Strife are one those never grow old bands for me, I saw them last year at a tiny venue in Copenhagen which was great.
I managed to get to talk to Andrew about a few things recently which was cool.
Photography by Dan Rawe
DR: Hey what’s up?
DR: Who is in the current Strife Line up?
AK: Strife is basically the same line up that we have had since we started touring for One Truth back in 1994, minus our drummer.
Rick, Todd, Chad, and I have all been playing in this band a very long time.
Craig from Ignite has been filling in on drums for the past 2 years, but
Jarrod Alexander from Suicide File, Death By Stereo, American Nightmare,
and more will be playing most of the shows with us this summer.
DR: Where is home for you guys these days?
AK: Strife is based out of Los Angeles… I live in North Hollywood, Rick lives in Downtown LA, Chad is in Silverlake, and Todd is out in the Valley.
DR: So Strife have been playing a lot of shows for a while now. what’s
going on with the band at the moment? Where are you at?
AK: We released Witness A Rebirth November of 2012… Since then we have been staying as busy as we can and touring as much as we can. We are gearing up for
a short East Coast run in June, playing in Brooklyn, Massachusetts,
Toronto, and then a huge festival outside of Quebec. This festival is crazy
because we are playing with bigger bands like Cypress Hill, Motley Crue,
Blink 182 as well hardcore bands like Judge, Chain of Strength, Glass Jaw,
Earth Crisis, Bane, Throwdown, etc.
We head back to Europe in August, and we are looking to head over to
Japan in November. We will be planning a few shows to celebrate the 20th
anniversary of One Truth at the end of the year as well.
DR: What’s it been like touring tons with Strife again these past few years?
I remember seeing pictures of a South American tour you did in 2007 or
something and being stoked to see you touring again as I had not been
keeping up to date with the scene at that time and thought you weren’t
playing shows anymore.
AK: It’s been a lot of fun. I think everyone in the band gets along better now
than we ever did. We play shows because we love to do it, we aren’t
relying on the band for money or anything, so it keeps it a lot more fun.
DR: Who puts your stuff out at the moment?
AK: Witness A Rebirth was released in the US by 6131 Records.
DR: What’s your Newest Release and how has it been received by the
AK: Witness A Rebirth is our newest record. It was released in November of
2012. I think that the record got great reviews overall. Some people think
that it is our best record even, and I would agree. I definitely feel that it
holds its own against One Truth and In This Defiance, records that some
people consider classics, so I am happy about that. We had been touring
fairly consistently for the few years leading up to the release of Witness A Rebirth.
I think we just reached the point where we decided that if we were going to
continue touring that we should write some new material. Material that reflected
who we are as a band now, and material that we would be excited to get back
out on the road and support.
We didn’t really have any expectations, we just wanted to write the best record
that we could, and I really think that we accomplished that.
DR: Do you think you still have a lot of the same followers as you did back
in the day?
AK: There are definitely kids (or adults rather) that are still coming
out to see us that have been fans since the 90’s. I think that is awesome.
But there have been a few generations of hardcore kids since our first
record and now… We all wanted to show the new generation of hardcore
kids our version of hardcore, and it’s awesome meeting kids that are just
getting into us because of the new record.
DR: What bands really influenced Strife in early years and now?
AK: Early on we were heavily influenced by the NYHC scene. Bands like Sick Of It All, Cro Mags, Killing Time, Youth of Today, Judge, etc. We kind of took that
sound and mixed it with our favorites from the West Coast… Outspoken,
Chain of Strength and Insted.
There are a lot of current bands that we are into… Terror, Down to Nothing,
Rival Mob, Piece by Piece, Alpha Omega, Rotting Out, Take Offense,
Downpresser, Manipulate, Turnstile, and more. Hardcore is in a great
place right now.
DR: What other music tastes run through the band?
AK: Everyone in Strife is into all sorts of music outside of hardcore as well. Everything from punk, metal, hip hop, indie, electronic, soul, and more.
DR: How was your time on Victory as band? Were they good to you or did
you have a similar crappy deal like Integrity?
