This Routine Is Hell
Writing and releasing a record can be a struggle. Some bands have to overcome so many difficulties they decide to quit all together. Other bands come out the process stronger. This Routine Is Hell falls in the second category. Vocalist Noam tells about the release of the long delayed Repent. Repeat. 10″ and gives some insights in the band’s future plans.
Why did it take a longer time for the record to come out?
Several reasons. Firstly, the artwork got delayed, which mostly was caused by the fact that each of us had a very strong opinion about the details. Secondly, we had some major financial drawbacks that made it very hard for us to get the record out there.
We’ve been pushing to get this pandora’s box open and to let go of this energy, and to know something trivial such as money could hold you back just makes it all even more frustrating.
Did it bring tension or frustration in the band to have these new recorded songs laying there but not having them out in the world? Or did you go on writing new songs and will a new record be out within a year?
Yeah, this was definitely a really frustrating period of time for us, but overall, we have learned quite a lot from this experience. I guess it’s hard to let go of something you hold very dear, but sometimes it’s necessary to step back and appreciate the whole. Especially the recording process was quite demoralizing as it was dominated by a lot of pushing and pulling on the creative side. Out of all that, Repent. Repeat. could be considered a result of this interpersonal struggle we had during the writing and recording process.
The last year has been somewhat disheartening as a band. We’ve been pushing to get this pandora’s box open and to let go of this energy, and to know something trivial such as money could hold you back just makes it all even more frustrating. We wrote some extra material that didn’t get recorded, and we were thinking of revamping them for a newer record. But we recently decided to start anew, as we think our new record should somehow capture our current mindset as a band, and as a set of individuals. The old stuff is in someway tainted by that struggle we had. We have changed a lot the last year and we’ve grown more towards a whole and think it’s necessary the new record accompanies that feeling. Basically, we’re trying to create something completely new.
It’s interesting to note how certain desires and pursuits of happiness define our behavior as individuals and how they create the currents of society.
On Repent. Repeat. you quote from Nietzsche’s Anti-Christ. When did you first read that book and why did it make such an impression on you that you used is for one of your songs?
Bram and I both haven’t really read the Anti-Christ yet, but we’re both very much occupied with philosophy as it is also a part of our studies and our lives. We’ve had many discussions about philosophers like Camus and Nietzsche and at one point, we were talking about the innate competitive nature of men, and how this is depicted in modern society. Obviously, Nietzsche came to mind, and Bram mentioned the Anti-Christ as he had talked about with some other friends.
We thought this quote was really fitting and appropriate to the general idea expressed in this song. It was supposed to compliment the rest of the lyrics, but in retrospect, we both feel it has really grown to be the centerpiece of the song, lyrically and musically.
It’s interesting to note how certain desires and pursuits of happiness define our behavior as individuals and how they create the currents of society. When looked upon from a more analytical perspective, one might argue that certain problems lie not merely in the system, but in something more profound: human nature.
This is definitely a theme that we’re going to work out some more in our new material, and something that concern’s a large part of my study as well, so it feels comforting and natural that these separate parts of my life are able to converge.
When comparing The Verve Crusade to Repent. Repeat. I get the feeling you turned more inwards and reflect upon your own actions. Is this record in a sense more introspective?
Definitely, to me, Repent. Repeat. at the time had no room for specific one-issue songs like ‘Manufacturing Consent’ and ‘Crooks and Robbers’. At the moment, I felt like I was wasting a substantial part of my time. ‘Without Spirit, We Roam’ captures this feeling, and the other songs somewhat of an introspective look at the past. The whole process of writing has been very therapeutic to me and made me look differently at the future.
Overall, the lyrics are quite dark in nature, but placing them in the context of our music has allowed for a much more positive outlook on life in general.
Also, I think the 10” medium is more appropriate for expressing a more general vision instead directing to single subjects.
With putting up shows for Rise and Fall and stuff you guys seemed to be part of building a new and flourishing scene in Utrecht. To my surprise the release show for Repen.t Repeat. was in Eindhoven. Why this change of city?
