We could make an interview with H2O bassist Adam Blake about their new album „Use Your Voice“, the tour life and the future of the band before the show in Stattbahnhof, Schweinfurt (Germany) on 28th June.
Interview with Adam Blake Of H2O
“If you don’t follow the trends you can never be out of fashion because you’re never in fashion.”
AFL: Last year you released your new album “Use Your Voice.” When it was released, we heard it was going to be the last H2O album. Since then we’ve had no news about it. Can you give us an update?
Adam: I never said that. That’s something Toby would say, stuff like that, because he’s very all in on things. Um it could be, it might not be. No one knows, with us. We’re a band that defiantly works in our own way. You know what I mean. So we never feel like we have to do a thing. So only time will tell, if that’s true.
AFL: The first part of the tour began a few days ago. How is the tour so far?
Adam: Oh great man great. The shows have been awesome; the vibe is good. We are thoroughly excited to do the thing we do.
AFL: The summer festivals are about to begin. Which festival are you looking forward to the most?
Adam: Oh man, any one where we get to see friends is always fun. So pretty much all of them we end up crossing. Obviously Vainstreem will be fun With Full Force will be fun. I mean fests are always a good time you know what I mean it’s just that. Honestly my grade of a fest is that if it’s not muddy, then I love it. If it’s super muddy it doesn’t matter who’s playing; it isn’t as good as a club show. You know what I mean it’s just the truth like, mud sucks!
AFL: What type of venue is your favorite? Do you prefer festivals or small clubs like the Stattbahnhof in Schweinfurt?
Adam: We are blessed that we get to do both, and I like the dichotomy of doing the big stage with the barricade. It’s kind of a bit more of a rock show and that’s fun and then shows like this, where you can’t even tell who’s in the band and who’s in the crowd, because everyone’s on stage, everyone’s off stage. I love that too so if I had to pick just one I’d go club shows. It’s kind of where we were bred, where we grew up playing sweaty club shows, but I love fests too.
„In the lane of life marked music, H2O is my vehicle.“
AFL: Are you familiar with ALL the bands you will be playing with on this tour? Which band are you looking to seeing the most/ playing with the most?
Adam: Nooo! Not at all! And the reason being is like, and this is a real question, I am like mid 40’s, married you know what I mean like, what I’m saying is the scene goes on without you and that’s the beautiful thing. I LOVE THAT THERE’S ALL THESE NEW BANDS coming out. Kids are doing what we did picking up guitars, picking up basses, learning drums, grabbing microphones, writing lyrics and doing their own shit. I think it’s amazing. I always try and watch the opening bands. As far as Siberian Meat Grinder do I have a record of theirs NO! Do I think it’s awesome that their doing, what we did, opening for bands playing shows. Fuck yah! Most bands are new to me on this tour.
AFL: Is there a specific band that you’re looking forward to playing/ seeing with this tour?
Adam: Yes, we just played with Sick Of It All, which is always fun, We are going to be playing with Stick To Your Guns; we’re friends with those guys. I like those guys a lot. Turnstile, who I haven’t seen in a long time, and I actually bought their record, I really like it. Um who else? There are some others. Oh my god, I forget there are so many bands. I’m just excited to see friends. You know what I mean that’s what makes m jazzed.
Adam: I have come to the conclusion the musically, and this is just me talking today, and that can change. Musically epically on the last record where I wrote most of the music. I kind of get my band thing on/ in H20. But there are other areas of life that I have projects that are very important to me, there not just music. In the lane of life marked music, H2O is my vehicle. There other lanes that me as an individual go down.
AFL: Do you find it strange when you play the song „What Happened“ live and you look into the faces of people who are really into the song and sing along, but obviously don’t understand the point of the song?
Adam: Well here’s the thing. That song has taken on a life of its own and I think that for whatever reason kids have related to those lyrics. Although those lyric’s may mean something very specific, to us and to you (meaning me “Franz” mid 40’s from NYC ) they might mean something totally different to those kids over there ( points to a group of German youths) but it means equally as much you know what I’m saying , it obviously a song about following your heart and staying true to what you believe an being about it being about the life and maybe that life is different.
Hardcore and punk rock cannot be stuck in the mud it has to move forward, and sometimes that’s going to be different sounds , it’s going to be different styles and honestly the best thing young kid bands can do is piss off the old guys, because all the old bands pissed off the old, old bands before them.
It’s kind of like we all turn into our father in the end you know what I mean we’re like this sounds like noise, crazy what is this nonsense, and we all say that now about the new bands now and in 20 years’ time people will be saying it about these guys now. Yah it doesn’t really bother me at all because I understand things have to evolve or die.
AFL: H2O has been around for over 20 years how does that not apply?
Adam: We still love what we do. Were a band that has never been a trend following band so if you don’t follow the trends you can never be out of fashion because you’re never in fashion you just are it’s like Madball and SOIA. When all the other bands were playing 7 string guitars and growing dreadlocks they didn’t they did what they did. Then you exist outside of the cultural energy and then you just find your own audience and your audience will stay with you. It’s a little harder to do and takes a little more time but ultimately more rewording because what you build is yours you not part of a magazine /fashion driven trend.
