DS Exclusive:  Mike Moak (After The Fall) discusses “Eradication”, melodic hardcore, band names and the Paint It Black style tour schedule

DS Exclusive: Mike Moak (After The Fall) discusses “Eradication”, melodic hardcore, band names and the Paint It Black style tour schedule

After The Fall, not to be confused with the Australian rock group of the same name, are a band that does what they do extremely well.  They mix the best of trash, hardcore and punk throw melodies over the top and the final result is melodic hardcore that is catchy yet still leaves the listener with a bad case of the face melts.  This is none more evident that in their “Eradication” album that was released in October 2010 through Mightier Than Sword records.

Vocalist and guitarist, Mike Moak, let us at DS interrogate him about the band from Albany.  We talked about the bands history, being veterans of the recording process, the rise in popularity of melodic hardcore, the nightmare that is their band name and touring schedules plus a bunch of other cool stuff.  Read the full interview here.

How did After The Fall come together?

Me and my buddy Dave Zeidman started hanging out a lot in the 6th grade, we both loved punk, to be more specific NOFX… He played drums, I played guitar so we started playing music, at first we we’re called 8 more to go, then later on we were called Down-Fall. Dave had a friend from another school about 20 minutes away, his name was Tyler Paige. Tyler loved NOFX too, haha so we started this band with Tyler and with another friend we met named Kyle Chard on bass. Tyler had already been in a band called Shorkey Joe which had Meepy on drums and Brian Peters on bass, so when Dave and Kyle left Down-Fall and moved on to Once and For All and End Of A Year we started over with Meepy and Brian to form what is now After the Fall.

We spent our junior and senior years of high school playing all over the northeast and recording our first EP “First Evolve, Then Destroy”. As soon as we all we’re done with high school, we saved up money and flew to Fort Collins, Colorado to record at The Blasting Room.  This was our first full length titled “Everything”. After a few years passed we recorded Fort Orange, then Tyler left the band, and we decided to stay a 3 piece, and KC joined on bass, and then we recorded the “Collar City” EP and our newest effort “Eradication”.

You released your third full-length, “Eradication” in late 2010.  How has the response to the album been?

People seem to enjoy it. I think it’s progression from “Fort Orange”. When we released “Eradication” we didn’t know what to expect, but things have been great, people were singing along to the songs before the record was even out which is a great feeling. We were lucky enough to have record release shows in Albany and Brooklyn alongside good friends Thieves and Assassins, The Stereo State, Make Do and Mend and Defeater which really made those shows awesome.  Then a week later we played after Paint It Black at THE FEST 9 which was also amazing…then a week after that we got to play The Sainte Catherines record release in Montreal, which also felt like a record release for ATF because we sold so many records that night. After that we got to play 2 shows in Costa Rica alongside Millencolin and A Wilhelm Scream which was more than amazing haha.  We played for 3000 people, it was the biggest gig we’ve ever played, it was awesome, we had such a good time.

What made you choose to work with Jay Maas on the album?

Well Jay Maas had been our friend since his band was called Sluts before what we all know as Defeater. I noticed the Sluts record was recorded by Jay Maas, and it sounded awesome, then Defeater came along and their record sounded even more awesome. Our drummer, Meepy, kept telling me we should record with Jay Maas. I really wanted to go back to The Blasting Room but we couldn’t afford it or get the time to fly there, so we drove to Boston and did the record with Jay at the getaway group.

Being your third album, it’s easy to assume that you guys are seasoned veterans when it comes to the recording process.  Is there anything you still find daunting about entering the studio?

Haha!  Vocals, cause I am always critical of myself, and I cannot really sing very well. And drum editing.  When people edit drums, it just feels like a huge waste of time, growing up I always recorded live so tracking and editing wasn’t what I was used to, but we are now. I still really appreciate live recording, because it’s honest, and it’s raw. But when record labels are paying your band to record, it makes sense to take your time and make it “perfect”.

Melodic hardcore is more popular right now than ever before.  What is it about the genre that appeals to you as a musician?

I’m not really sure, the “genre” is so broad, some bands are awesome some are not. I love melody, but I also love thrash, I do my best to keep a good balance of the two in ATF. I think the modern Bridge 9 sound is cool, and a lot of new and current bands coming out are also cool, but when it lacks creativity or heart, I stop listening.

The NY hardcore scene is well established and one of the most respected on the planet.  Does living in this area affect After the Fall?

