Boy Sets Fire

On Wednesday, May 24, 2000 I interviewed Nathan Gray, the singer of Boy Sets Fire.

What is the current Boy Sets Fire lineup?
Me, I’m Nathan and I sing. Josh plays guitar. Chad plays guitar also. Rob on bass and Matt plays drums.

Has it always been that way?
Nope. The only difference is, for the first 5 years we were together, on all the other albums besides the newest we had a different bass player named Daryl.

How many records have you guys put out?
We have put out one 7″ of our own. A full length, an EP, two split 7″s, one with Snapcase and one with Coalense. A whole slew of compilations and another split 7″ with Shai Hulud which is just Metallica covers,

How many of those have been on Victory?
Just the new one.

What were the other’s on?

What is your favorite record that you guys have put out?
This one, definitely. I mean I think that is just a given anytime you put out an album it should be your favorite.

What brought on the title “After The Eulogy” and the whole war theme?
After The Eulogy, as you may know is know is something that people read at a funeral after they are dead. It talks about what they did in their life and what not. After The Eulogy is supposed to pertain to revolutionary action in our world, or in our country at least, that had been written off and the eulogy had already been read. Ok well the youths aren’t going to do anything, they are just going to sit on their asses with that whole generation X stuff and all that junk. So the eulogy has been read, they’ve pretty much written us off as being able to do anything productive. It is supposed to be sort of an inspirational thing of ‘what do we do now?’. We have to actually start making what we are doing a threat again and getting out there and changing the world. And the war scenes that are seen within the album are supposed to pertain to sort of a symbolism of that of an aftermath of death and picking the pieces back up and doing something with them.

What is your favorite song on it?
Actually I have two favorite songs. “My Life in the Knife Trade” and “Our Time Honored Tradition of Cannibalism.”

How does this record differ from the previous records?
We had more money to records. The production is a lot better, I think we matured a lot lyrically and musically in how we approach a song. I think that is about it. It is still the same stuff, it’s not incredibly different from the other stuff but it is different enough for it not to be old.

There is a lot of variety on this record. There are some hardcore songs and then some more rock sounding songs. Is this because you didn’t want the record to sound the same song after song or does the music reflect on the lyrics?
It is just because we are musically skitsofrantic. Ever since we have started we have all had a weird assortment of influences. So we just throw them in, it is all the music we like.

How would you define ‘hardcore’?
Hardcore… it is a style of music. I dunno, I don’t think I would be good at explaining what it is because I don’t really know. Hardcore it is… it’s not even a style of music because there are so many different styles of music that go into it that its just… I don’t know. It has got a potential for doing something if there is enough bands and people that want to make something of it and I definitely wouldn’t dis it because it is what got us to where we are now. I wouldn’t really know how to describe it, it is sort of like an amorphic thing.

Do you do Boy Sets Fire full-time?
We do do it full-time with other jobs on the side. It is like a full-time job, we have quit other jobs to do it whether we can afford it or not because it is our main priority.

What are some of the jobs that you guys have done?
Construction work, janitor stuff, groundskeeper, waiters, cabinetmaker, web designer.

If you weren’t in the band what do you think you would be doing?
If I wasn’t in the band or in a band I would probably be dead. There is not really anything else that I want to do with my life.

I guess that kind of goes with this next question… once you decide to stop making music what will you do with the rest of your life?
I’m not ever going to stop making music. I mean maybe with this band you never know, I guess you could do it all your life but I will always be doing something that is related to music. It is the only thing I really like to do.

So what are the details on your upcoming tour?
We are going on tour Friday (May 26th) to July 10th and we are going all over the US… California and back basically.

What bands are you going with?
Oh yea… oh shit I’m a dick! Ann Beretta is opening for us the whole tour.

What has been your favorite tour that you guys have done at this point?
When we toured with Avail that was really cool. I can’t think of a tour that I didn’t like though, ya know what I mean… I love going on tour.

