Thursday, June 3, 2010

FOCUS ON THE LIGHT: Packo/True Colors

Which lyrics you have written do you feel most proud of?

As far as personal songs it's"My Heartbeat" and "The Way to Myself". Those are tributes to my girlfriend and my beautiful daughter. After all we have been through right now we are living our life perfectly. Really complete. Those are two of the most important lyrics i ever wrote on a personal level. They were also my two favorites to write because they were really easy. Normally, i need a lot of time to write lyrics but with those songs they just seemed to come out of the pen. It was perfect. But as for other songs that have more of a message i would say "Focus on the Light". The message in this song is one of the most simple to express and one of the easie to learn. You see people getting older in life and getting busy with themselves and really into those four walls for us we just try to see behind those walls. That is what "Focus on the Light" is really about. Those are really important lyrics for me.

You seem to be going through a bit of a change in life, a good change. You have a house with your girlfriend, a wonderful daughter etc. How do you balance that hardcore kid side of personality with your newer more adult reality? Many people can't seem to find this balance and go to the extreme one way or another.

First of all our daughter, Arwen, was a really easy kid so we don't have any problems with her sleeping and stuff like that. But to get back to your question being a hardcore kid and being aware of all the things that happened in the past was always important to me. What i got out of the messages and the music just contributed to the positive ways of living right now. I don't freak out. I listen to music, i go to work, i come home and i have great time with my daughter and girlfriend watching movies, talking, laughing, everything. I don't have to find a balance it's just real easy step for me to take. I think being a hardcore kid made me the dad and the person i am today.

That's great way to look at it. It's one of those things so many of us ask ourselves "how do i continue on in life and still stay this vital, creative person that i am?"

For me, it's really easy. I can enjoy going to a show. But also be real down to earth. It just makes sense. All the things i've said, that i've screamed before i was the father i am today have all made for the perfect life for me now. I guess i never thought about it that way. I think i am just an easy person. I try to enjoy life as best i can and my girlfriend and my daughter are really perfect in that picture.

One of the new songs off the "Consider it Done" EP is called "Alone". How does that feeling of being alone fit in with everything you are talking about here?

When i talk about feeling alone i am not talking about sitting in my room feeling depressed. An example would be going on tour. I have such great times with my friends but i have to be at work on Monday. When i get back i have to get back in my normal life. But it's not easy cause you have all these ideas of living free, doing what you want, going wherever you want to go. I am really a person who likes to do the things that i want to do. But it's hard when you have to work and pay your bills and sometimes you feel alone like you can't be the person you really are. My girlfriend and i have talked about this many times. About just leaving it all behind, traveling with Arwen and building up a new life somewhere else. But on the other hand, that's just a dream for now.

What motivated you to sit down and write the song "Human Touch"?

The songs "Up to Us" and "Human Touch" are very similar topics. But "Human Touch" is about how we just work 9-5 everyday but so many people are not aware of what goes on around them and just seem not to care anymore. So many horrible things happen everyday to kids, to people. As long as they get their money to pay their bills they are happy. It's hard for us to see and a little bit shameful too when you realize what this world is coming to. I don't think people have that touch with the world anymore. The pressure is so high when people have to go to work everyday. Everything, even morals and standards seem to fade away.

I have gotten the sense from you and from the other guys in True Colors that "The Way to Myself" is a song that people have really connected with. The feeling of gratitude that it express is really powerful. What initially inspired you to write these lyrics and whom were they about?

Yeah that's true man a lot of people have taken that song to me something for them. That's really cool that they can get something out of it. For me when i wrote that song it was because there was a time that i drifted away from hardcore a bit. I'm not ashamed of it. I just didn't get that feeling anymore that we really could make a change at that point in my life. Then i met my girlfriend and she didn't change me but she opened my eyes to the simple lesson in life that if you want to do something you can do it. I am very grateful for that cause it was such a simple lesson but one i had forgotten at the time. I just opened my eyes again. I started a band and I started writing lyrics. With that song i just wanted to say thank you to her.

When you showed her the lyrics what was her reaction?

I wanted to surprise her with it but whenever i give her a present or anything i can't just keep it to myself, i have to tell her. But she was really surprised and so grateful. It's a great feeling to know she gets emotional with songs like "The Way to Myself" and "My Heartbeat".

The lyrics to " Focus on the Light" are very simple and profound but many bands have written songs that have a that similar message of "don't give up". When you went to write this song how did you go about it differently?

