Sitting at the Merch with Ethan and and Jonathan, the atmosphere is relaxed. From the way these guys socialize with the members of other bands and with their fans, one can tell that they are friendly people, who are always in for a joke and for some fun. Spy, Primitive Man's drummer, is not yet present, as he is getting himself a tattoo at a tattoo-shop around the block. But he joins in soon after the interview has taken off, silently. Ethan and Jonathan mainly do the talking, while a lot of people have come to sit close and listen along.
Welcome to Belgium, you primitive men ^^
Is this your first time in Belgium?
Ethan:Yes, it is.
For in case you think we're waving our national flag all days in this country: it's just that we won a game of soccer yesterday in the world cup. People going crazy.
Jonathan: We know. We were in Germany the other day and it was same thing there.
How many of our tasty beers have you already tried?
Ethan: I have actually not been drinking any beer yet, we were going to do that after we've played.
How much time left to try all the brands?
All: We got all night!
Which one of you three is the most primitive man?
Ethan: I think we're all pretty primitive. We're all simple men, we like simple things, simple times ... (laughing).
Who came up with the idea to name the band 'Primitive Man'?
Jonathan: I think it was more or less like: it sounded like a good band name. The music itself is pretty primitive: it's not the most technical music, it's just kind of straight forward heavy music, so I think 'Primitive Man' is more referring to the overall atmosphere, rather than to a specific member.
When I first heard your album 'Scorn', I thought ... brrrr. Dark stuff.
But then I read on your facebook pages and I saw all these humoristic posts. At least one of you is still having a healthy sense of humor! Who is it?
Ethan: We all have a good sense of humor! We're always joking and that sort of thing.
Jonathan: That's the one thing to break the monotony of driving: it's to make each other laugh!
Ethan: That's all we got to hang on to.
But really: it's quite a contrast: the misanthropy in your lyrics and the fun on facebook? Where's the 'practice what you preach' part :p ?
Ethan: We are practicing what we preach, but it's not like every single minute of my life is full of fucked up negativity that I need to be mad about. But when it is, you know, you write about it.
Jonathan: well you know, all three of us have pretty difficult lives, it's not very easy for us, doing our thing, and we kind of more or less pour it into this and bottle it up and enjoy ourselves as much as we can. So this is our outlet to get all the hate out, and other times we want to be everyone's friend. :-D
A post-apocalyptic vision ... so you're a bunch of optimists I guess ...? Isn't there any hope left? Who/what can save the world? (for real: get philosophical)^^
Ethan: Love, faith .... No, I don't think anything could save this world.
Jonathan: I think we need to smoke more weed.
Ethan: I don't think anything could save this world, I think it's going where it's going.
Ethan: Not good.
Jonathan: you just got to get your kicks in while you can, because it's going to shit, that's just is what it is ...
Ethan: you're never going to erase cruelty, you're never going to erase selfishness and greed, so this is the story as far as it goes.
Jonathan: so it's all shit, you got to kind of live for yourself.
What you just said about the weed ... if you don't mind my asking ... it says on your Facebookpages: 'other influences: drugs and the lack there of'. Are you guys officially into drugs and promoting the use of it (like f.i. Deez Nuts)?
Ethan: I mean, we like to smoke weed. We smoke a lot of weed.
Jonathan: every day, all the time when we're doing this. Weed is a big spark in the ass for what we do: get all stoned and then make it happen.
Ethan: that's everything, from writing music to the bussiness part, we're always smoking ...
Jonathan: we're not role-models. We promote drug use in our lives, but no one elses.
... and you've had it with catholic church also I hear. Were you raised the catholic way?
Ethan: I was raised a catholic. You know, my family raised me as a catholic, so I have some issues with the catholic relation and the catholic church, from being brought up that way. I'm atheist now, but when you are raised a catholic, there's like a lot of guilt involved, and I think that as an adult now, making my own decisions and a little bit of that, guilt stays with me. It's something that I talk about in the lyrics and address others, so maybe other people can identify with that sort of thing.
I think 'guilt' is more a part of the American way of living catholic church. You don't find that guilt-aspect in Europe as strong as you find it in the US.
Jonathan: yeah it seems to me people are not hung up too much on that shit here.
Ethan: It's a big deal, like, it's not okay to tell people that you don't believe in that shit.
Jonathan: people really hang on to that shit in The States man. They live by that book and die by that book. They hate you if you don't like it.
We don't have that kind of belief here anymore. You see! There is hope! :-D
... 'from cardigans to leather vests, you're all fucking shit', those are lyrics from 'Antietam'...
Ethan: That song, that line is basically saying like: no matter how you dress or walk, you are still a human being that's going to rot in the ground like anyone else. That's what that means. That no one is any better or any worse than anyone else. He's come from the same shit and he's going to die from the same shit.
Why did you use that title, because it's about one of the darker pages in American history and civil war, but I don't find the lyrics referring to that story?
Ethan: It's a violent event and there are violent feelings behind that song, an 'annihilation of your enemies'-kind of idea.
... 'all I have left is my balls and my word' .... do better, be the example? To me that sounds like somewhere deep in your heart you want to do better and you DO want to be a role model, you want to show the world that things CAN be done differently.
Jonathan: I mean at the end of the day, all you DO have is staying strong in your convictions. That's it, that's all anybody has when it's all boiled down ...
What DO you believe these days, now that you have left the road of the catholic church?
Ethan: What I believe now? I believe in trying to be a good person. I believe in myself. You got to live for you and you got to live for the people you love, and that's it you know.
About the album:
Scorn was a re-issue, after you signed with relapse. And then the drummer left and was replaced. Anything you want to tell us about that?
Ethan: Spy is our drummer, in in our eyes he has pretty much always been our drummer. Everything positive we've done for this band has been with Spy ... Spy has been there pretty much since the beginning. There isn't really much say about that.
Are you guys working on a new material ?
Oh yeah we've got a bunch of stuff for everybody. Some stuff for some splits, some other things we can't pronounce yet ...
Are we getting more of the same thing?
Jonathan: We had a second session of songs for some splits, and we're experimenting a bit more on it, but I feel that we have some stuff coming out that really embodies primitive man's sound. It's a straight forward heavy bit of music and it really sounds how we should sound.
Ethan: It's definately heavier, a natural progression of what we did before.
Jonathan: but it still sounds like Primitive Man, I mean it's not going to be disappointing ..
Ethan: we hope ^^.
How had the tour been going? You had this super secret show in Germany I read? Where did you end op? A prison? A madhouse? An old people's home?
Ethan: Just this house where they throw some shows that they can't announce because they're getting trouble with the governement.
Jonathan: They wouldn't put the address on the internet, but that place only had 20 or 25 punks that would go to our show anyway so I guess everyone there just knew we were coming.
What's next on the agenda? A lot of touring to do!
Ethan: Yeah we got about three weeks of shows in the US and Canada after the UK, and later this year we're on this festival in the southwest of the USA called Southwest Terror Fest III.
By then you'll be deadly tired!
Well ... enjoy it and enjoy our beers!
For a taste of Primitive Man: here's the promotional track on youtube, posted by Relapse, of their full-lenght CD 'Scorn', that was released in 2013.
The latest news on Primitive Man is the split 12” with Hessian, as a part of a series of split releases by Hypertension Records. We will discuss this series seperately in the album-review section on Snoozecontrol.be.