This past Thursday, Providence, RI's Soul Control made their way up to the Fox Common in Lowell MA in support of their latest album "Cycles", which was released off of local punk/hardcore label Bridge Nine Records this past August. I had the pleasure to meet up with vocalist Rory Van Grol before the show and talk to him about a few things including what it's been like touring for "Cycles", New England hardcore scenes and other delicacies that sit on the plate that is Soul Control.

Tom: Let’s start by having you introduce yourself.

: I’m Rory and I sing for Soul Control.

: How have you enjoyed your time in Lowell so far?

: Well, I just got here so I mean despite the nice aroma of whatever dining hall type hangout spot this is and the dead bird outside, our van made it here and we’re here so it’s been alright I guess.

Tom: So you guys released your latest record “Cycles” back in August off of local record label Bridge Nine Records. What are you guys currently working on and are there any new releases in the near future?

Rory: I mean we’re just writing. There’s no releases named or whatever, we’re just writing songs. If we write 12 songs then we write 12 songs. There’s no record we’re writing for…if we end up writing a record then that’s cool, if not then whatever. We’re a band and we produce songs and we like writing so that’s what we’re doing. It’s kind of redundant in a way, but oh well.

Tom: Are you guys playing any of those songs or are you still just supporting “Cycles” right now?

Rory: Well, we played one new song out live but we are still working on them so we’re not really pushing those songs yet. We’re pretty much just playing “Cycles.”

Tom: Your music definitely adds a lot of different aspects to the term hardcore. You guys are pretty heavy but you definitely have a lot of different things going on at the same time. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?

Rory: Well we got pulled over in Philly and the guy was like ‘so you’re in a band?’ And I said yeah and he asked ‘what kind of band we were in’ and so I said well its kind of like a heavier Rage Against The Machine, so I guess that is what I would go for. Something that people can easily grasp if they have no knowledge of really heavy music or really loud music. I think Rage Against The Machine is a pretty good median for that, you know like people will say ‘oh its heavier than that? Cool!’ So I think that is a good starting point. I mean I could go from there, obviously we have more influences than that but not everyone is going to know who Dinosaur Jr or The Pixies or Sonic Youth are or bands like that. They’re not going to be like ‘Oh that’s a Byrne riff’, you know what I mean? Rage Against The Machine is a good starting point I think.

Tom: Yeah, I never thought of it like that. That is a good description for you guys. I like that. So you guys are from Providence. It’s a different state, but its not too far from Boston, so I am sure you guys get plenty of both scenes and areas in your experience. How would you say the scene changes as you cross the state line?

: Well a lot of Rhode Islanders don’t like to leave their houses, let alone their state. So I would say Rhode Island is an older community of people and I would say that Rhode Island, as far as music and independent music, is a lot more wild as far as I‘m concerned. Like you have bands like Lightning Bolt and Dropdead and bands that are just like independent punk music whereas hardcore is not so much. There was like Verse…and I guess more recently there are a lot more younger hardcore kids, which is awesome, but as far as like defining a hardcore scene there really isn’t a huge one in Rhode Island its just like a few bands and a few kids, you know like a normal show would probably have like 30 kids who are from Rhode Island. If a show is big it’s probably because kids from mass came down. I would say Rhode Island as far as music goes has a lot more older people and a lot more people who are into like metal and punk than hardcore. As far as Mass, it definitely has a more like youth oriented hardcore vibe. But you can also get your crustier and punk-er hardcore style too. You have bands like Mind Eraser who don’t necessarily fit on shows with other “hardcore” bands, you know what I mean. But in my experience I’m a lot more psyched on the dirtier hardcore aspects of hardcore punk than I am on the sterile hardcore thing, but that’s me personally. I guess I grew up in Upstate New York so it’s a smaller close knit scene with more variety. I think they are both good and I think I wish there was more youth involved in Rhode Island hardcore and punk but its kind of cool seeing a bunch of thirty year old dudes still raging and people into their forties still doing like the DIY punk attitude. Like you have Armageddon records and the dudes in Dropdead. They’re there…they’re staples, which Is awesome. I guess I don’t get that so much from Boston like you have people who come out every once in a while but you don’t have staples. Whenever I go to a show in Boston I don’t see that person at every show, you know what I mean. But as you get older you have more responsibilities and that happens so maybe that’s life. And I don’t go to as many shows in Boston anymore, I don’t have all that knowledge. But Mass is definitely a lot more youth, and that’s the main difference that I see in my experience.

