90’s and in the early millennium there weren’t that many bands doing what BFP were doing. Especially not as professional as BFP. The first years were more fun and more HC based. Later on we crossed over even more towards the metal scene which gave more and more pressure. In hindsight I think I put that pressure upon myself more than anyone else did.
Of course becoming bigger and getting more success was cool. The problem I had with everything was the amount of people getting involved in the band. Management, Tourbooking, Labels etc. etc. Most stuff was decided through one link and that was weird. The DIY mentality was not prominently there anymore. It was a company. That took away part of the fun. On the other hand it would be too idealistic to say we could have done everything by ourselves. We were too big to do that.
Because we had the right network and the right people surrounding us we got more opportunities to open doors in places where it was impossible for us to go in the past which was a definite plus.
You say you didn’t look back, but did you see Born From Pain live after you left? If so, how did that feel, seeing those people you played with for quite a time rocking out on stage without you?
I saw BFP play live, only once after I quit. That was a couple of months ago. Musically it’s a machine, they’re a steamroller. Really tight. Tighter than most bands you get to see nowadays. It’s just weird hearing those old songs with different vocals. It did not much to me though. Igor (Ex-Backfire!) plays drums for them now, Pete (BF 29) plays bass for them, Rob sings. It’s a different band than when I was in it. That’s how it sounds as well. And that’s cool. As long as they’re happy with it.
In your previous answer you said, “it was all decided through one link”. What do you mean with that? One person deciding everything for the band?
I chose the wrong word I guess. There were a lot of external parties we had to take into consideration, we decided it had to be one person who was in contact with all external parties. Every band needs a leader, Rob does a great job in Born From Pain. You have the management who wants to be involved in everything, the tour booking agency, the label (s), the entourage, the guys in the band. Etc. etc. We had to have a spokesman for the band.
Let’s focus on the positive side for a second. What’s the best memory you have from your time in Born From Pain?
I have so many good memories. Different ones as well. The first show we played with Morning Again for instance. The first big European tour with Cold as Life in 1999. The feeling I got holding our first MCD “Immortality” for the first time. Seeing my face on MTV with our video for Day of The Scorpio. The first time we ever played the With Full Force Festival. Playing Wacken Open Air or being signed by Metal Blade. Going on tour with youth heroes Biohazard and Napalm Death. Being asked by Soulfy to support them for their Dutch shows. The crazy amount of interesting people I met on tour. Being able to realize dreams. Seeing different countries and being able to see almost any possible band in the world. It was an amazing ride. I just can not choose one best memory.
People in general always fascinated me.
I can imagine. That list you just spit out is insane. I remember that video too. It featured Pieter Hendriks (also in this issue) on drums. How was it to work with him?
Working with Pieter was awesome. Pieter is a talented musician, really talented. Pieter is onte of those drummers to really dig in, and pound on those drums. The beginning was awesome, up until we got to that point where he was unhappy in the band. That was when some stuff happened and Pieter left the band to pursue other things in life.
Yeah he’s an insane drummer. Saw him play a Sex Pistols coverset the other day. Did you hear his new bands too? Maaswater Veenlijk (where he plays the guitar) and/or Black Bottle Riot (where he drums?) Good stuff. I take it you don’t want to talk about the “some stuff happened” by the way so we’ll just leave it at that I guess.
I’m a fan of all his bands. Pieter is a real talented musician. I wasn’t in contact with him for 5 years when we started talking again. Pieter was always something special to me.
Like most problems this involved money. The stuff that happened back then still makes me mad, and him probably as well. It is something we’ll never talk about. It is how it is. He had his reasons, I had mine. What’s done is done. Life is too valuable to focus on unimportant matter like this. It’s just awesome to be back in contact with again every once in a while after such a long time!
Pieter always had a lot of respect for those old drummers. He absolutely loves John Bonham’s style.
True, let’s see, there’s something else I always wondered about relating to BFP. I think Rob wrote most of the lyrics right? Why didn’t you write the lyrics? How did (or do) you feel about those lyrics?
When we started the band Rob was the most experienced guy in the band. I did not do anything serious before. I never even listened to music like a singer should listen to music. I had no idea on how to write good lyrics, let alone put these words to the music. That is why Rob took the lyric duties as his responsibility.
