INTERVIEW: Ignite – Groezrock 2014

Ignite band

We’re here today at Groezrock. How are you doing?

Good. How are you?

Yeah not bad. I’ll probably be in the press area all day.

Me too.

So, have you ever been to this festival before?

Twice. Well, twice with Ignite and then I was here with another band too.

Do you like it?

It’s great. It’s one of my favourites actually cause it’s like all these bands that we know and are friends with coming together in one place, so you see so many friends. It’s so cool.

If you have any spare time today, are you going to watch any bands?

Yeah. We have to leave at midnight tonight because we have a long drive to a festival tomorrow but we have to stay to see Quicksand. We really want to see them, they’re great.

So, Ignite was originally formed in 1993, which means you’ve been a band for a really long time. Are there any lessons you’ve learnt over the years about being in a band?

Yeah, it’s not an easy thing to do, be in a band and get lucky and have success and meet the right person who introduces you to the right booking agent or the right record label. All of us that are doing this are really lucky, because all the bands are good here but you have to be good and you have to be lucky to have a career in music.

So, you just have to work hard and stay with it, cause sometimes it takes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years before you start having some success. You really have to like, just stay with it. That’s the biggest advice I could give to somebody, oh and be nice to people, because the music industry is really small and if you’re not cool, it gets around really fast.

In the past, you supported causes like Sea Shepherd, Project Blue Sea, Doctors Without Borders, Habitat For Humanity and Earth First. What’s it mean to you to support a charity?

Our singer is always the one who really flies the flag for these organisations. He was involved with these organisations before Ignite and he would still be doing it even if Ignite didn’t exist, and so he brought the idea of working with these groups to us because it was something he was already involved with, and it’s really cool because all of them are really good causes and the people behind these organisations are really passionate, so it’s kinda the same mentality we have for our band, like punk rock.

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They get their hands dirty, they do it themselves, it’s really cool. It’s a weird concept to give money to somebody and then never see a result. There’s a new organisation we’re working with called Cuipo and it’s cool because they buy rainforest and then they sell products and then you have a little code and you can go online when you buy a shirt or hat and you can see exactly on a GPS which meter of rainforest you’ve saved. Which is cool cause sometimes when you give money to a big organisation you wonder where it goes.

I’ve heard that you’re quite a politically aware band. What do you think about the world as it is at the moment?

Scary things are always happening, but right now Syria is really dangerous. But the situation in Ukraine and Russia is really scary because that’s something that can start very small and then can get ugly really fast. So, I think it’s important for the world to really, really focus on this and pay attention to this and not let this turn into a big war. It’s really scary.

The scary thing is that Ukraine signed and gave up all their nuclear weapons in 1994 and they signed this amendment that basically meant that they’re giving up all their nuclear arms but if they ever get attacked NATO has to come and protect them because they don’t have the leverage of having nuclear weapons anymore and that’s kind of what’s exactly happening. So, now they’re looking to all the NATO nations and saying “Hey! Russia is invading us, we have an agreement that you guys are going to protect us” which is a dangerous thing.

Back to the band and your music. How would you describe your live performance?

Fun. I always have a good time on stage, I mean sometimes I see bands that sing about – I mean no offence, they have a lot more fun on stage than we do – sometimes they sing about funny things. We are usually singing about pretty serious topics so it’s different, but I always enjoy playing music. All the guys in the band are really passionate about the music and the message we deliver so it’s an honour for us to play in front of people every night.

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Is there one show that’s stuck out to you throughout the band’s career?

To be honest, when we played this festival in 2007 it was one of the best shows we’ve ever played and it was one of the most fun shows that always made us really wanna come back and play this festival again. So, 7 years later we’re here.

What are your expectations for today?

It should be good. There are a tonne of fans that are into our music and this type of music, so I think there’s gonna be a lot of people enjoying themselves and singing along, I hope.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

Well, we’re supposed to record an album and we’re supposed to be touring. We’re definitely going to start our album, I don’t know when we’re gonna be recording but we’re doing festivals in the summer back over here and we have some US dates, so we’re just trying to be a functioning band.

Interview by Kaori Manz.

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