Summer European metal festivals bring out some of the best bands from all over the world. Brutal Assault is no exception, this is where we had a chance to sit and chat with vocalist Carl Schwartz from the San Francisco hardcore punk band First Blood.
Carl, How are you doing today?
I am doing good, thank you
To any of our readers out there who may not be familiar with your music, how would you describe it?
We are a heavy mosh band, pretty much hardcore mosh metal.
In your current album, “Rules” , every song has the word “rules”. What is the story behind that, and the album title?
Rules kind of suck, and when you think of the hardcore lifestyle you abide by your own rules and that’s a way to put it. A lot of times people just want to go out to a hardcore show and leave like “Man, this band rules”. It’s about rules of life and just trying to figure things out.
How does it feel to come back with a new album after 7 years?
It feels good, because I have been trying to write it for a long time, but it just never felt right. Finally we had some good people push to recording and put it on a label and really push to press this along.
Can you briefly tell me what your writing process is like when writing a new album?
They flew me out to recording studio in New Jersey, and I locked myself in there for 6 weeks, until I wrote and recorded and left, pretty much that’s how it works. I have to shut down everything else in my life to try to do something like an album, it’s hard for me.
What are your lyrical influences?
When I got into bands that started to talk about things like other than what you saw at a show like “This guy stabbed me in the back”. When bands came out and started to talk about things like big things, maybe stuff that your parents would go through, politics, stuff like struggles. They represent it in a way that with aggressive music kids could understand and relate to, that these things are really important. Like Earth Crisis, they would usually talk about “normal” underground problems, that people can connect with.
How would you encourage the new generations to find their own ways, as your album is about “Rules” and breaking free from that?
A couple of songs were like a letter I would write to myself. When I was younger I would be like “you’re tough, you would have to figure out when you were a kid, and you always thought people would embrace the things you were into and listen to you, but they won’t”. That’s the rule: you have to go in there thinking you never force your rules and your ideas through intimidation or brute force. You have to try to engage with people in a way that you’re trying to bring them together, rather than trying to prove ” I am right, and you are wrong”. Right now especially in the US it’s the worst it’s ever been as far as people divided. People they have to understand that the purpose of going down the street to protest is not to prove they are right and you’re wrong. There are common enemies within everybody, and they are falling for the oldest trick in the book. We are all fighting each other, hardcore, sub-genres,… it’s like “your not punk enough, you’re too metal, you’re not too political, you’re fake political”. I feel that with music, people can understand that we still have to keep communicating our point of view, but not in a way that alienates or dehumanizes. I wanted to be aggressive and provocative when I started but I realized that doesn’t accomplish anything, because you’re actually doing worse for your cause for some short term temporary personal notoriety. In the end, do you want to be remembered for doing something good, or do you want to be remembered for being bitter, like someone who just faded away? That is the sort of struggle I want to communicate.
What are the rest of the plans for First Blood for 2017?
More touring, in Europe and then going back to the States for a bit, then going to Japan. Starting next year we will be back touring again Europe and hopefully Australia and other parts we didn’t make it to this year. I have some songs I wrote on “Rules” that weren’t finished recording, we will finish them and release them next year, sort of like “More Rules” (laughs) “Rules part 2”
Anything you would like to say to our readers?
We will be on tour, pick up our album if you had no idea we put out a new album after 7 years, its called “First Blood Rules” from Pure Noise Records. We are out touring Europe with Avocado Booking, tour dates are everywhere, online, and we will try to come out to a town near you, and thank you!
No, thank you!