I wrote lyrics myself, but I think I wasn’t ready to share my personal feelings with the rest of the world. Which is pretty weird as I am a really outspoken, extraverted guy. But I wasn’t able to sing my own lyrics. So Rob just kept on writing the lyrics. This gave me a role to play on stage within the band and this gave Rob some distance. If you know what I mean.
It felt good to sing the lyrics he wrote, Rob put his trust in me for so many years, for me to sing his lyrics. To convert his anger and frustration on stage and on record, that must have been really hard for him. Now that I write the lyrics for Arma Gathas, I would be very skeptical about other people interpreting my lyrics on stage and on record.
I really like the way Rob writes his lyrics. They’re the kind of lyrics which make you think.
I have to admit though I am really comfortable with me writing and screaming my own lyrics for Arma Gathas. There is way more emotion in my voice than with BFP. I totally feel my own lyrics. I know why I wrote the lines to the songs, I know the exact emotion behind every word. That makes it a lot easier…
When you left Born From Pain, they became a lot more vocal with their message. Both on stage and in their promotional texts etc. Was that something you weren’t into or did that grow gradually and did I just not notice it before?
After the Sands of Time record, Born From Pain already headed towards the more socially critical themed lyrics. That is why I love “In love with the end” so much, that record is lyrically the closest to the kind of lyrics I write…
I have no idea which way they headed with their last record. I always really liked Rob’s lyrics, I guess I like the direction they’re going. I always liked bands with a strong political message. It’s just not my thing to be on stage and preach about how others are supposed to live their lives. It’s no surprise they became more vocal and even more outspoken, if they are…
Although I’m a emotional person, I won’t show that to anyone
Fair enough. Ok, one final question about Born From Pain. Since you guys have been on some crazy tours with BFP I can not NOT ask for a crazy tour story or something. Break the ‘what happens on tour, stays on tour’ rule for once.
Born From Pain wasn’t that kind of band where you would read “they trashed the hotel room” stories off. Born From Pain always had respect for everything.
First real European tour we did was as a support of Cold As Life in april and may of 1999. All of us heard the stories about them of course. They were from Detroit. There were a lot of rumors about them, all sorts of crazy stories. The first show we played on that tour was in a little town called Erica. A town where hardly anything happened. Up until that moment. Cold as Life, Born From Pain and Rimmshot (which featured later BFP drummer Roel). I remember playing that show, and the atmosphere was really violent. That was in a time where dancing hard and/ord violent wasn’t as accepted as it is nowadays in Europe. When Cold As Life got on stage, Johnny Hate (their guitarist) was out of his mind, he was on a mix of drugs, alcohol and prescription medicine. He could not play a single riff right. At one point he fell over, bumped into the Gook (Mike – bassist) and Jeff (Gunnels – singer) and they collectively beat him up on stage. After Johnny’s onstage beat down they turned down his amp and they finished their show with Johnny basically “air-guitaring” the show. We just stood there, the only thing that went through my head was: ”Where did I get myself into, this can’t be real!!”… That same show fights broke out everywhere in the venue. People punching and kicking each other, yelling and screaming, it was Sodom and Gomorrah. I remember I started arguing with some dude and Theo (GSR – who organized the tour) was screaming at me:”Doe bis vaan de tour aaf!!!” which is Limburg Dialect for “you’re off the tour!!!”…
We got to know the dudes better and better as the tour progressed. We became really close friends. We had some deep discussions and talks about life. When we were in the UK we played a couple of shows in England as well. Going down from the North to the South (I think it was traveling down) we drove past Nottingham. Rob shared the van with Cold As Life, I think he was even driving them that day. And they started raving and fantasizing about Robin Hood. Who got to be Little John, Robin Hood, the Sherriff of Nottingham etc. etc.. They did not even stop when we got to the venue. It was so funny seeing those hard ass, tattooed to the bone, dudes being so enthusiastic about a big myth.
We played a show in Berlin with Cold As Life in the Wild at Heart. A small awesome venue in Kreuzberg. The backstage was really small as well, but was made out of two rooms. We mainly stayed in one room, and the other was empty. Or so we thought. It was really dark in there as well. We were just sitting backstage, hanging out when all of a sudden we hear someone whisper/scream ”HATE” in the other backstage area. That was something Johnny Hate used to say :”Hate”… “Johnny how’s it going?”, Johnny: “Hate”… That very night and the night after Jeff was so sick, he could not sing that show. Rob played bass that evening, and The Gook and their roadie the Dougie (white Snoop Dogg) sang. That was funny and really pretty bad as well. Haha.
