Metalpaths speaks with Roger Miret about Agnostic Front’s new record, their involvement into the hardcore scene and the band’s direct plans.
Hello Roger this is Rena from Metalpaths. Where can we find you at the moment?
Hello Rena, nice to meet you! I’m at home, relaxing.
Well, your latest album titled “My Life, My way” has been recently released. Could you tell us a few things about the record?
It feels it is one of Agnostic Front’s strongest record, pure hardcore! It’s like a really cool combination of “Something’s Gotta Give” which meets the “Warriors” album and then “Victim In Pain” so it’s a very classic hardcore sound, true to hardcore roots. It’s a very natural sound and very aggressive.
Your previous record was released quite many years before, what was the reason that took you so long to release something new?
Just touring a lot. We did a lot of touring with the “Warriors” record. We toured the world and then we changed the drummer in the middle of it all. Actually it’s just that we write songs for us, we just write albums for us and we just do whatever we feel like and we release an album when we feel it’s the right timing.
So you didn’t have any pressure from the company right ?
No, no pressure at all.
The album was released by Nuclear Blast, are you satisfied by the attention they pay to Agnostic Front or do you think that they have other priorities ?
I guess the big priorities are the bands that sell the most, like every other label. I don’t think we are a top priority but they definitely don’t treat us like we’re not anything. I think that’s pretty fair. It’s a very good team and they’re good people. They just work album by album as releases, who’s coming out, what’s going on, if something is really new for the fans to attract more than us, but at the moment I think they’re pretty good.
The production was made by Erik Rutan plus your brother Freddy Cricien. Do you think that they put any of their own ideas on the record and if yes, could you mention a few of them?
Erik Rutan was the engineer of the record and he is responsible for basically the sounds of the record. We said both Erik and Freddy knew exactly how the songs sound. Erik knew that we wanted him in the studio because he knew that we wanted a very natural sound, not a very triggered metal sound you know. He worked hard and it was really difficult to give the right sound for Agnostic Front but he did a great job. My brother Freddy, as a producer did a fantastic job too, he listened to the songs, and he gave us feedbacks, positive feedbacks, suggestions, a lot of different suggestions. Freddy is my brother and this is the second record he produces for Agnostic Front. Actually he has been an Agnostic Front member for so long so it’s not a big deal, he’s like the sixth member. They definitely had some responsibility for the sound and songs; I definitely give that credit to them.
I guess that you must be a big influence in Freddy’s career since you were one of the reasons he is into the NYHC scene but is it easy for you to work with your brother? Tell us a few things about your relationship with him.
Well, what can I say he’s my brother! Ever since he was a little kid I used to bring him up in the NYHC scene, ever since he was 7 years old he sang with Agnostic Front. He was always with me cause my family lived in Florida so I used to bring him up with me in NY to stay with me for a bit and then he just decided to stay and finish the school in NY with me and live with me. He knows the NYHC better than many people. He was the younger guy in the NYHC scene you know. This is pretty cool, in the age of seven to be singing with a band like Agnostic Front in the early early days. Working with Freddy is pretty simple cause we recognize him in real life. I was a very big influence in his life, it’s obvious, I got him into his life and he created his band and everything, so he’s just giving back to us. It’s not that difficult you know cause these are his roots, he knows exactly what Agnostic Front sounds like, he knows exactly what Agnostic Front is, and he’s been a real brother.
Many artists of the NYHC scene, for example Diablo of Freddy are used to releasing their own solo albums and some of them are really involved into the hip hop genre. What is your opinion about hip hop and would you do an album like that?
No I wouldn’t do an album like that cause it’s not my style. I do my own solo albums. I have some new releases to work with “Roger Miret & the disasters”. I probably sing more originated to my roots which are the punk scene. I’m not a hip hop fan, I don’t really like that, I don’t feel like that and you know I just don’t get it. I like the earlier I guess rap hip hop where the message was a little bit more alternative, more positive. That doesn’t mean that I ignore that, I could listen to a good song, definitely a good song is a good song. I’m not a fan of hip hop but they definitely have some good damn songs. I could hear them of course but it’s just that I’m not a fan of hip hop and if it sounds good to me imagine how it sounds to real fans. But I prefer more the punk scene; my style is punk, that’s what I like better.
Also some of them they have adopted some hip hop standards like dissing others with their songs (like the one Ezec has done with Skam Dust about Cro-Mags) but do you think that’s a good way to express your any problems with someone? Would you do that?
I don’t know, to be honest I haven’t listened to that song but this is the whole hip hop thing. They really like doing that staff. It’s kind of ridiculous for me you know but that’s what they’re doing, that’s their lifestyle I guess.
“DMS crew”. What does it stand for you and how could a band from your area be involved in that? Do you have any criteria or something or is it a close kind of family matter.
