One of the finest skate/thrash punk rockers from Germany, Straightline, have had a massive few years. After their killer release ‘Vanishing Values’ on Bird Attack Records, they’ve been slaying Europe, Japan and abroad. Now they’re heading over to Australia for the very first time, alongside Melbourne’s Blind Man Death Stare. We chat to guitarist and vocalist Bart ahead of the tour.
Hey, thanks for chatting to Forte Mag. You’ll be kicking off your 13 date Australian tour next month (for the first time) alongside Blind Man Death Stare. What sparked this tour with these guys?
Their singer and drummer Parker also runs a small booking agency called Ley Lines Touring, so we said it would be great to do this all together. Some guys hooked us up and wrote me for a long time to finally come over. It never happened, but this time it finally became real and we can’t wait to get there and visit all you lovely people, animals and weird insects.
What are you looking forward to about touring Australia?
Meeting lots of interesting people, seeing great places, partying, playing with amazing bands and hopefully meeting as least spiders as possible. I seriously am very scared since I saw all those videos. How do you all even survive there?
You have been slaying Europe, Japan and abroad with massive shows at Groezrock, Mighty Sounds and Spain’s Quimera Fest, just to name a few. Has their been any highlights or interesting experiences from the shows that you’ve done so far?
To be honest, the whole last year was really amazing and totally crazy. So much stuff happened, we saw so many things, met so many people, experienced all these nice words – it really meant a lot to me and made it one of our best years ever. To pinpoint a highlight is tough, but I guess the crazy totally drunk Karaoke Party in Tokyo and the even crazier Aftershow Party in Switzerland this year can be pointed out as highlights… even though I don’t remember much of it and I hope not many videos or pictures of that exist.
Known to have an infectious, melodic and insanely energetic live show, do you have any pre-show rituals to get you pumped?
I can only speak for myself here but I try to stay in shape as it doesn’t get easier with age. This means I don’t drink or smoke before shows. When it’s a tour I don’t ever drink or smoke the whole tour, instead I save it for the last day so I can be sure to give 100 per cent of my energy and skills to make the people satisfied. I take this seriously and people pay money to see a band, so I want to give them the maximum for their money. Sorry that it’s so boring – I wish I had some amazing rituals and crazy stories about that, but sadly it’s just like that.
The last record, Vanishing Values received rave reviews and is full of full of blistering fast solos and hardcore riffs. How would you sum up the album’s message and how was the process of bringing that one together?
To sum up the album, the process was a really tiresome and long one. Basically this record is from 2015. We wrote it relatively fast in early 2015 and recorded all guitars and drums in Summer 2015 before we went on our Latin-American tour and wanted to do the rest straight after that. Sadly pretty soon after we arrived back, it was a mess. First I had a breakup, then the recordings of the rest got rescheduled or moved to another place. It took months for these few additional recordings, then another few months, until it was finally mixed and mastered. We wanted to release it in summer, or even spring of 2016. In the end, it took us over a year of waiting for it to be finally ready. It was really frustrating.
The message turned a bit more pessimistic and negative compared to our other ones. I think it’s slightly darker and more mature – a bit more ambitious too. It’s not too polished and all the guitar and vocal tracks are usually the first takes, so we are a bit proud. It’s a real record, no auto-tune, no cutting in the guitars or drums, we tried to let it all be pretty realistic.
As one of the finest skate/thrash punk rockers from Germany, has your sound changed much over the years?
It was actually always the same; skate-punk/melodic-punk, with lots of metal, especially thrash. A bit of rock and pop here and there. But honestly it was the same back in the late ’90s as it is now. We just progressed and got better at songwriting, arranging and all of that. You could say we just got better in what we do.
Once the tour has wrapped up what’s next on the cards for the band?
Planning another tour… though I can’t tell you yet when or where – but it should be official soon. There’s also some festivals here and there and we’re already getting into writing and recording the new record. Hopefully this goes faster this time, if I survive Australia of course.
When & Where: The Eastern, Ballarat – March 15 & The Barwon Club, Geelong – March 18