Right after I listened to the last Night Force 7″ I though I’d send the band a few questions. I did some research to get a contact and noticed in the line up a name I had seen a few times before : “Yannick Grönlund”. It appeared to be the same Yannick that played / plays in Skaggs, Domain, Total Reality, Declaration and a bunch of other bands. I’ve always been fascinated by people who do multiple (good) things at the same time so this was a good occasion to ask the boy what’s up.
Hello Yannick. Can you introduce yourself?
Hey man, I am Yannick, currently (and probably for a while) living in the glorious city of Mannheim, Southern Germany. When I’m not playing computer games or watching Star Trek Enterprise I like to dabble in hardcore music a little bit.
How long have you been involved in Hardcore and music in general, and how did you get into it?
I think I went to my first hardcore-ish show when I was 15/16 and some bigger German metalcore bands played a local show. I think it was Caliban or something like that? Anyway, I got into hardcore through metal and then metalcore basically. No cool story there, I just temporarily was into really mediocre bullshit that enabled me to discover the real deal. Music I have always been into, played several instruments before settling on the things you need to record a hardcore demo with. I don’t know if I have spent a day in my waking life where I haven’t listened to music in some way, so yeah, I would say it’s my form of expression.
If I’m right you are (one of) the mastermind(s) behind NIGHT FORCE, DOMAIN, TOTAL REALITY and DECLARATION. Please give us a brief history and main influences of each band.
Night Force started out as me recording a demo of songs based on a couple of riffs and ideas I had lying around. I kinda wanted to do this cyberpunk style thing, you know, chorus pedal, lyrics about cyber drug abuse, that sort of shit. It’s arguable wether or not I succeeded in creating something that sounds like a hardcore band out of the Neuromancer trilogy but yeah, that was the original idea behind it. I then showed it to some friends who then convinced me to let them play the instruments and turned it into a real band.
Domain started out as the three Skaggs members that still lived here wanting to do another band after Skaggs was breaking up. I had some youth crew style songs written that I really really wanted to turn into an active band, so we hit up our man Crucial Chris (who has now evolved into Chris Domain) for guitar and started off. Most of the riffs were written while I spent night after night listening to Step Forward (the Boston one) and the New Breed Tape Compilation.
Total Reality was formed while I was hanging out with our singer Thauer who was never in a band before. So we hit up the other two guys who are good friends and that was it. I wrote the songs for the Demo in 2 weeks or something? And while I think it really shows, we all got into it. The plan was to do something along the lines of Urban Blight/Negative Approach with more blastbeats and maybe more ignorant.
Declaration was Fabian (singer of Domain and guitar player of Night Force) and me talking about doing a Confront style band and then just randomly going to the practice space and jamming. Probably the most boring story of how a band got formed but yeah. Since we live together and the practice space is like 10 minutes away, what can you really expect, haha.
Are you involved in any other band or music related activity?
I also play bass in Poder Absoluto and drums for Big Boss. Luckily, both bands have creative minds behind them so I can just sit down/stand up and do as I’m told. Then there’s a couple of new projects cooking in Mannheim. One is a band that basically sounds like we’re ripping off golden era Integrity, which we are to be fair. It will take a while to record because I have to become a good drummer first but we have most the songs ready. The others aren’t really ripe to talk about but we’ll soon see how we’ll pull them off. Ah and there’s another demo coming that is gonna be me by myself again, this time for real. I’ve got the songs and the lyrics ready, just need to record it all.
What do you do for a living beside hardcore and how do you manage to be in 4 active bands?
Good question, since my one job just ended I don’t really know what to do for a living. I translate stuff every now and then and also work a crappy part time job right now. And since the bands aren’t active in a way that prohibits everything else, it’s kinda chill.
Do you have the same kind of role in each band or is your involvment different from one to another?
I’d say I am creatively involved in most of them and I’m surely the one with the least interesting social/love life here so I have plenty of time to just jam out riffs.
Are you writing lyrics for any other band than Night Force? What’s your writing process, inspirations etc?
The new one I mentioned above. For Night Force I just try to think of something scary/futuristic/fucked up and then I’ll struggle for months to write lyrics about it that sound like they were put together 30 minutes before recording. For Division, which is the name of my new project, I try to keep it personal, cheesy. Classic hardcore lyrics in a way, talking about things I feel like I wanna say something about and mostly very personal. For that I will just put on any record I like and scribble away and then try to make it fit the song afterward.
