Face Tomorrow: a new album, a new beginning
posted by: maurice on 14 April 2011
I must admit I almost had forgotten Face Tomorrow after their latest album 'In the Dark'. Without notice they are here again with a complete new album. They are back with new energy and they experiment with new sounds. Aart, one of the founding members was happy to spend a few words about the rebirth of Face Tomorrow.
How are the reactions to the new album so far, are they all positive?
We’ve gotten a lot of feedback, and almost everything is positive. Extremely positive I´d say. Of course there are always people who miss something when they compare or new work to the first two albums. I can’t really hear why (anymore), but for some people those first albums have some sort of special appeal.
What was the release-show like?
Last Saturday was a very stressful day, especially because you only get a very limited timeframe in Rotown to build up your gear and do your sound check. Second, I’m almost that bit more nervous when I know that there are a lot of familiar faces in the crowd. Luckily, those feelings subsided during the show, and I felt free to let myself go to the music. Of course, afterward it’s extra fun that all those familiar faces are there.
After the show, the whole band was left with the feeling “We want more! We want more!” I am really excited to start playing a lot of shows!
After the first week of shows I spoke to Aart again. I asked him which new songs work in the live set, and which songs are not as suitable?
I think that we pretty well assessed that beforehand. An instrumental track will never be part of our live set, that’s pretty obvious. Second, an acoustic track like “Snakes & Ladders” works fine on a release-show, but if you play a night with a line-up with multiple bands, a song like that will be left out of the setlist.
Is this also reflected in the crowd-response? What is it that the crowd responds to during your shows?
That’s hard to say, and it differs from one show to the next. During a release-party the crowd exists of people who a) came especially to see you play live and b) who are very curious to hear the new material. The shows we played after the release-party took place in Germany, and they were another cup of tea. We consciously decided to change our setlist for those shows. The crowd usually responds best to songs they already know. Often, you’ve already played those songs live a thousand times over.
Okay, let’s return to your latest album. In my review I refer to the loss of both Jelle’s and your own dads’ death: “Vocalist Jelle and guitarist Aart both lost their father and the healing process surely had a dark impact on the music and lyrics. The song “Snakes And Ladders” is acoustic, dark and sad and symbolizes this loss. “Move On” shows us a positive side of the record as there is always a way up after a tragedy.”
However, I read in the review on nu.nl that this loss had already occurred during the recording of the previous album “In the dark” (which also makes sense when you look at the title). Who is correct here?
Jelle’s dad passed away when we were writing “In the Dark”. My own father died during the recording of that album. That record describes the entire process through which you have to go when somebody who is that close to you and who you looked up to passes away. That’s also the reason why that album is so dark.
"Snake & Ladders" originally is an instrumental lullaby by Tijs for his little nephew. The text is clearly directed to him, to teach him something about live. So it’s more an ode to life than a reference to death. On the other hand, “Move on” definitely is a song that symbolises that we learned to live with the death of our fathers.
Is this song also you favourite one on the record?
“Move On” is indeed my favourite, that’s actually an easy choice to make. I love songs with long tension-build up. I think that is one of our strong points, and it fits my current mood perfectly, thematically speaking. I’ve moved on and left the recent past behind me. And now it’s time to pick up my life where I left off.
Who wrote most of the material on the album, I presume that was you? You have been listening to music for a long time, what are your current inspirations?
Face Tomorrow has evolved to a complete writing group over the last few years. The first 2 albums were mainly the product of my labours, but this time bass-played Tijs added a lot of material, and even our new guitarist Ralf had his fair share of input.
During the writing-process I mainly started to listen to the music that first inspired me to create my own music. Or to define it better, the music that was my first inspiration for the change in direction of Face Tomorrow after Jelle joined our ranks as vocalist.
During “In the dark”, I wrote very little material, both as a result of my father’s death and due to the common expectations that surrounded the band. Basically, I had no inspiration. You could call it a writers-block. I had to return to the “why”. What was the reason that I wanted to create music in the first place? That train of thought took me back to the nineties, with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Nirvana, Quicksand, Jawbreaker en Samiam as the culprits.
I still have a weak spot for the emo-bands from the nineties as well, and that will also find its way into our music as an influence. I’ve also become very interested in the structure pop songs ever since “Bleed American” by Jimmy Eat World. So in short, Pop music and nineties-emo.
Is there any response to the current political climate in the Netherlands on the current album, either lyrically or musically? Or are your lyrics more related to personal and social issues?
