This interview was not done by Johnny OC so we caught up with him and asked the B9 section of the questions
starting at 11:45 of the Video
-With legendary releases by Vegan Reich, Stretch Armstrong, Racetraitor, 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Fall Out Boy, Rogue Nation, and more, Uprising Records is one of the most influential hardcore labels of the last 20 years. How did Liferuiner's relationship with Uprising come about? How has the experience been for you guys thus far?
Uprising as honestly been a blessing for this band. Liferuiner has really been very lucky label-wise. Our first release, "No Saints" was released by our good friend Matt at Tribunal records. Matt was the first person to really get behind the band and has supported us from day one. When Tribunal released our record, we were not under contract. In exchange for distributing the release and keeping the profit, Tribunal has always given us our record for free to sell on the road - letting us keep all the profit. While some may think that not getting a royalty check is a scam, to me, this partnership was a great way to make money on the road and stay debt free. â€œNo Saintsâ€ really got our name out as band and kept us with money to fund the first 2 years of DIY touring.
Between the Tribunal release and our Uprising record, we were briefly signed to Rise Records for about a week. The short version of that saga goes as follows: We were signed in the middle of a shitty tour with a bunch of cool bands. The agent who booked this tour is also a promoter who owns a venue in Houston. After countless horribly booked shows and lies on the agentâ€™s part, we ended up at the agentâ€™s venue, where he booked the package. After calling out a kid in the crowd for fighting amongst other things, our then guitarist decided to have a word with this agent and let him know what we thought about the tour.
The agent, obviously realizing he was wrong (all the other bands also continued to talk shit about the horrible job this character did booking) decided to tell Craig, the owner of Rise, that we were a "threatening" band. Craig in return ripped up the contract without ever contacting us or hearing our side of the story. Fuck him, his
bands blow anyway.
When we were touring California a few years ago with Emmure, we met Josh white who owns The City is Burning Records. At that point in time, Emmure was on Josh's label as well as a few other bands who have moved on to do big things. Between that time and the following Fall, we kept in touch with Josh and talked about possibly signing with TCIB. After showcasing for Victory and almost signing in the Fall, we were still without a label in winter 2007. By that time, Josh hooked up with Sean Muttaqi, who runs Uprising. Josh was without distribution when we met him, which was holding us back from signing.
Right before Josh hooked up with Sean, we picked up new management who was going to help us with the signing process. During a tour with Ligeia in November 2007, we signed with Sean. I have absolutely nothing but great things to say about Sean. He is one of my best friends and an amazing label owner. Without typing a novel, we have had many van issues and break-downs on the road. Every single time we had a problem, Sean has made sure we kept going. There is nothing in the world this dude will not do to help this band and it has been a great experience. The guy is truly a legend and has countless stories from the Vegan Reich days. I personally love his DIY ethic from running Hardline Records, to doing everything at Uprising by himself.
Sean is no stranger to controversy, which I think is why he was drawn to Liferuiner. He knows what itâ€™s like to stir up problems on the road, rumors, shit talk, etc. Itâ€™s funny when people "claim" that I or this band are not Edge. Sean is 38 years old and still Hardline, which is amazing to me. He knows whatâ€™s up with us and would never endorse a band that claims Edge and is, in all actuality, not. We have hung out on many occasions and he can vouch for all of us. The shit-talkers are the kids who hide behind screens.
-What went into your new album â€œTaking Back The Nightlifeâ€ in terms of hardcore values, perspectives on life, and musical inspiration?
â€œTaking Back The Nightlifeâ€ was written musically when we were in the studio. I write lyrics all the time and the majority of them were written out in different formations before we entered the studio. The main writers on the record were a combination of Shane, our drummer, and Andrew and Seb, our guitarists. Shane comes from a hardcore background and is a fan of bands like Tragedy, Fucked Up, etc. He is not a double-kick drummer by choice, which is why the record is all single-pedal.
I did not want â€œTBTNLâ€ to have cheesy double bass, fancy production, etc. I wanted it to be raw and fast. Shane and I saw eye to eye on this. Sebastian and Andrew also wanted to also make a record that shied away from the "mosh" bands in the genre.
