Earth Crisis Interview
This interview was made in Clisson, France, june 22nd 2007.
Manu & O.S have met Karl Buechner, the singer.

Can you tell us more about this new european tour, the reunion's shows?

OK ah we’re all here in Europe for the first time since year 2000 and we’re playing I think about 10 shows in Germany, France, Belgium and England and tonight it was our first show here at the Hellfest in France.

You already did some reunions shows in the US right?

We had 2 festival dates in the US. One was the Maryland Metal Fest, the other one was in California.

So you're back now. Are the things that made you split 5 years ago are now different?

Well, these are basically just reunion shows for you know the fans who wanted to see us again and the younger kids that had been listening to the music that didn’t have the chance to see us yet

Like a Trial… Greg Bennick's band...

Yeah yeah right.

We’ve been working on other bands?

We’ve been working with Path of Resistance and we put out a new cd called "Can’t Stop The Truth" a year ago and we played throughout the US and we played in Europe and we have another band called Freya and we are on our third cd with that. I think we’re gonna be coming to Europe in November.

To stop the suspens, is there a new Earth Crisis record coming out soon?

There’s no plan as of right now. I’d like to, but like you said earlier you know… the reasons why we stopped doing Earth Crisis was because that band was a full time touring band but, as we’re getting older, and having families of our own, we wanted to make sure that we’d devoted our time and energy to our families and worked on more like low intensity band like Path Of Resistance and Freya when we aren’t on the road months at a time, you know… just to try and balance it out. But this is a good point in time, a good window of opportunity for us to be out playing these shows you see.

Even if Earth Crisis split a few years ago, it seems that the influence and shadow of the band grew even more those last year. Have you felt that?

Definitely! It is amazing to think how big the vegan-straight edge scene is world widld now and how many bands and labels… I mean there’s vegan straight-edge bands in Metal Blade, New Eden Records and in the US, South America, Europe, Australia, it’s… it’s great to see how it’s growing.

Your influence in the straight edge worldwide scene has been huge. Most of the people who heard about straight edge first was through Earth Crisis lyrics. Have you ever felt or suffered of any pression about people who was considering you as « The Voice» of the straight edge movement?

Well, you know…we’re just.. ah…continuing on with what bands like 7 Seconds, DIS and Minor Threat inspires to become a part of and that was the hardcore scenes and playing music and keeping those ideals alive. But you are right, I mean, over the last 15 years EC introduced a lot of people to the concepts of animal rights and veganism, to the benefits of the drug-free straight-edge life style, probably because of the music that we play, you know? I think it’s not just kids, it's not just underground hardcore. People taken notice of what we are doing.

Have you seen any evolution on the philosophy?

I think that, you know, what started with vegetarianism progressed to veganism and what started with you know, a kinda of low moderation is now the lifetime commitment that straight edge should be –to completely abstain from things that are poisonous and self destructive. So, things have changed for the better. And nowadays there are straight edge bands that I think can be relied on like let’s say Tyrant, Death Star, Maroon. There’s lots of bands who’ve been around for a while, and, their members are in their 20s or in their 30s you know, so they kind of proved that they can stand the test of time.

You've done stuff for Peta right?

Yeah, we’ve done stuff for Peta too. Erik and I have a recording studio; that’s pretty much what we do.

How can you explain that Syracuse has been a very important place for hardcore music and sxe for more than 20 years now?

I think because… because our scene came out of a punk rock scene, we wanted something more than the kind of life and the kind of example that the people that came before us were showing. They were alcoholics, they were strung out because of chemical drugs, you know, there were suicides and overdoses and we liked that high energy music of punk rock and of hardcore but we, you know, detested that life style. And I think that is why guys like myself, DJ, Guav, and Mackagan and you know some of the older guys took things so seriously was because we saw people die that chose the other path.
And I think the other thing that made Syracuse Hardcore a success is that it’s very inclusive, people are welcome into the scene and they are encouraged to participate on whatever level they can, whether it is doing the scene or a label or a band putting on a show… I think we have a very positive vibe there and in other scenes there’s…not to say that it doesn’t have its shares of problems, but in other scenes there’s a lot of more internal violence and ego clashes and things like that and it tears things apart.

We also heard that Syracuse was one of the most violent hardcore scene in the US with Boston for exemple...

