Musicscan: Give our readers a short briefing about The Setup, please. What have you guys lately been up to?
The Setup: We're a hardcore band from Belgium who started out about 6 years ago. We just released our third full length album on GSR and finished a tour this summer through Europe with Forfeit (us). We did some festivals for the rest of the summer and we're planning to do a couple of tours in the fall/winter of this year to promote our new album. In December we'll be doing a tour with Born From Pain in Eastern Europe. Looking forward to being on the road.
Musicscan: A lot of bands undergo line up changes when coming to realize the ups and downs of being on the road or being a band. How did the changes you’ve gone through affected the development of The Setup?
The Setup: The setup has always been a band with a lot of replacements. Because of the intensive schedule it isn't always easy for everyone to be on all tours or shows we play. I think at one point we had a replacement for almost everyone in the band. It wasn't until our previous singer, Dries, decided to quit that we hit a rough patch. But with Kris we found a good replacement. As for writing goes Andries (now in born from pain) did most of the writing together with Serch (drummer), while now everyone is more involved in the writing process. We really thought about what we wanted to do with the new line-up and what direction we wanted to go. What previous records missed was the raw energy of our live shows, live we were always harder then on our records. This is something we also wanted to create that sound on the new album, and we're pretty happy how it turned out. Jacob did a great job on recording it.
Musicscan: You guys have been around for some time now: What is behind bands longevity? What fuels the fire and keeps you guys interested in the music you create?
The Setup: I think for everyone in the band there's just one passion and that's the music. Without it I don't wanna know where we would be, but we would be going insane I think. It is hard to describe, but I have been into this music and scene for 15 years and I couldn't imagine not being in a band or doing stuff that has to do with it. It is something I need, an outlet, some place that I call home. For me it is not something I have to keep myself motivated for, I just stay motivated and keep on going, even better it motivates me going through all the other stuff in life.
Musicscan: What's your attitude towards being a band in general? I noticed that you are seriously working, but you guys seem to have a lot of fun as well and don’t take yourself too seriously.
The Setup: Just like I said before, it is something that keeps us from going insane. We choose the insanity of being in a band, haha. The Setup has always been a hard working band and we take our music seriously, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun. It's a bunch of good dudes in a bus for a long time, good times are bound to happen!
Musicscan: The Setup has always seemed to me to be an underdog band over here in Germany - always maintaining a high level of respect from critics and their peers, though never quite attaining the commercial success that the band was due. What are your thoughts on this?
The Setup: I can understand what you mean, but I think a lot of times it is a thing of perception. We often get the label of 'underdog', but in the end we still do all this great stuff, also play bigger festivals and shows. The thing is that we also attract a more diverse crowd than a lot of other hardcore bands. We mix different styles in our music, making it not specific one kind of hardcore. This makes that we attract a lot of crossover kids, but most of the time those kids aren't that actively involved in a specific scene. If we can get just a couple of those kids check out other bands and get them into more underground music, that's cool for us. We just want to play for people who are into it for the music and have the right heart. We're not an elitist band.
Musicscan: On the other hand: What are your thoughts on how Punk/Hardcore is getting more big-time these days? Do you feel Hardcore/Punk is losing it's edge by having more and more bands with no real political or social stance?
The Setup: I feel that hardcore is missing 'integrity' these days. It seems to be more and more about what sneakers you have, what shirt you wear, flat caps, emo hair, how hard you are in the pit, and all that other shit that really doesn't matter. This has always been around, but I feel that now it is even more like that. That's what I like about Born From Pain their message in their music evolved more and more into a politically involved band. I love bands with a message. It doesn't have to be saying what you must do, but just if a band makes you think about stuff. Punk and hardcore came from discontent how our society is and it provided some alternative views on life. This is something that I really miss nowadays. I'm not saying everyone should start preaching again on stage, but I would love to have a less shallow hardcore scene.
Musicscan: What lessons have you learned from being involved with Punk/Hardcore/Metal-underground for a couple of years now? What has it done for you?
The Setup: Being on the road and always being away from home creates a band that is pretty unique. It is something I can't explain to people that aren't into it, but that feeling you get from being on the road or away from home has something liberating. Because of this music we've been able to go to places we probably would never have visited otherwise. Also the people you get to know is an amazing thing. Over the years we have become friends with people all over Europe and the US. Touring really broadens your horizons and for me gives life a bit more meaning, just giving it your best shot and trying to connect with kids all over the world.
Musicscan: Jamey Jasta once said, that the Hardcore and Metal scene are growing together nowadays and that both are respecting this development. What is your opinion on that?
The Setup: I think there was always a common ground between metal and hardcore/punk. Maybe nowadays there are a bit more crossover kids, who are just into heavy music and don't necessarily identify themselves with being a hardcore or metal. And it's not because you're into hardcore or metal you can't like any other bands. More and more bands started out as a hardcore band or had a strong hardcore connection, but through their sound they also attract a more diverse crowd. Hatebreed is a good example of this, their records sound so brutal and have metal influences so it's normal that metal kids also like them and get into it. And also the other way around, I mean, how awesome is Slayer, who can't love Slayer. The whole metalcore and deathcore scene is a mixture of hardcore kids playing (or trying to play) metal or metal kids who have been influenced by the hardcore groove.
Musicscan: Are there any principles you would never give up to with The Setup? What kind of?
The Setup: That's simple, be true ourselves. We've always been a band that did it's own thing and didn't compromise to anything, and we're just going to keep on doing that.
Musicscan: With the direction of The Setup heading a certain way and fans growing with you over the years and releases, do you feel the fans can now relate to what you are feeling or at least understand what you are trying to tell them with your music?
The Setup: I hope so, otherwise we failed haha. No I really hope that our music can be an outlet for the people who listen to it, music wise but also lyrically. I think our songs tap into emotions and topics that everyone can relate to. We don't want to change the world with our music, or we don't have that ambition, but if we can connect with a few, we're satisfied.
Musicscan: Can you take one typical The Setup-song and explain what you hope people are getting out of it, please.
The Setup: That's a tough one. I really like 'Another Heresy' from our Torchbearer album. Although it's pretty dark lyrically, it has a positive note to it. And this is the overall vibe we wanted to create with the whole album. No matter how fucked up everything seems to be, we've got to keep fighting and believing there's things still worth it out there.
Musicscan: What do you guys feel especially proud of (whether compositionally, lyrically,...)?
The Setup: Right now we're really proud of our new album. We had a rough time with a lot of line up changes and Kris had a rough time last year because his mom was terminally ill. All of this influenced the making of this album. I wanted it to be the setup in it's purest form. We really wanted it to be an album that hits people in the face and that sounds like the setup on stage. When we heard the final mix we were really proud of it, because we exactly achieved what we wanted.
Musicscan: Final thoughts?
The Setup: Thanks for the interest, we appreciate it. Good luck with your zine and keep the faith! hardcore lives!