What are some of the bands that BSF has played with?
Avail, Snapcase, H20, Brothers Keeper, Reach the Sky, man I dunno a whole lot of bands.

Have you done any festivals?
Yea actually we just got back from Krazy Fest.

How was that?
It was great, a wonderful show.

Have you guys ever done any music videos?
No but we intend to one with this album.

Which song do you have in mind?
It’s not even something that we have actually gotten into yet, it is just something that we plan on doing.

What did you listen to growing up?
All kinds of stuff. Anything from like folk music to country to new wave to metal to rap. If you ask anybody in this band it would be the most diverse, and most ridiculous amount of music you have ever heard in your life.

What got you into the style of music that you are into now?
Umm… lets see. It all started with Black Flag and Killing Joe. My cousin let me listen to them and I was like “wow this is really cool” and I was like 12 and he got me into hardcore and punk. And now I’m 18 and still into it.

What does your cousin have to say now?
Oh he came to a show in Ft. Lauderdale, that is where he lives. He isn’t into it anymore, he is more of a sort of normal surfer guy now. But he comes down to the shows when he can and likes the music and stuff.

What do you listen to now?
A lot of country. Me myself, I cant really speak for everyone else, but myself I listen to a lot of country. Some noise experimental type stuff. That’s about it. A lot of noise stuff and a lot of country, I like country A LOT.

I’ve always kinda digged country myself and gotten ragged on for it.
Yea, me too. I started listening to it years ago and ever since people have been like “what the hell do you listen to that for” and Im like “because it’s good, I dunno”.

What do you find yourself writing about mostly?
Oh it depends, there isn’t really a mostly. It all depends and I don’t think we have ever written about really the same thing. I just like writing what ever comes out ya know?

If you could change anything in society what would it be?
I think number 1 would be if I could change peoples attitudes especially within most activist and movement scenes where most people are so busy fighting with each other about who’s selling out and who’s a hypocrite and who’s doing this that they forget what they are supposed to be doing. There are just way too many groups and organizations, hardcore and outside of hardcore, that they are spending so much time attacking each other that they are not attacking the people that they are supposed to be attacking.

Are you straight edge or vegan?
All of us are vegetarians.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done for money?
[laughter] I don’t know if I can say that. Let me think of the second craziest thing I have done for money. Well we’ll go with something real mild. I did something really goofy the other day at Krazy Fest. We were having this competition at the hotel afterwards and there was a bunch of kids hanging out and there was this hill and you line up to chairs with wheels on them and you rush each other with them and slam into each other, it hurt really bad. But this guy was like “dude I’ll give you a dollar if you spit beer in their face” and I did it. That’s real mild, I cant really tell the other stuff I have done.

Do you have a favorite book?
Yea I have two favorite books that I have read a numerous amount of times. Michael Moore’s “Downsize This” and “Redneck Manifesto” by Jim Goad.

Do you have a favorite movie?
One movie that I have been watching a lot recently just because it is probably the funniest thing I have seen in my life, it is called “Orgasmo.” It is the guys who do South Park.

What’s it about?
It’s about this Mormon guy and his wife wants to get married in the temple so he starts doing porno to make money so they can get married in the temple and it is hilarious. It is the funniest movie I have ever seen in my life.

What’s your favorite boy band?
Oh hands down “New Kids On The Block.” Hell yea… that’s just good shit. They are the originals of the white boy bands. When I think boy band I think real cheesy, I don’t think like the better boy bands that actually got started in Motown like Jackson 5 and stuff like that, they were good ya know. If we are talking like cheesy, stupid, white boy bands… New Kids On The Block… definitely.

What do you think of Britney Spears?
I don’t really think much of her at all, I don’t really have an opinion of her. I have seen her videos a couple times and thought “damn that’s a catchy tune” but other then that, no I don’t really care. We don’t talk anymore, Britney and I, we used to be real tight and real close friends and now we just cant talk anymore.

Interview by :
Josh Stern :