AFL: YO! It’s great to see you guys again. We saw you on your last tour with NAPALM DEATH last May, where there were a lot of Metal heads. We felt that, there at that show, the mood / pit style is very different compared to Hardcore shows. Or how do you see it?
Riley: Yes, well sure. Heavy music is obliviously an outlet for controlled aggression. You have a mosh pit and different people do different things with in those confines. We don’t put different labels on the crowd. I mean as long as you’re not intentionally hurting someone or disrespecting their person, and involving people on the sidelines who don’t want to be a part of the pit or whatever. I really don’t care how people behave. I love to see circle pits and stage diving mostly, and I like it when kids slam and dance and have their own style. I think push pits look a little silly but, we don’t really give a shit. We just want people to go out there and do what the music makes them feel like doing, you know. It’s not like murder and rape are on the list, you know. If you come to a show and we make you wanna smoke weed, or punch your friend in the face, as long as your friend is cool with that. We don’t care. The hardcore vs metal shows have a different vibe but we don’t expect people to behave one way or another. Unless there is a lot of actual fist fighting, I won’t tell someone what to do. Just have fun be cool.
AFL: The first part of the PERSISTENCE TOUR began a few days ago. How is the tour so far?
Riley: It feels very long, the shows have been good. We have a lot of time during the day, and we don’t know what to do with ourselves so sometimes, we are just happy to be on tour with a bunch of our friends, who do this tour mostly for fun. It’s good to be on tour with bands we have already toured with who are already our friends. I have no complaints; it’s a nice short run. The shows have been really packed and really good so you know it’s been good.
AFL: After the PERSISTENCE TOUR, the next European tour will be with the metal giants TRIVIUM in February. The PERSISTENCE TOUR and the tour with TRIVIUM are two tours that differ a bit in terms of the audience? How do you differentiate the Hardcore from the Metal shows?
Riley: We just want to play in front of audiences that have an interest in seeing us, so you know. Sometimes it feels like we are too Metal for hardcore so you know we just want to see what the European Metal World thinks of us. I’ll go on record and say that honestly I haven’t listened to Trivium. I know that they are a large band and I have a good Idea what they sound like. I’ve never sat down with one of their records and really listened to it. I know that they are going to allow us to open up to a broader audience. I love Hardcore and we have a good fan base here but, it doesn’t seem that the Hardcore world at large, or at least in Europe, is as supportive of as, maybe the metal world might be. The Napalm Death tour was really good for us. The Metal crowd was very receptive towards us. In the U.S.A. there is a bit more crossover, when we did tours with Obituary and Cannibal Corpse, a lot more of our fans were willing to come out. Europe is a little more divided, and that’s cool. That’s why we are doing Persistence and Trivium. We want to have our feet in both worlds. We came up in Hardcore, and we still are a Hardcore and Punk band in my opinion, even if we play metal or whatever. We just want to play to everyone so we will see how it goes. It’s a different audience and we’ll see if they dig it or not.
AFL: Do you prefer hardcore before metal shows or vice versa?
Riley: Umm, I prefer Hardcore shows. They have good energy, the energy is there, and it’s what I grew up on. I like seeing younger generations having fun. I think our show will be great but. It all comes down to the crowd, how’s the energy, are they enjoying themselves. Do they have the energy to give back to the bands playing for them? We go out there and we put a lot of energy into our set. We want people to have fun so. I like both and we have had great experiences in both worlds, so it’s hard to pick one or the other.
AFL: Touring with Hardcore greats, Hatebreed, Madball and Terror who of which have toured together as far back as 2004, make you feel like the new kids on the block? A have they accepted you into the Hardcore Family?
Riley: Hey I saw that tour. No not really but in some ways ya. It’s funny because in April I’ll be 32 and a lot of these guys are like your still a young guy and. We (POWER TRIP) have our younger bands, and I’ll be telling the 22 year old the same stuff about being a young guy. Its funny seeing the generations and stuff. But we have been doing this for a long time and it’s nice to look back and be like 16-17 year old me would be like so blown away with what I’m doing now. Present day me; I’m like cool I’m on tour with my friends. You think of these people as some kind of legend, but getting to know them as people lifts the vale. You find out that they are just like everyone else, they’re not celebrities, in the grand scheme of things, and I don’t think people in the Hardcore world need to treat them like celebrities, or treat someone like they’re more important than you. That’s why we choose to tour with bands Like Terror and Madball and Hatebreed. It’s because they stay down to earth, they are still very approachable, nice people, and they still have humility and don’t act like rock stars. Those are the types of bands we want to be on tour and associate with. The first time we ever went on tour with Terror I think that Nick Jett was a force behind that. I think Nick was one of the first to really support POWER TRIP It meant a lot to us and still does.
AFL: Would you say you’ve been accepted into the old school Hardcore family?