Well it does affect us yes. We live in Albany though, not NYC.  So we can’t claim to be NYHCor part of that scene. Growing up we got to see NYHC bands play Albany all the time, Sick Of It All, Kill Your Idols, Agnostic Front, and Murphy’s Law. Actually at our “Everything” release show Murphy’s Law were the headliner, and their drummer quit that day so we told ‘em our friend Sullivan would fill in. They ended up asking him to join Murphy’s Law while they were all on stage, and he joined, then our old bass player Yasir went on tour with them doing merch.

Playing shows with Kill Your Idols was always a great time, they were one of the best bands ever, I mean it, no bullshit, just honest punk hardcore.  They made such an impact on people all over the world. Nausea and Born Against are very important NYHC bands also, at least in my opinion. Albany has had a great deal of hardcore bands to that had an influence on me, bands like The Disenchanted, Devoid of Faith, 4 Minute Warning and Down Foundation all play a huge part in why I play music or got into punk in the first place.

If you had to pick one band that had been the most influential on your sound, who would that be and why?

Propagandhi has been a huge influence, past and present, they never put out a shitty record [respect] and they just always give me goosebumps. I grew up listening to Bad Religion and NOFX, so they also were big influences, but their newer records don’t do it for me anymore… sure there’s a good song here and there, but nothing like it used to be.

You were originally ‘The Fall’, what made you pick the word ‘after’ rather than giving the band name a complete change?

Our band name is a nightmare, people always find the Australian After The Fall and think it’s us, and vice versa, I think we sold a few records in Australia and people were really confused haha. We also get confused with an organic juice company from Vermont called After The Fall and there’s a band from Nebraska that always comes up to. I think however in the punk / hardcore scene we are the only After The Fall but i’m probably wrong, We would’ve changed the name a long time ago but it’s been too long now. I can’t really tell you where the name came from but there’s an old technical melodic punk band from Arizona called Bueno who we loved, they had a song called After The Fall.

While you have a respectable touring schedule, After The Fall hasn’t yet transitioned into being a full time band.  What would be the tipping point for the band to become full time?

If we we’re offered a long tour where we could afford to pay our rent and bills while playing music, then that’s what we would do. But that’s not easy for any band. Our bass player still goes to college and our drummer just got married, we have to pay the bills.  I wish ATF could be a full time gig, but it can’t right now. We just want to continue to record and play rad shows. We will always play fests and weekends around the US, and play abroad as much as possible, cause that’s what we like to do, travel and meet people, play with bands we like, we’ll stick to that as long as possible.  The Paint It Black style tour schedule. Also known as “Vacation Core”. But who knows, if a bigger band wanted us to play their tour package, we may say yes, but if we cannot afford it then we’re gonna stay home and do our own short tours and write more records.

You toured Central America in late 2010 with Millencolin and A Wilhelm Scream.  How did crowds differ in this part of the world?

The crowd was HUGE… I mean huge!  Recently before the trip, Bad Religion / Bouncing souls came to play Albany, the show had 2000 people or more, then when we played Costa Rica with Millencolin.  The place had 3000 people or more, and we had never played to more than 500 people so it was a trip. Costa Rica is awesome; people love Epi/Fat bands and bands that sound like 90’s west coast bands, so we fit in pretty well there. We went to a mall with Millencolin and AWS before the show to sign over 1000 autographs, which was just weird and silly.  I never cared for autographs, but they mean a lot to people there. Everyone was shocked that we would hang out and talk to everyone and have a good time, they expected us to stay at our hotel or backstage or have rock star attitudes and when we all just wanted to hang out and have fun, people we’re really stoked that we’re down to earth and just like them. Pura Vida Costa Rica!!!

What are the bands plans for 2011?

A few rad shows this winter with Iron Chic and Nightmares for a Week. We are going to do US / Canada touring this spring, Europe in early summer, and Australia in late summer / early fall. After that we’ll probably tour down to the fest in Gainesville FL again. Right now we’re writing for another full length, and there’s a possible split coming out this year as well.

Any last words?

Thanks to Dying Scene for the support, and thanks to everyone who supports ATF, it means a lot. If you haven’t checked out “Eradication” yet, visit ATF on Bandcamp and you can stream all our records for free there. If you want us to play your city, town, basement, whatever, get in touch, we’ll try our best!!! Thanks!!!

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