Born into Anger, Rob Franssen
Dutch Hardcore act 'Born From Pain' recently toured the UK last month when I managed to catch up with the band in my home city of Hull (UK) and chat with front man Rob Franssen about the bands history. B.F.P. have been around a lot longer than you would expect, considering the band have a few albums under their belts, the last 3 for Metal Blade, the label that brought you Slayer, The Metal Massacre albums, and so many more fine acts from the past and current/ future. B.F.P. released their latest album 'Survival' last year which is a stomping Hardcore album mixing old school Hardcore with some new elements of Hardcore as well as some Thrash/ Death Metal elements too. Check out the band and this interview too.
So for those people who are not familiar with the band or the music, please tell me when the band got started and who formed the band?
"Well we started in 1997 and we have been around now for 13yrs and we are a band who likes to play shows a lot and we got a live reputation very quickly and we were signed to a small label Hardcore label called 'GZR' and put out our 1st 2 albums with them and then were signed to Metal Blade records. We have done 3 albums with Metal Blade and our latest album 'Survival' has been out for a year and a half so far and we are currently writing new songs for the next album for pre-production and for demos and we are also shopping the next album to a new label. We have finished our contract with Metal Blade and they might offer us a new contract but we will have to wait and see. So that is pretty much everything in a nut shell sort of speak. When you are in a tour band people come and go and I am the original member left from the beginning but our guitarist Carl and Dominic have been in the band for some time now for about 6-7yrs."
Did you all meet up at school or was it from just hanging about in bars?
"Well we didn't meet in school, but we were hanging out together from the town where we live which really isn't that big. It really didn't matter if you were into the Hardcore stuff, Punk of Metal you just hanged out together and you would go to the same places & go to the same gigs together. In the end we just met up and talked about forming a band which we did and here we are today. The original line-up lasted for about 2-3 yrs before people started dropping out. In the end underground Metal and Hardcore always gives you the opportunity to be heard and even if you're in a band that doesn't play that well you get the opportunity to go out there and try to do your own thing."
Before writing your own material, what cover songs did you do, you must of done some?
"No we didn't actually, we decided to write our won songs off our own backs because we had been in other bands before but those bands were too so serious like we are now. We did at first do a Hate Breed and but there wasn't that many metal covers because we were into the Hardcore stuff mainly, but we do like Metal music too."
Was the New York Hardcore scene a big influence on you with such bands like Agnostic Front, The Cro-Mags, Ludichrist etc...?
"Yeah that stuff did influences us a lot, and when you're younger you are most influenced by that stuff that you are listening too at that time. I started out as a metal kid, I grew up with Iron Maiden, and in the 80's I also grew up with the Thrash Metal movement was a big influence and later on I got into the 1st wave of Death Metal like Obituary, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation and bands like that. Later on came the Birmingham scene with bands like Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower etc... and I think that B.F.P. has a lot of grove in the music and a lot of typical Hardcore parts and we are not a blast beat band as we are not really into that stuff. If you really have to dissect our music then I would really say that we have more of the old school Death Metal in our music then anything else. Don't get me wrong we are influenced by bands like Agnostic Front, but the Death metal style really does show in our music."
Listening too your music, reminded me of a New York band which were across between Hardcore and Slayer style were a band called 'Marauder', who released I think 3 albums for Century Media.
"That is so cool man, we really are fans of that band, I don't think any journalist has mentioned that band so I think you have pretty much hit the nail on the head!! They were a Metalcore band, well to us they were, and now it's all about the Swedish Death Metal scene with clean vocals. When Hardcore bands too the real Hardcore attitudes and sound and hardcore aggressiveness and blended it with the hardness of metal they remind me of us, even bands like Earth Crisis were doing that style too."
How many demos did you record before you released your debut album?
"Well we only did the 1 demo, and the songs on that demo were called 'Christ Born', 'Poison Blood', 'Fallen Angel'. We were lucky as we fell at the right time and the right place when that kind of music was getting really popular with the heavy sound of Hardcore and we got picked up straight away as we were getting a really good live reputation. The label we were signed to did a mini Madball CD called 'New York City' which I believe had 4 songs on it. They also has bands like Kick Back, Back Fire."
So why did you decide to call the band 'Born From Pain'? What other names did you have for the band?
"Well basically we just came up with this name first as we thought it had a cool name for the band, and secondly we its also what we write about and what we stand for and I also feel that a lot of stuff is born from pain with the way the world is and in certain situations around us. I think that name certainly suits the bands music, as it has a lot of aggression."
Do you class your music as Hardcore what with hardcore music been very political?
"Yeah I guess so, but I really don't like to class myself anymore, because back in the day people would say we were a Metalcore band, and Metalcore turned into something else and I think we have a healthy attitude towards music and I wouldn't class ourselves as a hardcore or a metal band musically as I think when Hardcore kids listen too it they think this is too heavy it has to be metal, and with the metal kids hear it they can hear some of the metal but there is too much Hardcore in it for them."
