KNUCKLEDUST


Your new album "Bluffs, Lies And Alibies" features a song called "London Zoo" and I was wondering whether you could sum the lyrics up briefly for everybody not familiar with your band because I think it is kind of a programmatic track for the band, isn't it?

It's a song Pierre wrote about his life and how he feels about living in the UK at this moment in time. I think the lyrics to that song are very honest and from the heart. If you read the lyrics it is clear that some people are struggling to make ends meet because of our people in power constantly taking from the poor.

The artwork features a guy in a suit taking money away from a homeless person. Is the vincinity to the financial district in London something that influences your lyrics?

Yes, definitely. The CD artwork is a rich person taking from a working class person. This is going on daily over here. Our previous artwork for 'Promises Comfort Fools' was pictures of poor areas where we live in East London and rich banks who steal from us no more than 2 miles away in the background. It's a disgrace!

Your band certainly has street cred, meaning I'd consider you guys working class mates who don't live off their parents monthly allowance. Do people actually consider these things when listening to a band and value them?

I'd like to think so but unfortunately I dont believe this is the case. The rich kids are playing to lots more people and selling much more albums because mummy and daddy can afford to fund their touring lifestyles in the early days.

You probably have children yourselves and dayjobs which has become the usual lifestyle for musicians.

Wema (guitar) and Pierre (vocals) both have children.

(By the way, Ray Bussey recently got his own signature drum snare so if you're looking for a proper sound, you should give it a try! It's his baby if you like)

England seems to have a strong hardcore scene currently, whereas in Germany lots of groups have disbanded lately. How do you see things and what bands would you currently recommend?

It's good here in London at the moment. We have lots of shows and lots of real good quality bands doing it for the right reasons. I would recommend checking out www.rucktion.com or www.gsrmusic.com and check out some real music. The Rucktion guys are organising a 3 day festival here in June with some awesome UK bands performing!

I definitely have the impression that British bands are hard to discover, while they are great as far as their musical quality goes. Why are some British bands solely focussing on the Iles, which I think you don't, having a strong continental label with GSR. Is it merely a matter of distribution or how come some labels focus on the Isles solely? Have they already given in?

It's part of the reason that we wanted to work with GSR so we can be heard on mainland Europe. I think the word is getting out there lots more now but most UK labels are DIY and so will only deal with other DIY labels. You can buy the stuff over there but not in shops or online.

Would you say that there is a considerable gap between you and newer bands like GALLOWS? What is the shared ethic between you and younger bands from Britain?

The gap between our scene and what they do is huge but I have nothing against them. They do their thing on a different level to us. They have promotion and major label backing and we just rely on the HC scene to help us along. I do think you need bigger bands like Gallows to attract new kids to HC. Eventually they find us and maybe the reason the scene is so big right now is off the back of Gallows shows 4 years ago! Who knows?


You've kept to your style for decades and I was wondering whether you have any projects where you experiment or if you consciously tell yourselves that the message is more important than sound?

Pierre does BDO, Nic is in 9 BAR and I play in ARGY BARGY. We all listen to different styles of music and have different influences but when we come together to write tracks for Knuckledust it can only be the Hardcore we love and grew up listening to. Music and message has to remain true to our style.

Unfortunately bands with a message have become the exception. Who's to blame? Cheap booze, television, the internet or was it the holier than thou attitude of some scenesters?

I agree the message has been lost lately but I blame hip hop influences within Hardcore. Bands singing about VIP areas and 'bitches' is not the hardcore scene that we're from. Whatever! It all makes up part of our scene and keeps it interesting for some.

You've played some bigger events like HELLFEST, WITH FULL FORCE and the likes which are part of an event culture where do you see the drawbacks and what advantanges do these festivals have for a band?

I'll be honest and admit that I love playing those big festivals. For us, we're just 4 friends from East London who started making noise together as kids and to share dinner with huge bands like Slipknot is kind of exciting for us! Also, we play to lots of people so its way better for us as it would take 10 shows and hundreds of miles of travelling to play to the same amount of people normally. That said, we still enjoy small shows. We just played The 12 Bar Club in London last weekend and it was insane! Good times!

Thanks a bunch, Ray

ThEb

Photo by Cindy Frey