AK: Victory was good to us at the time… I don’t know if we would have ever reached the level of notoriety that we did if we were on a different label. That being said, we signed a bad deal, and we have yet to see any money from our record sales. I
guess that’s the unfortunate side of playing music.
DR: Who were some of your favorite bands on Victory in the early days?
and who did you like playing shows with?
AK: We were big fans of most of the early Victory bands… Snapcase, Earth Crisis, Integrity, Warzone, One Life Crew, Hatebreed… All of the earlier Victory releases were classics. We were one of the bands that got along with everybody, so we enjoyed playing with all of these bands, and stayed friends with most of them
through the years.
DR: On the One Truth VHS you guys show big interest in Star Wars…do
any of you still collect vintage Star Wars toys?
AK: I think everyone in the 90’s collected Star Wars to some extent. I held on to most of my collection, and I still pick things up every now and then. I recently dusted off all of my old vintage 12” figures from the 70’s and set them up in a display case. I only need Han Solo, Obi Wan, IG-88, and R2D2 to complete the collection, so I
might pick these up at some point if I can find them at a decent price.
DR: What were some of your favorite times in HC and in Strife?
Shows, places visited Etc?
AK: We have had so many great times, it is hard to just pick a few… Some stand out memories include: Touring Europe with Sepultura on the Roots tour, the tour of South America that we did a few years back, recording our most recent record “Witness a Rebirth” with Iggor Cavalera in Brazil, going to Japan and Australia for the first time, the recent Persistence tour we did with Terror and Suicidal Tendencies, and
more. We have been fortunate to travel all over the world and meet a lot of
great people and play with a lot of great bands. When I was 14 or 15 I got
to see Judge and Gorilla Biscuits, and I never thought that I would ever
have the chance to play with either of those bands, so that is pretty
monumental to me as well.
DR: Are the original Strife members still Straight Edge?
AK: I am the only member of Strife that is still Straight Edge. We made is clear that we were no longer a straight edge band when we reunited back in 2002, and we do
our best to make it clear now. We aren’t trying to fool anyone or capitalize
from the Straight Edge movement, and we don’t make any merchandise
that has anything to do with Straight Edge either. I think that was a big
reason why we wanted to record a new record as well… We wanted to
write songs that represented our current philosophy as a band.
DR: What are some of you favorite songs to play from any of your albums?
AK: We tend to play a good mix of songs from all of our records… There are
songs from every record that work well live, and we have a great time
playing them… There are also a few songs that I wish went over better live
as well, because we would love to add them back to our set. Songs like
“Angel Wings” from Angermeans or “Life or Death” from Witness A Rebirth.
DR: What else are you involved in music wise? I work on a lot of music
projects. I produce for other bands, and I have a new project with DJ Muggs from
Cypress Hill called Cross My Heart Hope To Die. We released an EP back in
April 2013, and we are finalizing our second ep for release at the end of July. We
are hoping to release an album by the end of the year as well.
DR: And what about the other guys? what do they do outside of Strife?
AK: Chad works for Goldenvoice, a large concert promoter in Los Angeles, and he
also manages a venue called the El Rey Theatre.
Rick is a professional photographer, and he is shooting on almost a daily basis.
He shoots for a lot of clothing brands like Hall of Fame and Fuct, and he also
does some gallery stuff.
Our current drummer, Craig, also plays in Ignite, so he stays pretty busy.
Todd runs his own business and plays golf in his downtime.
DR: What are your plans for the Spring/summer?
AK: We are doing a short East Coast run in June… We are playing out in
Massachusetts with Chain of Strength, Turnstile, Praise, and Mindset, as
well as playing a few other shows before heading up to Canada to play
Amnesia Rockfest in Montebello. We are heading back to Europe and the
UK in August, and we are finalizing some plans to make it back to Japan
by the end of the year.
DR: Thanks a lot Andrew anything else you would like to say?
AK: Check out our new record “Witness A Rebirth”, it holds it’s own against any of our other records, and check us out live if you get a chance… I promise we
wont disappoint! Thanks for the interview