AFL: In your song “#Not Real Life,” you talk about social media and fake people. There is a comparison to the song “Thin Line.” Please elaborate.
Adam: To a certain extent, yes. It’s just when we did “Nothing To Prove” social media was just starting to emerge. Now it’s an all encumbering fact of life. Where everyone from the President of the United States to a beginning band has to be on it. It just talks about how we’re still figuring it out. Like, do your certain online identity for yourself where you push forth aspects of your personality that you want people to look to you for.
Do you create a whole false identity on line, who are you? I think the song is about that, just kind of commenting on it. It’s a crazy time. Like, I for one am grateful that I grew up in a time, an era before Social Media, because I became a human beaning. My personality was formed like this, talking to people face to face in real life. And I learned that you can’t go up to someone and say something obnoxious or rude without there being consequences. Now kids jump on line and type your band sucks. Well maybe that’s not so bad. But you know, or your band sucks and your sister is a slut. People just cross those lines and I’m very interested to see where it ends up.
Adam: The Pros and Cons are exactly the same. The pros everyone’s got a voice. The cons everybody’s got a voice. For example, in the USA gay marriage is such an issue, social media made it so clear epically after the horror in Florida, social media made it clear the level of support and the out pouring condolence it was great. On the flip side of that social media is rumors, and gossip, things can become true even if they are not. It’s a little wild.
AFL: What is your stance on concert goers taking photos and videos of your performance and posting it in social media?
Adam: Just catch my good side (laughs). I’m fine with it. I mean for the kind of music that we play, it certainly doesn’t take anything away from us at all. Like have at it. For Hardcore especially, what we do, I think it’s one of the few things you can’t get from a computer screen. I can watch some types of music concerts on a computer, I cannot watch a Hardcore show in a computer screen, you have to be there, you know what I mean you have to be present you have to be in the room you have to feel the energy you have to be part of it. I don’t mind if people want to take pictures or videos. I just don’t know why you would want to waste your time at a show holding up your phone, when you could be in the moment and enjoying it.
AFL: How do you see the current NYHC scene? In a few weeks I’ll be back home in NYC. Can you give me a tip for some cool venues or clubs?
Adam: God bless you. Honestly we’re mid-40’s guys. Most of us live in California now. Our definition, our snapshot of NYHC scene is when we play NY, and when we play NY, it’s awesome. Kids come out it feels the same it feels great, that being said that a lot of the clubs are closed. Which makes it a lot harder for bands to get started. When we started in the mid 90’s there were a lot more places for bands to play. There were a lot more opportunities to get out and hone your craft. I know there is less of that I know there kids hungry to play I know long Island has its thing going on but yes it’s a wired question to ask because we don’t live in New York. The only time we see NYHC is when we play in NY.
AFL: Obviously from your dialect you’re from the UK, how is it that you came to play for a NYHC Band.
Adam: I’m from just outside London and that says it all. Well this is a bit of a wired story. I was in music school and I was into Hardcore, Punk Rock, Metal you know that sort of thing underground music. I really liked the band Shelter and the whole Hare Krishna movement. Shelter’s lyrics really resonated with me and I was like I understand I pick up what they’re putting down and I started going to the temple for the Sunday feast. There I became friends with a guy named Gram land who is in Shelter, playing Bass. He went back to NY and had a dream that I would join Shelter when he left. He called me up and asks if I want to come out and try out for Shelter on Bass. I was like YES!!! So I flew out and my first tryout was me Ray, Porcelly and Sammy I was really stoked because I was a huge Youth Of Today fan, I was like wow! Childhood dream come true. We played a bunch of songs off the first Shelter record, I knew every Shelter and Youth Of Today song and they put me in the band. So I moved directly to NY that was in 94 and stayed in the band for 2 years.
AFL: When you say that you wrote most of the music on the last record, do you just write for the Bass or do you also write lyrics and guitar?
Adam: No, most of the records, Rusty wrote everything. On “Nothing To Prove” I wrote just music, on “Use Your Voice”, I wrote most of the mostly music, and played guitar because Rusty was out of town. And because Todd left the band, we were like, how do we make record, because we were so used to having 5 guys and then we were only 4. On the next record if there is one there will be a greater collaboration. That’s just how it happened.
AFL: Did Todd leave on a good note?
Adam: Yes. He left for the best reason you could leave a band. He just wasn’t feeling the music any more. I think that if he came back and played shows with us he would have a lot of fun. He plays in the “Offspring” and “Julietta And The Links” and he has his own project. I think could he have come on tour and make some money in-between with H20 sure, but he didn’t want to do that. He would rather keep it a step away because it’s not where he’s at, and do his own thing. I respect that and so should the fans, it’s the best reason for leaving the band. If you’re in a band just for the money, you’re in for the wrong reasons, especially in this type of music. If it was “Back Street Boys”, I could understand. I totally respect him and his discerns, he’s family for life.
AFL: Do you have any last words?
Adam: Thank you it was a pleasure.