We noticed a lot more young kids were attending our shows in the south. Also, we wanted to give our Belgian friends a change to join the show. It happened to be a good blend of friends all over the place. Beartrap was doing a tour and we really wanted to join them on this show.
Utrecht hasn’t lost our focus, Holland just isn’t that big…
We feel that the visual part can be (and should be!) a big part of the whole package because it can substantially add value to the general message one could try to point out.
Many bands nowadays stream there music through bandcamp etc. You decided to build a whole website around your new release. Why?
We feel that the visual part can be (and should be!) a big part of the whole package because it can substantially add value to the general message one could try to point out. In our case, the photos were taken on tour and portrait the situation around the time of writing Repent. Repeat. Therefore, it really compliments the capturing of that particular moment.
When reading about TRIH, Paint It Black and Ceremony are mentioned a lot. How do you feel about the new musical direction of Ceremony and the lack of new material from Paint It Black?
I definitely think it’s cool that Ceremony is just doing what they think needs to be done for them. They’ve shown their growth as a band, and I can totally relate to that urge. People change, interests change, music changes. To be honest, I haven’t really taken the time to listen to Zoo yet, but Rohnert Park has really come to grow on me.
And yeah, isn’t everybody unhappy about Paint it Black not releasing anything new lately? COME BACK TO EUROPE goddammit. Now we have to go all the way to the U.S, jeez…
Anyway, records are like disposable camera’s, it’s all about capturing moments in life.
Nowadays, a lot of kids find meaning in their lives through this music, and we think it’s important for us to discuss how you can position yourself in present-day’s fractured and traumatized society.
Repent. Repeat. could be about human behaviour on a small scale but also on a more general level. Which topics do you think a so called progressive scene as the hardcore punk community should really be about? And do you think music is still a tool for change or are Facebook pages the new of activism.
Do you mean Slacktivism? Anyway, I’m really not in the position to talk about what the community should care about. To us, in the modern and individualistic age, the issue of morality can’t, and shouldn’t be addressed by some religious form of systematized dogma. Nowadays, a lot of kids find meaning in their lives through this music, and we think it’s important for us to discuss how you can position yourself in present-day’s fractured and traumatized society. And I just really love other bands that do the same thing, yet it’s not something that should be contained within our community. Actually, I’d urge anybody to discuss these matters at work, at school, with friends and families that can’t relate to the music. I’m sure they can relate to some form of anxiety of growing up, finding meaning, finding purpose and finding hope.
Somewhere I read that some bandmembers traveled up north do record a black metal record. When will you start offering pigs and lambs?
Never, we’re vegan.
A sense of urgency has risen a great deal and we all feel as if it’s a ‘now or never’ thing. Who would be more perfect to go at it than Kurt Ballou?
So what’s next for the band?
We’re going to record our second full length and the new material is a lot more coherent and focused on our current mindset. The Verve Crusade contained material that was spread over at least two years. We’re trying to capture our matured perspective on life as I think it’s going be a more powerful and impressing image. Also, as a response to the issues we had with recording Repent. Repeat. we feel that it is necessary to give this new record everything we’ve got. A sense of urgency has risen a great deal and we all feel as if it’s a ‘now or never’ thing. Who would be more perfect to go at it than Kurt Ballou?
The bands he has worked with have been a great inspiration to us all (Modern Life is War, Paint it Black, Rise and Fall) and his approach to assisting the band in constructing an album seems very befitting to us. We think it’s exactly the approach that would get the most out of us, considering we never really worked with someone who just tracked the music instead of carefully listening to the music, understanding where you’re coming from and participating in the entire process of getting a series of thoughts and emotions on tape.
Do you already have a label for the new record and how about that US tour?
We haven’t gotten in touch with any labels yet as we’re currently demoing our new material and working out the general idea of the new album. We want to be able to tell anyone that might be interested about what this record is going express, what foundation legitimizes the urgency and essence of the music.
Concerning the rest of our plans in the US. We’re doing the east and west coast from the 1st of August ’till the 21st. The details aren’t there yet, but we’re definitely committed to this and we’re sure this is going to be a life changing period for us as a band, and as individuals.