When i would go to showsand hear people complaining about the most ridiculous stuff like "the record I wanted to order is sold out" or" the limited press of that record is sold out or that they have to go home at 10 o'clock. Like i said before this is such an easy message but for so many people it's so hard to understand. So to me, it's like instead of whining, instead of complaining try to do something with you life. Look to the left, look to the right and see that there are so many beautiful things in this world. Just walk around and get out from behind your computer or off your couch and learn about life by talking to people. With hardcore kids, just stop complaining about how bad a band is or how shitty a new record is listen to a good record instead! Instead of complaining or feeling down just focus on the light and in the end you will see that life can always make sense.

Out of the new songs off the "Consider It Done" EP is there one that you really feel passionate about?

I was pretty excited to write this last record but if i had to choose just one it would be the song "Consider It Done". I put so many emotions into it and so many things that i felt and all the things i have been through all these years in True Colors i tried to put into those lyrics. All the things that i learned, saw, was disappointed about and all the things i felt positive about. I was so happy with how it all worked out with that song. The feeling i get when i listen to that song is really amazing.

One of the first things i noticed about your voice when i heard the True Colors demo was that you were very intense, very angry. Which i liked cause it reminded me of Ray Cappo! When i got the chance to meet you and hang out it became clear that you are not some sort of overly angry, crazy type person. When you are singing or writing lyrics, what is the place anger has in all that?

For me, hardcore is showing your anger in a positive way. That's what i am trying to do with True Colors. Like you said, i am not an angry dude or a hard dude I am just a normal person living his life. When I am writing my lyrics i am writing them about things i see in this world and some of those things do make me really angry but i don't go out on the street and shout at people or get frustrated. Anger has a place in my life and i think i am probably angry every day cause there is alway one thing or another that makes me upset or even sad. But i am trying to put it in the right place in my life. When i am angry i just listen to a good hardcore song or just a good song cause i think music in general really helps.

You guys are playing your last show on May 22nd in Antwerp. When it's all said and done what are you going to miss most about True Colors?

I think i am going to miss everything. We were four different kids who don't really have anything in common. I didn't know Wim before the band. I knew Peers from his other bands back in the day. I didn't know who Dunk was i just knew he played on the Justice demo. We never fought. We always had great times together. I can't express how much i am going to miss driving to show with those guys cause we never really cared about the

distance or the time. We just had a great time. So yeah, I am going to miss everything: recording, practice, shows but the most would be tours man. That's something special. I did tour with my other band (Building) but touring with True Colors was totally something new for me. We did all those tours with Justice and had the best of times then did tours with a bunch of other American and European bands, then we went to the States and now we are going to Russia. I am really grateful for that and everything people did for us. That is something that really made me believe hardcore. It's just so crazy that a band that not many people know can tour the world and people will help them. That is probably the coolest thing about hardcore: if you are really into a thing you can do anything. You can start a label, a fanzine or a band and you can really achieve something by spreading a message and having people all over the world listen. It's pretty amazing.

How have you seen the other guys in True Colors grow from the beginning of the band until now?

Dunk and Peers were a bit older like me so they already worked and had their own lives. They already were people that they are. But the best thing for me was being with Hinkey (Wim) cause he was just a young kid when we started and he just learned everything with True Colors. He was 17 when we started and he is 24 now and he just went through so many things. Watching him become the grown up he is today is pretty cool man. I guess in the end though we all grew towards each other more and more. We will be great friends after True Colors

How have you seen yourself grow since the being of True Colors?

When we started True Colors I was a bit afraid of going on stage, practicing, writing lyrics, trying new things. It was really difficult for me in the beginning. I was afraid of expressing myself and getting really personal and really writing personal lyrics. That was probably the biggest difference. Being more confident and able to write personal lyrics was probably, for me, the best part of being in a hardcore band. I had never done that before. Of course becoming a father changed me alot. It was made me a little more down to earth, a bit quieter and not always having the big mouth that i had before.

What is something you really hope people take away from your lyrics and from True Colors?

I hope people always remember our live shows. Playing live for us and hearing those songs we rehearsed for so long was probably the best part for us. I always hoped people would not see us as just a typical youth crew band. I never wanted to be a typical band or a youth crew band either. I just wanted to play hardcore that i loved. I hope people see us as a hardcore band that really had something to say and remember us as a band that was about focusing on the positive things in life. I hope they see us as a band that tried to make a change and i hope we did.

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