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New Breed
A Conversation With Nathan And Rob
by Samuel Barker
June 29, 2000


Nathan of Boy Sets Fire
Nathan Of Boy Sets Fire

Samuel Barker: As always, What are your names, and what do you do?

Nathan Gray: I'm Nathan and I sing.

Rob Avery: Rob....bass.

Nathan: I'm Rob Bass

Rob: (keeping the rap going)I came to rock the microphone.

Samuel: Nice old school flashback.

Nathan: Yeah, right on!

Samuel: How many years have you guys been together?

Nathan: 5.

Samuel: How long have you guys been with Victory?

Nathan: Just this album.

Rob: Since October.

Nathan: Yeah, ROCKtober.

Rob: I like vinyl!

Samuel: Ha ha...'what's you favorite music medium'..ha ha...

Nathan: Mmmeeeediiiummmm

Rob: I'm not talking about music.

Samuel: Oh, so then 'What's your favorite type of clothing for attractive young ladies.

Nathan and Rob: (laughter)

Samuel: Alright, so a lot of your songs are hardcore oriented, but some of them have an almost alternative sound. Did you ever have anyone get freaked out by that in the early days?

Nathan: Most people are really into it because of that. You have some people who won't like it no matter what. But most people like it because of that. It's cool because we don't know how else to do it. We are musically schitzophrenic. You've got so many influences in this band, that it's impossible to put just one thing down. You've got hardcore, metal, pop, alt, punk, just all kinds of influences going on.

Samuel: I notice that it kinda fits the lyrics, some of the songs you do wouldn't be the same if done hard, while others like "After The Eulogy" would lose it's punch if it were slower.

Rob: Yeah, if it was like 'rise, rise' all harmonized. It's something we do on purpose. When I put the lyrics to what they do I try to make it fit.

Samuel: With all the different sounds in the band, I was wondering if any of the members were skilled musician?

Nathan: I'd hope so.

Samuel: I mean do any of you have a music degree or anything like that?

Nathan: I don't think so, I don't. Do you?(to Rob)

Rob: No, I just started playing bass in October.

Nathan: Yes, he was a guitarist when we found him. We kicked out our old bass player and we got him.

Samuel: What are some of your major musical influences?

Nathan: Oh wow. Like I said, we're musically schitzophrenic. It all depends on who you talk to. Me and Rob can tell you what our personal ones are.

Samuel: Yeah, that'd be great. I just know when I heard the new album I was like "Oh shit!" and I wanted to see what your influences were, and how much they differed.

Nathan: I listen to a lot of country, a lot of experimental stuff like Neurosis, Today Is The day, Sleep Chamber, stuff like that. I also like a lot of folk, and indie rock. There is some punk and hardcore I really like, but the other is what I'm mostly into.

Rob: Influences as far as growing up and listening to music, I'd have to say The Smiths. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Hip-Hop. The new Jurassic 5 was really good, DJ Shadow. I really like Tool. Dr. Dre, Eminen. And influencing me as to what we play? I'd have to say The Clash as far as politics, and as for music, I'd have to go with Rage.

Samuel: So you guys work with a lot of different causes, so are you guys hands on in the community.

Nathan: Most of the stuff is straight up what we do with this band. In our albums we makes sure we inform peopleof things that are out there. When we're on tour and there is a chapter of refuse and resist out there, we work with them to put out flyers and pamphlets. Josh and I are both members of the Communist Party in the US. Other than that a lot of this stuff happens with this band, and one of the reasons behind that is because you can get a pamphlet and read it, and you forget about it, but if you makes a song with a message, and they can get stuck in peoples heads, then you've got something, they have to think about them.

Samuel: Do you guys play a lot of benefit shows and things like that?

Nathan: Yeah, we've done that.

Rob: In December, we played a show for Mumia Abdul Jamal.

Nathan: We've also gone to a lot of protests whether it's Mumia Abdul Jamal, anti-death penalty, WTO in DC. There's plenty of things.

Samuel: Well, being in Houston, what do you think of the whole Gary Graham thing that went down here this week?

Rob: I've barely heard about it.

Samuel: Well, it's been rather big. It was a guy, who I feel was a bad poster boy for the anti-death penalty movement, he raped, robbed, and/or shot over 22 people, but they were saying the one person he killed he didn't do, so they were calling him an "innocent."

Nathan: I haven't even heard about it....Wait! I remember, that's the thing George Bush was talking about. We don't get a lot of news on the road. We basically get to a hotel and pass out.

Rob: We may watch a second of the news, but we're usually into the bed and out.

Samuel: Yeah.

Rob: I'm personally against the death penalty, I have the debate all the time with my dad about how if I'm against the death penalty, then I want to support all the people on Death row. I feel that's not the problem, we need to reform and work to prevent people from committing crimes that way we never have to take the step of putting someone in prison.

Nathan:A big problem is us putting people away for little things and they come out hardened criminals.

Samuel: Yeah, you sorta learn the trade.

Nathan: Right, you get put away for petty theft...

Rob: or smoking a bowl

Nathan: Yeah, smoking a bowl and you come out ready to kill someone.

Samuel: Right, it's because you adjust to what you're around. That's a big problem with the US prison system.

Samuel: To the lighter side of things...You guys are a very energetic band live, do you have a lot of fun performing?

Nathan: Nope, we make it up as we go along, we have to make ourself have fun..(laughter)..no, totally, we have a lot of fun, and we're really into what we're doing, so we jump around and just rock!

Rob: We wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't fun.

Samuel: Is it great to have people singing along and knowing all the songs?

Nathan: It's great, and we work off of that. When other people are into it gets us excited, it's like we're half way across the country and people are into what we're doing.

Rob: Except Dallas...

Nathan: Yeah, except Dallas.

Samuel: What happened in Dallas?

Nathan: 15 kids standing there going (bored face)

Samuel: Dallas sucks!

Nathan: Yes, it does.

Samuel: I'm from Houston, so I was raised on 'Dallas Sucks!!'

Nathan: In Austin and Houston everyone thinks Dallas sucks.

Samuel: Is it hard the nights you show up and everyone on the wall?

Nathan: Yeah.

Samuel: So you guys have been on tour for a while now, huh?

Nathan: Oh hells yeah, how long has it been now?

Rob: From May 26th...so about 4 weeks now.

Samuel: I see your playing Florida tomorrow?

Nathan: Yeah, Pensicola Florida. We have quite a drive to go.

Rob: Yep, 580 miles and I have first shift of driving.

Samuel: At least you're through Texas pretty much, how did you enjoy the drive from El Paso back to civilization?

Nathan: I dunno, I slept most of the way.

Rob: Actually, we got caught in a bug storm.

Nathan: Yeah, we have bug genocide on the front of our fan.

Rob: We thought it was raining, but it was bugs.

Nathan: You have weird bugs here.

Rob: We saw a few twisters along the way

Samuel: Well, do you have anything to add?

Nathan: The only thing I can add is, if you want to get in touch with us, our post office box is PO Box 303, Newark, Delaware 19711 or you can see us on the web at http://www.boysetsfire.com

Rob: Umm....I like vicadin......listen to Eminem, and don't take it seriously, and have fun...do a lot of drugs.

Nathan: Yeah, do a lot of drugs and drink! And don't do 15 hour drives, they suck!

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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