During that same tour we had two days off on our way to Spain. Those off days we spent traveling through France. In Rennes we had 4 hotel rooms at a Premiere Classe Hotel, which is a budget hotel. We all wanted to take evening showers, so Bolle (original BFP guitarist and later 37 Stabwoundz guitarist) took a shower in Johnny Hate’s and Big Dog’s hotel room. During Bolle’s shower session they took him out of the shower and threw him out of their room. Butt naked. The only thing they gave him were his shoes and socks. Bolle was running around the hotel area, with nothing but his socks and shoes on. Constantly touching his penis, yelling and knocking on all the doors, since he did not know in which room we were staying in. Johnny Hate filmed it all. I never got to see that clip. I think I never will either. A couple of years after that tour I heard Johnny passed away… He was one of the craziest, but coolest people I have ever met.
Haha that are some good stories to close the Born From Pain chapter with. Enough about that. After you left Born From Pain, what did you do exactly? You already said you enjoyed the time. So no big black hole for you right?
After I quit BFP I started working for a B2B Conference organization. I liked it, but my old job asked whether or not I wanted to come back for them as a department manager. So I did. Because of the financial crisis they had to fire me though, but they gave me a “bonus” and I had 3 interim projects. Right now I work for a small ICT organization as an account manager. As of January I’m hoping to be promoted as a sales manager.
It was time for me to finally finish my college, and so I did. I got married in march of 2009 in Bali. I met a lot of new people. I guess you could say I did not fall in a big black hole. I am relieved I am not in Born From Pain anymore. I was the best decision I good make at point in my life.
In the beginning of 2009 Simon asked me whether I wanted to make music with him on our terms. Just hard ass metal mixed with Hardcore. I did not have to think about it for long, since it was another dream come true. That is the hobby I have been doing ever since.
I strongly think we as humanity will never learn from our mistakes made in the past. We will be our own end.
Congratulations on your marriage man. Nice! Let’s dig a bit deeper. What defines you? Who is Ché Snelting?
I am a 32 year old man, young at heart, with still a lot of energy. I approach situations with a lot of humor on one hand, on the other I am really serious in life. I call myself a realist, that is where my sarcasm comes from I guess as well. I can be very harsh and rude at times, although most people find me a nice guy. I see myself as an authentic person, I don’t claim to be something or someone I am not. People see me as being easy going. I enjoy hanging out with my wife, listening to music and watching movies. I used to go to the gym a lot, lately it’s getting harder and harder for me to go because of work, but the last couple of weeks I have been going at least twice a week. I am actually thinking of picking up some Martial Arts stuff again. I went to a Muay Thai school, and I’m thinking of joining them…
My motivation in life is: ”treat other people, how you want to be treated”. I’m not a religious person although I believe in a God, without following specific rules. I believe in Karma. I am a lefty when it comes to politics, I will never submit to someone like Geert Wilders or the likes.
I strongly think we as humanity will never learn from our mistakes made in the past. We will be our own end. I think these things define me as a person.
I did a couple of assessments for work, and the results mainly say I am creative, natural leader, motivator and a people person.
I think you’re a people person indeed. You always seemed very open, approachable when I met you throughout the years. You mentioned believing in a God? Care to elaborate?
That was always my thing: people. I don’t find anything more interesting and fascinating than people. I’m just a down to earth person I guess. I’m realistic when it comes to success. There were so many funny moments I remember, watching a show where we had to play in between the crowd, and people coming up to me “ WOW, you’re actually standing in the crowd, you’re the singer for BFP and you’re standing right here”… Now a couple of years later people don’t say that anymore. Hahaha and I don’t care at all! The success never got to my head, and I’m really proud of that!
As far a the believing in God question goes that is quite hard to explain. My parents raised me an atheist. When other kids my age celebrated their holy communion I played with my MSX computer. I never understood the whole religion thing when I was young.
Now I think it has more to do with feeling. I woke up one day and I felt something which I couldn’t describe before. I still don’t understand it, it’s just how I feel.
