Last year, legendary hardcore act Bane released their final album, Don’t Wait Up, and have been touring the globe in support of it. The album explores the band’s 20-year tenure in the hardcore scene, dealing with themes such as looking back on the past and finding closure. Recently, I had the chance to sit down and talk to vocalist Aaron Bedard about the recording process, his own scarred past, the meaning of hardcore, and what the present holds for Bane. You can read what he had to say below:
About a year ago, you released your final album, Don’t Wait Up. When you wrote and recorded it, did you guys know it would be the final Bane release, and if so, did it affect the process at all?
Yes and yes, to both of those. We absolutely knew that the whole reason we decided to do another record was because, y’know, we wanted to stay back for a little while longer. We felt like, if we were gonna do that, we had to come up with some new songs. We sort of recognized the pace that we work and write at, there would be no way that we would be able to write another one after this one, and once that was decided, we took that and ran with it and the whole theme of the record, the title, and a lot of the emotions that got baked into the whole thing had to do with being prepared to say goodbye to this. We’ve done this for a very, very long time. So yeah, it affected everything.
In terms of guest vocalists on “Calling Hours,” how did you decide which people to get on the track?
That happened very quickly, to be honest with you. In practice, it was something our guitar player, Zach [Jordan], wanted to try to do; it was something that Bane had never done before, as far as having guest vocalists jump on a track. We wanted to do it in a way where there would be a bunch of people coming and going throughout the song, interweaving vocally and yeah. We really did just sort of name some our favorites off the top of our head, people that we would’ve been stoked to work with, people that are very inspiring to us. We came up with the list we came up with and reached out to them that night and by the next day, it was done, everyone had said yes. We didn’t even have to go back to the drawing board or come up with a secondary list. We just got the people that we named off and got very, very lucky.
On a more serious note, in the liner notes for “Wrong Planet,” you acknowledge that something horrible had happened to you and others in your family. Has coming out about it publicly helped at all or changed your outlook on life?
Yes, I would say yes to both those things again. It definitely helped me. This is something that I never sort of dealt with openly. I told, maybe three people, four the most, in my life. Outside of immediate family, I never told anyone in my band. It was sort of a secret that I carried that I think a lot of victims of abuse carry and when it was time to face that this was gonna be the last record that Bane writes, meaning that it would be the last […] I was sort of struck with the weight of that and wanted to really come at the lyrical process bravely, to take myself to places that were uncomfortable, or where I face things that I never faced before, and that obviously was sort of a voice deep, deep inside: “Can you write about this in a way you feel good about? Can you write about this in a way that feels healthy? Ideally would, maybe, be able to help a little bit?” I wasn’t sure of the answer to that but I felt like I was gonna try.
So yeah, when it came time to actually start writing songs and writing lyrics, that was ever-present and I was writing down notes and the closer I got, the more I started to feel confident that I was actually going to do it. In doing it, in actually writing the song, I had to face a lot of questions from my past, things that I didn’t know the answer to. Both my mother and father are dead, so with them went a lot of things that went down when I was a kid that I was too young to really fully understand, so writing the lyrics opened this whole floodgate for different emotions and unanswerable questions that forced me to get myself into therapy, to really face this in a big way.
So I would say yeah, it did sort of change my life in that I have a better understanding of how this stuff has affected me, how it affects a lot of my habits, a lot of my insecurities. I’m really learning a lot about myself in this past year and I think that none of it would have happened had Bane not decided to do this last record. I think the song sort of kicked off everything that came after, and we’re thankful that I was given the opportunity to write it and y’know, now I’m getting to meet people who are affected by the song. They find me at shows and we can share some common place that we come from, and that’s nice as well.
Along those same lines, if there’s any bit of advice, or anything you could say to yourself around the time Bane started, what would it be?
I would tell myself to try to enjoy it as much as I can. That you have no idea how fast it’s gonna go. Y’know, I would laugh at how naïve I am that I had no idea how long it was gonna go for and the places it’s gonna take me and the things that I’m gonna be able to see, that even knowing that it was gonna go for this many years, I would try very hard to impart on myself, “enjoy it as much as you can, ‘cause it’s gonna end in a blink, dude. Like, the older you get, the faster the years are gonna fly by. Just try to hold on to as many details as you can.” That would be the advice I wanted to give me, ‘cause I’m really bad at doing that.
In another interview, you said you would not be doing one of those five-year Coachella reunions. Will you or the other members of Bane completely remove yourselves from the hardcore scene or can we expect to see you from time to time at shows?
Absolutely. There’s no way I’m gonna get sick of this. This is my life, like, I go to shows all the time. When I’m off the road, I just go to young bands that I’m so psyched on. There’s no way that this is gonna be the end of me and hardcore. You know, I can’t even say that I’m not gonna do another band and make a demo. I can’t say that I’m gonna jump in a van with other bands and just go on road trips with them. There’s no way I’m gonna walk away. No fucking way, and I think I can speak for almost everyone in the band, and say that would be the case. We are of this world just ‘cause. Y’know, we’re not hardcore kids because we made a band. We made a band because we’re hardcore kids.
There are a lot of different definitions for “hardcore.” Do you think it’s a very specific idea or is it more of an umbrella for a group of like-minded people with the same interest in music?
Yeah, hopefully it’s driven a little bit by passion and ideals, some sense of anger and community, y’know. I think that needs to be part of the umbrella, but I don’t want to like, laser beam the definition so that a lot of people don’t feel welcome under said “umbrella,” but I would like to think that more than it being about loud, fast music with breakdowns, it would have something to do with anger and fucking feeling like you want to change things, you want to take a stand against something.
A lot of interviewers are obsessed with what the future holds for you guys. Like what you have planned, or will there be a reunion? My last question for you is, what does the present hold for you?
The present holds that we’re gonna play a show in Cleveland tonight. We’re in a van, we’re on tour with two bands that we’re super psyched to be hanging out with, Backtrack and Malfunction. I mean, the present looks like burritos, five dudes stuffing into a hotel at the end of shows, and just fucking playing some hardcore shows, and just trying to enjoy this, ‘cause we’re getting to a time where, y’know, last night we played Syracuse, a place that we played countless times; it was a pretty good show and we walked away saying, “We have to think that we may only play there one more time.”
And there’s gonna be a lot of that on this tour, places that we actually may never come back to, so I wanna try to enjoy this, I really do want to try to stay in the moment, not spend too much time caring anything about “the Legacy of Bane,” or what this is gonna mean for the big picture, any of that stuff that’ll sort of fall into place all on its own. I’ll just be out here with my friends, playing music.
Bane is finishing up their current tour with Backtrack and Malfunction in our area. They have a show at Philadelphia’s Voltage Lounge on April 23 and The Studio at Webster Hall in New York City on April 25. Don’t Wait Up is currently available via Equal Vision Records. For more information, you can visit facebook.com/banecentral.