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Life Of Agony - A Chit Chat with Joey Z
On the 7th of December Life Of Agony was performing in Holland for the second time this year. Due to circumstances Carn couldn’t do the interview with Life Of Agony so Buzzin Hornet asked me to join him during the chit chat we had with Joey Z from Life Of Agony.

Hey, how are you doing so far this tour?
Great man, we’re having a lot of sold out shows and crazy crowds. We’ve been to Germany where we did some Magazine Visions festival shows with Turbonegro and Mando Diau, those where all big shows like five to six thousand people. After that we’ve been to Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and Austria so we’ve been all over the place.
 
Did you also go to the eastern part of Europe, like Hungary?
We went to Prague, but I don’t know if it’s Eastern Europe.
 

Nowadays everybody says that Life Of Agony invented the sound called Emocore. How do you stand to that?
It’s kind of weird to give it a title because we always had that problem that we never had a title, so having a title now is kind of weird. We have emotional music and I don’t know if putting a title like Emocore is correct but our music is emotional, sensitive, heavy, hardedge and also contains a lot of dynamics so I’m glad we influenced some bands.
 

Do you still see Life Of Agony like an Emocore band or do you think you’re beyond that?
I never saw Life Of Agony like an Emocore band. I haven’t heard too many Emocore bands so I really don’t know what’s considered Emocore, I can’t understand what kind of category that is. I do know that Life Of Agony is different than other bands, either the crowd get us or they don’t. Life Of Agony is that kind of band where the people understand the music or they don’t. There’s no in between, either you love us or you hate us.
 

When you reunited in 2003 it supposed to be a one time event, but we're in 2005 by know. What made you decide to come back together, go on tour and even record a new album?
Personally I knew I wanted to do it as soon we played those shows again at Irving Plaza, New York. The two shows sold out, the place was moving and shaking, the crowd was fucking crazy, that night I knew we should do it again. Soon after those two shows we all went back to all the other bands, I was in a band called Stereomud and these guys were in some other bands too, but all the time I was thinking “damn I want to be back with Life Of Agony”. So it took about four months after those shows when we were talking about it “let’s do some tours” because everybody wasn’t really too happy with what they were doing. I remember it happened at Alan’s wedding (Bass player) I said “Shoot the moon” which meant to us let’s do it again.
 

You’ve recorded the new album and released it last May. To me, the album stands between Ugly and Soul Searching Sun.
I feel the same way because of Sal and the original guys and sound that’s where it belongs.

Some people say that the New York hardcore sound is gone on the last album, what do you think of that?
We are so much older now and it’s been twelve to thirteen years since River Runs Red. We wrote those songs back in 1992 and 1993 and we were much younger, but now it’s a different scene. It’s not like we intentionally said let’s get away from hardcore because that groove and all that stuff is still in us. It’s just a bit different, we used the edge of the hardcore, the edge of the metal and we introduced something different. I think you can hear it in the new stuff. Especially live even more than on the record.

How did the recording process go with Keith living here in Holland?
The recording process was fun. We went away in a house on the country side where we really pushed ourselves to reach new levels, as musicians, as friends and as a team. We lived in the house all by ourselves so we were cooking together, eating together and every time when someone had an idea he would go down to the basement where al the equipement was and he just started playing. Room 244 for example started late at night when Keith and Sal were fucking around in the basement. Alan and I were watching a video and we were like “Wow that sounds cool, let’s join them downstairs”. We shared much more ideas together. It was more like a family instead that’s yours en this is mine.
 

Are there any songs that didn’t make it to the record?
Yeah, we have like eight songs that didn’t make it.

Are there any chances of releasing them in the future?
No, we didn’t record them. We worked on them and then you get to the point where somebody says “This isn't working”, then we put the song aside and move on. We just kept going forward moving stuff out of our way and the ones that were good got stuck on track.
 

As we all know Keith left the band in 1997 all of a sudden. Is there any chance it could happen again?
Anything is possible in the future but we hope we could continue on any level whether it’s big or small, continue the band, continue the name, just to get minimal success.
 

Is that the reason you asked Whitfield Crane from Ugly Kid Joe to take over the microphone from Keith?
Yeah, we wanted to keep going but it didn’t really work out. The writing wasn’t working out with him, he didn’t have much heart and the right emotion.
 

You released the Live DVD River Runs Again in 2003, are there any plans for a future DVD?
There came a DVD with the new album (UK release only) and it’s about 35 minutes of interviews and stuff.
 

What do you think about all the best-of CD’s that are released by the record companies?
Unless the band is involved with it, it’s cool. The point is we didn’t have any influence or input in those best-of records. We didn’t have any control on that. It is their music, it’s a result of the fucked contract we’d signed when we were kids. But I’m grateful we’ve got that chance.
 

What will the future bring for Life Of Agony?
We take baby steps, we’ve learned from the past. If you jump too far you’ll get burned.

Are there any members involved in side projects or solo projects at the moment?
Not at the moment, but Keith always has his thing going. I think he just recorded some songs with his friends. As for me, I’m opening a studio in New York for the public and I’ll be running the studio myself, recording the bands myself. The studio is built and I just have to get my gear in and arrange a couple of things and then I’d be open in February. The name of the studio is Method Of Groove. The website is going online in January and is called www.methodofgroovestudio.com, so you can check it out.
 

Is it possible that the next Life Of Agony album is recorded there?
That’s possible. I have the right papers and the right gear so it’s possible.
 

Did you already do some producing in the past?
Well, when you do records you’re automatically producing because you’re constantly making choices and turning knobs. The good thing is that I'll be working with the bands, if you book time with me, you’ll get me.
 

It’s actually the same like Danny Schuler from Biohazard, he recently opened up a studio in New York.
The demo which got us signed was recorded at Danny’s studio. It’s partially how I got the idea of opening up a studio.
 

Why are you playing with Green Lizard tonight, do you have some kind of connection?
We played with each other a couple of times before in the past and that band really likes Life Of Agony. Besides that, it’s nice to help some of the local talents.
This tour we decided to help out some of the local European acts so we reached out to the promoters and said “Hey, grab a couple of bands from each city with potential and know how to play a good show.”
 

The other band is also from around here?
No, Krieger is from Germany but you got to check them out, they’re great. They got a killer sound and a great drummer.
 

Are you signed for another record with Sony?
Right now it’s not sure because America hasn’t been that great for us and they’re probably making new plans in 2006 so we’re waiting to hear the final word.
 

Why is the song 'Respect' rarely played live?
I think you should ask Keith on that one. Sometimes he don’t want to play too much of the old stuff.
 

A few days ago there was a strange message of a show in Sweden where Keith wasn’t that polite. Can you tell us what happened there?
Sure. We hit the stage there and it was very crowded but nobody seems to be happy or excited to see Life Of Agony. In the front of the stage there were some people with really long faces and Keith was like “hey, wake up!” and someone gave him the finger. It’s not necessary we want excitement, we want a lot of craziness and we want everyone to have a great time. We just didn’t understand it because everywhere in Europe it’s been great so I think Keith took it too personally that nobody appreciated the band and turned his back to the crowd the rest of the show. Keith didn’t want to play, so in order to finish the show he turned his back the rest of the show.

There also where comments about Keith swearing at people like “you’re even worse than the Germans”.
No he didn’t say that, we had some great shows in Germany so that wouldn’t make sense. Yeah it was a really odd night; let’s hope it won’t happen again.
 
Any words left for the readers of Metalrage.com?
Thank you very much for sticking with us for all these years because it’s been a long time.

Thanks for your contribution dude!

Interview by Niamen and Buzzin Hornet