I do believe in the fact there is a higher power surrounding us. This power gives me strength and support in hard times. Whether it becomes a success is all up to me. It’s a moral support thing. Good things happen to good people, bad things too though…
My wife and me love Bali, I noticed my views on religion have a lot of similarities with Hinduism. Since Hinduism is 90% of the islands religion, you see it all over the place. From what I’ve seen and experienced it’s the religion I have most in common with. Big part of my life is based on Karma. I believe in Karma and I still believe when you treat people and the world the wrong way, you will pay the price for that in the end. I try to treat other people the way I want to be treated. I guess this is common sense as well.
I don’t believe in God by following rules. It has nothing to do with rules. It has everything to do with being good at heart. With doing the right things in life without hurting other people.
When you read the lyrics to God’s Wrath on our record, I have the opinion God has forsaken this world. When you look at humanity and everything we as humanity have done to this world without learning anything I would leave it behind as well. We don’t learn from our past mistakes. To me that’s the whole point of life.
I believe in Karma and I still believe when you treat people and the world the wrong way, you will pay the price for that in the end.
Good points. I don’t believe in a god myself, nor one that has forsaken us, but what you say about Karma seems on point to me. I hope it’s like that anyway.
I think this is just common sense. I have the feeling there is someone/something watching over me, to remind me to live my life the right way. It is my constant reminder to do good.
Anyway, that thing you just mentioned of people coming up to you and saying they thought it was awesome that you were in the crowd. I remember thinking exactly the same thing when I saw you guys for one of the first times I think. I thought that was so cool. That was one of the cool things of hardcore to me without a doubt. It was the show with Hatebreed at 013. Could be the Resistance Tour or something. Remember that show?
Before a show people hardly recognized me either. I have so many stories about me just hanging out at the bar, talking to people with BFP shirts on and just having fun without them knowing I was the singer for BFP. When they later on saw me on stage after talking to me for an hour and they were the biggest and best supporters.
We actually played 013 twice with Hatebreed, once that was during a summer fest with NTB and Throwdown. The other was on the first date of the Resistance tour. First shows of bigger tours like the Resistance tour are always stressful. Equipment never in place. Etc etc. We always had our own backline, but I remember the sound in the venue to be really bad!!! Kids liked it. I remember Billy (from Biohazard – who headlined the tour) came up to me asking whether I trained (Martial Arts) because he liked the way I moved my feet. Hahaha. Later on that tour I sprayed my ankle on a monitor and tore my ligaments, while Billy was watching the show. He never asked anything anymore or complimented me on how I moved my feet. Result: I had to finish the tour on crutches (which I bought before the show in Zoetermeer).
Haha. Ok. So how was your youth? Did you grow up in Limburg?
My youth was awesome. I grew up in a bad part of town, but never experienced it as being bad. Meezenbroek (part of Heerlen) and my friends taught me a lot of things. We never had any problems, 50% of my class was from a foreign country, Morocco, Turkey etc. Everyone got along great. There wasn’t any racism at all. We respected each other. I had a lot friends and girlfriends. I hung out with anyone and got along with everyone.
My parents did a great job raising me I guess. I hope that when I get to that point to have a kid of my own, when I’m that lucky, I will be able to do this half as good as my parents did. My dad taught me to respect other, different, people and cultures. He taught how to respect people with a different view on life. He taught me how to play chess. He made me aware of politics. We always listened to his vinyl collection on Sundays: Led Zeppelin, The Who, Crosby, Still, Nash (& Young), Black Sabbath, etc. etc. I guess that is where my taste in Music comes from. I had a lot of different hobbies, I can play the clarinet and saxophone, and I know how to read notes, I played football when I was 6 and did Judo for half a year when I was 9.
When I was 12 I started doing Kung Fu and found out I was pretty good at it, I made it to the blue belt, with only the Brown belt separating me from the black belt… That was around the time when I went to Highschool. Highschool was a lot of fun. My dad was the vice president of an indoor football club and we always the coolest people hanging around at our place. A lot of those guys were the biggest criminals in our area, which made those people interesting of course. I knew the difference between right and wrong, and my parents trusted me with those dudes who were all at least 10 years older than I was. I always hung out with older people. People in general always fascinated me.
