Tuesday, June 29, 2010

KALLE (Send In The Clones / Effort)

Way, way back when I first moved into my own apartment, I used to order a bunch of records every month from Sentient Distribution in Germany. He had lots of good records and sometimes merch, zines and demos. One particular month he'd gotten a couple of new demos in and some merch. One band particularly caught my attention. Today I can't recall what the description said but the band was, obviously, The First Step. At this time my only cassette player was in the kitchen so me and my room mate always listened to demos while preparing dinner and although I haven't listened to the actual tape demo in years I'm pretty sure that during that period of time it got played enough for a lifetime. You can say it was love at first sight. The music, the message and the dream of once stage diving to this band.


I did Send In The Clones during this time and TFS was sure a band I wanted featured in it. I got in touch with Aaron and we did a really cool interview. For me, TFS was definitely more than "just a band". They represented good music, good lyrics and a good attitude in a way which I hadn't seen in a current band at that point. When they announced that they'd be touring Europe with Damage Control, I couldn't believe it. Summer came and everyone I knew was stoked to see The First Step play at a skate park in Trollhättan. We rented a van and the "Stockholm Hardcore crew" drove to the west coast and then up to Norway to see them again. At the norwegian show Stephen said he wanted to do an interview as well as they all really enjoyed SITC and so we did. I did (pretty much) the same interview with Stephen as I did with Aaron and while people thought I was narrow minded and boring for interviewing the same band twice, I knew this band had more to say than any other band.

Let's fast forward, let's forget about the breaking up and focus on what's important. TFS had recorded an LP. With Walter Schreifels. (Pause, and think about it. It's just huge.) But the record never came out, everyone was waiting and going sort of "crazy but not insane" while doing so. Enter my friend Cesco Willemse. As he, at the time, was the riff guru of A Step Apart whom had played their first shows with TFS he had gotten his hands on an unmixed version of the LP. He wasn't too keen on sending it to me unless Aaron or Stephen said it was OK. Hence, I asked Aaron and he was totally cool with it as long as I didn't pass it on. And if waiting for the LP was hard, then keeping it to yourself after hearing the first track was even harder. It was my Everest. I knew the LP would be amazing, everyone knew that. But after hearing "Time to understand" I really understood what people meant by being "blown away". I mean, not blown away as you are when you're 15 and hear YOT for the first time, but being blown away by a hardcore band when hardcore and punk rock is all you've been listening to for the past 5+ years, that's different. The band always represented a positive force of change in hardcore and with all their releases I feel they moved mountains. With their live sets, they moved more than that.

For Effort Fanzine #2 I did a 26 pages long interview with Stephen, covering most things TFS. Two hours on the phone with Stephen, while he was driving to see Aaron for the last time in a long, long time, was however not close to enough. There were so many things I simply forgot to ask, didn't have time to ask and didn't think of asking. I have no doubt I can ask Stephen questions about TFS for another two hours, and he can give me stories and memories that would make each and everyone of us respect and love the band even more.

I honestly doubt I'll ever experience a band like TFS again, not that there aren't any good bands out there but it takes "a time and a place" and for me, personally, TFS came into my life at the exact right point. And for that I am forever grateful. Be excellent to each other!

SEND IN THE CLONES FANZINE #4 The First Step interview

SEND IN THE CLONES fanzine #4 - Kalle

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WAKE UP AND LIVE FANZINE #3 The First Step interview

"We all get bummed when a cool band breaks up. But when a young band with so much to give breaks up before its time... This is that band we were all hoping to pick up the youth crew torch and carry it to the level it belongs... there are no packed and crazy shows without cool bands around. I'm sorry to say that this is the end for TFS hope kids will get into youth crew again! And I'm sure TFS songs we'll be played all around the world as classics!"

WAKE UP AND LIVE fanzine #3 - Diogo Narciso

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Ati: What is the background of this song?
Stephen: Aaron wrote this jam type riff when we were writing the songs for the demo. We thought it would be really fun to record so we did. Since it wasn't the type of song we wanted to vocals on Aaron suggested the idea of having a sample run throughout it. Since at the time Aaron, Izzy and myself were really into "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" we thought that the scene in which they meet and talk to Socrates would be perfect. It was both lighthearted and with a quote like "the only true wisdom comes in knowing that you know nothing" profound. That's why we chose it.

Ati: Do you have any books or movies that have been especially inspiring you when you write a lyric?
Stephen: A couple books that have been especially inspiring to me are: "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodren, "Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracey Kidder and Dharma Paths by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. Those books have, among others, have been very inspiring. Not for a specific song but just in general.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

PHOTOS European Tour 2004 (London, Manchester, Stockton, Peterborough)

London, 14 August 2004 (photo by Ian)

Manchester, 15 August 2004 (photo by Ian)

Stockton, 16 August 2004 (photo by Ian)

Peterborough, 17 August 2004 (photo by Ian)

IMPACT FANZINE #2 The First Step interview

"Pete and I were driving to see a Saves The Day show just for the hideous nature of it when he put a demo in his tape deck. "Dude, you might like this, they are from North Carolina, called The First Step." I honestly couldn't remember the last time I heard a demo by a fairly new band that got me excited. However, the second I heard those drums on "We All Die," I knew this was gonna be different. Since that night I have become a fan of The First Step; their "Insted on steroids" sound, their ultra-inspiring-without-being-cheesy lyrics, their energy-drenched live permormance... their dedication to the emotion. More importantly, I have become a friend of The First Step, and while I know each member on different levels, it didn't take me long to realize that this band encompasses much of what I love about hardcore. Thanks guys.
Interview done via e-mail throughout July and August of 2002 by Gordo. The First Step: Stephen-Growl Aaron-Axe Andy-Boom Izz-Crash"

IMPACT Fanzine #2 - Brian Jordan, Pete Russo

Monday, June 14, 2010


I would like to dedicate this blog to the most inspiring band I have ever heard, THE FIRST STEP. I try to keep this site updated regularly with scanned interviews, pictures and videos, so please check back often.

Thanks and all the best.