Tom: What is your favorite thing about “Cycles”?

Rory: My favorite thing about “Cycles”?

Tom: Yeah, the record.

Rory: Yeah, well I mean riding bikes is cool. But “Cycles” the record…I think the whole process of talking about the idea of the record was awesome. It was a really cool process, especially as far as artwork and everything like that. I mean, we were all really motivated and had a really good idea of what we wanted the band to like not necessarily sound like, but our idea. I think that came across well and it was pretty cool. So like the painting of the record is an actual painting of the record that our friend Alice did for us, which is awesome. So having friends involved and having us be there and affected and just the songwriting says a lot about us I think in a very personal way. It’s just like this cycle is a continuation and a new breath of this band, new singer full length, new drummer full length like these are our songs as far as Soul Control, this is Soul Control right now. You know, this is the band. The last album was a totally different band, different songs, different song writing and way of going about it. So “Cycles” is us as a band now. From that point there’s a new breath of fresh air, a new cycle of life. And there’s so many different ideas that can stem from that and that’s the most exciting thing for me about the record. This is something fresh and new and exciting for us and I think going from there is the biggest part of this band. Not looking back to say who is the new member or whatever. This is it, starting point, we’re taking off and we’re going with it.

Tom: Yeah that’s really cool because it gives you so much freedom to do whatever you want if you think that way.

Rory: Exactly. We don’t want to be held down by any kind of barriers or limits of being a hardcore punk band. I think it’s your attitude that definitely makes you a hardcore band not necessarily your sound anymore. I think a lot of people put themselves in boxes and are afraid to get out of them and I don’t think that we are a band who is limiting themselves and the record “Cycles” is our extension of that and I think it is just going to continue our extension, which is pretty exciting.

Tom: So you guys have been touring pretty heavily for the album. What has been your favorite place to tour too?

: Um, we’ve done two US tours and then a European tour and I mean, Europe is always awesome, it’s fun. You always experience something crazy to do. I got pretty sunburned in Portugal which was shitty but kind of hilarious in a way. Favorite places? I guess since the US is like, you’re so used to it you don’t really think about it, it becomes like who are your friends, you get to see your friends and go to restaurants. So in that aspect, Chicago is always fun because I can eat Pick Me Up cafĂ© and that place is always awesome. Seattle has always been awesome, we have tons of friends and it is just great being in that city. Other than that, in Europe we had an awesome time in Belgium. Good friends there and we stayed in this red light district which was weird because there were just like prostitutes selling themselves and we were on this balcony watching it and it was just wild because it’s legal and the government subsidizes it and it just throws you back and your just like wow that’s crazy. So those things are kind of crazy and wild and you’re just like this is insane, this pocket exists in this country, in this city and it’s totally acceptable. It’s interesting and it makes you think of the US and how we treat it, it’s really interesting to think like that.

Tom: For my last question, this is something I ask most bands…it’s kind of a silly question.

Rory: Go for it.

Tom: Who do you think would win in a fight, all of the ants in the world or all of the humans in the world?

Rory: I would say ants. I mean I hope ants.

Tom: You hope ants?

Rory: Yeah, I think humans are just pieces of shit who could care less. I think ants have this drive to thrive. I mean, humans do too in a very cockroach kind of way, but we’re more fallible. I think ants just have that drive and they don’t have that mentality to make a decision, they’re just doing their job where as we have a decision. Overall, I think ants would win out because they would burrow and we would just kind of destroy ourselves. Ultimately, I think ants will win by default because we would kill ourselves.

Tom: Would you try and side with the ants?

Rory: No, there’s no point. I mean, I’m not an ant. It’s going to happen, like, fuck it.

Tom: Haha, awesome. Well thank you for the interview and have a great show tonight!

Rory: Thanks!

Soul Control's "Cycles" is available now from Bridge Nine Records. You can find out more about the band at .


Post a Comment