I didn’t have to study and still got great grades, especially the first 3 years. In my fourth year when I was 16 or so I started to drink alcohol more and started doing weed and hash. The combination of me being lazy and a constant high, led to the unavoidable second try of my fourth year… Smoking weed, cigarettes, drinking booze were the only things constant in my life. I became vegetarian when I turned 17. I knew I had to get out of that destructive environment, so on my 18th birthday I decided the drugs had to go. Not long after I quit smoking and drinking alcohol. I finished High School and went to college. When I was 19 I started BFP and the rest is pretty known I guess.
I wanted to live a constructive life instead of a destructive life. My parents trusted me in making the right decisions.
Ché Snelting can play the clarinet and the saxophone. Now that’s a shocker! Do you still play those instruments sometimes? Ever tried to sneak em into a song, maybe in the future? Or is that totally not done in your book?
Hahaha, well I don’t even like those instruments. Even when I played them I hated it. I have no idea if I was actually any good, but my dad always tells me I was. Seems my school kept calling my dad whether I wanted to return on a weekly basis for 2 years! I haven’t played those instruments for years and years. With some practice I might be able to get it down again.
Sneaking that in a song? Maybe for Arma Gathas, BFP never was the band for that though. But I can see myself writing a part for a symphony or so. I’m already getting ideas. Some clarinets, violins, hobos… yes! Next CD!!!
I think it’s cool when bands try different instruments, as long as it seems right you know. Looking forward to your clarinet solo on the next record haha. Anyway, you said you hung around criminals. Did you ever cross the line yourself or get tempted maybe?
That sounds actually harder than it actually was. It’s not like I want to be tough or from the streets with these stories. But those dudes were just normal people, they were at least 10 years older, and had a different view on life, and came to our home to talk to my dad. I did not hang out with them as friends. They just played football in one of my dad’s team, and they were there. My dad was more or less the social worker for those guys.
They went in- and out of prison. They never studied after high school. They just did what they were taught by their surroundings. Stealing cars, dealing drugs or whatever, or just being the runner. That never was my thing, but it was interesting. They never confronted me with it, although I heard the stories all the time as well.
My parents raised me the right way. I knew the difference between right and wrong at a young age already. I knew I wanted to live a different life than those guys. I wanted to live a constructive life instead of a destructive life. They trusted me in making the right decisions.
It’s easy to draw a connection from your day being the ‘go-to-guy’ for those guys and you being so open to people. What other influences do you see in yourself of your parents?
You’re right I’m a go-to-guy. Although I try to keep my distance as much as possible to most people nowadays. I attracted a lot of people whom I did not wanted to have around me.
I think I would have made a great psychologist. I never did my best to be the way I am. I think that’s the reason why I’m an authentic person. I don’t try to be someone else. Although I can put up a mask, by just saying everything is okay when I’m down in the dumps myself. I tend to concentrate on other people more than on myself. My mom is the same. She’s a migraine patient, which means half of the month she’s got terrible headaches. When people ask her how she’s doing, she’ll always answer with “I’m Fine”. We do not want to trouble other people with our problems.
I have my dad’s humor. Most people don’t understand what we’re talking about, or just find it insulting. We’re really sarcastic most of the time. People often have no idea when it’s a joke or serious. Well so be it, I like it myself when people are sarcastic. When it comes to that I love my weakness. Like my dad I am stubborn as well. I have my own ways of doing things, and I think I know things better than other people.
Just yelling ideas without giving basic solutions won’t work. Wilders is a dangerous man, he’s got dangerous ideas, his big following makes him even more dangerous.
You also mentioned growing up with kids from foreign countries. Lately there’s been quite a problem with that. Especially in Limburg (the part of the Netherlands you grew up) and right-winged Geert Wilders being really vocal about it. You already mentioned not agreeing with him and I totally agree with you on that. He does nothing but divide people even more. What do you think is the cause of him being so popular, especially in Limburg?
I have no idea where it comes from at all. I just don’t understand it. When I look at the area where I was raised a big percentage is foreign. The bigger party used to be the Socialist Party, but they lost a lot of ground when Marijnissen left. Wilders’ party got a lot of those votes. The danger which lies within Wilders is the fact on hand he’s got pretty social ideas, on the other he’s a populist with his main goal to separate the Muslims from anyone else.
