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Agents Of Man - A result of good hard work!
A few years ago my friend Shaydee introduced me with the New Jersey hardcore band Agents Of Man. He was already listening to E-Town Concrete, Poison The Well and stuff like that. For me it was something totally new. But with their energetic melodic hardcore ‘tough guy’ metal Agents Of Man fitted right into my style. When we found out they were playing in the Netherlands we decided to go and watch them. Before the show, Shaydee and I had a talk with frontman George M.
You’re in the scene for quite a while now. Can you introduce yourself for those who are not yet familiar with Agents Of Man?
‘I’m George, vocalist of Agents Of Man. On guitar we have Zack and Rey, Gook on bass and Rizario is our new drummer. Myself and Zack used to play in Bulldozer. After Bulldozer in Train Of Thought. Rey played in One 4 One and Bloodline. Gook has been in Cold As Life and Sworn Enemy. Well, we’ve been in a lot of bands and we’re doing this for a long time. We all know each other from back in the days and have been friends for a long time. Though Rizario is 'new', he's making this trip real fun with his loud and colorful personality.’
I guess you need that. Otherwise you’ll go crazy once, don’t you?
‘Absolutely! You’ll go crazy if you don’t have comic relief.’
Your first EP came out in 2001. Four years later you released your second record Count Your Blessings. Why did it take four years?
‘We had a lot of problems in the band. We had about three or four different drummers and bass players. So there was a lot of bullshitting going on after the EP. You get to see peoples true colours. It was one thing after another which kept slowing down us getting the record out.  We were going to sign with Century Media Records in 2002. But because of the problems we had we didn’t.
Did Century Media say you needed to get settled first before getting signed?
‘No. Actually we never took them up on their offer. We declined it and did other things. After we got Gook in the band we started shopping for labels. We got in contact again with the owner of Century Media. He already wanted to sign us back in 2002. So he had something like let’s do it now.’
Did that have a lot of influences music wise? A  lot can happen in four years.
‘Well, we progressed a little bit. The heavy stuff is heavier and the melodic stuff is more melodic. But the core of the band has always been pretty much the same. Basically for us, we tried to keep melody and heaviness.’
It just got more intense. So the line-up changes didn’t do much to you musically? I mean, every man has his style which could influence the music.
‘For the most part there wasn’t much for a change. Because the core of the band has always been the same. It was always solid.’
Again you choose for recording at the Purple Light Studios. Many legendary albums have been recorded in that studio. What’s it like there?
‘Shitty! You walk in there and you won’t think it’s a studio. It’s like a studio in a loft in Brooklyn. Ceilings falling apart and stuff like that. But Mike Barile is a good guy. We hooked up with him through our boys in Candiria. We needed a place to go and we got told he knew what to do with us.’
So it only looks awful. Great people instead.
‘Indeed. We felt comfortable with him and he with us. So it was all good. I wish we had some more time to record though. I think we tried to do it all in four weeks. Including mixing and everything. I wish we had all the time in the world but our budget didn’t permit that.’
You guy’s come from the New Jersey scene. Is it hard to outgrow that scene?
‘Well, it depends on what the bands like to do. I know bands that are happy playing shows just in the weekends, and just happy to play a show in the CBGB's.. Rest in peace. And other bands try to build and try to get out of there. But there are bands that grew out of New Jersey. I can’t name any out of my head right now but I know there are.’
E-Town Concrete lost a lot of fans because they got more mainstream. Some fans didn’t like the big musical differences between the records. What do you think about that?
‘I don’t know man. If you’re a fan of band you will appreciate any changes. I’ve known E-Town for years. Their new stuff is great! I just never was a big fan of their old stuff. I liked it but it was nothing special to me. But, for the record, that is just my opinion.’
Well, everybody has an opinion. 

'Yeah, opinions are like assholes.'

Some like musical changes between records and others don’t.
‘Yeah, you can’t please everybody.’
Do you think they got more mainstream because of the industry?
‘I guess they wanted to expand their fan base. They wanted to get more exposure. And heavy music is not going to appeal to everybody. Some people want melody. I guess…I don’t know. Ask them.
Yeah, you’re right. This interview is not about E-Town! But let get this straight. The reason why we ask you this is that..
‘Yeah..I think I know where you’re going. We got that mainstream sound ourselves. At least that is what I took and where I was going...anyway, sorry that I interrupted.’
No problem man. You got it pretty right. But I don’t think that Agents Of Man sound totally mainstream. The sound Agents Of Man have is something new for Holland. It’s not the combination between heavy and melodic music that’s new but the style is. At least that’s how I think about it.
‘You know, we came out like five or six years ago. These days metalbands or even grindcore bands sing in the choruses. If you do your history, the majority of the members in this band are doing this same style of music for 10 or 15 years. Like hard melodic stuff. So it’s nothing new for us. But a lot of people are doing it now, yeah.’
Okay, so we got that clear. About the name, what’s the story behind the name Agents Of Man?
‘It’s from a book that I got from a friend. It’s called The Third Wave. The story starts way back in history when people lived without electricity and stuff like that. And it goes until this day, till the period where we live in now. It’s about life that is progressing, industrial wise. And there were these certain people in this book called the agents of….I don’t even remember what, but our friend was like; how about Agents Of Man? Like agents of humanity. Basically, in the book, these people were doing their own thing. They weren’t following what was going on. So we took a spin on that and came out with Agents Of Man. I thought it sounded cool so….’
Do you get a lot of inspirations out of books? Do you read a lot? As you’re on the road a lot...
‘Every now and then. For the most part not. I mostly write about what pops up in my head.’
About that, can you tell us a bit more about the lyrics?
‘Well, I do what I do. I guess that I’m teaching myself something. Like I’m learning. But whatever people want to take from my lyrics, that’s up to them. Everybody has got his own interpretation. It can mean something totally different for you as that it does for me. And that’s fine by me.’
Do you think about that? That when you write your lyrics, you write them in a way people can find their own personal stuff in it?
‘I just write about how I’m feeling. Just like I said. I’m not any different than anybody else. We all got the same emotions. You’re happy or you get mad or whatever. I don’t feel any different than anybody else. But I don’t think about a particular topic when I write.’
What will Agents Of Man bring us in the near future?
‘We got demos and new stuff. We’re not with Century Media anymore.’
You’re not? How’s that?
‘Well, it’s a long story. Lets just keep it with that.’
Alright, but how did you organize this tour then?
‘We did it ourselves. We had this planned out for a long time. So we hooked up with some people and got things done. At the moment we’re writing new material. I’m not trying to think about anything right now. When we complete Europe and come home, we’ll worry about what we have to worry about then. Putting out another record is not going to be a problem. We got enough material. Finding the right label is going to be a problem.’
Right now it’s all about Do It Yourself.
‘Yeah, the old fashion way. The good hard work! Sometimes it's easier this way. You don’t have to worry about some cocksucker in a suit and tie behind a desk. Thinking he knows what he is talking about. You know what I mean…But the bad thing about DIY is the money issue. That you need the money to do things. Having a label to support you…’
In a way you both need each other.
 ‘Yeah man, exactly. It’s like a marriage. The label needs to be good to the band and the band needs to be good to the label. The band needs to do every tour they can and take advantage of every opportunity they have. The label is there for pushing and supporting them. That’s the point of being on a label.’
We hope it's going to be okay! Should be no problem for such a good band. But here it is, our last question. Do you have anything left to say to Metalrage?
‘We love Holland! The women are beautiful. And it’s not even about the coffee shops or the prostitutes either. It’s just a great country.’
Alright, thanks a lot for this interview!