Nicky (Night Force’s bass player) had told me a while ago about the NF 7″, surprisingly it’s been out just now. Isn’t it too hard to keep NF active with Nick living in London and being in other bands (Arms Race / True Vision) ? How do you make it work, write new songs, rehearse etc?
Yeah we recorded it October 2015 I think? To be honest, he just took very long to get the artwork done, haha. Other than that it was a really smooth process. Ola has been very patient and helpful. As for writing new songs…we don’t? I don’t think we had a rehearsal with everyone since Nicky moved to the UK but we play shows here every now and then as a four piece. We’ll see how we can manage to bang out something new in the future.
It’s a bit cliche but what did Hardcore bring you beside friends and hearings loss ?
The freedom to be myself without holding anything back or being universally condemned for it. Freedom of expression that I wouldn’t have in everyday life. To be sure, I don’t struggle that much with adjusting to shit colleagues/bosses/etc. but inside it’s always feeding my aggression/anxiety, so to have a place where I can vent that is very important.
The Love – Hate question: What pisses you off / makes you happy? At the moment or in general.
I’ll try to keep this hardcore related. What pisses me off is the ever growing culture of calling out people or talking shit behind their back for what you perceive as a transgression against some sacred moral code that constantly shifts. I’ve been lucky with regards to this as I usually just keep my mouth shut online. But I’ve seen several instances of this happen and just being blown out of proportion in a ridiculous way. Without proper dialogue there is no understanding and I hope we NEVER have a scene where everyone is of the same opinion or believes in the same things. You gotta be able to agree to disagree sometimes.
What I love is that people in Germany are getting more and more wise to all the cool shit going on within the broad spectrum of hardcore. I see more and more new faces at shows we play and I love it.
I’ve seen some crazy post on facebook during the TOTAL REALITY / EXISTENCE tour of a guy giving you the middle finger and saying « don’t support nazi shit » with a picture of your T-shirt at the merch table. Was the hell was that all about?
Well, he saw Leo of Existence, who is a physically imposing and bald specimen, wear a T-Shirt of us where skeletons pull a man apart. It’s a woodcut by a Belgian graphic artist. So obviously, the man being pulled apart has the colour that you decide to print with. Since we printed it black on white, he is black. That’s it, that’s the argument. No kidding. Him and his girlfriend were arguing with Thauer and Leo for way too long and then he does this post on Facebook. It was really just hilarious in a way. At least they called us out in person hahaha. Still, when one of your core arguments is that a tall skinhead wears a T-Shirt, you really gotta think about where you’re at in life.
Elections in germany are coming in 2017. Do you care about politics at all ? Are you afraid for the future of the country with the nationalist extreme right gaining popularity everywhere in Europe?
Since I am Danish the fascist regime of Germany bans me from voting…just kidding. It’s far from being a fascist regime and I think there are plenty other countries in Europe skidding way closer to that side than Germany is. I still can’t vote though and I usually try and stay as far away from making any political statement as possible. I am interested and I have my opinions but I’d rather share them over a coffee than over email, haha.
If you had to pick THE record that made you think « that’s it, that’s the music scene I want to be part of » when you were a teenager, which one would it be and why?
I think Carry On – A Life Less Plagued. It was one of the first proper hardcore records I heard that didn’t sound like they could be on Roadrunner Records or something that really blew me away. To this day I maintain that this is the definitive early-2000s-record and it’s perfect. There’s NOTHING that should ever be changed about this LP, everything fits together so well it’s ridiculous. Most bands struggle to write 1 song even half as good as every minute of music on this one.
What are your plans with each band you play in?
Basically, to play shows and tours and record as much good stuff as possible. Some of the new bands will definitely be seen live very rarely but for the most part I just love playing shows. The pit of depression I fall into after every tour is proof of that.
I really appreciate you took some time to answer. Feel free to add anything you want, either to give shout-outs or express yourself about something we didn’t approach here.
Thanks for taking interest. Deutschhardcore is alive and well. Everyone should just start bands. Don’t worry if the first one is shit. The next will be better. Go to shows, mosh, pick up demos, zines, everything. Talk to the person next to you instead of complaining about them online. Maybe you’ll become friends? Read something cool, watch Star Trek, play video games.
You can get the new NIGHT FORCE record on the store.