Jelle always writes his lyrics from his own perspective, discussing things that are bothering him personally. What those things are, that’s very diverse. Dutch politics definitely had their impact on this record; it would be neigh impossible for that not to be the case.
However, don’t expect any political statements from Face Tomorrow, we’re just not the band for that kind of messages. It’s not that we’re not interested in that material, it’s just that there are other bands out there that are much better capable to express their opinions lyrically. Stick to what you do best, is what I’d say.
It might have been different if it were me or Tijs who were responsible for the lyrics, but normally that’s not the case. I do think that there are feelings of anger, disbelief and frustration about the current political situation to be found in our music. These songs would have sounded differently if the political situation would have been different, no doubt.
Added as a bonus to the album are a couple of secrets. You can reach them with scanning with your hipster mobile phone. If you don't own this type of GSM you can email. How often did you have to send an email from your address firstname.lastname@example.org? I can image that not everybody has been able to scan their barcode?
I think that so far that number is pretty limited as the preorders haven’t arrived at their destinations yet. But I am sure that we’ll get a lot of emails to answer. Especially as our typical crowd is a little bit older than what I think people would expect.
For those people who don’t own the record yet, can you describe the bonus stuff? And can you also tell me what we can expect for the (near) future?
There are two acoustic live tracks for listening or downloading, a first live clip, two video blogs (one by Ralf and one by me) and a blog by Tijs in which he introduces the first versions of the tracks that made it onto the album, and where he explains how those songs came into existence.
You can also download all the lyrics (as a PDF) and a complete list of credits. We will especially use the blog-section to add more live-material in the near future. Expect both acoustic and electric content, both in movie- and mp3-format. For instance, we videotaped the release show in Rotown. It provides us a good way to get in better contact with the people who also buy our stuff. Especially since everybody can respond to our blogs as well.
What is the reason behind this novel idea? And who brought it up?
We felt that the people who spend their hard-earned money on a physical release deserved a little extra, and it provides us with a means to release new material and to directly contact our fans. I and Teun (our "manager”) came up with the idea, together with a little help by Alex (Redfield Records).
Face Tomorrow has been around for more than a decade. What is it that keeps you going for this long? Have there ever been periods when you were ready to throw in the towel?
There have been multiple occasions when I considered quitting with Face Tomorrow. Especially after “In the Dark” I was done with the whole thing. I couldn’t find any pleasure in playing in a band anymore. But when it was just the four of us (without Marc) writing music again, just creating new songs without any pressure, I soon recalled what it was that made me enjoy creating music so much. Playing in a band like Face Tomorrow is a perfect way to express your feelings. It’s the things that you can’t share with the people around you that are released on stage. I think it would have cost me a fortune on counselling-money if it wouldn’t have been for Face Tomorrow.
Suppose for a moment that the band will cease to be. Would you still make music, and if so, what style of music would that be?
I will never quit making music. The only question is if I will still put in as much energy, time and money as I currently do with Face Tomorrow. If the band ever would quit, I think my priority should be to pay some attention to the other parts of my life. By that I mean find a decent job, improve the house my girlfriend and I bought, have kids etc.
But I think I would die without my music. I have such a soft spot for bands like Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, Bluetip, Quicksand but also Converge and Rise and Fall. I guess those influences would surface if Face Tomorrow were to stop. Especially because those influences aren’t easily incorporated into the Face Tomorrow sound, the biggest difficulties being the vocals.
If you would start a band in the vein of Converge or Rise and Fall who are you going to ask to complete the line-up? You can choose anyone you want... and why asking them?
OK, on Drums Rob Killingcupid, just because he is my best friend and the best drummer I know. I would ask Harm (Modern life is war, Razor Crusade) to get his bass guitar back out again because he has been playing way to much jangly indie rock on that guitar of his lately. I would get Dave Verellen to do the vocals because hell he was the singer in Botch, that should be more than enough reason. And I would get Don Devore from Ink and Dagger to join me on guitar just because I think he is one of the most inventive and crazy guitar players to ever come out of the hardcore scene.
Interview by Maurice
Photos by Daniel Baggerman, Josephine Kurvers & Marcel van Leeuwen
Translation by Stefan Engels
Related bandprofile: Face Tomorrow
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verdient flink wat aandacht!
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|Heb de plaat nog niet gehoord, maar hij krijgt erg veel goede responses. Ben nu toch wel heel erg benieuwd
This is a random picture from the last show in the gallery