Sure we have problems in our country. But by just yelling ideas without giving basic solutions won’t work. Wilders is a dangerous man, he’s got dangerous ideas, his big following makes him even more dangerous.
Maybe the fact him being from Limburg has something to do with it, but that would be a stupid reason would it now? Humanity’s stupidity knows no boundaries I guess.
I wouldn’t over-estimate those voters hehe. Let’s see… You started Born From Pain in 1997. How and when did you get in touch with hardcore?
I always listened to different stuff than my friends did. I had one friend with whom I shared the common interest in music. He now sings for the band Bloodtrial. I am basically a converted metal kid who started listening to hardcore.
In my early teens I listened to NWA, Eazy E, Public Enemy, 2 Live Crew, Beastie Boys and Ice Cube a lot. Yes I was into hiphop my first year of high school. In my second year I found out about Body Count, Anthrax and Public Enemy and started listening to that crossover kind of metal which later turned into metal. Around that time metal and hard rock were my big thing. My favorite bands were Black Sabbath, Faith No More and strangely enough Guns and Roses (who aren’t metal at all)… I started going to the smaller shows in our area when I was 16. . Because of the HC scene I never wanted to belong to the HC scene, it was all too elite for me. To me I did not care about the differences between hardcore and metal. I gradually became friends with the local HC people like Jean Paul Frijns who used to release his own fanzine and his own benefit festival for PETA. Rancor and Feeding The Fire were the local bands who gained a lot of international attention and I started hanging out with those dudes. During the last months of Feeding The Fire, Rob and me started BFP. We just wanted to make music no other European band was doing that very moment. NYHC with a strong metal influence like Hatebreed, Merauder, All Out War and Earth Crisis.
You just said you never wanted to belong to the HC scene, did you always felt like that? And what did you consider to be too elite exactly? Could you give any examples?
The Hardcore scene in Heerlen had this elite vibe. I always hated that. They always looked angry, it was always the same people hanging around, they were older than I was. It felt like they always felt better than anyone else. They had an arrogant attitude towards others. Back then the scene was really small so everyone knew each other. I always had the idea I did not belong to that scene. They wore the right clothes, the right shows, listened to the right music, followed specific rules. That was around the time when I did not know those people. A year later I got to know the in crowd and they were all really nice and friendly. Because the scene was so small, they did not want outsiders to ruin that thing of theirs I guess. This is how I see it now. I eventually became really close friends with a lot of them.
Good for you. Something else, while doing this interview, ‘off-the-record’ you more or less stated you had problems with letting things go. For instance the answers to these questions. Why do you think that is? You want to remain in control?
It’s a strange thing, but I’m a perfectionist. I never see something as complete or finished. Even with this interview. I can read it back and think I should’ve done this different or that different. It hasn’t much to do with staying in control, but more about delivering a good product/service. It can drive me nuts every once in a while.
I like success, but my drive comes from my disappointments. I want to learn from mistakes, but I’m afraid to make mistakes because I might show weakness. Failing is showing weakness, and I want to be a strong emotional man. That is how I want other people to see me as well. I know everyone makes mistakes, something always goes wrong, but emotionally I can’t let that feeling go of not wanting to fail. When I’m not feeling too well, I won’t tell that to anyone. To me that is showing weakness as well. Although I’m an emotional person, I won’t show that to anyone.
I like success, but my drive comes from my disappointments. I want to learn from mistakes, but I’m afraid to make mistakes because I might show weakness.
Doesn’t that hold you back of enjoying stuff a bit more sometimes? Where does that drive come from you think? That ‘fear’ of failure?
Sure it holds me back of enjoying stuff every once in a while. I tend to worry about our financial situation too much for instance as a result. I was in a really terrible financial situation for a long time. I played 150 shows a year, worked for 28 hours at minimum wage and I still had these bills to pay at the end of the month when my money was gone. That never gave me time to sit back and just enjoy. I think I did it for so long, I did not stop to worry. I know we do quite well, we can save up a bit of money every month, we can drive our cars and do the things we want like going on vacation. But still there always is this voice in the back of my head…
In my private life I tend to quit when I can’t do something. Whereas in my job I see this as a challenge. That has something to do with me being the winner type I guess. I want to be the best I can be. I want to be better than anyone else. But that in combination with my stubbornness is killing. Haha. That makes it almost impossible to work with me in a team.