Lyrically, I write about things that are affecting my life. A few songs were inspired by my motherâ€™s battle with cancer. On the record we have a couple Straight-Edge themed songs, as well as other songs that draw from other aspects of my life. We have songs that touch on religious issues, "Megadeath," as well as some songs about politics. We recorded this record with Jamie king, who is mostly known for his work with the band Between The Buried And Me.
While I think we were definitely not prepared to record when we did, we made it work. This band has always worked under pressure and I think we wrote 6 or so songs in the studio. I am very happy with the way the record came out and I think our fans are also. I think we could have recorded â€œNo Saints Pt. 2â€ and maybe advanced as a band draw-wise, but my heart would really not be in it. That first record was more of a rush job at the last minute. I think a lot of people have written off the band based on songs off the first record, but many seemed to be surprised if they actually give â€œTBTNLâ€ a listen. Not to say there isn't breakdowns and such, but itâ€™s definitely something that I can be proud of.
-There has been a lot of hate aimed towards you and your band over the years from all directions, notably the hardcore scene. What scene do you feel most comfortable playing shows in, or associating with, if any?
Itâ€™s hard to really pigeonhole what "scene" we play in. I feel like our band is accessible to different types of kids, which makes it more enjoyable to me. We have never tried to be strictly a Straight-Edge band that only tours with Edge bands, or a band that just plays with bands in the hardcore genre.
A lot of the bands I know on labels like Seventh Dagger and such get pigeonholed with only touring with similar bands in that scene. While that is cool and fine for some acts, I like to tour with all different styles to broaden the horizons. If you only tour with one style of band, the shows will only be so big. After touring those circuits and playing with the same bands, it gets boring.
Over this bandâ€™s career we have done many tours with Christian bands, grind bands, metal bands, etc. Hell, our last tour was with Dr. Acula. Dr. Aacula is a Myspace hype band that draws scene kids, the total opposite of the stereotypical kids who would be into Liferuiner. You know what? The shows were huge and we made new fans in all these markets where these kids would probably never come out and get exposed to Liferuiner, if it was just us with a bunch of hardcore bands.
To sum it up, I feel comfortable playing in front of any scene who respects the band. Let it be a hardcore kid or a cheesy Myspace kid who is at one of his first shows. I will give respect to anyone who comes out and respects us.
-While hardcore music has always shared a connection with the underground hip-hop scene, in recent years, bling imagery and the gangster mentality seems to have crept its way into hardcore. Liferuiner apparently hasn't been unaffected by this either, as the audio clips on your new album, and your controversial new promo photo, exemplify. Street Hip-Hop culture has also come to influence t-shirt designs for a wealth of both hardcore and metalcore bands. How would you explain this influence? Is it a good thing for hardcore? What kinds of messages do you think it sends? Is it all a joke that people should be in on instead of criticizing?
I wonâ€™t lie and say that it isn't a marketing tool, because it is. You know as much as I do that merchandise with Hip-Hop influenced designs are a big thing right now. It seems in the past year or so that the street-wear trend has really merged into hardcore, not saying that it just started now, but itâ€™s definitely on a rise. There are a lot of bands who really embrace this image, but itâ€™s never really been me.
Personally, I love bands like Cold World who seem very influenced by Hip-Hop as well as even older bands like Biohazard. Itâ€™s cheesy that some of these mosh bands act like thugs in real life with this shit, but at the end of the day itâ€™s just a gimmick to those guys - and the fans eat it up. If it works for them, more power to â€˜em. I'm not going to criticize or judge someone's intentions musically.
Is it a good thing for hardcore? I think like with many eras of hardcore, it will eventually die down. The bands into it for the right reasons will most likely stick around and the impostors will die out. I haven't really thought about the message it sends out, but I think the joke aspect depends on the person or band involved.
-You are openly Straight-Edge. The influence of Straight-Edge in the hardcore scene has waned considerably in recent years, and since the years of Earth Crisis, Snapcase, Strife, 108, One King Down, Another Victim, Day Of Mourning, etc., there haven't been many bands to fill this vacuum. Why do you think the movement has lost ground? Why aren't kids as willing to associate with the edge? Why do you feel people who don't drink or smoke need to call themselves straight edge? Shouldn't the act of abstinence be enough for self-benefit?
