Hello, welcome to Jera On Air. How has it been?
We had a blast at Jera! So cool to see people still into these songs we did 20 years ago.
Today you played the full Headcleaner album on stage. The bands breakthrough release in 1998 on Epitaph Records. Why did you pick this particular album?
Headcleaner was released twenty years ago. It was the first record we ever made, produced by our heroes of The Descendents, and released by our favourite label ever. We did a show earlier this year where we played the entire album. The good people of Jera asked us to do the same thing at the festival and we happily obliged.
You’ve just mentioned that you did a similar full Headcleaner set earlier this year in a venue in your hometown of Dordrecht. I couldn’t make it but how was this rare occasion?
It was fun to revisit those old songs, especially since we’ve been working on a new album for the last six months or so. The crowd was a mix of old friends and new ones, and we had two amazing bands playing with us that night: Note To Amy and Cooper. We’ve been playing shows with Cooper for twenty years, we go way back with those guys. They actually played with us when we did the album release party for Headcleaner 20 years ago.
For Headcleaner you got the opportunity to record at the legendary The Blasting Room studios with the even more legendary Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag). Guess that was a pleasant call from Brett Guerewitz (Bad Religion, Epitaph records) when he announced the news?
Actually, it was the other way around. Epitaph gave us absolute freedom, we could pick who ever we wanted to work with. And since we really loved the records that were made at The Blasting Room around that time, it really was a no-brainer: The Blasting Room! To this day we’re still very grateful for that opportunity. Not many people can say they made an album with their heroes. On one of the last days in the studio, Bill took us out into the mountains. I still remember him saying that above anything else, making a record should be fun. Bill and Stephen made sure it was just that.
Picking up on some of the songs on Headcleaner, it was 20 years ago. People change, but how do you feel on certain lyrics today such as those of Maybe Tomorrow that are sometimes dark.
It’s funny to hear you say Maybe Tomorrow is dark, ‘cause to us, there’s a sense of hope in those lyrics. But I see your point, generally speaking our lyrics were darker than those of other melodic punk bands. We always felt that part of what made us stand out from so many other bands was the content of our lyrics. Not all of our lyrics have aged that well, but I still like the words of Maybe Tomorrow.
On the other hand you also recorded a song like Ordinary Fight that appears to be timeless as it’s content is still very vibrant with the way the world is going. Is this still your view on the state of the world?
Taken at face value, Ordinary Fight is about fighting fascism. It is the first song we’ve ever written, and we felt we had to get that of chest. Looking at the world today, it’s safe to say there is still plenty to fight for.
It appears I Against I is more than a reunion tour like we’ve seen from many bands the last years. You’ve released a new song, Walk Away, it was featured on the White Russian Records label sampler earlier this year. And a new album is coming soon?
When we got back together last year, we had only one mission: to make a new record. We just finished it last month, and we’re very, very happy with how it turned out. People who liked Headcleaner will love this one. It’s very energetic and hyper melodic.
The new album is called ‘Small Waves’, it will be released on october 6th by White Russian Records.
What’s next for I Against I?
The good thing is that we don’t really know what’s next. We just want to meet new people and play with as many great bands as possible. As long as we’re having fun playing again, we will continue. And right now, we’re having more fun than ever.