108 reformed two years ago following an extended break-up that saw the band's vocalist head to India, where he became a monk to further his studies of the Krishna Consciousness. Earlier this year, the band delivered A New Beat From a Dead Heart, their first album of new material in a decade. Scene Point Blank recently caught up with the band during their recent European tour.
It's Friday the 13th when I'm sitting with the men of 108 in a small alley of the famous Warmoesstraat in the one and only City of Sin: Amsterdam. It's their only Dutch show of their European tour and, since I live in The Netherlands, I was offered this chance for an interview. For those hardcore fans who have never heard of 108: go hide under a rock. 108 is one big band, legendary even, although to quote Vic, "To be called legendary implies that you're the past, while we look to the future." This quotation perfectly captures the philosophy of 108.
So we're sitting there in the alley next to the venue where the guys would play, only a block away from De Wallen, Amsterdam's world famous Red Light District and one of the two main attractions of the city.
Scene Point Blank: Welcome to Amsterdam. I read on your website that you guys were anticipating the visit to Amsterdam. Has it lived up to any expectations so far?
Robert: We always enjoy visiting Amsterdam, like we enjoy visiting other European cities. It's so different from the States.
Vic: Amsterdam is particularly interesting because it was so powerful in the old days, you know. Water back then was like oil is nowadays. Whoever controlled the seas controlled the world and with all the waterways here you really get the feeling that you're in a powerful, impressive place.
Scene Point Blank: Many zines, and bands for that same matter, tend to look to the past. Since other zines do this shit and Scene Point Blank does not want to lose its readers: Why did you guys split up back in the old days?
Robert: Basically we were at different crossroads in our lives. Stuff like starting a family, Vic's studies and his living as a monk and things like that. There were too many things going on to stay completely focused and making music.
Scene Point Blank: Probably a question that's been asked a thousand times, and has been answered an equal amount of times, but how do you guys feel like being labeled a legendary band?
Vic: Well as I see it, it's a honor to be called legendary, but it is a label nobody cares about. It is like "Oh, yeah, it's cool to get such recognition? But who fucking cares?"
Tom: I just think that we're a band. I don't have the feeling we're legendary or anything. We live in the now. We're a band.
Vic: Yeah, exactly! Really, it is nice but to be called legendary implies that you're from the past, while we look to the future.
Tim: We make futuristic music, too.
Scene Point Blank: Reflecting on the tour so far, what have you guys learned or experienced that will stay with you forever?
Robert: It is not so much as that I've learned things, it's more of experiencing a hunger when playing with these guys. A hunger to play more and make more music.
Vic: It is really cool that stuff we wrote fifteen years ago is still relevant today and that the audiences of today, and us as well, can still connect to it. It is a really stimulating experience for us.
Scene Point Blank: What's the future going to bring for 108?
Robert: To create the best music possible and to play as many shows as possible. We also will have to prove ourselves to the audiences once again and that's a stimulating thought.
Tim: We're not an easy band in terms of music. We don't really have a set goal. We don't really have a generic sound and audience. We will have to invest, but I think that we just want to play and improve ourselves musically and spiritually.
SPB: As a way to end this interview with a bang: Should the world be prepared for the hardcore steamroller that's 108?
Vic: (Grinning) They better be. Or else they get flattened.