I think people go through phases in life. Let it be dressing "scene" or "Hip-Hop" we all have stages of life where we are interested in different sub-cultures. I think many kids were Edge for a phase of their life, then moved onto different things...which is perfectly fine. I think the worst thing you can do is judge someone.
Maybe that period in that personâ€™s life was an amazing time; nobody should care or judge but the individual. When you start caring what others think, you die inside. Was Straight-Edge more popular for a few years then compared to now? Sure, I definitely think so, but the kids who were in it then for the right reasons are still Edge now....Sean for example.
There are plenty of Edge bands out their who still keep this scene and movement alive. I'll take Verse or Have Heart any day over these cheesy, thugged-out Edge bands that plague this scene...you know who you are. As far as kids not wanting to associate with the Edge, I don't really even think about it. I would still be Edge if I wasn't involved with hardcore. I think anyone who is doing it to just to fit in, or for a novelty reason, probably will not be Edge for the long haul. I know plenty of people not associated with hardcore who have decided to not drink or smoke for various reasons.
I think being Edge should be a personal choice for yourself and personal well-being. A stupid title is nothing but something to classify you. Any sort of
self-improvement is a feat in itself. You should not feel like less of a person or an individual just because you don't fit the mold and rules of a title like "Straight-Edge" If you do claim Edge, thatâ€™s great. If you don't but still try to improve your life and the lives of those around you, thatâ€™s amazing as well. Anyone who tells you otherwise can fuck themselves. You are your only judge.
-What are some of the less constructive trends in the hardcore/metalcore scenes which you have observed recently?
-Street-wear is obviously huge
-Sub-genres...some good, some bad.
-All the different "Cores"
-Fake-ass death metal
-Fake "grind" bands
-Bands taking themselves way too seriously
Not that these trends are anything new or anything.
-Discuss some of the more interesting touring experiences you've had in recent years. Crooked promoters? Fights? Threats?
I could go on for days...here are a few highlights:
-Staying at a girlâ€™s house in North Carolina and watching a group of KKK dudes marching around a lake.
-Touring across the country twice in an unregistered casino transport bus without insurance...8 of us in a rolling shit box without seats.
-Having a band member and roadie talk large amounts of shit about a certain metal bandâ€™s female keyboardist while her entire band was standing next to them without them knowing. Then having our dudes hide in the bus while that band surrounded it.
-Putting a mortar into a recycling bin full of empty glass bottles and exploding it about 80 feet in the air all over a parking lot.
-Pissing into a Vitamin Water bottle and having our guitarist drink it.
-Countless shitting stories
-Driving through a tornado in Kansas
-Some dude spitting all over my face then finishing the set sitting down in front of him.
Settle the score with the current lineup of Liferuiner. Why have there been so many member changes over the years? Why do you remain after all this time? Who is in the band now and will the lineup stay solid?
Liferuiner started as a joke. From the first show, we did not have a steady lineup, our bassist did not even plug in. I was the only member who really wanted to tour full-time when I decided I wanted the band to get serious. Touring is hard. Especially for almost 4 years straight for 10 months at a time. During the first two years, we would have members change left and right. The only way to really look at the band is in stages. For awhile we had a steady bassist and guitarist, then after that, we had another steady core lineup. During different tours, certain members would have to drop out for different commitments and obligations. I obviously filled the void and kept touring through all of this. From the beginning, kids associated this band with me. We have never had the same lineup for two tours and the fans know this. In a perfect world, would I have the same group of dudes? Sure, but touring is hard and stressful work - especially when you are living on $5 a day.
During a full US tour last May, I quit the band until now. To sum it up, after recording â€œTBTNL,â€ our original guitarist and songwriter, Andrew quit the band. Andrew is an older dude like me and had obligations at home. Because we had about 4 months of solid touring booked, I was put in a position where I had to bring out dudes who I was not really friends with. Between North Carolina where we started the tour and California, 3 incidents occurred.
