Time, Love and Memories

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European hardcore seems to be growing in stage dives and spin kicks, and more so, it seems to be more influenced by mid 90’s hardcore and old school brutal death metal than the melodic metal influenced stuff the US is chucking out now. One such band of brothers of Instil from the Netherlands. Their debut album Fire Reflects in Ashes, is a rumbling, chugging barrage of sweat and blood that sounds more American that most American bands who are in turn trying to sound European. It was actually one of the most underrated slabs of heaviness I heard last year, so I thought I’d talk to voclasit Rene Smit to not only find out more about the band, but also give them a little well deserved exposure…

First the boring intro question, give us a history of your young band.
Instil started around 2001… We played a kind of hardcore in the vein of Shai Hulud, Converge and Morning Again. We released 2 records on a German label (Beniihana) and an Austrian label (Burning Season) and toured several times through Europe. We did also a few shows in Iceland. We have had a solid line-up for 3 years now.. The addition of Sander as guitarist was a huge step forwards for Instil. He is also responsible for our thrashy sound. Last year we hooked up with Garden of Exile records (Garden of Exile Records) and released our debut album Fire reflects in ashes. We are just back from a short tour through Sweden and Denmark and the rest is the future..

Why the one “L” in your band name? Is there some straight edge significance or that’s just how it’s spelled in the Netherlands?
Actually, Instil with one “L” is written in old-English. When we took this name we could choose out of 2 variants.. There was already a band called Instill. Later on we heard about a screamo cult-band with the same spelling as we have.

With the popularity of the genre and bands like Hatebreed, Maroon, Heaven Shall Burn, etc on larger labels, what made you guys go with Garden of Exile?
Around that time I was involved with Garden of Exile. We would like to put out a record on a short term because our former 2 records (a mini-CD and a split-CD) came out with a big delay. Garden of Exile offered us to pay our studio and could help us to get some more attention than we had at the other labels.

Is the genre getting over saturated, with large labels and MTV elbowing in on the action?
Well.. Actually I don’t think so. I think heavy music in general is more popular than we’ve seen in years.. You hear and see more rock and metal bands on radio and television and they just make way for bands in our genre. Bigger labels take their advantage. I cannot speak for the USA, but in Europe the metal and hardcore is just a small portion of what you see on MTV. Last weekend I saw “the Battle of Ozzfest” and of course it’s pure commercialism but if you want to get somewhere with your band you need to tour a lot and the media is one of the most useful ways to spread your name.

Why should fans take an interest in Instil rather than the other “big name” bands?
What we’ve made on our record Fire reflects in Ashes we can easily do live on stage. For the people who have not our album, I can say that it’s extremely brutal, fulfilled with melodies and mosh parts. This record is more metal than most of the bands in the metalcore genre. In a big part of Europe but also in the USA the people who listened to our album they call it is a 54 minute rollercoaster ride of fury, emotion and brutality. Instil reminds them of The Haunted, At the Gates or Arch Enemy mixed with Hatebreed and served with a side order of Unearth with just enough room left for originality. I think we created this sound due we played with a variety of bands like The Crown, God Dethroned, Converge, Bleeding Through, Arkangel, Throwdown, Crowbar, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Caliban, The Haunted, Entombed..

The European hardcore/metalcore movement is growing, is the scene simply copying a US trend or developing its own character?
I don’t really know. I think the European scene is a little more allied to the death/thrashmetal scene. The movement is not something I am afraid of. New kids hook up with the music and of course it’s also about “the looks” but years ago, when I said hello to the metal scene I wore army boots, shirts with skulls and adored Glenn Benton or Kerry King ! They were tough. The trend of this movement which comes over from the US is something we all did years ago, the big difference now, it’s now more about make-up (laughs).

What’s is making the European hardcore scene grow like it is?
Good soil, more hard working bands today, good producers, nice girls on shows and two heavy scenes who melt as one which get a lot of opportunities for touring and to meet new audience.

You went with Tue Madsen, a fast rising hardcore and death metal producer, what made you choose him and go with a ‘familiar’ sound instead of a more unique approach?
We did it with a unique approach to record in a good studio in Germany (Tonmeisterei). The recordings were different than we did before. This time we did it with two producers Where one is Nico van Montfort our very own sound-technician. He knows how we sound and he caught it on tape. Tue Madsen did only the mastering, but he did a great job. I think our sound is different than the sound of most of the bands who recorded the whole record with one guy

Is Tue Madsen the best hardcore producer there is?
Probably! There are more good producers in Europe but most of the hardcore albums I like are produced or partly-produced by Tue.

Germany’s Narziss recently did an album in their native tongue. What made you guys sing in English? Do you have some native lyrics? Is there an international accesibility issue here?
First of all, I prefer to sing in the German language above my own language. It sounds better, you can hear it also with Rammstein or Nena. If we should sing in our native language it would be in Dutch. Many Dutch artists say that it is not very easy not sing with their native tongue. I don’t know why, in our language we use a lot of English words or quotes. As child we grew up with English movies with Dutch subtitles actually everyone over here can speak proper English. In general, a lot of people in Germany are not very good in English and people watch synchronised television. In Europe, we all speak English or German with the countries where the language is not very similar.

The balance between traditional “moshing” hardcore and a thrashier more At The gates style metal is perfect on the album-will Instil lean further one way of the other for the next album?
Yes I think so. I have to admit that the new songs are faster and more technical but the mosh parts are still included. The new music is more death/thrashmetal. The last song we’ve made has influences of Deicide, In Flames, Death and let’s say Lamb of God.

You guys are hard core tourers, any plans to come to the US where your sound will be far more appreciated?
I hope a US label will pick us up when this interview is online and than we can talk about a US tour.. haha!! We are actually already talking about something like a promotional tour through the East-coast but we can only tour when we can hook up with a well-known US band. I am sure people like us in the USA, the attention we get from our website (http://www.instil.nl/)and myspace is incredible so gather forces and we hit the van.

Any parting words for the hardcore faithful?
Thanks everyone who supported us in the past. For the people who are interested after this interview or songs which you can download from our website check out our album Fire reflects in ashes! And for the hardcore faithful: Stay metal haha!


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