John Coffey have shared a line-up with Snoop Dogg, gone viral on Youtube and recorded with the awesome Kurt Ballou on their new EP ‘A House For Thee‘ – and that is pretty much just in the last year! We had a little chat with Drummer, Carsten Brunsveld to get the lowdown on everything John Coffey…
Broken Arrow: We hear your band name is a reference to The Green Mile. Are you big fans of the film/character? Or did the name just have a ring to it?
Carsten: We watched the film, saw the character and were blown away by it. So we decided we wanted to name our band after this character.
Broken Arrow: You were on the same line-up as some major names last year, including Everytime I Die, Muse, Mastodon and even Snoop Dogg. Who was the most exciting to be sharing a line-up with?
Carsten: Snoop Dogg, easy!
Broken Arrow: Last year was, overall, a huge year for John Coffey – what would you say was your biggest achievement as a band?
Carsten: We play loud, rock music and somehow, we managed to break through that ‘glass ceiling’ that they call mainstream music!
Broken Arrow: Let’s talk about the video of lead vocalist David catching a beer that was thrown at him in the crowd. The video went viral which I’m sure was incredibly unexpected – how did you all react to this?
Carsten: WTF! That was basically it. And we laughed our asses off by the responses from all over the world.
Broken Arrow: You’ve got a lot of tour dates coming up this year – where are you most looking forward to playing out of these?
Carsten: Wacken Open Air; hands down the coolest metal festival on the planet. And we, as a non metal band, managed to get on that festival.
Broken Arrow: You’re also playing a Tony Hawks soundtrack show – can you tell us a bit about what that entails and how it came about?
Carsten: We are going to play the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 Soundtrack entirely. The hip-hop tracks will be done by rappers and the cross-over songs between John Coffey and the rappers. And then of course, you still have a tonne of really great punk rock songs that will be played by us.
Without sounding too cheesy, it is partly the soundtrack to our teenage years – playing that particular game for hours in a row.
The idea came about when we were in the bus driving to a show, as I recall correctly and a song from the soundtrack came on and Alfred (one of our guitar players) said, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to cover the whole thing?’ And we were like: FUCK YEAH!
Broken Arrow: Your new EP has just come out and we’ve heard it only took you a week to record. What was the process for putting this together – did one person take the lead or was it a collaborative effort?
Carsten: Well Kurt Ballou (producer and guitar player of Converge) was taking the lead and made us work fast and intensely. That worked out great and we were able to record 4 songs in a week, which isn’t really that big of an achievement. It is important though, to be focused and know what you want if you have a limited amount of time. Fortunately we all knew what we wanted to sound like (individual instruments) and we had an absolute legend in the room (Kurt Ballou) making us sound even better.
Broken Arrow: You say that the new EP ‘A House For Thee’ has harder/darker themes and songs, and references the current refugee crisis. Why did you choose to take this route?
Carsten: It was something that we felt that we needed to do. The debate in Europe has been so extremely rough and people tend to forget that ‘refugee’ stands for something and is not just a word. We are talking about real people when we are using the word ‘refugee’ – people that fled their countries for war.
Playing shows in the UK for the last 2/3 years made us aware of the camp near Calais. Over the years we saw it grow, the fences around the highway growing with it.
What we wanted to do with this EP is try to bring up a mirror in which people might see there brother or sister instead of a refugee.
Broken Arrow: Is harder/darker music something that we can expect from future John Coffey releases?
Carsten: We write the songs that we want to write and feel that we need to write. So we definitely can’t say anything about that yet.
Broken Arrow: Finally, what can we expect from you guys for the rest of 2016?
Carsten: FESTIVALS! Starting at the end of March and ending somewhere in September.
Check out John Coffey‘s latest video for ‘No House For Thee‘