In NJ, we were playing a packed show at a VFW hall. It was a weeknight and we had over 300 paid kids. This was amazing for us because it was just us and locals. Before we went on, we sold about $400 worth of merch. This seems irrelevant to the story, but it plays a part. I'd say 90% of the crowd was there for us. They were buying merch and when we took the stage, the room erupted. The set went down amazing until the second to last song. Because we were on a floor, kids were getting up in all our faces singing along, which is awesome. During a certain stand-out part of a song, a girl in the front (who was singing the lyrics in my face the entire set), moved in to sing into the mic. I put my hand on her shoulder and gave her the mic for this certain part. Then, she pulled back, like I did something wrong and her boyfriend came up and spit in my face point-blank and started screaming "Molester!" "Rapist!"...all for giving this fucking girl the mic. Our manager and a dude from the label were right on the floor next to me. Hell, the entire room can vouch for me. This dude and girl were out to get me for absolutely no reason. Because I'm not dumb enough to start shit in someone else's scene, I shook it off and kept singing and wiped the spit off my face.
The entire crowd then in return starts to walk out of the room and leave. These are the same kids who were singing the songs two minutes ago and buying merch. All because some wannabe hard dude got up in my face, the entire crowd, like sheep, just followed his lead and left. What really set me off was the fact that my band, minus our drummer, just stood and watched. They did nothing in my defense and just sat still.
A few days later in Chicago, after our set I was walking on stage. When I was facing the backstage area bending down to get something, a dude sucker-punched me and pushed me over a cabinet and started kicking me in the head from behind. It wasn't a giant deal, but again, the kids in the band stood and watched. I contemplated leaving the band in Chicago but realized I put way to much time and effort into something to have it just end.
The following week in Fresno I got word that my mother was ill again. That on top of the issues of the past week, I decided to go home. I chilled in Fresno for a week after the show to get tattooed, then I went back home.
From then to now the band did a few tours with a fill-in singer and continued touring surrounding the release of â€œTBTNL.â€ After a July tour fell apart because of internal issues, management and Sean asked me to come back with a new line-up of members that I fully endorse. The record has been doing amazing, over 7k sold already and we have 2 months of solid US touring before we do a month in Europe. After Europe, we plan on going into the studio to record a new record.
You have been called out for having been into non-hardcore styles of music early in your career. But everyone had to start somewhere. What do you have to say to people who criticize you for what kind of music you listened to or performed years ago?
Everyone grows as a person in life. I do not have the same musical style and taste as I did when I started this band. Everyone is not born a pretentious hardcore elitist.
Some of the most respected dudes in hardcore have said they are closet Liferuiner fans. I have no shame, that first record was me then.
Where do you hope to take Liferuiner in the coming years?
I hope that after touring Europe, the band can visit South America, Japan, Mexico, etc. In the end, above everything else, I like travelling and meeting new people. I'm going to ride this out until it stops being fun.
Any books or movies that you'd like to recommend?
Movies: Love Actually, the new Sex In The City movie, haha.
What are some bands or labels you'd like to give a plug to?
Much respect to Elysia, the Mongoloids, High Five, Always and Forever, A Well Thought Tragedy, xAFBx, Thick as Blood, Killwhitneydead, COA, Have Heart, The Effort, and Jordan. Rock Vegas Records, Sean and Uprising, Worldmovesfast.com, Kris Mission and the entire Mission Merch family. Kris has been by far one of the raddest dudes and a crucial part to this bandâ€™s success...we love and respect everything he has done for New England hardcore. No other merch company operates the way this dude does business. He is a machine that will go above and
beyond to make sure we are always taken care of and that we have merch anywhere we are. Also, shout-out to Dan Sisterhood for being my number one fan and biographer. I need your address buddy to send an
Any final shout-outs?
Shout out to all the haters who continue to talk shit yet never really post anything significant but rumors and empty threats. I get it that you don't like our music, thatâ€™s fine. But to label me as a pedophile and a rapist is pathetic. Never once can anyone bring any significant information, other then posting the same thing over and over and over.
I have had 3 people come up to me during this bandâ€™s career and actually talk civilly about the entire situation and where it stemmed from. Feel free to check my police record or try and bring any evidence that I would do anything as horrible and disgusting as rape, or anything associated to it. For every thread and Myspace message calling me out, these shows and tours keep getting bigger. Like it or not, this band is respected and believed in by kids across this country. Anything directed towards me in a disrespectful manner just looks like jealousy and an attempt to stir up controversy.
