"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Interview

Freddy Madball Discusses "For The Cause," Worldwide Hardcore And Guitarist Situation

Many music fans like to claim that they "live and breathe" it. Very few people however, have literally done so. Having gone on tour with his brother Roger Miret's group Agnostic Front from the age of seven before the aforementioned band decided to form a side project named Madball with the youngster on vocals in 1988, Freddy Cricien has been involved in hardcore music for almost his entire life.

Thirty years and nine full length albums later, Madball are as popular and revered as ever. Their latest album, "For The Cause" has been hailed as their most diverse yet, staying true to their sound while showing flashes of other genres such as reggae. Last night in Bristol, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Freddy himself to discuss the new album, how the search for a new guitarist is going and what makes New York hardcore the most popular scene in the world. You can watch it below.

Diamond Oz: Well straight into it, the new album, "For The Cause" is out now. It's been out for a little while now, so how's the reception been to it overall?

Freddy Madball: It came out in the Summer and we've been touring it ever since.

Oz: It's a real solid album. Possibly the most diverse album yet, probably the most obvious example would be "Rev Up" where you've got the reggae at the beginning.

Freddy: Yeah, there's a lot of examples on there I think. It's definitely the most diverse, I can't think of another record we've done that's more diverse but it still has all the elements that make us who we are so I'm extremely proud of this one. It's being well received, I wouldn't say it's "been well received" because it's still reaching people.

Oz: Like you say it reaches into new areas but it's still a Madball record. The new sounds are more like pleasant surprises and no one can say, "Oh they've gone all reggae" or anything like that.

Freddy: Yeah, I would hope not. I don't think it's anything outside the realm of who we are, even though not everyone knows us as well as some but still it's nothing outside of the realm of who we are and how we came up.

Oz: Cool. Well like you said before we started filming, this is the first date of the UK tour...

Freddy: Yeah we just landed a few hours ago. We flew into Heathrow and got picked up, drove straight here.

Oz: Well there's a genuine love of hardcore over here, though it could be argued that we've never really done it as well as the Americans, although there's some great bands like Knuckledust for example. How have you felt the reception to Madball has been in the UK?

Freddy: I think it's great. It's hard to compete with mainland Europe like Germany and that because over there hardcore has kind of attached itself to festival culture and things like that so it's bigger there than even in America. But in Britain there's a lot of great cities. When we play London it's like we're playing home and tonight there's already a couple of hundred pre-sale tickets sold and I'd be happy to do that anywhere in the States. I'd be ecstatic to do that anywhere. I would say Britain has a strong scene, it's all about the scenes. It's like anywhere. In the States we've got the East and the West while a couple of spots in the middle are a little iffy. I think it's great here, just some cities are better than others.

Oz: You mentioned New York there, which probably has the most famous hardcore scene in the world. You can't talk about hardcore without mentioning New York.

Freddy: Yeah I'm biased but I'd say so. At this stage in the game...

Oz: But even back in the nineties there was the documentary about New York hardcore, which I thought was a great documentary. What would you say it is about New York that fits so well with hardcore?

Freddy: The music and the vibe of the city just fit like a glove. There were scenes going on in D.C. and here and there. Same thing, they had some of the same issues but once it hit New York it took on a different kind of life. The music combined with the vibe of the city combined with the attitude of the people that live in the city was like a perfect storm of craziness. And I think that over the years it kind of started phasing out in other places like D.C., not that there's not a scene there now, but just like the Minor Threats and these kind of people started phasing out so then Agnostic Front came and sort of lifted everyone up and then you had this series of bands that came out of New York that had a big impact, whether that was by chance or whatever it is and I think you're right, New York has led the pack although there's great bands from all over. There's great bands from all over the States and all over Europe but I would have to give the edge to New York a little bit.

Oz: I think most people would to be fair. Going back to Madball itself, I believe you're without a permanent guitarist at the minute. Can you tell us what the situation is there?

Freddy: Our current situation is we have Dom from Born From Pain, which is a Dutch/German hybrid band who have been around for a long time. They're a very strong presence for European hardcore but they also happen to be our friends and work closely with us so naturally Dom jumped in on the European stuff and then recently we have a guy named Mike who's out of New Jersey, who's helping us out in the States. So right now we've got two guys who are solid people and solid, solid guitar players. We're kind of lucky and eventually we'll settle on someone permanently.

Oz: Do you have anyone in mind at the moment?

Freddy: Well it'll probably be one of those two guys but since Dom's got so much on his plate, it'll either be the other guy or another guy!

Oz: One of the topics I wanted to talk to you about on the new album is the theme of "waking up" and how people have got information so readily at their fingertips, but despite this people seem to be perhaps more ignorant than ever.

Freddy: That is a lyrical theme and I guess narrative of the record. Everybody needs to wake up because there's a lot of nonsense going on in the world and I'm just surprised sometimes how people are not more aware.

Oz: Like you say, the information is literally at their fingertips...

Freddy: Literally at their fingertips and it's just a lot of common sense stuff that people are missing and if a bunch of meat heads like us can figure it out... There are some people that have, that know what time it is but there's a whole bunch that don't. Too many.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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