INTERVIEW: Modern Life Is War

ModernLifeIsWar-JULY2013

Many hardened hardcore fans will remember the day in 2008 when Modern Life Is War decided to call it a day. The band which carved a path for many bands in their wake were truly pioneers of their brand of hardcore during their existence.

Fast forward to 2012 and there were murmurs of the band reforming and releasing new material, and to the joy of all their fans the band released ‘Fever Hunting’ in 2013.

With the band now back in full swing and touring it couldn’t be a more fitting year for the band to reinstate their place as one of the best hardcore bands around, in a year when MLIW celebrate the tenth anniversary of their flagship record ‘Witness’. 

After announcing A US tour where they are set to play the album in its entirety and a brief tour of the UK and Europe Just an Insight caught up with vocalist Jeffrey Eaton to discuss the new lease of life put into the band and what the future holds.

After talking to Eaton it comes across clearly that the members of the band missed MLIW just as much as their fans did. He said: ‘I think everyone got their lives together as much as they could without this band and realized that something was missing and that something was this band.

‘There is much less pressure and that is a positive thing for sure, It gets really hard to have fun with people that you live in a van with.  We had a lot of fun together on our recent tour.  Laughing and having a good time with the people in your band is really important.  Respecting each other and being close is important.  I think that translates to creativity and power in music.

‘I can’t really say enough nice things about the people that support the band and the extent to which I feel many of them truly understand our band on a deep level.’

One thing that was always clear in the bands music, which transferred across to their live shows in the passion that is put into this band.

It is this progression of translating their creativity onto the stage that has gained MLIW the legion of fans that they have, and if you were among the handful of lucky people that caught them at the London show at the Camden Underworld you will know exactly what I mean.

What is so great about seeing the band back on stage is the fact that the progression seems to have happened naturally. There has been no forced revival since the band reformed.

Modern Life Is Wat at the  Philadelphia Hardcore Festival

Modern Life Is War at the Philadelphia Hardcore Festival

‘I think this band has always grown organically and that includes the lost years where we weren’t playing,’ continued Eaton.

‘My perspective is different, but the way I see it we’ve never “blown up” and we’ve never been the coolest band, but a lot of people have been with us since we began.

‘I view playing live as a precious thing now much more than I did when I was younger because my mind was clouded with a lot of different conflicts.

‘I am extremely grateful that people care so much, they make it possible for us to travel and make records.’

Despite playing headline roles all across the globe to sold out crowd, the whole band still remains very humble in their views of the music that they are creating.

Eaton even says that to this day feeding off the energy of a live crowd is like no other feeling in life.

The frontman adds: ‘On certain nights, it becomes a spiritual experience, the way we are all sharing the music and a moment in time.

‘You forget where you are, get chills down your spine, and you lose that heavy self-conscious inhibition you carry with you in life. You feel alive in a way that you don’t feel in everyday life.

‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever felt in my life.  It doesn’t happen every single show, but I’m always reaching for that.’

Modern Life Is War live in Paris

Modern Life Is War live in Paris

The bands humbleness even extends to the size of shows they are being asked to play.

After call coming from Marshalltown, Iowa, to playing Reading & Leeds festival in the UK is quite a big leap.

Eaton is the first to admit he is not the biggest fan of playing these ‘larger’ shows and you much rather be playing in a small room in front of a crowd of people going crazy to his bands music.

‘Honestly festivals give me a lot of anxiety, they are over-stimulating for me.  Lots of people really drunk and on drugs and so many bands playing that it is hard to keep track,’ adds Eaton.

‘I am hoping we will have our little core of people who are ready to sing along and give us energy to feed off and then of course it would be nice to have some people check us out for the first time and convert a few of them.

‘We had a really amazing experience playing Groezrock last year, so I am hoping it will resemble that.

‘It is a rare chance for me to see some of the bigger acts like Rebel Sound, Libertines and Jamie T and hopefully I’ll get turned onto some new shit as there is a lot I haven’t heard before.’

With the band celebrating 10 years since the release of Witness, it is great to see the record get the re-issue treatment as well as the band playing the whole thing start to finish live.

Eaton said they band had discussed doing something a bit special to mark this landmark occasion, adding that playing the record in full just made sense.

The MLIW vocalist admits the album was a bit of a slow burner and never thought it would gain the iconic status that it now has.

Eaton said: ‘The impact of the record was not immediate from my perspective, it was a slow build through word of mouth and small shows.

‘It wasn’t until years later people started talking about it in a different light, calling it “influential” and all that.

‘Since it was created with no regard to what was going on at the time in hardcore and punk, it seems to have endured and holds a special place for a lot of people.

‘We had talked about doing something special for the 10th anniversary of that record and what is more real and immediate than playing the damn thing front to back.

‘Deathwish is also putting out a nice deluxe edition of the LP with a big booklet and everything so that’s exciting.’

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Now that the band are back in full swing they have already spoke about writing new music and that in itself is something that will excite fans the world over.

With Eaton finishing by saying: ‘We are writing more material, nothing quite solidified yet in terms of an exact release, but you will be hearing more from us when the time is right.’

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