So did the debut album sell well for the band? Also how do you compare the debut album to that of the 2nd album in the music and content's
"Yeah the first album sold pretty well for a band who were just starting out really for a Hardcore band on a small label, and I think we sold about 11.000 copies in Europe. I think we made some steps as the debut were songs that we recorded when we were young and we were trying to find our way with the music. Also on the 2nd album we had line-up changes, 1 of them was 1 of the main song writers, so we tried to do some different stuff and let the music evolve into a certain direction and we wanted to be more to the point and more straight forward at that point. We started to think more about the songs & what we wanted to do, and with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th album we wanted to write better songs."
Are the songs wrote as a team effort or is it you that writes the lyrics?
"Well it depends really, people would come to practice and with complete songs or basic riffs and we would put it together and jam it out a bit but nowadays we all come together and write and practice the songs for days on end."
As most bands like you said change line-ups, do you now have a steady line-up now?
"Yeah, we had a drummer change about a month ago and we have a drummer who is helping us out for this tour and he plays for a band called 'The Set Up' from Belgium because our new drummer joins the band after this tour and his name is Ego and the band he played for are called 'Back Fire' which are more of a straight edge Hardcore band and he is a great drummer. Our old drummer is very talented but he kind of grow out of the hard music and he wanted to do more Soul, free Jazz and we are still friends."
So you recorded 3 albums for Metal Blade, please tell me the titles of those for the people who don't know them.
"Ok the first album for Metal Blade was called 'In Love With The End', 'War' & 'Survival'.
How well is the 'Survival' album doing in sales terms?
"Well it's not doing that great really, It's not selling as good as the 'War' album because of the CD sales market, with internet downloading and if you talk to any label they will tell you the same thing . Other than that it's doing ok."
What about song writing for 'Survival'? Is it better than 'War' and 'In Love With The End'? Also where was the latest album recorded?
"Yes it is for sure! The album was recorded in Denmark at 'Truls Matterson's' who did some Rob Halford Remixes, he also did bands like 'Heaven Shall Burn', 'Sick Of It All', 'Dark Tranquility' and many more.. We are happy with the way the album turned out and this is the 4th album we have done with him and he knows what we want with our music and is knows how to get the best sound out of our music. "
How did you hook up with the Truls?
"Well it was by accident really, we came across a CD that he had produced which sounded really well, and with the 'Sense Of Time' we needed to record to record that album somewhere else and we had booked a studio for the album but in the end we were not sure if we wanted to record the album there. We had heard albums that didn't sound that great from that studio so we were not sure that we wanted to record there anymore. People were telling us that we had to match our live sound in the studio and the only way we could do that was to record in another studio with a decent producer. We went to Denmark to record the album."
Do you find it hard been on tour been away from friends and family?
"Yes I do from time to time, sometimes it is difficult and we are pretty close as friends in the band so you have your best friends with you most of the time, some times you miss people."
So said that your contract
with Metal Blade is over now, are you thinking of renewing your contract or are
you moving on?
"Well we do have other interest from other labels but Metal Blade have also offered us a new contract, but we are going to leave that for our management so sort that out. We are happy with Metal Blade so far and when we first signed to the label I thought they had some amazing bands back in the day like Slayer, and they still do have some amazing bands."
Do you have any new songs wrote for the next album and how will they differ from the last album?
"Well we are in the early stages of the writing process so far, we do have some ideas that are in the same direction as 'Survival' but we try to be more to the point and try to put some atmospheric stuff in the next one as well as keeping all the aspects that are B.F.P.. I just want to get every song to stay in your head afterwards."
Moving on Rob, what festivals has the band appeared at so far?
"Well so far we have played the 'Summer Breeze' festival in Germany, Full Force, Hellfest, Wacken. We would like to play the Download festival and also Bloodstock too if we ever get the chance. For us England is not the easiest of countries to play in, we do really well in Europe but in the UK is so pro to trend, trend following and if your not a trend band then you are going to have a hard time to play over in the UK."
The band have enough material to record a live DVD, is this something you will do for the next album?
"Well we hope to do something after the next album, we are always a band that plays out a lot and but always too lazy to take a camera with us, or somebody to film the show for us. We do have a lot of older stuff over the last 4-5years on camera. The thing with big festivals like Wacken, is that there are always filming the shows so it should be ok to get it done through them at some point."
So in the bands career, that bands have you played with so far and who would you like to tour with?
"Well I really would like to tour with Death Angel, I always like that band a lot and every time I saw the band live they were amazing. We played with bands like Exodus, well shared the same stage as them. Id like to tour with Iron Maiden and stop the band right after that tour haha!! There my favourite band. We have played with Six Feet Under, Napalm Death, Hate Breed, who are really great people, good guys and good music."
Have you ever done any cover tunes?
"Yes we did, we did a cover of a German punk band called 'Slim', they are very old school and very political and there was a tribute album to them and we were asked if we wanted to play on it, so we did and I'm happy we did. Kreator also did a cover on that CD for them too."
So before we come to an end, how well is the UK tour and European tour going so far?
"The tour is going alright so far, it has not been amazing as the UK is hard for any band like us who is not a trend following act. The rest of the tour is going good."
Well thanks Rob for doing the interview, do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes check us out if you already haven't done so yet, and we are recording a new CD soon in summer so watch out for that. Check out the website if you can and our Myspace page too. www.bornfrompain.com . Thanx for the interview and good luck with that."
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Thanx to Metal Blade UK for setting this interview up and Rob for answering the question.