But it wasn’t violent against other hardcore kids. It was violent against people that were brutalising animals or selling drugs, things like that. The violence’s never against other hardcore people, weeeeellll…rarely. You know?

Yeah but in Boston it's violence against anybody at any time, with the FSU guys...

I’m not exactly sure but… I have heard it has a reputation. I am not sure. I mean, the FSU guys we know are edge and are straight edge guys. A lot of them are vegan straight so I don’t necessarily think them but maybe it could be the case with the newer guys. But the guys that we knew are the guys in 454 Big Block and Berzerker… they are good people.

What do you think about the international Bush’s politics, inside and outside the USA?

I am not sure I understand what the motivations are, you know what I mean? It’s hard to know what’s true, like is the war about oil, or is it to stop terror? Your government might be telling you one thing or our government might be telling us something else and we don’t really know what the truth is. And that’s the thing: there is no real way to know what the truth is, so it’s like I try I stay focused on things that I know are true like: the reason why I am vegan, the reason why I am straight edge, the reasons why I’m involved in hardcore, you know what I mean? It’s like, we can save people’s lives if we steer them away from drugs, we can save animals’ life if we steer people towards vegetarianism and veganism, you know? And we can help people succeed with a work ethic and a discipline if we keep our hardcore scene vital, you know what I mean? We will never really know what a lot of these conflicts are about.

Money maybe?

Or it could be to stop terrorism, we don’t really know, you know what I mean? Because we are not there and we have friends who are in the military and, you know, they say one thing, the news says another thing… It’s very hard to determine, you know?, what the actual motivations are.
That’s the thing. All I can be is honest and the truth is I don’t know what really is the reason behind the “Invasion of Iraq” and the occupation of Iraq. It could be to prevent…you know… it could be that Saddam Hussein was getting older and his sons were as blood-thirsty as we’ve heard and they didn’t want him to have a heart attack and then have his sons let’s say fire missiles into Israel again or invade Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. Iraq waged a very long and bloody war against Iran you know. It’s definitely an unstable region and from what I have come to understand at this point in time, he really did gas the Kurds in the North, he really did have rape rooms, he really did have torture chambers and his people did live in a state of fear, you know? But maybe that was done to prevent the war between the Shias and the Sunnis now. Well, that’s the thing: we don’t really know because we’re not from that part of the world.

What is your vision of the world in 2007 ?

I see a lot of hope for change. I mean, I’ve seen things change for the better when it comes to the amount of look, let’s say vegan food that there is in grocery stores, how a lot of those ideas have become mainstream how it seems like at least in the US right now a lot more people are becoming concerned with small global warming, things of that type, so I think things can change hmm it’s just… people will just have to be better educated. And that’s one of the good things about hardcore too: all different kinds of ideas are brought to the table if you are hardcore: you get Krishna-core from like 108 or Shelter or Both Worlds, you get Rastafarianism with Bad Brains, you get more of a political perspective with like Agnostic Front or you know what I mean? Or straight edge bands, so all different kinds of ideas are being presented.

Recently there was the governments at the G8 talking about the air, the atmosphere, the polution. That's something you talked about a long time ago in your lyrics...

I will say this : I definitely think that there is something under way by the powers-that-be, to take the middle class apart and to turn the West into a two-class society or system, where there’s people that are very poor and people that are very wealthy. I think that’s happening. When you ask me how I see the world, and I also see the world as in some ways becoming more destabilised when you look at the amount of wars that are out there right now. There are now wars now than when I was a teen-ager, there are more unresolvable conflicts, whether they are over resources, religion or territorial disputes, you know what I mean? India and Pakistan, let’s say Hamas and Lebanon versus Israel, even jihads in this country, you know? I am sure they are here, right? Or, or other conflicts in other parts of the world. Although there are a lot of horrible problems right now but I think they can be fixed, because I’ve seen, I have seen progress in other ways when attention has been focused, so I have hope.

Ok! Well, Can you tell us more about Freya?

You've just release “Lift The Curse” in January...Freya has been around when Earth Crisis broke up, Scott and Dennis moved to California and they worked on a band called Isolated. Bulldog, Erick and myself started a band called Freya and we said ‘we’ll come back together and we will have our vegan-straight edge band Path of Resistance and that’s exactly what we’ve done! Hm, with Freya we wanted to set it up so that we’d have the freedom to be very experimental musically and the new album is, ah, like the tempos are a lot faster, the structures are a lot more simplified which I think makes it more fun to listen to coz we’ve done some very technical albums in the past like "Gomorrah’s Season Ends" or even some of the songs on "Breed The Killers", so we just really streamlines the sound and make it simple I think was a fun project for "Lift the Curse", and lyrically, actually, it’s about a lot of things we just discussed, with the conflicts in the world...

