After they had kicked my ass seriously when they supported Boy Sets Fire at Logo I was happy to drag their singer and guitarist Samuel Turner in front of my microphone when they returned to Hamburg to play at Hafenklang. I love this band but read for yourselves:
So, you are touring kind of your asses off. Actually I believe you must be more on the road than at home. What does touring mean to you? Is it like a job? Is it an opportunity to travel around and see places you wouldn’t see otherwise?
Exactly. When I’m at home at home I talk to my friends who work normal dayjobs like I do when I’m at home but most of them would never be able to go to all these places we’ve been to or they wouldn’t even think of. I mean who’d go to Germany and I’ve met so many amazing people here. Touring means a lot to us. It really fucking does. I love going on tour. You’re meeting so many amazing people. It’s like removed from reality and it is crazy. Your whole day is organized around playing for an hour or half an hour.
A lot of your lyrics are about this discrepancy between being on tour and being at home, this whole tour stuff.
Yeah, that’s true. “something I can trust” for example is a song about being in a band and being on tour. This is like a constant in our lives.
Well, on the last Sainte Catherines album in one of the songs they let a virtual girlfriend tell one of the band “you’re losing money, you’re losing me, you’re losing friends” Is this what you experience, too?
Yeah. [laughs] I haven’t paid my rent for like six months. I mean it is crazy when you play shows and kids come up and say “you must be so rich” and Kris hasn’t paid rent since September [nine months, ed. note]. I think I’m on the verge of being kicked out by my girlfriend… But that is what we’re singing and the passion that is in the music. I fucking love playing and creating music more than anything.
So you are pretty much living a precarious life.
Yeah, we were actually having a discussion about that last night after the show. It was an amazing show and we all sat down and were like we really fucking love this but at the end of the tour we will have earned at most a hundred euro each. You can’t live on that.
You’ve been around as a band for a very long time which really deserves respect! But one day you will have to stop playing music or at least stop playing punk rock and you won’t be able to tour that much anymore. Everyone is turning old at some point of time. Now you have never done anything but playing in a band, you haven’t paid into pension funds and all this. Future might be less fun… Does that scare you and does that influence your art?
It definitely influences our songs and it actually scares me. When I see my girlfriend who has a really good job with pension and all and she’s like “when we are going to stay together what are you going to do in the future?” And when I’m home I work at a building site, doing bricklaying and plastering which is something I would have never gone into doing that but it is something that I can pick up and drop fast when I’m going on tour. I can get a job laying bricks on a building site and drop that to go on tour for three months. I look at that and think “Fuck. What am I gonna do when I’m sixty?” I dunno… My granddad worked till the day he died. So I will probably do that… He was 68 when he died and he had a fucking good life. I don’t care if I work until I die. I mean I’m never get rich from playing in this band…
But in terms of experiences and stories you are probably way richer than all of your friends at home…
I tell you what: I am probably the poorest person I know but I am probably the richest in life experience. I mean, take only this: getting a delicious meal cooked, sitting here looking at the harbour while most of my friend are working in a factory or something…
So if your songs are turning around your touring life in this extraordinary situation you are in a lot, do you fear that at some point your audience might not be able to understand you anymore because you are singing about a life that they simply don’t now?
I’m not sure because I thin our lyrics aren’t that straight forward, they are quite ambiguous. To me a song might mean one thing and to someone else it means something different. I think or I hope that everyone can pick something out of the lyrics that reflect his or her life. That is the whole point of how I try to write lyrics.
One thing I really wondered about. You started this band very early in your lives and I mean everyone that is in a hardcore or punk band that isn’t straight edge is drinking everyday that they are on tour. And you are on tour a lot and you also were when you weren’t really aloud to drink. Did punk rock bring you closer to drinking alcohol in an early stage of life?
I think on a certain level yes. Nut also I have two older brothers and their friends were mostly my friends and they were all three or four years older than me. So that might have had a bigger impact. But going on tour it is so easy to drink when you are a drinker and I would count two in our band as drinkers. I mean it is free and you get bored and there is nothing to do but drinking... But Kris in our band is straight edge, he doesn’t drink…
I think on that new Sainte Catherines record there isn’t a single song where they don’t mention drinking in one way or another. When you are always on tour there is always a beer…
Yeah, when you come to a place someone is yelling “you want a beer?” and you still got such a hangover from the day before[laughs]
To get to an end: Who do you have to pay tribute to for the music you play? I mean you started this band when you were still young and when I was in that age I had a shitty taste in music… What were your big influences? Who brought you into punk?
When we were young we listened to a lot of Descendents, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and some Metal like Metallica and I think it was a crossover of that. But at a very young age we were put on shows with bands like Unsane, Neurosis, Girls Against Boys and all these bands. When you are fourteen or fifteen that has a massive influence on your life meeting people in their thirties. There are hardcore bands from New York and you were playing with them. So I think all those bands had a massive influence. When I was fourteen we supported Dee Dee Ramone and I think that had a big influence. I mean that was one of the fucking Ramones! I think at that age you are a sponge and you soak up everything. When you are getting older you are getting more cynical but at that age everything is amazing to you.
And what were rather recent influences?
I think I could name twenty bands I love but now we don’t try to take influences from any particular band. When we are writing a song or go to the studio we just see what happens.
What about Hot Water Music? I think I never heard a European band that would fit so excellent on No Idea Records…
This one makes me laugh because you know I was never into Hot Water Music until we toured with them. We had all these reviews saying we sounded like them and I had heard just one record of them and wasn’t really into it. But then we toured with them and I fucking loved this band! That was only one and a half year ago but now I am a major fan…