Interview with Pete (founding member, bass) from NYHC bruisers, Setback. Read this interview to learn about Setback's crushing new album Step Up Your Game, and enjoy Pete's unique take on all things hardcore! He's a guy who's been around for a long time and is definitely not afraid to tell it like it is...
1. Please begin this interview by telling us who you are, what you do in the band and a bit of background info on Setback.
Sup I am Pete and I play the bass. SETBACK was started by G and myself back in 1991 in Queens NY. We broke up in 1998 and re started the band in 2008. We released a demo tape in 1995, the No Hope EP in 1997, the Unfinished Business EP in 2009 and our new full length Step Up Your Game was released a few months ago.
2. The new album is a lethal dose of NYHC!! Can you tell us the story behind the album and what has changed since the ep Unfinished Business?
Thanks man... Well we took like a year to record this record and it is our first full length record. We had been writing the new songs for a while and wanted to just tell everyone to Step Up Your Game and show everyone that D.I.Y. NYHC was still alive and well. As everyone knows we parted ways with our long time singer Bundy and now have Phil taking care of vocal duties for the band. I think he fits in well with us and did a great job on the new record.
3. What influences do write such pissed off hardcore music? I would like to hear about something specific that makes you still want to do this and play in a brutal hardcore band.
Influences, in terms of what I have been listening to lately... Judge, AF, The Business, MadBall, Minor Threat, WarZone etc.I guess life in general fuels our music usually the shitty stuff in life. What makes me still want to do this.... I have a lot of fun playing with the guys writing new music and just pride representing NYHC and being a real NYHC band. When we release records etc it's a good feeling since we do everything on our own.
4. Is NYHC a way of life for you? How do you perceive NYHC in your mind? How would you explain it to a mainstream person?
Yeah def a way of life for me, in my mind it's all about the music the raw energy this sub culture that we all belong to and have a bond with. I would rather not explain it to a mainstream person, hardcore is not for the mainstream in my opinion
5. How do you feel about (maybe more so in the past) NYHC being duplicated by European etc bands? Do you think the heritage and attitude is stolen in a way or do you like it?
It is not just the Euro bands that have tried to copy NYHC..... I look at it like this your either really from NYC and a real NYHC band or your not it's that simple. NYHC has that special sound and energy that just can't be faked period.
6. What bass and equipment do you use? Do you think that stuff matters a lot in hardcore? And if you had another band, what type of music would you like to play?
I use Fender basses and SWR heads/cabinets, this is just my preference for feel and sound. I don't think it matters what equipment you use in hardcore, everyone who plays has different taste. Maybe I would be playing in an oi/punk rock band, maybe something more mainstream, who knows. Hard to say since I have always played in SETBACK and no other bands.
7. I know that you last singer, Bundy, is now having a go at pursuing an underground rap career. Did it piss you off that he left hardcore behind? Can you tell us a few things about the new singer?
No it didn't piss me off that Bundy left the band or that he is now doing rap. Look he has been on the scene since the early 80's and he did a great job as our singer for many years, we are still good friends and G, Benny and myself wish him much success in whatever he does in his life whether it is rap or anything else! Our new singer is Phil he is a hardcore kid from NY and I think he did a great job on the new record, he def had big shoes to fill and he delivered in my opinion. I think he brings a different flavor to the band with his vocal style and he has great energy when we play live shows.
8. Why would you say most people leave hardcore behind at some point in their lives? It’s not like it’s incompatible with having jobs, a family etc (you’re the proof!). So why does it happen?
Good question... I guess anyone who leaves hardcore behind has their own reason(s), hopefully they find their way back to hardcore one day. I can't speak for anyone that has left hardcore behind but def family, jobs etc would be the top reasons I would think.
9. Can you tell us the main differences in the hardcore scene between when you were starting out (which was when exactly..?) and now?
I first got onto the scene in like 1990 and SETBACK's first release was in 1995 but we played shows way before the demo ever came out....Many people have come and gone more than a few have stayed. There are a lot of bands that are no longer playing and at the same time there are a lot of new bands out there. Most of the clubs in NYC are gone like CBGB'S or do not have hardcore shows anymore. There are no more Sunday matinee shows either. It seems like a much younger scene but at the same time I am much older. We need the younger kids to carry the torch in the future and not having many all ages shows anymore is keeping the youngest kids away from just about every show these days.
10. How do you stand on the fact that tattoos in hardcore (and now the mainstream) have become so popular and therefore sort of decriminalized?
Tats have become very mainstream and there is nothing You or I can do about it.Mainstream fads come and go. I 'm not gonna stop getting tats cause it is trendy rite now but the trendy folks will stop getting tats when it isn't trendy anymore.
11. What do you think about straight edge? Could you ever have a go at it, or are you too much of a party animal?
I do not care about straight Edge I am not knocking it just not for me and never will be I love my weed too much to ever be straight edge, love some straight edge bands that are so fucking hard like Judge but it is not a life style for me.
12. What does your daily routine consist of? If you had enough money to not worry about it anymore, how would you spend your average day?
Mon- Fri I wake up in the morning and go to work like everyone else. I have about a 30 min drive to get to my office and I am an inside sales person for a start up tech company just outside NYC. When I get home I take my dog out to shit and piss and then always pack a bowl of the good greens and relax.
If I had enough money and had no worries in life I would be living in Brazil again but this time for good with my wife on one of our favorite beaches that is far from civilization, end of story!
13. Let’s go back to Setback. Why did you choose to fund your own album? Is it easy to find good studios that can produce hardcore records like this? (awesome production by the way, who did it?)
Well as you know we have no record deal and have always been a D.I.Y. band. We control everything we do, have no label to answer to, have not sold our souls or sold our music. Putting this record out on our own label Crash Course Records was an easy choice for us to make. We recorded this record at Rich's studio in upstate NY, he plays guitar for SUBZERO.
14. If you could tour with one of the current hardcore bands, which band would that be? Would you be into touring outside NY/the States or do you prefer to stay close to home?
If we could tour with any band I would say we would prob like to with MadBall since they play everywhere and have a strong following. If the time and situation are rite we are open to touring outside the states or far from the East Coast, who knows only time will tell.
15. What would you like to be remembered for? I mean both as a band, and also you as a person?
As a band... I would like to be remembered for our music for being a D.I.Y. NYHC band for playing with heart and as band who could play their instruments well. As a person, I would just like to be fucking remembered.
16. Close this interview in any way you want please!!!Fotis thanks for your time and support! Thanks to everyone out there that has bought the new record, our merch and supported us in any way over the years!!!