Riley: Sure absolutely, All those New York guys have taken a liking to us, it’s flattering. It’s not even like we are best friends, but these guys respect what we’re doing, we play music that sounds like some older bands that they grew up watching. For example it’s great to talk to Hoya about German thrash Metal, and he knows where our influences are. To be able to talk about Hardcore and how we grew up in it. I think we did it the right way. We understand Hardcore for what it really is. That’s it’s a place for people to be themselves. Sure its roots in sound sonically are about an attitude and a way of living. We (POWER TRIP) are trying to bring that attitude to the Metal World. Showing people it’s important to be politically conscious, it’s important to be accepting of other people. When people in the Metal bitch about politics being in Metal, I’m like Fuck You! Everything is politics it really is so here it is so if you don’t like it you don’t have to listen to it. I learned that from guys like Freddy, Hoya and Scott. It’s like fuck off if you don’t like it, then it’s not for you, but the people who do.
AFL: It was certainly a tribute to you that you were also invited to the 2017 Loudwire Music Awards and received Top honors. Before releasing your last album NIGHTMARE LOGIC, did you expect it to be such a great success? Or did it come as a surprise? I mean you were relatively well-known in both Hardcore and the Metal-scene. You are also one of the top insider-tips there.
Riley: It was an honor to be there. We didn’t expect the success we’ve had. I mean I had never heard of Loudwire until we were nominated for the award. So to win that, I had to prescribe my own meaning to it. I didn’t see it as some milestone accomplishment, because I had never heard of Loudwire. To see how much it meant to my family, friends, and all the people that voted and especially our fans. Our category was based upon streaming. That meant that everyone listened to our song on Appel music than any other band in that category. It meant that our song was listened to worldwide more than Municipal Waste, Dragon Force, Pole Barer, Body Count, Obituary and whoever else was in the category. It’s really flattering.
AFL: POWER TRIP has been around for 10 years. Have you achieved your goals with the band and how do you feel about the last 10 years?
Riley: Oh, yes. I started this band hoping we would be popular enough to just go to Europe a couple of times, and maybe Australia and Japan. I wanted to use it as an excuse to see the world. But now it’s become a much bigger thing. We have already succeeded and achieved the goals I had when I started the band. At this point I just see where it takes us. I still feel like we are on the rise, if there is ever a moment where I feel like we’re slowing down or not having as much fun or something like that. I’m not afraid to take time off. As long as people are enthusiastic to see our band and want us to keep putting out records we’ll keep doing it.
AFL: Simon noticed that one of your songs was used in a commercial ad and you didn’t approve of it. Were you, just not asked, like beforehand, if your song could be used?
Riley: No you’ve got it wrong. Fox News played one of our songs as buffer music, basically as an outro to commercial from one of their shows. They played a snippet of Executioners Tax. I made a joke cease and desist because I don’t really support Fox News or any other main stream news media. I watch them and then sort of have to analyze the information I get from there. You know when you only play five seconds of a song for that, you don’t need permission. Even if I didn’t want them to, there is nothing I could do. Actually we don’t care. I had a good conversation with Greg Gutfeld, the host of the show. We had some good political debates, we agreed on some things but not everything; he has a really good taste in music. He likes a lot of Hardcore especially the classics. He grew up going to shows in New York and stuff so, he’s a cool guy. Once I learned more about him I didn’t feel so bad about him using the song.
AFL: At the end of the 1980s, the CRO-MAGS, but also bands such as CRUMBSUCKERS, S.O.D., LEEWAY or AGNOSTIC FRONT came to a big crossover wave that combined hardcore and metal. The Metal and Hardcore lovers go to joint shows in my opinion, although still given today, but not to the extent as before. Do you see yourself as a harbinger to revive the past again or something?
Riley: No if it sounds old because it’s what we have been influenced by, then so be it. We are writing songs that we would want to hear. I think that guitar music has a chance to come back and catch big attention again. I think people are growing tired of produced pop music and electronic and, they want something authentic. If that means being old school is authentic then ok fine. Actually we are just going out doing what we want to. If people think that it’s old school, that’s fine. We just think it’s the way it should be done now, so we’re going to do it.
AFL: Do you have plans to play this year’s European summer festivals? Which festival are you looking forward to the most?
Riley: We have not got any offers. Maybe that will change, but so far no one has asked.
AFL: What type of venue is your favorite? Do you prefer festivals or small clubs?
Riley: I like to play small clubs that are taken care of. I don’t like to play shit holes and dives. I would prefer something intermit. If we are playing a bigger place I would prefer there not be a barricade, or something where fans can’t get on stage and stage dive, come on up there and kick my ass and have a good time.
AFL: What is your stance on concert goers taking photos and videos of your performance and posting it in social media?
Riley: Oh I don’t mind that it helps get your band out there. Although it does sometimes take away from the show if that’s that you do. Like being up on stage looking out into a sea of phones. I’m not going to tell people to turn off their phones, make them lock them in a bag like Danzig did. One year at This Is Hardcore I even joked with everyone that they should turn around and take a selfie while we were playing. That had some funny results. I really don’t care, sure I want people to pay attention to the show but if they have to do it through the lens of their phone, yah ok fine.
AFL: Do you have you any last words?
Riley: Thanks for AWAY FROM LIFE Taking a deep interest in the band it means a lot to us.