To me DMS crew is original, it’s a family. We are a bunch of guys who met together and try to keep the scene alive, that’s how it came you know. We are a few people that came together and support what we believe in. I am a part of the crew, a have tattoo upon me. It’s more than a brotherhood to me, it’s family, friends, it’s people that really look strong for each other, pretty much that’s what it is. Apart from that it’s cool cause there are people from different styles and different musics involved it that crew. We have people from the punk and hardcore scene, to hip hop, ska, reggae; you know we got a lot of good people. And yes it’s a close family network it’s not something that anyone can join, it’s a close dedicated family network, it’s how we chose to keep it.
Apart from the NYHC scene are there any other countries that you recognize their offer in hardcore, for example like London Hardcore or German hardcore ?
I think the NYHC scene it’s the biggest of all, for example when everybody refers into hardcore, what comes to their minds is the biggest scene of all which has to be the NYHC. NYHC has collectively the most influenced bands like Agnostic Front, Madball, even Hatebreed is a part of the NYHC scene. There’s a lot of great bands out of NY and I think is such a big impact but throughout the years there has been a lot of great bands coming from worldwide like California. I think we are in the forefront, we are the huge hardcore scene and it’s been a lot of respect back in the NYHC but it’s been a lot of great bands that are not from New York that are doing great hardcore as well. We have Death Before Dishonor from Boston, just a lot of great bands. For example you mentioned London, we have Knuckledust from there and a lot of other great bands in Germany as well but I think as a crew, the NYHC has always been the top.
Agnostic Front has always been a big influence to the new blood. But what do you think has influenced you at the beginning of your career ?
Well first of all, this thing that we are all part of was a very small scene and it had much difference than how it started more recently in other places, for example with the 100-150 people in a club. The scene was not bigger than 30, 35, 50 people max. But they were passionate people, it was people that was coming out in the weekend and was really passionate, they were living it on the streets and living it hardcore like we were.
You mean the CBGB’s era right?
Yeah exactly the CBGB’s era where the people were really passionate about music, so the main influence was the fact that we were in a “true” team full of dedication and passion. If you have dedication and passion then you walk into a great scene. If you really love the music like we do, if you listen to the lyrics and then they stick into you, this is hardcore you know…
And what is your opinion about the straight-edge way of lifestyle ?
I think it’s a great life, how could you say it’s negative? Labels are ridiculous in general you know, everybody should be themselves be whatever they want to be but straight edge is a good movement, they live a positive lifestyle. It’s better that a regular lifestyle you know. I’m not the straight-edge type of guy, I’m not straight-edge but I live more a straight positive life if you know what I mean. I understand the true meaning but I think that people should be something for themselves not just to be a part of something. If you’re straight edge that’s cool but stay straight edge for yourself not to show to others that it is cool and just to hang out with people, but it’s nothing wrong with it. Good bands, good movement and it has a good message.
Were there any phases in your career that you said “OK that’s enough” and you thought of disbanding or split the band ?
It happens on every tour!! No I’m only kidding… Well I don’t know, sometimes you hit those walls cause I have been doing that from 16 years and I am 46, I have been doing that for 30 years! I never been to high school, I never did a lot of things that other people did. I have no career. I definitely knew that this is not the lifestyle I would pick for my whole life for sure cause I work, I am an electrician, I’m not so “glorious” as a lot of people think. And sometimes when you’re on tour you start thinking more about your future, you’re getting old you know, but then you play the show and it feels so good that people understand you and you give it to them and then they give it back to you, so it’s a weird situation. But it’s a hard life cause it’s not guarantee you never know…
And what is the worst thing that has ever happened to you while touring ?
I can’t think of something bad that has happened to me while on tour.
Really? You seem to be very lucky cause the most bands I have interviewed have something stupid to describe!
I don’t know if something so stupid happened to me. Maybe the worst moment was with our first drummer when he told us that we were about to play in a show and we were very excited but after all we didn’t play because they didn’t want us to play! That was a pretty bad moment, but I cannot think of something else, or something die-hard that has ever happened to us, thank god! It’s been a lot of good times.
Are you planning to visit us soon?
I’m not sure about Europe and Greece cause we were there recently and it was very good cause we’ve been trying to play to Greece for a long time. Every time I was seeing my schedule we had a show and when I checked it again was not there any more, I don’t know the situation there, we love Athens we love Greece, actually I did my honeymoon there.
Greece loves you! Really you did your honeymoon here? In Athens or in any island ?
Yes in an island. I have been to Crete and I have been in somewhere else but I don’t remember the name…
I wish I could help but we have thousands!
Indeed, that’s crazy!
So Roger, before we close, do you have something to say to your Greek fans ?
Thank you for the many years of support, the scene is great every time that we get there, it’s strong, it’s one of the most generous scenes I have ever been and I’ve been keeping my eye on what’s happening there always, it’s crazy but we always want to go to Greece so maybe I will see you soon! Anyway keep the faith, keep hardcore alive and support hardcore!
Thank you Roger and wish you the best for your future plans!
Thank you too, goodbye!
Interview by: Rena Koutsou.