So what do you want from life? What are you expectations for the future?
That is a hard question. I know where I’m from, I know where I am now. Where am I going is a bit harder to answer. I basically want to be happy. Maybe in a couple of years, if we’re lucky, a son or daughter. I only need to have enough money to survive and save up for our future child for him/her to go to school and college. Professionally I would like to become commercial director for my current company. A dream come true would be to move to Bali and leave the western World behind though.
I still want to do some stuff with Arma Gathas, play some more shows, release a second and third record. On top of that I really finally would like to finish this novel I have been working on for some time now. Maybe direct a video for Arma Gathas, I’m actually working out a script right now.
Why don’t you make that move to move to Bali? Because of the money?
My wife and I bought a house a couple of years ago, even before the financial crisis. Selling the house now would mean selling it with loss. We have some money saved up, we need some money to start over there as well. That would mean all the money would go down the tube. On top of that there are still a couple of other things we still have to do where we are now. The timing just isn’t right this very moment.
I usually ask this to everyone I interview, but you already revealed stuff like you playing the clarinet and the saxophone, let’s try anyway: What’s the thing nobody knows about Ché Snelting?
Something no one knows about me? I have no idea!
Come one, there must be something?
I did some fashion shows when I was younger… Nothing else…
I did some fashion shows when I was younger…
That’s a good one for sure. Since I’m pretty much out of questions I think, one other thing I tend to do more often lately is let the person I’m interviewing ask himself a question and answer it too. Can be about anything. Go wild.
Pieter really liked the answer I gave concerning him. Haha, he sent me a message on Facebook. While I was at the First Blood show in Landgraaf. Funny thing bout the First Blood show is that it took place at the venue where Born From Pain played the first show, and for me it was the first live show ever on stage. We played the show as a support of Morning Again. That was on august 23rd of 1997. Yesterday it was August 22nd. So that was exactly 13 years ago. Kind of weird. Wouter (the original BFP drummer) was there yesterday as well, just like Marco (who was our first unofficial second guitarist when BFP started) and Stefan who was our first official second guitarist. When I got home yesterday after the show I saw this message on Facebook saying Morning Again are getting back together for a couple of reunion shows this year. What a coincidence.
A week later on the 29th of August 1997 we played a last minute show with Despair (Scott Vogel’s band before Buried Alive and Terror, and after Slugfest, of which we played a cover off namely “Matron of Sedition”). That show was done by Rob and me as well, we decided to play that show, Ultimately this was one of Despair’s last shows they would ever play.
When BFP put out the “Sands of Time” record, we decided to bring Terror over, who were up and coming with their “Lowest of The Low” record, to play on our release shows we had planned. These shows were the first Terror shows in Europe. That sold out show was also held in the “Oefenbunker”. Everyone of course knows Scott Vogel fronts Terror, and has been fronting them since the very first beginning. Their bassist at that time was this really, friendly dude named Carl Schwartz. He became quite a close friend on that tour. A couple of years later Carl leaves Terror to focus on his other, and main band First Blood. So Schwartz played his first show ever in Europe in the same venue where he played yesterday evening. And I played my first two shows ever. Everything came full circle yesterday.
Is there anything we haven’t covered yet? Anything you want to get back at?
That should be it I guess. Thank you for doing this great interview. I had a lot of fun answering them and reading my answers over and over and over and over again… And I’m still not done with it…
Like this interview?
This interview was previously printed in Some Will Never Know #2. A 100 page A4 sized zine that has interviews with Marco Abularach (The Icemen, Shadow), Johan Prenger (Reflections), Daniel Rosen (Bitter End), Serge De Maar (Innocent), Ian Wiles (Dead And Gone Records, The Last Chance), Jos Houtveen (Seein Red, Lärm, Staathaat), Pieter Hendriks (Reaching Forward, Born From Pain, Black Bottle Riot), Alex B. (Cardiff City Hardcore) & Lianna Davies (Pettybone, Hang The Bastard) and a long Goudvishal special amongst others.
If you want to pick that up (or want to distro some) I still got plenty of copies left, so please get in touch or order it from the S&D Distro (and pick up some other zines / S&D stuff while you’re at it). It might be put out at the end of 2010 but these kind of interviews don’t really get outdated. Oh and you’ll be supporting this site too.