Converge - Jake Bannon

Interview Date: October 01, 2006

Associated band: Converge


Interview with Jake Bannon of Converge in September of 2006.rn

Four months ago, I had the privilege to experience Converge in a small room in Brockton, Massachusetts with five-hundred other kids. For a band with fifteen years to its name, Converge did not fail to capture everyone there--some experiencing the band for the first time while others showcased as some of the original fans of the band by vocalist Jake Bannon. “I was once a young kid in the hardcore scene, tattooed all over.” That evening Converge played some of the new songs for the first time to the public. Fast-forward through the Sounds Of The Underground tour and recording, and Converge is ready to make the final push towards the new record No Heroes, due out on Epitaph Records in October. Jake took some time out of the tour with Mastodon to speak with us about what’s been happening with Converge and what to expect in the months to come. rnrn

You are currently on day three of the tour with Mastodon. How has the first couple shows been? rn

It’s been pretty solid time. It’s a cool line-up with all bands that we respect and listen to. They are all pretty good friends. It’s cool to have a tour with all bands that you actually listen to and are a fan of. The tour’s working well for us, and I think all three bands are excited for it.

How many songs have you been showcasing from the new album on the tour?rn

It depends on the day. It’s probably about three to five a night that we play, and we switch it off.

Your new album No Heroes is out October 24th. How different does it feel from previous albums like You Fail Me or Jane Doe?rn

It’s a more intense album, a bit more violent, a little bit more aggressive than You Fail Me.

What experiences or influences with other bands did you feel impacted the new album?rn

None really. It was an album that happened very quickly. It was written quickly; we had some songs kicking around since about a year after You Fail Me, and a lot of the album was taken together with a couple months to record it. It sounds that way; there’s a lot of excitement about all the music. There’s a lot of energy in it that has been lacking in other recordings. We don’t really take influence from other bands at this point. We’ve been a band for fifteen years so we just do our thing.

Converge also has a split being re-released on Relapse with Agoraphobic Nosebleed.

What particularly led you to release The Poacher Diaries again?
rnIt’s not so much a re-release because it was out of print for a bit. Relapse distributors have a lot of different releases, so when it ran out of stock, they needed to re-press it. They did it for a variety of reasons. It gave us an opportunity to re-master our songs. Our songs were never mastered properly when we recorded them. We just handed them over to Relapse, and they ended up on the album with minimal re-mastering done. The audio levels were not equal from band to band. We were happy to be able to make it a listenable record all the way through for both bands.

How was the experience on the Sounds Of The Underground tour with huge production stages and such?rn

There wasn’t really that many people for the production. Most shows were around a thousand to two-thousand people, but the production was much larger. There were larger stages and venues. For comparison, this show tonight is sold out with about fifteen-hundred kids, which is pretty close to the attendance at Sounds Of The Underground in the Boston area. It’s in a club setting, which will be a much more intimate, appreciative environment that reflects the kind of band we are. We felt a little bit like a caged animal in a sense on Sounds Of The Underground. They roll you out for twenty minutes and go, “Hey, look at this crazy thing that people don’t know about,” and then roll you back out and that’s it. That’s not really a personal experience. On our own tour, it’s a little more focused, and you get people who are looking for a little more substance towards your music. It gave us a different vibe definitely; we didn’t have a bad time on it, but we certainly didn’t have an awesome time on it. It’s not our thing. It’s not what we are.

After the Mastodon tour, what are your plans for supporting the new Converge album?rn

We’re taking Some Girls and Modern Life Is War with us on a headlining tour, and we have Blacklisted and Kylesa and Gospel also playing. Those dates are in November. We’re going to plan our 2007 stuff from there.

Are there any plans for a record release in the Boston area?rn

We don’t really play locally too much. There aren’t many local places for us to play at. We generally don’t like playing outside of the Boston area and in the state. We’d rather play Boston proper, but there aren’t really any clubs that want to have us. We have a show in the Allston area that worked out pretty well. Shows have been slow down there though. There have been a lot of venues rejecting aggressive music. They just don’t want to deal with our type. I can’t lie; some people just don’t want to deal with the aggressive moments and times with the kids that follow us. Hopefully someone can get a venue to change their mind.

You are well known in the community for your commercial art. Did you take any influences that have really inspired your work? What’s your favorite medium to work with?rn

I’ve been working commercial art for a good amount of time. It’s what I do, and I really don’t think about what other people. I basically just do my own thing. As far as medium, I am a multi-medium artist so I have a wide variety of mediums I work with for the job I’m working on. Whatever the job really calls for.

Do you have any messages to the fans who have come out, bought records, attended shows, and otherwise just supported Converge in its endeavors?rn

Just basically thank you for all your support and coming out.