Interview with The Offenders
The Offenders from Berlin/Italy celebrate this year their 10 years Band anniversary and release their new full length X on Destiny Records. Over the years the band get with their punk/reggae mix to one of the most popular bands in the scene. We could make an interview with singer Valerio about the new album, a new tour and some other things.
AFL: Hey Velerio! You release your new album X in October. How satisfied you’re with the new record and how was the feedback you get so far? I personally love it!
Valerio: Well, glad you do! We can’t really complain much about feedbacks, people seems to like our new songs, we can see it even through small indie charts, like the one of CoreTex (our third week by now in best top 10 selling album of the week) or the Amazon Ska Chart which saw us once at number 2 and since a month often in top 20, it’s a good sign overall.
AFL: What exactly means the album title X? Has it any special meaning? Your last release had the title Generation Nowhere, are you meaning with X now the generation x?
Valerio: Not at all, X means 10th as in ancient roman language, was a way to celebrate our 10 years anniversary. X it’s actually bit more positive then „Generation Nowhere“, as you can see from the number, we are “somewhere”, we are on our 10th year on the road, on our 6th studio album…maybe we switched from Generation Nowhere to Generation Somewhere, but still easy to loose direction and go to nowhere again.
AFL: One of my favorites songs are Alles Muss Raus and 1000 Mal Vergessen. How came the idea for the English/German vocals change refrain?
Valerio: I’m living in Berlin since over 7 years by now, even if I don’t speak much german i’m surrounded by it, so at one point I had to mention something in my lyrics. Both lyrics came spontaneously, I express myself in english still, but “everything must go” doesn’t sound like “alles muss raus”, also concering few side meanings that “alles muss raus” have in german, and we all know what i’m talking about, right? haha!
„I live what i’m writing“ – Valerio (The Offenders)
AFL: Which themes you’re threaded on your new album and are you influenced by any special bands for X?
Valerio: As I often said, everything concerning my surrround, my everyday life and so on…I live what i’m writing, and when I don’t I use the third person form to talk from another point of view. I’m usually listening lot of music, different kinds as usual, I can’t really say what I was listening when I wrote all tunes of X, sure I don’t have any special band in mind right now, I love british sound as I always mentioned in every interview, you can pick up so mayn artists in that field…countless!
AFL: You’ve released the album on really much labels! Destiny Records, Rudy’s Back, KOB Records, Stomp Records and Bomber Music! How came it? It’s not going to be easy to keep there an overview or?
Valerio: We’ve tried to have some labels partner beside Destiny, cause in Europe you’re still paying “import/export” taxes on such products, so to make it easy, our record in France cost more then in Germany, if it’s gonna be sold as “export”. If we have a local label there, we can avoid this tax thing. Sure in theory many labels should also help with promo and such stuff, but all work still on Destiny‘ shoulders 80%, so basically these partnership are good for the local crowd there, in this way our record is gonna have the same price in many part of Europe and even abroad, without selling our ass to a major label.
AFL: 2013 was a big touring year for The Offenders. You visit at this time also China. Which experiences you make there? I think it’s not always easy to touring a country how China. Is there a punk rock / ska scene?
Valerio: I would say 2013/2014 was a busy time, we had many great chances, festivals, we’ve started to collect some sold out…it was cool! The whole China thing came after an idea of our friend and former road manager Frank Keil, who had connections over there and suggested us to make this experience. We had something like 13 gigs or so, starting with a sold out night in a small club in Bejing…that was amazing! Unfortunately the rest of the tour was full of up and downs, China still a new country for such music, people (masses) don’t have clue, except in few cities like Shangai (where they forbid us to play…police deleted our show before we even went there!) Bejing or Wuhan, where there are several subcultures and some events going on, but still not so much for such huge country.
AFL: Have you plans for a next tour?
Valerio: Sure! We are actually touring to promote our new album, we usually play week ends as always, we are also planning something abroad for 2016, all still work in progress, let’s hope will work out!!
AFL: If you could choose with which band you can go on tour which band would you choose and why?
Valerio: When we talk about bands to tour with, I immagine 2 different “categories”: bands I like and i’m friend with/ band I like.
First category, I would definitely include Movement and Valkyrians, if we will ever have a chance to plan something together again it’s gonna be amazing, specially concerning after show parties!
Second category: list would be too long, and some of my favourite bands don’t play anymore since ages for certain reasons, like Clash or Jam for example…anyway list it’s seriously long!
AFL: Which bands do you listen at the moment?
Valerio: I usually listen lot of music, I don’t really have a “moment band”. I can say that right now i’m listening some northern soul, Otis Smith “Let her go” and I guess next in the playlist is the northernsoul youngest queen at that time, Lorraine Silver “Lost Summer Love”. Before that I was listening “wasted little djs” by The View, a power pop gem of the early 2000’s, after I might listen Nick Lowe “I love the sound of breaking glass” just to cool down, then surely my daily dose of Joe Jackson, usually bunch of tunes taken from Look Sharp or I am the Man, as well as the new Dr.Feelgood at the moment, The Strypes, that unfortunately i’ve missed when they came in Berlin. No, today I won’t listen any offbeat music…or probably I will…ok, come on, the first of The BeatDown, another band I would love to tour with by the way ; )
AFL: What do you do besides making music with The Offenders? You’re all living in Berlin now, am I right?
Valerio: The Italians, we are into mob, while the germans sell beers and potatoes, haha!
Beside stupid jokes, some of us have side jobs/ side projects/ sometimes some dj thing…you know, to keep ourself busy and survive while we are not on the road.
AFL: Thanks for the interview guys! Have you any last words?
Valerio: Alright…a good cigar and a single malt, Lagavulin or Smokehead, I wanna have something good before saying my last words. Thanks