Marv: Over the years Wisdom In Chains grew and grew to be one of the most influential and anticipated hardcore bands of this era. Fifteen years of band history span lots of iconic releases, amongst them a split with Twitching Tongue and their latest full lenght The God Rhythm. For their upcoming split they teamed up with hardcore legends Madball. Time to sit down and talk about the past, the present and everything we can expect from the future.
Superbowl of Hardcore, This is Hardcore Fest … You guys played the coolest shows and the biggest venues. Are there still goals left that you want to accomplish? What are those goals?
Richie: Hmm, goals? Well, as long as we are having fun, we will be out there hitting the highways and playing shows. As far as a goal, we set out to try and write good songs, and turn those songs into a strong album. So, I guess our current goal is to create a strong album in the coming months.
Marv: Wisdom In Chains lyrics are often far away from the Hardcore-clischee. So where do you guys get the inspiration for your lyrics from?
Richie: Joe writes the majority of the lyrics, I’ll write some, but I will be more active in creating song topics and song titles. Joe is very clever lyrically, especially when he has a cool topic to start off with.
Marv: Where did the idea for the video for „When we were young“ came from?
Richie: Well, the video basically follows the songs lyrics. We recruited some local Pa. kids to do their thing, and our friend Dave Causa who did videos for us in the past filmed and edited the video.
Marv: I especially like the Video Game parody in the beginning. I would love to play Mad Joe as a game character. If you could write a game with you guys as playable characters. What would it look like?
Richie: I’d like a video game based in the 1950’s with us singing a-cappella around a burning barrel on the street corner. We can score points by stealing Chevys, running from the cops, and sneaking into drive in movies.
Marv:What do you think of the German Hardcorescene? Are there any venues or bands you recall as especially interesting?
Richie: It’s a great scene, and it’s crucial for the existence of our kind of music. I love Cassiopeia, and SO36 in Berlin. Woodys is awesome, the Garage. There are so many important venues in Germany. Not to mention Core Tex, which may be the greatest record store ever.
Marv: On The God Rhythm you decided to make way for some melodies between the angry parts (for example in Mathematics), that weren’t on any of your releases before (not in this form). Was that a conscious decision or did this development came naturally while writing the songs?
Richie: It came naturally, I have so many songs that I wrote acoustically. So many of these songs are so old, I had them for years and the guys have heard me playing with them. Some can be rearranged a bit and turned into usable songs. Mathematics was one of them. We feel that songs like that may not necessarily be good live, but they have a place on the movement and vibe on the album.
Marv: What can we expect from your upcoming release?
Richie: It’s hard to say as of now, the sings so far are pretty diverse. Different moods and vibes, heavy stuff, melody. Clear metal influences, clear punk and rock influences.
Marv: You guys decided on a split with Madball. What were the main reasons why this collaboration took place?
Richie: We love Madball, them and their music. Freddy has helped us so much over the years, we owe him a lot. We asked them if they’d be interested, and they said yes. So we are very excited for this.
Marv: For the younger generation that will get its first contact with Madball, which album you would recommend to listen to first?
Richie: When people ask me „what’s your favorite Madball album“ I always say „whichever one I am listening to at the time“. If I had to choose just one, I guess I’d say Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.
Marv: What was different in writing songs for a split and writing an album? Do you guys write songs differently, when you have in the back of your mind, that there will be another band on the record?
Richie: Yes, if we write for a split we try to fit more moods into one song than we normally would. The ride is a lot shorter, so we try to hit the mark fast.
Marv: In general: Did you write the songs without having a plan in mind, or where there certain things you wanted to experiment with or a certain sound you wanted to accomplish?
Richie: No plan really, we try to start out with a catchy riff or vibe, put together a verse and chorus that we like, and take it from there.
Marv: For me it seems you guys have dropped some of the anger to make room for a more positive outlet on things, without losing too much of the rage for this world. Your sound developed more and more in the direction of The God Rhythm. How would you say this band has developed over the years? And is this development important for the upcoming split?
Richie: I would say it’s random. The style of the music and lyrics depend on the moment. I like the song on split, lyrically it was intended to have two singers. We knew this from the beginning, Freddy will do a guest vocal on the track, so we are excited for that.
Marv: What are your predictions for Wisdom In Chains sound over the next years? Do you have anything in mind or any experiments you want to try in the future?
Richie: I really don’t know, but for fun I’d love to put out a series of 7’s. One 7′ being totally metal, another totally Oi, another totally punk. I’d also like to try some clean songs, maybe some of our old songs purely acoustic. We just love music and writing music.
Marv: You guys played on the East Coast Tsunami Fest. The lineup did not only list hardcore icons like Madball, Bodycount or Life of Agony, but also The Wu Tang Clan. Are you guys fans of the Hip Hop culture?
Richie: Some of us like hip hop (but not all haha). We like the more lyrical based hip hop and the underground stuff.
Marv: Could you imagine a collaboration with a famous rapper? Who would it be? If I had a say in the this question I would love to see you guys record a track/an entire EP with Action Bronson.
Richie: I’d love to record with Action Bronson. We did one song on our album The Missing Links with the rapper Slaine. That was a lot of fun, he is awesome with the lyrics and it was cool to work with him in the studio and see how he does things.
Marv: Best of Me is one of my favourite hardcoresongs of the last years. What is the story behind it?
Richie: Joe wrote it in a way were people can customize the lyrics to themselves, but for Joe, I think it’s about his son and our friend, Anthony.
Marv: You put a gallery of fans showing their WIC tattoos on your Facebook-page. What do you think of people getting lyrics, artworks or your logos tattooed?
Richie: We love it, it’s great. Tattoos are so important to Hardcore, and the level of tattooing is incredible. We love the art, and we love the passion.
Marv: Are you guys commited to a certain band in such a degree that you would have their name tattooed? Do you have any band-related tattoos?
Richie: I have a tattoo that is a tribute to Agnostic Front, also a Madball song title, I have lyrics from The Cure also tattooed on me.
Marv: You guys posted photos from a session at Bohemian Grove where you played an acoustic set. Could you imagine releasing some of your songs acoustic?
Richie:Hopefully we will record some acoustic stuff soon, unfortunately we aren’t allowed to release anything from that performance.
Marv: If you got one wish for your future career, what would it be?
Richie: Living year round in a state of the art music studio with my friends.
Marv: Thanks for the interview and all the best for your upcoming shows, your split and the next years in general. Keep chasing the dragon.
Riche: Thank you very much for helping us get the word out, we appreciate it.
Band: Wisdom In Chains