INTERVIEW: Flatfoot 56

Since the year 2000, FLATFOOT 56 have steadily unleashed a rollicking barrage of Celtic punk and folk-tinged hardcore from the South Side of Chicago to an international audience with intense and positive party-like energy. Interview answered by Tobin Bawinkel, singer of Flatfoot 56.

photo credit: Chad Sengstock

OOS: “Although Flatfoot 56 is around since 2000, I only knew the band by name and a few songs I heard in the past. The latest Flatfoot 56 Album ‘Black Thorn’ is just released in Europe (the record is out since the end of March in the States) and it will be backed by a European Tour. It seems like Flatfoot 56 is taking over Europe?”

Tobin: “We are excited to have Black Thorn in the stores and being promoted so well. We are planning to tour hard and really promote the record in Europe. The fans there are great!”

OOS: “Is it true that a new record is coming out later this Year and will it also be released in Europe by People Like You Records?”

Tobin: “We are currently writing the new record but there is no way of knowing when it will be finished. We are also not sure yet who will be putting it out. We do like the way that PLY has been promoting Black Thorn. We will have to see how this record goes.”

OOS: “How did you hook up with People Like You Records?”

Tobin: “Our manager Christian had been in contact with PLY and several others to try and license the record in Europe. PLY had a great reputation and they showed a great interest in us. We spoke to many people about them and finally decided it was the best label to work with. So far they have been great and promoted us well.”
OOS: “Listening to ‘Black Thorn’ I’m glad to hear that Flatfoot 56 is not another Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly clone. Sometimes you guys sound like a Celtic punk version of the Streetdogs and sometimes its like listening to Social Distortion with mandolins and bagpipes. Any comments to that?”

Tobin: “We are very careful to stand on our own. It is very common for people to just lump us in with other Celtic bands and say we are a part of a trend. We really want to be a band that pushes the boundaries of the Celtic punk scene and stretch it a bit. Our sound has a tendency to take diverse twists and we are careful to make music that we love ourselves.”

OOS: “What I like the most about the album is that its so diverse. There are a lot of different songs on the album, some more streetpunk, some more folk. There’s always something new to discover. Was this meant to be?”

Tobin: “Absolutely!!!! We have always been fans of bands that make a record an adventure to listen to. It can be very easy to play it safe and only do beats and rhythms that are acceptable to the punk scene, but the truth is that we love so many kind of bands and music styles that to only keep it to one would be a real shame. Like I said, we want to play music that we love and are proud of.”

OOS: “The band consist of three brothers. Do you experience this as an advantage for the band and/or can it be difficult sometimes?”

Tobin: “I think it has been the biggest advantage to the band. We are very close and have always worked together well. Although this might not seem to be the way it sounds at times, we do love working together.”

OOS: “Any other great bands we should check out?”

Tobin: “We are very big fans of the local Chicago punk music scene. It’s a scene that gets overlooked often, so we always love promoting bands from our city. Some of the best are Deals Gone Bad, The Arrivals, The Downtown Struts, AM Taxi, The Tossers, The Frantic, and a ton of others.”

OOS: “Any final shout outs?”

Tobin: “Man, we have so many friends from all over the world who have been so supportive of us over the last 11 years. I guess this one goes to them. We wouldn’t be a band without you.”

OOS: “Thanks for the interview.”

www.flatfoot56.com

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