On a damn cold night in the end of February there was a concert at Hafenklang in Hamburg(D) that I simply had to attend. Kicking of were Kinetic Crash Cooperation, a decent screamo band from Münster(D). Second band was The Expectorated Sequence from Canada who were musically also very good but had a little problem with keeping their consumption of absinth on a healthy level. But finally An Albatross really impressed the broader part of the audience with a really tight and ass-kicking set of music hard to label and after the show I was lucky enough to catch bass player Jay and Phillip, the guy with the organ and the synth under his control for a short interview.
So, your tour through Europe is almost over. Was it a success or a complete disaster?
Jay: I think the tour was definitely a success in many different aspects. The fact that we played with a lot of good bands and played to a lot of people in different countries was a very good thing for us. So in that regard we’ve been very successful, yes. It was really great.
Is it better than the first tour?
Jay: I think each tour is its own experience. So it’s hard to say if it’s better than the last tour but playing new countries and new places such as Prague and Barcelona and Italy has definitely been a new experience. So every tour is getting progressively better and maybe in some regards it was better…
Were there any countries or places that you’ve been to that have really impressed you?
Phillip: We were very impressed by Prague and that was a city that I would have never thought that I would see in my life. So it was a really incredible thing to be there and meet people there and play music there. And I think the south of France and northern Italy – just driving through there – was just amazing. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen…
Is that one important thing for you about being in band like coming around, seeing interesting places and meeting interesting people?
Phillip: That’s everything! For me as musician music is a form of communication with people and so meeting them and seeing the communities where they live is part of that process and a very meaningful part of that process.
So, do you regard yourselves and your band as part of what is called hardcore/punk?
Phillip: We consider ourselves being part of a d.i.y. scene that includes a lot of different things that can include or not include hardcore/punk and all kinds of other kinds of music. So I believe we consider ourselves a broader part of an independent underground community.
Jay: Which is also full of artists and performance artists and circuses and many different kinds of bands from many demographics not only hardcore and punk. We’ve also played a show in Germany with a rave before and electronic music shows. Pretty diverse, yeah, very diverse…
And you yourselves? Were you born and raised in punk rock or what is your musical socialization?
Phillip: I Think that probably the reason that we know each other as people is because of punk rock but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ve stayed there all the time. We’ve gone to different places but we’ve always come back. That is what brought us together. I know these people because of it.
Your last regular release was back in 2004. IS there anything new to be expected soon?
Jay: We have a new album that will come out in May or June of this year and its name is “blessphemy of the peace-beast feastgiver and the bear warp kumite”. It will be released on Ace Fu Records from New York City and Gold Standard Labs from California.
So is it being part of the GSL jet set now? All the parties with celebrities, the tons of money all the drugs you are offered by strangers?
Phillip: Well you know, it’s truly amazing. I’ve thrown up my back carrying huge sacks of money everywhere I go… No really, it’s a continuation of a community of people who are all good people that we just meet more often. And that’s the only thing that has changed. It’s just more good people to work with.
Jay: Basically GSL has been a consistent label of hard working people for a long time. So playing in different countries and seeing the fact that the label can reach different places that we’ve played sc h as Prague makes it very satisfying for me to work with these people considering that they are working probably as hard as we do.
Okay, one last question. As you are An Albatross aren’t you afraid of the bird flu that is currently raging through Europe the very time you are here?
Phillip: [laughing] I am less afraid of the bird fl itself than I am afraid of my country’s administration’s inability to deal with any large problems whether it is a hurricane or a war or a pandemic. That’s was scars me more than the bird flu!
I thank you for the interview and wish you a good rest of the tour. And may the US border officials let you in although you are a bird and may be contagious!