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Poison The Well - The best Version until now
Two hours before their show I had a conversation with Poison The Well drummer Chris. After several years the band is about to release their new album and they are busy touring through Europe. We talked about their new album, the past of the band and what it is with labels. The result can be found below.

Welcome to Amsterdam, how is life?

‘Well, to be honest. I am kind of tired today, haven’t been sleeping well on this tour. Besides that I haven’t been eating the best so I am a little bit out of it. But still it is great to be in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is a lovely city and we really like to play here.’

You played Belgium yesterday. That means you had some time off? Did anything else besides doing interviews today?

‘Not this time but we have played here before with The Dillinger Escape Plan 2 years ago and back then I walked around with their singer Greg and our merch guy Eric. We have had a very good time.’
 
Your  sound has always been evolving, ever since the release of The Opposite Of December you guys have had an progressive change in your sound. Can you tell us something about this evolution?

‘Well, the best way to describe it is that on every album we are different people. Over the years our musical taste has grown. We don’t just want to be a hardcore band, neither a metal band, neither a punk band. We are Poison The Well which means we think we can do anything we want to do. We don’t want to get bored by constantly producing the same kind of music and album over and over again. We want to implement other elements into our music. We simply grow as musicians on every album we have made and we became better songwriters. The music we listen to has changed and we just want to do different things.’

You already said you toured with The Dillinger Escape Plan. Did a band like theirs influence the sound of Poison The Well?

‘Not necessarily. I am inspired by their musicianship because they are incredible players. I am a fan of their music and I liked supporting those guys but they are not a big influence for me. Of course they are also mixing various styles into their music. We just want to make music that has never been done before. And I am not saying we are doing it or have done it but we are inspired to do so.’
 
You claim your fans are always up for something new, what were the crowd reactions on the new songs so far?

‘Upto this point the people have been observing the new music. During the older material they are enjoying every single second but when we play the new stuff they stand still, listening carefully what we are playing, what we are singing and what we are doing on stage. It is the same as when I go to see a band I like, I am not going to sing along or go crazy. I observe what the drummer is doing, the bass player is doing, what the song is about you know?! And if they like the new material that is great! ’

But some kids might already heard the new material thanks to the wonderful powers of the internet.

‘Yeah, that is normal nowadays.’

The first time I listened to your new album I couldn’t really hear Poison The Well but now I am further down with It, it is clearly another great Poison The Well album. A lot of bands are changing their sound these days and sound just like that other band which is a big hit. What is your view on this?

‘I agree with you on the fact that we still sound like Poison The Well but do it on a different way. That is exactly what we are trying to achieve with our music. We want to be innovative with our music but at the same time we do not want to sound different than ourselves. We are not trying to be The Dillinger Escape Plan or one of the other million bands out there.’

And has this something to do with the album title ‘Versions’?

‘For me it does, it represents the different versions of Poison The Well. This is another version of us and in my view it was representative for our current view of music. And the different versions are caused by different members, labels or this or that.’
 
And if you compare this version to all the others, is this the best one?

‘Yes, as far as musicianship it is the best up to this point. Everybody is on the same page and it just feels right.’

About the members of this band, there are three members in the band?

‘Yes, three solid members for writing and recording.’
 
How are you handling this on stage?

‘We got two hired musicians on stage with us. When we play live we got an extra bass player and guitar player. For the recording sessions our guitarist is playing two guitar tracks and the bass. Besides that he plays the mandolin and synthesizer, he plays everything on its own.’
 
When you look back on your almost nine year long career, what is the best memory you have got?

‘I just have to get back to the beginning. Me joining the band. They were playing for a couple of months and they asked me to join their band, that was a great moment for me. Without that moment I wouldn’t be able to experience all, learn, grow and doing what we are doing right now. Thanks to those guys I have become a better musician and a more worthy guy in life. I just understand more in music and they just expanded my life.’
 
Bad experiences?

‘Well, you can’t have good without the bad. We got robbed in Montreal a long time ago. They broke into our van, stole a lot of money and our gear. That is probably the most fucked up period of our career.’
 
What do you think of the following statement I read on a message board: ‘Poison The Well is growing up together with their fan base, the new young kids who are getting into metal won’t like the new material’?

‘It is really hard to give an opinion on that. For us there are always kid who just cannot understand what we are doing; why we are doing it different. They ask us why we just won’t make another The Opposite Of December or another Tear From The Red. For me it was just that period of time for that record. We are not that band anymore, well we are but we are in a different point at this moment. I just hope the kids are open minded enough to embrace everything. I do realize that there are kids who love all four records and that there are kids who just like The Opposite Of December. And probably there will also be kids who just like Versions. There will always be some stupid kid who will say that we are past our time and shit. For me The Opposite Of December production wise and song writing is just like this: When you are in high school and you do a report in 7th grade. But when you are a senior and write awesome stories people will still be referring to that old report you wrote. Wouldn’t that become frustrating? And people can think what they want but for us we keep getting better and The Opposite Of December was the best thing we could do at that period in time. It is not really that great of a record, it is not really performed that well. It is just being embraced by people and that became a snowball effect. It has been passed down to people until the point it became an essential hardcore record. Which is cool and flattering, don’t get me wrong. Now we believe we wrote better songs and perform better!’
 
You guys also changed labels for the new record, what was the deal?

‘Same as usual. Creative differences. We were signed by Atlantic and they gave us total freedom in our creativity. And then we wrote Versions, presented our album to them and they complained about the fact there wasn’t a radio song on the album. So we ended up by giving them the choice to release the album or release us from the contract. After that it became Ferret and we are almost releasing the new album!’
 
Did this cause a lot of delay?

‘Almost a year. It should be released almost a year ago!’
 
Ok, but this means since that period of time you again improved your skills. Isn’t it strange to play this song live for an audience right now or don’t you think you could have written and release a better album by now?

'Well, it is strange to play these songs now knowing the fact they were recorded quite some time ago. On the other hand we didn’t wrote a lot of music over the past year so it is hard to say we could write a better record. But to be honest if we had the chance we could write, record and release a better record.’
 
After this tour you are going back to the States and I saw something about the Vans Warped Tour, what else?

Right after this tour we have got an headlining tour in the US, then two weeks nothing and we are on the Warped tour. Our booking agent is looking to come back here in September but I cannot promise anything.’
 
Closing comments?

‘Our record will be released April 1th so please check it out! And come and see us when we come back later this year!’
 
Thanks for your time and enjoy the show!

‘Thank you’