Do you think that record is more directed for the people in a way?

It’s for our taste, you know what I mean? We write for our taste and if people like it then, then we get lucky, you know what I mean? (Laughs)

And what about Path Of Resistance? Do we have to expect a new record soon?

Well, not soon, it takes a while to work on those because as I mentioned, different band members live in different parts of the country right now. Scott is I think on his way to California again, Bulldog lives in North Carolina, Dennis lives in Buffalo, DJ has three children and two tattoo shops, JD does another band called Unholy –they just got signed and are around touring the US, so it takes a while to get the Path records together, like we actually have home studios where we record songs and email them to each other…that’s how we wrote the last one, which was fun!

We've just seen Machine Head on stage and you talked about "Breed the Killer" in which you had Robb as guest on "One Against All". You love Machine Head?

I love Machine Head! Yeah! And that was actually his idea so we are really flattered that he wanted to sing with us.

I thought that was strange to see Robb as guest, as he has a completly different life style than yours...

He’s not an alcoholic or drug addict, you know what I mean? He’s obviously a very successful musician so he has his life in order. He cares about things and a lot of his albums are political, he had songs on "The More Things Change" I think that were about the war in Yougoslavia so he cares about things that are happening in the world too. It’s not a fantasy based band by any means, you know, his band is about things that are real.

As both bands were on Roadrunner at that time, I thought that was the label idea...

Noooo! We wouldn’t do that. That’s not really our style, you know? And Roadrunner too. I mean, to their credit they let us do the album that we wanted. I mean, "Breed The Killers" is a full force from start to finish a vegan-straight edge album, you know? And we even add a big essay when you lifted the cd out of the tray about veganism. So even if someone wasn’t inclined to read through the lyrics sheet, they might have looked at that when they took the cd out ‘oh hey what’s all this?’ And I don’t know if you guys have read that or not, but it was very specific as to like…what…what the main reasons are for being vegan in regards to environmentalism and being kind towards animals and nutrition...
So Roadrunner… they let us be ourselves and then they dissolved their hardcore division coz I think they wanted to put money into Slipknot, you know?
So Vision Of Disorder, Earth Crisis, Madball, Both Worlds, we all went to different labels, which was shame coz I thought Roadrunner had a really solid roster of, you know, high quality hardcore bands.

So what's your plans for the next month?

For the next month we are spending I think another maybe 9 shows here and then we go back to the US and I think we’re gonna play two weeks with Damnation and in the East Coast with Freya and Damnation.

Oh yeah, that make me think you did a guest appearence the last Damnation A.D record!

Yeah, I sang with Mike. It was good. He’s awesome. Earth Crisis used to tour with Damnation, we always had a great time.It's good to see old Victory bands back!
Yeah, and there’s a new 1o8 coming too, yeah, so… It’s good.

To finish, do you have anything to say to the younger generation?

There’s a lot of bands out there and a lot of things in general that could in some ways make a person have a negative world view or negative…negative thoughts on the future, and I think we have to be really careful to see that things can change when attention is paid to them and energy is focused on being active. Being active might mean being vegan or being vegetarian or being straight edge or not necessarily being straight edge but not doing drugs, you know what I mean? There’s all kinds of things people can do. Ah, and when imagination is used and when strategies are implemented, things can totally change for the better. Think about that, this is an example: four years after Earth Crisis started, there was a lot of people going into grocery stores near us called Wagments, it was like a big chain of grocery stores, looking for vegan food. They ended up having whole food sections that had, like, isles full of vegan food you know? So it’s like right there, like.. People voiced an interest in a cruelty-free alternative and companies filled that void, you know what I mean? And that can be done with all kind of things, it could be done with cars, you know…Cars could be run on chargeable batteries or fuel cells or corn ethanol. There’s all kind of things we can do to protect the environment and save animals and you know, and make, you know, life more peaceful for humans to interacts with each other

Interview Manu & O.S
Translation Milla Z

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999