Website: www.myspace.com/madball

NY hardcore pioneers Madball are just a few days away from hitting Australian stages with the Soundwave festival. As they geared up for the tour, Loud caught up with founder and vocalist Freddy Cricien to find out about the state of hardcore, when the band’s new album is coming, and Coldplay.

Hey Freddy. How are things in Madball world?
Things are good. We’re just getting ready for this Soundwave thing.

Great. I spoke to Lou Koller from Sick of it All just last week and he’s pretty geared up for it.
I bet! We’re gonna be on there together. I think it’s gonna be good. It’s a pretty crazy line-up, even in our genre you got Sick of It All, Madball… It’s a pretty crazy thing.

It’s going to be great to have you back here. It’s been quite some time since Madball has been in Australia.
It’s been a while in general. We were looking forward to getting back, just in general, and then we were offered a tour earlier in the year and we just couldn’t make it happen. I’m just really glad we’re coming back for this tour because coming back after a few years it’s gonna be a little bit more special.

It may seem to some that Madball has had a bit of downtime over the past couple of years.
We’ve been going at the pace we usually go these last years. We’ve been somewhat busy. In December we did a Canada tour and we’ve had some breaks before that and after that, but it’s going good. We’re trying to write for a new album during this time off and we’ve gotta bunch of really good songs brewing, and that’s really been our focus outside of waiting to do these tours.

So what can we expect from it and when it is likely to be out?
We were anticipating getting it out earlier in the year, and now because of some of these tours coming at a certain time and us trying to line up with the engineer we wanna use, it’s kinda up in the air at the moment. We’re writing and we’re taking steps but I can’t really pinpoint when we’re going in the studio exactly just yet. But people can expect it to be some fast-paced, aggressive Madball (laughs). With a twist of new flavour somewhere, but it’s just gonna be something special.

I asked Lou about this also, and it seems to me that New York hardcore is as healthy as it ever was right now. What are your thoughts on that?
I think on an international level, I think it definitely is. In the States I don’t know that it’s as healthy as it’s ever been, but there’s always those key cities that come through and represent. I think it’s in a good place. I think we’re in a good place, especially in certain markets. Sick of It All can tell you, and we’re in the same boat as them, we’re like surfers, man. We ride the wave, we’re there. We’re in the frontline. We’re in the trenches. We go with the ups and downs. Tours like this one coming up can only be helpful to both of us.

Madball goes right back to the late 1980s. There’s probably quite a lot of bands around now that have drawn their influences from you.
So I hear! We’ve influenced quite a few bands, and it’s cool. I think you always take some influence from those that came before you in some way, shape or form. I think the key thing is to take what came before you and make it your own while moving forward, which is what we did. We came out of the roots of Agnostic Front and we kinda made our own path. I think we’ve definitely influenced some bands, not even just New York bands, just hardcore bands in general. It’s a honour. It’s a flattering thing to have some of these younger bands come up and say that.

It’s an important thing for you then, for a band to make its own path, as you say?
Yes. For me, it’s everything. No matter what genre it is, hardcore, whatever it is that you’re doing, I think it’s OK to be influenced and it’s OK to try and represent a certain genre, but try to be somewhat unique in saying that. Try to be a little different. I think there’s too much – in the music world in general – I think there’s too much of, “Well, that seems to be working, so I’m gonna go ahead and do that!” That’s just not authentic to me and it’s never how we approached things. We’re just gonna do what we do and hope that people liked it! (laughs) So I think there’s some throwing caution to the wind there, but you know it’s not always an easy thing to do.

Is there anything you’ve heard lately that’s really interested you?
I listen to so many different styles of music, it’s really hard to… I’m into everything. Things that people would may be shocked to know. Like Coldplay! (laughs). Things like that. I love hip hop. I love so much stuff. I’m always listening to stuff from different genres that are cool. Hardcore-wise, I’m trying to think of something that’s made me excited. There’s been some young bands we’ve toured with lately, like Expire, that have been doing some cool stuff. They opened up for us in Canada recently. I listen to so much, but not so much in our realm, you know? But now I’ve thought about it, you know who I like? Deez Nuts. Those are my boys. I like what they do. You know, some purists might go, “Oh, uh, they’re doing this hip hop kinda schtick”, but you know those guys are good guys and they’re doing what’s sincere for them. I think it’s genuine. They’re Australian boys and we did a tour with them recently and I was really impressed by how the kids were really feeling what they were doing. It’s a cool thing. So, shout out to those guys!

Having said that about hip hop, Cypress Hill is at Soundwave this year. Are you going to check them out?
I hope so, man. I don’t know how it works with the travelling and how it’s set up, but that’s definitely one of the bands that I’m looking forward to seeing. I actually saw them before in New York and I’ve seen them in other spots. I’ve always been a big Cypress fan since the first release. I’ve been following them since the beginning. My whole camp are big Cypress Hill fans, so I’m looking forward to that.

Well thanks for your time today, Freddy. It’s been a pleasure. Anything final you’d like to say before I let you go?
We’re looking forward to getting back there, especially to play on this platform. I think it’s gonna be a pretty special tour across the board. So we’re gonna do our part and try to represent the hardcore aspect of it!


Madball plays Soundwave this month plus these two shows with Sick of it All and Vision of Disorder:
26/2: Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
27/2: The Esplanade Hotel, Melbourne VIC