interview by SEEP
After more than a decade as one of the foremost bands in aggressive music, the original heavyweights of hardcore, Earth Crisis, have decided to quit while theyre ahead. Less than a year after their critically acclaimed, Victory release, Slither, the band will amicably part ways and move onto the next chapters of their lives. Staging one last assault at the Hellfest in Syracuse, New York, they will bring their creation back to its origin and put it to rest in true Earth Crisis style. For vocalist, Karl Beuchner, the new change spells opportunity, and the new canvas smells clean. Karl was kind enough to speak to me about the unexpected split and what the Earth Crisis fans can expect in the future.
SP: So, what brought on the breakup?
KB: Well, I feel that weve all taken this as far as weve wanted to, and we really wouldnt want to change it. I feel that our last record, Slither was by far and away our greatest record. Right now, weve got our record being played more on commercial radio, and MTV actually liked our video. So, a lot of good stuff has happened, even since the last album. I think that this is a good way to wrap things up. Sort of wrestling it down and putting a knife in its heart while its still strong. I think itll leave a better memory for the fans.
SP: Have you fulfilled your contractual obligation to Victory Records, or can we expect a greatest hits disc or a live disc to be coming out in the future?
KB: Weve fulfilled everything that we were supposed to do with Victory. When we left Roadrunner after Breed the Killers, we said, Lets just demo these songs and shop them around and whoever gives us the best deal, well put the record out with them. Victory gave us the radio push, and they gave us the two videos and a home video. The Nemesis single and the Slither single also got more spins on commercial radio than anything in Victorys history. Thats how I want Earth Crisis to end, totally on a strong point.
SP: Now that Earth Crisis has disbanded, who would you like to see carry the Hardcore torch, or the straightedge or vegan torch so to speak in the future?
KB: Theres going to be new music from Scott and Dennis and Im working on a couple new projects. Yknow, Vegan/Straigtedge is what I am. Its one of the most important things about me, my beliefs. Thats always gonna come through in the lyrics of any band that I do.
SP: What are your plans musically for the future? Can you tell me about your new project? Whats it like?
KB: Its an experimental project that Ive been working on which is basically a hip-hop thing. Its different.
SP: Is that the avenue that you see yourself going down now, musically?
KB: Not really. Its really an experimental thing for me right now. Im gonna start my new, full fledged band next year.
SP: Got any names for that at this point?
KB: One of them is called, Nemesis and thatll most likely be out at some point this year.
SP: I know your latest CD Slither was musically and vocally different than your last few albums. Do you feel the band getting more diverse in tastes had an effect on the new sound presented on this album?
KB: Not really. What weve done is resurrected the sound that we were playing on our All Out War release and did it properly. Yknow when a breakdown hits its got more power to it because theres melody before and after it. That makes it different. I feel that Slither is definitely our most solid album. Its got a vibe to it. Its more melodic and its got the vocals that kind of stick out, but its still Earth Crisis.
SP: After 11 years, what do you feel has been the proudest moment for you or for the band?
KB: Right after Breed The Killers came out. We were driving for more of a full force, metal/core, straightedge record and looking forward to introducing it to a different crowd, and it basically did. We got a lot of mileage out of it; a lot of tours. We played with MachineHead and Fear Factory and it was great.
SP: Youll be playing your last performance on July 7th at the Hellfest in Syracuse. What can we expect from Earth Crisis at this epic show.
KB: Were gonna play the Hellfest, and then probably go to Japan and probably play a couple other places, but it should be a good show. Its gonna be chaotic Ill tell you that. I think itll be a good way to finish the band. Theres gonna be like 30 bands playing, and it had to be in Syracuse. Yknow weve gotten so much support from day one from the people here, and a lot of people that have moved away are coming back here, so thats amazing for me. Yknow, people traveling as far as from California to come see our show is the greatest complement I could get.
SP: How are you guys received overseas? Is Japan your biggest place to play out there?
KB: I wouldnt say that. Weve gotten a lot of great feedback from places like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore as well.
SP: What do you feel about heavier music entering the mainstream these days and getting played the radio more?
KB: It might look like a good thing, but ultimately its just more bullshit. None of the bands really say anything, or at least the majority of them dont. Most of the stuff in the mainstream is just kind of like a shell of hardcore, yknow?
SP: As a band that has stood for so many issues throughout your entire career, do any of you have any specific plans to continue to spread your message in any way, or getting more involved with any specific organizations now that Earth Crisis has disbanded?
KB: One thing thats always been important to us is activism and weve tried to support groups through benefits like the Eerie Animal Rights Coalition, The Farm Sanctuary at Watkins Glen, The Syracuse Animal Defense League, The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center; all kinds of organizations that are trying to do something for the Earth and animals. Practically every show that weve played in Syracuse has been a benefit. Plus, with my new project, Nemesis, and once I get my new full fledged band up and running, people are going to see that the same beliefs are there and are expressed hopefully to new people through different styles of music.
SP: After evolving with Earth Crisis for so many years, how do you look back at the stuff that you wrote 11 years ago? Does it still do it for you like it used to?
KB: Yeah, totally. Thats the good thing about writing songs about things that you actually care about. We didnt try to customize our sound to appease the mainstream to get signed or whatever. We did exactly what we wanted to with our musical taste, and the lyrics are really hard. Its something I can be proud of forever. Were simplistic in way of our structure, but for me, the hearts there.
SP: Throughout your career, are there any shows that youve played that have stood out in particular?
KB: Theres been a lot yknow. Weve had great shows here on the East Coast. Playing The Whiskey is always cool, and the House of Blues. But I think that the best show that we ever played was probably down in Bogota at the Rock in the Park Festival. It was the biggest aggressive music fest in all of South America, so kids were there from all different countries. There was like a hundred twenty thousand people. We were actually the first non-South American band ever to be invited down to play it. They have a thriving scene down there and I was in disbelief that that kind of music is that big anywhere. We were really well received and well treated and Id love to be able to go back there again with my new band.
SP: Do you think that there would be a possibility that Earth Crisis may reunite for an event or special occasion of some sort in the future, or is this absolutely it for you guys?
KB: The reason that I think that we couldnt even if we wanted to is that two of the guys have moved to New York City. Well, one of them is actually from New York City and he just moved back and well see what happens there, but I definitely think this will be our last show. And I wish everyone luck in my band because, yknow, we all still care about each other.
SP: Is there anything that youd like to say to you fans in closing?
KB: Id like to thank all the people who have supported and appreciated Earth Crisis over the years, and I hope youre into my new stuff. And even if the band isnt around, you can put your heart into it when you listen to it because we put our hearts into it when we played it, and its still things that we care about. It can be ten years, twenty years, fifty years, it doesnt matter. Those lyrics will always mean the same thing. I was an adult when I wrote them and Im an adult now and I still believe in those things. And to get themselves away from the gang bullshit, and the drugs and alcohol bullshit, because thats all it is.
SP: Well, as a big fan of all of your music I just want to say a heartfelt thank you and I wish you the best of luck in your future. Hopefully well be hearin from you again soon.