When you sit down to write lyrics what do want to accomplish with your words?
It’s not always the same. It usually depends on how I feel, how much time I have set aside, etc. But typi-
cally, I want to articulate something that is otherwise dif6icult for me to express outside of music.
With the instrumentation, the lyrics, and the melodies all working together, we have a real oppor-
tunity to express something that I simply cannot convey as powerfully or with such emotional depth
with words alone. I want our words to say something, but I want them to make the instrumental
music itself say something more as well. Sometimes we write the lyrics 6irst, sometimes last, but we
always want the lyrics and the music to put forward something that articulates and releaseswhat we constantly feel is bottled up inside of us. And we don’t leave the lyrics as just thesolo responsibility of the singer; we involve other members in the process of creating and revising the lyrics as well.
The song “Rebel Fatigues” seems to address the idea of “cliche revolution”which disappears quickly while the problems persist. What does that term “revolution” mean to you?
Revolution is de6initely a term that I think gets thrown around in
the punk scene quite a bit, with little regard for what arevolution actually entails. I think that a lot of people fall in love with the political account of revolutions from leaders across the world: such-and-suchrevolution was glorious or what have you. But of-ten (if not usually) in a revolution, lots of peopledie. And sadly, they often die for nothing becausethe revolution fails to take power or it just recre-ates the same problems as before. The song tried to portray the revolution through the eyes of arural subsistence farmer who sees power changethrough multiple revolutions throughout her or his lifetime. This new revolution looks just like thelast, and this poor worker remains helpless as thecountry goes through turmoil and the people pay the high price of regime change. This is the untold story of much of the world, and I wanted to tell thisstory for millions of powerless people who’ve been
exploited or died in vain throughout history. I’m
not saying that all revolutions are bad; there is atime when revolution is the only way forward and sometimes it works out well. But so many peopleuse the term revolution in such a meaningless or misunderstood way that I feel overlooks...
Many Hostage Calm songs have a very social/political vibe to them but a song like “Victory Lap” seems to be a much more personal song.Why were the ideas presented in this song important for you to touch on?
Well, 6irstly our songs are always personal, and I don’t see being personal and socially conscious as mutually exclusive. In fact, social and political issuesare very personal for us. We may not write each song in the 6irst person, or 6ill it with trite, melodramatic stuff, but if you look at the song closely it’s
always about something deeper that means something important to us. As for “Victory Lap,” it’s basically about the struggle between being far away ontour and being home. Touring has its winners and losers for any band. While we’re going around the world having a blast, we miss certain people at home.Those people have to go on without us and keep up with the daily grind as we’re away having the time of our life. I felt this was important to touch onbecause this struggle between home and away has always played a big role in our lives, and it deserved some space on the record for sure.
Do you ever have trouble taking that leap of faith and opening up yourself and writing about very personal ideas?
No, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s because the music I’ve always listened to wasn’t afraid to reveal something about itself. I’m not a terribly public person, and am rather quiet in most social situations. But when it comes to music, I’ve always felt all right saying anything that I feel, without any sort of reservations.
Growing up in a smaller town like Wallingford, CT do 8ind that the experience you had with music, bands and now with growing up is simi
lar or different to the experiences of people from much different areas?
De6initely, I think where you grow up shapes you. Luckily I was close to a lot of shows when I was younger. Whether it was Wallingford, Meriden, Cromwell,or any of a bunch of other central CT towns, shows were ALWAYS happening and they were always readily available. I wonder if I ever would have been
involved with punk music if I had been born somewhere where shows didn’t happen, or in a big city where there would have been other things for me to get involved with that could have led me down a different path.
What is it that you are missing that “the days have been stealing”?
When I was up at college, I constantly felt like I never got my 6ill of anything. I did the band, and I did some things that I thought were meaningful, but I never really felt happy. I always felt stressed. I felt like I was giving everything I had to give, and then when I would look for happiness where I expected it,I found something less. The days seemed to be taking everything from me, but not really giving me that much ful6illment. I was giving “the days” so much
energy and focus, but felt like I wasn’t really getting much in return.
In “Gaslighting” you talk about “only under the shadow of our 8lag can you be human”. How do you look at being American in a country ripewith so much hypocricy? When you look at modern life in America do you feel hopeful or more pessimistic?
There’s de6initely a great deal of hope, because we will always have the ability to change whatever problems exist (note: there are MANY). I have never felt unconditionally proud to be an American. The U.S. has had many proud moments (Civil Rights movement, the enormous creativity within the US,
etc.), but many shameful and often unspoken ones (genocide against the Native Americans, thescapegoating of immigrants). I feel that in popular American culture, everyone is so afraid to be ashamed of something America has done. They will “never apologize for America.” The hubris that drives someone to think that like is foreign to me. It’s the same sort of pompous attitude we carried with the war in Iraq while we constantly discussed
AMERICAN interests and AMERICAN lives and AMERICAN dollars, instead of the
death toll and interests of the people who we were “liberating.” We get too caught up with being American and not enough with being human.
Hostage Calm as a band does not seem to slide into that hateful, narrowsighted mindset that can easily come with awareness of all the suffering andpain in our world. How have you and the rest of the band been able todo this?
We know that we have an opportunity to speak and to changeminds, and that’s what drives us forward. We love playing music,and even though the outside world can be discouraging, we can’t let that destroy what we can build together. No contributionhas ever been made to anything of value by just packing it inand saying it’s not worth trying. We could give up and let theworld change us, but we’d rather change the world.
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