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Comeback Kid’s Andrew Neufeld: “We Want To Keep A Loving And Supportive Atmosphere In Our Camp”

Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers 24 January 2022 at 16.13

"We’re moving forward in a way where the ground could crumble under our feet, but that’s just the way we are living now."

Comeback Kid
have just released their new album 'Heavy Steps' via Nuclear Blast, and it is an absolute stormer.

Delivering some of the most joyous and jagged hardcore jams you will hear this year, or any year, with the most guttural and frantic attitude and emotion, it is a return to the roots for one of the best hardcore bands in the world. Made to be screamed at the top of your lungs in the most chaotic atmosphere you can possibly create, it is a furiously fun dive into a band that continue to churn out the goods after all of these years.

To chat about the two years that have led us to this point, we had a quick catch up with vocalist Andrew Neufeld...

What do you feel the core aim was when it came to creating ‘Heavy Steps’?
"We tried to bring a particular atmosphere to this record. We wanted it to be fun. We also wanted to show that in the videos we made as well. We have never really thought out and worked on videos as much as we have with these songs. We didn’t want to pose and take ourselves too seriously because we’ve tried that before, and it doesn’t work. And you can tell by the songs what we wanted to be doing here as well. We wanted big, anthemic tracks. We’re not shying away from who we are or hiding away from what Comeback Kid is. This is just us being ourselves."

With the amount of time that has passed since ‘Outsider’, a slightly different record for you, how did you debrief on it, and how did that affect what you wanted to do with ‘Heavy Steps’, if at all?
"Every time you do a record, it’s the most exciting thing you have ever done. At least if you give your heart and soul into it, it will also feel like that. So when it came out, I was like, ‘Wow, this is the best thing we have ever done’. Then you reflect and consider what songs worked live and what songs you tried to make work live and then give up. We always try everything, and especially in hardcore, you are obsessed with the crowd reactions, so if I don’t get that, I’m immediately good and over it. ‘Absolute’ was the shining star of that record, though, and will be in the set forever. But coming back to it, there are about four songs we can rotate from now on. I’m still really proud of it, and there were a few missteps. I probably wouldn’t have called the record ‘Outsider’ for one.

"But in terms of now, I’m much happier in terms of what we set out to do with ‘Heavy Steps’ and in terms of what we wanted to represent. So I feel like we 1-up’d where we were on ‘Outsider’ with a few different boxes checked. We also had a lot more foresight and tried not to wing it as much this time around. We wanted to be going in a bit more prepared. With us all being in different cities throughout the pandemic, we would constantly send each other stuff. So by the time that we were all able to be in the same room, we were very familiar with each other’s ideas and tracks and parts. Being able to execute a plan rather than fly by the seat of your pants was the most important thing."

When you’ve been doing something for so long, you have to test the limits and borders of who and what you can be whenever you get the chance. But when the world around you has changed so much, you want to dial down on the things that you know bring you joy…
"That was a big goal. During the pandemic, I kept thinking about who we would see come out the other end and do their thing again. Not everybody has had their chance yet to get back at it. Over the course of an amazing five or six months of travelling and touring, we have had our chance. We got stopped in our tracks by Omicron at the end of the year, but coming back to it, we knew that we weren’t going to be able to half-ass it either way. But having that time to nurture it and help it grow in the way it did and allow it to turn into what it needed to be."

When you’re as non-stop as Comeback Kid are, you don’t realise how set in your ways of going through the motions you could be. But in this time to reflect, you notice everything you’ve done and how you’ve done it. But then you start to figure out how you will move forward because of it….
"That’s the thing. This record probably would have taken even longer if it wasn’t for the pandemic. When it started we were supposed to go to south-east Asia and play loads of festivals there, then three or four more tours after that. We said, ‘We will just write music in the gaps’. And the thing is that I know that we have missed the live stuff since then, but things have been so busy trying to put all of the pieces of this record together that it has allowed us so much purpose. And that is special."

So when you reflect on the person you were at that point in 2020 when things were shutting down, how do you feel as though who you are has shifted because of all of the things that have happened since?
"I’m not sure we have changed much. I feel like the desire to be doing this is just more earnest. We’re very appreciative of it, and we have been appreciative of it before too. It’s just grown. We want to keep a pretty loving and supportive atmosphere in our camp, and that is what we are going to keep on trying to do no matter what."

That’s something that must come with the love of hardcore as a community as much as a genre. For you to be able to bring that feeling, again and again, no matter where you are playing, it’s a pretty special position to be in…
"I hope that it’s a feeling that we can continue to create at our shows no matter what. All I’m constantly trying to bring people into this, both on stage and in life in general. Just trying to get people and different elements together to make things as good as they can be. I’ve also been moshing for a living over the last half a year. And that’s been a nice change from what the other half of last year was. When we were deep in lockdown, I would take myself to our jam space by myself, put on some Comeback Kid and scream and mosh as much as I could. Just to exert some form of energy. That’s what I needed to get out of me, and it’s what I have always needed. It’s muscle memory. I was definitely nervous when we played our first show back, but by the time Christmas came around, I was moshing arm in arm with a friend to No Warning like it was the last thing I would do. My love for hardcore is still very strong, and getting excited by new music in the way I am is something I don’t take for granted."

For the absolute love of it, that’s a feeling that has clearly stayed with you for the past 20 years…
"We make this and want people to fuck with it. But all of this is happening with or without an audience. It’s just as much for me and my health and gratification as anyone else. We made this album so I can listen to it and reflect on the person I was not in years to come."

Have you had any immediate reflections from what you have represented with these songs?
"Desperation. I sound fucking desperate on this record, lyrically and inflexion-wise. I tried to sound a little bit nervous, because I was, and there was a sense of franticness. But there is also a lot coming from the pit of the stomach and the soul. It’s about the fragility of life and everything that encompasses that. We’re moving forward in a way where the ground could crumble under our feet, but that’s just the way we are living now. Everything we are planning could go away like that, for all we know. So you have to believe in it to want to do it. We may not ever have this chance again, so let’s get it whilst we are still here."

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