This rumor started after an idiot at a show THREE years ago when a kid said my band sucked at a show in Chicago. I, in return, said the same thing about his shitty band. This turned into messageboard and Myspace posts accusing me of raping his girlfriend...which is completely bogus and impossible when youâ€™re in a van driving to the next show. After my entire band and the promoter called him out on this, he publicly announced that it was just a rumor in retaliation and that the beef was over.
The B9 clones keep insisting on saying the same thing over and over without ever even remotely touching on what happened that night or with any story...three years later. Itâ€™s amazing and mind-blowing knowing that people get so upset that I am in this band and make music. Do I really affect your lives?
Have I talked to girls at shows? Sure. A lot of them probably are younger then me...which makes sense being 27 years old. I have toured and seen many larger, respected bands do disgusting thing to women and fans of their bands and get away with it because they are 19 and 20 years old. Itâ€™s something that happens all the time.
I have never once slept with a girl on tour, or even did anything sexually. It shouldn't even be anyoneâ€™s business. But to call me a rapist and a pedophile is just fucking low. I have a mother and a girlfriend who have to hear these accusations. Itâ€™s fucked up and lower than low. I know this interview will seem like a giant joke to the people who already hate my band, but at least understand this out of anything. If you want to come talk to me, come out to a show. Stop hiding behind a computer and claiming you know who I am or what I'm about.
Jonny from Liferuiner answers the questions of B9 posters, taken word-for-word from a recent Liferuiner thread on said board:
just ask em why, seriously.
Because we get to travel the world and play to kids who genuinely respect our band and more importantly, our message. No type of kid is better than the next and seriously who am I to judge? We all had gateway bands before we found better music. Maybe we can inspire a kid to claim Edge or live a positive lifestyle. And most importantly, to piss people like you off for doing nothing but making music.
-how does it feel to be one of the first bands that supports pedophiles?
How does it feel to not come up with anything remotely original to ask?
-how they continue to tour, making young kids go deaf with that horrible music.
Itâ€™s our Canadian duty.
-ask about Jonny oc claiming he was gay.
I just lied so I could fuck your brother.
-underage or overage ?
You mean overweight or underweight. Def overweight.
-Ask about the fill in singer they use when they enter cities where they are afraid to get beat up.
Out of all the rumors, this is the most bizarre. We had a fill-in singer for 2 tours while I quit the band. Once, a few years before for about a week.
-ask them whats it like to be the shittiest straight edge band in existence?
Whatâ€™s that band with like 69 singers called...
-ask them how they feel about you pretending to give a fuck about them to their faces and then playing up the joke with b9
I fully support B9 and all the rumors/shit-talking. Without that, I doubt we would be as successful as we are. No publicity is bad publicity and you are a fucking idiot to not realize that all these threads just keep us going on longer.
-Ask them what it's like to have a fan base that is composed entirely of people under the age of 21
I doubt that any band in this "genre" has a fanbase composed of fans older than 21. These kids pack clubs, buy merch and support the band. If it was all older dudes I doubt we would be doing as well as we are.
-Ask them what makes them a hardcore band.
We are a band. We support and sing about Straight-Edge and tour 10 months out of the year. While we may not be respected, itâ€™s pretty obvious that we play hardcore. I think touring for 3 years DIY and selling over 15,000 records by word of mouth sums it up. If you personally don't think we are a hardcore band...fine. For you, there are 10 kids who do.
-Ask them that if they are a hardcore band, why do they ONLY tour with metal bands.
We have toured with plenty of hardcore bands before. We tour with metal/grind/whatever bands because it exposes us to a bigger fan base and opens doors for us as a band. Sticking to one genre can only get you so far and in front of so many faces. Regardless of who plays before or after us, WE are still a Straight-Edge hardcore band. I
don't give a fuck who is into the band, if they like and respect us, we will show the same respect for them. With that said, we have been asked plenty of times to tour with other Straight-Edge and hardcore-styled bands. To us, we want to tour with whoever can expose us to the bigger crowds and help spread the music.
-Ask them why their singer takes his shirt off.
I never perform shirtless. If I do take it off, itâ€™s usually to piss someone off for doing nothing but simply taking off my shirt. See, it worked.
-Ask them if they truly belive they have lasting power as a band.
