Old Lines is a Hardcore Band from Baltimore. Mitch Roemer plays the guitar, Jake Berry the drums, Matt Taylor sings and Pat Martin handles the bass. You can purchase their first album ‚الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام‚ at their bandcamp.
Heavypop: Can you tell us a little bit how Old Lines started?
Mitch: „Old Lines is a band thats been about two years in the making. I started the band with our drummer Jake Berry in Nov. of 2010 and we have so far gone through 5 to 6 different members before we got to the point of being ready to release a record and playing shows. It was a huge pain in the ass but it was worth every bit of effort because I have personally never been happier with the final result of any record I have ever been involved with. None of it would have been possible though without the time spent from every single person that has been involved with this band. Too many dirty details to write down though….sorry!„
I imagine you still have a pretty solid fanbase out of Pulling Teeth and Ruiner, but nearly everything (the selling via bandcamp with no big label behind you, for example] about Old Lines seems pretty DIY for me. Is the band a journey back to the roots for you?
Mitch: „I suppose its back to the roots, but even help from a label doesn’t always make things easier. With bigger labels comes bigger expectations of commitments to touring, recording deadlines, bullshit contracts etc etc. However,I am not saying that every label I have had the pleasure to work with has been a big evil money making machine, It’s just nice to be able to sit back and take your time so you can create something you are proud of.“
As far as a „fanbase“ goes I have no idea. I am always surprised to see positive responses from people who have heard our record or any other record I have been apart of. Nothing can describe the feeling of meeting people from other countries who have traveled long distances to see your band perform. Its crazy, especially when the drummer from sigur ros shows up to one of your shows and asks you to sign your record for him. My jaw dropped….„
Speaking about your past: how are the reactions from „longtime“ Fans, you brought with you from your old bands about the new material (on live-shows or otherwise feedback)?
Mitch: „I have no idea, we have only played a handful of shows. I am not really worried about it. I hope people who have appreciated what I have been apart of in the past enjoy this new band, but it’s not really a concern of mine. We just want to put out records that we are proud of. If everyone likes it, awesome. If everyone hates it, I am fine with that too.„
So, liveshows: when will your fans in Europe get the chance to see you on stage?
Matt: „Hopefully soon. We have been talking a lot about trying to get to Europe, it’s just tough with everyone’s schedules and money, etc. It’s definitely a goal though, and we’d like to see it happen sooner than later. I’ve always had a great time traveling, and the beers are way bigger there.„
Mitch: „If we ever get an opportunity to fly over and play shows, it won’t be soon enough. I Love traveling through Europe and meeting/reconnecting with people. It’s always a priceless experience.„
Speaking about future plans….
Matt: „The record has been our main priority for so long, that it’s almost a weird feeling that it’s done. I think our focus now is going to switch to going out of town, playing more shows, and writing new material. Also getting to Europe is a definite goal.“
Mitch: „Dear Europe, if anyone wants to help out on a euro tour, don’t hesitate to contact us!„
From the title to the album artwork: you define yourself as a strict political band? Furthermore: ‚الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام‘ is musically and lyrically a really dark, lets not say, a hopeless record. Is there anything a band can chance these days?
Matt: „I would say we are a political band for sure. One of the things about punk rock that has always been important to me is the potential for social impact. The record is dark, because we are living in dark times. I don’t think I would go as far as to say hopeless, but it’s not far away. I think our message is more of an urgent call for change and that we can’t claim ignorance anymore. The earth is dying, people are dying, animals are dying all in the name of capitalism, and it’s right in front of our faces. It has been getting worse and worse over time, and at this point, i feel like the stakes are the highest they have ever been. Corporations are running wild, completely unchecked. Religion is brainwashing people into wars. Activists are being labeled terrorists. What finally has to happen to get people to stand up? Do people finally say, „we’re not putting up with this shit anymore,“ or do we stay apathetic and watch everything around us turn into ashes?
One of the great things about being in a band is that you have the opportunity to express these ideas. You get 20 minutes and a stage to stand on and scream about everything that pisses you off. Maybe you can reach someone and tell them about something they didn’t think about before. Or reassure them that they aren’t alone. Or inspire someone to become more active. It all starts from exchanging ideas and having conversations, but it’s important to note that simply talking isn’t enough anymore. We need to stand up for ourselves and our environment.„
The album artwork and the title: can you tell us about it?
Matt: „The name of the record comes from a slogan used during the Arab Spring. We were all pretty inspired by watching the amount of people who were involved in those protests, and the power that they held as a unified group. It’s incredible to see what people can accomplish when they work together. We wanted to sort of appropriate those ideas to our own western world and culture, and make it relevant to our own lives.„
How can we imagine the writing-process behind “الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام‘? And where are the diffences in that process to your previous bands?
Mitch: „Its not some crazy process or formula that involves mountains of drugs or anything dumb like that. I usually sit around and play guitar by myself, maybe a riff will pop up that I like, I’ll take it to practice and see if Jake likes it. Or Jake will play something on Drums and ill write something to what he is playing. For me, the only difference to my previous bands is that I am the only guitar player which is a new challenge. I love it though.„
The first song is dedicated to „Tim“…but who is Tim, if I may ask?
Matt: „Tim is just a guy that has run across my life at times, and has sort of become a symbol in my head for everything that I stand against. Namely, the super vocal, religious, homophobic, right-wing. He is the loudest voice with the least understanding. He is one of those people that lives in every town, and all of us have had the pleasure of talking to at least a few times in our lives. No compassion. No love. No concept of equality, or even a desire to try and understand. Just self-centered, egomaniacal bullshit that benefits no one, including him. He’s just too blind to see it.
I wrote the lyrics to that song after hearing about one of his „anti-gay, pro-chik-fil-a, god bless america, like it or leave it“ speeches. It makes me sick to hear that people could care more about fast food than they do human rights.„