We have been a band for 4 years. Since the beginning of our careers, our tours and draws have only been getting larger. Our new record is selling great and we are getting the opportunity to take part in some amazing tours and travel to some great places. Until we start losing momentum and people stop caring, why would we stop? Why would any band stop? I think lasting this long is a feat in itself.
-ask them what its like to be gigantic fa.ggots.
Hate me all you want, but itâ€™s funny when the band is classified as a whole as "faggots" or whatever. Like I said, we have never had the same lineup. Do the shit-talkers even know whoâ€™s in the band or what weâ€™re like as individuals? Nope, we're just faggots. Cool dude.
-Ask them what it's like to have zero integrity.
If every band worried about what haters said or what one personâ€™s opinion was on a band, many bands would call it a day. Should we create some sort of music just to cater to you or your scene? To get cred? To me, thatâ€™s when you lose all integrity. I do whatever the fuck I want in this band and laugh at those who feel hard cutting us down.
-ask the singer how he sleeps at night knowing hes created some of the worst music ever, and ruined many kids lives.
Itâ€™s funny that all the lives that I've ruined seem to live on the B9 board. The same small group of idiots who spout idiotic opinions on all aspects of life on a daily basis on that board. Not to say that some awesome people don't post, but a lot of these kids need to get outside and away from the screen.
-ask them how long till they realize they suck and kill themselves.
When people stop caring, I will publicly kill myself for your enjoyment. World Moves Fast exclusive.
-ask them how it felt to exist as a band with no original members, yet spent little to no time writing new songs.
The last group of songs we wrote were for â€œTBTNL.â€ The record was written by me and the original guitarist Andrew...the same two and only people who wrote the first LR LP and Demo. There are plenty of bands that exist with only the original singer left. I write the lyrics and the songs.
-Ask the singer how it feels to be an anteater: see thread on their new picture.
Best shop of me yet. Hands down. Props.
-Ask them (and by them, I mean Jonny, because I assume that's who the interview is with) questions about their last tour, just to see how they explain that the band has an entirely different lineup than they did a week ago. Literally.
The first tour after I left the band was with the same people who were in the lineup when I left it, minus the drummer Shane. (Paul who has filled in before on multiple tours was playing drums)
The last tour in July (which only lasted ten shows) was with a new drummer (Max) and a new bassist (Mike). The tour obviously fell apart because of this drastic lineup change and I was asked to come back in the band.
-Ask them WHAT THE FUCK IS UP? Then cue shitty breakdown.
-Ask them about how they used to wear tough guy looking clothes, and how they slowly shifted to the American Apparel "hipster" look. I'm sure they will be a little surprised that people have followed them long enough to see the change.
Itâ€™s a simple answer. It was an entirely new lineup other than me and the OG guitarist Andrew. The newer younger dudes were into that look and stuck with it.
-Ask them if KM and Mission Merch really make all of their stuff or if that is KM kidding around...
Nope, it's not a joke.
and if so, what its like doing business with him?
Kris is a businessman. We survive and make all of our profit off merch. After dealing with shitty merch companies for about 3 years, our manager linked us up with Kris and it has been amazing ever since. I think he could buy a car with the amount of shit we make him send out throughout the year. Seriously though, Kris is one of the coolest dudes around and has the best turn-around time in the business. We can call Kris and tell him what we need and it is done in literally a dayâ€™s time.
I don't think there should even be a question on who to do merch through. On top of that, itâ€™s awesome to see Kris thriving throughout the years in all his different business ventures. The dude is truly an entrepreneur and a great friend to all of us. We recommend him to all the bands we tour with and he does all of our managers artists. He takes care of us and watches our backs on the road. In return, we will bring him business until this band calls it a day.
-ask OC if he has a dick bigger than is ear plugs
My plugs are big...the dick can fit through most likely. Haven't tried...lend me yours?
-ask them "why does b9 hate you so much?"
I honestly don't know, but it brings a ton of attention to my band. Itâ€™s like free advertising.
-Ask Johnny OC why he's always afraid to come inside at shows.
You would have to be more specific. I've been coming inside to shows for about 13 years of my life and almost every single day for 6 years of touring. Maybe I was taking a shit at the show you came to see me at...
-honestly i heard they wrote there latest cd in like 40 minutes
Actual songs took 40. Samples took like an hour..